Sermon 2751. 'A Prepared Place for a Prepared People'

(No. 2751)




"I go to prepare a place for you." John 14:2.

"Giving thanks unto the Father, who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light."

Colossians 1:12.

MY real text is not in the Bible-it is one of those Christian proverbs which are not Inspired in words, but the spirit ofwhich is Inspired, "Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people." You have often heard that sentence. It is familiarin your mouths as household words, and well it may be.

Yet I shall have two texts from the Scriptures. The first will be our Savior's words to His disciples, "I go to prepare aplace for you," from which we learn that "Heaven is a prepared place." And the second will be Paul's words to the Colossians,"Giving thanks unto the Father, who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light," fromwhich we learn that there is a prepared people, a people made qualified to be partakers of the inheritance which Christ hasgone to prepare for them!

I. I am not going to have any further preface, but I will begin at once to speak upon THE PREPARATION OF HEAVEN. "I go toprepare a place for you."

It is many months since I began to turn this sentence over. I think I might truly say that for several years I have thoughtof it, and thought of it again, and thought of it yet again-that our Lord Jesus Christ, before returning to Heaven, shouldsay to His disciples, "I go to prepare a place for you." Is there any difficulty about this passage? Yes, it is very difficultto explain. Indeed, I do not think that we really can know all that Christ meant when He uttered these words. A father saidto his children, when the summer sun had waxed hot, "I shall go to the seaside today to prepare a place for you." His littlechild asked, "What does father mean when he says that he will prepare a place for us?" And his mother answered, "My child,I cannot tell you all that your father means, but you will see when you get there. But now it must be enough for you thatalthough you do not know what Father will have to do at the seaside in preparing a place for you, he knows what he is goingto do."

And, dear Friends, there is this consolation for us that even if we can hardly guess what it is that Christ can find to doto prepare Heaven for us, He knows what is needed, and He knows how to do it! And that is infinitely better than our knowing,because even if we knew what was needed, we could not do it. But with Christ to know and to do are two things that run parallel.He knows that there are certain preparations to be made. He knows what those preparations must be and He is equal to the taskof making them! He has not gone upon an errand which He cannot fulfill. And when we get to Heaven, we shall know-perhaps itmay take us a long while to find it all out-but we shall know and discover throughout eternity what He meant when He said,"I go to prepare a place for you."

I do not profess to be able to explain our Lord's words, but I am going simply to make a few remarks upon them. And first,I ask you to notice that Heaven is already prepared for Christ's people. Christ has told us that when He comes in His Glory,He will say to those on His right hand, "Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundationof the world." So, there is an inheritance which the Father has already prepared for the

people whom He gave to His Son-and this inheritance is reserved for them. But if it was prepared from the foundation of theworld, how can it be said to be prepared by Christ? The explanation probably is that it was prepared in the eternal purposeof the Father-prepared by wise forethought-arranged for-predestinated-prepared in that sense-it was provided in the eternalarrangements of Jehovah, that there should be a suitable place for His people to dwell in forever. He made the pavilion ofthe sun and He gave the stars their appointed positions-would He forget to prepare a place for His people? He gave to angelstheir places and even to fallen spirits He has appointed a prison-so He would not forget, when He was arranging the entireuniverse, that a place would be needed for the twice-born, the heirs of Grace, the members of the mystical body of ChristJesus, His brethren who were to be made like unto Him. Therefore, in purpose, plan and decree, long before God had laid thefoundations of this poor world and the morning stars had sung together over creation's six days' work accomplished, He hadprepared a place for His people! It was not actually prepared, but it was in the purpose and plan of the eternal mind and,therefore, might be regarded as already done.

Our Lord Jesus Christ has gone to Heaven, He says, that He may prepare a place for His servants, and we may be helped to formsome idea of what He means by this expression if we just think a little about it. And, first, I am sure that must be a verygreat and glorious place which needs Christ to prepare. If we do not know all that He means, we can get at least this muchout of His declaration. He spoke this world into being. It was not, but He said, "Be," and it was at once made. Then He spokeit into order, into light, into life, into beauty. He had but to speak and what He willed was done. But now that He is preparinga place for His people. He has gone to Heaven on purpose to do it. He used to stand still here on earth and work miracles,but this was a miracle that He could not perform while He was here. He had to go back to His home above in order to preparea place for His people. What sort of place, then, must it be that needs Christ Himself to prepare it? He might have said,"Angels, garnish a mansion for My Beloved." He might have spoken to the firstborn sons of light and said, "Pile a temple ofjewels for My chosen." But, no, He leaves not the work to them, but He says, "I go to prepare a place for you."

