"Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

"He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last--I am He that lives, and was dead--and, behold, I am alive for evermore; and have the keys of Hades and of death." Rev. 1:17-18

John was at this moment, in no ordinary sense of the word, one of the weary and burdened. He was left alone of the apostolic band. Many of his fellows and friends had died a martyr's death. Untold cruelties had stained the imperial purple; clouds brooded over the Christian cause. No sympathetic human voice was near to cheer him in his loneliness, as he wandered along the shore of that prison-island. Can we wonder if, in his solitary hours, he grouped himself among the heavy-laden? Can we wonder if these waves of the Aegean Sea were a type of his own inner feelings--so far as earth was concerned, seeking rest and finding none? His earthly home and Hospice was a desolate and terrible one.

But the Rest-Giver, He who of old permitted him in tranquil love to pillow his head on His bosom, was near with the well-known lullabies which he had heard amid the pauses of the storm on Tiberias, and at the timid gathering in the upper room on the first Easter evening--"Fear not;" "I am alive!" Among the prognostications of coming evil and disaster conveyed in vision of opened seals and emptied vials--Hades and Death specially active participators in the drama--He reveals Himself as the great Lord of life, watching, as such, the destinies of the Church--not a seal broken, not a vial outpoured, without His bidding--walking in the midst of the golden candlesticks, and alone pronounced "worthy" to open the roll of Providence.

Life and Death alternate and palpitate, strangely in this verse. DEATH, the mystery and portent of mankind; death, which lies like a cold avalanche on the heart of humanity; death, with its ghastly tapers lighting the long corridors of the past; death, the most irresistible of all natural forces, is here confronted by a Force mightier still--"I am alive for evermore;" "I have the keys of that gloomy gate, opening to the vast unknown, suspended at my belt. 'Fear not!' I Myself know death. I have felt it. I have passed through its portals. I was dead; but I have conquered it and its defiances, spoiled it of its power, and left the King of Terrors a vanquished foe. I have converted the very home of death, the grave, into a veritable Hospice, a 'cemetery,' a sleeping-place or bed of rest, preparatory to a waking up in endless life. 'Write, From henceforth blessed are the dead which die in the Lord; for they rest.'"

"There is no death--the leaves may fall,
The flowers may fade and pass away;
They only wait through wintry hours
The coming of the May!"

O weary and heavy-laden ones, who, it may be, through fear of death are all your lifetime subject to bondage, fear it not. Your Lord was dead. Fear not the chill tenets of the prophets of annihilation, who meet the yearnings of humanity with the requiem of despair– "Sleep the sleep that knows no waking."

Your Lord lives. Leave to paganism to carve on its sepulchral slabs--"The land of no return." He is alive forever more. He will come again in His advent glory to take you to Himself, and to transplant you among the ingathered company of His ransomed.

"Therefore dread I not to go
O'er the silent river.
Death, your hastening oar I know;
Bear me, you Life-giver,
Through the waters to the shore,
Where mine own have gone before!''

He gives us, meanwhile, the sublime guarantee– "Because I live, you shall live also."

"This is the resting place, let the weary rest. This is the place of repose." Isaiah 28:12

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