A Safe Prospective
“At the time appointed the end shall be.” — Daniel viii. 19.
HUMAN nature anxiously desires to know something of the future. If we were told to-night that we could repair to a certain spot, where we might lift the veil of our own history, and foresee the course of our own lives during the next few years, I am afraid very few of us could be trusted to absent ourselves from such a place, or miss such an opportunity. This anxiety to know the future, and that strange credulity which gives heed to every species of portent and augury, have caused men and women to be the easy dupes of designing impostors in all ages, from the ignorance of the unlettered Egyptian, up to the cleverness of modern professors. I might almost mention learned doctors who practise divinations, prophecy concerning things to come, and bring in holy Scripture to back up their prognostications. Everywhere that kind of spirit which leads men to amuse themselves with light literature, leads them also to read the Bible with a view to espy the future, and would lead them to resort to any kind of invention by which they might hope to have a glimpse of the unfolded scroll. Be persuaded, however, my brethren, that with the exception of some grand feature, some magnificent outline which God has revealed, the future is absolutely shut from human eye; and as to the details which concern your life or mine, it is utterly impossible that we should ever become acquainted with them by any manner of horoscope, or soothsaying, or bibliomancy. We shall know them soon enough by the gradual development of experience, but it is idle and mischievous to attempt to know them till they transpire.
Why is it that the future is thus shut out from our view? Is it not because the present is enough to occupy our talents? Rightly to serve our God in this present hour will take all the strength we have, and all the strength we can obtain from God. Sufficient unto the day is not only the evil thereof, but the service thereof. Men who live too much in the past, and go beyond that which is rightly conservative, become of little service in the world; and men who are tempted to regulate their movements by forecasts of the future, will always become abstracted, speculative, empirical, full of sentiment, and void of assiduity, but certainly of no service whatever in the stern battle of to-day. Believe me, man, all thy manhood is wanted for the all-engrossing now! Use it. Thy best way to ensure a happy, a holy, and a glorious future, is to mind the present, and to keep thine eye fast on thy Master’s will concerning thee in this the hour which is flitting over thy head, moulding thy character, and working out thy destiny.
God has concealed the future from us, probably, with a view to relieve our career through the world of dull monotony, and infuse into it new phases of stirring interest. Life would not wear such a lively aspect if it were all spread out in a map before us on the day of the commencement of our pilgrimage. Much of the pleasantness of a journey lies in unexpected views and scenes which burst upon the traveller as he climbs a hill or descends into a dale. If he could see all at once, one long, unvariegated avenue, it would become weary walking for him; but the very freshness and novelty of the events, adventures, and contingencies constantly occurrent, help to make life exciting, if not happy. I thank God for many a mercy which has come to me fresh from the mint of his providence. I could not have imagined that such a well-timed godsend could have come to me in such an unexpected manner: it had all the marks of novelty about it as if the Lord had been pleased to coin it and put it into my hand.
Has not God also hid the future from us that we may not labour under the sense of being like “dumb driven cattle,” who have no will and no freedom, but both do and suffer what they are compelled by an agency irresistible? Now, I believe in predestination, yea, even in its very jots and tittles. I believe that the path of a single grain of dust in the March wind is ordained and settled by a decree which cannot be violated; that every word and thought of man, every flittering of a sparrow’s wing, every flight of a fly, the crawling of a beetle, the gliding of a fish in the depth of the sea — that everything, in fact, is foreknown and foreordained. But I do equally believe in the free agency of man, that man with acts a will as he wills, especially in moral operations – choosing the evil with a will that is unbiassed by anything that comes from God, biased only by his own depravity of heart and the perverseness of his habits; choosing the right, too, with perfect freedom, though sacredly guided and led by the Holy Spirit, yet in such a way that his disposition is trained to choose and prefer the right and the true, not violently driven in the teeth of his own reluctance; free in his agency, for the Son of God has made him free. I believe that man is as free as if everything were left to chance, and that he is as accountable as if there were no destiny whatever. Where the two truths meet I do not know, nor do I want to know. They do not puzzle me, since I have given up my mind to believing them both. They are thought by some to be antagonistic, the one contrary to the other. I believe them to be two parallel lines. They run side by side, and perhaps even in eternity there is no point of contact between these two grand truths. But if the predestination were a revealed thing, and we could see it, it would then become utterly impossible for human nature to receive the idea of freedom, or to believe itself to be at all independent in its action. Man would, to repeat the line of Longfellow’s, feel himself to be but one of a herd of “dumb, driven cattle,” made to do, whether he willed or not, just what had been ordained.
