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Hector MacKinnon, A Memoir
Voices from Patmos


(A series of papers written by Mr. Mackinnon for The Life of Faith, and reproduced in this memorial volume at the special request of many friends.)

I. THE SEVEN SPIRITS

St. John was an exile in Patmos "for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ." During the persecution to which the Church was subjected in the reign of Domitian he was forcibly removed from the city of Ephesus, which had, for long, been the scene of his life and labours, and his lot was now cast on this barren island of the /Egean Sea. It brought him great sorrow to be separated at such a critical juncture from the congregations submitted to his care; but he was not left uncomforted, for there was granted him, in the loneliness of his seagirt prison, one of the most glorious visions vouchsafed to mortal man. On a certain day—it was the Lord's Day—there appeared to him "One like unto the Son of Man," apparelled in heavenly garments, and wearing the symbols of heavenly majesty, but the identity of whom John could not for a moment mistake. It was his exalted Master Himself, come to assure His servant that, despite appearances to the contrary, all was well as regards the interests of His Kingdom, and to show him that there was no justification for the depression that had settled down upon his spirit. The Lord also entrusted him with a message to each of the Churches of his province, and then drew aside the veil that overhung the future, so that John was able to write in a book much of what in coming ages was to transpire in the experience of the saints and in the history of the world. Of the authenticity and trustworthiness of this revelation the Seer was so certain that he unhesitatingly claims for his narrative a place in the canon of Scripture. This is really the significance of the benediction which he pronounces over the reading and hearing and doing of the words of his prophecy. That place the Church, as a whole, has never withheld.

The things he saw and heard on this memorable occasion he proceeds to describe in epistolary form, beginning his treatise with the customary apostolic salutation. He in- yokes grace upon those to whom he writes—God's free favour as the outcome and expression of His love; and peace—the peace which is the result of the influence of that favour upon the believing soul; grace and peace from Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The terms by which he names the Persons of the Trinity are, however, different from those commonly used by apostolic writers. He designates the First Person "Him that was and is and is to come "—that is to say, "Him who is from everlasting to everlasting, who is the Source and Centre of life, who unfolds His character and purpose in the events of history, and for whose glory all things are working together."

After the First Person he mentions the Third by a designation upon which I am to dwell in this paper, and to the Second Person he accords the third place because he wishes space to enable him to express in one of the grandest doxologies of Holy Writ his own feelings and those of all His saints towards Him. To that doxology we shall return in the paper that will follow this one. But meanwhile we take up for consideration this appellation, "the Seven Spirits."

The Book of Revelation is a book of numbers; but seven is the number that predominates, occurring as it does no fewer than fifty-four times. To the Hebrew mind seven was the number of unity and completeness, and it is not to be wondered at that in a volume in which symbols are so prominent the author should use this number whenever he had occasion to express the ideas that were associated with it in the thought and speech of his Jewish fellow-countrymen. In any case, there is little doubt that by "the Seven Spirits" John meant his readers to understand the Holy Spirit in His various operations upon and in the souls of men, and that in the sense in which I shall now speak of the expression.

It is interesting to observe, in passing, that "the Seven Spirits" are represented by the Apostle as being before the throne of "Him that was, and is, and is the coming One." Or to put the matter more intelligibly and helpfully, a throne on which sits the eternal God is behind the Holy Spirit, suggesting that, back of the procession and activities of the Spirit, are life, power, control, and royalty beyond all compare.

On this, however, we cannot linger. What we are specially concerned with is that by this designation— "the Seven Spirits "—John would have us recognize the manifoldness of the activity of the Spirit. Indeed, the different aspects of that activity are more numerous than the number seven can literally signify. But it will aid our thinking on the subject if we try to gather up under that number these different aspects. I venture accordingly to draw attention to a sevenfold manifestation in Christian experience of the Holy Spirit's operations.

The first aspect to be referred to is that of CONVICTION.

When He is come He will reprove the world;" and in the forefront of the work of conviction is conviction in relation to sin. Without conviction in relation to sin no headway is possible for the grace of God in the soul. Lack of conviction with reference to sin is the principal cause why the redemption of Christ is so little appreciated by many to whom it is continually proclaimed. It has been remarked that erroneous views about sin are responsible for nearly all the heresies that have afflicted the Christian Church in the course of the centuries, and that is probably true.

But it may be said with equal truth that nearly all refusals to accept Christ as a first step in the Christian life are due to the absence of this conviction, to which I am referring, in individual souls. As long as men do not recognize that they are sinners they will not lay hold of salvation. Now of this recognition human nature is of itself incapable, and the Spirit's work of conviction is absolutely necessary if men are to be saved at all. How grateful, then, ought we to be that God has not only provided salvation for us, but also creates by His Spirit in our consciousness the conditions that will shut us up, so to speak, to utilize His provision to our advantage. It is the business of the Spirit to press home upon our consciences and hearts a conviction of our guilt, and defilement, and impotency, and thus constrain us to seek in Christ what we cannot find in any other quarter.

This brings to our notice the next aspect of the Spirit's work which one ought to mention, namely, Conversion. There is a correlative on the Divine or superhuman side to conversion—regeneration—in which are elements of mystery which we cannot unravel. We must content ourselves with the statement of Scripture, that is, of our Lord Himself—"The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, or whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit." There are undoubtedly movements of the Spirit in the work of regeneration which transcend experience. Actual conversion, on the contrary, is within the sphere of human consciousness. Convinced of our need, cc we are," as the Westminster Confession puts it, "persuaded and enabled to embrace Jesus Christ as He is freely offered to us in the Gospel." The persuasion and ability are within our direct knowledge, however little we may understand the processes of which these are the results. Conversion is a turning—a turning towards Christ away from the former ignorance, apathy, and hostility. That comes to pass with our own cognisance, and through capacities of intellect, affection, and volition, with the exercise of which in other directions we are quite familiar.

