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2. The appearance of false teachers, which our Saviour had thus predicted : “For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders ; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect,” Mat. xxiv. 24.
1 John ii. 17, “ And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (18) Little children, it is the last time : and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time."
1 John iv. 1, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. (2) Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God: (3) And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God. And this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come ; and even now already is it in the world.”
1 Tim. iv. 1, “ Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; (2) Speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron ; (3) Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. (4) For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving : (5) For it is sanctified by the word of God, and prayer. (6) If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. (7) But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. (8) For bodily exercise prof
iteth little : but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”
2 Tim. iii. 1, “ This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (2) For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, (3) Without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, (4) Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; (6) Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (6) For of this sort are they which
creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts : (7) Ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (8) Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth : men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. (9) But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.”
2 Pet. iii. 3, “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, (4) And saying, Where is the promise of his coming ? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. (5) For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water."
Jude 17, “But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; (18) How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. (19) These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. (20) But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
(21) Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. (22). And of some have compassion, making a difference: (23) And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. (24) Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, (25) To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen."
In all these passages, it is manifest that the Apostles are speaking of their own times. With how little reason, then, do some apply the extract from 1 Tim. iv. to the Roman Catholic Church ! Surely it could not have been of great consequence to warn the youthful bishop of Ephesus to “refuse the profane and old wives' fables” of errorists who were to spring up several centuries after his death; and that he should not be carried away by the excessive stress which they would lay upon “ bodily exercise,” that is, upon ascetic training, or the mortification of the bodily appetites. Besides, other passages show that this error was prevalent in the times of the Apostles. See, for example, Col. ii. 20-23.
3. The preaching of the gospel throughout the world, in accordance with the prediction, “ And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come,” Mat. xxiv. 14. Such had been the unparalleled fidelity and success of the Apostles and their coadjutors, that St. Paul regarded this sign as already fulfilled.
Rom. x. 17, “ So then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (18) But I say, Have they not heard ? Yes, verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.”
Col. i. 3, “ We give thanks to God, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, (4) Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, (5) For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel: (6) Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace
of God in truth. ... (21) And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled, (22) In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy, and unblamable, and unreprovable, in his sight : (23) If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven ; whereof I Paul am made a minister [more literally, which has been preached in the whole creation, &c.]."
Tit. ii. 11, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, (12) Teaching us, that denying ungodliness, and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world ; (13) Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”
The following passages are perhaps quite as striking as those which have preceded.
1 Cor. x. 11, “ Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples : and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. (12) Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall."
Heb. ix. 26, “For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world : but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”
Heb. i. 1, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, (2) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds."
1 Pet. i. 20, “Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, (21) Who by him do believe in God, that raised him
up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.”
1 Cor. iv. 8, “ Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us : and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you. (9) For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.”
How touching is the allusion in this last passage to those most pitiable victims of the barbarous games of the ancients, who were set forth at the end of the show, when now the thirst for blood had become so ferocious in the spectators as to demand their certain and speedy slaughter !
passages which speak of waiting or LOOKING for these events.
1 Cor. i. 7, “So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ : (8) Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.'
1 Thess. i. 9, “For they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God; (10) And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from