Acts 1:10
They were looking intently into the sky as He was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.
Sermons
The Ascension: Back Home AgainS. D. GordonActs 1:10
A True Commencement Must have Respect to What has Gone BeforeH. C. Trumbull, D. D.Acts 1:1-12
Aspects of Christ on the EarthActs 1:1-12
Christ Directs Thought to HeavenActs 1:1-12
Christ Preceding His Apostles to HeavenA. Maclaren, D. DActs 1:1-12
Christ's Finished and Unfinished WorkA. Maclaren, D. DActs 1:1-12
Jesus LivesJ. Stoughton.Acts 1:1-12
Literary HistoriesW. R. Campbell.Acts 1:1-12
St. Luke a Model for the Bible StudentR. Burgess, B. D.Acts 1:1-12
Teaching to be Combined with DoingGf. Pentecost.Acts 1:1-12
The Ascending LordMonday ClubActs 1:1-12
The Ascension of ChristJ W. Hamilton.Acts 1:1-12
The Ascension: its Central PositionNesselmann.Acts 1:1-12
The Beginning of Apostolicity (1J. Parker, D. D.Acts 1:1-12
The Beginning of Apostolicity (2J. Parker, D. D.Acts 1:1-12
The Coronation of ChristW. B. Campbell.Acts 1:1-12
The Ever-Active ChristA. Verran.Acts 1:1-12
The Gospels and the ActsW. Arnot, D. D.Acts 1:1-12
The Gospels the Living Picture of ChristLittle's "Historical Lights."Acts 1:1-12
The Last Days of the Gospel PeriodW. Hudson.Acts 1:1-12
The Memorabilia of ChristActs 1:1-12
The Ministry of Jesus a BeginningW. Hudson.Acts 1:1-12
The Permanence of Christ in HistoryA. Maclaren, D. DActs 1:1-12
The Pre-Eminence of the Doctrine of Christ IncarnateEvangelical MagazineActs 1:1-12
The Resurrection and Ascension of ChristD. Jennings.Acts 1:1-12
The Unchanged PlanW. R. Campbell.Acts 1:1-12
The Uniqueness of Christ's Earthly MinistryD. Thomas, D. D.Acts 1:1-12
TheophilusBp. Jacobsen.Acts 1:1-12
The Ascension. Heaven and Earth Visibly UnitedR.A. Redford Acts 1:6-11
Heavenward Gazing Recalled to Earthward WatchingP.C. Barker Acts 1:9-11
The Uplifting of JesusE. Johnson Acts 1:9-11
Christ in HeavenG. H. James.Acts 1:9-12
Christ's Way to Heaven UnclosedJ. Alexander, D. D.Acts 1:9-12
Comfort in a CloudActs 1:9-12
Taken UpW. Johnson.Acts 1:9-12
Taken UpW. M. Punshon, LL. D.Acts 1:9-12
The Angels Watching JesusChristian AgeActs 1:9-12
The Apostles' Last Sight of JesusW. Hudson.Acts 1:9-12
The AscensionH. C. G. Moule, M. A.Acts 1:9-12
The AscensionS. S. TimesActs 1:9-12
The AscensionDean Vaughan.Acts 1:9-12
The AscensionAbp. Tillotson.Acts 1:9-12
The AscensionThomas Jones.Acts 1:9-12
The AscensionH. Allon, D. D.Acts 1:9-12
The AscensionD. Moore, M. A.Acts 1:9-12
The AscensionC. S. Robinson, D. D.Acts 1:9-12
The Ascension and the Second Advent Practically ConsideredC. H. Spurgeon.Acts 1:9-12
The Ascension CloudDean Vaughan.Acts 1:9-12
The Ascension of Christ and its LessonsG. T. Stokes, D. D.Acts 1:9-12
The Ascension of Christ and of ElijahJ. Baumgarten.Acts 1:9-12
The Ascension: its Diffusive BenefitsDean Goulburn.Acts 1:9-12
The Ascension: its LessonsArchdeacon Farrar.Acts 1:9-12
The Ascension: its Moral UsesW. Denton, M. A.Acts 1:9-12
The Ascension: its PurposesJ. De Witt, D. D.Acts 1:9-12
The Ascension: the Saviour's GiftsT. Goodwin, D. D.Acts 1:9-12
The Intervening CloudActs 1:9-12
The Trail of the Ascending SaviourF. B. Meyer.Acts 1:9-12
Wisdom in BereavementS. Conway Acts 1:9-14
Christ's ComingJ. Ker, D. D.Acts 1:10-11
Christ's Coming AgainR. Tuck Acts 1:10, 11
Christ's Second ComingActs 1:10-11
Gazing into HeavenC. S. Robinson, D. D.Acts 1:10-11
Go About Your BusinessChristian HeraldActs 1:10-11
Idle Emotion UselessA. Maclaren, D. DActs 1:10-11
IndolenceActs 1:10-11
Looking After it is UselessA. Maclaren, D. DActs 1:10-11
The Angels' MessageR.A. Redford Acts 1:10, 11
The Disciples At the AscensionJ. Parker, D. D.Acts 1:10-11
The Second AdventR. Lewis.Acts 1:10-11
The Second AdventWf. Adeney, M. A.Acts 1:10-11
The Second AdventBishop Ryle.Acts 1:10-11
The Second Advent: the Uncertainty of its DateW. Archer Butler, M. A.Acts 1:10-11
The Two AdventsW. Landels, D. D.Acts 1:10-11
The Two Advents: Contrast Between ThemA. Hildebert.Acts 1:10-11
Too Much Mere Sentiment in ReligionHomilistActs 1:10-11
Unprofitable GazingBp. Huntington.Acts 1:10-11
Waiting for Christ's ReturnActs 1:10-11
Why Stand Ye GazingDean Vaughan.Acts 1:10-11
Words to the Spectators of the AscensionHomilistActs 1:10-11