And yet, even in conversion, we must recognize the dominance of the activity of the Holy Spirit. No doubt He uses the ordinary capabilities of soul, which I have mentioned, as the channels through which His converting energy proves its power. But without Him and His Divine help it is absolutely impossible for us to turn. From the beginning to the completion of this great spiritual change His activity is indispensable. Of ourselves we can do nothing, and we owe to the Third Person the force, the application of which to our spiritual condition changes once for all our attitude towards God and His Son Jesus Christ. Again, converted souls have within them, in varying degrees admittedly, but very really, the witness of the Spirit, by which they enjoy the assurance that they are children of God. Of our sonship in relation to God we are not directly conscious. Just as the conviction that we are the children of specified earthly parents is not an intuition, but rather an inference based upon a revelation of parentage associated with a certain person or per- Sons, SO that the conviction that we are the children of God does not arise within us intuitively: but it having been declared to us that God is our Father in Jesus Christ, and we having entered into a relation towards Him which enables us with simplicity and sincerity and, most important of all, spontaneity to address Him as " Father," we infer with a certainty which nothing can slay that we are God's sons and daughters. As St. Paul teaches in Romans viii., we have received the spirit of adoption (as a result of our faith—that is implied), whereby we cry Abba, Father, and, having received that position by the help of the Spirit, it at once follows that the Spirit beareth witness with our spirits that we are the children of God. The prior step is to say, " Father " to God, and then it is borne home on us that we are God's children. It is difficult to separate in thought the one act of our spirits from the other, but there is a distinction, and it will help us in our dull moments if we keep this in mind.

And now, having been convinced of sin, having been led to accept Jesus Christ, and having come by the assurance of salvation, the great work of sanctification may proceed in our souls and lives. There is a sense in which we are sancified, or set apart, once for all in Christ, but the practical efforts of that setting apart are progressive. At conversion the old nature is neither eradicated nor suppressed. It remains possessed of all the strength and possibilities of development it previously had, but through the counteraction of the Spirit, by whom Christ dwells in us, these are continuously overcome; that is to say, if we, by faith, accept this counteraction, and live in the power of it, we have the victory which the New Testament consistently represents as an essential part of the blessing of the Gospel. This victory is so real and so complete as long as we walk by trust and obedience, that it is no presumption whatever to say that we have it. Indeed, the presumption would be to say that we do not have it. The victory is just as complete as the conviction, or the conversion, or the witness, although like these it will increase in comprehensiveness with the passing of the years.

Having all these, however, we may now go another step, and say that we have also what, in Scriptural phrase, is known as the comfort of the Spirit. This comfort is not merely comfort in the sense in which we ordinarily understand that term. It is the encouragement of the Spirit for us to go forward in line with the experiences already mentioned. The Holy Spirit is our Comforter not only in giving us good cheer, but in leading us, and at every point of life's journey giving us boldness to face without fear every emergency that may arise. "We are borne on," as the late Bishop Westcott has put it, "to perfection with that mighty influence which waits only for the acceptance of faith that it may exert its sovereign sway, borne on by Him whose unseen arms are stretched out beneath the most weary and weakest, borne on by Him who is the Way and the End of all human endeavour."

Of this comfort what we usually call enduement is an essential and prominent part, although it is capable of such differentiation in thought from comfort as to warrant our regarding it as a special instance of the Spirit's sevenfold activity. To this enduement our Lord referred when He said to the disciples " Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you." No doubt the Master in uttering these words had present to His mind chiefly the great business of preaching to which the disciples were appointed. But all cannot be preachers, and are not meant to be preachers in the sense in which the disciples and many since were. Yet in the work of witnessing for Christ, in which all Christians are expected to bear a part, the enduement of the Spirit is the heritage of every child of God, however humble, obscure, or weak. That work may be done not only through speaking, but also through living. And when all has been said, and justly said, in magnifying the importance of testimony by speech, it has to be added that testimony by life is not less important. In fact, what gives lip testimony its value is that it is concurrent with the testimony of the life. The testimony of the lips, when not reinforced by the testimony of the life, has not the convincing power which it was meant to have ; but the testimony of the life, whether it finds expression in association with speech or with action, is the grandest possible exemplification of the Spirit's power in enduing for the work of witnessing.

One other aspect of the Spirit's work remains to be referred to—the intercession of the Spirit. This also may be regarded as a part of the comforting activity of the Spirit, but it, at the same time, merits separate mention.

"The Spirit itself making intercession for us." Some people think prayer easy. They little know what prayer means. True prayer is the most difficult and severe of all exercises. It cannot be done except in the power of the Spirit. We do need the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of prayer. There is no connection in which our infirmities more need to be helped than here. Besides, prayer in the Spirit will surely be heard, and answered. No other prayer will. Seeing, then, the Spirit is ready to give us His Divine aid in this as in every other task or duty, let us count upon Him in order that we may fulfil, to the approval of God, the delight of our own souls, and the benefit of the Church and of humanity, the intercessory function of our great office as priests in the house of our heavenly Father.

II. THE SONG OF THE REDEEMED

In his salutation to the seven Churches at the beginning of the Book of Revelation St. John gives the third place to the Second Person of the Divine Trinity, because of his desire to give special expression to his own feelings and the feelings of the redeemed generally with regard to Him in the great doxology which we now take up for consideration. He cannot refer to that dear name—Jesus Christ—without going on to say that the Being to whom it belongs is the Faithful Witness, the First-begotten of the dead, and the Prince with whom none can compare, and then adding the following:-" Unto Him that loveth us, and loosed us from our sins by His blood; and He made us to be a kingdom, to be priests unto God and His Father; to Him be the glory and the dominion for ever and ever."

There are four things presented to us here—first, the transcendent fact that Jesus Christ loveth His people ("Him that loveth us"); next, the chief outcome of that fact—emancipation, and enfranchisement as citizens of a great commonwealth (" He loosed us from our sins and made us to be a kingdom"); then, the purpose of His love and of its unfolding as that purpose is fulfilled in the priesthood of believers ("to be priests unto His God and Father ") ; and lastly, the effect which the whole should have, and has, upon those concerned ("to Him be the glory and the dominion for ever and ever"). In this paper I shall remark upon these one by one.

First, the fact—"Jesus Christ loveth us." Some copyist, allowing grammar to obtrude itself unduly, changed the present tense here into a past, and that is why the Authorized Version of Scripture locates this love more in the past than in the present. But modern scholarship has outflanked the copyist, and restored for us the true import of this grand term. "He loveth us." That covers past, present, and future. The love of our Redeemer stretches from eternity to eternity. It had no beginning, and will have no ending. It is unchanged, unmodified, untouched, either by lapse of time or variation of circumstance. Utterly inexhaustible, it flows incessantly in undiminished and indiminishable tide into the lives towards which it is directed.