Brothers and Sisters, He will do it well, for He knows all about us. He knows what will give us the most happiness- and whatwill best develop all our spiritual faculties forever. He loves us, too, so well that as the preparing is left to Him, I knowthat He will prepare us nothing second-rate, nothing that could possibly be excelled. We shall have the best of the best,and much of it! We shall have all that even His great heart can give us! Nothing will be stinted for, as He is preparing it,it will be a right royal and Divine preparation. If, when the prodigal came back to his father, there was the preparationof the fatted calf, the music and dancing and the gold ring and the best robe, what will be the preparation when we do notcome home as prodigals, but as the bride prepared for her husband, or as the Beloved children, without spot, or wrinkle, orany such thing, coming home to the Father who shall see His own image in us and rejoice over us with singing? It is a grandplace that Christ prepares, I know, for never was there another such a lordly host as He is! It is a mansion of delights,I know, that He prepares, for never was there another architect with thought so magnificent as His, and never were other handsso skilled at quarrying living stones and putting them, one upon another, as His hands have ever been! This thought oughtto cheer us much-it must be something very wonderful that Christ prepares as a fit place for His people.

And I think I may add to this, that it must be something very sweet when it is prepared. If you go to a friend's house andjust fall in with the ordinary proceedings of the family, you are very comfortable and you are glad not to disarrange anything.But if, when you arrive, you see that everything has been done on an extra scale to prepare for your coming, you feel stillmore grateful. It has often happened to an honored guest that he could not help observing that he was not being treated ashis friends lived every day of the week and all the year round. That guest chamber had evidently been newly furnished andeverything that was possible had been thought of to do him honor. If you were treated thus as a guest, there was pleasurefor you in the fact that so much had been prepared for you. Did your husband ever take you to a new house and point out toyou how he had purchased everything that he thought would please you? Had that little room been furnished especially for youand did he anticipate your tastes, providing this little thing and that that he knew you would like? Well, it was not merelythat you enjoyed the things, themselves, but they all seemed to you so much sweeter because they had been prepared for youby your beloved husband. And when you get to Heaven, you will be astonished to see this and that and the other joy that wasprepared for you because Christ thought of you, and provided just what you would most appreciate. You will be no strangerthere, Beloved! You will say, "There has been here a hand that helped me when I was in distress. There has been here, I know,an eye that saw me when I was wandering far from God. There has been in this place a heart that cared for me-that same heartthat loved me and that bled for me down below upon the Cross. It is my Savior who has prepared this place for me!"

I do not know whether I can convey to you all my thoughts upon this theme, but it does seem to me so pleasant to think thatwe are going to a place where we shall not be the first travelers through the country but where a Pioneer has gone beforeus-the best of pioneers who went before us with this one objective in His mind, that He might get all ready and prepare theplace for us. I think, Brothers and Sisters, that those who will be there before us will say, when we arrive there, "We areglad you have come, for everything has been prepared for you." It would be an eternal sorrow in Heaven if the saints shouldmiss their way and perish, as some falsely tell us, for then, what about the preparations for their reception? They wouldall have been made in vain-harps prepared which no fingers would ever play-and crowns which no heads would ever wear! I donot believe it! I have never dreamed that such a thing could happen. I feel certain that He who prepared the place for thepeople, will prepare the people for the place and that if He gets all ready for them, He means to bring them Home that theymay enjoy the things which He has laid up for them that love Him.

I know that I am not explaining the preparation of Heaven, yet I hope I am draining some comfortable thoughts out of the subject.If Christ is preparing Heaven, then it will be what our Scotch friends call, "a bonny place." And if it is prepared for us,when we get there, it will exactly fit us. It will be the very Heaven we wanted-a better Heaven than we ever dreamed of-abetter Heaven than we ever pictured even when our imagination took its loftiest heights! The Heaven of God and yet a Heavenexactly suited to such happy creatures as we then shall be!

