God's People Delivered
WHEN the protection of human laws shall be
withdrawn from those who honor the law of God, there will be, in different lands, a
simultaneous movement for their destruction. As the time appointed in the decree draws
near, the people will conspire to root out the hated sect. It will be determined to strike
in one night a decisive blow, which shall utterly silence the voice of dissent and
The people of God--some in
prison cells, some hidden in solitary retreats in the forests and the mountains--still
plead for divine protection, while in every quarter companies of armed men, urged on by
hosts of evil angels, are preparing for the work of death. It is now, in the hour of
utmost extremity, that the God of Israel will interpose for the deliverance of His chosen.
Saith the Lord; "Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept;
and gladness of heart, as when one goeth . . . to come into the mountain of the Lord, to
the Mighty One of Israel. And the Lord shall cause His glorious voice to be heard, and
shall show the lighting down of His arm, with the indignation of His anger, and with the
flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones." Isaiah
With shouts of triumph,
jeering, and imprecation, throngs of evil men are about to rush upon their prey, when, lo,
dense blackness, deeper than the darkness of the night, falls upon the earth. Then a
rainbow, shining with the glory from the throne of God, spans the heavens and seems to
encircle each praying company. The angry multitudes are suddenly arrested. Their mocking
cries die away. The objects of their murderous rage are forgotten. With fearful
forebodings they gaze upon the symbol of God's covenant and long to be shielded from its
By the people of God a voice,
clear and melodious, is heard, saying, "Look up," and lifting their eyes to the
heavens, they behold the bow of promise. The black, angry clouds that covered the
firmament are parted, and like Stephen they look up steadfastly into heaven and see the
glory of God and the Son of man seated upon His throne. In His divine form they discern
the marks of His humiliation; and from His lips they hear the request presented before His
Father and the holy angels: "I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with
Me where I am." John 17:24. Again a voice, musical and triumphant, is heard, saying:
"They come! they come! holy, harmless, and undefiled. They have kept the word of My
patience; they shall walk among the angels;" and the pale, quivering lips of those
who have held fast their faith utter a shout of victory.
It is at midnight that God
manifests His power for the deliverance of His people. The sun appears, shining in its
strength. Signs and wonders follow in quick succession. The wicked look with terror and
amazement upon the scene, while the righteous behold with solemn joy the tokens of their
deliverance. Everything in nature seems turned out of its course. The streams cease to
flow. Dark, heavy clouds come up and clash against each other. In the midst of the angry
heavens is one clear space of indescribable glory, whence comes the voice of God like the
sound of many waters, saying: "It is done." Revelation 16:17.
That voice shakes the heavens
and the earth. There is a
mighty earthquake, "such as was not since men were upon the
earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great." Verses 17, 18. The firmament appears
to open and shut. The glory from the throne of God seems flashing through. The mountains
shake like a reed in the wind, and ragged rocks are scattered on every side. There is a
roar as of a coming tempest. The sea is lashed into fury. There is heard the shriek of a
hurricane like the voice of demons upon a mission of destruction. The whole earth heaves
and swells like the waves of the sea. Its surface is breaking up. Its very foundations
seem to be giving way. Mountain chains are sinking. Inhabited islands disappear. The
seaports that have become like Sodom for wickedness are swallowed up by the angry waters.
Babylon the great has come in remembrance before God, "to give unto her the cup of
the wine of the fierceness of His wrath." Great hailstones, every one "about the
weight of a talent," are doing their work of destruction. Verses 19, 21. The proudest
cities of the earth are laid low. The lordly palaces, upon which the world's great men
have lavished their wealth in order to glorify themselves, are crumbling to ruin before
their eyes. Prison walls are rent asunder, and God's people, who have been held in bondage
for their faith, are set free.