I. A REMONSTRANCE. "Why stand ye looking into heaven?"

1. Against the misuse of signs and appearances. Get at the substance of the fact, and waste no time and strength on the mere form.

2. Against prying into forbidden secrets. Indulgence of fancy in religion. Following the track of sense beyond its reach.

3. Spiritual depression and reaction. Christ is still the same. Be not afraid or perplexed, but set to work and prepare for his return.

II. AN ANNOUNCEMENT. "This Jesus shall so come."

1. A personal advent, but not necessarily pro-millennial. The chief meaning of the promise is that this world is to be prepared for the return of Christ, therefore is to be made his kingdom, so the expectation is practical.

2. The similarity of circumstances is helpful to faith. "Out of sight," "a cloud," "taken up," - such terms remind us that we must not look for mere sensible indications of the Savior's descent from heaven; but in like manner as he went away, so mysteriously that his disciples scarcely knew whether he was gone and still gazed after him, so he will appear again "with clouds," and only imperfectly seen, until his presence shall be hailed with the shout of the archangel and the trump of God.

3. The assurance of the second advent of the Lord should be the summons to work, and the comfort of all that feel their loneliness and want in this scene of separation from their Savior's visible presence. "Till Jesus comes." The promise speaks peace to us. - R.







And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up.
Homilist.
It may be that the same two angels who rolled away the stone, and appeared at His open sepulchre, were present now. Or were they the "two men," Moses and Elijah, who had appeared at the Transfiguration? Whoever they were, they were glorified beings, sent to do honour to Christ. The words may be taken as a rebuke for the indulgence of too much sentiment in connection with religion. Sentiment in religion is not only good, but essential; without the sentiments of love, hope, gratitude, adoration, there could be no religion. But if it continue merely as sentiment, and takes no practical form, sways not the actions and shapes not the life, it is rather pernicious than useful.

I. That too much sentimental interest in the MARVELLOUS in religion is not good. Religion has its marvels, supernatural events crowd the Word of God; but to yield our minds too much to the influence of the wonderful, is not good. The sentiment of wonder has its beneficent mission; it tends to take us out of ourselves, to break the monotony of our experience, and to give a passing freshness to life. But the indulgence of this sentiment of wonder, apart from religion, is a great evil. The religionists who are always gazing after signs and wonders become dreamy mystics and the dupes of priestly imposture. The wonder which the marvellous in religion excites, becomes only useful as it lifts us to a higher plane of practical life, only as it tends to make our lives sublime.

II. That too much sentimental interest in the OBJECTIVE in religion is not good. The disciples were looking outside of themselves, fixing their gaze on the heavens. We do well so to gaze upon the outward, as to reduce the whole into a science that shall become the richest inheritance of the intellect. In religion, too, we must be interested in the outward. The soul is neither self-sustaining nor self-directing; its elements of life must be derived from without; its lessons of direction must come from without. But to have all our interests absorbed in the externals of religion is a terrible evil, and, alas I a prevalent one. "The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness and joy and peace in the Holy Ghost."

