But there is a time coming when prayer shall be heard no longer. There is a time when the door by which Saul of tarsus and Magdalen entered in shall be shut forever. There is a time when men shall know the folly of sin, but, like Judas, too late for repentance; when they shall desire to enter into the promised land, but, like Israel at Kadesh, not be able; when they shall see the value of God's favor and covenant blessing, but like Esau, when they can no longer procure it; when they shall believe every jot and tittle of God's revealed word, but, like the miserable devils, only to tremble. Yes! beloved brethren, many come o this, and many will come to this in the day of Christ's reappearing. They will ask and not receive, they will seek and not find, they will knock and the door shall not be opened to them. Alas, indeed, that it should be so! Woe to the man who puts off seeking his manna till the Lord's day of return! Like Israel of old, he will find none. Woe to the man who goes to buy oil when he ought to be burning it! Like the foolish virgins, he will find himself shut out from the marriage supper of the Lamb.
But as Christ's coming will be a mighty change to the ungodly, so also will it be a mighty change to the godly.
They shall be placed in a position of perfect safety. "The door shall be shut." They shall no longer be vexed by temptations, persecuted by the world, warred against by the devil. Their conflicts shall all be over. Their strife with the flesh shall for ever cease. They shall be where there is no satan, no world, and no sin. Ah! brethren the second Eden shall be better far than the first. In the first Eden the door was not shut; but in the second the Lord shall shut us in.
Furthermore the godly shall be placed in a position of perfect blessedness. They shall go in with the Bridegroom to the marriage; they shall be with Christ. Faith shall be swallowed up in sight, hope shall become certainty, knowledge shall at length be perfect, prayer shall be turned into praise, desires shall receive their full accomplishment, fears and doubtings shall not rise to mar their comforts, the thought of parting shall not spoil the pleasure of meeting; the company of saints shall be enjoyed without hurry and distraction, and weariness shall be all unknown. Thus shall they understand the meaning of the text, "In Thy presence is fullness of joy, and at Thy right hand are pleasures for evermore." Then shall they experience the truth of that beautiful hymn which says:
"Let me be with Thee where Thou art,
My Saviour, My eternal rest;
Then only shall this longing heart
Be fully and for ever blest.
Let me be with Thee where Thou art,
Thy unveiled glory to behold;
Then only will this wand'ring heart
Cease to be false to Thee and cold.
Let me be with Thee whee Thou art,
Where none can die, where none remove,
Then neither death nor life shall part
Me from Thy presence and Thy love."
Is there a single man or woman here that can laugh at true vital religion? Is there any one who persecutes and ridicules true godliness, and talks of people being over-particular and righteous overmuch? Beware what you are doing! Again I say beware. You may live to think differently; you may live to alter your opinion, - but perhaps too late. Ah! there is a day coming when there will be no infidels, - no, not one! "Before the name of Jesus every knee will bow, and every tongue confess that He is Lord." Remember that day, and beware.
Is there any dear child of God here who is mocked and despised for the gospel's sake, and feels as if he stood alone? Take comfort; be patient: wait a little - your turn shall come. When the spies returned from searching Canaan, men talked of stoning Caleb and Joshua. A few days passed away, and all the assembly confessed that they alone had been right. Strive to be like them. Follow the Lord fully, and sooner or later all men shall confess that you did well. Men seem to be afraid of going too far, men seem to be afraid of being too holy. Millions will lament in the day of Christ's return that they had not religion enough; not one will be heard to say that he had too much!
~J. C. Ryle~
(continued with # 17)