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the second lesson of this morning, "to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephtha, and of Samuel, and of the prophets." These had been sealed; their dispensation had been closed; and he may record their blessedness for our examples. But he says nothing of S. James, nothing of S. Stephen, nothing of the martyrs of the new dispensation, of whom, notwithstanding he must have had a sure hope that they had passed to their reward. And the reason is this: their dispensation, which is the same as ours, is not yet closed; yet their sentence, like ours, is as yet in darkness. But we have ample warning that of two who are in one house, though that house be the Church of the living GOD,-of those who are working in one field, though that be the field of GOD's husbandry,-one will be taken, and the other left.

We are told that the net of CHRIST's Church encloses bad as well as good; we are told that the field of God's new creation, produces tares as well as wheat; we are told that the flock of CHRIST's own herding contains goats as well as sheep; we are warned that, among the very Apostles, there was one who was a devil, one whom his own Master and Chooser had called the son of perdition; we fear that among the Deacons there was one who was a heretic, one concerning whose doctrine his own LORD has pronounced His hatred.1 And in the epistle for this day, though the mystical and complete number of twelve is still kept up among the tribes that are sealed, showing that the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of GOD shall never fail,-yet we search in vain among them for Dan, the type of heresy, and for

1 It is due to the memory of Nicolas, the deacon, to say, that Eusebius, who records the popular belief in his time (about 320) that Nicolas was either intentionally or innocently the origin of the sect denounced in the Revelation as Nicolaitans, expresses his own disbelief of the fact.

Ephraim, the type of schism; for him who is an adder in the path, that biteth the horses' heels; or for him who, having gone to his idols, is emphatically "let alone."1 "All are not Israel which are of Israel," says S. Paul, neither, because they are the seed of Abraham are they all chosen. So it shall be in the Church of CHRIST now on earth.'


But if this be really the case,-if it be possible that the very regenerate, that those whom CHRIST has chosen to be members of Himself, should fall away, should lose the final sealing, should come short of the glory of God, it behoves us to search and inquire very diligently who those are who shall finally be preserved in the Communion of Saints, and who those are that shall be cast out. We can do this: for though it is not with us as with those of the completed dispensation,-although we can pronounce with certainty on the salvation of no individual whatever since the foundation of the Christian Church,2-yet there is a very sure intimation given, not only by example and type, such as we find in the second

1 In this interpretation the author has followed Williams (Apocalypse). There is however no intimation in the Bible, as in the case of Dan, that Ephraim was left out at the final sealing, and it may be that the name of Joseph is substituted for that of Ephraim, merely because Joseph was represented by the powerful though seditious tribe which descended from his youngest son, and not to signify God's abhorrence of his schismatical history.

2 The case of the penitent thief does not come within this category, for he died before the foundation of the Christian Church, i.e. before the day of Pentecost. That of S. Paul, who says to Timothy shortly before his martyrdom, "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the LORD, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day," is the nearest approach to revelation on this subject which we have; but it amounts to no more than a sure hope even in this case, for he adds, "and not to me only, but unto all them also who love His appearing."

morning lesson, but by actual, direct revelation from GOD, of the classes who are set forth to us as the sheep and goats respectively of our LORD's Christian flock, and of the earthly part of their life. There is no reward held out to them in the present world of such things as men would term reward; but a reward they have. There is no reason why we should take the temporal promises held out to them in a figurative sense; for they have a reward even in this life, though the worldly cannot see it : it is "the peace of GOD which passeth all understanding;" it is the satisfaction which the consciousness of GOD's continual protection, and the remembrance of faithful service, and the sure hope of eternal life, cannot fail to throw over the darkest scenes of this present world. And so our LORD declares distinctly: "No man," He says, "who hath left house, or brethren, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My sake and the Gospel's, but shall receive a hundred fold in this present time." Verily they do not miss their reward, even on earth. But it is spiritual, not temporal, prosperity that He is speaking of; for, lest we should mistake Him, He adds the words, "with persecutions."

And this our morning lesson explains fully. It says boldly, "The souls of the righteous are in the hand of GOD, and there shall no torment touch them." And this in the very face of all those examples of suffering saints whom we have read of in the second lesson. And it says true; for it takes the same view of the case which the LORD had taken. It was the case as respects the future as well as the present aspect of it; the faith and the hope, as well as the fruition. "In the sight of the unwise -that is to say, of those who had not been enlightened by revelation-they seemed to die, and their departure to be taken for misery, and their going from us to be

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utter destruction." It admits that; yet it says, "They are at peace; for though they be punished in the sight of men, yet is their hope full of immortality, and having been a little chastened,1 they shall be greatly rewarded; for GOD proved them, and found them worthy of Himself.” There will be a time when we shall see all this; and not only we, but all the world; for there will be a time when the prophecy of Isaiah shall receive its full, as it has already received its partial, accomplishment; when "the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. FOR THE MOUTH OF THE LORD HATH SPOKEN IT."

Then, says the first evening Lesson, “then, in that day, shall the righteous man stand in great boldness before the face of such as have afflicted him, and made no account of his labours; when they see it they shall be troubled with terrible fear, and shall be amazed at the strangeness of his salvation so far beyond all that they looked for; and they, repenting and groaning for anguish of spirit, shall say within themselves, This was he whom we had sometime in derision, and a proverb of reproach; we fools counted his life madness, and his end to be without honour. How is he numbered among the children of GOD, and his lot is among the saints! Therefore have we erred from the way of truth, and the light of righteousness hath not shined to us."

This is the way the Church, following upon the word of GOD, reckons up the happiness of man. The Heathen, moralising on the vicissitudes of life, could say, "Count no man good or happy till you have seen his death." The Christian can go beyond this; he can look into the darkness of the future world, and can add, Call no man

1 This we must take in its literal sense, "made chaste, or pure," as in the text, "whom the LORD loveth He chasteneth."

happy till you have heard his judgment.1 "Wonder not," says Chrysostom, speaking of the Beatitudes, which are the subject of this day's Gospel, "wonder not if you do not hear the kingdom of heaven mentioned under each Beatitude; for in saying, shall be comforted,' 'shall find mercy,' and the rest, in all these the kingdom of heaven is tacitly understood, so that you must not look for any of the things of sense; for, indeed, he would not be blessed who was to be crowned with such things as depart with this present life."

And this brings us to the practical Lesson of the day, This is a favourite maxim among the heathen writers. Sophocles mentions it twice: first, with respect to real worth:

Λόγος μέν ἐστ ̓ ἀρχαῖος ἀνθρώπων φανεὶς

Ὡς οὐκ ἂν αἰῶν ̓ ἐκμάθοι βροτῶν τῷ, πρὶν ἂν

Θάνοι TIS, οὔτ ̓ εἰ χρηστὸς οὔτ ̓ εἰ κακὸς.

And again, with respect to happiness:

μηδέν ̓ ὀλβίζειν πρὶν ἂν

Soph. Trach.

Τέρμα τοῦ βίου περάσῃ μηδὲν ἀλγεινὸν παθών.

Soph. Ed. Tyr.

Again, Dionysius refers to it in a semi-Christian manner, with the addition of a blessed death implied by the word e₺ :·

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Probably the reason why this idea occurs in so many authors is, that there must have been a proverb to that effect, to which these passages are in fact references; indeed so much is implied by Sophocles in the first quotation; and a very natural proverb it is for a heathen; but there is nothing that will give the "member of CHRIST" So vivid a picture of his own blessedness here on earth, as a comparison of these passages with the third and fourth chapters of the Wisdom of Solomon.

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