Immortal Love, for ever full,
For ever flowing free,
For ever shared, for ever whole,
A never ebbing sea.

It was this love which at the first created us. By the Son, as the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews points out, God made the worlds. The Second Person of the Trinity, for reasons unknown to and inexpressible by us, is Mediator in creation, as well as in redemption; and in the discharge of His mediatorial functions in relation to creation He was, and is, animated by the same motive that actuated Him, and continues to actuate Him, in connection with redemption; Christ, so to speak, loved us into existence. In love He fashioned our members and built up our faculties, and placed us in a world in which these might be developed until they might at last reach their appointed perfection.

But the principal, and crucial, outcome of His love, we must never forget, has been our redemption. "He loosed us from our sins," and invested us with the privileges and prerogatives of a citizenship the scope and glory of which exceed all power of thought.

The mention of "loosing" suggests bondage. The New Testament writers never allow us to let out of mind that we were once slaves. And who can describe the bitterness and hopelessness of that slavery? Yet all of us know something of them. We were the creatures of sin and guilt and corruption, like men in a dungeon, bound hand and foot, shackled to a wall, with a hell of coming judgment yawning at our feet, which no resource of man or angel could close or cover. How fell we into such a pitiable plight? The Bible explains, and our own consciences confirm its testimony. We disobeyed God, and by our disobedience lost communion with Him, and brought ruin upon ourselves. We sold for nought to an implacable enemy the powers and possibilities which, at our creation, were conferred upon us, and that enemy imposed his cruel yoke upon us, binding us with chains of unreason and selfishness and misery, which, try as we might, we could never cast off. But Christ loosed us, by His own blood! No complete theory of the Atonement of our blessed Lord has yet been formulated. How could it? Our sin in relation to God assumes an infinite significance, and our finite minds cannot grasp or fully appreciate that significance or the bearing upon it of a propitiation the sweep and value of which have been infinite also. The Spirit of God is, no doubt, throwing more light for us, from age to age, upon the subject ; but it will take us a whole eternity to understand how our Saviour redeemed us, to estimate the relation of His passion to our guilt on the one hand and to God's unbending justice and spotless holiness on the other, and to express in terms of human thought and language the greatness of the debt which we owe Him. But the fact itself is before us. It springs out of every page of the Bible—the indubitable fact that we have been redeemed—redeemed once for all out of our bondage and wretchedness and helplessness—"redeemed not with corruptible things, such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ." His blood—that is to say, His life given for us upon the Cross—is the price and the instrument of our redemption. "He loveth us," and went— could not but go—to Golgotha, to loneliness and shame, to anguish and death, in order to release us from our sins.

It was in accomplishing this mighty task that His love was tested to the uttermost. Our creation did not test it so. But when we had lifted up the heel of rebellion against our Creator and Benefactor, this love was placed on its trial. The question came to be—would our blessed Lord, in the face of our defiance of His authority and abuse of the powers which He had conferred on us, despite our ignoring of His just claims and our trampling underfoot the revelation He had given us of right and wrong, persist in His love toward us, and by submitting for our sakes to suffering the intensity of which human thought can never fathom and human speech can never express, work out for us a salvation which we could do nothing to merit or procure? This question was answered by Himself in a triumphant affirmative. After a preparation which extended over many centuries He at last entered the conditions, and took upon Him the limitations of earthly existence in order to give His life a ransom for us. He died upon Calvary a death the passing through which by one who had never sinned, in a world ruled by Divine justice and omniscience, must remain for ever inexplicable except upon the theory that He died the just for the unjust, that He might bring us unto God. Even from the point of view of reason and logic no other explanation is adequate. But we have experience of the fact that by this death we have been loosed from our sins. We know, by faith, that Jehovah laid upon Him the iniquity of us all, for that iniquity has been lifted off us for ever, and we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. It is one of the deepest convictions of our souls—as deep as our conviction of the reality of our own existence—that the Lamb of God has taken away the sin of the world, for through Him we have received a reconciliation without which our spirits could never have true rest or joy—

Oh, the love that sought us!
Oh, the blood that bought us
Oh, the grace that brought us to the fold,
Wondrous grace that brought us to the fold.

This leads to the thought that while we have been redeemed by His blood, this redemption is not a mere escape from the woeful bondage in which we lay. We have been emancipated, but we have been enfranchised as well. "His grace brought us to the fold." "He made us to be a kingdom." The thought expressed here appears first in Exodus xix. 6, where we read, "Ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests and an holy nation." It is found again in i Peter ii. 9, "Ye are an elect race, a royal (or kingly) priesthood." In these two verses, the latter of which only reproduces the first, it is the fact that God's people have a kingdom that is prominent. In the doxology before us the fact is emphasized that they are a kingdom. Three things characterize every kingdom worthy of the name. First, there is rule; next, there is unity; and, thirdly, there is a purpose. And so Christians are a kingdom under the rule of the Lord Jesus Christ. In releasing them from the captivity of a usurper He has also subdued them unto Himself. Not by compulsion, mark you, but by attraction. He said to His disciples, "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me." Here is the whole truth in a single sentence. He draws as a king, and, indeed, manifests His kingship in the very drawing. But let it be remembered that the power by which He draws is His love—that love the supreme, the all- conquering manifestation of which was His death. Under the spell of this drawing His redeemed people accept at His hands the liberty which He confers, and of their own free and joyous choice they become His subjects. His will forthwith becomes the law of their lives, and His sovereignty is established over them for ever. But because of this common relation into which they have entered towards one Head they become united one to another. And seeing love is the bond that joins them to Him, love is also the bond that joins them one to another. They are all one in Christ Jesus. More than that. He has sent His Spirit into their hearts, and that Spirit brings them together into one great fellowship of citizenship. Emancipated and enfranchised, they form a great commonwealth, of which Jesus Christ is King. They have one aim—that of obedience to His will and the extension of His sovereignty. It becomes their high prerogative, as also their unspeakable privilege, to promote the interests of His kingship, not only in their own lives, but in the life of the world as a whole. Even to the principalities and powers of the heavenly places their ministry extends, for unto these ranks and dominions are to be made known through the Church the manifold wisdom of God.

