"I will go in the strength of the Lord God" (Ps. 71:16). The Feast is ended—but let me solemnly feel that the vow remains. The pledge to the Great Redeemer has been given—the fulfillment is to come. All the sincerity of this fresh consecration is yet to be proved—all the fidelity to the Heavenly Captain—all the loyalty to the Heavenly King. Will He who walks in the midst of the candlesticks—the Blessed Master of assemblies, be able on the next similar sacred occasion to say of me, as He did to the Church of Philadelphia of old—"You have kept my word, and have not denied my name"?
My position recalls that of the old Hebrew Paschal Pilgrims, which formed the theme of meditation today—as the silver trumpets proclaimed that the feast was ended—and caravan by caravan, company by company, were seen retraversing the familiar highways to their several distant homes. The imperious call of work summoned them again to their appointed labors. Nor was there any incongruity between the two. Work—everyday work—the drudgery of brain and hand and sinew was a divine thing then as now. The Passover was not appointed, or designed to be, a perpetual Feast all the year round. Rather—(one at least of its purposes was, apart from its commemorative object), to fortify and invigorate for the duties of a busy world. These Israelites would doubtless carry back to their homes and their toil many hallowed festal memories. Their cares would be lightened—their sorrows soothed, their faith quickened; their devotion to the God of their Fathers deepened and intensified, by all they had witnessed in the City of Solemnities.
In common with my fellow-communicants I now leave the New Testament Passover Feast to retraverse the beaten paths of life; to return, some of us to its green pastures and still waters, and the sunshine slopes of its 'Delectable Mountains;'—others, to its 'Hill Difficulties,' its Marah pools and valleys of Baca. But, along with higher and diviner verities there taught, may we all feel it, as it was designed also to be, a strengthener in the discharge of daily duty—the old tribal blessing and beatitude of Israel's God resting upon us—"Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out, and Issachar in your tents." The Lord God our Sun and Shield—grace given us in this world, and the the promise of glory in the next (Ps. 84:11).—Happy is that people that is in such a case, yes happy is that people whose God is the Lord.
This suggests a similar lesson from a different portion of God's Word, which also formed subject of recent contemplation. It is the beautiful vision of the girded angels given in the Book of Revelation (15:6); and to whom the words were addressed by the Great Voice out of the Temple—"Go your ways." These angels had been listening with rapt reverence to the song of the Harpers by the glassy sea. But the hour of duty had come. Forth they go to the world beneath them, to execute the behests of their divine Lord.
Am I leaving the "Temple of the Tabernacle of the testimony," like them, "clothed in white and pure linen, and girded with golden belts"? Am I about to return to my daily avocations with the blessedness of the pure in heart who have seen God? resolved, in a strength greater than my own, to keep my garments clean—"unspotted from the world," having my loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness—desirous to follow the path of obedience whatever that may be—filling my earthly sphere for His glory and my neighbor's good—ready, when my task is finished, to bring, angel-like, the emptied incense bowls of service, and lay them at the Master's feet, saying—'Lord, I have sought, however unworthily and imperfectly, to do Your holy will'?
"Go your ways," says God. What the ways before me may be in this uncertain world, I cannot tell. Be this my comfort, that the summoning Voice is His. "The Lord is in His Holy Temple, let all the earth keep silence before Him." There is elsewhere given the promise and assurance—"In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."
It is not the resolutions of a Communion season I must trust to. Rather, it is the going out into the world which will test and try their reality. Who has not read of the Roman legions of old, in pursuit of their Parthian foe, how they stood most in danger, not in the glow and excitement of triumph, but in following up the victory! The Parthian bowmen on swift horses, ever and anon wheeled round in their retreat, and emptied their quivers on the pursuing enemy, strewing the march of the conquerors, even more than the battlefield, with their slain. "When you think you stand," is the farewell monitory word which may well be heard in the name of the Great Master of the Feast—"take heed lest you fall." "Beware lest you also, being led away by the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness; but grow in grace."
"The holy rite is o'er—the blessed sign