« ElőzőTovább »
in Christ, that the glorified soul of the redeemed shall stand before it.
But still the wedding garment is not that righteousness imputed to us; it is Christ's righteousness imputed to us by which we are made like unto his glorious image in reality, and in truth to the very innermost of our nature. We have the wedding garment explained to us in the 61st chap. of the prophet Isaiah, where he thankfully exclaims, and with joy expresses not only the knowledge but the joyfulness of the soul that is clothed in this garment. “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God for he hath clothed me with the garment of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with jewels.” You will find in the margin decketh himself “as a priest," as a bridegroom putting on his priestly garments for glory and for beauty, and as the bride adorns herself; it is the same; it is the glorious clothing that belongs here to the bridegroom and the bride. I will rejoice in the Lord for he hath covered me with a robe such as the bridegroom wears, a robe such as the bride hath for ornament, and these are the garments of salvation and the robe of righteousness.
Now, what is salvation? It is not mere deliverance from hell; it is the perfection and the glory of our nature; it is the affection of our hearts, purified by grace and brightened into glory. What is righteousness? It is our whole nature being made right, every thing in its place, and every thing made glorious, beautiful, and holy; it is our whole nature made meet for the service of God,-meet for companionship with Christ. If we would know what all these are, let us look at them as
they are in our blessed Saviour; let us look at them with eves enlightened by the spirit of God, and with hearts renewed by the same blessed spirit. Let us look at him as he shows himself to us walking this earth—a dying life and a living death: walking this earth in meekness, lowliness of life, laying down his life for us, his hands full of bounty for all men, his heart full of love for the men for whom he died: His life is full of
compassion for the ungrateful, the rebellious,-his nights of prayer, -his days of labour,—his earnestness of love,—his endurance of suffering,—his bearing the contradiction of sinners,—the fullness of grace and blessedness in all respects, as he says, “ The spirit of the Lord God is upon me because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek, he hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to declare liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” Here is what he was, and here is what he is now—made glorious in heaven, and as he is, says the apostle, so are we in this world. If we be not made saints on earth, we never shall be saints in Heaven; if we be not made like Christ on earth, we never shall be like Christ in Heaven ; if we have not learned to lay down our lives for the brethren on earth, we shall never live with him who has laid down his life for us: not upon the cross merely, but from the manger of Bethlehem to the cross we must be, like him, “always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus Christ that the life of Jesus may be made manifest in our body, for we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh."
0, brethren, it becomes us to search our own hearts, to examine our lives, to demand of our souls, of our
whole being;-are we making a living reality of that which was a formal ceremony, at our baptism-are we made like unto our saviour Christ; in all things walking in this world as He walked ? It becomes us earnestly to ask ourselves; Are we really desirous of being like Jesus? are we earnestly desirous to sit down at the marriage supper of the Lamb, in that Holy City, new Jesusalem, that shall come down from God out of Heaven prepared as a bride adorned for her husband ?
If this be our hope then must we purify ourselves even as he is pure. If this be not our hope, and if this be not our aim, and if we are not able to say, “we do lay down our life for the brethren," then our only hope is condemnation; our only dwelling place is where our companionship can only be with the damned; we can have no choice but this : we must choose either Christ or Satan; we must choose the highest attainments in holiness, or sink down to the lowest depths of sin.
May the blessed spirit of God enable us to choose that good part which shall not be taken away from us, to remember the promise that is given to the meek, to the sinful, and to the erring, “ Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out,” remembering the offered strength and the offered grace that enables us to say “most gladly will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me because he hath said my grace is sufficient for thee, my strength is made perfect in weakness.'”
THE MYSTERIES OF THE KINGI)OM.
THE FIG TREE.
St. MATTHEW, xxiv., 32 to 34th V.-“ Now learn a parable of the fig tree : When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled.
The analogy between nature and grace is constantly brought before our minds in the Holy Scriptures. That we may learn from things visible the invisible things of God is the great principle on which he has constructed the whole of creation. The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon, is a similar analogy to what our blessed Saviour gives us here, desiring us to look to the fig tree as a parable, mystical teaching of how we may discern the signs of the times respecting his own ing, and the end of the world.
Amongst the visible things thus setting forth the character of God's dealings the Fig tree occupies a very prominent place in Scripture. It had a peculiar con