Volume 2

The Coming Of The Lord

J. B. Stoney

Page: 193

I desire to say a few words upon the hope of the church - the coming of the Lord; and upon the effect of expecting to see Him come.

We have too much overlooked this hope. The servant in @Luke:12 said, "My Lord delayeth his coming", he dropped the idea of meeting the Bridegroom. It is that which marks first love; the desire to see Him; and the church of Ephesus lost it. It is the sense that I cannot do without Him; it is not affection merely; it is that the heart has no full joy except with this blessed One and in His presence.

I do not think the servant preached it; I believe he acted on it. He said it "in his heart", and then he went and mixed with the world. The effect on the church of such service was that "they all slumbered and slept". Sleep is inactivity. In Canticles the bride says, "I sleep, but my heart waketh". There is none of the activity that first love gives; an activity that you never could describe, but it is always equal to the occasion. A mother does not prearrange what she will do for her baby. Thus the true heart has such love for Him that it is quick-sighted to know the minute attentions that suit Him. The outcome of first love is practically first works.

They all slumbered and slept for a long time; but at midnight there was the cry: "Behold the bridegroom!" This cry went forth fifty years ago. It had an immense effect. But the most ardent advocates of the Lord's coming became the greatest opposers of it. It was not intentional opposition on their part; it was an effort of Satan to get rid of the light that was shining in.

They said, Truly, the Lord may come tonight, but you cannot go forth to meet Him, for you have not

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the Holy Spirit. Pray for the Holy Spirit; pray that you may have oil in your vessels. So they had prayer meetings for the Holy Spirit. Thus they made the Holy Spirit, not Christ, their object; whereas the object of the saint is Christ. It is remarkable the way in which Satan will manage to set up a counterfoil to contravene what God is about.

The cry was: "Behold the bridegroom!" This addresses the heart. It is not an historic event. As sure as you hold any truth intellectually you will eventually become an opposer of it. If you hold the coming of the Lord as an historic event, I am bold to say that you will become an opposer of it in practice. I have seen people who talk much of this truth, and yet are the most impatient people as to things down here. They seem trying to grasp all they can in the world, just because they think He is coming, so they will not have much time for it. It is quite a different thing when the heart is so occupied with Christ that its one desire is to see His face.

But you might die?

Well, if I did, I should have a grand instalment of it. "To depart and to be with Christ; which is far better"; and a shorter way of waiting for His coming, too; for the apostle has no idea of time up there, whilst he waits with Christ for His appearing; we suffer from time here, but there is none there.

But do you really look forward to this - I shall see His face? What is the effect of it upon you? I should like to hear someone tell me the effect it would produce.

For myself, I believe it would produce a character of behaviour suitable to Himself before He comes. He consoles me in the present; He manifests Himself to me; I have communion with Him; I have His joy; but I look forward to a greater delight than all these; it is that of seeing Him face to face; and, when I see Him, I shall be like Him.

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In @John:14 He tells me how He consoles me in the interval, great correspondence takes place between Him and the true heart; just as two beloved friends when separated will continually communicate with one another. But these communications, though they relieve the heart in absence, really increase the desire for presence. The deeper, the more continued the intercourse that I now have with Him, the more it will rejoice my heart to see His blessed face. The very thing that makes up for His absence is that which intensifies the desire of my heart to see Him.