Christ’s Command Enforced: or why
We should Provide for Eternity.
“Be ye also ready.” Matthew 24:44.
By T. James Blair.
TrueCovenanter.com Editor’s Introduction.
The following sermon was first published with the printed Minutes
of the General Meeting of the Reformed Presbyterian Church Held at North Union, Butler County, PA. – 1916.
It is here presented as typeset according to a 1956 mimeograph, and then corrected according
to the printed edition of 1916. The title page of the 1956 mimeograph is provided
at the end of the document. At the time the sermon was preached and published, Mr.
Blair was the only remaining preacher among the Reformed Presbyterians who still professed adherence
to the historic R.P. Testimony in its principles and the application thereof.
This sermon is also available as audio, read by the editor of truecovenanter.com.
“Be ye also ready.” Mat. 24:44
If any one is about to receive an invitation from
his prince to visit his royal abode, he will certainly
be careful to prepare for the journey and audience,
especially if he expects to remain for a time at the
palace. He will be practicing court manners and court
speeches, and his mind will be much set on the journey;
he will tell all his friends and neighbors of his splendid
prospect; and the invitation will be often on his
mind. If no definite time is mentioned in the invitation;
but only that a messenger will call for him presently;
do you suppose he will just go on with his
ordinary affairs without making any preparation for the
great event? Far from it! The very uncertainty of the
time will make him to prepare the more diligently, for
perhaps the messenger may come tomorrow.
But the call here given is transcendently excellent
and glorious, and not to be compared with the calls of
earthly princes. The speaker here is our Savior, the
“King of Kings, the Lord of Lords,” the governor of the
Universe. Those to whom He speaks are His disciples as
we see from the beginning of the Chapter. “His disciples
came to Him for to show Him the buildings of the temple.”
Christ took occasion to preach to them a prophetical
sermon concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the
temple by the Romans. The ruin of the Jewish church and
nation were now hastening on and were completed in less
than 40 years after this. This sermon of our Lord’s comprises
Vs. 4-31; and in the remaining part of the Chapter,
Vs. 32-51, he makes a practical application for the awakening
and quickening of his disciples; that they may be
prepared for those days of trouble and tribulation.
But this prophecy refers not merely to judgments
on the Jewish church and nation, but especially to the
events preceding the Millenium, and also to Christ’s
coming at the last day; so the application has a threefold
aspect looking to all these times.
And there is implied or included in these predictions
a personal warning to each and every one to prepare for
their latter end.
Our Savior makes a very plain and practical application
of what He has said, using illustrations that those of the
weakest comprehension might understand.
Our text is the key note to Christ’s whole discourse
in this chapter; for it brings home to each believer his or
her duty in the times spoken of.
It may be understood of being ready for these judgments
before predicted, but also to Christ’s coming to each one at
the day of death; and this is the sense in which we shall
endeavor its application. Times of trouble and tribulation
are special warnings to prepare for death’s messenger, for
then we are more forcibly reminded that the eclipse of life’s
shadow is at the door. And there is an intimate connection
between Christ’s coming at the day of Judgment and His coming to each one at death: for after death the judgment, and as death
leaves us so judgment will find us: “where the tree falleth,
there it shall be.” Ec. 11:3.
In considering this text we will inquire:
I. Who are the “ye” here addressed?
II. Why we should “be ready.”
III. What we are to understand by being ready.
IV. The reward promised those that are prepared.
V. Make application.
I. Who are the “ye” addressed? In general it includes
all His disciples to the end of time; for without preparation
none can come into His presence. The wicked will not hear
His voice or obey His summons, but defiantly disregard both
His word and providence. In particular it denotes 1. The
aged, those well advanced in years. 2. Those in the prime
of life. 3. The young, youths and little children.
1. Those in advanced years; standing as it were, with
one foot already in the grave, and knowing that they have
but a little time until the final summons comes, it well becomes
them to be prepared. They have had experience of the
vanity of earthly things; they can look back and see how
often they have been disappointed in the expectations they
had of things of the world.