Graves are opened, and
"many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth. . . awake, some to everlasting
life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." Daniel 12:2. All who have died in
the faith of the third angel's message come forth from the tomb glorified, to hear God's
covenant of peace with those who have kept His law. "They also which pierced
Him" (Revelation 1:7), those that mocked and derided Christ's dying agonies, and the
most violent opposers of His truth and His people, are raised to behold Him in His glory
and to see the honor placed upon the loyal and obedient.
Thick clouds still cover the
sky; yet the sun now and then breaks through, appearing like the avenging eye of Jehovah.
Fierce lightnings leap from the heavens, enveloping the earth in a sheet of flame.
Above the terrific roar of thunder, voices, mysterious and awful, declare the doom of the
wicked. The words spoken are not comprehended by all; but they are distinctly understood
by the false teachers. Those who a little before were so reckless, so boastful and
defiant, so exultant in their cruelty to God's commandment-keeping people, are now
overwhelmed with consternation and shuddering in fear. Their wails are heard above the
sound of the elements. Demons acknowledge the deity of Christ and tremble before His
power, while men are supplicating for mercy and groveling in abject terror.
Said the prophets of old, as
they beheld in holy vision the day of God: "Howl ye; for the day of the Lord is at
hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty." Isaiah 13:6. "Enter
into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His
majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be
bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the Lord of
hosts shall be upon everyone that is proud and lofty, and upon everyone that is lifted up;
and he shall be brought low." "In that day a man shall cast the idols of his
silver, and the idols of his gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the
moles and to the bats; to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged
rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake
terribly the earth." Isaiah 2:10-12, 20, 21, margin.
Through a rift in the clouds
there beams a star whose brilliancy is increased fourfold in contrast with the darkness.
It speaks hope and joy to the faithful, but severity and wrath to the transgressors of
God's law. Those who have sacrificed all for Christ are now secure, hidden as in the
secret of the Lord's pavilion. They have been tested, and before the world and the
despisers of truth they have evinced their fidelity to Him
who died for them. A marvelous
change has come over those who have held fast their integrity in the very face of death.
They have been suddenly delivered from the dark and terrible tyranny of men transformed to
demons. Their faces, so lately pale, anxious, and haggard, are now aglow with wonder,
faith, and love. Their voices rise in triumphant song: "God is our refuge and
strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be
removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters
thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof."
While these words of holy
trust ascend to God, the clouds sweep back, and the starry heavens are seen, unspeakably
glorious in contrast with the black and angry firmament on either side. The glory of the
celestial city streams from the gates ajar. Then there appears against the sky a hand
holding two tables of stone folded together. Says the prophet: "The heavens shall
declare His righteousness: for God is judge Himself." Psalm 50:6. That holy law,
God's righteousness, that amid thunder and flame was proclaimed from Sinai as the guide of
life, is now revealed to men as the rule of judgment. The hand opens the tables, and there
are seen the precepts of the Decalogue, traced as with a pen of fire. The words are so
plain that all can read them. Memory is aroused, the darkness of superstition and heresy
is swept from every mind, and God's ten words, brief, comprehensive, and authoritative,
are presented to the view of all the inhabitants of the earth.
It is impossible to describe
the horror and despair of those who have trampled upon God's holy requirements. The Lord
gave them His law; they might have compared their characters with it and learned their
defects while there was yet opportunity for repentance and reform; but in order to secure
the favor of the world, they set aside its precepts and taught others to transgress. They
have endeavored to compel
God's people to profane His Sabbath. Now they are condemned by
that law which they have despised. With awful distinctness they see that they are without
excuse. They chose whom they would serve and worship. "Then shall ye return, and
discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that
serveth Him not." Malachi 3:18.
The enemies of God's law,
from the ministers down to the least among them, have a new conception of truth and duty.
Too late they see that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is the seal of the living
God. Too late they see the true nature of their spurious sabbath and the sandy foundation
upon which they have been building. They find that they have been fighting against God.