But in becoming a kingdom they have also found, individually and collectively, their kingdom. In submitting to the control of their Divine Master they have gained control over themselves. In placing themselves under His influence they have become the dispensers of an influence greater than that exerted by any earthly monarch. In receiving from Him the spiritual power which He bestows, they obtain continuous victory over every enemy. They are " more than conquerors "through Him that loves them. The last enemy itself—death----has been put under their feet. For whereas this world's potentates have not infrequently to meet that enemy with trembling and dismay, these warriors go down into the valley of the last conflict conscious of their triumph in Christ, and with the exultant shout on their lips, "O death, where is thy sting! O grave, where is thy victory! " So that if they are, on the one hand, subjects, they are, on the other hand, kings, already set in the heavenly places with Christ, and by and by to be manifested with Him in glory. "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, as I also overcame and am set down with My Father in His throne."

But they are priests as well as a kingdom and kings. There is, indeed, no other priesthood than theirs. Those who pretend to any other priesthood than that of believers in Jesus Christ are either self-deceived or deceivers. There are such pretenders, and that is why this appellation and the office it denotes have gone down so much in the estimation of many. But in the whole Christian economy there is nothing grander than this name and office, and the very application of the name to men and women in Christ, and their investiture with the office, only indicate to what a height of privilege and dignity they have been raised. Under the Old Testament régime, priesthood had, broadly speaking, two functions, and these functions, amplified and transfigured, are also exercised by the royal citizens of the kingdom of Christ. The one was the offering of sacrifices, the other intercession. In order that they: might fulfil these functions the priests of Israel were granted access into the Holy Place, and once a year the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies.

Thus we enter by faith a Holy of Holies beyond the visible, and of which the visible was only a type and shadow—we enter it by the blood of Jesus to offer unto the God and Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving and dedicated lives. We present to Him "the calves of our lips." We give Him our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable, which is our reasonable service. All that we receive and possess and achieve in virtue of our kingship we offer in virtue of our being priests, so that what came from God Himself at the beginning returns unto Him multiplied a thousandfold in the end. And what is not less significant of our royal priesthood, we engage in intercession. We draw near to the throne of grace—and may have our place there continually—to intercede for the Church and for our fellow-men. It has pleased our Lord thus to associate us with Himself in the fulfilment of the duties of His High-Priestly office. He "prays the Father," and we are permitted, exhorted, commanded to pray also. Thus are we in the most real sense it unto God and His Father."

Now, when we consider, as we have been doing, this great love, and its immeasurable outcome, as well as the purpose at the realization of which in our life and experience the movements of it aim, surely we shall gladly acknowledge that the final effect upon us should be that, as our text puts it, we should ascribe unto our Lord and Saviour glory and dominion for ever and ever. The due performance of our duties as kings and priests involves this ascription. But, in closing, let me say that we shall do well to bear in mind how obligatory upon us it is to exalt Him. The obligation under which we lie in this connection is of the highest—there is none higher. Let us, then, be faithful to it. Let us exhort each other to proclaim His worth and make His name great. Let us call upon heaven and earth, upon the sun, moon, and stars, upon the creation, animate and inanimate, intelligent and non-intelligent, to acknowledge His dominion and show forth His glory. For the whole creation owes Him a debt which it can never repay.

But let us never forget that no appeal of ours to fellow- creatures to praise Him, no attempt on our own part to tell forth His glory, will be acceptable to Him unless these include our giving Him complete dominion over our hearts and lives. It is our duty to crown Him Lord of all in our own lives and characters. Let it also be our joy; for does He not deserve, to put the matter on no other ground, that we should magnify Him without any reservation in spirit, soul or body? Unto Him, then, that loveth us and loosed us from our sins by His blood; and He made us to be a kingdom (kings), to be priests unto His God and Father to Him be the glory and the dominion for ever and ever from every one who may chance to read these paragraphs.

Amen and Amen.

III. THE ROYALTY OF SAINTS

A mighty change had passed over John since the day, well remembered by him, I have no doubt, on which he and his brother James, at the instigation of a fond mother, proferred to their Master the request that they might sit, the one on His right hand and the other on His left, in His kingdom. At that time the beloved disciple had only a very imperfect understanding of what the kingdom was to consist of; nor did he foresee clearly either the circumstances in which, or the qualities of soul by which, that kingdom was to be won.

But many things had happened in the interval. Chief among these was the crucifixion of Jesus, which His disciples had come to regard as the highest manifestation of His royalty. They were convinced that the cross of their Lord was in very truth His throne, and it was borne home on them irresistibly that whoever would share that throne must in some way or other also share that cross. They had come to learn that pre-eminence in the kingdom was to be determined by other principles than those which governed promotion in the kingdoms of the world. That lesson had been burnt into John's own soul in the school of experience. He, like his Divine Master, had to bear the contradiction of sinners and to suffer persecution at the hands of enemies. He was now a prisoner in the Ægean isle for the sake of the great commission wherewith, like his fellow-apostles, he had been entrusted. He had never doubted that it was the good will of the Father to give him a place in the kingdom, but he knew by this time what he was ignorant of on the memorable day just referred to, that tribulation was to be the lot in this world of every child of the kingdom, and that it was by patience similar to his Lord's he was to win that leadership which at the first he so ardently coveted.

So that we are prepared for the terms by which he designates himself in addressing, from the place of his confinement, his great Epistle to the Seven Churches. We have these terms in Revelation i. 9, and we shall now try for our own benefit and edification to grasp their significance. "Your brother," says he, and partaker with you in the tribulation and kingdom and patience that are in Jesus." He places himself absolutely on the same level as his comrades. There is not a trace, either in his words or demeanour, of the assumption that characterized his old-time request.

Commentators acknowledge their inability to explain the order of the words in this expression. All they feel able to do, led by Dean Alford, is to refer us back to Acts xiv. 22, which states that one of the notes of the preaching of Paul and Barnabas on the first missionary journey was that "through much tribulation we must enter the kingdom of God." Some of them discover in the words of John an echo of the preaching of Paul. There is, however, no proof that John, in the use of this expression, was indebted to his brother apostle; but there is abundant evidence that both John and Paul owed to a common Christian experience the education which led them to formulate their ideas in the language before us.

