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“We write none other things unto you than what ye read and acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end; as also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus."
“ The day of the Lord Jesus” may be presumed to be the day of his coming to judge the world ; and on this day it appears that the Corinthians, whom the Apostle had been the instrument of converting to the faith of Christ, would be “his rejoicing,” or an occasion for his exultation and joy. Hence it should seem, that the Apostle in the day of judgment would have a consciousness of the salvation of such members of the Corinthian Church, as he had been the instrument of saving: and it may be deemed a probable supposition, that such consciousness would be accompanied by a personal recognition of the individuals, whose happiness was to be the cause of “his rejoicing.”
To the same effect it may be remarked on his language in the second chapter to the Philippians. “Do all things without murmurings and disputings; that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run
12 Cor. i. 13, 14.
in vain, neither labored in vain." i Of the salvation
' of some of the members of the Philippian Church, as of that of some of the Church at Corinth, the Apostle here anticipates the knowledge in “the day of Christ," as affording him an occasion of rejoicing: and thus that he would be brought to a personal recognition of them, the text may be thought to suggest the probability.
A similar conscious joyfulness is intimated concerning the Thessalonians in the last day, in the second chapter of his first epistle to that Church.
For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming ? For ye are our glory and joy."? And the intimation is attended by the same circumstance of probable personal recognition.
In a passage to the Colossians, this probability may be thought to rise a degree higher. At the end of his first chapter, speaking of Christ “in," or
among them, the hope of glory," he adds, “ whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: whereunto I also labor." S " The presenting of every man perfect in
" Christ Jesus,” of which the Apostle here speaks, seems to bring him into immediate personal connexion with every individual so to be " presented :” and, if the “presenting” is to be understood as taking
i Phil. ii, 14-16.
? 1 Thess. ii. 19, 20.
3 Col. i. 27-29.
place " in the day of Christ.” according to the phrase in the before-cited passages, it seems to indicate a personal recognition of the individuals, and a personal intercourse with them on the part of St. Paul, at the commencement of their future state of everlasting happiness.
From each of these passages separately, and still more from all taken together, we derive a very considerable probability, that St. Paul anticipated on the last day a personal knowledge of those on his part, and a personal re-union with them, with whom he had been connected in this life by the ties of pastoral offices and kind affection. That the recognition would be mutual, seems to be a matter of course. And it may, I apprehend, be further
, assumed, that the same faculty of recognition, which would exist at “the day of Christ," or at the commencement of the future state of existence, would be perpetuated during its continuance: and that a faculty, which should be allowed to St. Paul and to those with whom he was thus connected, would not be withholden from others, who had stood to each other in the same relation, or in other relations of mutual attachment and endearment whilst on earth.
There are two other passages in St. Paul's epistles, wherein, under a somewhat different form, the idea of personal recognition and re-union between former friends appears to be countenanced by the Apostle.
Speaking of himself in his relation to the Corinthians whom he is addressing, he thus writes in the fourth chapter of his second epistle. Knowing that he, which raised up the Lord Jesus, shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you."! And in the first chapter of his second epistle to the Thessalonians, he thus expresses himself: “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you ; and to you who are troubled, rest with us; when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels.” 2
Do not these expressions of the Apostle, wherein he speaks of himself as “presented by God with the Corinthians," at their resurrection by the Lord Jesus; and describes the Thessalonians as admitted to rest with him," at the period of the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven; intimate communion with them respectively at those seasons of presentation and rest ? Such communion' appears to be distinctly intimated. And the passages co-operate with those previously cited from St. Paul's epistle, and form altogether a strong body of evidence, to prove that the Apostle, in these his communications with his converts and disciples, took for granted the affirmative of the question, the scriptural announcments upon which are the present subject of our inquiry
1 2 Cor. iv. 14.
* 2 Thess. i. 6, 7.
THE CHRISTIAN PASTOR'S JOY IN HIS
FLOCK. 'Tis sweet to feel the waking consciousness
Of home-bred rapture in the pensive mind;
'Tis sweet to think, that those, whom God hath join'd With us in love, the like enjoyments bless : But still more sweet the joy our hearts confess,
To see ourselves by Providence design'd
To serve thy God, and see thy people share His service, led by thee: with them how bright
The joy to come, let holy Paul declare; A joy, a glory, and a crown of light,
Which kings might envy and exult to wear.
THE RECOGNITION OF EACH OTHER PROBABLE, FROM OUR
LORD'S LANGUAGE WITH REFERENCE TO THE DAY OF
An argument for the mutual recognition of the blessed has been derived in the preceding section from the language of St. Paul, relative to himself and his disciples at the day of judgment. With reference to the same day our blessed Lord, in his most impressive description of its occurrences, appears to intimate, that the righteous shall see and recognise those individuals, who had been the