For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope.—ROM. 8:20.
All who have ever possessed a measure of life have felt the restraints that have deprived them of its full enjoyment. An "adversary" has been permitted to snatch away from us the glorious gift of life bestowed by our Creator. For a few brief years we catch [R781 : page 6] here and there glimpses of the inestimable boon, and then yield up the last vestige to his insatiable demands.
He has but to lift up his imperious sceptre, and millions hasten to lay down this treasure at his feet and pass into his prison-house, from whose dark recesses no sound ever yet fell on mortal ear. Relentlessly he pursues all, unmoved by the sighs and groans and tears that reach to heaven.
When one contemplates the misery, the untold suffering, the anguish that for six thousand years have been permitted to prey upon the race, it seems a wonder that despair has not taken possession of almost all hearts, and hurried them rashly to terminate an existence that offered them so little of enjoyment—so much of pain. But here was another opportunity for God to manifest his love. He so loved the world that he gave, to accompany man on his weary pilgrimage, HOPE. Like a good angel, Hope enters the heart of the weary toiler, and beguiles him with visions of ease and plenty. Hope transforms the chamber of suffering and woe into an abode of happiness and peace.
She approaches the weary watcher keeping vigil at the bedside of some loved one, and quickly the pallor of death gives place to the flush of health, and the emaciated form recovers its fair proportions.
To-day the storm rages and darkness prevails, but to-morrow the sun will gild the heavens, and no storm traces remain. Hope whispers in the ear of that mother whose first-born has been smitten by an arrow from Death's quiver; her grief is assuaged, her tears are dried, and life is again possessed of some joys. The light from this good angel's presence penetrates the prison-house of Despair, and the strong bolts melt away; the chains that bound the many victims become as ropes of sand, and the prisoners arise and walk forth. When the shadow of Death darkens our threshold, and benumbs the senses, and the heart has almost ceased its pulsations, Hope whispers, "You shall live again," and points to an existence unfettered by the restraints of the present life, and unaffected by its evils. Not the Christian alone is blessed by her ministrations, but the vast millions unlightened by revelation as well.
To the former she brings sweet comfort from God's promises, which never have failed those that have trusted in them. To the latter she points out the many evidences of a Creator's love, for he hath not left himself without witnesses of this. (Acts 14:17.) Soon these promises will be more than realized in manifestation of the "sons of God" commissioned to "restore all things." Then shall Death be compelled to release his prisoners, for at the command of the Son of man all that are in their graves shall come forth to the judgment of Jesus and the saints. John 5:28; 1 Cor. 6:2; Psa. 149:9.
Then will be accomplished that which so long ago was promised to faithful Abraham, that in his seed all the families of the earth should be blessed. (Gen. 22:18.) Then all the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before him. Psa. 22:27.