What, then, is meant by the coming of the Lord Jesus? In answering it, the heart and mind must be exercised. First of all, the King of Zion is sometimes spoken of as coming in His grace, in His spirit, not in a visible way. He had promised to come to all believers in spirit to comfort them.
It is a very remarkable fact, that Gods prophecies respecting the Advent of His Son seem to have spread athwart the whole habitable globe, and in the shape of traditional echoes to have been dispersed over all the world. The great promise of a Messiah, which was the grand truth that the Jew clung to in his most desperate fortunes, found itself translated into heathen tongues, and accepted even by heathen men.
If I were but sure that I should live to see the coming of the Lord, it would be the joyfulest tidings in the world. O that I might see His kingdom come! It is the characteristic of His saints to love His appearing, and to look for that blessed hope. The Spirit and the bride say, Come. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
There is a time appointed in the history of our world, when that very Jesus who appeared on earth, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, shall reappear with all the circumstances of majesty and power, King of kings and Lord of lords. We are led to expect a day when Christ shall find a home in the remotest hearts and families, and the earth in all its circumference be covered with the knowledge and the power of the Lord.
But though that great day is far away, the heart asserts, and truly, that when there is deepest night over nations and the world and men, a day of the Lord is at hand; that a dawn is comingnot the last day nor the final dawn, but the uprising of Christ in light, deliverance, knowledge and love. The belief is born not only out of our natural hatred of evil and suffering and the desire to be free, but out of actual experience.
Earth, thou grain of sand on the shore of the Universe of God; thou Bethlehem, amongst the princely cities of the heavens; thou art, and remainest, the Loved One amongst ten thousand suns and worlds, the Chosen of God! Thee will He again visit, and then thou wilt prepare a throne for Him, as thou gavest Him a manger cradle; in His radiant glory wilt thou rejoice, as thou didst once drink His blood and tears, and mourn His death! On thee has the Lord a great work to complete.
There is an account come of the arrival of King George II. and a great rejoicing for it in Edinburgh. I see the fires and illuminations of that city reflected on the skies. O, how will the heavens reflect and shine with illuminations, when the King of kings, and Lord of lords, shall erect His tribunal in the clouds, and come in His own glory, and His Fathers glory, and in the glory of the holy angels! O, what a heartsome day will that be! When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we appear with Him in glory. We shall then lift up our heads with joy, because it shall be a time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.
The last words of the pious Henry Holmes, of Boston, were, Lord Jesus, come quickly. In their primary sense, as referring to Christs personal and glorious advent, these words have often dropped from the lips and pens of earnest believers. In a somewhat desponding mood, Martin Luther broke out, May the Lord Jesus come at once! Let Him cut the whole matter short with the Day of Judgment; for there is no amendment to be expected. The martyr Ridley wrote: The world, without doubtthis I do believe, and therefore say itdraws toward an end. Let us with John, the servant of God, cry in our hearts unto our Savior, Christ, Come, Lord Jesus, come.
No man rightly desires Christs coming, but he that hath assurance of benefit at His coming. To him the day of Christ is as the day of harvest to the husbandman; as the day of deliverance to the prisoner; as the day of coronation to the king; the day of wedlock to the bride; a day of triumph and exultation, a day of freedom and consolation, a day of rest and satisfaction. To him the Lord Jesus is all sweetness, as wine to the palate, and ointment to the nostrils, saith Solomon; honey to the mouth, saith St. Bernard; music in the ear, and a jubilee in the heart. Get assurance of Christs coming, as a ransomer to redeem you, as a conqueror to subdue all your enemies under you, as a friend to comfort you, as a bridegroom to marry you, and then shall you with boldness and confidence, with joy and gladness, with vehement and holy longings, say, Come, Lord Jesus.