III. That too much sentimental interest in the TEMPORARY in religion is not good. There is a natural tendency in these souls of ours to linger with interest over departed objects that were once dear to the heart. We cling, says one, "to the shell, the husks, the garments, after the kernel, the essence, and the life have gone." To indulge in this sentiment in natural things, is not good; the mourner whose sentiments are always absorbed in the dear ones that are gone, grows moody and diseased. The permanent was with them — the eternal principles of truth and the spirit of Christ, these did not depart; it was a mere temporary manifestation that went; and to have their sentiments engrossed in that, was not good. There are those around us in all directions whose sympathies are taken up with the mere temporary forms of religion.

(Homilist.)

Homilist.
I. The CHIDING element. "Why stand ye gazing?" There is undoubtedly reproof in these words.

1. "Why stand ye?" — you need not lament that which is a blessing. All that is necessary on earth for your spiritual culture and well-being He has accomplished, and now He enters heaven in order to give efficiency to all the spiritual instrumentalities which He has set in operation amongst you. You should rejoice, rather than lament — rejoice at what He has done for you, rejoice that He has triumphed over His enemies, rejoice that He is leaving His degradation, sorrows, and enemies for scenes of dignity, blessedness, and love. Ah, how often, through our ignorance, we lament over events which should fill us with rejoicing.

2. "Why stand ye" — you gain much by His departure. It is "expedient" for you that He goes away, for if He goes not away "the Comforter will not come." When He is gone you will be thrown back upon yourselves and be made self-reliant.

3. "Why stand ye" — He has given you a commission to work. "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, beginning at Jerusalem."

II. The CHEERING element. "This same Jesus which is taken from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven."

1. He will return to you "in like manner." How unexpectedly He went away. It is said, "while they looked" He went. "In like manner" He will come: unexpectedly.

2. He will return to you identical in personality. "This same Jesus." Same loving Brother, tried Friend, mighty Lord, etc. Whatever changes take place in the universe, they will not touch Him.

3. He will return to you in great glory. He went up in great glory, "a cloud received Him out of their sight." What cloud was that? It was that luminous, mystic flame which was ever regarded as the symbol of the Divine Presence. That which gleamed in the bush to Moses, in the pillar that conducted the Children of Israel through the wilderness, over the mercy-seat in the holy of holies, which glided through the heavens like a star and conducted the wise men to the place where Jesus was born; that which spread over the Mount of Transfiguration and made the scene so transporting. "In like manner" He will come. "I beheld a great white throne, and Him that sat thereon," etc.Conclusion: Such is what seems implied in this angelic language and from it three general truths may be drawn.

1. That what we deem our greatest losses are often our greatest gain.

2. That we indulge too much in the sentiments of religion when they detain us from earnest work."

3. That the destinies of men in all worlds and ages are bound up in Christ. "This same Jesus."

(Homilist.)

There is reproof in the question. We might have thought that the question answered itself. Would it not have been strange if they had not stood gazing? Less wonderful spectacles than that have drawn together a crowd of gazers, and no one thinks of arguing with them. Curiosity alone will account for gazing upon this spectacle; ascent into heaven by one in human form, unaided by any visible appliance. Who, I say, would not gaze up into heaven to watch this? But how much more, if the person thus ascending was a friend — a friend closer than a brother. The disciples gazed as though they were looking their last upon the departed form. To be reminded, then, that this was by no means their last sight of Him was to be recalled at once to thoughts of peace, and hope, and blessedness; to be reproved for this gazing by the assurance which followed, that "this same Jesus shall come again in like manner as ye now see Him go," had healing in the very wound. Interpreted by the teaching of the Last Supper, the reproof said this to them: "Remember how He said to you while He was yet with you, 'A little while, and ye shall not see Me; and again a little while and ye shall see Me.'" One fulfilment of that saying you have already witnessed: He went from you by death, and He came back to you by resurrection. Another fulfilment of the same saying is now in development: He goes from you by ascension, and He shall come back to you in the Advent. This, then, was the meaning for the first disciples of the "Why stand ye gazing?" which is our text. Within tea days they understood it. On the instant it comforted them, for St. Luke expressly says, that they returned to Jerusalem that very hour with great joy. The idea of parting was swallowed up for them in the idea of meeting. But now, let us hear this question addressed to ourselves: "Why stand ye here gazing? What mean ye by this silence?" and let us think what we shall answer. "Why stand ye to-night in this church gazing on the ascension?" We take an onward step when we reply.

