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Arthur. And what a blessed welcome He gives the faithful servant, -—“Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things. I will make thee ruler over many things : enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” (Matt. xxv. 21.) I think that is my favourite verse in the Bible.
Mary. And after they have entered the gates of glory, still we found, Papa, “His servants shall serve Him, and they shall see His face.” (Rev. xxii. 3.)
Papa. Yes, my children : though no toil, there will be no idleness in heaven; but the full exercise of every power of our spiritual body and glorified spirit in his service, -high responsibilities entrusted to us,-authority to be executed in his boundless, sinless creation there and all in his presence where is fulness of joy, and at his right hand, where there are pleasures for evermore. But, perhaps, we may speak more of the glories of home in our next subject, “Life a pilgrimage, and Christ the Guide.”
MONDAY MORNING AT BREAKFAST TABLE.
Arthur. Papa, do you remember on Sunday week, when speaking of the breastplate of righteousness, that you said you would explain more about this in our next reading. Neither Mary nor I could remember afterwards that we talked about it last night.
Papa. I did not forget it, my boy, but thought it would interrupt the current of our subject. I will try and explain it now.
Mary. Oh, I am so glad; for when I have heard you say, or heard in church, that we are pardoned and accepted through the death and imputed righteousness of the Lord Jesus, I always felt as if I could understand His blood washing away our sins, or His dying in our stead, so much more plainly than His merits being accounted ours.
Papa. Though all figures come short in setting forth heavenly truth, I think the one we had last night may make this easier to you. But remember, it is only a figure,--do not strain it too far. Suppose a master engaged a
servant whom he promised to maintain and reward, if he would be faithful to him, and perform certain duties. But this servant as soon as his master left home, lived in every extravagance and neglected every duty. When the master returned and found out how the case had been, would he not say, 'How can I possibly receive you into my favour, or give you what I promised ? You say you are penitent, it may be so; but you have done all the evil you could, and left all the good undone.' But, suppose, then, this servant's brother were to come up and intercede for him, and were to say, he had paid all his brother's debts, and made good all the mischief he had done to his master's property. What then ?
Arthur. Why, he could forgive him then, papa. 'Papa. Yes, he might forgive him, but could he justly reward him ?-he promised him wages for work;—if the servant's extravagant debts only were paid, and the mischief he had done repaired, what claim would he have for any favour or reward ?
Arthur. None, papa, I see.
Papa. But, suppose his brother were to go on and say, that not only had he paid his debts but that he had done all the work appointed, be had worked in the house and in the garden, so that not one thing was left undone,-and
were to say, moreover, that he wished to make all his work, and all his claims over to his brother, for he had done it out of love to him.
Arthur. Then, papa, the master might justly pay for the work done, and give it to the unprofitable, but penitent servant.
Papa. See, Edward, this is just what the Lord Jesus does for us. We have committed ten thousand sins, and omitted ten thousand duties. By his blood, his life, which He gave up for us, our sins are blotted out, our debts are cancelled. But this is not enough, -by his righteousness, his perfect fulfilment of the law of God for us, a claim is established for everlasting life, which He makes over to us. So he offers us a finished, complete salvation.
Arthur. Oh, papa, I think I see it more clearly than ever I did before.
LIFE A PILGRIMAGE, AND CHRIST THE GUIDE.
Mary. Oh, dear Papa, dear Mamma, we are so glad Sunday evening has come again ; we liked our subject so much. But do you know that Edward and I questioned so long this afternoon about one thing. He thought our state by nature was pointed out by Israel in Egypt, in the house of bondage ; and I thought it was that of those lost in the wilderness, all astray in the pathless deserts of sand. Do say which of us was right ?
Manima. Perhaps both, my children; for you must not forget what papa so often told you in the parables : that figures must not be strained too far,—that sometimes they exactly answer to the truth intended in many points, like those two sides of the cabinet, which the joiner glued together the other day, and which dove-tailed one into another all along the edges; but that sometimes all the weight presses on