LET US REASON TOGETHER
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” 1 Pet 3:15
There is certainty of His return. And well may the coming of Christ be Christ be calculated into His people's glory, and enumerated with those ingredients that lead us to a precious rest: for to this end it is intended; and to this end it is of apparent necessity. Come, let us reason together.
For His people's sake He sanctified Himself to His office; for their sake He came into the world, suffered, died, rose, ascended; and for their sake it is that He will return. Whether His own exaltation, or theirs, were His primary intention, is a question to ponder. I find Scripture mentioning both ends distinctly and commonly, but not comparatively. This is most clear, that to this end will Christ come again to receive His people to Himself, “that where He is, there they may be also,” John 14:3. The Bridegroom's departure was not upon divorce; He did not leave us with a purpose to return no more: He has left pledges enough to assure us; we have His word in pledge, His many promises, His rituals, which show forth His death till He come, and His Spirit to direct, sanctify, and comfort, till He return. We have frequent tokens of love from Him, to show us He forgets not His purpose, nor His promises to us. We behold the foretastes of His corning, foretold by Himself, daily come to pass. We see the fig tree put forth her branches, and therefore know the summer is nigh. We see the fields white unto harvest: and though the riotous world say, Our Lord will be long a coming, yet let the saints lift up their heads, for their redemption draws nigh. Dear me! Fellow Christians, what should we do, if our Lord should not return? What a case are we here left in! What! Leave us among wolves, and in the lion's den, among a generation of serpents, and here forget us! Did He buy us so dear, and then cast us off so? To leave us sinning, suffering, groaning, dying daily, and come no more to us? It cannot be; never fear it: it cannot be. This is like our unkind dealing with Christ, who, when we feel ourselves warm in the world, care not for coming to Him; but this is not like Christ's dealing with us. He that would come to suffer will surely come to triumph; and He that would come to purchase, will surely come to possess. Besides! Where else were all our hopes? What would become of our faith, our prayers, our tears, and our waiting? What was all the patience of the saint’s worth to them? Were we not left of all men most miserable? Christians, has Christ made us forsake the entire world, and be forsaken of the entire world; to hate all, and to be hated of all; and all this for Him, that we might have Him instead of all? And will He, mind you, after all this, forget us and forsake us Himself? Far be such a thought from our hearts! But why did He not stay with His people, while He was here? Why must not the Comforter be sent? Was not the work on earth done? Must He not receive the recompense of reward, and enter into His glory? Must He not take possession in our behalf? Must He not go to prepare a place for us? Must He not intercede with the Father; and plead His sufferings, and be filled with the Spirit, to send it forth; and receive authority, to subdue His enemies? Our abode here is short; if He had stayed on earth, what would it have been to enjoy Him for a few days, and then die? But He has more in heaven to dwell among; even the spirits of the just of many generations, there made perfect. Besides, He will have us live by faith, and not by sight. Oh, fellow Christians, what a day will that be, when we, who have been kept prisoners by sin, by sinners, by the grave, shall be fetched out by the Lord Himself; when Christ shall come from heaven to plead with His enemies, and set His captives free! It will not be such a coming as His first was, in meanness, and poverty, and contempt: He will not come to be spit upon, and buffeted, and scorned, and crucified again: He will not come, O careless world, to be slighted and neglected by you anymore. And yet that coming, which was necessarily in infirmity and reproach for our sake, wanted not its glory. If the angels of heaven must be the messengers of that coming, as being “tidings of joy to all people,” Luke 2:22; and the heavenly host must go before or accompany the celebration of his nativity, and must praise God with that solemnity, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men;” Oh, then, with what shouting will angels and saints at that day proclaim, Glory to God, and peace and good will towards men! If the stars of heaven must lead men from remote parts of the world to come to worship a child in a manger, how will the glory of His next appearing constrain the entire world to acknowledge His sovereignty! If the King of Israel, riding on an ass, made His entry into Jerusalem with hosannas, “Blessed be the King that comes in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest!” Luke 19:38; oh with what proclamations of blessings, peace, and glory, will He come toward the New Jerusalem! If, when He was in the form of a servant, they cry out, “What manner of man is this, that both wind and sea obey Him?” Matt. 8:27; what will they say when they see Him coming in His glory, and the heavens and the earth obey Him! “Then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory,” Mark 4:41; Matt. 24:30. Share your many hopes.