The Cloud of Witnesses

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So many were the wonderful works which our Saviour did on earth, that not even the world itself could have contained the books recording them. Nor have His marvels been less since He ascended on high; – those works of higher grace and more abiding fruit, wrought in the souls of men, from the first hour till now, – the captives of His power, the ransomed heirs of His kingdom, whom He has called by His Spirit working in due season, and led on from strength to strength till they appear before His face in Zion. Surely not even the world itself could contain the records of His love, the history of those many Saints, that ‘cloud of Witnesses, whom we today celebrate, His purchased possession in every age! We crowd these all up into one day; we mingle together in the brief remembrance of an hour all the choicest deeds, the holiest lives, the noblest labours, the most precious sufferings, which the sun ever saw. Even the least of those Saints were the contemplation of many days, – even the names of them, if read in our Service, would outrun many settings and risings of the light, – even one passage in the life of one of them were more than sufficient for a long discourse. ‘Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel?’ Martyrs and Confessors, Rulers and Doctors of the Church, devoted Ministers and Religious brethren, kings of the earth and all people, princes and judges of the earth, young men and maidens, old men and children, the first fruits of all ranks, ages, and callings, gathered each in his own time into the paradise of God.

All Saints PPS II p. 393-394.    30 November, 1831