Religious teachers have led souls to perdition while professing to guide them to the gates
of Paradise. Not until the day of final accounts will it be known how great is the
responsibility of men in holy office and how terrible are the results of their
unfaithfulness. Only in eternity can we rightly estimate the loss of a single soul.
Fearful will be the doom of him to whom God shall say: Depart, thou wicked servant.
The voice of God is heard
from heaven, declaring the day and hour of Jesus' coming, and delivering the everlasting
covenant to His people. Like peals of loudest thunder His words roll through the earth.
The Israel of God stand listening, with their eyes fixed upward. Their countenances are
lighted up with His glory, and shine as did the face of Moses when he came down from
Sinai. The wicked cannot look upon them. And when the blessing is pronounced on those who
have honored God by keeping His Sabbath holy, there is a mighty shout of victory.
Soon there appears in the
east a small black cloud, about half the size of a man's hand. It is the cloud which
surrounds the Saviour and which seems in the distance to be shrouded in darkness. The
people of God know this to be the sign of the Son of man. In solemn silence they gaze upon
it as it
draws nearer the earth, becoming lighter and more glorious, until it is a great
white cloud, its base a glory like consuming fire, and above it the rainbow of the
covenant. Jesus rides forth as a mighty conqueror. Not now a "Man of Sorrows,"
to drink the bitter cup of shame and woe, He comes, victor in heaven and earth, to judge
the living and the dead. "Faithful and True," "in righteousness He doth
judge and make war." And "the armies which were in heaven" (Revelation
19:11, 14) follow Him. With anthems of celestial melody the holy angels, a vast,
unnumbered throng, attend Him on His way. The firmament seems filled with radiant
forms--"ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands." No human
pen can portray the scene; no mortal mind is adequate to conceive its splendor. "His
glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise. And His brightness was as
the light." Habakkuk 3:3,4. As the living cloud comes still nearer, every eye beholds
the Prince of life. No crown of thorns now mars that sacred head; but a diadem of glory
rests on His holy brow. His countenance outshines the dazzling brightness of the noonday
sun. "And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, King of kings, and
Lord of lords." Revelation 19:16.
Before His presence "all
faces are turned into paleness;" upon the rejecters of God's mercy falls the terror
of eternal despair. "The heart melteth, and the knees smite together, . . . and the
faces of them all gather blackness." Jeremiah 30:6; Nahum 2:10. The righteous cry
with trembling: "Who shall be able to stand?" The angels' song is hushed, and
there is a period of awful silence. Then the voice of Jesus is heard, saying: "My
grace is sufficient for you." The faces of the righteous are lighted up, and joy
fills every heart. And the angels strike a note higher and sing again as they draw still
nearer to the earth.
The King of kings descends
upon the cloud, wrapped in flaming fire. The heavens are rolled together as a scroll, the
earth trembles before Him, and every mountain and island
is moved out of its place.
"Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before Him, and
it shall be very tempestuous round about Him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and
to the earth, that He may judge His people." Psalm 50:3,4.
"And the kings of the
earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men,
and every bondman, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the
mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of
Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His
wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" Revelation 6:15-17.
The derisive jests have
ceased. Lying lips are hushed into silence. The clash of arms, the tumult of battle,
"with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood" (Isaiah 9:5), is stilled.
Nought now is heard but the voice of prayer and the sound of weeping and lamentation. The
cry bursts forth from lips so lately scoffing: "The great day of His wrath is come;
and who shall be able to stand?" The wicked pray to be buried beneath the rocks of
the mountains rather than meet the face of Him whom they have despised and rejected.
That voice which penetrates
the ear of the dead, they know. How often have its plaintive, tender tones called them to
repentance. How often has it been heard in the touching entreaties of a friend, a brother,
a Redeemer. To the rejecters of His grace no other could be so full of condemnation, so
burdened with denunciation, as that voice which has so long pleaded: "Turn ye, turn
ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?" Ezekiel 33:11. Oh, that it were to them
the voice of a stranger! Says Jesus: "I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched
out My hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all My counsel, and would none
of My reproof." Proverbs 1:24, 25. That voice awakens memories which they would fain
blot out--warnings despised, invitations refused, privileges slighted.