I. BECAUSE IT HELPS US TO REALISE A WORLD BEYOND THIS WORLD, a life above this life, a substantial rock that is higher than we, on which we would firmly stand our feet amidst the billows and storms of the temporal and the transient. To fix a steadfast gaze upon the ascending Lord, till a cloud comes between and intercepts the view, to which flesh and blood are unequal, of that glorious, that mysterious transition from the material into the immaterial universe — we find it helpful, we find it comforting, under the heavy pressure of sense and time, whether our circumstances at this present are joyous or grievous, weighted with care and sorrow, or but too jubilant with pleasure and prosperity. It is not easy to believe in a world out of sight. We want every help that a religious life can give to it, we want the aid of prayer, we want. the discipline of providence, we want the experience of years, we want, first and above all, a revelation such as God gives in His Son, commending itself to man's conscience and resting upon a basis of impregnable fact. I know not what would become of us in days such as these — days of unrest and disquietude, days of anxiety bursting sometimes into horror, days of failing hearts and almost despairing hopes, for the future of our own and other lands, if we could not gaze upward after the ascended Saviour and infer the certainty of a better country, that is a heavenly.

II. THE DESIRE TO REALISE THE LIFE OF CHRIST HIMSELF AS GONE INTO HEAVEN FOR US MEN AND FOR OUR SALVATION.

III. THAT WE ARE ALL LEARNING IN HEART AND MIND TO ASCEND AFTER HIM, AND THERE WITH HIM CONTINUALLY TO DWELL. There are many counterfeits of this grace, there are also some substitutes for it, counted as good or better, sometimes even by the Church of this age. It is an age which makes activity everything; measures religion by its tangible effects; leaves itself no inner life, as it were; itself depends on the outward, and thinks little even of the industry which has nothing to show for itself. The Church too much humours and pampers this temper of the times. Now, the ascent of our Lord is the protest against this whole system. They who would witness for Him must find time to track His ascending; they who would reproduce Him in. His reality to this nineteenth age must first have gazed steadfastly up; there must be leisure found or made for this, leisure for meditation, leisure for study, leisure for communing. Let each one fix his gaze upon the ascending Lord, that he may follow Him where the Ascended rests in that calm heaven, the heaven of holiness and the heaven of love. Let him dwell with the Ascended, having boldness to enter into the Holiest. Let us draw nigh; let it be a purified entering, and let it be a purified return also. That is the spiritual mind whose home is heaven. "Why stand ye gazing up into heaven?" Because we would follow where He has led, live the life of heaven here, and at last be with Him for ever where He is.

(Dean Vaughan.)

I. MEN OVERPOWERED AND DISPOSSESSED OF SELF-CONTROL IN THE PRESENCE OF A WONDROUS REVELATION. There are moments in which men are not themselves. Great events suddenly happen and the spectators lose all presence of mind, however sagacious they may ordinarily be. Sometimes they cannot speak for joy, sometimes for terror, sometimes for simple amazement. This is the case sometimes with children, and often with men when, e.g., a letter is received containing unexpected news. The thing to be remembered here is that this is the natural effect of Christian revelation. When the angels came to Bethlehem the shepherds were afraid, so were the women to whom the angels spake at the sepulchre. And no man ought to receive Divine communications or see Divine effects without sensibility. Nor ought we to look on the sublimities of nature or the wonders of art as if they were nothing. This is one of the perils of familiarity. A rustic thinks little of the mountain under whose shadow he was born, but is struck dumb when he gazes on St. Paul's. A Londoner passes the cathedral without knowing that it is there, but looks at Snowdon for hours during his summer holiday.

II. MEN RECALLED FROM ENFEEBLING REVERIE. It was good for them to look upward, but there was something more to be done. We can waste time in the sublimest contemplation. When a man is naturally inclined to ecstasy he ought to fight against his inclination so as to bring it into harmony with other powers. There are persons to whom Christianity is so sublime a thing that they fail to see it in practical life. It is right to have hours of rapture, but a man cannot live so always. So the disciples were interrogated by the two men in white apparel — Moses and Elias, I think; for there is something Mosaic in the inquiry, and something of the power and passion of Elijah. We too are matched by the old master-workers of the world. Seeing then we are encompassed by so great a cloud of witnesses, why should our life be a gazing when we are called to work? When the women looked down into the sepulchre, the angel said, "Why seek ye the living among the dead?" So we are not always to be looking down. The lesson of the text is that we must not always be looking up. What then is to be our attitude? Look about you; and look up only to gain inspiration for the work nearest to hand.

