Page images
PDF
EPUB

We sigh for the redemption. We wait for the moment of deliverance. “ We look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ : who shall change the body of our humiliation, that it may be fashioned like unto the body of his glory, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." Philippians iii. 20, 21.

Glorious prospect! How precious for the weary suffering pilgrim who feels the burden of his poor crumbling tabernacle! The Lord is at hand. The voice of the archangel and the trump of God will soon be heard, and then mortality shall be swallowed up of life. Till then we are sealed with that blessed Spirit of God who is the earnest-not of His love which we possess, but—of the inheritance for which we wait.

JESUS BORE HIS SORROWS ALONE.

Jesus bore his sorrows alone, but shares His glory with

his people.”

LORD, Thou didst bear
The hidings of His face who was thine all!

The noon-tide air
Scarce fanned thy bleeding brow; the bitter gall
Had touched thy lips; and fled was every friend !
Thus wert Thou left alone, Thy life of toil to end !

And Thou hast died ;
For sinners, Lord, Thy precious life was given !

Thou hast supplied
Our every need ; and now enthroned in heaven,
Thou art yet waiting for the joyful day,
The hour when Thou from earth shalt call Thy saints away.
And Thou hast met
Thy Father's smile, hast won Thy glorious rest;

And no regret,
No sorrow now can fill Thy peaceful breast;
Thy toils and trials past, Thy sufferings o'er,
Sweet thought, Thou blessed One! “those eyes shall weep

no more.”

Yet not alone
Thou bearest the glory, Lord of life and love;

Though all thine own
Thy sorrows were; and none below, above,
Thy deep, surpassing griefs and pangs could share,
When, singly, Thou Thyself our weight of sin didst bear.

Thy glories, Lord
Thy bright inheritance, a crown, a throne-

Thou in Thy word
Hast promised those whom Thou didst call Thine own.
O wondrous grace, too high for us to scan,
The Son of God thus links HIMSELF in love to man !

Lord, we are, now,
United unto Thee, our living Head;

May we then see,
By faith, a risen Saviour, who was dead,
But ever liveth now to intercede,
And for His “ little ones” in this dark world to plead !

And thus we may
Still rise above the fading objects here,

And view the day
When, “Lord of Lords” the Saviour shall appear;
Content to follow Him, to bear the Cross,
Counting for His FREE LOVE, all things beside “but loss.”

C. A. H.

EPAPHRODITUS.

We want the reader to turn with us for a few moments to Philippians ii., and study the brief sketch of the interesting character of Epaphroditus. There is great moral beauty in it. We are not told very much about him, but, in what we are told, we see a great deal of what is truly lovely and pleasant-much that makes us long for men of the same stamp in this our day. We cannot do better than quote the inspired record concerning him; and may the blessed Spirit apply it to our hearts, and lead us to cultivate the same lovely grace which shone so brightly in that dear and honoured servant of Christ !

“I supposed it necessary," says the blessed apostle, "to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and companion in labour, and fellow-soldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that had heard that he had been sick. For indeed he was sick nigh unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.

I sent him therefore the more carefully, that when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. Receive

I him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation; because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.” Philippians ii. 25–30.

Now it is quite possible that some of us, on reading the above, may feel disposed to inquire if Epaphroditus

ye

was a great evangelist or teacher, or some highly-gifted servant of Christ, seeing that the inspired apostle bestows upon him so many high and honourable titles, styling him his “ brother, and companion in labour, and fellow-soldier."

We we are not told that he was a great preacher, or a great traveller, or a profound teacher in the church of God. All that we are told about him, in the above touching narrative, is that he came forward in a time of real need to supply a missing link, to “stop a gap,” as we say. The beloved Philippians had it upon their hearts to send help to the revered and aged apostle in his prison at Rome. He was in need, and they longed to supply his need. They loved him, and God had laid it upon their loving hearts to communicate with his necessities. They thought of him, though he was far away from them; and they longed to minister to him of their substance.

How lovely was this! How grateful to the heart of Christ! Hearken to the glowing terms in which the dear old prisoner speaks of their precious ministry. “ But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again ; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. . Notwithstanding, ye have well done that ye did communicate with my affliction. Now, ye Philippians, know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift; but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.

.

.

But I have all, and abound ; I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God."

Here we see the place which Epaphroditus filled in this blessed business. There lay the beloved apostle in his prison at Rome, and there lay the loving offering of the saints at Philippi. But how was it to be conveyed to him? These were not the days of cheque banks and post-office orders. No, nor of railway travelling. It was no easy matter to get from Philippi to Rome in those days. But Epaphroditus, that dear, unpretending, self-surrendering servant of Christ, presented himself to supply the missing link; to do just the very thing that was needed, and nothing more; to be the channel of communication between the assembly at Philippi and the apostle at Rome. Deep and real as was the apostle's need, precious and seasonable as was the Philippians' gift, yet an instrument was needed to bring them both together, and to apply the latter to the former; and Epaphroditus offered himself for the work. There was a manifest need, and he met it—a positive blank, and he filled it. He did not aim at doing some great showy thing, something which would make him very prominent, and cause his name to be blazed abroad as some wonderful person. Ah! no, Epaphroditus was not one of the pushing, self-confident, extensive class. He was a dear, self-hiding, lowly servant of Christ, one of that class of workmen to whom we are irresistibly attracted. Nothing is more charming than an unpretending, retiring man, who is content just to fill the empty niche; to render the needed service,

« PreviousContinue »