The aged are past the time for enjoying the things of
this life; Barzillai says, “Can I taste what I eat or what I
drink? Can I hear any more the voice of singing men and
singing women?” 2 Sam. 19:35. Old age fades away and is
no longer able to bear burdens; “when the grasshopper shall
be a burden, and desire shall fail.” Ec. 12:5. The grave
is opening its mouth, and soon they must be devoured, if
they attempt to stand in their own strength! What a mournful
spectacle is the gray head and tottering step of one
not prepared for death: there is none to support, none to
help: conscience smites with the remembrance of mercy offered
and rejected; of the times and seasons given to prepare
for death, but all neglected or misspent. “The harvest
is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”
2. Those in the prime of life. Those that have come
to the summit of life’s pathway, looking forward seem to
see many years yet before them, and they make great plans
for the future. Busied with the cares and occupations of
life, perhaps, they take little or no time to consider
their soul’s case; but say in their hearts, “when I have a
little more leisure, when the cares of the world are not
so pressing, I will give my chief attention to religion.”
But those who have not taken the day at the beginning should
know, “that now it is high time to awake out of sleep”
(Rom. 13:11); for only the afternoon of the day remains,
perhaps, not even that. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do,
do it with thy might” (Ec. 9:10), is especially true of
preparation for death; for, those in their prime have no
more lease of life than the aged.
How many strong men and women are taken away almost
without warning, or stricken down in a day. Then how needful
to remember the command: “Prepare your hearts unto the
Lord.” 1 Sam. 7:3.
3. Childhood and Youth.
Youth is the time of buoyancy and lightheartedness,
not burdened with cares, they look forward with eagerness,
and imagine that life’s pathway is all strewn with
roses. How seldom do the young think of death, it seems
far distant; no need to burden themselves with cares
about it; others live to old age and may not they also?
But, consider, youth is the golden time in which to
prepare for eternity. Let it not slip, for it will never
return. “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth,
while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh,
when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.” Ec. 12:1.
Here is the Holy Spirit’s antidote against the temptations
of youth. Here is the royal road to wisdom, “The fear of
the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Prov. 9:10.
And why should youth not prepare for death? Put in
your reasons against it. Youths and little children may
die. None have any certain lease of life. Your time for
making ready may be very short; and even if you live to
gray hairs, you need every moment of that short breathing
space to prepare for the advent of the King’s messenger.
O remember, young folks! this is the fittest time for
closing with Jesus Christ – for making ready for eternity,
now the heart is more tender and easily melted for sin, and
less burdened with the cares of life; and God looks that
you bear fruit to him. Surely, then, it is wisdom to lay
a sure foundation stone to-day; relying on needed and
promised grace to say: “I will keep Thy statutes.” Ps. 119:145.
II. Why We Should “Be Ready.”
1. It is the command of God. 2. The day and hour
of death are uncertain. 3. The many ways whereby death
1. Because it is God’s command; and every command
of His should be obeyed with alacrity and delight. It
is the entreaty of our loving Father, and all for our
benefit. God will be glorified and have full complacency
and satisfaction in himself whether we obey or not; those
that refuse to obey He will be glorified in their everlasting
Analyze this command: It is a voice of ineffable
love and compassion. Death is before us, we know not
how near; in our own strength we are unable to meet it,
and disinclined naturally to make preparation for it.
God’s command bids us prepare to meet the grim messenger,
that “we may be more than conquerors through him
that loved us.” Rom. 8:37. To those who are unprepared
death comes as a devourer that destroys all before him.
All not united to Christ, it will devour; but, for His
people, “He will rebuke the devourer.” Mal. 3:11.
(2) It is most reasonable. What king will employ those
for soldiers who are not trained in military tactics?