Moreover, brethren and sisters, is it not to be counted for a thousand mercies in one that all the future is concealed from us, since that future is of a very chequered character, casting, as one hath said, beams of hope and shadows of fear over the stage both of active and contemplative life? Some of it is bright with pleasure; much of it is dim with sorrow. What then if we knew the pleasure would come, should we not begin to reckon upon it? Surely the current of time would flow on heavily until the pleasant day arrived. Perhaps we should be really drawing bills at a very heavy discount upon the future if we knew it sufficiently to forestall the season of prosperity — so that when it did come we should be already satiated with it by foretaste, and so fail to enjoy the good when present which we had gloated on in prospect. And as for the troubles, the perils, and the afflictions that await us, if we knew of them beforehand, we should be pretty sure, with our natural tendency to graceless unbelief and morbid anxiety, to begin to carry the burden before the day came for us to carry it in. We should be crossing all the bridges between here and heaven long before we came to them; we should be reefing all the sails before the storm came; we should be escaping indoors before the first drop of rain fell. We should be so constantly engaged in making anxious provision for the future, that the comforts of to-dav would glide away, and the joys and opportunities of the present would be despised. We should foster the weakness we lament, and cherish the cowardice we disdain. Our sinews would be slackened, our limbs disjointed, our hearts would be craven with terror. No, my Lord, it would be a fatal gift if thou wouldst bestow upon any one of us the power to know his own future. It were an unhappy thing for any one of us to be able to look beyond this present time. We need not distress ourselves, however, for we shall not receive such a gift of prophecy; we shall not be permitted to lift the veil that hides the morrow. We shall have to go on praying, “Give us this day our daily bread.” We shall have to continue living upon the manna that drops by the day, and upon the strength which shall be sufficient for the daily need. It is as we often sing —
“Day by day the manna fell;
Oh, to learn this lesson well!
Still by constant mercy fed,
Give me, Lord, my daily bread.
‘Day by day,’ the promise reads;
Daily strength for daily needs:
Cast foreboding fears away;
Take the manna of to-day.”
It is, however, important for us to remember two or three things with regard to the future. First, that all in the future is appointed; that especially those desirable ends we are looking for are the subjects of appointment; and that in connection with those ends and those events, there are certain appointments of mercy which should give us comfort to-night.
I. First, then, dear friends, it is well for us to remember that EVERYTHING IN THE FUTURE IS APPOINTED.
Nothing shall happen to us which God has not foreseen. No unexpected event shall destroy his plans: no emergency shall transpire for which he has not provided; no peril shall occur against which he has not guarded. There shall come no remarkable want which shall take him by surprise. He seeth the end from the beginning, and the things that are not, as though they were. To God’s eye there is no past and no future. He fills his own eternal NOW; he stands in a position from which he can look down upon the whole, and see the past, the present, and the future, at a single glance. All, all, all of the future is foreseen by him and fixed by him.
We may derive no small comfort from this fact; for, suppose one goes to sea under the most skilful captain: that captain cannot possibly know what may occur during the voyage, and with the greatest foresight he can never promise an absolutely safe passage. There may be dangers which he has never yet encountered — Atlantic waves, tornadoes, and hurricanes that may yet sweep the good ship away, and they that sailed out of port merrily may never reach the haven. But when you come into the ship of Providence, he who is at the helm is the Master of every wind that shall blow, and of every wave that shall break its force upon that ship; and he foresees as well the events that shall happen at the harbour for which we make, as those that happen at the port from which we start. He knows in his own soul every wave with its height, and breadth, and force. He knows each wind; though the winds seem to be left without control, he knows each wind in all its connections, and the speed at which each shall travel. How safe are we, then, when embarked in the good ship of Providence, with such a Captain who has fore-arranged and fore-ordained all things from the beginning even unto the end. And, furthermore, how much it becomes us to put implicit confidence in his guidance! Hold thy peace, man, even from counsel; for thy thoughts are vain where thy understanding is baffled.
“When my dim reason would demand
Why that or this thou dost ordain,
By some vast deep I seem to stand,
Whose secrets I must ask in vain.
Be this my joy, that evermore
Thou rulest all things at thy will:
Thy sovereign wisdom I adore,
And calmly, sweetly, trust thee still.”
