Part 1 of this article by Brother Roberts considered the role of Christ as Saviour and Destroyer and the dispensations under which both roles are played out and the present disposition of the saints. This second part continues the theme of Judgment and our attitude towards the meeting with Christ – the most auspicious moment in our lives!

To do good

Jesus had not come to destroy men’s lives at that time, but to save them. That exactly expresses our present relation to mankind. Our position at present is altogether one of benefaction to others; we are not at liberty to do any harm to anyone, even in self-defence; we are prohibited from doing harm. We must be like Christ: he was not only holy, but harmless. Now this means much that is above the ordinary practices of men. There are many ways of doing harm, of letting out your pique, of venting your spleen upon the object of your dislike. You leave him in the lurch in some matter, and rejoice secretly at his misfortune. This must not be. You must help your enemy when he needs it. We must do good: it is not sufficient that we refrain from doing harm. It is good to refrain from doing harm, and it is incumbent that we should. If we do not, we shall not be children of the Highest. How could we be children of the Highest, who only doeth good, and who when He performs acts of severity, does them for good—if we say and do malicious things, which, if ever so small in their way, are spiteful and hurtful? We must not only refrain from doing harm: we must do good; and this is a very different thing from the negative sort of virtue that is applauded in the world. There is a far greater number of persons who refrain from doing harm, than those who do good. That is only saying that there is a far greater number who will not be saved, than there is of those who will be saved; for you may take it as a rule to which there will be no exception, that everyone who will be saved, will be one who does good. You may see many persons that don’t do any harm: they do not steal, they do not tell lies, they do not do anything very much out of the way; but no one ever heard of them doing good. No one ever knew of their doing a noble deed, or planning a disinterested enterprise. They are all the time taken up with themselves. They think only of themselves, and serve only themselves. It never occurs to them to think about other people, or do a thing that is only intended to promote the benefit of other people. If they do anything that has the semblance of a good deed about it, it is that they may receive a benefit in return. They are like the Pharisees, ancient and modern, who ape the forms of goodness, but take care to practise them under circumstances where they are profitable. They do good to those who do good unto them. Their very acts of charity are besmeared with selfishness. Such people are not the children of the Highest: they are not fi t to enter into the kingdom of God, for the kingdom of God is an institution, the very object of which is to do good in the highest form, and the administration of which is to be entrusted to the hands of those who learn to do good, under circumstances of trial and evil, and who will, therefore, be qualified to do good, and to do it effectively when circumstances are prosperous.

Everything depends upon the present

Jesus gives us the principle in the words: “He that is faithful in little will be faithful also in much.” On the other hand, he says “If ye are unfaithful in that which is least, who will trust you with greater things; if ye are unfaithful in unrighteous mammon, who will put you in trust with the true riches?” The true riches are a life never-ending, a body that will never decay, riches that will never take flight, joy unspeakable and full of glory. The management of our own little affairs is, by Jesus, made the rule by which our position in relation to the kingdom of God will be determined. It is most important that we should remember this, instead of deceiving ourselves amidst present faithlessness, with a sort of blind confidence that all will be right when Christ comes. All will not be right when Christ comes, unless all is right before he comes. Those who are wrong now will be wrong then. Those that are selfish now will be selfish then. Those who are unfaithful now will be unfaithful still; those who are unjust will be unjust still; and he who is holy will be holy still. Everything depends upon the present; our own little circle is the sphere in which we make or mar our future destiny; and, therefore, let every man and every woman, to the extent of their means, however little, and their opportunities, however few, see to it, that they do good, that they be faithful stewards, so that at the return of the Master, to whom they hold a stewardship, they may be able to render a satisfactory account. Let us hope that the time is not far distant when we shall cease to have to call our “humble faith” into exercise, in order to “behold our great High Priest above.” May the time soon come when we shall see him as he is. The arrival of that time will, doubtless, produce different effects upon different persons.