What business man will hire those to assist that refuse
to learn his employment? Those that would minister to
Nebuchadnezzar must be “taught the learning and the
tongue of the Chaldeans.” Dan. 1:4. Surely, then, all
who would attend at the court of heaven need preparation
to stand before the “King of Kings.” (3) It brings
The unskilled workman is soon dismissed from the
shop. The wicked, the unprepared, are “chased out of
the world.” Job 18:18. But those in Christ, those
prepared to depart, in dying, gain the final victory:
“The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”
1 Cor. 15:26.
2. The day and hour of death are uncertain. It is
the “day and hour whereof no man knoweth,” that all may
“take heed, watch and pray.” Mark 13:32,33.
Our Savior illustrates it by the householder watching
for the thief, Verse 43. Men will carefully guard
the safety of their earthly goods, “The children of
this world are in their generation wiser than the children
light.” Luke 16:8. And should not we much rather be
ready for death at whatever moment the call may come?
(2) It is certain to come. Though there is much uncertainty
as to the time, there is none as to the event
itself. “Death passed upon all men, for that all have
sinned.” Rom. 5.12. It is appointed unto men once to die.
Heb. 9:27. All are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
3. The many ways by which death comes.
Death is daily before us in hundreds of forms. Consider
how many diseases we are liable to; how many accidents by
which the brittle thread may be broken. Solomon compares
it to the loosing of a cord, to the breaking of a pitcher,
Ec. 12:6. When we think how fitfully our candle burns, and
how many ways its feeble flame may be snuffed out, it seems
like a constant miracle that man lives so long on the earth.
It well becomes us to pray: O Lord, “Remember how short my
time is” (Ps. 89:47); and give me grace and strength to prepare
for the day of my death.
III. What we are to understand by being ready. The
Holy Spirit speaking by Solomon says: “To every thing there
is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and
a time to die.“ Ec. 3:1,2; and preparation is necessary
if we would be furnished against the day of death.
1. Not to be taken up with the things of the world.
2. Begin and end every day with God. 3. Make sure of an
interest in Christ. 4. Regeneration. 5. Repentance. 6.
Make religion the business of our life. 7. Be fruitful in
1. Not to be taken up with the things of the world.
Sit loose to the things of the world, that at our departure
we may cast it off like Elijah his mantle. We as travelers
to the Jerusalem above should “pass the time of our sojourning
here in fear” 1 Pet. 1:17. “Let us always be ready to
arise and depart for this is not our rest.” Mic. 2:10. If
we would be right travellers to Zion above, we must, as Willison
says: “Have Christ in our hearts, heaven in our eye,
and the world under our feet;” esteem the world a wilderness,
and be pilgrims journeying to Canaan. Our Savior esteemed
the world at its true worth, and in the days of His humiliation
had not so much as “where to lay His head.” Matt. 8:20.
Boston compares this world to “a great inn on our road
to eternity; the things of the world, as servants belonging
to the inn wait upon us while here; but, when
we depart they depart not with us, but remain to attend
others that come after us.” This world is but a vain
pomp, a passing show, “for the fashion of this world
passeth away.” 1 Cor. 7:31.
A consideration of death should check earthly mindedness;
“wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is
not” (Prov. 23:5); for we may behold the world and the
things of it today, but tomorrow our bark may sail into
the sea of eternity, and they be lost forever to our
2. Begin and end every day with God. Let prayer
be the key to open your heart to God in the morning,
and close it against enemies at night. Willison says:
“Do not think it enough to say your prayers, but be
sure and pray your prayers; pray with sincerity and
fervor.” “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous
man availeth much” (James 5:16) to prepare for eternity.
Pray for direction. “Cause me to know the way wherein
I should walk” Ps. 143:8. Ask your Heavenly Father to
prepare you for your latter end; but do not ask and then
forget all about it; live every day as if it were your
last on earth. “Think with yourself this morning may
be my last morning, or this night my last night; for
certainly that morning cometh of which you will never
see the night; or that night in which you will never
see the morning.” Willison.
Every morning when you arise your first thought
should be: what preparation am I making for eternity?
And let the ending of the day put you in mind of the
ending of all your days by the night of death.
