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The Earthly Pilgrimage.

The Earthly Pilgrimage.

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Published by glennpease
BY THE REV. WILLIAM ARTHUR, M.A.



" These all died in faith, not having received the promises but having
seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." HEB. xi. 13.
BY THE REV. WILLIAM ARTHUR, M.A.



" These all died in faith, not having received the promises but having
seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." HEB. xi. 13.

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 11, 2014
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THE EARTHLY PILGRIMAGE. BY THE REV. WILLIAM ARTHUR, M.A. " These all died in faith, not having received the promises but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." HEB. xi. 13. TT seems a very common thing to take the word " pilgrim in its religious sense as very nearly identical with the word "hermit;" but the two not only differ, but in some respects very strongly contrast. The hermit is a personage who never appears in the Bible ; or if he does appear, it is in some very distant glimpses indeed. He is not found, either in the old or in the new dipensation, as having any part in the appointments of the people of God ; but the hermit is one of the favourite institutions of heathenism, and was, in olden times, prevalent over all the great ancient countries. The idea was early adopted in Egypt, and from Egypt it diffused itself over all the West, even to our own country. The hermit is one who has a quarrel with human society, and takes it to be his business to get as far away from mankind as circumstances will permit him. He may effect the separation by locality, by getting into a desert ; he may effect it by confining himself within the walls of a convent, by getting up a tree, or living on the tc>p f a pillar, as has sometimes been done. He may confine that separa tion to costly and particular habits and vows ; but still his g- eat idea is, to separate himself from human society and so THE EARTHLY PILGRIMAGE. cut out that part of human nature that does not lie built up
 
within the four walls of his own person. ow, this is by no means the character of the pilgrim. The pilgrim is quite another personage. He has no quarrel with human society. He does not purpose to separate himself from mankind. On the contrary, pilgrims have been remarkable in every age and nation for being social, for seeking in their pilgrimage as many companions as they can possibly gather together, and for cheering their pilgrimage with as many comforts as they can carry through the journey, and with as many songs, and as much intercourse, and as much vivacity and pleasure of every kind as they can possibly command. But the pilgrim is one who has a point at which he is aiming, and a purpose for which he aims at it ; and no matter what land he has to traverse, however pleasant it may be, it must not tempt him to stay, or however foul it may be, it must not discourage him so that he turn back. He has to go on ; if it be a desert, to cross it in spite of its difficulties ; if it be a garden, to cross it in spite of its flowers, and still to go on. The definition of the character of a pilgrim cannot be more complete than what is given in the verses immediately following our text, " They that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country." That is a pilgrim one who has an object in his eye, and is pressing on towards that object. Then, in this verse that I have taken as a text we have, first, the object- point of the pilgrims ; secondly, the animating spirit of their pilgrimage ; thirdly, its starting point ; fourthly, its course ; fifthly, .its end. The object-point of God s pilgrims : they seek a country ; they seek a better country, that is an heavenly. The animating spirit of their pilgrimage : faith. The starting point : they come out. The course : they walk on, travelling over earth to heaven. The end : all die in faith. In the description of the OBJECT-POIT of the pilgrimage we have two words used the one country, the other city. They " declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out,
 
THE EARTHLY PILGRIMAGE. 3 they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly ; wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God : for He hath pre pared for them a city." It is a country, and it is a city. A country. That thought throws before us at once the great idea of breadth and vastness. As we are passing to the other world, we are not passing to a confined sphere, but to one where there will be wide places for the powers of every man and of every woman called to unite in the work of that land, wide places for all to exercise their power, and for all to dwell in it. It is a city. It is not a lonely place, but a place of society. It is a city : it is not an undefended place, but a place with its walls and bulwarks, and eternal fences. It is a city : it is not a place built by chance and without arrange ment, but a place built upon a plan. It is a city that hath a builder and maker ; that is, as we should say in our modern language, both an architect and a builder. The word trans lated "builder" means the architect who builds the structure first within his soul before it is ever built outside. An oration, a sermon, a grand scheme, or a palace, is in the first place produced within the soul of a man, and there it stands, and grows, and shines, perhaps far nobler than it ever does in the outer world. And so that city has its architect, the great God ; for, in what He would delight in the midst of His own, in what He Himself would dwell, where His children should be housed, in what streets the princes of God should walk, in what abbey the multitudes of the happy should assemble, and with what defences and adornments the city of the Great King should shine upon the eyes of His own for ever, He formed this first, and then He made it. Both architect and constructer is God ; and that city and that country are His country and His city. \ He is not ashamed to be called their God who choose that land for their own. He would be ashamed to be called the God of any that said, " I want nothing to seek ; I want no inheritance but what will satisfy the animals of the fields ; I want to have enough for my body, and to die, and forget, and

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