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Men ought to be the embodiments of learning, intelligence, wisdom. The husband should be the house-band, the pillar which the wife can rest upon and adorn. The husband should be the warp, and the wife the weft to form the weaving of a noble life. They walk in the light of these great truths, and they form happy homes.
The nations of them that are saved walk in the light of worship. They worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. They take the sacrament in the light of the Holy City. They hunger and thirst after righteousness. They yearn to eat the flesh of Divine Goodness, and drink the blood of Divine Wisdom. They desire the nature of the Lord to be imparted to them, that they may become like Him. He takes the stony heart of selfishness out of them, and gives them a heart of flesh
Thy nature, gracious Lord, impart,
Write Thy new name upon my heart,
They continue to walk in the light in all their daily life. They believe in doing. They believe that God's world was made to do right in. He who conducts his operations by doing justly is walking with Providence. In doing God's commandments there is great reward. The random clutches of a gambling spirit they are happy to miss. The greedy gains of burning anxiety they can well forego. They rejoice in the moderate results of doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with their God.
When the evening of life comes, they walk steadily on, with hope and faith as true companions. They have shade, but no darkness; for in the evening time there shall be light. "THERE IS NO NIGHT THERE.'
They walk on, and a beautiful light shines over the latter part of their journey. They sleep like weary children, but they never die. They waken in the blessed atmosphere of loving angels. Sweet faces bend over them; sweet voices whisper around them. It is like love speaking. They rise with a body no longer weak or weary, enfeebled by disease, but refreshed, released from the burden of the flesh, greater than ever, stronger than ever to do good and to be good. Faith has lighted them on. Love now welcomes them to the land of the blest. They still walk in the light of the CITY OF THE SAVED.
The nations of them that are saved will then have marched through the valley. They have bowed their heads and passed through the
portal: they rise in the inner and more glorious kingdom of their God. They live in higher light, blessed by a fuller love. They have come to the desired haven.
This city of the saved has one more great advantage, "The kings of earth do bring their glory and honour into it."
When the Gauls had entered Rome and penetrated into the senate in the early days, they are said to have been so struck with the wise majestic aspect of the venerable senators, that they were awed, and exclaimed, "These are all kings!"
The nations are united by love, but they are governed by truth. Truth as each man sees it is His king. The Lord has made all the inhabitants, kings and priests to His Divine Wisdom and His Divine Love to God and His Father (Rev. i. 6).
But these bring their glory and honour into the city. All the glory and honour, all the merit, all the praise are His, not theirs. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. He made them miniature images of Himself, and placed them in this His beautiful world, surrounding them with the tender care of loving parents. He gave them powers to penetrate and cultivate land and sea, to look up and around and survey innumerable suns and worlds, and say, "My Father made them all." He has given them His Word to build them up with angelic sentiments, ideas, and graces; faith that stands on the Rock of Ages; hope that glows with immortal youth, flashes with splendours of eternal brightness; and love that conjoins them with its loving Lord, and in its essence is a PRESENT HEAVEN.
These are their glory and their honour. They bring them into the city of the saved, and lay them before His throne, from whom they came.
What a grand thing it is to enter the city of the saved! Oh, that all the world would enter in! It has twelve gates, and they are all open. They are three on each side, the east, the west, the south, and the north (v. 12, 13).
Gates, especially gates which are open, are means of access into a city. They correspond to instructions or knowledges of Divine things. There are three, because they may all be grouped into three classesinstructions concerning LOVE or CHARITY, concerning FAITH, and also concerning GOOD WORKS. Each several gate is a pearl. kingdom of God is like unto a merchantman seeking goodly pearls."
When an earnest soul comes to understand that love as the Eternal Source of Being is the basis of all things, that GOD IS LOVE; that
heaven is LOVE as the ruling affection conjoining the soul to the soul to the Lord, and the heavenly-minded to each other; that the city of the saved is a golden city, because it is the church of men of Love, oh, the knowledge of LOVE is a pearly gate! "Above all things put on charity," or love, "which is the bond of perfectness" (Col. iii. 14). Blessed are they who do the commandments of the Lord: they enter through this gate into the city (Rev. xxii. 14).
The knowledge of FAITH is a pearly gate too. It gives confidence in whatever the soul sees to be true. FAITH in the Lord, faith in His Word, in His Providence, in His unceasing care for the lowest of His servants; faith in the right, in doing justly at all times, and under all circumstances; faith that the Divine sun is shining brightly above the temporary clouds of trial and adversity, and in due time will reappear; faith that glows and comforts in the hour of death,-this is a pearly gate.
The knowledge of GOOD WORKS is precious and lovely too. Every work is a good work which is done from love and faith, from the majesty of legislation to the labour of the artisan. Every stroke of the hammer, every haul of the rope, every act of real use, down to the lowest and the poorest, if done from love to God and charity to man, they say in the city of the saved is a good work.
