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his servants, and that in the dispensation of his gifts none should be forgotten, he immediately adds, “ Verily, I say unto you, there is no man,” marking that the blessing he is about to promise should not be limited to the apostles, “ there is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake and the Gospel's, but he shall receive an hundred-fold now in this time; houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions, and in the world to come eternal
If then you seek assurance of your reward, behold it here; but observe that it is at the same time coupled with the assurance of suffering. A real, heartfelt reception of the Gospel of Christ may, and often does, bring with it, even at the present day, a species of persecution—the jeer, the taunt, the private sarcasm, the public ridicule: it may be accompanied
by the coldness of worldly friends, or the loss of the good opinion of those you love; it may separate the wife from the husband, the child from the parent, not as the necessary consequence of the Gospel of peace, but, as the apostle expresses it, of “ the carnal heart, which is enmity against God.”4 Our Lord well knew, that these would in all ages be amongst the most painful trials of his followers; and therefore he left on record this blessed assurance of a proportionate reward, and observe how admirably adapted to the necessities of his people.
We will imagine a case which we trust is not common at present, but which we fear is at no time positively unknown. Your devotion to the commands of your Redeemer, your desire “to live godly in Christ Jesus,"5 no longer “to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the
4 Rom. viii. 7. 5 2 Tim. iii. 12.
renewing of your mind,” has alienated
6 ' from you the affections of
the affections of your natural counsellors and friends; the members of your own family look coldly upon you : where you were accustomed to meet with kindness, you encounter reproach, and in the bitterness of your first feeling of anguish, you are ready almost to ask, how can even a Saviour recompense me for these things ? It is in this state of mind that you will learn to appreciate the beautiful compensation of the promise. It is here, on earth, and in these tender relationships, that you have suffered thus acutely for the sake of Christ; then, independently of your purchased reward hereafter; independently of the real joys which even here, the Saviour's felt, and acknowledged presence, will bestow, you shall be abundantly recompensed. For every relative you have lost, for
have estranged from
you, “you shall receive,” says our
6 Rom. xii. 2.
Lord, “an hundred-fold now in this present time, brethren, and sisters, and mothers.” Those who bear the Saviour's image, and love the Saviour's name, love also the Saviour's people, and will be to you, even while on earth, more affectionate, more valuable, more endeared, than the nearest earthly relative, uninfluenced by these spiritual feelings, could have ever been. These are co the brethren and sisters, and mothers,” who shall never fail you, but having gladdened your path by the endearments of Christian friendship here below, shall be united to you yet more closely, when you shall together “shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of your Father.”? 7
The next incident, to which I shall desire your attention, in the life of him, upon whose history we are commenting, is one of the deepest interest to every believer; one in which, we shall find Peter himself not so much a speaker, as a hearer, sitting at the feet of his Divine Master, and making an inquiry upon a subject, which has in all ages deeply engaged the thoughts, and attentions of the true church of Christ ; but perhaps at no one period since that inquiry was made, so universally as at the present. We are informed, in the 24th chapter of St. Matthew, that the disciples, filled with admiration at the architectural magnificence of the temple, had called the attention of our Lord to its beauties, and in reply, that he had forewarned them that the time was coming, when - there should not be left one stone upon another, which should not be thrown down.” The inspired historian then continues : “ As Jesus sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be ? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world ?” The reply to the former of these inquiries,
7 Matt. xiii. 43.