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fortable word as to make it mean that He will exercise a mercy contrary to justice. Beyond a doubt "God is Love": it is my own conception of love which may not in truth be love.

What in the height and depth of my soul, transcending far my level of attainment, "as high as heaven . . . deeper than hell"; what is in truth my own ideal of love?

Such love, at once an affection and a mystery, would sacrifice not myself alone but the beloved object also to his (or her) highest good. Which faithful "for better for worse" chooses the utmost good attainable; or if perfection or even genuine good has become unattainable, then chooses the least evil within possibility.

I fall back on "God is Love."

"Into the lake of fire.". -". . . Into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. For every one shall be salted with fire." Not consumed, but conserved; not devoured by fire, but salted with fire.

Whether for good or for evil, to be consumed appertains to time, to be unconsumed appertains to eternity.

CHAPTER XXI.

1. And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

Behold, one heaven and one earth have passed away, but Christ's word has not passed away. Blessed are now the poor in spirit and the persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are now the meek, for they inherit the earth. Well might St. John who "saw," look up and lift up his head; for however remote, his redemption, the general redemption, was drawing nigh.

Meanwhile the first heaven and the first earth make up our own present lot. Of those others God giveth us not as yet so much as to set our foot on, although He promises them to us for a possession.

The temporary heaven and earth above, around, beneath us, import us now, supply now things convenient for us. These we are bound to use, and by no means to misuse or neglect. "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?" And though the things which are seen be but temporal, yet a work of the Great Creator is and cannot but be so great, that I suppose neither the profoundest and most illuminated saint, nor all saints summed up together will have exhausted the teaching of things visible, even when the hour comes for them to give place to things invisible. "Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of Man be come."

Heaven and earth are to be renewed. Not so the sea: "There was no more sea." And wherefore not the sea?

Regarding the first creation as symbolical, one answer (how

ever inadequate please God, not contradictory of truth) suggests itself. The harvest of earth ripened, was reaped, was garnered the sea nourished and brought up no harvest. It bore no fruits which remain, it wrought no works which follow it. It was moreover originally constituted as a passage, not as an abode : across it man toiled in rowing to the haven where he would be, but itself never was and never could become that haven. Thus it presents to us a picture of all which must be left behind. In Ezekiel's vision of the healing river, we yet read concerning a portion of the sea-space: "But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt,"-given over, it would seem, to reprobation.

"Ye are the salt of the earth," said our Divine Teacher: salt in reference to earth and its prevalent corruption, not apparently in any immediate reference to the kingdom of immortality and perfection. "Have salt in yourselves," He said again; but still apparently in reference to man's conduct during probation.

That is an accursed region whereof we read: "That the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein." Again, the accursed man "that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord . . . shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited." And the Prophet Zephaniah associates "the breeding of nettles, and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation." Also we "Remember Lot's wife."

Yet how shall we be consoled for our lost sea with its familiar fascination, its delights, its lifelong endearedness? Lo! heaven enshrines its own proper sea of glass as it were mingled with fire, and the uplifted voice of the redeemed is as the sound of many waters. There at last is fullness of that joy, whereas the sea never yet was full; there plenteousness of pleasures as a river. There music unheard hitherto, unimaginable, in lieu of the long-drawn wail of our bitter sea.

Or if after all we cannot during our actual weakness be thoroughly and consciously consoled on this point, let it at least bring home to us that better it is to enter into life, halt, or maimed, or one-eyed, than having two feet, hands, eyes, to be shut out. To suffer loss and be saved is better than to forego nothing and be lost.

There was no more sea."-As in a far different matter, "For our sakes, no doubt, this is written."

O my God, bestow upon us such confidence, such peace, such happiness in Thee, that Thy Will may always be dearer to us than our own will, and Thy Pleasure than our own pleasure. All that Thou givest is Thy free gift to us, all that Thou takest away Thy grace to us. Be Thou thanked for all, praised for all, loved for all. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The sea laments with unappeasable
Hankering wail of loss,

Lifting its hands on high and passing by
Out of the lovely light:

No foambow any more may crest that swell
Of clamorous waves which toss ;

Lifting its hands on high it passes by

From light into the night.

Peace, peace, thou sea! God's Wisdom worketh well,
Assigns It crown or cross:

Lift we all hands on high, and passing by

Attest: God doeth right.

2. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

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For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying."

(If I am not mistaken) a double point of likeness here connects St. John with his Adorable Master. Throughout the Gospel record of Christ's sayings whilst on earth He never once calls Himself by His Blessed Name of Jesus; but speaking from heaven first to Saul of Tarsus, afterwards in this Apocalypse (ch. xxii. 16) in reference to the Churches, He nameth Himself by that Name which is above every name, whereat every knee shall bow and which every tongue shall confess. Even so the beloved disciple who in his Gospel enters not his own name so much as once, now speaking as from within the door opened into heaven names himself thrice, and of these times twice in the emphatic form "I John."

To ourselves an alluring lesson of present abasement, future exaltation. Thus pearls submerged awhile in deep waters come to light hereafter in the City of God.

I think too that our eager hope of recognition, the craved

for "I am I and you are you" of eternal reunion, is hereby solaced and strengthened; whilst we perceive one such identity as might even have eluded observation on earth proclaimed triumphantly in heaven.

My Lord, my Lord Jesus, Thou art enough, Thou by Thyself art enough. Yet withholdest Thou no good thing from them that live a godly life. And Thou discernest the heart's desire of every man, and Thou hearest the request of all lips. Every heart's desire and request I commend to Thee, most loving Lord. Amen.

What will it be at last to see a "holy" city! for Londoners, for Parisians, for citizens of all cities upon earth to see a holy city. Truly as yet this also "eye hath not seen." Not such is or ever was Jerusalem that now is, or Rome though styled eternal or sacred, or Moscow albeit called holy: neither does any continent or island rear such, nor is any ruin extant of such, nor is so much as one material foundation-stone laid of such.

Nevertheless whoever seeks citizenship at last in that all holy City must now day by day watch, pray, labour, agonize it may be, to sanctify his allotted dwelling in his present mean city; though this be as Babylon awaiting destruction, as an actual city of the plain clamouring for the vengeance of eternal fire.

Art thou as Lazarus? Hold fast godliness and contentment, earnests and precursors of great gain. Art thou as Dives? Heed betimes the voice of Lazarus :

I, laid beside thy gate, am Lazarus;

See me or see me not I still am there,
Hungry and thirsty, sore and sick and bare,
Dog-comforted and crumbs-solicitous :
While thou in all thy ways art sumptuous,
Daintily clothed, with dainties for thy fare :
Thus a world's wonder thou art quit of care,
And be I seen or not seen I am thus.

One day a worm for thee, a worm for me:

With my worm angel songs and trumpet burst
And plenitude an end of all desire:

But what for thee, alas! but what for thee?
Fire and an unextinguishable thirst,
Thirst in an unextinguishable fire.

New Jerusalem has been gathered from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven: stone by stone, soul by soul, here a little and there a little. Laps of luxury, fire of temptation, ease of riches, squalor of destitution,

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