These three classes of Divine knowledge are the three pearly gates. They are three on each side, meaning they are adequate or prepared for all the great classes of mankind. There are men of affection, always yearning for the Sun of the soul, to arise with healing in His beams, these are MEN OF THE EAST, there are three gates for them.
There are men of but little affection, they have wandered away from the tender states of childhood, they are MEN OF THE WEST. But when they turn and say, We will arise, and go to our Father, and say, We have sinned, and are no longer worthy to be called Thy children, make us Thy hired servants, there their three pearly gates open for them.
There are MEN OF THE SOUTH, where the sun shines in its greatest breadth, men of wide philosophical intellect, who delight in deep and subtle enquiries, there are three gates for them.
And there are MEN OF THE NORTH, of little intellectual attainment, who dwell mentally in regions of ignorance, where there is much of fog, of mist, and gloom and error. No matter how ignorant they are, when they turn round and seek the Lord, and mean to be right, there are three pearly gates for them.
And over each gate there is an angel. It is said in verse 12 in our translation, at the gates twelve angels, but it ought to be over the gates. The Church on earth, and the Church in heaven are united together, but the angels are over, that is, in interior states.
The Apostle Paul said to the Christians of his day, "Ye are come to the city of the Living God, THE HEAVENLY JERUSALEM, and to an innumerable company of angels." So is it still in the city of the saved-heaven and earth are joined together
"Now heaven and earth in union shall prove,
Deep truths of the gospel shall make mortals wise,
And join the Church here, with the Church in the skies.”
And, now, my beloved friends, my dear brother or sister, let us all ask ourselves, Have we entered the blessed refuge of our text, the city set upon a hill,- -THE CITY OF THE SAVED? Have we trodden on our serpent? Have we fought our good fight again and again? Have we come out of the desert? or the quagmires of the wilderness? If we have not, let us hasten in. If we have, let us in all things walk in the light of the city of God. If we succeed in thus walking, in thus moulding our character to the pattern of heaven, we shall realize our daily prayer, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, as in heaven, so also upon earth, and our ordinary state will be peace and blessedness. We shall have purifying trials and troubles it may be now and then, but many another soul will be encouraged to follow on and say, "We will go with you, for we have heard that Goð IS WITH YOU."
REMARKS ON THE HOLY SUPPER.
(From the Report of the President read to the Conference.)
I SENT out the President's Circular to twenty-nine ministers, and had replies from twenty-five, the remaining ones not being answered from the great age of the recipients, and their having no Societies.
Replies were also received from thirty-three licentiates and leaders. From the replies of both classes, it is evident that much faithful work is being done, and progress is being made, though by no means equal to our hopes, wishes, and prayers.
I would ask my brethren to forgive my drawing their attention to
the importance of replying promptly and precisely to the President's Circular, for the returns are intended to yield facts which may give rise to useful suggestions, and to hints which can scarcely fail to be valuable.
I had shaped the questions in reference to the numbers partaking of the Sacrament, so as to enable us to have correct information on that subject, and strive as much as possible to improve our practice in relation to it.
The questions are, What is the average attendance at the Sacrament of the Holy Supper? What your lowest number? What your highest?
Out of the sixty-two circulars, only twenty-five return precise answers to these simple and direct questions.
But from these twenty-five returns it is evident that the average is quite misleading as to the real condition of the Societies in their attention to this sacred ordinance.
Argyle Square will very well illustrate what I mean. Their average is 46. They have 12 celebrations, and their highest number is 94. Now, on this one occasion, more than twice the average number attended. Surely one-fourth who were not present on that occasion would be at some of the other eleven. Probably the true number would be more nearly obtained by adding one-fourth to their highest number, which would be 120, or thereabouts, out of 249 members. Take Camberwell. Their average is 32, but their highest is 36. Add one-fourth, and you have 45 out of 103 members. Our own number at Palace Gardens is on an average 66; twelve celebrations; the highest 82. Add one-fourth and you get about 100 out of 180 members. I have no doubt a larger number than that attend at some time during the year. Take Snodland.—The average is 28, the highest 34, and the addition of one-fourth would give 42 out of 57 members. The average, therefore, stated alone, is evidently inadequate to give a true idea of the diligence of our friends in availing themselves of that great help to our regenerate life, the Sacrament of the Holy Supper.
I would recommend, therefore, the addition of a column to the statistics on this subject, stating the whole number who partake in a year, either by adding one-fourth to the highest number, or in such other way as will most correctly give it.
In the future circulars of the President, it would be well to ask for the number of members, and then repeat the questions of the present circular, and one other asking about the entire number for the year.