(This outer world we tread on) as a harp--
A gracious instrument on whose fair strings
We learn those airs we shall be set to play
When mortal hours are ended.
In every moment of our days, when once our hearts are yielded to His service, God is working in and through us. Hitherto, perhaps, our little world has only been large enough to hold self and the present. But, gradually, through tender leadings and unfoldings, and, it may be, through pain and suffering, we come to learn life's lesson,--that it is God's world, not ours; that our existence is not finished and rounded off here, but forms part of one vast scheme to which all the horizon round them grows and expands too, until it touches the shore of the illimitable future, and we become conscious that earth and heaven are not so far separated but that the first is but the vestibule of the second,--imperfect, cloudy, full of broken fragments, but still part of the same Temple of God as that to which we shall pass in by and by.
Our present life in Christ may be compared to that of the seed; a hidden life, contending underground against cold and darkness and obstructions, yet bearing within its breast the indestructible germ of vitality. Death lifts the soul into the sunshine for which a hidden, invisible work has prepared it. Heaven is the life of the flower.