Without, then, attempting to deal with the order, we shall find it helpful to take up for consideration the thoughts themselves which these words enshrine, and I accordingly proceed to speak, first, of the kingdom as the dominating thought ; next, of the tribulation, as indicating the circumstances in which the kingdom is to be gained; and lastly, of the patience mentioned, as unfolding to us the condition of mind in which our quest of the kingdom is to be pursued, which condition is also to constitute our attitude of soul towards these circumstances.

But before doing this let me emphasize that phrase, "that are in Jesus." If it be true that God has given us a kingdom to win through tribulation and by patience, it is not less true that that kingdom is to be won by us because it has already been gifted to us in Jesus Christ. The kingdom is His, having been granted Him by the Father, because He laid down His life for its sake, and He shares it with all who will identify themselves with His cause and purpose. The emancipation and enfranchisement spoken of in a previous paper He confers upon every one who accepts them and who proves his acceptance by personal adherence to Him as his King and Saviour.

But to come to the kingdom. Having already treated of it, in a measure, I shall here confine myself to the distinctive benefits which it carries with it for all who are members thereof. There is a royalty wherewith it invests every citizen—a twofold royalty—a royalty of power on the one hand, and a royalty of dignity on the other.

Take, to begin with, the royalty of power. It manifests itself in the first instance in self-control. It had been said that "he that ruleth his spirit is better (or stronger) than he that taketh a city"; and if he that taketh a city is to be regarded as a ruler, much more he that has gained the mastery over himself. Let us see how this self-mastery is acquired, and for illustration let me use the case of the rich young man who came to our Lord as an anxious inquirer concerning eternal life. What did this man really lack ? We see this from the reply which the Lord gave to his query. "Come," says the Master, follow me." It was one whom he could follow that was this young man's greatest need. He was young and wealthy, regular in his life, and admirable in his religious habits ; but the powers and forces of his nature were not yet co-ordinated into a unity as the result of control, and he was destitute accordingly of true rest and peace. What Christ meant him to do was to submit to the only control by which this co-ordination could be brought about, and that control was Jesus' own. It was the kingdom that is in Jesus which, however blindly, he was so strongly craving for. We do not know whether in the long run he followed or not, but of one thing we are certain, that if he did, in making Jesus Christ his Master, he gained that control over the potentialities of his nature which he had previously, despite all his laudable efforts, striven for in vain.
And thus it is with every man and woman. Accept the kingship of Jesus and you at once become 'a prince, possessed of that first and essential element of strength—self-control; and self-control in Jesus will bring you that unity and peace, that power and joy, along with it, which will meanfor you eternal life and prerogatives of sovereignty which are the unmistakable characteristics of eternal life—

My heart is weak and poor
Until it Master find,
It has no spring of action sure,
It varies with the wind,
It cannot freely move
Till Thou hast wrought its chain;
Enslave it with Thy matchless love,
And deathless it shall reign.

Again, this royalty manifests itself in influence, or as one might almost put it, power over others. I fancy that the sons of Zebedee desiderated influence when they came to Jesus in early days to present their petition. All men cherish the ambition to be influential, and it is a worthy ambition, provided it be set and kept in right relation to eternal things. But it is the children of the kingdom whose ambition in this connection comes to fruition and satisfaction. Alexander and Napoleon had their ambitions. Each had a quenchless longing to become master of the world. They both became masters on a very great scale, but in spite of all their conquests and renown, they lacked true royalty. In contrast with them stands St. Paul, or St. John himself, for that matter. These were the real conquerors, the real masters, the real kings. They turned the world upside down by a power far mightier than the sword. And their influence abides. It spreads with the lapse of the centuries on to the end of time. The influence off their lives and of their works is bringing the whole race of mankind increasingly within the sweep of its power, until at last their dominance in Christ will be complete.

And when we consider the influence of Christian men and women generally we must admit that whether we regard them individually or collectively their influence transcends all other influence. It is sovereign. It may work quietly and unobtrusively, like the frost or the dew, but it achieves more than the combined efforts of all who work out of relation to the Great Centre of power. The whole world has gone after the children of the kingdom because they in turn have gone after the King of kings. Thus, in influence over others, as in control over themselves, the royalty of the saints is exemplified.

Take now the royalty of dignity which the followers of Christ inherit. It was said of the children of Gideon that they looked like kings. But more than any son of Gideon are the redeemed of the Lord kings even in their appearance when that appearance is properly regarded. They are invested with a royal robe—a robe of finest linen—the righteousness which is in Christ Jesus. His name is in their foreheads. That is to say, that in all that constitutes kingship in its grandest aspect they are kings—I mean, in character. There is a moral majesty about them which proclaims them heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. The fruit of the Spirit evidenced in their lives is, to all, the sign-manual of a royalty which far excels any royalty known to the sons of earth. And this royalty, be it remembered, is at present only in its initial stage of development. "It doth not yet appear what we shall be." To the possibilities of amplification that lie hid in our royalty there is no limit. "When He shall appear we shall be like Him." That is all we can say. "Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, nor hath the heart of man conceived" the height of the dignity to which believers in Christ are yet to rise. Some of them are not like kings as the children of this world estimate kingship, but they are the real potentates all the same, and howsoever obscure their position in the scale of earthly precedence, yet there belong to each of them a glory and a beauty of which human vision, even from the summits of a Pisgah or an Olivet, has not yet dreamed.

We must, however, pass on. What about the circumstances in which this kingdom has to be won? Tribulation —a pregnant term. How paradoxical it seems that a kingdom with so great a glory is to be won in tribulation! But every kingdom is, and the kingdom of God's grace is no exception. Let us, however, make sure of our ground here. Once again I submit that no effort of ours could or can secure for us propriety in this sovereignty. That comes to us by the free favour of God in Jesus Christ. It has been the goodwill of our Father to give us the kingdom, and to that goodwill we shall remain for ever indebted for our inheritance. But it hath also pleased the Father to make us fit for possessing and enjoying our kingdom, as well as for exercising the high functions of our sovereignty. And just as He made the Captain of our salvation perfect by suffering, so He brings about our completeness or fitness by suffering also.