Now, however, let us try to come a little closer to the subject and attempt to explain our Lord's words. Jesus Christ hasgone to prepare a place for His people. Does not this refer, if we keep it to its strict meaning, to the ultimate place ofGod's people? You see, Christ mentions a place, not a state. And He speaks of going to it, and coming back from it-"I go toprepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself." Christis speaking of Himself in His full Manhood, without any figurative meaning to His words. He meant that He was going with allHis Human Nature, away from this world. And that He was going to prepare a place for us, intending to come again, with allthat glorified Human Nature about Him, to receive us unto Himself! This does not mean His spiritual coming in death, nor anykind of spiritual coming, as to its first meaning, at any rate. I am persuaded that the clear run of the words involves ourLord's coming, in His Second Advent, when He will come to receive, not you or me as individuals who, one by one, will enterinto rest, but to receive His whole Church into the place which He shall then have prepared for her. After the Resurrection,you must remember, we shall need a place to live-a literal, material place of abode, for this body of ours will be alive aswell as our spirit and it will need a world to live in-a new Heaven and a new earth.

I am not going to enter into any speculations about the matter, but it seems clear enough to me, in this text, that Christis preparing a place somewhere not for disembodied spirits, for they are already before the Throne of God perfectly blessed-butfor the entire manhood of His people, when spirit, soul and body shall be again united and the complete man shall receivethe adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body, and the whole manhood of every Believer shall be perfected in the Gloryof Christ. I do not know what better world, in many respects, there could be than this, so far as material nature is concerned.It is so full of the beauty and loveliness that God pours upon it on every side! It is a wonderful world-

"Where everyprospect pleases, And only man is vile"-

but I could not reconcile myself to the idea that this world would be Heaven. No. My thoughts rise far above the loftiesthills, the most flowery meadows, the rolling ocean and the flowing rivers. Earth has not space enough to be our Heaven! Shehas too narrow a boundary and she is too coarse a thing, bright gem though she is, for perfected manhood to possess throughouteternity! It will do well enough for the thousand years of Glory-if it shall literally be that-we shall reign with Christupon it during the millennial age. But it is a drossy thing and if it ever is to be the scene of the new heavens and the newearth, it must first pass through the fire. The very smell of sin is upon it-and God will not use this globe as a vessel untohonor until He has purified it with fire as once He did with water. And then, perhaps, it may serve for this higher purpose,but I scarcely think it will. Even now Jesus is preparing and has gone away on purpose to prepare a place

for us-and He will come again, "with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God"-and He will catch His people awayand will bear them to the eternal home where their happiness shall know no end. That is what I suppose to be the meaning ofour Lord's words.

"But," perhaps you say to me, "what do you mean by what you have been saying?" I reply-I do not know to the fullest. I canbut dimly guess at the meaning of what my Lord has said-that He is doing something so glorious for ALL His people that, perhaps,if I did know it, I might not be allowed to tell you, for there are some things which, when a man knows them, it is not lawfulfor him to utter. Did not Paul see a great deal when he was caught up into paradise? Yet he has told us very little aboutit, for there was a finger laid upon his lips that bade him know it for himself, but not to tell it to others. "Eye has notseen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him."And though He has "revealed them unto us by His Spirit," even the Spirit who searches the deep things of God, yet is it notpossible for us to tell all that has been revealed to us!

It strikes me that there is some little light to be obtained concerning this preparation of Heaven by Christ if I leave thedirect and literal meaning of the words and think of the future state as a whole rather than in detail. Do you not think,dear Friends, that our Lord Jesus Christ prepares Heaven for His people by going there? I mean this. Supposing you were tobe lifted up to a state which was looked upon as heavenly, but that Jesus was not there-it would be no Heaven to you. Butwherever I may go, when I do go, if Jesus is already there, I do not care where it is! Wherever He is shall be my Heaven,for, as I said in the reading, [the exposition at the end of the sermon] that is our very first and last thought about Heaven-tobe with Christ where He is! To be with Christ is far better than to be anywhere else! Well, then, the first thing that Christhad to do, in order to prepare Heaven for His people, was to go to Heaven, for that made it Heaven! Then were Heaven's lampskindled. Then did Heaven's heralds ring out their supernal melodies. Then did the whole of the New Jerusalem seem to be ablazewith a glory brighter than the sun, for, "the Lamb is the light thereof." When He comes there, then all is bliss! Do you notsee, Beloved, that He has prepared Heaven by going there? His being there will make it Heaven for you, so you need not beginasking what else there will be in Heaven! There will be all manner of rare delights to spiritual men, but the chief of themall will be that Jesus is there! As Rowland Hill used to sing, so may you and I comfort ourselves with this thought-

"And this I do find-we two are so joined- He'll not be in Glory and leave me behind." If I may but be where He is, that shallbe Heaven to me!