III. MEN INSTRUCTED AND COMPORTED BY A PROMISE. "This same Jesus." Who wants an amended Christ? "This same Jesus" who knows, has taught, has died to save you "shall come again." One would like to see Jesus; but one would not like Him to be so changed that those who knew Him first know Him no longer. We want such elements of identity as shall enable the disciples to gladly recognise Him as the same Christ. He is promised to come again in the same sublime fashion, sovereign in will, gentle in spirit, pure as God, tenderer than woman. The world cannot live without that promise.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

There is here —

I. AN AFFECTIONATE EXPOSTULATION WITH THOSE WHO ARE UNDER PERSONAL BEREAVEMENT. When Jesus had kept telling these friends of His that He purposed to leave them before long, they received no settled impression from it. It is of no use to attempt to become prepared for the loss of one whom we love. Now they looked after their ascending Lord with unutterable dismay. When any one has parted with some precious object of affection, the wounded spirit remains just broken, gazing up into vacancy, sometimes even wishing it might fly away and be at rest. But this cannot be indulged. These disciples are told to report immediately for duty. The mourner's eyes should be fixed upon work, and not upon loss. See the promise (Psalm 126:5, 6.).

II. AN EARNEST INCITEMENT TO THE LAGGARD OR LISTLESS. The great world needed the gospel without delay. Christ was gone, but the Comforter was coming. Just as soon as they advanced to duty the day of Pentecost dawned. There are men who stand gazing up into heaven after a revival. Now, nowhere does God's Word bid us wait for any special outpouring of spiritual influence. The Holy Spirit is in the Church.

III. A CLEAR COUNSEL FOR THOSE IN EARNEST IN THE SEEKING OF CHRIST FOR THEIR SOULS. It is possible for a man to stand gazing up into heaven for a course of years, and then suddenly discover that what he has been looking for was an experience, and not a Saviour. Salvation is not a thing to be vacantly gazed after. Repent of your sins now. Put your trust in Christ now. The entire work of turning unto a new life usually begins with some commonplace step of commitment of one's self before others. A public word in a prayer-meeting, the asking of a blessing at the table, a checking admonition to a comrade, a mere refusal to do a wrong or worldly act, will never make a man a Christian, but it may show he has become one.

IV. A COMFORT FOR SUCH CHRISTIANS AS ARE IN BONDAGE THROUGH FEAR OF DEATH. Let us think of our departure as an ascension like Christ's. One may habituate himself to melancholy foreboding until all looks dark and frightful on ahead. Or he may accustom his mind to regarding a change of worlds as only a sweet, bright journey along the path the Saviour went from the Mount of Olives.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

Nothing is more dangerous than idleness. He who has nothing to do will soon be doing something wrong. "Our idle," says an eminent divine, "are Satan's busy days. If the mind is properly engaged, there is little room for the entrance of temptation; but when the mind is empty and open, the enemy can throw in what he pleases. Stagnant waters produce thousands of noxious insects that are unknown in flowing streams."

How true to nature is that gazing "steadfastly into heaven" after gazing was useless! So we look at the spot on the horizon where the last gleam of a sail that bears away dear ones has faded.

(A. Maclaren, D. D)

The "two men in white apparel" make a part of the grand supernatural array which the common scenery of the earth put on as the Lord was leaving it. From the entrance of the Saviour into the garden, on through the following forty-three days, the spiritual world and the material seemed to have the doors between them swung open, and to become one. If we believe the history, or credit the incarnation, at all, is not this just as we should expect? He in whom the realities of both heaven and earth were united; He who could say — "The Son of Man is now in heaven," He is passing back personally into the unseen communion, where all His friends are to follow Him. I believe in miracles because I see the greater miracle — Christ — grander than all this world's men, and yet lowlier, saying that He comes forth from God, and goes to God, as simply as my child shows me the flower found in the garden-yet so saying it that all the philosophers and critics of eighteen hundred years have not been able to break the authority or explain the secret. The question is —

I. A CALL FROM CONTEMPLATION TO ACTION. Only a little breathing space was to be given them first to gather up their energies; and even that was not to be an interval of idleness. They were to go at once to Jerusalem, and their waiting there was to be like the waiting of the still midsummer elements, before the mountain winds sweep down and the tongues of fire leap out — a busy waiting — a preparation for this long campaign of many ages. They were to be earnest and constant in prayer and praise; to settle in their minds the doctrines and directions of their Master, pertaining to the kingdom; to fasten and cement the bonds of unity with one accord, and to fill up the vacant place in the apostolate. Thus their business had been marked out as every Christian's is. But the apostles are not turning to that business; they are still resting in a kind of sentimental trance between their commission and their ministry. They were living as some Christians do nowadays-in their feelings, more than in their convictions and their will, in fruitless memories, not in daring hopes. Indulged any longer, this would become a mere life of religious sentiment, not a life of religious service — and so not a healthy life at all. If those men that had companied so long with Christ needed to be startled out of a false indulgence in the mere idle luxury of feeling, most of us need it much more. I hear a man say it makes him "feel better" to say his prayers; so far so good; but how far does the feeling go, and the power of the prayer keep him company, as a law of regulation to his lips and a purifier of his conduct? Lacordaire says, "I desire to be remembered only as one who believed, who loved, and who prayed." But why only these? Ought there not to be an equal desire to honour the Lord in an active following of His steps and proclaiming Him in life?

