The Cross and the Crown
“Be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life.”
The Lord of Glory
“Who are these which are arrayed in white robes; and where did they come from.”
The Apostle John
“These are they which came out of great tribulation and have washed their robe and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.”
One of the Elders
It was now clear that this cross bearing pilgrim had reached the end of his wonderful journey with all its toils and trials. It was seen in his whole appearance and in everything around him. His eyes wandered no more but were steadily fixed on the Lord, observing Him and watching the path He trod. His restless manner had given place to a subdued deportment.
The eagerness of hope could be seen beaming from his countenance, tempered by a submissive spirit. His step was cheerful and the burden seemed to sit lightly, although the weight of the load had not been lightened.
He was walking onward from day to day; a light of heavenly purity was seen shining on his forehead.
In time, he came to part of the road that was exceedingly rugged and painful to travel. In some places it was so steep that he could hardly keep his footing. Sometimes he would suddenly plunge into a gorge where the darkness was like the shadow of death. Yet the same gentle light was always shining around his feet. This was wonderful to behold.
It was a strange place: horrible and yet it did not frighten him. All around him was the light of the heavenly beams. Nothing could live here, except death. Yet the pilgrim could hear angels approaching praising the Lord and welcoming him.
This rugged portion of the road continued for many days of his journey until he came to a high gate stretching across the path with a high wall on both sides of the gate. For a moment he was perplexed not daring to venture on. While he was hesitating, the Lord, whom he had lost sight of for a short time, showed Himself. Jesus Himself opened the doors and looked at the disciple with a smile. At that moment every doubt and fear vanished.
But, who can describe the rest of the scene! The pilgrim gazed in rapturous wonder upon the transformed Face of his Lord. He no longer appeared as the Cross Bearer in his lowly earthly garb, but had on His heavenly robe and crown.
“His head and His hairs were white, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire. And His feet like unto fine brass, as if burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters.”
At His kind call the weary pilgrim sprang through the gateway and in an instant the Lord was taking the cross from his shoulder with His on right hand and casting it away from his sight; and placing upon his brow a beautiful crown.
Soon they passed up a shining way to meet the heavenly hosts approaching him in joyful throngs from the gates of a glorious city that lay in the distance.
What a meeting! What greetings! The child was welcomed home with unutterable joy. But earth cannot hold such joy as attends the pilgrim of earth reaching his heavenly home.
I stood gazing on the enrapturing sight as they all walked toward the city. But in an instant! A cloud hid them from my view.
And this is the end of cross bearing!