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BRIGHT EXPECTATION.

BRIGHT EXPECTATION.

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Published by glennpease

" Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which
the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day : and not to
me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." 2 TIM.
iv. 8.

" Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which
the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day : and not to
me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." 2 TIM.
iv. 8.

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Published by: glennpease on Feb 02, 2013
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BRIGHT EXPECTATION.
BY EDWARD GARBETT, M.A.," Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, whichthe Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day : and not tome only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." 2 TIM.iv. 8.HOW full of meaning is the word with which thistext begins " henceforth/' standing, as it does,between the past and the future, and uniting the ex-periences of the one with the hope of the other !" The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found inthe way of righteousness ; " and nothing can be con-ceived more touchingly beautiful than the state of asoul which has finished its course, and is waiting inassured expectation for the moment when it shall ex-change this scene of pain and toil for the full visionand perfected enjoyments of its everlasting home. Itis no wonder that such a soul should seem to catchbeforehand some rays of its coming glory, as it standsat the very gates of heaven, and does but wait for theangelic ministers to waft it gently into Abraham'sbosom. It appears at such a time as if the grosserelement of fallen human nature were purged away,and were succeeded by the foreshadowings of thatperfect regeneration which it will soon enjoy.Thus, in the natural world, the gorgeousness of theheavens seems to centre round the setting sun as ho344 THE SOUI/S LIFE.sinks in the west, surrounded with clouds of variedshape and hue, which reflect upon the eye his raysas he sinks upon ourselves to rise upon another hemi-sphere. What glowing colours ! 'what gorgeous raysof crimson, purple, and gold, radiate over the heavensat such an hour, with a glory which earth can butfaintly imitate !Thus, around the closing hours of the dying Chris-tian, as he retains enough of human sympathies toreflect the glory upon which he is entering, there aregathered all sweet, tender, noble hopes, which eventhe gospel of the incarnate God can throw over poorhuman nature. There is the retrospect of the pastwith its pains, and toils, and tears, softened in thereminiscence, like a landscape which retains to thetraveller's eye all its grace and beauty, while therougher lines of its separate parts are softened in thedistance. In such a retrospect, while the painful islost, the rich experiences of the Divine grace and
 
peace are still there, throwing their light into thefuture. Then is enjoyed that perfect love whichcasteth out fear, and that full assurance which doesnot leave one doubt to agitate the mind.And then there is the prospect of the future thefuture without a pang, without a trial, without adanger, without a fear. What, to such a soul, is theshuddering glance which nature casts at the deepwaters ? The saint sees beyond them the glisteningtowers of the heavenly Jerusalem, and the form of the Saviour whom he loves waiting to welcome himinto the eternal sunshine of Canaan's happy land.What to him are the coffin and the grave, and thestate of decay into which the perishing flesh willBRIGHT EXPECTATION. 345fall ? He knows that meanwhile he shall rest amidthe " spirits of the just," in happy communion andsweet foretaste of his completed redemption; andthat " though worms destroy this body/' in the self-same flesh he will see God, when quickened at thearchangel's trumpet he will spring into glorious lifeagain. What to him will be the alarms of the future judgment ? He is taught that his Saviour will behis Judge, and he knows by experience the tender-ness of that heart which beats within the breast of Jesus Christ, " the same yesterday, to-day, and forever." What to him will be the brief pang of dying ?That pang will unveil all the wondrous mysteries of the unseen world, and will be but the triumphantpathway along which he will enter into " the inherit-ance of the saints in light."Thus, the past and the future can throw their in-fluences around the closing hours of a Christian'slife, till they become the sweetest of human existencebelow, half earth and half heaven. Thus it was that" Paul the aged " felt, as he wrote this letter to hisson Timothy. What full assurance, what a tone of confidence and peacefulness is there in these words," I have fought a good fight, I have finished mycourse, I have kept the faith : henceforth there islaid up for me a crown of righteousness, which theLord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day :and not to me only, but unto all them also that lovehis appearing ! "The words describe,I. The reward.II. The Person rewarding.III. The persons rewarded.
 
346 THE SOUL'S LIFE.I. The reward. By the expression, " the crown of righteousness/' there can be no doubt that the apo-stle intended to denote the state of blessedness be-yond the grave, for which he was looking. But whyuse the name of an object to denote a state ? Weshall best answer this by observing the senses inwhich we ourselves use the word " crown."Sometimes we mean by it a final state, to which allthat has preceded is but the preparation. Thus, thelast of a series of acts we call a crowning act, or thecompletion of the whole. This sense we probablyderive from the use of a crown as the ornament of the head or highest part of man. Suppose a sup-pliant lying at the feet of a monarch, and lifting hiseyes from the ground to the person of the king. Hiseyes would be carried gradually upward, till they restat last upon the symbol of kingly dignity that decksthe head.In this sense, heaven may be regarded as the crown-ing state of the believer's life. For this state all hisprogress in grace, all his conquests over sin, all hissore strife, all his hopes and aspirations, will havebeen but the preparation. None can tell but theywho know it by a happy experience, what joy, whatrapture, what inward fruitions the believing heartpossesses even here on earth ! Place on the oneside all the pleasures of the world and of the senses,the greatest rewards of ambition, even the sweetestmoments of human love ; and place upon the otherthe hours when God has been clearly seen and sens-ibly felt those seasons of Divine love, during whichthe soul has reposed on the Saviour's breast, and hasbeen cradled in the everlasting arms above the fearsBRIGHT EXPECTATION. 347and wants of life ; and I say, that such hours willoutweigh in the balance all the joys of life besides.Yet these are but glimpses of the dawn of heaven ;but foretastes of what the soul will possess everlast-ingly above, when its bliss shall be crowned with the" fruition of the glorious Godhead/' and the pleasuresthat are at His right hand for evermore.All the soul's progress on earth is strictly its pre-paration for heaven the storing up, as it were, of the elements of eternal happiness. What heavenwill be we do not know as yet. All its sights andsounds, all its length and breadth and depth andheight of blessedness are not revealed, because we

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