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5.30 p.m. Public tea, tickets 9d. each. (N.B.— Tea will be
provided each day of the Conference at the same time and
price.) 7.0 p.m. Public meeting. Chairman-General H. Goodwyn. Address by William Laing, of Edinburgh, “ The Pleasing Hope of
Immortality; False Grounds and True.”
Truth—its Importance and Cost."
WEDNESDAY, September 3rd.
10.30 a.m. Meeting of Delegates and Subscribers.
Necessary to a Future Life ?"
Christ: the Church's Hope, and Essential to the Establishment
of His Kingdom." 7.0 p.m. Public meeting. Chairman-Rev. Henry Constable, M.A. Address by by Henry B. Murray, of Cheltenham, “ The Coming King:
His Kingdom and Subjects.'
Addresses by Henry Britain (F.R.H. Soc., Birmingham), and others. THURSDAY, September 4th.
10.30 a.m. Meeting of Delegates and Subscribers. 3.0 p.m. Public meeting. Paper by General H. Goodwyn, “ The Object and Judicial Character
of the Millennial Kingdom." Paper by R. J. Hammond, “The Gospel : its Relation to the
Heathen.” 7.30 p.m. Public meeting in the St. George's Hall, Oxford
Circus. Chairman-Henry J. Ward, Esq., of Liverpool,
teach concerning it."
concerning Immortality.” Address by Rev. William Leask, D.D., “ Things which are Before." Address by General H. Goodwyn, “ The Great White Throne and its
Judgments, Preparatory to the New Earth.” Addresses by other gentlemen. N.B.–Subscribers wishing to attend the Conference, but unable to make private arrangements for their stay, are invited to apply to the Secretary for bed and breakfast, stating nature and duration of accommodation required. If sent in before August 25th the Committee will secure the same at as low a charge and as near the chapel as possible, and afford all necessary information.
Friends in sympathy with the objects of the Association should forward their subscriptions early if they wish to qualify themselves for taking part in the Conference. The lowest Subscription is 2s. 6d. per annum. The Secretary's address is : CYRUS E. BROOKS, 28, Paternoster Row, London, E.C.
ON 2 PETER III. SENT you a printed sermon the other day, on the dissolution of
all things. The text of it is, “ All these things shall be dissolved," and the exposition on which the sermon proceeds is briefly this :-All material things shall be un-created; or, dissolution will end the heaven and earth which creation began. I should like to submit that interpretation for discussion in your pages if you think your correspondents and readers would approve of your permission to do so. And as I wish anyhow to re-study the question, I will write down a few thoughts as a beginning.
A friend suggests whether some of the physical language of 2 Peter iii. may not be popular and unscientific to such a degree as to disrobe it of strict revelation authority. I place reliance upon the Apostle's use of the phrase, “the heavens and the earth.” Does he employ it in its primary and sacred import, or in some secondary, limited, and vague sense? If he departs from the true classical meaning of those oft recurrent words, what is there in the connection to indicate the departure ?
1. It will give us confidence in the teaching of the whole chapter if we remember that St. Peter expressly claims to be speaking according to “the commandment of us the Apostles of the Lord and Saviour.” We may not lightly estimate or explain away the smallest word that comes to us by commandment of the Lord and Saviour.” Moreover he enforces here “the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets.” Coupling thus together the commandment of the Lord Jesus and the “words " of the old prophets, he brings to our recollection the use which the risen Saviour made of “Moses, the prophets, and the psalms,” when He would pour light into their minds "concerning Himself.” The Evange
. Iist Luke adds, " Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures." He gave them such insight into the meaning of prophecy as they had not possessed before. By the authority of that insight, and of the express commandment or charge, évtodu, of Christ, St. Peter writes this chapter. He does not speak in a vague manner, but as an oracle of God. “I stir up your pure minds that ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and (that ye may be mindful) of the Lord and Saviour's charge to us your [ipwr, Alford] apostles.”
2. Such a preface prepares us to look for revelation in its highest sense, for truth which neither conscience, science, nor consciousness can teach. It prepares us to accept “the words of the holy prophets" in their divinest meaning. It forbids us to allow them to salute our ear in any loose, general, “popular and unscientific" import. In this chapter we are put pre-eminently face to face with pure revelation.
3. The chief words on which the doctrine of the chapter stands - the dissolution of all things—are “ the heavens and the earth.” That he uses these in their first and highest sense is clear, because his thought expressly travels back to “the beginning of the creation.” The scoffers began there, v. 4, and he begins there with them. "All things," said they, "continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” What are the “all things ?" The answer lies in the opening sentence of the Book. “In the begin. ning God created the heaven and the earth.” Now it cannot be questioned that Moses meant by those words to include all material things. He claims for God universal creatorship. To guard against any loose or unscientific sense he amplifies the phrase and expands its grammar in the next chapter. “Thus the
“ heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
The same claim is maintained all through the Scriptures in the same substantial language. “The heavens and the earth; " "the heavens and the earth; " " the heaven of heavens with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein." Under each form the claim is made to universal creatorship. Jehovah is not a local divinity, the Creator of some “ popular and unscientific" earth with an appended heaven. The creatorship of Jehovah being universal, and the terms and phrases mentioned above being severally co-extensive with that creatorship, it follows that the language is universal.
