WE HAVE NO ABIDING CITY

There are few more solemn reminders of the fast passing nature of all that is mortal than the swiftly-recurring anniversaries that mark the close and opening of each fleeting years of our earthly pilgrimage. That “We have no abiding city here,” is a truth that continually impresses us with the consciousness that we must look beyond the fading, dying shores of time to the deathless scenes of eternity. Especially is this the case as age and infirmity creep upon us, and disease and death everywhere prevalent remind us of the transitory nature of the mortal tabernacle that we inhabit in our journey through a world of sin and sorrow to the blissful scenes of the glorious hereafter. Our brethren and companions “in tribulation, and in the Kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ,” are passing rapidly from our midst, we confidently believe, to the joy of their immortal home.

“Thousand to their endless home,
This solemn moment fly,
And we are to the margin come,
And in our turn must die.”

“The day of the Lord,” says the apostle, “will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of people ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hastening unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” - 2 Peter iii, 10-13. This solemn admonition, this holy and heavenly promise, falls in precious power upon us struggling in the gloom, sin and sorrow of this present world, pointing us to the path of life and light, and to the fadeless glory of the world to come. Were it not for such Divine encouragement our pilgrimage here would be indeed dark, dreary and desolate – the world a wilderness of endless woe. But faith points us behind these conflicting scenes of toil and strife to the great Creator and Disposer of all worlds, to His infinite wisdom, greatness and glory, and gives us the gracious assurance that He has a wise, accurate purpose in all this mighty Creation, this stupendous system of seen and unseen worlds, these dark and bending lines that are drawn across our mortal pathway, these wicked acts of men and devils; that upon the terrible screen of darkness, gloom and despair He has engraven His vast designs of triumphant grace and glory; and that

“His purpose will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.”

Truly do we look to Him – we can look nowhere else. “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and makes flesh his arm.” - Jeremiah xvii, 5. But, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.” - Jeremiah xvii, 7. We realize that

“Our spirit looks to God alone,
Our rock and refuse in His throne;
In all our fears, in all our straits,
Our soul on His salvation waits.”

The years that are rolling so rapidly onward are fraught with great purposes, are unfolding wise and wonderful designs. Their issues are as completely in the hands of their God as the smallest atom of creation, and each end is as absolutely ordained as its beginning. Upon no other principle and in no other way could He declare “the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.” -  Isaiah xlvi, 10. And it is an equal absurdity to claim that He would declare, “the end from the beginning,” without absolutely declaring (ordaining) every incident, minutia, or circumstance that lie between. In the holy power of this blessed testimony we confidently and assuredly rest; and while “nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom,” while famines, pestilences and earthquakes are heard about us, while “iniquity shall abound, and the love of many wax cold,” we calmly face the coming storm, relying upon the sure support of Israel’s God, whose never-failing promises sustain us in all our tribulations, whose everlasting arms are underneath us, and who has given us the blessed assurance of a peaceful and glorious entrance into the unfading glory of the blessed. “Truly my soul waited upon God: from Him cometh my salvation. . . . He only is my rock and my salvation: He is my defence; I shall not be moved.” - Psalms lxii. “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him.” - James i, 12.

William M. Smoot,
December, 1898.