3. Make sure of an interest in Christ. Out of
Christ none can prepare for death; for He himself says:
“Without me ye can do nothing.” Jno. 15:5. Like a galley
slave chained to his oar, the sinner can do nothing toward
his freedom; he is under the power of sin and Satan, and
dead in trespasses and sins, he must be quickened by the
blood of Jesus Christ.
We must make sure of an interest in His death and Sufferings.
He conquered death and him that had the powers
of death; He took the sting and substance out of death and
left it but a harmless shadow that passes over His people
but hurts them not. Those united to Christ can meet death
without fear of arrest, for He, as our surety, paid every
farthing of debt that the law demands; but those that have
no interest in Christ, the law takes them by the throat,
saying, “pay me that thou owest” (Matt. 18:28); and the
miserable wretch utterly unable to give satisfaction is cast
into hell forever. “These shall go away into everlasting
punishment; but the righteous (those who have made sure an
interest in Christ) into life eternal.” Mat. 25:46.
4. Regeneration. Heaven is shut and barred against
you unless you are regenerated. “Except a man be born
again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Jno. 3:13.
And there can be no holiness without regeneration, for it
is “the new man which after God is created in righteousness
and true holiness.” Eph. 4:24. Without holiness none can
be ready for death; for, “without holiness no man
shall see the Lord.” Heb. 12:14. All that are unregenerate
are without Christ and so without preparation for the life
5. Repentance. The regenerated soul, the new nature,
fights against whatever would destroy it; sin would do so,
therefore the penitent wars against sin,
and is truly and genuinely sorry for his sins; abhors them
and turns from them.
If we have the true grace of repentance it will not be
a transient pang, a sigh that soon dies away; but a new
frame and disposition of heart, disposing one to turn
from sin to God on all occasions. The real penitent must
have the springs of repentance opened by the
Holy Spirit to give him a true sense of sin; “My sin is
ever before me.” Ps. 51:3.
Unless we truly repent of our sins we cannot prepare
for the day of death, for we will not see our need of preparation.
We must see our sinfulness of nature, heart, and
life; the evil of our sin, in the misery and danger of it
to ourselves, and the dishonor it does to God. We must
feel the burden of sin as too heavy to bear, before we will
come to Christ and obey His command to make ready for His
6. Make religion the chief business of our lives.
Paul exhorts us to be, “Not slothful in business” (Rom.
12:11); and the chief business of the christian is preparation
for the heavenly country; to “lay up treasures
in heaven, for where your treasure is, there will your
heart be also.” Mat. 6:20,21. The heart follows the
treasure as the needle is drawn to the magnet. Where
the treasure is, there the love and affection will be;
and the command is, “Set your affection on things above,
not on things on the earth.” Col. 3:2.
Many profess to be laying up treasure in heaven, who in
their practice give little or no evidence of it. Where
religion is the chief business of the life; there will
be family religion: the fire will be always burning on
the family altar; the reading of, and meditation on God’s
Word will be kept up with profit and delight; and the
windows of prayer be continually open toward the heavenly
Jerusalem. The heart that is preparing to abide in the
eternal mansions (Jno. 14:2) will be lifted up above the
low and groveling things of earth.
7. Be fruitful in good works. Have a walk and
conversation becoming the gospel. “As ye have received
Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him.” Col. 2:6.
Erskine says: “Religion doth not make men loiterers
but laborers. After a man hath believed in Christ, and
received him, he is not then to lie down on a bed of
slothfulness; he hath much work relative to God’s glory
and his own good, to be employed about.” To be fruitful
in good works is to be diligent in following our
duties, first to God and then to our fellows. Those
only are good works that are done according to God’s
commands and with an eye single to His glory. “For
we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good
works, which God hath before ordained that we should
walk in them.” Eph. 2:10.
Good works are an important part of our preparation
for the day of death; not that we merit from God by them,
or that they are in any way a cause of our salvation;
but as they are an evidence of our faith in Jesus Christ,
as “he is the propitiation for our sins.” 1 Jno. 2:2.