And it was popular language, in the sense of being well known to all Jewish people, and often upon their lips. It was consecrated as the language of the chief historians and poets, legislators and kings, reformers and prophets of their nation. Were they not accustomed to sing, “When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars which Thou hast ordained; what is man that Thou art mindful of him ?” “Of old hast Thou laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Thy hands. They shall perish, but Thou shalt endure." "Ye
sed of Lord which made heaven and earth. The heaven even the heavens are the Lord's : but the earth hath He given to the children of men.” “My help cometh from the Lord which made heaven and earth."
“Our help is in the name of the Lord
who made heaven and earth." The Lord that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion.” “Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God: which made heaven and earth, the sea and all that therein is.” The people were accustomed to sing the words, in this high classical sense, in their patriotic and sacred songs; exulting in the doctrine that He who made “all things,” “the heaven and the earth,” was their own God.
Moreover, Peter himself and the other Apostles fell back upon this very language in its fullest sense in the day of trouble. They lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, Thou art God which hast made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is.” (Acts v. 23.) And in the same terms Barnabas and Paul made their memorable appeal to the people at Lystra. “We preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God which made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein.” (Acts xiv. 15.)
The popular sense then of “the heavens and the earth” on the lips of a devout Jew was its universal sense. It is the formula under which the sole creatorship of Jehovah is constantly asserted, and by which His supremacy and sovereignty are acknowledged. Peter in the chapter before us makes it co-extensive with all things," and links it with creation and the "beginning.” Hence he uses it in its true, sacred, and classical sense.
4. The dissolution of all things had been predicted of old, and under the teaching of Jesus had become a familiar thought with the Apostles. Look at Isa. xxxiv. 4. "And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heaven shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the tree.” Shall we say that this is merely a metaphorical denunciation of judgment upon nations and princes ? Would not that surcharge the language with hyperbole up to the highest pinnacle of bombast? If you take it literally it declares God's purpose to dissolve all things that He has made : the heavens and all their host. “His sword shall be bathed in heaven;" how much more shall it come down upon sinful men and rebellious nations ? The same thought is expressed again, Isa. li. 6: “Lift up your
, eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath : for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner : but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.” This purpose of God holds on through all the revolutions of time which foreshadow the end and prepare for it; but will not reach its consummation till “One sits upon the great white throne, before whose face the earth and the heaven will filee away and no place shall be found for them." A prophecy in its early utterance lies concealed in its natural enfoldings. It is
like a flower in the bud, wrapped up in the hard calyx and the protecting leaves. Readers are apt to take the preparatory events, as they make way for the fulfilment, for the predicted blossom. But as the calyx is not the corolla, as the sepals are not the petals, neither are the revolutions of time, though springing from the same stem or bud of divine purpose and plan, the perfect flower which God intends to unfold.
The Lord after His resurrection opened the understanding of His Apostles so that they could discern the nature of a prophecy, and discriminate the final purpose from the progressive events which lead up to its accomplishment. Thus they saw Himself in the Messianic predictions. And they saw on the one hand the dissolution of all things as the last catastrophe, and on the other the new heaven and new earth as the final blossoming of all reformation and progress.
The ancient Seers as distinctly saw the dissolution of all material things in the future as they saw their Creator in the past. From the meditative language of Psa. cii. 24, it seems to have been a
. common place in their thinking. “I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days : Thy years are throughout all generations.” This is the appeal of a short-lived man not to be cut down prematurely-"in the midst of my days,"'--made to One whose years are everlasting. Then he argues for his own prolonged life, pleading compassion from Him who is unchangeable, not as compared to his own brief span of existence, but as compared with the longest measurable period. “ Of old hast Thou laid the foundation of the earth : and the heavens are the work of Thy hands. They shall perish, but Thou shalt endure : yea all of them shall wax old as a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed : but Thou art the same, and Thy years shall have no end." Here is a contrast of time with eternity: the finite with the infinite. God's
God's “ years ” of life and power
have no end.” The heavens and the earth are temporary. They will serve their purpose like a garment, and pass finally away. As surely as God is from everlasting to everlasting, so surely the heavens and the earth, “all of them," had a beginning and shall be dissolved.
Science doubts this, and many who profess to receive the Revelation of God allow the scepticism of science to becloud their faith. But Psalmist, Prophets, and Apostles, had no such doubts. The dissolution of all things was a common place in their creed-the corollary of creation. The New Testament writer of the Hebrews, quotes from the ancient psalm with a fulness of reliance which shows that the doctrine was unchallenged by Jew or Christian. (Heb. i. 10-12.) Eastbourne.