I Thess. iv. 16

Robert Hawker

" With the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God."–I Thess. iv. 16.

Before I drop into the arms of sleep, I would call upon my soul to ponder these words. I know not, each night, when retiring to rest, whether my next awakening may not be "with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God." As what may be my state in this particular, and hath been the state of many (for the hour of a man's death is to all intents and purposes the day of judgment) becomes an infinitely momentous concern; how can I better close the day and the month together, than by a few moments' consideration of the solemn event? What is meant by "the voice of the archangel?" I do not recollect the name of the archangel being mentioned any where beside in scripture, except Jude 9. and here, as well as there, the person spoken of is but one. We have no authority to say, archangels; yea, it should seem, from what the apostle Jude hath said concerning the archangel, in calling him Michael (if compared with the vision of Daniel, chap. x. 21. and also with what is said in the book of the Revelations, chap xii. 7.) that it means the person of Christ. Jesus himself hath said, that "the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and all that are in their graves shall come forth." John v. 25-28. At any rate, if the Holy Ghost speak but of one, and there be but the shadow of a probability that that one is Christ, it becomes very faulty to join others in the name, by making the word plural. With respect to "the trump of God," we may understand, that as the law was given with solemn splendour and glory on mount Sinai, so the consummation of all things will testify the divine presence. My soul, meditate on these things; give thyself wholly to the frequent consideration of them. And, by the lively actings of faith upon the person of thy Lord, contemplate thy personal interest in all the blessedness of this great day of God. If this "voice of the archangel," be indeed the voice of Jesus, and thou knowest now by grace thy oneness and union with him, shall not the very thought give thee holy joy? It is true, indeed, the day will be solemn, yea, profoundly solemn. But it is equally true, that it will be glorious to all the redeemed. And if the Lord Jesus commanded his disciples to look up, and lift up their heads with holy joy, when their redemption drew nigh, shall we not suppose that it must be pleasing to the mind of our God and Saviour that we welcome and hail the fulfillment of it? Yea, must it not be pleasing to our God and Father, that we believe in his Son Jesus Christ to this day of eternal salvation? We find the apostles thus encouraging the faithful Paul tells Titus to be "looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." Titus ii. 13. Surely, if the hope be blessed, and the appearing of Jesus, as the Redeemer of his people, glorious; our souls should triumph in the expectation. Peter goes one step farther, and bids the church not only to be looking but hasting unto the coming of it; as souls well assured of their safety in Jesus; and therefore to cry out with holy faith, "Come Lord Jesus, come quickly!" 2 Pet. iii. 12. What sayest thou, my soul, to these things? Are they blessed? Are thy hopes thus going forth in desires after Christ's coming? Oh! the blessedness of falling asleep each night, in the sleep of nature, in the perfect assurance of a oneness with Christ? And Oh! the blessedness of falling asleep in Jesus, when the Lord gives the signal for the sleep of death! All the intervening lapse of time, from death to this hour of the "voice of the archangel," is totally lost to the body, like the unconscious lapse of time to the labouring man of health, whose sleep each night is sweet. When the patriarchs, of their different ages, arise at "the trump of God," their bodies will be equally unconscious whether the sleep hath been for one night, or several thousand years. Think, my soul, of these solemn but precious things. Frequently meditate with holy joy and faith, upon this great day of God. Recollect that it is Jesus who comes to take thee home. And having long redeemed thee by his blood, he then will publicly acknowledge thee for his own, and present thee to the Father and himself, as a part of his glorious church, "not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but to be for ever without blame before him in love."


Robert Hawker

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