II. A SUMMONS TO WALK, HENCEFORTH, NOT BY THE LIGHT OF AN OUTWARD LEADER, BUT BY A SECRET AND STEADFAST TRUST IN HIM WHO IS FOR EVER WITH US BY AN INWARD POSSESSION. If, then, the question of the heavenly men be put into some paraphrase for ourselves here, this would be its import. Reduce your privileges to Christian practice, and your faith to action. Life is not given us for speculation, or gazing, or mere delight, even though the relish be religious — not for reverie and dreaming, even though it were the reverie of devotion, or a dream of Paradise. This world, our own little corner of it, wants sacrifice and labour, running feet and open hands, busy thoughts and gentle tongues.

III. A DEMAND THAT OUR CHRISTIAN LIFE SHOULD BE INDEPENDENT OF EXTERNAL SUPPORT, SO THAT IT MAY BE ONLY DEPENDENT ON GOD. Not that we are to cast away any outward prop so long as God's providence holds it in its place and comforts us by letting us lean upon it; but that we should not be perplexed or disheartened when any such help is taken away by Him, or enfeeble ourselves by letting our integrity, or our purity, or our prayers depend on it instead of depending directly on Him. There is no danger that our eyes or our hearts will he turned too much upwards, heavenwards — provided we look there, in faith and prayer, for the light and the strength to do our Christian service here. At present this is our place; and the judgment before us is a judgment for deeds done in the body. These men, when they were bidden to stop gazing into heaven and go to their work were not turned away from heavenly things to earthly things, but the opposite. They were to stop looking into the air, that by a truer and God-appointee road they might travel, in God's time, higher up into the Christian heaven. They were to rouse themselves from a dream, that they might work out their salvation and the salvation of the world. To that end, the present line of living, however agreeable and prosperous, the present residence or occupation, however delightful, or the present apparent helps, however prized, as soon as they become tempters to sluggishness, must be given up — a sacrifice to Him whose sacrifice to us is the only assurance of life. Hence God's providence is continually pushing us on, displacing one or another scheme, or vision, or staff, or companion. He does it for what he would make of us — better men.

(Bp. Huntington.)

Love to God is no idle emotion or lazy rapture, no vague sentiment, but the root of all practical goodness, of all strenuous efforts, of all virtue, and of all praise. That strong tide is meant to drive the busy wheels of life and to bear precious freightage on its bosom; not to flow away in profitless foam.

(A. Maclaren, D. D)

Christian Herald.
Some years ago, a new clock was made to be placed in the Temple Hall. When finished the clockmaker was desired to wait upon the Benchers of the Temple, who would think of a suitable motto to be put under the clock. He applied several times, but without getting the desired information, as they had not determined on the inscription. Continuing to importune them, he at last came when the old Benchers were met in the Temple Hall, and had just sat down to dinner. The workman again requested to be informed of the motto. One of the Benchers who thought the application ill-timed, and who was fender of eating and drinking than inventing mottoes, testily replied, "Go about your business!" The mechanic taking this for an answer to his question, went home and inserted at the bottom of the clock, "Go about your business!" and placed it in the Temple Hall, to the great surprise of the Benchers, who, considering the circumstances, argued that accident had produced a better motto than they could think of, and ever since the Temple clock has continued to remind the lawyer and the public to go about their business.

(Christian Herald.)

This same Jesus... shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go
I. ITS TIME.

1. Unknown (Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32).

2. The times of restoration (Acts 3:19).

3. The latter day (Job 19:25).

4. "Such an hour as ye think not" (Matthew 24:44).

5. "After that tribulation," etc. (Mark 13:24-26).