It should always be remembered in connection with this subject, that we are no believers in fate— seeing that fate is a different doctrine altogether from predestination. Fate says the thing is and must be; so it is decreed. But the true doctrine is— God has appointed this and that, not because it must be, but because it is best that it should be. Fate is blind, but the destiny of Scripture is full of eyes. Fate is stern and adamantine, and has no tears for human sorrow; but the arrangements of Providence are kind and good. The greatest good for the greatest number, and the glory of God above all, are the ends that are therein subserved. Do not imagine that God has simply out of his own arbitrary will, determined this and that. He doeth as he wills, but he always wills to do that which is in conformity with his high and glorious nature. He never wills an unjust thing; he never wills a really unkind thing. All the appointments of his Providence, especially towards his people, are ruled in mercy, in tenderness, in love, and in wisdom, and all are conducive to their highest interest and their greatest happiness.
Oh! but this is a blessed truth; oh! it is sweet, to be able to say, “From this day forth, whatever happeneth to me, be it little or be it great, I am content. Though I am altogether unaware what it shall be, I am not sorry that I am unaware of it; for this one thing I know, there shall happen nothing but what God permits; I shall be left to no demon’s power; I shall not be cast away like an orphan; I shall not be beyond my Father’s eye, and my Father’s hand; all shall come, and last, and end, as shall please him, and it shall always please him that everything that comes shall work for my good if I be one of his people. I may not see it at the time, but it will be so whether I see it or not; all shall happen, every event, in its proper place, every pain according to its proper measure; everything that makes me sigh, and cry, and groan; every loss and every cross; every slander; everything that seems to hinder me or to thwart my wishes— all shall come, and be ruled and managed to make the end which God has promised to bring salvation to my soul and glory to himself.” O beloved, I do not know where those go for comfort who have not accepted this truth, but I do know, that after you have done all you can in toiling for your daily bread, or, as in my case, you have done all you can do in the discharge of Christian service, it is a blessed thing, in times of serious difficulty and perplexing dilemma, to fall right back into the arms of the ever-ruling God, and say, “Thou doest all things well; though things go ill according to my judgment, yet thy judgment is better than mine, and thou doest all things right, and let thy name be glorified.” If one could think that there was somewhere one grain of dust floating in the atmosphere that was not under divine superintendence, one might wish to escape from it as from a plague. If one could believe that there was an hour of the night, or say a single second throughout the livelong year, in which the hand of God was withdrawn from nature, or a single event in which God was not concerned, and his will was not consulted, one might tremble till that black hour had passed, or till that dread event, like a vial full of evil, had been effectually poured out and put away. But now each hour is safe, for God has made it so. Each place of difficulty and of danger shall still be secure to the faithful servants of the Lord. Each time of peril shall still be a time of blessed safety to the man that rests beneath the wings of the eternal God. He who learns to see God in calm and in storm, in either and both, cares not much which it is, but leaves it to his God to choose. He who sees the giving hand of God, as well as the taking hand, will not repine at either, but will say, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, and blessed be the name of the Lord.”
I would, with special earnestness, beg you to believe that God is in little things. It is the little troubles of life that annoy us the most. A man can put up with the loss of a dear friend sometimes better than he can with the burning of his fingers with a coal, or some little accident that may occur to him. The little stones in the sandal make the traveller limp; while great stones do him little hurt, for he soon leaps over them. Believe that God arranges the littles. Take the little troubles as they come; remember them to your God, because they come from God. Believe that nothing is little to God which concerns his people; to him, indeed, your greatest concerns may be said to be little; and your little anxieties are not too mean for his notice. The very hairs of your head are all numbered; you may, therefore, pray to him about your smallest griefs. If not a sparrow lighteth upon the ground without your Father, you have reason to see that the smallest events in your career are arranged by him, and it should be your joy to accept them as they come, and not make them causes of offence, either to others or to yourselves. This is a truth on which you may rely implicitly, and exercise yourselves continually, until you lull the sharpest pains, calm the most feverish excitements, and obtain the sweetest repose that a spirit weary, but restless, can indulge in. It is the antidote of fear. I commend this positive certainty to you with the utmost confidence. Everything in the future is appointed by God. As men you will account it reasonable; as disciples you will believe it, for it is plainly revealed; and as Christians I trust you may rejoice in it heartily, for it must be a theme of rejoicing that all is in the hand of the great King. The Lord is King; let his people rejoice!
“The Lord is King; who then shall dare
Resist his will, distrust his care,
Or murmur at his wise decrees,
Or doubt his royal promises?
Oh! when his wisdom can mistake,
His might decay, his love forsake,
Then may his children cease to sing,
The Lord Omnipotent is King.”