Wherein, then, consists our tribulation? In a word, it consists in bearing the cross. When our Lord said to the rich young ruler, "Come, follow Me," He also said, "Take up thy cross," and that is the law for all. What means this cross-bearing, then? It means suffering and self-denial. The most prominent feature in it for John and his congregations at the time of his writing was the persecution inflicted on them through the decree of Domitian, and from age to age there is an element of persecution in this crossbearing—not necessarily persecution the issue of which, as in John's day, frequently involved forfeiture of limb and life—but persecution in a real sense all the same. The offence of the cross has not ceased. The cross still galls. Those who bear it have still to suffer. The enemies of Christ, who are the enemies of His people, have in these latter days adopted more refined methods than their predecessors of embodying their enmity. They prick with pins when not with nails. They cut sufficiently deep, however, to cause their victims pain.

It were easier, one sometimes thinks, to bear the nails once for all than to bear the pins all through a lifetime. Our Lord had to bear both; His people nowadays have to bear only pins, but their trials are quite sufficient to bring home to them the truth that tribulation still constitutes the circumstances through which they have to live in order to obtain their crown. The talking down, the belittling, the social and ecclesiastical ostracism to which they are subjected make up for them a heavy cross—so heavy that were it not for the absolute sufficiency of the grace of their Master they could not endure at all.

But apart from the tribulation which includes the infliction upon them of positive, gratuitous pain—gratuitous, at least, as far as those who inflict it are concerned—there is the self-denial which they have to practise in relation to their work, whether in school, or office, or warehouse, or workshop ; in relation to the little things and great things of experience, whether in home, or church, or social circle. In every one of these connections suffering is their lot. They cannot do as others do. They have to bear worldly loss where laying down the cross would bring worldly gain. They have to bear "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune," because, at all costs, they must be faithful to their Master, and to the ideal of living set before them in His life and Gospel. A man is not long a Christian before he finds that throughout life—daily and hourly—he has to tread in the blood-stained footsteps of the Great Forerunner, and through much tribulation to enter into, and remain in possession of, his royalty in Jesus Christ. No Christian can escape trial in some form or other if he is to be faithful to his name and calling. The words of our Lord which He uttered when He said, " In this world ye shall have tribulation," are true for all time.

But the game is worth the candle. The kingdom is worth the sacrifice. And throughout all we are only being prepared for our royal heritage. Kings require a kingly training, and this our blessed Master is prescribing us. But we suffer in good company. Our tribulation, as well as our kingdom, is in Jesus, and Jesus is in the tribulation with us. We may have to walk in mud and mire, as the Egyptians have when they sow their seed in the track of the Nile, but very soon there comes an abundant harvest. "The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us." Though we bear pain to-day, we shall be crowned to-morrow with everlasting joy—yea, we rejoice even to-day, because we know what the fruit of tribulation in our experience will be.

O Cross, that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee
I lay in dust life's glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

Let us persevere, my readers. Not only is our Master's eye upon us to take pride in our endurance, but we are compassed about with a great cloud of witnesses, whose applause, if not heard by the ears of our bodies, is like the sound of many waters in the ears of our souls. And with one voice they assure us that the struggle is worth maintaining, for that " He is faithful that promised."

Finding, following, keeping, struggling,
Is He sure to bless?
Saints, apostles, prophets, martyrs,
Answer—"Yes."

This brings us to our last point—the condition and attitude of soul which we are to maintain in relation both to the prospect of the kingdom and to the circumstances in which that prospect is to be realized. It is here named patience. It means endurance and perseverance. It implies that we are not to surrender our kingdom because of the difficulties that beset our path to it, and of the self-denial necessary to our effectual persuit of it. Many are driven away from Christ and come short of their heritage on account of the tribulation which perseverance involves. They have not a due apprehension of the purpose of their trials, and they accordingly take these in a wrong spirit ; and so, instead of tribulation doing its perfect work in their case, there fall on them sourness and cynicism and spiritual paralysis and failure. Instead of the trial of their faith being found to praise and honour and glory, it worketh in them disappointment and dejection and despair. This is, I fear, because their faith is not a living one. Wherever there is true faith it will stand being tested; it will lead to endurance, and those who cherish it grow in strength and beauty by the very proof to which tribulation puts them. And only true faith becomes those who look forward to, and already, by believing, possess, an inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading! They will not with the profanity of Esau barter away their birthright for a morsel of meat, or for a barnful, for that matter. Concentration will be the keynote of their lives. They will attend to the one thing of pressing forward to their royalty in Christ Jesus, for they recognize, as Christina Rossetti has said, that "One high above them in the kingdom of heaven heads their pilgrim caravan," that He will give grace sufficient for their need, and strength proportionate to their day; until at length the last post is left behind, they mingle on the glassy sea with the multitude which no man can number, and they come into actual, conscious, undisputed, irrevocable possession of their kingdom, and royalty, and throne.

IV. THE SUPREME GROUND OF THE BELIEVER'S CONFIDENCE

There were two sides to the revelation of the risen, ascended Christ which was vouchsafed to John in his island prison. It was, on the one hand, a revelation of majesty. So overwhelmingly grand and awful was the vision that in presence thereof the seer instantly threw himself down at the feet of Him whose unearthly splendour had so suddenly burst upon the scene of His servant's tribulation. But, on the other hand, it was a revelation of condescension and sympathy, for the exalted Being, who had so unexpectedly unveiled His glory to the astonished eyes of John, drew near and touched him, at the same time addressing him in the terms upon which in this paper I wish to dwell.

It was not merely a touch, however, which the Lord extended. I seem to discover in the phrase which describes the outgoing of the Redeemer's hand the suggestion that His arm enbraced His beloved Apostle (as I have no doubt it did more than once in former days), as He spoke to him these inspiring words "Fear not; I am the First and the Last, and the Living One, and I was (or became) dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of death and of hades."

One may remark, even at this early stage, that the revelation of the glorified Christ, as it comes to His people by the Spirit, is always twofold. They behold Him in the incomparable power and dignity of His exalted life, and are so overcome by the vision that if there were nothing else to see they would remain for ever in a position of prostration and helplessness. But they behold Him also in His marvellous love and faithfulness, and so they take heart and look up. Indeed, as they continue to gaze, they find that His greatness, coupled with His lowliness and sympathy, constitutes the supreme ground of their confidence for this world and the next. They recognize that He is both able and willing to lift them above all circumstances that weigh them down; and instead of feeling crushed in His presence, they gain a buoyancy of spirit in the strength of which they can confront and conquer every foe.

