Gleanings 157

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 7
The address to the church of' Smyrna begins with a divine title, " the First and the Last." If you get into eternity, you find that this Son of God never had a beginning. He was with God, and was God, in the beginning. The thought of eternity to come is more easy for the human mind to grasp, than the thought of eternity behind, without beginning. I have in the eternal life given to me a new order of being. If I drop the body, the life goes up to Him who gave it. There are many spirits absent from the body up there. Paul and Peter are there, with no hindrance, walking about where all is bright and beautiful. Who secures the joy and perfection of it? Who came down, went to the grave, and rose again? Who drops that side of the curtain, save the One -who stood and held open the other side? The blessed Lord who became dead, and He lives. They killed the Prince of Life, but before He became man He was the eternal God. That Man spoke of Himself as the First and the Last.
In the persecution raised by Satan against those whom he hates because they are Christ's, what a difference if you look at being cast into prison by the devil, with the thought of his having got his own way at last, or if you say " God told me before I was put into the furnace, that He would put me there to be tried, in order that, as a specimen of His own handiwork, I might shine in it." It is important to take everything from the Father's hand; important to look at the trials of others in the same way-saying to a tried Christian, "If not a sparrow falls without the Father, how could you be in this trial without the Father?" What "a difference when things are looked at on the heavenly side, feeling that whatever comes of suffering or difficulty, we have got the sunny side with Christ.
" Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." The contrast here between the death of the body, and the life, is very beautiful: the death ending the union of the believer's body and soul, this being the dissolution. " Be faithful' till I take your quickened soul home."