There are those who mocked
Christ in His humiliation. With thrilling power come to their minds the Sufferer's words,
when, adjured by the high priest, He solemnly declared: "Hereafter shall ye see the
Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."
Matthew 26:64. Now they behold Him in His glory, and they are yet to see Him sitting on
the right hand of power.
Those who derided His claim
to be the Son of God are speechless now. There is the haughty Herod who jeered at His
royal title and bade the mocking soldiers crown Him king. There are the very men who with
impious hands placed upon His form the purple robe, upon His sacred brow the thorny crown,
and in His unresisting hand the mimic scepter, and bowed before Him in blasphemous
mockery. The men who smote and spit upon the Prince of life now turn from His piercing
gaze and seek to flee from the overpowering glory of His presence. Those who drove the
nails through His hands and feet, the soldier who pierced His side, behold these marks
with terror and remorse.
With awful distinctness do
priests and rulers recall the events of Calvary. With shuddering horror they remember how,
wagging their heads in satanic exultation, they exclaimed: "He saved others; Himself
He cannot save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we
will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him."
Matthew 27:42, 43.
Vividly they recall the
Saviour's parable of the husbandmen who refused to render to their lord the fruit of the
vineyard, who abused his servants and slew his son. They remember, too, the sentence which
they themselves pronounced: The lord of the vineyard "will miserably destroy those
wicked men." In the sin and punishment of those unfaithful men the priests and elders
see their own course and their own just doom. And now there rises a cry of mortal agony.
Louder than the shout, "Crucify Him, crucify Him," which rang through the
streets of Jerusalem, swells the awful,
despairing wail, "He is the Son of God!
He is the true Messiah!" They seek to flee from the presence of the King of kings. In
the deep caverns of the earth, rent asunder by the warring of the elements, they vainly
attempt to hide.
In the lives of all who
reject truth there are moments when conscience awakens, when memory presents the torturing
recollection of a life of hypocrisy and the soul is harassed with vain regrets. But what
are these compared with the remorse of that day when "fear cometh as
desolation," when "destruction cometh as a whirlwind"! Proverbs 1:27. Those
who would have destroyed Christ and His faithful people now witness the glory which rests
upon them. In the midst of their terror they hear the voices of the saints in joyful
strains exclaiming: "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save
us." Isaiah 25:9.
Amid the reeling of the
earth, the flash of lightning, and the roar of thunder, the voice of the Son of God calls
forth the sleeping saints. He looks upon the graves of the righteous, then, raising His
hands to heaven, He cries: "Awake, awake, awake, ye that sleep in the dust, and
arise!" Throughout the length and breadth of the earth the dead shall hear that
voice, and they that hear shall live. And the whole earth shall ring with the tread of the
exceeding great army of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. From the prison house
of death they come, clothed with immortal glory, crying: "O death, where is thy
sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" 1 Corinthians 15:55. And the living righteous
and the risen saints unite their voices in a long, glad shout of victory.
All come forth from their
graves the same in stature as when they entered the tomb. Adam, who stands among the risen
throng, is of lofty height and majestic form, in stature but little below the Son of God.
He presents a marked contrast to the people of later generations; in this one respect is
shown the great degeneracy of the race. But all arise with the freshness and vigor of
eternal youth. In the beginning, man
was created in the likeness of God, not only in
character, but in form and feature. Sin defaced and almost obliterated the divine image;
but Christ came to restore that which had been lost. He will change our vile bodies and
fashion them like unto His glorious body. The mortal, corruptible form, devoid of
comeliness, once polluted with sin, becomes perfect, beautiful, and immortal. All
blemishes and deformities are left in the grave. Restored to the tree of life in the
long-lost Eden, the redeemed will "grow up" (Malachi 4:2) to the full stature of
the race in its primeval glory. The last lingering traces of the curse of sin will be
removed, and Christ's faithful ones will appear in "the beauty of the Lord our
God," in mind and soul and body reflecting the perfect image of their Lord. Oh,
wonderful redemption! long talked of, long hoped for, contemplated with eager
anticipation, but never fully understood.