II. But now, secondly, there is A SPECIAL APPOINTMENT WITH REGARD TO CERTAIN ENDS.
I am not going to pursue the connection, but the text itself will suffice me, for it saith “at the time appointed the end shall be.” Now, there are certain “ends” to which you and I are looking forward with great expectancy. There is the end of the present trouble— let us think of that. I do not know what your particular trouble may be, but this I know as surely as you are in the furnace you will be anxious to be delivered out of it. Whatever submission we may have to the divine will, it is not natural for us to love affliction; we desire to reach the end and come forth from the trial. “At the time appointed the end shall be. You have been slandered in your character— a very frequent trial to God’s servants— and you are irritated and vexed, and in a great haste to answer it, to rebut the calumny and to vindicate your reputation. Be still. Be very quiet, and patient. Bear it all. Stand still and see the salvation of God, for light is sown for the righteous, and he will bring forth your righteousness like the light, and your judgment as the noonday. “At the time appointed the end shall be.” When the dogs are tired they will leave off barking, and when the Lord bids them be still, they shall not dare to move a tongue against you. “At the time appointed the end shall be.” You are in poverty. It is some time since you had a situation in which you could earn your daily bread. You have been walking wearily up and down those hard London streets; you have been searching the advertisement sheet ; you have looked everywhere for something to do; you gaze upon the dear wife and pitiful children with ever-increasing anxiety. Are you a child of God? Have you learned to cast your burden upon the Lord? Then, “At the time appointed the end shall be.” There shall yet be deliverance for you. “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” The ravens are fed at this day, as they were in David’s day, and he that feeds the ravens will not let his children starve. Patiently wait the appointed time. Industriously seek to find it, but still with patience submit to the divine will. It may be, dear friend, that you are passing out of another trial which it shall not be possible for me to describe. Indeed, it is one which you cover up and keep to yourself, and of all sorrows those are amongst the most severe, when the heart knoweth its own bitterness, and a stranger intermeddleth not therewith. You have been seeking in prayer for help out of this trial, and you have believed that the help would come, but it has been long delayed. It is now month after month that you have put up storm signals, and yet the blessed life-boat of your heavenly Father’s mercy has not come out to your almost wrecked vessel. Be still, and know the salvation of God. “At the time appointed the end shall be.” The time is not for you to appoint. To set times for God to answer prayer is always wrong. He who gives has the right to choose the time of the gift. Beggars must not be choosers. God has appointed the time of your visitation, and at the time appointed let hell and earth do what they may it shall surely come. Only be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, and in the quiet confidence of faith possess your soul, for the end of your trial and trouble shall surely come at the time appointed.
It may be, brethren, that the end you are desiring is greater usefulness, and you have been panting after this for years. In that class, or in that village chapel, or whatever other form of labour it is that you have undertaken, you have been groaning out of your very soul, asking the Lord that he would give you the Holy Spirit more plenteously. You have tried to get rid of everything that might hamper you in your work, or that would prevent the Lord’s using you. You have pleaded to be delivered from all wrong motives, and all gross and carnal desires, and yet for all that the blessing tarries. Give not up the work. Do not play the Jonah. There have been many who have done it who have found no whale to swallow them, or if the whale swallowed them there has been an end of them. You keep to your work still, for “At the time appointed the end shall be.” God will not suffer the faithful worker to work in vain; your labour of love shall not be in vain in the Lord. Thou knowest not when the prosperity may come. Some do not live to see their own work. If so they may take up the language of Moses and say, “Let thy work appear unto thy servants” — let us do the work— “and thy glory unto their children;” let our children live to see the result of our work and the glory of God through it, and we shall be well content, “At the time appointed”— to every honest and earnest servant of Christ — “the end shall be.”
Beloved friends, you are looking forward, some of you, to the end of your life’s battle. Life is to the genuine Christian an incessant fight. The moment we are converted the battle begins. We think sometimes that corruption will be destroyed, and that we shall find no indwelling sin to beset us. I have heard some of God’s servants talk about indwelling sin being destroyed in them. I only wish I could have any hope that it would be so in me, but instead of this I find that to will is present with me, but how to perform that which I would I find not. When I would serve God, still there is an evil heart of unbelief that checks me in it all; and I believe that if men could see their own hearts aright, that is about the experience of every child of God. It is a warfare from the first to the last, and until we get to heaven, we may never talk about putting up our sword into its scabbard and taking our rest. But, glory be to God, “in the time appointed the end of this warfare shall be.” It is war with Amalek in perpetuity, according to the oath of God, “Because the Lord hath sworn that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.” But once let us enter into the true Canaan, and it shall be war with Amalek no more, for the Lord shall tread Satan himself under our feet, while inbred sin shall be cast far away, and we shall be without .fault before the throne of God. No temptation arising from the world shall reach us, no suggestion from hell shall grieve us, no angry temper shall disturb us, no thought of pride, no suggestion of the flesh shall come into mar our matchless purity, but we shall serve God day and night in his temple; the beauty of holiness shall be upon us; in the time appointed the blessed end shall be.
