shall fade and perish, our moral character shall alone
survive. Riches, honours, possessions, pleasures
of all kinds: death, with one stroke of his desolating
hand, shall one day strip us bare to a winding-sheet
and a coffin of all the things we are so mad to possess.
But the last enemy, with all his malice and all his
resistless power, cannot touch our moral character—unless
it be in some way utterly mysterious to us that he
is made under God to refine and perfect it.
The Express Image carried up to His Father’s
House, not only the divine life He had brought hither
with Him when He came to obey and submit and suffer
among us; He carried back more than He brought, for
He carried back a human heart, a human life, a human
character, which was and is a new wonder in heaven.
He carried up to heaven all the love to God and angels
and men He had learned and practised on earth, with
all the earthly fruits of it. He carried back
His humility, His meekness, His humanity, His approachableness,
and His sympathy. And we see to our salvation
some of the uses to which those parts of His moral
character are at this moment being put in His Father’s
House; and what we see not now of all the ends and
uses and employments of our Lord’s glorified
humanity we shall, mayhap, see hereafter. And
we also shall carry our moral character to heaven;
it is the only thing we have worth carrying so far.
But, then, moral character is well worth achieving
here and then carrying there, for it is nothing else
and nothing less than the divine nature itself; it
is the divine nature incarnate, incorporate, and made
manifest in man. And it is, therefore, immortal
with the immortality of God, and blessed for ever with
the blessedness of God.
’Do the work of an evangelist.’—Paul
On the 1st of June 1648 a very bitter fight was fought
at Maidstone, in Kent, between the Parliamentary forces
under Fairfax and the Royalists. Till Cromwell
rose to all his military and administrative greatness,
Fairfax was generalissimo of the Puritan army, and
that able soldier never executed a more brilliant
exploit than he did that memorable night at Maidstone.
In one night the Royalist insurrection was stamped
out and extinguished in its own blood. Hundreds
of dead bodies filled the streets of the town, hundreds
of the enemy were taken prisoners, while hundreds
more, who were hiding in the hop-fields and forests
around the town, fell into Fairfax’s hands next
Among the prisoners so taken was a Royalist major
who had had a deep hand in the Maidstone insurrection,
named John Gifford, a man who was destined in the
time to come to run a remarkable career. Only,
to-day, the day after the battle, he has no prospect
before him but the gallows. On the night before
his execution, by the courtesy of Fairfax, Gifford’s
sister was permitted to visit her brother in his prison.