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4. Because of its bearing upon Christ Himself.

Our Lord Himself is waiting that blest moment when He shall rise from the Father’s Throne, descend to the air and catch up His loved and redeemed ones to be forever with Himself. What other meaning can possibly be given to that remarkable word recorded in Rev. 1:9—“I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ.” And again we read, “But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God. From henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool” (Heb. 10:12, 13). Yes, for well nigh two thousand years, our Lord has patiently waited for the last predestined member to be added to the Church which is His body. Nay, may we not go further, and reverently say, from all eternity the Lord Jesus has been waiting to possess that people given to Him by the Father before the foundation of the world! It was for this “joy” that was set before Him that He despised the cross and endured its shame (Heb. 12:2). It was for this “one pearl” which He esteemed of “great price”—oh! wondrous thought—that He went and sold all that He had to buy it (Matt. 13:46). It is for this blood-purchased people that He has been interceding on high since the day of His ascension. And at His Second Advent the time of waiting, the long interval of His “patience,” will be ended. Then it will be that He shall come to receive us unto Himself. Then it will be that He shall present the Church to Himself “a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:27). Then it will be that “He shall see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied”(Is. 53:11). O blessed Hope. Well may we cry “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” For Him, too, as well as for us, this is “that blessed hope.”

And now, dear reader, What is your hope? What is it that is occupying your heart and filling your vision? Is it the prospect of a speedily returning Redeemer? If you are truly the Lord’s then do you not yearn to see Him face to face? Do you not long to fall at His feet and say “my Lord and my God”? Surely you do, for you cannot be fully satisfied in this world. How could you be? How can you find satisfaction in a world from which your Saviour is absent? “Earth is a wilderness, not merely (no, nor chiefly) because of its trials and its hardships, its sorrows and its pangs, its disappointments and reverses, but because He is not here. Heaven would not be heaven to the saint if Jesus were not there. He, His presence (as that which introduces us to it), His coming is our hope—the hope of the Christian, the hope of the Church. May our hearts cherish it as we have never done! May its brightness so attract us that earth’s fairest, loveliest, most enchanting scenes may be weariness itself to our hearts, as detaining us from the object of our hopes! May that object so animate us that earth’s heaviest afflictions—the narrowest, most rugged, and most thorny portions of the narrow way—may be welcome to us, as the path that leads us onwards to the goal of our expectations the home of our heart, the Jesus whose presence makes it what it is, whose love made Him tread a narrower and a darker path than this, and whose smile of ineffable satisfaction shall crown the faith that has trusted Him, the love that has followed Him, and the patience of hope which has waited for Him, throughout this dreary journey, along this narrow way, amid the darkness and solitude of this long and dismal night” (W. Trotter).

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