You know I am no prophet. I do not know anything about 1866; I find quite enough to do to attend to 1862. I do not understand the visions of Daniel or Ezekiel; I find I have enough to do to teach the simple word such as I find in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and the epistles of Paul. I do not find many souls have been converted to God by exquisite dissertations about the battle of Armageddon, and all those other fine things; I have no doubt prophesyings are very profitable, but I rather question whether they are so profitable to the hearers, as they may be to the preachers and publishers. I conceive that among religious people of a certain sort, the abortive explanations of prophecy issued by certain doctors gratify a craving which in irreligious people finds its food in novels and romances. People have a panting to know the future; and certain divines pander to this depraved taste, by prophesying for them, and letting them know what is coming by and by. I do not know the future, and I shall not pretend to know. But I do preach this, because I know it, that Christ will come, for he says so in a hundred passages. The epistles of Paul are full of the advent, and Peter’s too, and John’s letters are crowded with it. The best of saints have always lived on the hope of the advent. There was Enoch; he prophesied of the coming of the Son of Man. So there was another ‘Enoch’ who was always talking of the coming, and saying ‘Come quickly.’ I will not divide the house tonight by discussing whether the advent will be pre-millenial or post-millenial, or anything of that; it is enough for me that he will come, and ‘in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.’
For meditation: The ‘whens’, ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ of the Lord’s second coming were no business of the apostles (Matthew 24:36; John 21:22; Acts 1:7) and they are none of our business either. Our business is to serve him and be prepared for his return whenever that may be (Matthew 24:44–46). See also notes for 8 September.