Oh that we were more diligent in walking with God! “more
zealous of good works!” (Titus 2:14) while journeying to
“a better country, that is, an heavenly.” Heb. 11:16.
IV. The encouragement given.
Men are encouraged to continue at their labors by
the hope of obtaining some returns for their work. The
faithful soldier looks for praise from his general, or
the reward of promotion. The husbandman hopes for a
bountiful crop of the fruits of the earth. But such rewards
cannot be compared to those offered believers in
It imports: 1. That there are but few who are
faithful. “Who then is a faithful and a wise servant.”
Ver. 45. He is one of a thousand. Solomon says: “A
faithful man who can find.” Prov. 20:6. Christ commands,
“Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee
a crown of life.” Rev. 2:10. How men strive and labor
to obtain an earthly crown that soon vanishes; but here
is one both precious and everlasting; “they do it to
obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.”
1 Cor. 9:25.
2. God owns them for his children. What a glorious
encouragement is this: “Ye shall be my sons and daughters
saith the Lord Almighty.” 2 Cor. 6:18. Because they prepare
for “a better country, God is not ashamed to be called
their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.” Heb. 11:16.
This is the greatest honor that any can be made partakers
of. He who is the possessor of heaven and earth, the Lord
of the whole world is their God, their everlasting portion.
3. A blessing pronounced on them. It is said of the
faithful steward: “Blessed is that servant.” Ver. 46. It
is Christ who pronounces this blessing, so it will assuredly
be his portion. Those who are prepared for death dwell in
God, and God in them; so they are heirs of the blessing:
“Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.” Rev. 14:13.
4. Notice is taken of them. Those who are humble,
faithful and diligent in their place and station are noticed
with favor by all wise princes and rulers. And the
omniscient eye of our righteous Redeemer looks with favor
and love on those who prepare their hearts for His coming;
and in the judgment of the great day He will dignify them
by the glory which is conferred upon them. “Behold the eye
of the Lord is upon them that fear Him.” Ps. 33:18.
Lastly: A rich reward is promised.
“He hath prepared for them a city.” Heb. 11:16.
This glorious habitation was designed for them from eternity.
“Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom
prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
Mat. 25:34. This city is fitted and prepared for them by
Christ Himself: “I go to prepare a place for you.” Jno.
14:2. “Since the beginning of the world men have not heard,
nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen,
O God, beside Thee, what He hath prepared for him that
waiteth for Him.” Is. 64:4.
V. The fifth thing was the application, which we
will briefly consider in sundry uses.
1. For our information. This world is our state of
probation or trial for eternity; and it is short, very
short. Man’s life is a swift thing, not only a passing,
but a flying vanity. When we come to the threshold of
the grave, even though we have lived our allotted
threescore and ten, or fourscore years, we can all say
with Jacob: “Few and evil have the days of the years
of my life been.” Gen. 47:9. Therefore we have great
need to make a due improvement of our day; for when it
is past we will never have another time assigned us for
trial. “In the place where the tree falleth, there it
shall be.” Ec. 11:3.
Much depends on how we improve our probation time.
We must double our diligence to glorify God, and make
sure the salvation of our immortal souls. “Be much in
the exercise of self-examination, humiliation for sin,
believing in Christ, renewing covenant with God, mortifying
of sin, trimming the lamp, meditating of heaven,
living by faith, deniedness to the world, studying to
overcome the love of life and fears of death.” – Willison.
All are on their trial for eternity, and at the end will
either hear the welcome plaudit; “Well done thou good and
faithful servant”; or the awful doom, “Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness.” Mat. 25:21,23.
2. See how graciously and lovingly Jesus Christ deals with His people. He gives warning upon warning, and invitation upon invitation to prepare
for their lasting change. “Take ye heed, watch and
pray, for ye know not when the time is.” Mark. 13:33.
