RPM, Volume 20, Number 6, February 4 to February 10, 2018

The Night Watches: God's Closing Call

Psa 63:6; 130:6; 42:8

By John MacDuff

"Now is the time of God's favor; behold! now is the day of salvation." 2 Cor. 6:2

Reader! How does it stand with you? Is the question of your soul's salvation finally and forever settled? Are you at peace with God? Can you say with Paul, in the prospect of death, "I am now ready"? Have you been led to feel the infinite peril of postponement and procrastination, and responded to the appeal — "Behold, Now!" Ah, how many have found, when the imagined hour of deathbed preparation had come, that the tear of penitence was too late to be shed, and the prayer of mercy too late to be uttered! Let there be plain dealing between your conscience and your God. Seek not to escape from the pressing urgency of the question. You may dismiss it now, but there is a day coming when you dare not! Let it not merge in vague generalities — let it be realized as matter of personal concern; of infinite importance to yourself — "Am I saved, or am I not saved? Am I prepared, or am I unprepared, to meet my God?"

You may have, perhaps, an honest purpose of giving it some future deliberation at another and "more convenient season." Do we ever read of Felix's "more convenient season?" It were better not to risk the experiment of a dying hour for the solution of the problem — "Is it safe today?" Take it on trust, that it is a difficult matter — a conference about the soul on the brink of eternity! Remember, God's Spirit "will not always strive." All His other attributes are infinite, but His patience and forbearance have their "bounds and limits."

The invitation which is yours today, may be withdrawn tomorrow. The axe may be even now laid at the root of the tree, and the sentence on the wing– "Cut it down!" How awful, if it really be, that you are yet living in this state of estrangement and guilt! What a surrender of present peace! What a forfeiture of eternal joy! Hurry! flee for your life, lest you be consumed! Your immortality is no trifle.

"The night is far spent." Who can tell how far? It may be now or never with you! You are about once more to lie down on your nightly pillow. What if your awaking tomorrow were to be "in outer darkness?" But, take courage, that night is not too far spent. Close this last of the "Night Watches," by fleeing, without delay, to Jesus — the Sinner's Savior and the Sinner's Friend. It was on the last watch of the night, He came of old to His tempest-tossed disciples. Like them, receive Him now into your soul; and have all your guilty fears calmed by His omnipotent "Peace, be still!"

Are there not ominous signs all around, as if the world's last and closing "night-watch" had set in? The billows are heaving high. We hear the footsteps on the waters. Amid the fitful moanings of the blast, the watchword is heard — of joy to some, of terror to others — "Maranatha" – "The Lord is coming!"

Reader! are you ready? Is the joyous response on your tongue — "Come, Lord Jesus; Come quickly"? If this night were indeed your very last, and the thunders of judgment were to break upon you before daybreak; would you be able, in the assurance of an eternal dawn, to say — "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8

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