James Smith, 1865
"The days of your mourning shall be ended." Isaiah 60:20
Abe you a mourning Christian, one of Zion's doves. If so, I bring you glad tidings of great joy — the end is just before you, the place is prepared for you, when and where, the days of your mourning shall be ended. Your Savior is speaking to you, when He says, "Blessed are you who mourn — for you shall be comforted." His Father sent Him into the world to "comfort all who mourn"; and He tabernacled here among us "as one that comforts the mourners."
Mourning, though lengthy — is limited; though sharp — it must be short. "Weeping may endure for a night — but joy comes in the morning." That morning will soon break upon us, and all its glorious consequences will be realized by us. Yes, soon, very soon, the days of our mourning shall be ended. In the passage we have,
First, the believer's Present Experience, "Mourning." O how many things conspire to make him mourn. In himself, he sees and feels so much that is opposed to the will of God. So much sin. So much selfishness. Such awful corruptions. Such imperfect graces. A painful, and almost incessant conflict. "He would do good — but evil is present with him." To will that which is good — he feels at full liberty; but how to perform it — perplexes and troubles him. He thirsts and pants for perfect purity — but swarms of evil thoughts, floods of foul corruption, and troops of sinful lusts, dismay and distress him. He daily finds the flesh lusting against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh — so that he cannot do the things that he would. If he could but be holy! If he could but abstain from sin! If he could but cleanse his heart! But he cannot, and therefore he mourns sorely and often.
Besides this, there is so much in the family, in the world, and even in the church of God — which causes him grief, and fills him with sadness. His house is not so with God — as he wishes it to be. The world still lies in the wicked one. The church is divided, worldly, and lukewarm. These things make him mourn.
He also mourns the absence of Jesus. His Lord is away. He is gone to receive the kingdom. He longs to see the face of his Beloved, to stand before Him, to walk with Him, and to receive directly from Him. But this is not his privilege at present, and at times doubts and fears creep in, and he fears it never will be. His gracious presence is but seldom enjoyed — and he fears that His glorious presence may be denied him! The very thought, the mere supposition, fills him with grief and sorrow. His harp is often on the willows. He weeps by the streams of Babylon. He longs to flee away and be at rest. But his very mourning springs from grace — and proves his new birth. It is evangelical. It has always hope at the bottom. It is limited to days; "the days of your mourning shall be ended." This is then,
Secondly, his Future Prospect.The last mourning day will soon come, and then there will be . . .
The soul will be set free at death — and the body at the resurrection. The emancipated soul is perfectly holy, fully delivered from indwelling sin; it sees Jesus as He is, for absent from the body, it is present with the Lord. It enjoys the company of the glorified saints and holy angels. It enjoys perfect and everlasting freedom, from all its fears, darkness, and privations — and is perfectly happy. It finds as David anticipated when he says, "In your presence is fullness of joy, and at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore."
Mourning is ended, sackcloth and ashes are put off, and the wedding garment is put on; the sable shroud is laid aside, and the pure white robe is worn. The soul now greatly rejoices in the Lord, and eternally triumphs in its God. It is with Jesus, it is like Jesus, it is full of love to Jesus, it is perfectly happy in Jesus. It sees His face, it hears His voice, it possesses His blessings, it is ravished with His love. O unutterable joy! O inconceivable glory! The days of its mourning are ended — but its day of joy and perfect satisfaction, will never end. It is forever!
Mourning believer, you will soon go to be with Jesus — or, which sometimes appears to be better still, Jesus will come to be with you. Yes, Jesus said, "I will come again," and He will. He will soon be here. His chariot will not long delay. The whole creation groans, the whole church mourns; and His beloved bride is inviting and entreating His return. He is coming! Yes, He is coming — and when once He appears, the mourning days of His beloved and blood-bought bride will be ended! O glorious termination of our course of sorrow! O glorious consummation of our hopes and desires! O happiness, full, perfect, and perpetual! "Come, Lord Jesus! Come quickly!"
But how different the case of the unsaved sinner. He laughs now — but he will mourn and weep then. That is an awful passage for the sinner, "Behold He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen." O sinner, how will you endure the day of His coming? How will you stand when He appears? His countenance will be like lightning, and His eyes as a flame of fire, and His voice as the majestic roar of many waters. What will you do? How will you feel? What can you say? O flee, flee to His open arms now; rest not until your sins are washed away in His blood, and your person is justified in His glorious righteousness! Seek, seek and obtain a pardon, and a sentence of justification from His lips.
Reader, do you now mourn over sin? Your own sins? Your heart sins? Do you mourn over all around you, sighing and crying for all the abominations that are done in the land? Happy mourner — you shall be comforted. Are you living in the joyful expectation of your mourning days being soon terminated? Death to you, will be the gate of life. The coming of Jesus, will be the grand Jubilee of your soul. Is the coming of Jesus your blessed hope, the object of your ardent, unquenchable desire? If so, blessed are you, for the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. Lift up your head, for your redemption draws near, deliverance is at hand, the days of your mourning will soon be ended!