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" For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to he with Christ, which is for better : nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you."— Phil. i. 23, 24.

" For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to he with Christ, which is for better : nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you."— Phil. i. 23, 24.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Nov 04, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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WILLING TO WAIT, BUT READY TO GO.BY REV. WILLIAM ARNOT" For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to hewith Christ, which is for better : nevertheless to abide in the flesh ismore needful for you."— Phil. i. 23, 24.I. The two desires.11. A Christian bahxnced evenly between them.III. Practical lessons.I. The two desires are, 1. To depart and to be withChrist ; and, 2. To abide in the flesh.1. To depart and to be with Christ. This desireis composed of two parts, — a vestibule, somewhat dark and forbidding, through which the pilgrim must pass ;and a temple, unspeakably glorious, to which it leads thepilgrim, as his eternal home.(1.) The exodus from this life by dissolution of thebody — " to depart."(2.) Christ's presence the immediate portion of hispeople, when their life on earth is done — " to be withChrist."(1.) The exodus. The word which in our Bible istranslated " depart," means strictly to take to pieces. Theliving man is contemplated as a complex machine, and itis intimated that at death its joints are loosed, and thewhole is broken up into its constituent elements. This life
WILLING TO WAIT, BUT READY TO GO. 213in the body is like a watch. By food, and drink, and air,it is wound up daily, and so kept going. At last themachinery, by gradual wear and tear, or by some suddenaccident, is brought to a stand. Then it is taken down — taken to pieces — in order that it may be purified andperfected, and set agoing again, not to measure then thechanging seasons of time, but to move on, without w^asteor weariness, in a limitless eternity.More immediately, the dissolution or untying probablyrefers to the separation of soul and body. The band thatknit them together is broken at death. The soul escapes,and the bod}^, meantime, returns to dust. In this viewthe works of the watch never stand still. When lifefrom God was first breathed into that immortal being,it was wound up, once for all, to go for ever. At theshock of death it is severed from its case of flesh. Outercasement, and figured dial, and pointed hands, all remainwith us, and all stand still. But these never were themoving springs. These were shells to protect the tenderfrom injury where the road was rough, and indices tomake the movements palpable to bodily sense ; but thevitsl motion of the departed spirit continues uninter-rupted, unimpeded, in a region where no violence isdi'eaded, and no sign to the senses is required.You may observe, both in the Scriptures, and in theactual history of Christians now, that lively faith is in-ventive and skilful, in turning the flank of the last enemy,and avoiding the terrors that frown from his front. Theydo not allow their view to terminate in the dark grave.They must look, they must move towards the grave ; but214 WILLING TO WAIT, BUT READY TO GO.they look, at the same time, beyond it. They contrive
so to lean on the resurrection, as to take away the terrorof death. They are ingenious in discovering softer namesfor that which is so harsh in nature. For them its cha-racter has been changed, and why should they not applyto it a new designation? When Jews or Gentiles inthose early days were converted to Christ, they receivednew names to indicate and commemorate their conver-sion. Paul became the Christian name of Saul the per-secutor. It was meet that when the waster of theChurch became the gentle nurse who cherished her, thename which was so deeply dyed in blood should be allowedto drop, and another adopted w^hich would be fragrantwith associations of faith, and love, and holiness. Sowhen death, king of terrors to the guilty, becomes sting-less and harmless to the forgiven, he gets from them anew name corresponding to his new nature. Death hasseveral Christian names. Sometimes it is called Sleep,sometimes Departure ; sometimes the untying of the knot,that the immortal spirit may go free. The appellationsare various, but they all indicate that, from the standing-place of them that are "in Christ Jesus," advancingdeath seems more a friend than a foe.(2.) The company to which that exodus directly leads, — " to be with Christ." It is obvious, and needs noproof, that Paul counted on immediate entrance at theuntying of the knot into the joy of the Lord. He knewof no middle state of detention and purgation, either forhimself or for disciples who might not be so ripe at themoment of their fall. Whatever and wherever the placeWILLING TO WAIT, BUT EEADY TO GO. 215of Scaved spirits may be while their bodies lie in thedust, one thing is certain, Christ is there. " The love of the Spirit " has made that one point plain, and Christiansneed not care for more. Mark here how well suitedthese promises are to our capacity and our need. Of the

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