6. A falling away first (2 Thessalonians 2:3).

II. How CHARACTERISED.

1. The times of restoration (Acts 3:19).

2. The day of God (2 Peter 3:12).

3. The last time (1 Peter 1:5).

4. The revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:7, 13).

5. Appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour (Titus 2:13).

6. The day of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:8).

7. The day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).

8. The appearing of the chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4).

III. ITS MANNER.

1. Suddenly and unexpectedly (Matthew 24:44; Mark 13:36; Luke 12:40).

2. As a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 16:15).

3. As the lightning (Matthew 24:27).

4. As the flood (Matthew 24:37-39).

5. As He ascended (ver. 11).

6. In clouds (Matthew 24:30; Matthew 26:64; Revelation 1:7).

7. With a shout and the voice of the archangel (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

8. With angels (Matthew 16:27; Matthew 25:31; Mark 8:38; 2 Thessalonians 1:7).

9. With His saints (1 Thessalonians 3:13; Jude 1:14).

10. In the glory of His Father (Matthew 16:27).

11. In His own glory (Matthew 25:31; Luke 9:26).

12. In flaming fire (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

13. With power and great glory (Matthew 24:30.)

IV. ITS PURPOSES.

1. TO be glorified in His saints (2 Thessalonians 1:10).

2. To bring to light the hidden things of darkness (1 Corinthians 4:5).

3. To reign (Isaiah 24:23; Daniel 7:14; Revelation 11:15).

4. Gather His elect (Matthew 24:31; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17).

5. To judge (Matthew 25:31).

6. To reward (Revelation 22:12).

V. DUTIES RELATIVE TO IT.

1. Should consider as at hand (Romans 13:12; Philippians 4:5; 1 Peter 4:7).

2. Be prepared for (Matthew 24:44, 46; Luke 12:37, 38, 40).

3. Should love (2 Timothy 4:8).

4. Look for (Philippians 3:20; Titus 2:13).

5. Wait for (1 Corinthians 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 1:10).

6. Watch for (Matthew 24:42; Mark 13:35-37; Luke 21:36).

7. Be patient unto (2 Thessalonians 3:5; James 5:7, 8).

(S. S. Times.)

Love makes the tears of farewells sparkle into welcomes, and if we could retain the came impression of Christ's loss, His return would be as nigh. It is, moreover, in the New Testament the great event which towers above every other. The heaven that gives back Christ gives back all we have loved and lost, solves all doubts and ends all sorrows. His coming looks in upon the whole life of His Church, as a lofty mountain peak looks in upon every little valley and sequestered home around its base, and belongs to them alike. Every generation lies under the shadow of it, for whatever is transcendently great is constantly near, and in moments of conviction it absorbs petty interests and annihilates intervals.

(J. Ker, D. D.)

The Rev. T. Brown, in The Watchword, tells of a gentleman, accompanied by his little son, having an errand at the East India House, who left the boy upon the steps, telling him to wait till he returned. Shortly afterwards, being much engrossed, with the business which he had in hand, he left the building by another door, and went home, entirely forgetting his son. When the family assembled at dinner the mother noticed the child's absence, and made anxious inquiry for him. Then the incident of the morning flashed upon the father's mind. He hurried back to the East India House, and there he found the little boy, tired and hungry, waiting, as he had been told to, at the door. He had been there four hours. "I knew you would come, father," said he; "you said you would." Such secure and childlike trust is the faith of all who die "in Christ." All who fall asleep in Jesus, know that Jesus will come for them again, for He said He would, and He never forgets. In like manner the living believer should anticipate His second coming.

Note here —

I. OUR LORD'S UNCHANGED IDENTITY. After having been separated by years of time and leagues of space from a familiar friend, if a reunion is anticipated each will probably speculate on the change which the interval has wrought in the other. "He will have formed new friendships and contracted fresh habits; another generation has sprung up since we were companions, and the old links no longer exist; he can hardly feel for me as he once did." But no such surmises can mingle with our thoughts of Jesus. "There is one Lord Jesus Christ," and but one. The ascended and coming Saviour is the same who came and suffered (Ephesians 4:9). A native Indian preacher was met on his way to Church by two young English officers bent on sport. They asked him, "How is Jesus Christ to-day?" Astonished that two young men from the country who sent the Bible should take the sacred name in vain, he gently rebuked them, but added, "If you really want to know how Jesus Christ is, He is the 'same yesterday, to-day, and for ever'" — a word fitly spoken which led the young men to the Saviour.

1. Jesus Christ is the same in —

(1)The perfections of His nature.

(2)The tenderness of His sympathy.

(3)The plenteousness of His grace.

(4)The extent and perpetuity of His rule.Since His ascension those who have seen Him declare that He retains His identity — Stephen, Paul (1 Corinthians 9:1), John at Patmos. As He still bears the marks of His suffering, so He retains sympathy for every member of His body. Although "by seraph hosts adored, He to earth's lowest cares is still awake."

2. So it is with our friends who have gone homo. They have not lost their individuality — only their mortality and sin. They have not melted into the infinite azure. Moses and Elias on the Mount of Transfiguration were the same as in Hebrew story.

II. THE CERTAINTY AND MANNER OF HIS RETURN.

1. He continually revisits His people.

(1)Spiritually. "The King Himself draws near and feasts His saints."

(2)Representatively. The angel of death is His messenger calling His people home.