John had been in fear—affrighted probably by the grandeur and suddenness of the sight which he saw, but in deep concern also for the safety and well-being of the Churches from which he was now separated, and much exercised in soul, moreover, regarding the possible effects of the fiery persecution inflicted by the Roman Emperor upon the fortunes of the great cause, for the furtherance of which he had been called to be an Apostle; and it was in order to remove his apprehensions and calm his troubled spirit that this mighty exhortation was poured into his ears.

To that point, however, we shall return. Meanwhile, let us proceed to consider the description of His own Person and history and prerogatives—a description which, though brief, overflows with meaning—which the glorified Saviour in these words set before John, and through John before us.

"I am the First and the Last." This designation goes back to Isaiah xlviii. 12, and to other portions of the Old Testament, where it is found as a title of the God of Israel; and its appearance in this passage implies the assumption by and the ascription to Jesus Christ of the name which belongs to Jehovah alone. But this is not the only place in the New Testament in which the same claim is advanced. When our Lord inquired of His disciples, "Whom do ye say that I am?" Peter, speaking for the company, replied, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," and Jesus at once accepted this declaration as true to fact. It accorded with the witness of His own consciousness to the Divinity of His Person and the eternity of His antecedents. When discussing this subject later with the Jews, He explicitly told them, "Before Abraham was, I am," thus virtually asserting that He existed before space and time. Other passages might be quoted which show how He either definitely claimed to be the Son of God in a sense in which none other was, or spoke and acted upon the conviction that He stood in a relation to the Highest which no creature sustained or dared to claim.

Worthy of special mention in this connection is the fact that He invariably accepted from all who offered it the worship which belongs to God alone. When John fell down to worship the angel, he was promptly told to desist, and to worship God. But the Lord Christ never forbade any one to worship Him. To accept the adoration due to God was quite natural for Him, and that could be only because of His own perfect identity with God. Those who came into the closest touch with Him recognized that His claim was just, and that is why they hailed Him as the only begotten of the Father.

What I have thus said is only a fraction of the proof that His life and qualities and powers belonged essentially to the sphere of Deity. But I have made this reference in order to emphasize the august truth that Jesus Christ was and is Divine in the sense of sharing to the full the substance and prerogatives of the Godhead. This is a truth which needs to be insisted upon anew in our own time, when doubts regarding our Lord's Deity are insinuated in quarters in which we might least expect it, by men, too, who profess to be His followers, and name themselves His representatives. We hold aloft this truth, not only because it is one of the deepest convictions of our souls that His words and works proclaim Him God, but also because we feel certain that none but a salvation wrought by God Himself directly could cope effectually with the sin and misery of man. There is no hope for the world now or in the future, we are sure, except in a God-executed redemption. The redemption of the Gospel was carried out by God, manifest in the flesh—otherwise it would not be sufficient to meet the spiritual needs of the race.

He is the First, then, existing as God before all worlds. There has been no moment in the great eternity behind us when He was not. He was and is the second Self, so to speak, of the All-Father, possessed of all the perfections of Divinity and all the attributes of Godhead. He is revealed in history as the Second Person of the Trinity, and in Scripture there is this further light cast for us upon His position in the realm of Godhead that He was and is the natural Mediator of the great "I am." By Him God created the worlds. He was and is the Arm of the Divine Nature stretched forth to call into being, and maintain in being, every creature which God has made. It was He who in the beginning made the heavens and the earth, and He created man in His own image—a fact which suggests that from the beginning man had such an affinity with Him as led to the work of the redemption of man devolving specially upon the Second Person. This consideration, I take it, is calculated to strengthen, if possible, the bonds by which His salvation has bound us to Him.

But He is not only the First, but also the Last. The meaning of this may be that just as He was Mediator in relation to beginnings, He is also Mediator in relation to endings. To Him at last will it fall to wind up the affairs of this universe, " when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God even the Father—when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power—for he must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet." But apart from this, may we not regard Him as the Last in the sense that for His glory all things are working together. All things, mark you Science, art, husbandry, industry, commerce, national life, religion are striving in combination, however unconsciously sometimes, to show forth His praise. And when I say religion, I mean not only the Religion which He Himself specially founded, which is the Absolute Religion, as we believe—the antitype and fulfilment of whatever is true in any or all religions—but other religions as well. In affirming this, one is not to be regarded as putting all religions on one level, or any other religion on the same level as Christianity. Far from it. But in the non-Christian religions it is undeniable that there are rays of light which could have come only from Him who is the Light of the world. Not one of these religions can fill the place of Christianity or be put side by side with Christianity, as if Christianity were only one of several religions amongst whom men may make a choice as it pleases them.

But under the influence of some, at least, of them it can hardly be questioned that men have exercised, and still do exercise, the same faith which Abraham exercised of old in Ur, or Cornelius at Cesarea—men who, although they have not yet heard the Gospel, see Christ's day dimly from afar, and who, whenever He is presented to them for their acceptance as Saviour and Lord, will turn their faces towards Him in trust as naturally as a flower turns towards the sun. In ancient days He was proclaimed as "the Desire of all nations," and in the light of these words he would be a bold man who would deny that there are in the world outside the Christian area those who seek Him, ignorantly it may be in large measure, but yet to His own view with genuine faith.

This seeking, if there be such, one may claim is for His glory even now, and will be for His greater glory hereafter.

They shall come from the east and from the west and from the north and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of heaven with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob." These words, one need not stop to argue, refer not to the final results of missionary effort, but to the merciful fact that outside the pale of special revelation there are, and have always been, men and women who live by faith and by faith are justified, all "to the praise of His glory, even the glory of His grace."

"The First and the Last and the Living One." He is the Living One—the One who is all life, who alone has life absolutely independent and underived. In Him was, and is, life, and from Him cometh life in all spheres, on all planes, and at all stages of development. Physical life, psychical life, spiritual life, eternal life, are all in His gift. In Him we live and move and have our being, whether or not we have laid hold of His salvation, and if we possess the life in abundance of which that salvation consisteth, it is from Him we have received it.