But another reflection is this-that our Lord Jesus Christ has prepared Heaven for His people by the merit of His Atonement.Thus has He opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all Believers. He tore the veil and made a way into the Holiest of All for allwho trust Him. But, in addition to that, He perfumed Heaven with the fragrance of His Sacrifice. If Heaven is the place ofthe Godhead, as we know it is, we could not have stood there without the Mediator! If Heaven is the Throne of the great King,we could not have stood there without the cloud of perfumed incense from Christ's meritorious death and righteousness everrising up before that Throne of God! But now, Heaven is a safe place for the saints to enter. Now may they tread that seaof glass like as of fire and know that it is glass, and that no fire from it will consume them. Now will they be able to comeup near to God and not be afraid. I quote again a passage that often leaps to my lips-a text of Scripture which is often shamefullymisused-"Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?" Why, noneof us could unless Christ had changed us by His Grace-but now we may do so!

What is the Scriptural answer to those questions, "Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwellwith everlasting burnings?" What do the Scriptures say? Listen! "He that walks righteously and speaks uprightly. He that despisesthe gain of oppressions, that shakes his hands from holding bribes, that stops his ears from hearing of blood and shuts hiseyes from seeing evils. He shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be givenhim; his waters shall be sure. Your eyes shall see the King in His beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off."

This is the man who shall dwell there! With God, who is a consuming fire, we, like the holy children in the burning fieryfurnace, shall find it safe to dwell and find it bliss to dwell because Christ is there! But there would have been no Heavenin the Presence of God for any man that lives, after sin had once come into the world, if Jesus had not gone there

as the High Priest of old went up to the blazing throne whereon the Shekinah shone and sprinkled it with blood out of thebasin, and then waved the censer to and fro till the thick smoke hid the cherubim and, for a while resting, spoke with God.Even so has Christ gone within the veil and sprinkled His own atoning blood upon His Father's Throne and then waved aloftthe censer full of the incense of His mercy! And now it is safe for us to have access with boldness to the Throne of Gloryas well as to the Throne of Grace. Thus has He prepared a place for us!

Another meaning, I think, is allowable, namely, that Christ has prepared Heaven for us by appearing there in His Glory. Isaid that His very Presence made Heaven, but now I add that His Glory there makes Heaven yet more glorious. How does Christdescribe the heavenly state? "Father, I will that they, also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am; that they maybehold My Glory." It will be their bliss, then, to see His Glory, but there would have been no Glory for them to see if Hehad not gone there in His Glory! But now with His Presence there, in all His majesty and splendor, Heaven is still more glorious!Oh, how I long to see Him in His Glory! Long to see Him, did I say? I would part with all the joys of time and sense to gazeupon Him seated upon His Throne. Oh, what will it be to see Him? You have seen how painters have failed when they have triedto depict Him. The bravest artist may well tremble and the brightest colors fade when anyone tries to paint Him even in Hishumiliation! There is no other face so marred as His face was, but what will it be in Heaven when it is marred no more? Notear in His eyes! No spit running down His cheeks! No giving of His face to them that pluck out the hair, but, oh, the Gloryof Manhood perfected and allied with Deity! "The King in His beauty!" Why, I think to see Him but for a minute, if we neversaw Him again, might furnish us with an eternity of bliss! But we shall gaze upon Him, in His glory, day without night, neverfainting, or flagging, or tiring, but delighting forever to behold Him smile, forevermore to call Him ours and to see Himstill before us! He has gone to Heaven, then, in His Glory and, surely, that is preparing a place for us!

Besides that, we cannot tell what arrangements had to be made in order to prepare a place of eternal blessedness for the Lord'sredeemed. Certain it is that in the economy of the universe, everything has its place. Men have discovered, as you know, whatthey call evolution. They think that one thing grows out of another because long before they were born everybody with halfan eye could see that one thing fitted into another and, as one step rises above another step by a beautiful gradation, sodo the created things of God. Not that they grow out of each other any more than the stones of a staircase grow out of oneanother-they rise above each other, but they were so made from the first by the skill and wisdom of God. That a dewdrop shouldbe precisely of the size and shape that it is, is necessary to the perfection of the universe. That there should be insectsborn in such a month to fertilize the flowers that bloom in that month, and others to suck the sweetness of those flowersis all necessary. God has arranged everything, from the little to the great, with perfect skill. There is a place for everythingwith God and everything in its place.