The living righteous are
changed "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye." At the voice of God they were
glorified; now they are made immortal and with the risen saints are caught up to meet
their Lord in the air. Angels "gather together His elect from the four winds, from
one end of heaven to the other." Little children are borne by holy angels to their
mothers' arms. Friends long separated by death are united, nevermore to part, and with
songs of gladness ascend together to the City of God.
On each side of the cloudy
chariot are wings, and beneath it are living wheels; and as the chariot rolls upward, the
wheels cry, "Holy," and the wings, as they move, cry, "Holy," and the
retinue of angels cry, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty." And the redeemed
shout, "Alleluia!" as the chariot moves onward toward the New Jerusalem.
Before entering the City of
God, the Saviour bestows upon His followers the emblems of victory and invests them with
the insignia of their royal state. The glittering ranks are drawn up in the form of a
hollow square about their King, whose form rises in majesty high above saint and angel,
whose countenance beams upon them full of benignant love. Throughout the unnumbered
host of the redeemed every glance is fixed upon Him, every eye beholds His glory whose
"visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of
men." Upon the heads of the overcomers, Jesus with His own right hand places the
crown of glory. For each there is a crown, bearing his own "new name"
(Revelation 2:17), and the inscription, "Holiness to the Lord." In every hand
are placed the victor's palm and the shining harp. Then, as the commanding angels strike
the note, every hand sweeps the harp strings with skillful touch, awaking sweet music in
rich, melodious strains. Rapture unutterable thrills every heart, and each voice is raised
in grateful praise: "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own
blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and
dominion for ever and ever." Revelation 1:5, 6.
Before the ransomed throng is
the Holy City. Jesus opens wide the pearly gates, and the nations that have kept the truth
enter in. There they behold the Paradise of God, the home of Adam in his innocency. Then
that voice, richer than any music that ever fell on mortal ear, is heard, saying:
"Your conflict is ended." "Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the
kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."
Now is fulfilled the
Saviour's prayer for His disciples: "I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me,
be with Me where I am." "Faultless before the presence of His glory with
exceeding joy" (Jude 24), Christ presents to the Father the purchase of His blood,
declaring: "Here am I, and the children whom Thou hast given Me." "Those
that Thou gavest Me I have kept." Oh, the wonders of redeeming love! the rapture of
that hour when the infinite Father, looking upon the ransomed, shall behold His image,
sin's discord banished, its blight removed, and the human once more in harmony with the
With unutterable love, Jesus
welcomes His faithful ones to the joy of their Lord. The Saviour's joy is in seeing, in
the kingdom of glory, the souls that have been saved by His agony and humiliation. And the
redeemed will be sharers in His joy, as they behold, among the blessed, those who have
been won to Christ through their prayers, their labors, and their loving sacrifice. As
they gather about the great white throne, gladness unspeakable will fill their hearts,
when they behold those whom they have won for Christ, and see that one has gained others,
and these still others, all brought into the haven of rest, there to lay their crowns at
Jesus' feet and praise Him through the endless cycles of eternity.
As the ransomed ones are
welcomed to the City of God, there rings out upon the air an exultant cry of adoration.
The two Adams are about to meet. The Son of God is standing with outstretched arms to
receive the father of our race--the being whom He created, who sinned against his Maker,
and for whose sin the marks of the crucifixion are borne upon the Saviour's form. As Adam
discerns the prints of the cruel nails, he does not fall upon the bosom of his Lord, but
in humiliation casts himself at His feet, crying: "Worthy, worthy is the Lamb that
was slain!" Tenderly the Saviour lifts him up and bids him look once more upon the
Eden home from which he has so long been exiled.
