The Impending Hour
James 5:7-8
Be patient therefore, brothers, to the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth…

The feelings with which we await the coming of any person or tiling depend very much upon the nature of the person or thing advancing, or upon the fittedness to meet him or it. It is evening in a very pleasant household. There is a key heard at the front door. The children come down the stairs with a bound, clapping their hands, and shouting, "Father's coming!" But disaster has entered that home. The writs have been issued. The front door bell rings, an official is about to enter, and the whisper all through the rooms of that house is, "The sheriff's coming!" March weather gets through scolding, and one day the windows toward the south are opened, and old age feels the flush of new life in its veins; and invalidism looks up and smiles, and all through the land the word is, "Spring is coming!" December hangs icicles on the eaves of the poor man's house. No wood gathered. No coal. The cracked window-pane invites the sleet to come in. The older sister, with numb fingers, attempts to tie the shoe latchet of the little brother, and stops to blow warmth into her blue hands, and the father shiveringly looks down and says, "Oh, my God, winter is coming!" Well, it is just so in regard to the announcement of my text. To one it sounds like a father's, to another like an executioner's, footstep. To one it is the breath of a June morning; to the other it is the blast of a December hurricane. "The coming of the Lord draweth nigh." I do not see how God can afford to stay away any longer. It seems to me that this world has been mauled of sin about long enough. The Church has made such slow headway against the Paganism, and the Mohammedanism, and the fraud, and the libertinism, and the drunkenness, and the rapine, and the murder of the world, that there are ten thousand hands now stretched up beckoning for God to come, and to come now. I also see a sign of the Divine advance in the opportunity for repentance which is being given to the nations. God, and angels, and men calling. Messages of salvation in the air. Telegraphs flashing the gospel news. Steamships carrying Christian ambassadors to and fro. Yes, we are on the eve of a universal moral earthquake. "The coming of the Lord draweth nigh." But there is a deeper stop in the organ of my text that needs to be pulled out, and that organ stop is the judgment trumpet. My text distinctly points toward that august arrival. Now, there is one secret that God has never told even to an archangel. The time when. It may come this autumn. It may come next spring. It may be farther off. I cannot tell. But the fact that such a day will come cannot be disputed. The Bible intimates, yea, it positively says, that in that last day God will come in by a flash of lightning. When the roll-call of that day is read your name and my name will be read in it, and we will answer, "Here!" These very feet will feel the earth's tremor, these eyes will see the scrolled sky, these hands will be lifted in acclamation or in horror, when the Lord shall be revealed from heaven, with mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance upon those who know not God, and who obey not the gospel of His Son. It will be our trial. It will be our judge. It will be our welcome or it will be our doom. "The coming of the Lord draweth nigh." But my subject takes a closer grapple, and it closes in and closes in until it announces to you and to me that Christ is coming very soon to put an end to our earthly residence. The most skilful theologians may make a mistake of hundreds of years in regard to the chronology of the judgment; but it is impossible for us to make a very wide mistake in regard to the time in which Christ will come to put an end to our earthly existence. Oh, if you knew how near you are to the moment of exit from this world, do you know what you would do? You would drop your head and pray just now. If you knew how certainly the door of God's mercy is gradually shutting against your unpardoned soul, you would cry out, "Stop! till I enter." My subject closes in once more, and closes in until I have to tell you that God, who in the text is represented as "drawing nigh," has actually arrived. No longer "drawing nigh." He is here. Get away from Him, you cannot. Trust in Him, you ought. Be saved by Him, you may. This God who has been arriving, and who is now come; this God who has been "drawing nigh," has come for one thing, and that is to save every one of you. He has come a long pilgrimage, treading over nails, and spikes, and thorns, until the sharp points have struck up through the hollow of the foot to the instep. He has come to carry your burdens, and to slay your sins, and to sympathise with your sorrows. He is here to break up your obduracy, and make you feel the palpitations of His warm, loving heart. Oh, the love of God, the love of God!

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

WEB: Be patient therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it, until it receives the early and late rain.

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