It was a question where to put man. He once had a place. When God created this world, He made a pyramid and set man upon thevery top of it, giving him dominion over all the works of His hands. But then man fell. Now it is more difficult to restorethan it was, at first, to place. Often and often you must have found that when a thing has gone awry, it has cost you moretrouble to set it right than if it had to be made de novo. Where, then, was the place for man to be? O matchless Love, O sacredWisdom that provided that man's place should be where Christ's place was and is! Lo, He who came down from Heaven and whowas also in Heaven, has gone back to Heaven! He carried manhood with Him and, in so doing, one with Him, His Church, has foundher place. His union to the Godhead has found a place for His Church at the right hand of God, even the Father, where Christsits-and all is as it should be!

As I have already told you, I do not know much about this matter, but I should not wonder if there has been going on, eversince Christ went up to Heaven, a putting things straight-getting this race of creatures into its proper place and that otherrace, and the other race, so that, when we get to Heaven, nobody will say, "You have got my place." Not even Gabriel willsay to me, "Why, what business have you here? You have got my place." No, no-you shall have a place of your own, Beloved-andall the members of Christ's Church shall find a place prepared which no one else shall be able to claim, for nobody shallbe dispossessed or put out of his rightful position.

It struck me, as I turned this subject over in my mind, that our Lord Jesus Christ knew that there was a place to be preparedfor each one of His people. It may be-I cannot tell-that in some part of the society of Heaven, one spirit will be happierthan it might have been in another part. You know that even though you love all the Brethren, you cannot help feeling mostat home with some of them. Our blessed Lord and Master had no sinful favoritism, yet He did love 12

men better than all the rest of His disciples. And out of the 12 He loved three whom He introduced into mysteries from whichHe excluded the other nine. And even out of the three, there was one, you know, who was "that disciple whom Jesus loved."Now, everybody here has his favorites. I do not know if we shall carry anything of that spirit to Heaven. If we do, Christhas so prepared a place for us that you shall be nearest, in your position and occupation, to those who would contribute mostto your happiness. You shall be where you can most honor God and most enjoy God. You would be glad enough to be anywhere-wouldyou not?-with the very least of the saints in Heaven if there 'be any degrees of glory' among their thrones, or at His feet,as long as you might see Christ's face. But, depend upon it, if there is any association-any more intimate connection-betweensome saints than among others, Jesus Christ will so beautifully arrange it that we shall all be in the happiest places.

If you were to give a dinner party and you had a number of friends there, you would like to pick the seats for them. You wouldsay, "Now, there is So-and-So. I know that he would like to sit next to So-and-So." And you would try to arrange it so. Well,in that grand wedding feast above, our Savior has so prepared a place for us that He will find us each the right position.I was talking, this afternoon, with one whom I very dearly love and she said to me, "I hope my place in Heaven will not befar from yours." And I replied, "Well, I trust so, too, but we are not married or given in marriage there." Such ties andsuch relationships must end, as far as they are after the flesh, but we know that there have been bonds of spirit that maystill continue. I sometimes think that if I could have any choice as to those I should live near in Heaven, I should liketo live in the region of such strange folk as Rowland Hill and John Berridge. I think I should get on best with them, forwe could talk together of the way wherein God led us and of how He brought souls to Christ by us. Though some said that wewere a deal too merry when we were down below and that the people laughed when they listened to us, and some spoke as if thatwere a great sin, we will make them laugh up yonder, I guarantee you, as we tell again the wonders of redeeming love and ofthe Grace of God-their mouths shall be filled with laughter and their tongues with singing! And then-

"Loudest of the crowd I'll sing,

While Heaven's resounding mansions ring

With shouts of Sovereign Grace"

and I expect each of you who love the Lord will do the same!

I have no time for the other part of the sermon. You must come again to hear about THE PREPARED PEOPLE. But let me just saythis to you-The place is prepared, are you prepared for it? Do you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ? If so, your preparationhas begun. Do you love the Lord and love His people? If so, your preparation is going on. Do you hate sin and do you pantafter holiness? If so, your preparation is progressing. Are you nothing at all and is Jesus Christ your All-in-All? Then youare almost ready and may the Lord keep you in that condition and, before long, swing up the gates of pearl and let you intothe prepared place!

May the Lord bring us all safely there, for Jesus' sake! Amen.


John 14:1. Let not your heart be troubled: This is one of those verses that you may read as slowly as you like and spell out everyletter and find honey in it all.

