Monday, September 10, 2007

The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!"

“The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!"

This is and always has been the universal cry of the church of Jesus Christ. There is no one common theory about the exact meaning of that coming, but there is one common desire for it, in some form or other. Some of us are expecting the bodily coming, because the angel said when the cloud concealed the rising Christ, “This same Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” We therefore look for his descent upon the earth in person, to be here literally among us. Some expect that when he comes it will be to reign upon the earth, making all things new and bringing to his people a glorious period of a thousand years, in which there shall be perpetual Sabbath rest. Others think that when he cometh he will come to judge the world, and that the day of his appearing is rather to be regarded as the end of all things and the conclusion of this dispensation than as the commencement of the age of gold. There are some who think the millennium a dream, and the coming of Christ in person to be a mere fancy, but they believe that he will come spiritually, and they are looking for a time when the gospel shall spread very wonderfully, and there will be an extraordinary power about the ministrations of the word, so that nations shall run unto him and be converted to his truth. Now it would be very interesting to take up these various statements and speculations, but we do not want to do so, because after all, in whatever way men look at it, all the true people of God still desire the coming of Christ, and so long as he draws near they are content. They may have more or less light about the manner of it, but still the coming of Christ has been ever since the time when he departed the great wish and desire, yea and the agonizing prayer of the church of God.

“Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus,” is the cry of the whole host of the Lord’s elect. It is true that some have not always desired this coming from motives of the most commendable kind, and many become more than ever earnest in this prayer when they have been in a state of disappointment and sorrow, but still that which they desire is a right thing, and a promised blessing to be given in its time. I suppose the file of sorrow will always give a keener edge to the desire of Christ’s coming. Luther on one occasion, when much discouraged, said, “May the Lord come at once! Let him cut the whole matter short with the day of judgment; for there is no amendment to be expected.” When we get into this state of mind the desire, though right in appearance, may not be quite as pure as we think. Desires and prayers which grow out of unbelief and petulance can hardly be of the very best order. Perhaps when we more patiently wait and quietly hope, we may not be quite so feverishly anxious for the speedy coming, and yet our state of mind may be more sober and more truly watchful and acceptable than when we showed more apparent eagerness. Waiting must sit side by side with desiring: patience must blend with hope. The Lord’s “quickly” may not be my “quickly”; and if so, let him do what seemeth him good. It may be a better thing after all for our Lord to tarry a little longer, that so by a more lengthened conflict he may the better manifest the patience of the saints and the power of the eternal Spirit. It may be the Lord may linger yet a while, and if so, while the church desires his speedy advent, she will not quarrel with her Master, nor dictate to him, nor even wish to know the times and the seasons. “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly,” is her heart’s inmost wish, but as for the details of his coming she leaves them in his hands.

From a sermon entitled "The Two 'Comes." Delivered December 31, 1876.

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