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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 man. ners 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 !
IV. In 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 in 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
the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”
2 Thess. iii. 5, “And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.”
Phil. iii. 20, “ For our conversation [toritevpa, citizenship] is in heaven ; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: (21) Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”
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; (14) Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
2 Pet. iii. 11, “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, (12) Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens, being on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat ? (13) Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. (14) Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” · Are men waiting and looking for events which they have no expectation will occur till after their death, and, it may be, thousands of years after ? The original word in the first extract for waiting is the very strong åendéxoual, which (except in one doubtful passage) is only
sons of C. the creature won us. (19) Fpared with the
used, in the New Testament, to express ardent waiting for the coming of Christ or the blessings of his kingdom.
The same word occurs three times in the following remarkable and sublime passage, which personifies the whole creation, and represents it as groaning and travailing in eager expectation and desire for the deliverance which the coming of Christ would bring. An attempt to explain the passage fully would draw us too far from our present purpose ; but it may not be improper to remark, that the word in the original for creature is the same which is afterwards more happily, as well as more strictly, translated creation.
Rom. viii. 18, “ For I reckon, that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (19) For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. (20) For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope ; (21) Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage.of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (22) For we know that the whole creation groaneth, and travaileth in pain together until now: (23) And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (24) For we are saved by hope. But hope that is seen, is not hope : for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? (25) But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”
V. In precepts, exhortations, consolations, fc., founded upon the nearness of these events
Examples will here be cited from all the Apostolic writers. The force of some of these quotations might
be shown more fully, if our plan admitted more extended remarks; and a few have been cited rather in illustration than in positive proof. Still it is difficult to conceive how any unprejudiced person can simply read these extracts, and yet believe, if he deems the Apostles honest, that they regarded the events, whose nearness and even immediateness they so often and so emphatically urge, as perhaps thousands of years off. If we were reading the bold figures of impassioned poetry, we might interpret somewhat differently ; but here all is prose, and most of it plain, practical prose.
1. Paul. — Phil. iv. 4, “ Rejoice in the Lord always : and again I say, Rejoice. (5) Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. (6) Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. (7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
2 Thess. i. 4, “So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God, for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure : (5) Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: (6) Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you ; (7) And to you, who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels.”
Rom. xiii. 7, “ Render therefore to all their dues : tribute to whom tribute is due ; custom to whom custom ; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. (8) Owe no man any thing, but to love one another : for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. ... (11) And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is