Our Gathering Together
by James Smith, 1861
Our Lord and Master is now absent from us — but in a little time he will return, to bless our earth with his presence, reign gloriously, and accomplish all the glowing and glorious predictions of his Word. This subject, the apostles keep constantly before the minds of the Lord's people, exhorting them, to be ready for it, and exhorting them to other duties by it. "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him." 2 Thessalonians 2:1. Let us now for a few minutes direct our attention to this subject.
The Object of Attraction.At present, this is "Christ CRUCIFIED" — for our rallying-point is the cross. Here faith fixes — and from it derives peace, strength, and courage. Here hope rests — expecting all that is good, great, and glorious, because Jesus died. Here love feasts — and enjoys sweet and hallowed fellowship with Jesus, in his sufferings and death.
In the future — it will be "Christ in his GLORY".
We look forward to, anticipate, and long for, the coming of Jesus — because
then we shall see him in all his beauty, dignity, and majesty. Because,
being savingly interested in him, we are interested in all that concerns
him, especially in all the momentous events connected with his second
advent. Not only so, but being united to him — we shall share in all
his regal honors, for we shall be like him, and when he shall appear,
we shall appear with him in glory.
The Glorious Congregation.What a gathering! What an assembly! Now we are distant from him, and scattered from each other. Then we shall be gathered together unto him.
WHO shall be gathered? All who look, long for, and love his appearing. All the chosen of the Father, all whom Jesus redeemed by his blood, all in whose hearts he has been formed by his Spirit.
WHEN shall we be all gathered? When he comes the second time, when he sits on the glory cloud, and the arch-angel sounds the trumpet.
FROM WHENCE shall we be gathered? From the depths of ocean, from the dark domains of death, from all parts of the world wherever we have been scattered.
HOW shall we be gathered? By his sweet, powerful, and attractive influence; at the sound of the trumpet, and by the ministry of the angels.
For what PURPOSE shall we be gathered? To see him in his glory, in his Father's glory, and with his holy angels. To attend him, grace his triumphs, and sit with him in judgment on angels and men. To enjoy the light of his countenance, the fullness of his love, and all that was purchased by his blood. To be forever with him, forever like him, and forever filled with his joy.
The center of the Churches' unity is Christ. Not a creed, nor a country, not a service book, or a constitution — but Christ alone — Christ crucified, and Christ glorified.
The object of our hope is the coming of Jesus. Jesus coming in his glory. Jesus coming to subdue his foes. Jesus coming to collect his friends. Jesus coming to make his divided church one, and one forever.
There will be a glorious collection of God's people soon! Not one will be missing then. All of them who have ever lived, from all places and periods, will be gathered by Jesus, will be collected around Jesus, and will rejoice and glory in Jesus.
It will be a great congregation. Such a gathering as never has been seen yet. As numerous as the dew drops of the morning, as pure as the rays of morning light — all the redeemed will be gathered around Jesus. All who have sincerely believed in Jesus, both Jews and Gentiles, will be assembled, and will unite to glorify and praise, the Savior's thrice blessed name.
What a glorious hope! Let us not look at corruption, earth, and worms — at death and all its gloomy associations; but let us look for that blessed hope, even the glorious appearing of the great God our Savior! Jesus is pledged to come, to come and gather his people, to come and crown his gathered people with glory, honor, and immortality — conferring on them eternal life, in all its fullness, perfection, and glorious meaning!
Then there will be perfect satisfaction. Jesus will see of the travail of his soul, and will be satisfied. The saints will see Jesus, and be with him, and be perfectly satisfied. Jesus with all his people — satisfied. All the saints with Jesus — satisfied. All the saints together one with each other, filled with holy love — satisfied. Satisfied with Jesus, satisfied with each other, and satisfied with their glorified selves!
Reader, how will it be with you? Will you be among them? Are you among them now? Are you like them now? Do you look forward with earnest longing, and anticipate the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto him? You will either be gathered to Christ — or be separated from him forever! Eternity depends on the present; what you will be then — depends on what you are now.