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there was nothing in theirs but may be also in your own.
Only one thing there is in which we are unlike them : they were common in all things, except the uncommon measure of their inward sanctity. In all beside we are as they ; only it is now our turn to strive for the crown of life. And now, because our turn is come, we think some trial new and strange is come upon us; that God has changed His way, or sent us fewer graces and greater temptations.
Let each one search, then, and see what is his especial sin, danger, and trial. And let him remember, that already, long ago, many a like sinner or sufferer has been gathered into the rest of saints. They have overcome, each one, and one by one ; each in his turn, when the day came, and God called him to the trial. And so shall
Live, then, in this blessed fellowship. Ponder their examples and their lives : their infirmities, for your encouragement; their masteries, for
your humiliation. And now, how peaceful are they, and secure ; how full of rest and God. Make sure your lot in their inheritance in light. All around you, God is gathering out His own, making up the number of His elect. All around, the world is
ripening to the rankness of its corruption. The world is falling, because it is divided from God, and against itself; the Communion of Saints is rising heavenward, because it is united in conscious unity with itself and with its Head.
Before long, we too shall be without sin. The longest life, how short. The fairest earthly bliss, how poor. A few short years, and all will be over. Then there shall be no more sin and jar, no more infirmity and imperfections : then we shall have the power to taste of bliss, and to endure the taste.
Then cometh the end. O what a day, when the earth and the heavens shall give token of His coming. When you shall lift up your heads and say,
66 Is this the end of all? Is it come at last ?” O what an hour, when He shall come, and all His holy angels, and all the children of the kingdom : all who have loved, served, waited, suffered for Him : the first and the last, all in perfect sameness, recognition, bliss, and splendour; their raiment white and glistering, and their countenance as the sun shineth in his strength. 0 vision of majesty and beauty, when the holy city shall come down from God out of heaven, and a great voice shall say, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself
shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain : for the former things are passed away.
THE SEALING OF THE ELECT.
Rev. vii. 2, 3.
“And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the
seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads."
IX of the seven seals had been already opened
before the prophetic vision of St. John, and both heaven and earth were filled with the tokens of God's last judgment upon the world.
“There was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood ;” and voices went up from the earth in terror and great fear, saying “to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come ; and who shall be able to stand ? And
after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree :" that is, in vision, where time and space are not, St. John saw the whole face of the earth as it lies expanded before the eyes of God. the scourges of God gathered to the full, ready to burst upon mankind; and four angels, the ministers of the justice of God, holding back the powers of divine retribution for a time appointed. And afterwards he saw “another angel ascending from the east," the minister of God's grace and mercy—the harbinger of the day-spring, the
bright and morning star — having the seal of the living God,” that is, the power and commission to mark off, with a signet of salvation, the number of God's elect. “ And he cried with a loud voice,” laying a divine command upon the destroying angels, that they should stay their work till the elect should receive the seal of the living God. There was a suspense in heaven and earth until the work of grace should be accomplished. “ And I heard," writes St. John, “ the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand.”
In this majestic vision we have clearly revealed to us, not only some special action of the kingdom