But He could not have bestowed the abundant life upon men in the same way in which life in other manifestations has been given. And we come now accordingly to His appearance upon the field of human history, as that is associated in our minds with the paradoxical statement, "I was (or became) dead." Is there anything more amazing of which the annals of time or of eternity speak as this that He who is the First and the Last and the Living One— He who was from all eternity, Who created and creates all things, inanimate or animate, non-intelligent or intelligent, the glory of whom the whole universe exists in order to display, and who is the alone Fountain, the inexhaustible Fountain of life—should become dead? It transcends all thought and conception in its very possibility, not to speak of its realization. But such is the fact—the indubitable fact—that in the fullness of the times, "for us men and for our salvation," He, who was the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of the Father's Person, became man and died upon the Cross. It is the greatest mystery, but also the greatest reality, ever presented to human or angelic thought.

There are those who say that because of the mysteriousness of the proceeding they cannot accept it. Fools, they. If a thing is to be rejected because of its mysteriousness, all things in heaven and earth will cease to have any reality for the human mind. We cannot understand in all its relationships even "the flower in the crannied wall." If the acceptance of a truth depended upon our fully understanding it, there is no truth which we could accept at all. The truth set forth here, no doubt, transcends reason, because it is a truth of infinite significance, but it is a truth which faith is capable of grasping, and the method of faith is the method which we must adopt if our souls are to find rest and satisfaction in relation to it. Once we have accepted it by faith, however, this mighty truth will fill us with greater wonder than before. The more closely we study it, and the more earnestly we apply it to our own moral and spiritual needs, the more completely overwhelmed we shall be with the greatness—the immeasurable, unsearchable greatness—of our salvation. Here we shall see the Divine Nature more gloriously revealed than anywhere else. Here we shall behold the Divine love for man more conspicuously set forth than in any other connection. For Christ became dead out of love for us, and in order to save us. Love was the motive, and salvation the purpose, of His dying.

If there is anything at all comparable in marvellousness with this transaction, it is the circumstances that rendered it necessary and the results which it has brought about. And yet these only serve to intensify our wonder at the transaction itself. Man had sinned. He had brought dishonour on his Maker and ruin upon himself by his disobedience. But through the atoning death of the Son of God the sin of man was taken away, an everlasting righteousness was provided for him, and the way was opened for God to construct out of humanity a temple in which He Himself might dwell, and, by dwelling in which, cause life in abundance to reach every man and woman who will receive it. Thus, "where sin abounded grace did much more abound; that as sin reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord." These are things which even angels desire to look into, and when they look into them they wonder at them, but our wonder ought to exceed that of the angels, and it does.

"And, behold, I am-alive for evermore." That word "behold" is significant. The Lord as much as says to John, "Look at Me, John. Don't you see that the signs and symbols of My resurrection life cover Me like a garment?" But His resurrection and resurrection life are not matters of mere appearance, but of history and of experience as well. He rose from the dead, as He foretold His disciples. No fact of history is better attested. It is as well authenticated as His crucifixion and death, the coming to pass of which nobody questions. There are here to be kept in view not only the empty tomb and the consequent confusion of the Jewish authorities, but the rally of the disciples, not one of whom expected his Master to rise, the fulfilment upon Pentecost of the promise concerning the Spirit, the establishment of His Church, and the history of that Church for well-nigh nineteen hundred years. Ex nihilo nihil fit, and the only adequate explanation of the events that led up to, and undoubtedly followed, the proclamation of Christ's resurrection is that that resurrection was all that His followers asserted it to be.

But the faith of centuries has put the matter to the proof, and to-day there are in the world millions who can bear witness with joy that they have felt the touch to which the heart of John thrilled, and know the power of the grace which the glorified Lord dispenses from His heavenly throne. It is said that Constantine, on the eve of his fateful battle with Maximilian, saw a flaming cross in the sky, surmounted
by the words " By this conquer." But the vision of Constantine, even if the tradition concerning it be genuine, revealed only half the truth. The Church has conquered by the Cross, but it is the Cross backed by and enshrining a dynamic which only a living Christ could bestow. And the whole truth is, "I became dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore." "Vincit veritas" ("Truth conquers"). And this being truth at its greatest and strongest, it has won its way among men, it continues to win its way, and will sooner or later embrace within the sweep of its potency all mankind from the rising to the setting of the sun.

"And I have the keys of Death and Hades." Of course! They hang at His girdle, because He triumphed. By death He overcame death. He spoiled the principalities and powers of darkness, and they are now under His jurisdiction. "He openeth and none shutteth, He shutteth and none openeth. O Death, where, where is thy sting! O Hades, where is thy power! Upon this considerations of space will not permit of my enlarging, and I must draw my paper to a close.

But before I conclude I wish to add that we are now in a position to appreciate the value of the initial words of this exhortation: "Fear not!" As I have already pointed out, John was afraid—afraid not for his own personal safety—he was too brave a man for that, lonely though he was, and exposed to danger—but afraid for the present circumstances and future prospects of that great cause of which he was one of the foremost champions. But he needs fear no longer. His Master was walking amid the seven golden candlesticks, and in His right hand were the seven stars. Or, to discard symbol, He was present in and with every congregation of His Church, and all the power of His right hand and arm was beneath and behind the leaders of His people. Nothing could befall them without His knowledge. And as of old, He sustained His people in the day of trial, so now He would perfect His power in the weakness of those who were passing through the scorching persecution imposed by a heathen emperor.

How gloriously true the great Head of the Church has been to His words the Church survived and still survives to testify. Why, then, should we be afraid? We are disposed to lose heart and give up the struggle in which we are engaged when we contemplate the number and strength of the adversaries arrayed in our time against the Lord and His anointed. But "greater is He who is with us than all who may be against us." He is the Everlasting One, and He is supreme. Though He worketh in the leisure of eternity and His purpose takes long in fulfilment, yet He is working in the serenity of omnipotence, and what He hath said He will do, what He hath promised He will make good. If this great and adorable Being submitted to the cross for our sakes, surely, now that He is alive for evermore, He will not leave us or forsake us. Be strong and of a good courage, O Christian! Here is One who controls and directs all the forces of nature, all the events of history, all movements of thought, all mainsprings of action, and He is thy Friend for ever and for ever. It is the goodwill of the Father to give thee the kingdom, and the Father's Other Self will take care that that goodwill is abundantly executed.


 


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