CCLXXXVIII. The Cross and the Crown.

REV. ii. 10. “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a
crown of life.”

I. THIS is the law of all true eminence, of all real attain-
ment and dignity. There is no true crown which has not
its cross. Do not envy the trickster and the gambler.
Hold fast this faith.
II. Such is the law of the spiritual world too. There is
a daily martyrdom which wins. Great teachers suffer from
internal fires which waste and consume them. But pain
is not its own end; a crown of life is the end of being.
The day in which we live calls for courage. Convictions
are not sharply cut, and all creeds seem very pleasantly to
melt into each other. But remember that through much
tribulation we must enter into the kingdom, and that for
every crown there is a cross.
III. But for every sanctified cross there is a crown.
Stephen was the first of all the noble army of martyrs. I
have often thought his name very significant. It signifies
the crowned one.
What is life considered as a crown? Too often it is
considered as a cross and a curse. But though my way of
life has often been through graveyards and through glooms,
I have loved and I have been loved, and I know that life
is worth living. Only those for whom abundant entrance
is reserved will receive life as a crown, for it is a gift, a
“I will give thee a crown of life;” that is life in its ful-
ness and freshness. Let us take immortal comfort even
here from the anticipation of the coronation moment and
morning of the soul. He whose are all the diadems of life
will confer, unmixed with the rue and the rosemary which
blend their poison with all the roses of time, a crown of
life, the unfading and the unpoisoning asphodel of the
eternal plains.
Edwin Paxton Hood

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