So, too, with the service of our lives. I think no servant of God is tired of serving his Master; we may be tired in the service, though not tired of it. I have heard a story of the celebrated Mr. William Dawson, who used to call himself “Billy” Dawson, much to the point. On one occasion, when he and some other Methodist friends, were spending the evening together, a dear friend of mine happened to be present, and heard what passed. They were praying that Mr. Dawson’s life might be spared for many years to come, that such an earnest man might be kept in the church for the next twenty or thirty years. At last, as they were just in the middle of prayer, William Dawson said, “Lord, don’t hear ’em: I want to get my work done, and go home; I don't want to be here any longer than there is needs be;” and the brethren stopped their prayers, thunderstruck as they witnessed his emotion. Now I believe that feeling will often pass over the earnest working Christian. “Oh,” saith he, “I am not lazy; I am not idle; but still, I would like to get my work done.” ’Tis your lazy workmen that are all the day long getting through their job, but the industrious man would just as soon make a good day of it, and get a great deal done in a short time. Well, lest that feeling should ever grow into impatience, the text whispers into our ears, “At the time appointed the end shall be.” You shall go out to reap for the last time. There shall be a last sermon, and a last prayer, and there shall be a last look of anxiety over backsliders. There shall be a last tear of sorrow over the impenitent; there shall be a last motion of the soul over those that have deceived you and disappointed your hopes. It shall be all finished. The topstone of your life-work shall be brought out with shouting of “Grace, grace,” unto it. You shall lay your crown at his feet from whom you received it, and you shall hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” “In the time appointed the end shall be.”
With many a child of God life is not merely a warfare spiritually, and a work for God outwardly, but it is attended with much of suffering. I speak not now of martyrs, men so little esteemed in their own age that they fell by the hand of the public executioner, yet so honoured by posterity that a bright halo encircles their memory. I rather refer to those whose heroic faith has endured an agony of physical suffering with a sacred composure of mind. Have you never heard of the infirmities under which Richard Baxter laboured? — a man whose vigorous sermons were supplemented by such voluminous writings that his works are a prodigy of toil: or need I remind you of Robert Hall? who, almost within our own memory, was accounted the prince of modern preachers for his eloquence. Why, it has been said that he would be no mean proficient in medical pathology who could describe the complicated diseases of either of these men. Yet they ceased not to toil. Pain was to their idea no excuse from service. They found recreations from their own groans in warning sinners of the more dreadful groans of lost souls. But my heart’s pity is towards full many a dear saint, for whose complaint there is no specific but patience. Ah! I know many servants of God, whose every breath seems to be a pang: their poor bodies are in such a condition, that life is like protracted death; sometimes in the long and weary night, especially when poverty is associated with sickness, and friends become fewer and fewer every year, it is no wonder that the sufferer cries, “Why is his chariot so long in coming? Where is my Beloved gone? why doth he not admit me into the pastures of rest?” Well, weary sufferer, “in the time appointed the end shall be.”