1. You believe in God, believe also in Me. As Jews, they had already known and seen the power of God. They were now to riseto the faith of Christians and to believe in Jesus their Savior. Even though they should see Him die, they were not to doubtHim. "You believe in God, believe also in Me."

2. In My Father's house are many mansions. So there is room for many. There are homes for many. There is wealth for many."In My Father's house are many mansions."

2. It were not so, I would have told you. The Savior seems to say to His disciples, "I keep nothing back from you. Had therebeen some sorrowful fact to be revealed to you, I would at length have told you of it."

2. I go to prepare a place for you. ' 'There must be a Heaven, for I am going there, Myself, and I am going on purpose tomake it ready for you."

3. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where Iam, there you maybe also. That is the first and simplest idea of Heaven-to be with Christ-and I think it is the last and most sublime ideaof Heaven, too! To be with Christ-"that where I am, there you may be also."

4, 5. And where I go you know, and the way you know. Thomas said unto Him, Lord, we know not where You go; and how can weknow the way?The Apostles blundered and lost themselves in the words of their Master, instead of entering into the spiritof what He said. So we must not wonder if we often do the same. Unless we wait upon God to be instructed by His Spirit, eventhe most plain passages of Scripture may be obscure to us.

6, 7. Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, but by Me. If you had knownMe, you would have known My Father also. And from henceforth you know Him, and have seen Him. Jesus had been talking aboutthe many mansions and now He talks about the Father. Is the Father, then, the same as Heaven? Yes, indeed-to come to the Fatheris to come to perfect blessedness, to know the fullness of His eternal love and to enjoy it in face-to-face communion-thisis Heaven! What higher bliss can we desire?

8, 9. Philip said unto Him, Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us. Jesus said unto him, Have I been so longwith you, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He that has seen Me has seen the Father, so how can you say, Show us theFather?Do we, then, see the Father when we see Christ? And is the Father's Presence Heaven? Then Christ is Heaven and to bewith Him is Heaven! It is even so. He is the way to Heaven, the truth of Heaven, the life of Heaven. He is Heaven's everything-

"His track I see, and I'll pursue The narrow way, till Him I view"-

and when I view Him, shall I not have seen the Father and have entered into the Father's rest?

10-12. Do you not believe Iam in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of Myself:but the Father that dwells in Me. He does the works. Believe Me that Iam in the Father, and the Father in Me: or else believeMe for the very works' sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes on Me, the works that I do shall he do also;and greater works than these shall he do because I go unto My Father. In consequence of Christ's going to the Father and theSpirit of God descending upon Christ's disciples, they are enabled to outdo their Master in some forms of holy service! Forinstance, some of them brought more to the faith than Christ Himself had done during His lifetime- and so realized the fulfillmentof this promise-"The works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do because I go unto My Father."

Colossians 1:1-14. Paul an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the saints and faithful brethren in Christwho are at Colosse: Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ We give thanks to God and theFather of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love whichyou have to all the saints, for the hope which is laid up for you in Heaven, whereof you heard before in the word of the truthof the Gospel; which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and brings forth fruit, as it does also in you, since theday you heard of it, and knew the Grace of God in truth: as you also learned of Epaphras our dear fellow servant, who is foryou a faithful minister of Christ; who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit. For this cause we also, since the daywe heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdomand spiritual understanding; that you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work,and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto allpatience andlong-suffering with joyfulness; giving thanks unto the Father, who has qualified us to bepartakers of the inheritance of thesaints in the light: who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the Kingdom of His dear Son:in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins. As we read these words, we cannot help noticinghow positively the Apostle speaks. There are no, "hope so," "trust so," "ifs" and, "buts." It is all, "it is so" and, "itis so." And, beloved Brothers and Sisters, concerning eternal matters, nothing but certainties will suffice for us. Allowuncertainties about your estates if you will, but we must have positive assurance concerning eternal things! And nothing shortof this ought to content our spirits. Can we all say, as we listen to these words, "God has delivered us from the power ofdarkness; He has translated us into the Kingdom of His dear Son, in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgivenessof sins"?

15. Who is the image of the invisible God. Admire this delightful passage in which the Apostle seems to burn and glow whilehe describes his Lord and Master, "who is the image of the invisible God."

15-19. The first-born of every creature: for by Him were all things created, that are in Heaven, and that are on earth, visibleand invisible, whether they are thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and forHim: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist And He is the Head of the body, the Church: who is the beginning,the first-born from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him shouldall fullness dwell Blessed be His glorious name! Amen.