Notice to Quit

I remember seeing years ago in Ireland a village in ruins. All the cottages in it were roofless and uninhabited. I was told that the people who once lived in them had refused to pay the rent and had been evicted. That down-tumbled village was a melancholy sight, but it was a parable to me. We dwell in "the earthly house of our tabernacle" — you, my reader, and I, and we have received "Notice to Quit." Why? God is the landlord, He is the designer and builder of our bodies; "He gives to all life and breath and all things"; consequently He has claims upon us, and we have not met them, nor even desired to. We were all alike in that respect, until some of us — but that is another matter that we don't enter into here — we did not pay the rent, we were determined not to; "we turned everyone to his own way," and that is why notice to quit has been served upon us. We are awaiting eviction — some of us have a better hope, but again that is another matter. The truth is, "It is appointed to men once to die." The grim bailiff DEATH has his work to do and when the time comes he will do it regardless of our feelings. To some he comes suddenly, and without warning evicts them from their earthly dwelling, but however and whenever he comes the long cherished and tenderly cared for tabernacle falls into ruin, nothing can save it, and the question is, and it is the greatest of all questions surely to the man involved, What of the one who dwelt in it?

Suppose the landlord of those defaulting Irish folk had sent a message to them of this sort, "You have failed in your obligations, and in justice I must have you evicted from the cottages in which you have lived and disregarded my claims, but when the time comes for you to be turned out, I will open the doors of my mansion and welcome you to my home; you shall live with me and on my bounty. It will be my pleasure to have your company."

I have never heard of a landlord of that sort among men; if there had been such an one, his fame would have spread to the ends of the earth, and his deed would have been the theme of many a story book; but it is my business and joy to make known the fact that such a landlord God is. He has thrown open the doors of His house — and there are many mansions there, there is room for all. And in the gospel which is now preached to men, God tells them, that though all have got notice to quit, for death has passed upon all men, for that all have sinned, yet He will welcome to His home whosoever will accept His invitation when the time of their eviction comes. It is a surprising offer, and the more so that it is made to those who are His enemies, and alienated from Him by wicked works.

When this great and gracious gospel is heard and believed, the believer of it no longer dreads the approach of death as an inexorable enemy, but can welcome it as a friend, who does but assist him to step out of a tired and suffering body into the presence of his Saviour — he enters into fullness of joy for he is "absent from the body, present with the Lord" there to await the final and eternal glory, "for we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."

Yes, it is a wonderful thing, and it is as true as it is wonderful, this offer that God is making to men — to men driven out of an earthly paradise, which was forfeited by disobedience, and under sentence of death for the same reason! Think of it and marvel at it, a place in the heavenly paradise through the merits of the Saviour's blood, and better still a place in the Father's house, which is in the midst of that paradise. the innermost and most intimate place of all! How attractive! How blessed a home is this to all those who know their Saviour's love! It is,

"… the Father's house
  Where love divine doth rest;
What else could satisfy the hearts
  Of those in Jesus blest?"
"Our eyes undimmed shall there our God behold,
  Behold him face to face, and walk by sight,
Not trusting only, as in days of old,
  But seeing with our eyes eternal 'Light.'"

But what of those who do not believe, those who with an evil heart of unbelief neglect this great salvation or reject it because it comes to men only through the Name of the once crucified but now risen Lord Jesus Christ? There is but one answer to that question, and it is found in His own words, "If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins: and whither I go, ye cannot come" (John 8:21-24). And "The rich man died also, and was buried, and in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments" (Luke 16:22-23).