There are some whom it will throw into a shrieking fit, who will simply become frantic, because utterly unprepared for such an event. They have deceived themselves with the idea that they are Christ’s, because they have professed the truth, and passed current amongst its friends, although in quiet moments, they do not feel so. They have been hoping in a dim and fatuitous way that when Christ comes, it will be all right with them. They have not allowed themselves to realise the coming of Christ. They do not reserve a sufficient surplus of the strength God has given them to realise what Christ is. Their little strength is eaten up in purely “temporal” matters. All their energy is expended upon the flesh, so that the mind never has any chance of getting into the spiritual channel. They do find time for the imperative things of ‘the flesh’, but none for the imperative things of the spirit. Indeed, ‘the things of the Spirit’ are not imperative with them. Being ‘after the flesh’, they ‘mind the things of the flesh’, leaving the things of the Spirit to be attended to by other people, in the delusive hope that some day, things will alter. When they hear that Christ has arrived, it will go through them like a cannon ball. It will take away all presence of mind. They will be petrified with affright, because they have not the answer of a good conscience; but of a very bad one. Shame and confusion will be their portion.

The meeting with Christ

There are others who will feel differently. While struck with awe, their fear will be mixed with an inconceivable sense of relief and joy. The knowledge that Christ has come at last, will bring consolation unspeakable. To think that the right hands have now taken hold of the work—that Christ himself is now at the helm, will be a joy the world knows not of.

There are others, and perhaps these will be the largest class, who will not know how to be affected, in whose breasts hope and fear will struggle with uncertain conflict. They are conscious of having done something, and they fear not having done enough. They feel that to some extent, ‘the flesh’ does not rule them; yet they are afraid that the Spirit has not been powerful enough with them; and so, in a state of agonising uncertainty, they await the meeting that will decide their fate. Th at meeting will no doubt be a much more straightforward transaction than some of us are in the habit of thinking. Orthodoxy has given us the idea, (and we have a difficulty in throwing it off ) that it will be a sort of flash-of-lightning affair, in which miracle will blaze about in all directions, working instantaneous transformation on no intelligible principle whatever. Now this fallacy arises from the predominant sentiment of orthodoxy, under which we have all, more or less, been in bondage, that the established rules are not God’s rules, but the devil’s—that all God’s rules are up in heaven, and apply only to immortal souls; and that with regard to earth and material life, the ‘Prince of the power of the air’ has it all his own way. But casting such Pagan trash to the moles and to the bats, and recognizing the fact that all established rules are God’s, we see things in a different light. We shall simply hear that Jesus has come, and shall be invited and compelled to go to him. To those who have at all realized the great calling to which they are called, it will be a relief and a joy to go. When a friend whom we love arrives from a distance, what a thrill of delight we feel when we are informed of his arrival, and if that friend—besides the pleasure of friendship, brings—good news of substantial advantage—say that you have become heir to a fortune; how greatly would the pleasure of his arrival be enhanced. In the case of Christ, it is precisely so. He is the best friend we can have. He is interested, and deeply so in those who are his true friends. He is jealous, just as a man betrothed to a woman is jealous; he is exacting just as friends are exacting, and will view with displeasure any inordinate love of other objects than himself, and visit treachery and coldness with severity.

The joy of his appearing

But if as wayfarers and as pilgrims, we engage in this world’s business merely as a matter of necessity, and with reference to the higher objects presented in the Gospel, then Christ is the best friend we can possibly have. Christ’s kindness passes knowledge. It is something beyond all the love that can ever flow in the bosom of the dearest mortal friend. It is something infinitely above our sin-smitten minds. It is something that will dissolve us in tears of everlasting joy. If we have our heart right towards him, what a joyful intimation it will be that he has come. But to be right then, we must be wrong now, in one respect, that is, to be rich then, we must be poor now; to be honoured then, we must be despised now; to be mirthful then, we must, to some extent, be sorrowful now. Jesus has said “Woe unto you that are full now and laugh now; but blessed are ye that hunger now and weep now; blessed are ye when men shall persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake: for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you. Blessed are ye that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for ye shall be filled; blessed are ye poor in spirit, for yours is the kingdom of God.” If we suffer with him, we shall reign with him, but if we deny him, he also will deny us.—