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turally perfect man. He must be one whose outward professions and practices are consistent with the innermost beliefs, aspirations, and desires of his heart. There will be no hiding of the light which is in him, no suppression of the name of the God whom he serves and the Saviour whom he loves. The word which he believes he lives. Any witholding of utierance or profession weakens godliness unspeakably.
The things which are precious to us ought to be held forth in our lives, our whole speech and work ought to be redolent of them, our closest associations should be with those who share our love for them, our great life work is to make them known to our fellow-men. No secret disciples of Christ can attain to this stature, can grow nobler, stronger, more peaceful, as the life sweeps on towards the bourne of death. It is the public habit of the life which gives boldness-calm, unwavering confidence—in that hour. Mark the perfect man—the man whose outer and inner life are welded into one-the end of that man is peace; peace, with a glow of glory round it, which marks the end of the earthly, the beginning of the heavenly, life. The sun which leaves a fading glory behind it here has risen and shines on superior worlds.
II. Having thus considered the Scriptural idea of the perfect and upright man, we will now study, though it must be briefly, what is prophesied of his end.
The end of that man is peace !
What is peace, and what are its conditions ? It is surely not “the ignorance which is bliss ;" the veiling of a fact which, if it crossed us, would startle and scare us ; the hiding of the skeleton which they tell us is shut up in the secret chambers of
every life. No man is at peace with God, or with himself, who is afraid to look all round him ; who cannot contemplate all that is actual and all that is possible, with serene assurance
that they are all in the hand of One who is able and willing to make them work together for his good. A man sleeping on the edge of a lava flood is quiet enough ; a drunkard afloat upon a rapid, fascinated by the deep music of the waters which are sweeping him on to his doom, is something more than quiet, he may even sing and shout in a wild delirium of joy, but the reality will disenchant him, and soon. But "peace" is of far other complexion, and issues from far deeper springs. Two conditions, at any rate, are essential to it, certainty and hope. A man must know where he is and whither he is tending, and have a free, clear hope about the future, if he is to be at peace. And death is the trial of the certainty and the hope, it is the hour when the soul cries out for certainties, and strains on through the gloom for a vision of the reality beyond.
“Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright," when the last hour draws near, sustained as none but he can be sustained by certainty. and inspired as none but he can be inspired by hope. For
1. He knows whom he has believed, and is persuaded that He is able to keep that which he has committed unto Him until that day.
His whole life has been the knowing Him, and when the last hour comes he has the whole experience of life to fall back
upon. His whole life has been a trusting of that which is most precious to the Saviour; he will not faint when he has to receive the deposit, and possess it through eternity. “ Eighty and six years," said the old confessor, when they moved him to deny his Saviour, that they might save him from a terrible death, “ eighty and six years have I served him, and he has never done me anything but good, and shall I deny
Lord and Saviour ? Lead on.” What can shake the man who knows that the angel of death is the minister of
him now, my
the Saviour, and that as the shadow deepens he is being drawn closer to the embrace of His love. No wonder that such a man remains calm and steadfast when all around are trembling and sobbing; no wonder that he can sustain and animate them, himself sustained and animated by Christ. Such calm assurance as he has that to die is to be with Christ, which is far better, a thousand grisly shapes of terror, with hell to back them, could not weaken, far less destroy. “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of" righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. . At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me : I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear : and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom : to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (2 Timothy, iv, 6–8, 16-18.) “ For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven : if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do
groan, being burdened : not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (for we walk by faith, not by sight :)
we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.” 2 Cor. v, 149.)
2. He knows to what he is passing-to a world which is brighter, a bliss which is deeper, than even his most vivid dreams. His life, remember, has been a longing-—"even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body.” He knows that groaning well-life has been one long struggle, one cry for deliverance, redemption, glory. Death is the one pathway to the end. He has long known it, and death has long been for him abolished by the vision of the glory that is beyond. To him it is not the outer gate of life, but the inner gate of heaven, the gate of its innermost and holiest joy. As earth fades, the vision brightens. “There ! there!" I have
" heard them say as the vision of something beyond our sight flashed before their dying gaze; I have seen the eye kindle and the cheek flush with a strange exultation, and heard words of triumph murmur on their lips before they grew cold and rigid in death ; and I have fancied that if we could but catch one gleam of what the Lord was showing them in that hour we should understand, as no words can make us understand, what the Psalmist meant when he said, “ Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace."
Oh, could we die with those that die,
And place us in their stead,
And converse with the dead.
“How we should scorn these clothes of flesh,
These fetters, and this load;
That we might rest with God.”
3. The rest-and a man has other cares at such hours-he leaves. He believes in the Fatherhood of God. To him the words have an infinite meaning, and he builds on them in confidence, not for himself only, but for all that he holds dear. To be able, not nominally, but really and believingly, to trust the dear ones whom he can tend no longer to that fatherly love is an infinite solace; to be able to cast the care on Him who he knows will care-care with a tenderness of which earth has no measures—is peace, the peace of God in the contemplation of the future of our beloved. What mad provisions men make for their dear ones! What accumulated hoards, what careful dispositions ! In a year the lawyers have got it all, and there is left to the children nothing but a legacy of bitterness and hate. But to leave them to God, to be their guide as he has been ours- -“ Father, I leave them in thy hand, for they are thine,” this is peace, this is certainty, this is hope of a blessed reunion, in a home which shall be broken up no more by death.
“MARK THE PERFECT MAN UPRIGHT, FOR THE END OF THAT MAN IS PEACE.”
" Jerusalem! my glorious home!
Name ever dear to me!
In joy, and peace, and thee?