After his expulsion from
Eden, Adam's life on earth was filled with sorrow. Every dying leaf, every victim of
sacrifice, every blight upon the fair face of nature, every stain upon man's purity, was a
fresh reminder of his sin. Terrible was the agony of remorse as he beheld iniquity
abounding, and, in answer to his warnings, met the reproaches cast upon himself as the
cause of sin. With patient humility he bore, for nearly a thousand years, the penalty of
transgression. Faithfully did he repent of his sin and trust in the merits of the promised
Saviour, and he died in the hope of a resurrection. The Son of God redeemed man's failure
and fall; and
now, through the work of the atonement, Adam is reinstated in his first
Transported with joy, he
beholds the trees that were once his delight--the very trees whose fruit he himself had
gathered in the days of his innocence and joy. He sees the vines that his own hands have
trained, the very flowers that he once loved to care for. His mind grasps the reality of
the scene; he comprehends that this is indeed Eden restored, more lovely now than when he
was banished from it. The Saviour leads him to the tree of life and plucks the glorious
fruit and bids him eat. He looks about him and beholds a multitude of his family redeemed,
standing in the Paradise of God. Then he casts his glittering crown at the feet of Jesus
and, falling upon His breast, embraces the Redeemer. He touches the golden harp, and the
vaults of heaven echo the triumphant song: "Worthy, worthy, worthy is the Lamb that
was slain, and lives again!" The family of Adam take up the strain and cast their
crowns at the Saviour's feet as they bow before Him in adoration.
This reunion is witnessed by
the angels who wept at the fall of Adam and rejoiced when Jesus, after His resurrection,
ascended to heaven, having opened the grave for all who should believe on His name. Now
they behold the work of redemption accomplished, and they unite their voices in the song
Upon the crystal sea before
the throne, that sea of glass as it were mingled with fire,--so resplendent is it with the
glory of God,--are gathered the company that have "gotten the victory over the beast,
and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name." With the
Lamb upon Mount Zion, "having the harps of God," they stand, the hundred and
forty and four thousand that were redeemed from among men; and there is heard, as the
sound of many waters, and as the sound of a great thunder, "the voice of harpers
harping with their harps." And they sing "a new
song" before the throne, a
song which no man can learn save the hundred and forty and four thousand. It is the song
of Moses and the Lamb--a song of deliverance. None but the hundred and forty-four thousand
can learn that song; for it is the song of their experience--an experience such as no
other company have ever had. "These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He
goeth." These, having been translated from the earth, from among the living, are
counted as "the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb." Revelation 15:2, 3;
14:1-5. "These are they which came out of great tribulation;" they have passed
through the time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation; they have endured
the anguish of the time of Jacob's trouble; they have stood without an intercessor through
the final outpouring of God's judgments. But they have been delivered, for they have
"washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." "In
their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault" before God.
"Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His
temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them." They have seen the
earth wasted with famine and pestilence, the sun having power to scorch men with great
heat, and they themselves have endured suffering, hunger, and thirst. But "they shall
hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any
heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead
them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their
eyes." Revelation 7:14-17.
In all ages the Saviour's
chosen have been educated and disciplined in the school of trial. They walked in narrow
paths on earth; they were purified in the furnace of affliction. For Jesus' sake they
endured opposition, hatred, calumny. They followed Him through conflicts sore; they
endured self-denial and experienced bitter disappointments. By their
experience they learned the evil of sin, its power, its guilt, its woe; and they look upon
it with abhorrence. A sense of the infinite sacrifice made for its cure humbles them in
their own sight and fills their hearts with gratitude and praise which those who have
never fallen cannot appreciate. They love much because they have been forgiven much.
