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FOUR STEPS OF A COMPLETED WORK

                            IN NARRATING the work of creation, what statement is made concerning its completion?

                        "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made." Genesis 2:1, 2.

NOTE.—God's work here referred to was "very good." Genesis 1:31. Had it not been for sin, this first plan of God would not have been followed by the three steps we shall now study.

When expiring on the cross, what did Christ say?

"When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, /t is finished: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost." John 19:30.

NOTE.—Christ came into the world to save sinners. Costly though the price was, He paid it. Bitter as was the cup, He drank its last dregs. In that final moment He said, "It is finished."

At the pouring out of the seventh plague, what announcement will be made?

"And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, /t is done." Revelation 16:17.

    NoTE.—This outpouring of God's wrath is upon the rejecters of Heaven's mercy. Human probation has closed, and when the great voice cries, "It is done," Christ starts on His way to earth the second time.

And when the new heavens and the new earth have appeared, and the holy city, New Jerusalem, has descended from God and become the metropolis of the new creation, what announcement will then be made?

"And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things— new. And He said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And He said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end." Revelation 21:5, 6.

PLEASURES FOREVERMORE

In the new earth, what will be no more?

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and.  there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Verse 4. "And there shall be no more curse." Revelation 22:3.

What will then be the condition of all the earth?

"The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." Isaiah 11:6-9.

How does the prophet again speak of this time?

"The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing." Isaiah 14:7. What universal chorus of praise will then be heard? "And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." Revelation 5:13.

SEEING HIM AS HE IS

What will finally be the privilege of God's children?

"And they shall see His face." Revelation 22:4.

How perfect will be their knowledge of God?

"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." 1 Corinthians 13:12.

Whom will they be like?

"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." 1 John 3:2.

FORGETTING

From what ills will the saints be forever delivered?

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Revelation 21:4. How completely will the pains and sorrows of the former world pass away? "For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the for- mer shall not be remembered, nor come into mind." Isaiah 65:17. Margin, "Come upon the heart"; i.e., to be desired.

EVERLASTING PEACE AND PLEASURE

Who will dwell with the redeemed?

"He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God." Revelation 21:3.

What will it mean to dwell in God's presence?

"In Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." Psalms 16:11.

What peaceful condition will prevail in the earth made new?

"They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." Isaiah 11:9.

JOY REIGNS FOREVER AND EVER

How will the ransomed of the Lord return to Zion?

"And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." Isaiah 35:10.

How enduring will be their pleasures?

"For as the days of a tree are the days of My people, and Mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands." Isaiah 65:22.

How long will they possess the future kingdom?

"But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever." Daniel 7:18.

How Long will they reign?

"And they shall reign for ever and ever." Revelation 22:5.

THE GAME OF LIFE IN PROGRESS

IN these three striking pictures illustrating the game of life, Satan, the prince of darkness, is represented as playing with man for his soul. The stakes are high, and with desperate earnestness man pits himself against the enemy of righteousness. The scene chosen is a wide-arched vault, beneath which are a table and a chessboard. On one side sits man, his head resting on his hand, and his coun- tenance full of careful thought over what move he should make next.  • Opposite him is Satan, seated, his chin resting on his hand, his eyes full of malice, and every feature expressive of cunning intent, and a determination to watch every move, take advantage of every mistake, and win if possible. Beneath the arch, in the background, stands a lovely angel un- noticed by either of the players, but watching intently the progress of the game.

HERE we see the results of the game lost. Satan has been victorious. With a wild and horrid leer and • a deathlike grip he has seized his victim, and in triumph points to the sure but gruesome signs of death,—the skulls and crossbones. In sadness and despair man sits, with covered face, and weeps over his defeat. His hope is gone; he knows no peace; he feels the icy clasp of his conquering foe. With keen regret, he now ponders over his loss of faith, his neglect of prayer, and his failure to study and follow his Guide- book. Life, with its opportunities for gaining the life to come, has been wasted; and now, when it is too late to make amends, he sees his fatal moves and his great mistakes. With unutterable sadness the angel turns from the scene and weeps, because another soul has missed the way of life eternal. The entire view is one of inexpressible sorrow, regret, and fearful foreboding.

THE GAME OF LIFE WON

IN the closing scene of this allegorical representation of man's conflict with the powers of darkness, we have pictured the happy issue of a faithful Christian life. Satan has been defeated, and has departed, an antagonist who has lost his power. The open Word and the cross speak of victory. Instead of sitting in sorrow and mourning over defeat, the man, with cheerful looks and thankful heart, lifts his eyes toward heaven, and rejoices that he has met and vanquished his deadly foe. The angel, with joyful satisfaction, points the victor to his ex- ceeding great reward, while a heavenly light shines upon the scene in token of divine approval. This is the game which all, whether conscious of the fact or not, are playing. What its outcome will be in each case depends upon how each one meets and fights life's battle day by day. All may be victors if they will. "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." Proverbs 4:23.

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