2. He is coming.

(1)Personally.

(2)Visibly.

(3)Gloriously.Not as first He came, a helpless infant, but a glorious conqueror (Daniel 7:13; Revelation 1:7; Revelation 14:14).

(R. Lewis.)

These words cannot refer to Pentecost, nor to Christ's spiritual communion with His people, because other references point to the Second Advent as in the future, and far more glorious than any manifestations in the past.

I. CHRIST WILL COME AGAIN. In the Early Church the expectation of soon seeing Christ was strong. But when this was disappointed the thought fell into the background. Yet error as to time does not affect the fact. The world waited many ages for the First Advent, but "in the fulness of time God sent forth His Son." Why, then, should the Church despair if she must wait ages for the second?

II. CHRIST WILL COME IN GLORY. He ascended in triumph; He will return in triumph. In the prophets we have visions of glory and humiliation associated with the Messiah, and the Rabbis expected two Messiahs, one suffering and the other conquering. We now see that one man can be both in successive periods. Christ fulfils prophecy by degrees. Had the whole of Christ's career fallen in the days of Tiberius the Jews might properly have rejected Him. We look for the final fulfilment of prophecy to the future glory of Christ.

III. CHRIST WILL COME TO REIGN. His glory will not be an empty pageant. They who look for a visible throne and a secular government fall into the error of the Jews. How He will appear we know not, but we know that His kingdom will be always spiritual, and when it comes "all men shall know the Lord from the least to the greatest." This hope should stimulate the Church's diligence. As she carries out her mission His full reign draws nearer.

(Wf. Adeney, M. A.)

Did you ever hear the sound of the trumpets which are blown before the judges as they come into the city to open the assizes? Did you ever reflect how different are the feelings which those trumpets awaken in the minds of different men? The innocent man, who has no cause to be tried, hears them unmoved. They proclaim no terrors to him. He listens and looks on quietly, and is not afraid. But often there is some poor wretch waiting his trial, in a silent ceil, to whom those trumpets are a knell of despair. They tell him that the day of trial is at hand. Yet a little time, and he will stand at the bar of justice, and hear witness after witness telling the story of his misdeeds. Yet a little time and all will be over — the trial, the verdict, the sentence; and there will remain nothing for him but punishment and disgrace. No wonder the prisoner's heart beats when he hears the trumpet's sound! So shall the sound be of the archangel's trump.

(Bishop Ryle.)

The cloud that enveloped our Saviour still shrouds His expected presence on the throne of judgment. It is a purposed obscurity, a wise and merciful denial of knowledge. In this matter it is His gracious will to be the perpetual subject of watchfulness, expectation, fear, desire, but no more. To cherish anticipation He has permitted gleams of light to cross the darkness; to baffle presumption He has made them only gleams. He has harmonised with consummate skill every part of His revelation to produce this general result — now speaking as if a few seasons more were to herald the new heaven and the new earth, now as if His days were as thousands of years; at one moment whispering into the ear of His disciple, at another retreating into the depth of infinite ages. It is His purpose thus to live in our faith and hope, remote yet near, pledged to no moment, possible at any; worshipped not with the consternation of a near, nor the indifference of a distant certainty, but with the anxious vigilance that awaits a contingency ever at hand. This, the deep devotion of watchfulness, humility, and awe, He who knows us best knows to be the fittest posture for our spirits; therefore does He preserve the salutary suspense which ensures it, and therefore will He determine His advent to no definite day in the calender of eternity. And yet this uncertainty is abused to security; and exactly as the invisibility of the Creator, which is His perfection, produces the miserable creed of the atheist, the obscurity that veils the hour of judgment, though meant in merciful warning, persuades the ungodly heart that none is ever to arrive.

(W. Archer Butler, M. A.)

Christ came the first time in the guise of humanity; He is to come the second time in brightness, as a light to the godly, a terror to the wicked. He came the first time in weakness, He is to come the second time in might; the first time in our littleness, the second time in His own majesty; the first time in mercy, the second in judgment; the first time to redeem, the second to recompense, and that all the more terribly because of the long-suffering and delay.

(A. Hildebert.)

The stable of Bethlehem disappears, and behold the clouds are His chariot. That lonely wanderer amid the hills of Palestine, who was forsaken by all, persecuted by many, is now attended by thousands of angels. The hand which held the reed now sways the sceptre of universal dominion. He has ]eft the Cross and ascended the great white throne; and many crowns now sparkle on the head around which thorns were wreathed. He was crucified then amid the execrations of the mob; now He comes amid the hallelujahs of the skies to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe.

(W. Landels, D. D.)

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