Matthew 24* Christ foretells the destruction of the temple. (1-3) Thetroubles before the destruction of Jerusalem. (4-28) Christforetells other signs and miseries, to the end of the world.(29-41) Exhortations to watchfulness. (42-51)1-3 Christ foretells the utter ruin and destruction coming uponthe temple. A believing foresight of the defacing of all worldlyglory, will help to keep us from admiring it, and overvaluingit. The most beautiful body soon will be food for worms, and themost magnificent building a ruinous heap. See ye not all thesethings? It will do us good so to see them as to see throughthem, and see to the end of them. Our Lord having gone with hisdisciples to the Mount of Olives, he set before them the orderof the times concerning the Jews, till the destruction ofJerusalem; and as to men in general till the end of the world. 4-28 The disciples had asked concerning the times, When thesethings should be? Christ gave them no answer to that; but theyhad also asked, What shall be the sign? This question he answersfully. The prophecy first respects events near at hand, thedestruction of Jerusalem, the end of the Jewish church andstate, the calling of the Gentiles, and the setting up ofChrist's kingdom in the world; but it also looks to the generaljudgment; and toward the close, points more particularly to thelatter. What Christ here said to his disciples, tended more topromote caution than to satisfy their curiosity; more to preparethem for the events that should happen, than to give a distinctidea of the events. This is that good understanding of the timeswhich all should covet, thence to infer what Israel ought to do.Our Saviour cautions his disciples to stand on their guardagainst false teachers. And he foretells wars and greatcommotions among nations. From the time that the Jews rejectedChrist, and he left their house desolate, the sword neverdeparted from them. See what comes of refusing the gospel. Thosewho will not hear the messengers of peace, shall be made to hearthe messengers of war. But where the heart is fixed, trusting inGod, it is kept in peace, and is not afraid. It is against themind of Christ, that his people should have troubled hearts,even in troublous times. When we looked forward to the eternityof misery that is before the obstinate refusers of Christ andhis gospel, we may truly say, The greatest earthly judgments arebut the beginning of sorrows. It is comforting that some shallendure even to the end. Our Lord foretells the preaching of thegospel in all the world. The end of the world shall not be tillthe gospel has done its work. Christ foretells the ruin comingupon the people of the Jews; and what he said here, would be ofuse to his disciples, for their conduct and for their comfort.If God opens a door of escape, we ought to make our escape,otherwise we do not trust God, but tempt him. It becomesChrist's disciples, in times of public trouble, to be much inprayer: that is never out of season, but in a special mannerseasonable when we are distressed on every side. Though we musttake what God sends, yet we may pray against sufferings; and itis very trying to a good man, to be taken by any work ofnecessity from the solemn service and worship of God on thesabbath day. But here is one word of comfort, that for theelect's sake these days shall be made shorter than their enemiesdesigned, who would have cut all off, if God, who used thesefoes to serve his own purpose, had not set bounds to theirwrath. Christ foretells the rapid spreading of the gospel in theworld. It is plainly seen as the lightning. Christ preached hisgospel openly. The Romans were like an eagle, and the ensign oftheir armies was an eagle. When a people, by their sin, makethemselves as loathsome carcasses, nothing can be expected butthat God should send enemies to destroy them. It is veryapplicable to the day of judgment, the coming of our Lord JesusChrist in that day, #2Th 2:1|. Let us give diligence to make ourcalling and election sure; then may we know that no enemy ordeceiver shall ever prevail against us. 29-41 Christ foretells his second coming. It is usual forprophets to speak of things as near and just at hand, to expressthe greatness and certainty of them. Concerning Christ's secondcoming, it is foretold that there shall be a great change, inorder to the making all things new. Then they shall see the Sonof man coming in the clouds. At his first coming, he was set fora sign that should be spoken against, but at his second coming,a sign that should be admired. Sooner or later, all sinners willbe mourners; but repenting sinners look to Christ, and mournafter a godly sort; and those who sow in those tears shallshortly reap in joy. Impenitent sinners shall see Him whom theyhave pierced, and, though they laugh now, shall mourn and weepin endless horror and despair. The elect of God are scatteredabroad; there are some in all places, and all nations; but whenthat great gathering day comes, there shall not one of them bemissing. Distance of place shall keep none out of heaven. OurLord declares that the Jews should never cease to be a distinctpeople, until all things he had been predicting were fulfilled.His prophecy reaches to the day of final judgment; therefore hehere, ver. 34, foretells that Judah shall never cease to existas a distinct people, so long as this world shall endure. Men ofthe world scheme and plan for generation upon generation here,but they plan not with reference to the overwhelming,approaching, and most certain event of Christ's second coming,which shall do away every human scheme, and set aside for everall that God forbids. That will be as surprising a day, as thedeluge to the old world. Apply this, first, to temporaljudgments, particularly that which was then hastening upon thenation and people of the Jews. Secondly, to the eternaljudgment. Christ here shows the state of the old world when thedeluge came. They were secure and careless; they knew not, untilthe flood came; and they believed not. Did we know aright thatall earthly things must shortly pass away, we should not set oureyes and hearts so much upon them as we do. The evil day is notthe further off for men's putting it far from them. What wordscan more strongly describe the suddenness of our Saviour'scoming! Men will be at their respective businesses, and suddenlythe Lord of glory will appear. Women will be in their houseemployments, but in that moment every other work will be laidaside, and every heart will turn inward and say, It is the Lord!Am I prepared to meet him? Can I stand before him? And what, infact, is the day of judgment to the whole world, but the day ofdeath to every one? 42-51 To watch for Christ's coming, is to maintain that temperof mind which we would be willing that our Lord should find usin. We know we have but a little time to live, we cannot knowthat we have a long time to live; much less do we know the timefixed for the judgment. Our Lord's coming will be happy to thosethat shall be found ready, but very dreadful to those that arenot. If a man, professing to be the servant of Christ, be anunbeliever, covetous, ambitious, or a lover of pleasure, he willbe cut off. Those who choose the world for their portion in thislife, will have hell for their portion in the other life. Mayour Lord, when he cometh, pronounce us blessed, and present usto the Father, washed in his blood, purified by his Spirit, andfit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.
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