I think we may put all together, and say, that we would not wish to postpone that day. What folly to wish to be longer out of heaven than we must! But we would not wish to antedate that period, for the Master must know best, and for us to be there an hour before his time if such a thing were possible— would not be to be in heaven at all, for — to be in heaven is to be in perfect conformity with the divine will. A good soul who was asked whether she would live or die, said she would rather leave it with God. “But,” said they, “if the Lord permitted you to choose, what would you then do?” “Why,” said she, “I think I would not choose, but I would ask God to be good enough to choose for me, and then I would choose what he chose for me,” and that is the best state of heart to be in. The end is appointed. The very day and hour of death are settled, and the means by which we shall receive the death-shock, whether we shall drop dead in the street, whether we shall die in the pew— such a thing has happened in this Tabernacle— or whether we shall lie in protracted weakness, the tenement being gradually taken down, and the soul gazing steadfastly into the excellent glory by the month together before she takes her flight; whichever it is to be God has settled it all, and he has settled it all for the best. Sometimes in thinking of it, if one might make the choice, it seems that it must be delightful to have a sudden death, to shut one’s eyes on earth and open them in heaven. I could never understand that prayer in the Litany which many people think very excellent; it may be so, and it may be that my idea of it is wrong in which they pray to be delivered from sudden death. I would never think of praying such a prayer, and never shall. I do not know of any privilege that seems to be greater than that of sudden death. One gentle sigh, and away you are gone; like a dear servant of God, Mr. Watts Wilkinson, who prayed that he might never know death, and he died in his sleep; his prayer was heard, and he was taken home in the midst of slumbers soft and sweet. How blessed, like Isaac Sanders, of St. Ann’s, Blackfriars, and Dr. Beaumont, the Wesleyan minister, to expire in the pulpit, to be just in your Master’s service, and called away! Well, you have not. got your choice, so that whichever form you might most dread yon need not encourage any timid apprehensions, for you shall not have the disposal of the matter. The Lord will be careful to take you home in a heavenly way, for he will send such a chariot for his servants as shall be most suitable to them. I do not think they go to heaven in a beggarly procession, but that God fetches the guests who are to dwell with him for ever, each one of them in a suitable manner, and so shall you be taken up to dwell with God in the way which your own heart would choose if infinite wisdom were to counsel you.
III. One more thought before we close. All things are appointed, and especially these sacred and blessed ends; but remember that besides the ends ALL THE MEANS TO THE ENDS are also appointed— all that intervenes is appointed too.
Balance this thought with the other. My trouble appointed! Yes, but there is an appointed portion of grace that shall sustain me under it — grace exactly according to the measure of my necessity while under the tribulation. Temptation appointed! Yes, but there is appointed extraordinary help to deliver the soul from going down into the pit, and to pluck the foot out of the net, lest by any means one sheep of Christ should be devoured by the lion of hell. Thou fearest sickness, because that may be appointed, but it is also appointed, “I will make all his bed in his sickness,” and that appointment carries you over the other. It is appointed, perhaps, that you should be in need; but then it is appointed that better should be your dinner of herbs than the stalled ox of the wicked. You know it is appointed unto you to die, at least, unless the Lord should suddenly come in his glory; but then it is appointed unto you to rise again, and the death appointed is not the death of common men. It is when sleeping in Jesus the trumpet of the archangel shall awaken you. And what of the grace appointed? Is it not appointed that up from the grave you should rise in a nobler image than that which you now wear, even in the image of your Lord and covenant Head? What if it be appointed that the body should lie amongst the clods of the valley? yet it is equally appointed that these very hands should smite the celestial strings of the golden harp, and these very eyes should see the King in his beauty; and the land which to-day is far off. Rejoice, then, that the appointments of God concerning everyone of his children are sure and effectual. You must be with Christ where he is to behold his glory. You must be a partaker of his everlasting blessedness. He will not suffer you to perish,, nor will he leave you to be cast away.
If all the other matters are appointed, so are these great and glorious things appointed; they shall come about in their appointed time, and so shall your heart give to God constant praise.
And now, dear friends, there is nothing in this truth that can give any comfort to those who are not reconciled to God. It is a great and terrible truth to those who are not God’s friends. At the time appointed the end shall be. What a winding up awaits those who will encounter the doom of the impenitent, no tongue can describe. There will be an end to haughty and contemptuous scepticism, and an end to careless apathetic unbelief; an end to the indulgence of fleshly lusts, and an end to the enjoyment of creature comforts; an end to the longsuffering with which God has borne with you so patiently, and an end to the sound of mercy’s voice ringing in your ears, admonishing you to repent. Who among you can forsee that time appointed? Ah! I would thou wert reconciled to God, poor sinner, for if not, living and dying as thou art, the events that shall transpire will grow blacker and blacker to thee. All that shall happen in the future, especially in eternity, will bring thee only woe after woe, and thou wilt for ever have to cry, “One woe is past, and behold another woe cometh, and yet another!” Like Job’s messengers, thy miseries will follow at each other’s heels. Why rebel against the King of heaven? Why Bet thy will against the divine will? He speaks to thee to-night; in the cool of the evening he appeals to thee, and he saith, “Return unto me; arise, and seek thy Father’s face.” And if thou wouldst be reconciled, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Trust Christ with thy soul. Trust him implicitly; trust him sincerely; trust him just now, and thou art reconciled at once, and then henceforth the great and terrible wheels of providence have no terror for thee, for all things work together for good to them that Jove God, to them that are the called according to his purpose. May the blessing of God abide with you evermore.