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sake, have lived for the good of others, will find a happy' acknowledgment of their services. The parables of the labourers and of the talents seem to show this.
If we regard the state of Christ's destined kingdom now upon earth, there are the King's people and the King's own servants, we might say, in the eastern style, his slaves there is "God's husbandry," and there are God's labourers ;" there is "God's building," and there are God's" builders :" and though some, for filthy lucre's sake, have taken charge of the flock, and got their reward; and others, by feigned words, have made merchandise of the professing people of God, and grown rich; yet it has been very frequently the lot of Christ's faithful servants to bear their witness in sackcloth. Even in a peaceful and flourishing state of the church, it has been sometimes seen how poorly paid are Christ's labourers, if you have respect to the earthly provision made for themselves and those who must depend on them. Their Master is too generous to forget this when he shall return. He seems to speak in the language of his servant: "I have written it with my own hand, I will repay it; albeit I do not say to thee, how thou owest unto me even thine ownself besides."
How many faithful servants of Christ, who have given themselves up wholly to his service, may, in their measure, take up the language of St. Paul to the people whom they have served: "Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us:"-" We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised," &c. &c. Called into his vineyard at this eleventh hour, when the burden and heat of the day is over, the labourers, that now are, cannot, indeed, compare
with the apostles and primitive martyrs in their sacrifices and sufferings; but still they have their share, and, if faithful, are ready to forego their worldly interest, that they may fulfil the work of their ministry; and their Master has intimated he will give to them all the same wages. Though their labours meet with no reward in the church below, they will be rewarded at the resurrection of the just. As St. Peter says unto faithful pastors: "When the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." And more distinctly still St. Paul, addressing ministers of the word:" If a man's work abide that he hath built, he shall receive a reward: if a man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss, but himself shall be saved, but so as by fire."-"Every man's work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is."*
The glorifying of the elect people of God, as such, when Christ shall appear, and his rewarding of his own servants among them, who, for his and their sakes, have spent and been spent on earth, are two circumstances of the judgment of the first advent ever to be kept distinct in our view. In the one case, as we have remarked before, the reward is reckoned of grace, and not of debt; in the other case, however grace may mingle itself with it, the reward is not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
If it be asked, Since the perfection of glory, the likeness of Christ, be gratuitously awarded unto all the elect, how can his ministers and public servants have a greater reward? We may answer, from something more than
* 1 Cor. iii.
conjecture, employment: more extensive trusts in his future kingdom upon earth: "Thou hast been faithful in a few things, be thou ruler over many."
Is it asked, will every labour of love that is showed, by whomsoever of God's people, in ministering to his saints, meet with a reward of this kind in the world to come? To this I would not reply decidedly; but certainly, either here or hereafter every labour of love will be remembered: "A cup of cold water given to a disciple, in the name of a disciple, shall in no wise lose its reward." But I think, except with regard to Christ's public servants, and some particular acts of devotion to his cause, the Scripture seems to assign "the hundred fold reward" to the spiritual enjoyments of this present world.* But to return to our subject. The dead in Christ arise, and this, agreeably to other Scriptures, is in order to their being brought with Christ at the day of his appearing and kingdom.
14. "And I looked, and, behold, a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of Man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle and reap; for the time is come for thee to reap for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped."
I adopt, with great satisfaction, Mr. Cuninghame's interpretation of this passage, and shall beg leave to give it in his own words: "The coming of the Son of Man with the clouds of heaven, or, as St. Luke expresses it,
* Mark, x. 30.
with a cloud,' is an event frequently mentioned in the Scriptures. It occurs in the prophecies of Daniel, and in our Lord's discourse concerning the destruction of Jerusalem. It is also predicted at the beginning of the Apocalypse. This advent of Christ seems evidently to be intended in the passage before us. The symbolical reaping of the harvest of the earth, which is performed by our Lord, I consider to signify the 'gathering together of his elect from the four winds of heaven,' which he himself assures us will take place immediately on his coming with the clouds of heaven.' The action of
reaping is more than once used as a symbol of the gathering in of Christ's elect, but never, as far as I remember, as a symbol of the execution of divine judgments. The gathering of the elect,' here predicted under the image of reaping a harvest of corn or wheat, immediately precedes the harvest of the vintage, (mentioned in the following verses,) which is every where in the prophetic writings used as a symbol of the wrath of God. The gathering of the elect is, accordingly, also alluded to in the nineteenth chapter, where a more full description of the vintage is given the allusion to it is in the ninth verse: 'Blessed are they that are called to the marriage-supper of the Lamb.' In the above explanation of the symbolical wheat harvest, I entirely differ from Mede, Bishop Newton, and other writers, and also from Mr. Faber. I have, however, the happiness to coincide with the eminently learned Bishop Horsley, who applies the harvest, as I do, to the gathering of the elect, mentioned by our Lord as taking place upon his advent with the clouds of heaven. The dead in Christ
Chap. vii. 13. † Matt. xxiv. 20; Mark, xiii. 26; Luke, xxi. 27.
shall first rise; then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord."*
17. "And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire, and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great wine-press of the wrath of God; and the wine-press was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the wine-press, even unto the horses' bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs."
All are agreed that this harvest of the vintage represents the last judgment of God, which, in so particular a manner, is noticed in many Scriptures as finishing God's controversy with the nations. It can, indeed, be none other than the destruction of the fourth beast of Daniel's vision, the Roman empire that now is, the nations of papal Europe,-"His body was given to the burning flame." And we remark that the angel that has power of fire is stated, in the passage before us, to be present. As, however, we shall find afterwards a more particular delineation of this dreadful conflict, we need not here dwell upon the subject. I shall only, therefore, remark, that sixteen hundred furlongs, or stadia, is found to be the exact length of the Holy Land, which country many Scriptures which we have examined pointed out as the scene of the grand final overthrow of the mortal
* Page 317.