“Let us not sleep as others do but let us watch and be
sober.” 1 Thess. 5:6. “Come unto me all ye that labor
and are heavy laden” (Mat. 11:28), and I will take you
to the mansions above. “Also regard not your stuff;
for the good of all” (Gen. 45:20) the heavenly country
is yours. “Incline your ear and come unto me.” Is. 55:3.
3. Remember at what infinite cost our blessed
Savior purchased redemption for us. It was at the cost
of His own precious blood; “As ye know that ye were
not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold
from your vain conversation received by tradition from
your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as
of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Pe. 1:18,19.
“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law being made a curse for us.”
Gal. 3:13. Behold Him lifted upon the cross suffering
the utmost agonies of the body, and at the same time the
terrible weight of His Father’s wrath; and all that we
might have acceptance at the court of heaven. And shall
we despise the dearly bought privilege by neglecting to
prepare for the day of our appearance? “Be ye also ready”
should sound loudly in our ears, that we may be stirred
up to make all preparation for the day of our death.
Second, for examination. 1. Do we keep in mind
the brevity of our days on earth, and that the messenger
of death will soon be at our door? We are creatures
of a day, and that a hireling’s [day] who will strictly observe
when it is time to quit work. “Till he shall accomplish
as an hireling his day.” Job 14:6. The Psalmist compares
it to the latter part of a day, “my days are like a shadow
that declineth.” Psalm 102:11. How soon does
the lengthening shadow flee away.
The apostle James propounds the question, “What is
your life?” And then he answers it: “It is even a vapor,
that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away”
(Jas. 4:14); an hour’s sunshine and it is gone. Are we
improving the few moments that we have ere the messenger
2. Try whether you are in Christ. If not, then
you are dead in trespasses and sins, and can do nothing
to prepare for death. Before any man can prepare
for death he must be brought out of his natural state
into a state of grace and salvation. He must lay hold
on Jesus Christ by faith, and Christ lay hold on him by
His word and spirit and engraft him into Himself. Believers
being united to Christ as branches to the vine,
derive strength from Him to make all needful preparation
for their latter end. Being united to Him they prepare
to pass triumphantly through the valley of the shadow
of death into eternal life and blessedness.
Third, For warning. Consider the evil and danger of
delaying or putting off until some future time the work
of preparation for eternity. Alas! it is the common practice of
the generality of men to give little or no heed to our Lord’s
injunction: “Be ye also ready.” Remember it is you to whom
He speaks, whoever reads or hears His word, be you young,
middle-aged, or old; to all the command is given.
O Sinners! how base and ungrateful it is to slight
Christ’s gracious invitation. Is it fitting that we should
give our time and strength now (for the present only is
ours) to the devil; and only offer the future (which is not
ours, and may never be ours) to God? Will the Most High
accept such an offering? “Today if you will hear His voice,
harden not your hearts.” Heb. 4:7. “Behold now is the accepted
time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Cor. 7:2.
2. Death may soon come to take you away quickly without
allowing you any time to repent and prepare for eternity.
“How many are there who project long lives, and look for
time before death to repent, that get a surprising call to
remove from the earthly tabernacle, and have not one minute
to provide another lodging! Thousands are hurried into eternity,
and presented before a tribunal, without being allowed
so much time as to think one serious thought, or speak
one word; not one moment to consider where they are going,
or to cry to God for mercy.” – Willison. Death’s chariot
is a fearful conveyance for those who do not have a white
stone with a new name written therein. Rev. 2:17.
3. The business of our lives “is to glorify God, and
to enjoy Him forever,” And it is certain if we do not begin
to glorify Him here we shall never enjoy Him hereafter.
“Lo, they that are far from Thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed
all them that go a whoring from Thee.” Ps. 73:27.
“Then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from
me ye workers of iniquity.” Mat. 7:23. Ponder on the end
of your existence here and provide for it.
Fourth, for exhortation. 1. Be persuaded to prepare
in time of health and strength for your journey to the court
of heaven. Be diligent in learning the manners and
speech of Heaven. And you have no garment of your own
in which you can appear at court; none are accepted
there – only these who have on the wedding garment. “Friend,
how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?
