Now that the church is rapidly nearing the Home-call and the longed-for moment, when the Lord will fulfil His promise of coming again and receiving us to Himself, so that where He is we may be also, does it not become us to raise our thoughts and enlarge our expectations in view of the mighty translation that must be so near at hand?
“Hope deferred,” we read, “maketh the heart sick,” and there is more than the possibility of that sickness so depressing the spirit that hands begin to hang down, and knees to become feeble.
Not, however, that the Lord delayeth His coming; for, what seems long to us is not so to Him, to whom a thousand years are only a day; but as time is the great test of endurance, so, as weary years drag on, we become impatient and ready to droop. So it was with Israel in Egypt when the deliverance expected at the hand of Moses failed to reach the suffering people as quickly as they had hoped. But the mills of God, in grinding slowly, did their work on Pharaoh in their own good time, if not in that of Israel.
So, again, when the people had lost sight of their leader when receiving the “lively oracles” on the fiery mount, becoming impatient, prepared to return to Egypt, saying, “As for this Moses we wot not what is become of him,” the sickness of deferred hope had stricken them.
For a like impatience of spirit King Saul forfeited his crown.
The loss of patience and of hope is the sign of coming collapse; and against such a thing we, today, must contend.
Never was a day so truly full of hope; never was the coming of the Lord so near; never, throughout these dreary centuries, was there a time when, with yearning hearts turned heavenward, the church of God, as a concrete whole, should be looking thence for the Saviour—the longed-for Deliverer—to accomplish, in a moment, that glorious translation, according to the power (a wonderful power indeed) whereby He is able to subdue all things unto Himself (Phil. 3).
Let our earnest gaze be heavenward while our hearts, more than ever, await their divinely implanted craving of seeing Him face to face.
How will our eyes to see His face delight,
Whose love has cheered us thro’ the darksome night.”
Oh! but the night has been dark and drear, and the road steep and long, and the bride of His heart is weary and travel-stained! She feels His absence; she longs for Himself; she finds no home here below; she pants for the ineffable joys of the Father’s House—its rest, its comfort, its love and light; its full unison of heart and hand; its sacred circle undivided for ever; its immunity from every form of evil, its unfettered enjoyment of full spiritual power in such worship as shall be to the glory of the Father and the Son for ever!
But is the longing all on her side? No, no, most surely not. It is stronger far on His.
Consider His closing words to her as He says, “I am the bright and Morning Star”—herald of day and of Home!
A star so long hidden from view by the shades of night, breaks at length in the distant sky to cheer the weary watcher and tell him that his vigil is over. That star is the star of morning! The night and its testing is past; no need for patience and hope now.
“The eye at last beholdeth
What the heart has loved so long.”
The expectation is gratified; the heart is at rest. And that star calls Himself a “bright” star. But why “bright”?
Just in order to place Himself in contrast with the signal failure of that profession of His holy name which has, alas, sunk down from its pristine power and separation to God (as we see in the Acts of the Apostles) to a condition so nauseous that it has to be utterly ejected, as we read in the address to Laodicea.
Whilst He remains “bright,” the profession has dropped into fearful moral pollutions until He can only describe it as wretched, blind, and naked.
To this profession He is nothing but the Judge, and it doubly guilty before Him; but to the bride He appears, at the soon coming close of her long and tremulous vigil, as the Star of the Morning, as bright and glorious and unchanged as ever!
How bright her prospect; how bright her hope; how bright the Star of that hope!
To Him “the Spirit and the bride say ‘come.’” And our hope, so long deferred, will, very soon, give place to sight, and our feeble faith to glad fruition.
Meanwhile, as the shore is nearing, and the perils of the voyage are almost over, may we say the one to the other, “Be of good cheer, for I believe God that it shall be even as it was told me.”
“Let not your heart be troubled . . . I will come again.”