“Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do you know not now, but you shall know hereafter.” John 8:7
Oh that “hereafter,” what a solemn word to the ungodly! Is there, then, a hereafter? Jesus says there is; and I believe it, because He says it. That hereafter will be terrible to the man that dies in his sins. It will be a hereafter whose history will be “written in mourning, lamentation, and woe.” It had been better for you, reader, living and dying impenitent and unbelieving, had you never been born, or had there been no hereafter. But there is a hereafter of woe to the sinner, as of bliss to the saint. “These shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal.”
The position which the Christian shall occupy hereafter will be most favorable to a full and clear comprehension of all the mysteries of the earthly journey. The “clouds and darkness”–emblems in our history of obscurity and distress–which now envelope God’s throne, and enshroud His government of the saints, will have passed away; the mist and fog will have vanished, and, breathing a purer atmosphere, and canopied by a brighter sky, the glorified saint will then see every object, circumstance, incident, and step, with an eye unobscured by a vapor, and unmoistened by a tear. “Now we know in part; then shall we know even as we are known.” And what shall we know? All the mysteries of providence. Things which had made us greatly grieve, will then be seen to have been causes of the greatest joy. Clouds of threatening, which appeared to us charged with the agent of destruction, will then unveil, and reveal the love which they embosomed and concealed.
All the mysteries of faith, too, will be known. “Now we see through a glass darkly (in a riddle), but then face to face; now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known.” The great “mystery of godliness” will develop and unfold its wonders. His everlasting love to His Church–His choice of a people for Himself–His sovereign grace in calling them–all, all, will shine forth with unclouded luster to the eternal praise of His great and holy name. Oh, what a perfect, harmonious, and glorious whole will all His doings in providence and grace appear, from first to last, to the undimmed eye, the ravished gaze of His white-robed, palm-bearing Church.
Many and holy are the lessons we may gather from this subject. The first is the lesson of deep humility. There are three steps in the Christian’s life. The first is–humility; the second is–humility; the third is–humility. In veiling His dealings, Jesus would “hide pride” from us. In “leading the blind by a way that they know not,” He teaches them to confide in the knowledge, truth, and goodness of their Divine escort–and that confidence is the calm unquestioning repose of faith.