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Holy Spirit, that we may estimate them aright, and be duly affected by the survey.
It is a solemn and important question, “For what end has this marvellous existence been given to us?"
Eternity alone can fully reply to this question.
A being of man's capacity, who had never visited this world, could never have conceived or supposed the variety of human life ---Occupations----Ways which exist,--the variety of life and organization, animate and inanimate, comprised upon the surface of this terrestrial ball,--and eternity alone can discover to us all the secrets of “the world to come of which we speak," in which we shall be called to share an interest.
We “know” but “ in part,” and respecting the futurity of man, Paul and John were enabled to "prophesy” but “in part,” (1 Cor. xi.)
Moreover, with our present powers it seems we could not fully comprehend the glories of that future state, where we shall merge into a larger and far higher mode of existence. “The light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound," Isaiah xxx. 26; 1x.
Great and glorious as is the blessed light con
version brings to “the people which sat in darkness,” yet greater measures of light remain. “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day,” Prov. iv. 18; and as (in reason) we cannot but expect to receive constant additions to our “knowledge of the glory of God," in the exalted companionship and intercourse we shall as a “family” (Eph. iii. 15) enjoy in heaven with “ thrones, and dominions, and principalities, and powers, and even above all, as it is written, with the Almighty Redeemer himself, our willing instructor, (Rev. vii. 17,) it follows that the arc of the glory of the righteous, has hereafter no conceivable zenith.
We see it rising and rising, until the flooding glories of eternity hide its still upward course, even from our faintest conceptions.
With all, however, that concerns us to know in this time state, we are graciously made acquainted. Our chief end, both is and ever will be, to glorify God in our bodies and in our spirits which are his, (1 Cor. vi. 20;) to render unto him “glory, and honour, and power,” since we were created for his pleasure, (Rev. iv. 11;) and if we be renewed in soul, “the love of Christ constraineth us” so to do, “because we thus judge, that it one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again,” 2 Cor. v. 14, 15.
It cannot be necessary to inform the Christian that we are to live for others; we know who commanded, " Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself," Matt. xix. 19.
Religion is unselfishness itself, for “the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but TO MINISTER, and to GIVE his life a ransom for many,” Matt. xx. 28.
Again, it is our blessed privilege that "the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God," Rom. viii. 16, but no man ever retained that witnessing Spirit and selfishness. He could as possibly retain light and darkness. Such as have tried know well the result.
Bearing these axioms in mind, we remark further, that in the preceding pages it is clearly proved a great work is before the Church-a work of intense importance. In London, at our very doors, the Church of Christ is surrounded by vast and godless masses, who, considering their religious privileges, can only be regarded as living, if possible, in worse than heathen darkness.
Here is a work indeed.
It becomes, then, an important topic for selfexamination to every Christian, " What am I doing towards removing this darkness ? ” If the reply of any heart should be, "I am making no effort," other questions such as these must be proposed :“What respect then am I paying to the command of God the Redeemer?” And again-“If I be paying no respect to his commands, can I be his disciple ?" The reply is obvious. Such Christianity is not even a shadow of the original, for a shadow has resemblance. It will neither comfort in life, nor support in death, nor bear the test of the coming day of judgment.
The plea also cannot be inability-all can do something, by
3. Pecuniary Contribution. One or more, or all of these all can give. 1. Give Prayer.
May the blessed Lord forgive us, we are in great danger of undervaluing prayer, and in so doing, how shamefully do we sin against light and knowledge, for no Christian exists who has not felt and known the power of prayer! It is a most blessed thing for the City Mission to know that its operations are supported by the prayers of many pious people. This thought has comforted my mind in the midst of trying labours, more perhaps than I can express. But I verily believe we are entitled to much addi
tional prayer from the churches and congregations of the faithful--both public and private prayer.
When," says an eminent writer, “the real root of the successful efforts of Christians comes to be dissected, it will I doubt not be found to have been closely connected with the fervent wrestling and persevering importunity of many a retired Christian, who might be but very little known to his fellow Christians. We little realize yet the reality, power, and the fulness of the promises made to prayer."
The Word of God, however, is replete with such promises, and, moreover, with the records of their fulfilment. We know who taught that “men ought always to pray," and not to weary of that duty and privilege, (Luke xviii.) Referring also to these latter days is the command given, “ Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain ; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain,” Zech. x. 1. And, [we speak with awe and reverence,] when God the Father promised the world to the Lord Jesus, it was made conditional [for our instruction] on prayer, of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession," Psa. ii. 8; and whilst on earth, how constantly did our blessed Redeemer pray for mankind, and now in heaven he ever