The Taken and the Left
Matthew 24:40
Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

This suggests suitable instruction for a time when sudden death visits a family or a Church. At such times there is gracious work to be done, in sympathizing with the smitten and bereaved, and in teaching solemn lessons.

I. Illustrate the text in cases of PRESERVATION FROM DANGER. Help toward the nourishing of devout gratitude. Take cases of the few spared from a shipwreck, or recovered from a mine accident. Or case of Luther's friend Alexis, who was smitten by lightning at his side. All of us can think of friends of our school time or our youth who have been called away. Wherefore are we spared? What is it that God has for us to do? Are we doing it?

II. Illustrate the text in cases of RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. Help toward nourishing religious anxiety. Take times of mission and revival; the saved and unsaved work together, sit together.

III. Illustrate the text in cases of FAMILY BEREAVEMENTS; so bring to view and impress spiritual consolations. Family separations always causing grief and distress. Different scenes at grave-sides beheld by ministers. Extreme distress may be shown only in noble self-restraints; see Abraham's sorrow over Sarah. What must it be to sever two souls that have grown together in loving, mutual dependence and service through long, long years? It is like tearing the climbing plant from the stem round which it has clung so hard that the two seemed to share a common life. There are three great sources of consolation that may be urged.

1. The "taken" are taken from toil and suffering to rest and peace. All life must be suffering toil; all heaven must be restful toil. Illustrate by the friendship of Christian and Faithful in the 'Pilgrim's Progress.' Faithful was taken away to rest by the fire chariot at Vanity Fair.

2. Those "left" are left with abundant provisions of Divine grace. The Hebrew youths in the blazing furnace were not left alone. There are

(1) promises to cheer the sadness of the way;

(2) there is a lamp to lighten the darkness of the way; and

(3) there is a Friend to guide amid the dangers of the way.

3. The "taken" and the "left" will soon be reunited where there is no separation. "A little while;" "We shall know even as we are known; They go no more out forever." - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

WEB: Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and one will be left;

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