Having been partakers of Christ's sufferings, they are fitted to be partakers with Him of
The heirs of God have come
from garrets, from hovels, from dungeons, from scaffolds, from mountains, from deserts,
from the caves of the earth, from the caverns of the sea. On earth they were
"destitute, afflicted, tormented." Millions went down to the grave loaded with
infamy because they steadfastly refused to yield to the deceptive claims of Satan. By
human tribunals they were adjudged the vilest of criminals. But now "God is judge
Himself." Psalm 50:6. Now the decisions of earth are reversed. "The rebuke of
His people shall He take away." Isaiah 25:8. "They shall call them, The holy
people, The redeemed of the Lord." He hath appointed "to give unto them beauty
for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of
heaviness." Isaiah 62:12; 61:3. They are no longer feeble, afflicted, scattered, and
oppressed. Henceforth they are to be ever with the Lord. They stand before the throne clad
in richer robes than the most honored of the earth have ever worn. They are crowned with
diadems more glorious than were ever placed upon the brow of earthly monarchs. The days of
pain and weeping are forever ended. The King of glory has wiped the tears from all faces;
every cause of grief has been removed. Amid the waving of palm branches they pour forth a
song of praise, clear, sweet, and harmonious; every voice takes up the strain, until the
anthem swells through the vaults of heaven: "Salvation to our God which sitteth upon
the throne, and unto the Lamb." And all the inhabitants of heaven respond in the
ascription: "Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and
thanksgiving, and honor, and
power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever." Revelation 7:10, 12.
In this life we can only
begin to understand the wonderful theme of redemption. With our finite comprehension we
may consider most earnestly the shame and the glory, the life and the death, the justice
and the mercy, that meet in the cross; yet with the utmost stretch of our mental powers we
fail to grasp its full significance. The length and the breadth, the depth and the height,
of redeeming love are but dimly comprehended. The plan of redemption will not be fully
understood, even when the ransomed see as they are seen and know as they are known; but
through the eternal ages new truth will continually unfold to the wondering and delighted
mind. Though the griefs and pains and temptations of earth are ended and the cause
removed, the people of God will ever have a distinct, intelligent knowledge of what their
salvation has cost.
The cross of Christ will be
the science and the song of the redeemed through all eternity. In Christ glorified they
will behold Christ crucified. Never will it be forgotten that He whose power created and
upheld the unnumbered worlds through the vast realms of space, the Beloved of God, the
Majesty of heaven, He whom cherub and shining seraph delighted to adore--humbled Himself
to uplift fallen man; that He bore the guilt and shame of sin, and the hiding of His
Father's face, till the woes of a lost world broke His heart and crushed out His life on
Calvary's cross. That the Maker of all worlds, the Arbiter of all destinies, should lay
aside His glory and humiliate Himself from love to man will ever excite the wonder and
adoration of the universe. As the nations of the saved look upon their Redeemer and behold
the eternal glory of the Father shining in His countenance; as they behold His throne,
which is from everlasting to everlasting, and know that His kingdom is to have no end,
they break forth in rapturous song: "Worthy, worthy is the Lamb
that was slain, and
hath redeemed us to God by His own most precious blood!"
The mystery of the cross
explains all other mysteries. In the light that streams from Calvary the attributes of God
which had filled us with fear and awe appear beautiful and attractive. Mercy, tenderness,
and parental love are seen to blend with holiness, justice, and power. While we behold the
majesty of His throne, high and lifted up, we see His character in its gracious
manifestations, and comprehend, as never before, the significance of that endearing title,
It will be seen that He who
is infinite in wisdom could devise no plan for our salvation except the sacrifice of His
Son. The compensation for this sacrifice is the joy of peopling the earth with ransomed
beings, holy, happy, and immortal. The result of the Saviour's conflict with the powers of
darkness is joy to the redeemed, redounding to the glory of God throughout eternity. And
such is the value of the soul that the Father is satisfied with the price paid; and Christ
Himself, beholding the fruits of His great sacrifice, is satisfied.