"This is the resting place, let the weary rest; and this is the place of repose"—

"For in just a very little while, 'He who is coming will come and will not delay.'" Hebrews 10:37

"Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him." Revelation 16:15

The Redeemer's Advent! a scriptural assurance full of rest and peace, but which can be felt and realized only by those who are conscious of sitting now under His shadow as the true Heavenly Palm. In other words—the elevating prospect of the Savior's second coming in glory can be enjoyed only by those who know, in their individual experience, the blessedness connected with a genuine and unswerving reliance on the first coming in humiliation. When the latter truth is fully appropriated and exulted in, no theme can prove more tranquillizing or refreshing. "I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning" (Ps. 130:5, 6).

The reference in the second of these motto-verses may be the simple and ordinary one, of a man, unmindful of all danger, lying down to sleep with his garments carelessly cast aside; the thief suddenly enters his chamber, takes forcible possession of his clothing, and leaves him naked and defenseless. Or more likely, according to the commentator Lightfoot, the allusion may be to a Jewish custom in the service of the Temple of Jerusalem. Twenty-four wards, or companies, were appointed night by night to guard the various entrances to the sacred courts. One individual was appointed as captain or 'marshal' over the others, called the "Man of the Mountain of the House of God." His duty was to go round the various gates during the night to see that his subordinates were faithful at their posts. Preceded himself by men bearing torches, it was expected that each wakeful sentinel should hail his appearance with the password, "You man of the mountain of the house, peace be unto you!" If through unwatchfulness and slumber this were neglected, the offender was beaten, and his garments were burned—he was branded with shame for failure of duty.

It was in contrast with these slumbering Levites, that the Lord of the Temple may be supposed to pronounce a blessing on His true people, who keep their garments, and are saved from reproach. Their attitude is that of wakeful sentinels, ever standing on their watchtower, pacing their rounds; having on the whole armor of God, "the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left," so that "being clothed, they may not be found naked" or "ashamed before Him at His coming."

We repeat, that Second Advent of Christ ought, at least in the case of all His true people, to be regarded by its apostolic name as "The Blessed Hope," the polar star in the sky of the future. It is true, indeed, that in one sense, to the believer, death is equivalent to the coming of his Lord, as being the hour which will usher him into His immediate presence. But death is never spoken of in Scripture as a 'blessed hope.' Even the Christian holds his breath as the King of terrors passes by. He may be ready to 'depart' whenever his Lord gives the word; he may be ready to enter the dark valley, and under the guidance and grace of the Shepherd-Leader, he may fear no evil; but it is a dark valley notwithstanding. The gloomy cypress, not the verdant palm—the tear and the sable mourning, have ever formed the associations and accompaniments of the final hour and scene. It is altogether different, however, with Christ's Advent. That is a joyous anticipation. The believer can long for it—can pray for it. "Make no tarrying, O my God." "Make haste, my Beloved," is his cry underneath this gracious palm-shadow—"be like a gazelle, or like a young stag on the spice-laden mountains!"

Nor let us suppose that this watching is some fantastic, transcendental frame of mind, which divorces the Christian from daily work and duty. These vigils may be best kept, not in confined seclusion. He watches most nobly and truly, who does so, not by removing himself from life's rough drudgery and needful calls; but who, in the midst of the ordinary vocations of the world, among the fever and turmoil of busy existence, can catch up the joyous chimes wafted to the ear of faith from the bells of glory.

Let these inspired utterances be ever ringing their varying magnificent melodies in our ears—"In just a very little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay." "I will come back, and take you to be with Me." "A little while, and you shall not see Me, and again a little while and you shall see Me." "The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray." If we expected a long absent brother or friend from a distant land, how careful should we be in our preparations to give him welcome! How house and hall would be cleaned and adorned! How would creativity be taxed to decorate his room with every tribute which fond affection could devise! How careful to erase every association or memory of sadness, and prevent the occurrence of one note of discord or disharmony that would mar the joy of that glad return! How should it be with us in the prospect of welcoming the Brother of brothers! How should the home of every heart be "swept and garnished," decorated in best holiday attire, to give the long-absent Lord love's most loyal welcome!

Every day is bringing that Advent nearer, lessening the span of that rainbow of promise. "The little while and you shall not see Me" is widening; the "little while and you shall see Me" is diminishing. The Church is like the shipmen in the Adriatic Sea, who "sensed they were approaching land." The historian of Columbus speaks thus of the great discoverer's approach to the shores of the unknown New World—"The admiral gave orders that the sails should be close-reefed and the lead kept going, and that they should sail slowly, being afraid of shoals and breakers; feeling certain that the first gleam of daybreak would discover land under their bows." Is this true in a nobler sense of "the Better Country"? Are we thus on the outlook to "see the King in His beauty, and the land that is very far off"?

Let each new month, new week, new day, each recurring providential dispensation add new power to the summons—"Awake, awake! put on your beautiful garments!"—"Prepare to meet your God, O Israel." So that when the hour of the Second Advent shall strike, when "the Lord shall come, and all His saints with Him," we may be able to exclaim with rejoicing—"Surely this is our God; we trusted in Him and He saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in Him; let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation." "Blessed are those servants whom the Lord, WHEN HE COMES, shall find watching."

"It may be in the evening,
When the work of the day is done,
And you have time to sit in the twilight
And watch the sinking sun,
While the long bright day dies slowly
O'er the sea,
And the hour grows quiet and holy
With thoughts of ME!

"It may be when the midnight
Is heavy upon the land,
And the black waves lying dumbly
Along the sand;
It may be at the cock-crow;
When the valley-mists are shading
The river's chill,
When the morning star is fading,
Fading over the hill.
Let the door be on the latch
In your home;
In the chill before the dawning,
Between the night and morning,
I may come!

"It may be in the morning
When the sun is bright and strong,
And the dew is gleaming beauteous,
The meadow slopes among,
When the waves are laughing loudly
By the shore;
And the birds are singing sweetly
By your door.
It may be in the morning I will come!

"A gentle shadow fell across
The window of my room;
While working my appointed task,
I calmly turned me round to ask,
'Is He come?'
An angel whispered sweetly
In my ear:
'Lift up your head rejoicing—

"Even so! Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!"

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