James Smith, 1860
"Therefore you also ready, for in such an hour as you think not, the Son of Man will come!" Matthew 24:44
The Christian should be prepared for everything that occurs. He is forewarned — that he may be forearmed.
Being in union with Christ,
living in communion with God,
resting upon the precious promises, and
looking forward to the glorious prospects of the Church
— he should always be hopeful, if he cannot be happy. The Master's word to his disciples, when predicting the destruction of Jerusalem, the signs of his coming, and the end of the age, is applicable to him, "Therefore you also ready, for in such an hour as you think not, the Son of Man will come!"
THE IMPORTANT EVENT. The coming of the Son of Man. This is the great prospective event of the world. Jesus came once to put away our sins — and he will come the second time to claim our persons, and complete our salvation.
He will come personally, even as he went up into Heaven.
He will come gloriously, in unequaled grandeur and splendor.
He will come suddenly, as a thief in the night.
When least expected by the world, giving little or no warning, he will come and all his holy angels with him.
He comes, or sends for us, by death, and calls us personally to appear before him, to enter into his glory, and he sometimes sends for his people suddenly, giving them little or no warning. Whether therefore he comes personally in his glory, or sends for us by death — he requires us to be ready.
If the master of the house knew when the thief would come, he would watch and prepare for him, and not allow him to rob him of his property. So we, knowing that the Lord will come, or death will come — but not knowing when, we should watch, and wait, and be prepared for the event.
Death will end all our opportunities, either to secure salvation, wash our robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb, or do good to our fellow-men. How solemn is death! How glorious will the coming of the Son of Man be! O to be prepared, to be quite ready, either to depart and be with Christ, or to welcome the descent of our Lord in the air, when he comes with the clouds of Heaven, in power and great glory!
THE SOLEMN ADMONITION. "Be ready!" Ready to
leave the world . . .
at any moment,
in any way, and
in any place,
the Lord may choose.
Be ready to stand before the Son of Man, either by death, or as caught up bodily to meet him in the air. Be ready, get your sins pardoned, and the evidence of pardon in your own heart. Get your nature sanctified, made fit for the inheritance of the saints in light. Get your affairs settled, set your house in order — that there may be no contention about your temporal things, if death should suddenly remove you. Get satisfactory evidences of your title, and fitness for glory — that there may be no surprise, no doubts or fears at the last. Get your work ready, that your accounts may be soon and easily balanced, so that they may he presented if called for at any moment.
Be also ready, as Stephen was, as Paul was, as thousands beside them have been. Be sure you are in Christ, and be in the Church too — not only united to Christ personally — but also to Christ mystically.
Have you felt your need of Christ? Have you sought the Savior? Have you found him? Have you possessed him? Do you live and walk worthy of your profession? Death often comes very suddenly, very unexpectedly. Death, when it comes, pays no respect to age or station, to state or character — but summons all alike to accompany him into the eternal unseen world, into the presence of God.
Does death come suddenly — unexpectedly? Then, let each of us look well to his state, and make sure of a saving interest in Christ. Let us not be satisfied with uncertain evidences, with a mere hope of being saved; but let us make our calling and election sure.
Does death come suddenly — unexpectedly? Then, let families dwell in love. When we separate in the morning — we know not that we shall meet again at night. If we part at variance with each other, or encouraging any ill feeling toward each other — we may never meet to be reconciled again; and who would like to die at variance with a parent, a child, a brother, a sister, or even a servant. Let us, if possible, live at peace with all, and at all times, that so, die when we may, or where we may — we may die at peace with all mankind.
Does death come suddenly — unexpectedly? Then, let church members act in character. Let each keep his place, do his work, and adorn his profession. Let us walk as children of the light. Be like servants waiting for their Lord, that when he knocks, we may open to him immediately. Let us put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.
Does death come suddenly — unexpectedly. Then, let lost sinners seek the Savior. Nothing can be more important, never can it be more important than now — for, behold, now is the accepted time — now is the day of salvation. Jesus may be found now — but when once the Master of the house has risen up, and shut to the door, it will be in vain to stand outside and knock. Once closed, the door is closed forever. As death finds us — so shall we appear before the Judge of all.
Oh, if death should arrest us suddenly before we have fled to Jesus, before we have obtained salvation by him, how dreadful it will be! But "in such an hour as you think not, the Son of Man may come, therefore be you ready!"
Does death come suddenly — unexpectedly? Then, let all who believe in Christ, profess him. He wishes his people to own him, to imitate him, to obey him. He makes this the test of their love. "If you love me — keep my commandments." He makes this the proof of their friendship. "You are my friends — if you do whatever I command you." He makes this the condition of his manifestations, and abiding with them. "He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves me; and he who loves me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. If a man loves me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."