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THE REWARDS OF THE NEW CREATION.
ST. MATTHEW xix. 27, 28, 29.
"Then answered Peter and said unto Him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed Thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred-fold, and shall inherit everlasting life."
In these words we have a most gracious promise of the full and sure reward with which our Lord Jesus Christ will overpay all His true servants in the kingdom of the resurrection. They were drawn from Him by the shrinking back of the rich young man who had sought to enter into the kingdom of God. He had so lived from his youth up as to be not far from it; but in the last deciding trial he was found wanting. One thing he lacked, and that one thing was in what we should call his
characteristic failing: he was rich, and he could not forsake all for Christ. He wanted nerve and faith enough to strike through the last bond which bound down his soul to earth; and this one thing wanting lost him all things. St. Peter then, who was standing by, and had heard and seen what had passed, took occasion to say, "Lo, we have left all and followed Thee; what shall we have therefore?" And our Lord promised a repayment, an overpayment, an hundred-fold; and, as we read in St. Mark, He said, "now in this time;" and in St. Luke, "in this present time, and in the world to come everlasting life."
First, then, our Lord meant that He would repay them for all things they gave up for His sake, in this world, after His resurrection. They who followed Him had been gathered out from Galilee and Judea, from Bethsaida and Jerusalem, one by one; and each several one had to make the same deliberate act of self-renunciation. They had to forsake all that earth holds dearest; not traffic, and gain, and ease alone, but the love of friends, and all that we gather together in our thoughts of home. All that was once fullest of life became to them as dead; all in the life of which they were wont to live was thenceforth as if it had never been: their choice of Christ for 1 St. Mark x. 30. 2 St. Luke xviii. 30.
their Lord, and His kingdom for their portion, was a sharp and severing vow, which left them solitary in the throng of men who were friends before.
Such they made themselves for His sake before He suffered, and therefore He pledged His truth to them, that they should find again what they had lost for His service, after He was risen from the dead. And He made them the patriarchs of the "Israel of God;" they were made pastors and princes, fathers and bishops, ruling, from their apostolic thrones, the twelve mystical tribes of God's elect. The whole Church was their ghostly family: they had sons, and brethren, and sisters, in all lands. All the whole earth was their home. All things were theirs, for "they had all things common." So was His word fulfilled in the communion of saints. Even in this present time it was fulfilled, albeit with persecution: even when the powers of hell hung heaviest upon them, and shut them in on every side, what man can tell the hidden joy, the unutterable gladness, of His holy Church? When most likened in suffering to the passion of their Lord, there was, ever deep and full, a river of holy calm, making glad the city of God. And so unto this day, His most sure promise has had a like fulfilment. Never any man forsook any thing for his Master's sake, but even in this life he hath found it in some unlooked-for compensation; not, it may
be, alike in kind, but full of as deep a joy. The manifold wisdom of His eternal love attempers to His servants all their earthly being. Though their lot be most various, and most adverse to their selfchoosing hopes, though it be ever changing, yet in every change it brings out some unknown and larger outline of ever-new reward for all they have forsaken in His service.
But there is yet a further and deeper fulfilment of this promise still to come.
Our Lord intended also, that He would reward them in His kingdom, after their own resurrection; that is, when the number of the regenerate is accomplished, and the end is come, and the new heaven and new earth are revealed. "In the regeneration" or restitution of all things, when He "shall sit on the throne of His glory," then shall their reward be likewise made perfect. At that day, when the heavenly Jerusalem shall appear, and the fellowship of saints be gathered from the four winds of heaven, in that unnumbered company shall all the bonds and affections of all holy spirits be made eternal, and they shall receive an hundred-fold; brethren and sisters, and father and mother, and wife and children. What is here given in part, shall be there given in its fulness and then shall be perfected the sympathy of all members of Christ's body mystical, perpetuating all that earth has
known of purity, and transfiguring all that is eternal with surpassing glory.
We see, then, in this promise, these great laws of Christ's kingdom. First, that there shall be a manifold reward for those who shall in any way forego any thing for Christ's sake, for all they do or suffer for His name-a reward, observe, not earned, but given; not wages, but a free gift. Once for all, let this be said: there is no connexion of idea between our meriting and His rewarding. The one is as much denied as the other is promised in holy Scripture. And, secondly, that there shall be a larger and distinguishing reward for those that have forsaken most for His service. There is promised in holy Writ, "the brightness of the firmament," and the shining" as the stars for ever and ever;" there is "the righteous man's reward," and "the prophet's reward;" there is a "right hand" and a "left hand" in His kingdom. Again: as are the orders of unseen spirits, so are the orders of saints. All are not angels, nor archangels, nor spirits of knowledge, nor spirits of love; nor have all the same degree, nor the same heavenly ministry, nor the same near approach to the Eternal throne; and so, doubtless, in the company of saints: as on earth, so in heaven there shall be patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, saints of all measures of glory, though all shall be absolutely blessed, and the principle of