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The Triple Rays Which Make the White Light of Heaven

The Triple Rays Which Make the White Light of Heaven

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Published by glennpease
BY ALEXANDER MACLAREN



* . . . His servants shall serve Him : 4 And they shall see Hla faoe ; and Hla name
shall be in their foreheads.'— Rev. xxii. 3, 4.
BY ALEXANDER MACLAREN



* . . . His servants shall serve Him : 4 And they shall see Hla faoe ; and Hla name
shall be in their foreheads.'— Rev. xxii. 3, 4.

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Published by: glennpease on May 15, 2014
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THE TRIPLE RAYS WHICH MAKE THE WHITE LIGHT OF HEAVE
BY ALEXADER MACLARE
* . . . His servants shall serve Him : 4 And they shall see Hla faoe ; and Hla name shall be in their foreheads.'— Rev. xxii. 3, 4. One may well shrink from taking words like these for a text. Their lofty music will necessarily make all words of ours seem thin and poor. The great things about which they are concerned are so high above us, and known to us by so few channels, that usually he who says least speaks most wisely about them. And yet it cannot be but wholesome if in a reverent spirit of no vain curiosity, we do try to lay upon our hearts the impressions of the great, though they be dim, truths which gleam from these words. I know that to talk about a future life is often a most sentimental, vague, unpractical form of religious contemplation, but there is no reason at all why it should be so. I wish to try now very simply to bring out the large force and wonderful meaning of the words which I have ventured to read. They give us three elements of the perfect state of man — Service, Contemplation, Likeness. These three are perfect and unbroken. I. The first element, then, in the perfect state of man is perfect activity in the service of God. ow the words of our text are remarkable in that the two expressions for ' servant ' and ' serve ' are not related to one another in the Greek, as they are in the English, but are two quite independent words ; the former meaning literally ' a slave,' and the latter being exclu- sively confined in Scripture to one kind of service. It would never be employed for any service that a man did for a man ; it is exclusively a religious word, and 870 vs. 3, 4] WHITE LIGHT OF HEAVE 371 means only the service that men do for God, whether
 
in specific acts of so-called worship or in the wider worship of daily life. So that if we have not here the notion of priesthood, we have one very closely approxi- mating towards it ; and the representation is that the activity of the redeemed and perfected man, in the highest ideal condition of humanity, is an activity which is all worship, and is directed to the revealed God in Christ. That, then, is the first thought that we have to look at. ow it seems to me to be a very touching confes- sion of the weariness and unsatisfactoriness of life in general that the dream of the future which has unquestionably the most fascination for most men, is that which speaks of it as Rest. The religion which has the largest number of adherents in the world — the religion of the Buddhists — formally declares existence to be evil, and preaches as the highest attainable good, something which is scarcely distinguishable from annihilation. And even though we do not go so far as that, what a testimony it is of burdened hearts and mournful lives, and work too great for the feeble limits of our powers, that the most natural thought of a blessed future is as rest ! It is easy to laugh at people for singing hymns about sitting upon green and fiowery mounts, and counting up the labours of their feet : but oh ! it is a tragical thought that whatsoever shape a life has taken, howsoever full of joy and sun- shine and brightness it may be, deep down in the man there is such an experience as that the one thing he wants is repose and to get rid of all the trouble and toil. ow this representation of my text is by no means contradictory, but it is complementary, of that other 372 REVELATIO [ch. xxii. one. The deepest rest and the highest activity coincide. They do so in God who 'worketh hitherto' in undis- turbed tranquillity ; they may do so in us. The wheel that goes round in swiftest rotation seems to be stand- ing still. Work at its intensest, which is pleasurable work, and level to the capacity of the doer, is the truest form of rest. In vacuity there are stings and
 
torment; it is only in joyous activity which is not pushed to the extent of strain and unwelcome effort that the true rest of man is to be found. And the two verses in this Book of Revelation about this matter, which look at first sight to be opposed to each other, are like the two sides of a sphere, which unite and make the perfect whole. * They rest from their labours.' ' They rest not, day nor night.' From their labours — yes; from toil disproportioned to faculty — yes ! from unwelcome work — yes ! from distraction and sorrow — yes ! But from glad praise and vigorous service — never ! day nor night. And so with the full apprehension of the sweetness and blessedness of the tranquil Heaven, we say : It is found only there, where His servants serve Him. Thus the first thought that is presented here is that of an activity delivered from all that makes toil on earth burdensome and unwelcome ; and which, therefore, is coincident with the deepest and most perfect repose. It may seem strange to think of a blessed life which has no effort in it, for effort is the very salt and spice of life here below, and one can scarcely fancy the perfect happiness of a spirit which never has the glow of warmth that comes from exercise in overcoming difficulties. But perhaps effort and antagonism and strain and trial have done their work on us when they have moulded our characters, and when * school is over vs. 3, 4] WHITE LIGHT OF HEAVE 873 we burn the rod'; and the discipline of joy may evolve nobler graces of character than ever the discipline of sorrow did. At all events, we have to think of work which also is repose, and of service in which is unbroken tranquillity. Then there is further involved in this first idea, the notion of an outer world, on which and in which to work; and also the notion of the resurrection of the body, in which the active spirit may abide, and through which it may work. Perhaps it may be that they who sleep in Jesus, in

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