The Imminency of the Lord's Return

From "The Gospel of Luke" by George N. H. Peters.     

     We are very frank in making this confession, viz: that we dare not lower the prominency or weaken, in the slightest degree, the imminency of the Second Advent by interposing events; for we fear lest He come and find us occupying a predictive position, affirming that He cannot possibly come in this or that watch because of the events that must first be realized.  We have no desire to be placed in such an attitude at His Coming, and be found among those who violate one of the plainest precepts recorded in the New Testament.  For above all and beyond all, human commendation, we ought to seek the Divine approval, which will honor faith in the Word, thus practically manifested, even if we are unable to explain all that relates to it.  Jesus certainly, after his own weighty warning and concise command, cannot, and will not be displeased at our hope in his imminent Coming, especially when we allow it to have its intended restraining and purifying influence upon us.  Learned men, eloquent men, and great men may tell us to come down from our watch-tower, for the Master cannot and will not come to-day, or tomorrow, or next week, or next year, or in the next fifty or a hundred years, or even during the next thousand, but we dare not forsake our watch, for we fear to disobey the Master’s injunctions.  Should He come and find us disobedient in this important particular, we can make no apology for leaving his command and following after the leadership of men, who “know not the day and the hour.”  More than this; - we just as candidly admit, that we are afraid that if the Master comes and finds us lacking in faith, so that we do not receive and practice watching in the way that He enjoined, we will suffer great loss because of its absence.  We fear lest we suffer the loss of a blessed and glorious translation, and of a resultant honor and glory, and be compelled to pass through the last fearful tribulation of the Church and experience both the power of a dreadful persecution and the regrets imposed by a delay.  We want the special favor promised in Luke 21:36.  Bretheren may deride and scorn such fears and desires as idle dreams, and denounce our hopes as childish vagaries, but, by God’s guidance and grace, we entertain them, hold fast to them, because we earnestly desire to possess the blessings when the Master himself comes.  We may be reproached, insulted, despised, but the Master foresaw all this when He enjoined daily watching, and orders it to test the strength of faith and obedience.  Bretheren may honestly investigate for themselves, and sincerely differ from us in the estimate of details, and for this we do not censure them or speak disrespectfully of them - for to the Master only are they responsible, - but we do emphatically object when their conclusions are elevated to the position of a standard and ostensibly urged for our acceptance under the penalty of being regarded as very inferior and incapable students.  Such threatening, in view of the imminent danger set before us and which we deem possible at any time, has but little weight from the fact that we do not seek the praise of men but the praise of the Coming One.  May the Lord ever keep us in this frame of mind and heart and life.  Amen.