And he was speechless.” Mat. 22:12.
You are without excuse, if you come presumptuously
without a “wedding garment,” for the King has provided
them freely for all who will come. Christ’s righteousness
is the robe which is provided for us, and faith the
hand by which we put it on. “Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus
who of God is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification,
and redemption.” 1 Cor. 1:30. “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Rom. 13:14. “It is good for
those that have a place in the church, often to put it
to themselves, How came I in hither? Have I a wedding
garment?” – Henry.
It is a dreadful thing to act hypocritically; to
pretend to believe in Christ, and to be preparing to
dwell at the court of heaven, and yet the heart be far
from Him. “They that are far from thee shall perish.”
Ps. 73:27. Then said the King to the servants, “bind
him hand and foot and take him away, and cast him into
outer darkness.” Mat. 22:13.
Be sensible of the misery of a Christless state, and
see the great, the absolute need you have of Christ, and
meditate on the happiness of being found in Him. Those
who are in Christ have made the supremely necessary step
in preparation for eternity. “He that hath the Son hath
life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”
1 Jno. 5:12. What will you do in the hour of death? What
in the judgment of the great day without an interest in
Christ? Christless soul what shall become of thee to all
eternity? Who among us shall dwell with the devouring
fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?
2. The sickness and death of others, especially of
relatives and friends, should make us diligent in our preparation
for death. How frequently does the calling of
friends and neighbors, from time to eternity, sound warning
to us, “Be ye also ready.” Be exhorted to prepare in time
of health for your latter end. Yester-night death laid his
hand on a friend and tomorrow he may come for you. Are
you ready? Remember the fate of the foolish virgins. “While
they went to buy, the Bridegroom came; and they that were
ready went in with Him to the marriage; and the door was
shut.” Mat. 25:10. Dreadful discovery to those left outside
the wedding palace; the door is shut and barred against
them forever. “It will be sad, if, when the Bridegroom is
come, we have our oil then to buy, when the market is over.
Now is the time for providing oil; now is the market of
grace; now is the acceptable time; now is the day of
salvation.” – Willison.
3. Abide in this world as pilgrims and sojourners
ready to depart upon short warning. Strive earnestly to
live every day as if it were your last on earth. Consider
yourselves as standing every day on the entrance to eternity;
any hour your time may come to enter, and shall it be into
the abode of the blessed or into the eternal misery of the
damned? Willison remarks: “This short life being only a
passage to eternity, it should be spent as a continual preparation
for eternity.” We have no certain abode nor continual
resting place here, so let us always be prepared to
arise and depart. “For here have we no continuing city,
but we seek one to come.” Heb. 13:14. “This world never
did, and never will, give a state of rest and satisfaction
to believers. It will not afford them a city.” – Owen.
4. Do not delay repentance and godly sorrow for sin.
Have faith and fruits meet for repentance, for mere grief
and the sorrow of the world will never serve your turn; God
will not accept such a sacrifice. The longer repentance
and closing with Christ is delayed, the harder the task will
be, and less likely that ever you will close with Him. “He
that goes on from day to day in sin, will find his indisposition
to repent daily increased, the habits of sin
strengthened, and himself brought at length under the
power of an inveterate custom.” – Willison.
When we are in the midst of imminent dangers delay
would be folly and madness; but what are earthly affairs
compared to salvation work?
Be admonished to prepare for the day of death. The
time is fast drawing to a close, and our immortal souls the
prize. Knox says: “O serve the Lord in fear, and death
shall not be terrible to you: blessed is the death of those
that have part in the death of Jesus.” May the blessed Lord
give you grace to make the needful preparation for death,
and to His name be all the glory. Amen.
[ Title Page from 1956 Mimeograph ]
Preparation for Eternity
“Be ye also ready” Matthew 24:44
Mrs. Margaret Blair Watson
Born – March 18, 1869 * Died – Sept. 7, 1956