« AnteriorContinuar »
done when a small Huddersfield audience had heard them. That they have revolutionised the religious convictions of great numbers of people, the author has in his possession much written evidence, and much has appeared in the pages of the monthly Christadelphian (edited by the author) for more than twenty years past.
It will be found upon investigation, that the Bible is no more responsible for the views and tenets of Christendom than it is for Mormonism. It propounds a system of doctrine which is compatible with all the evidences of sense, as systematised in the material sciences of the age, and which at the same time commends itself to the moral instincts of every fully developed mind, as supplying those links, in the absence of which, the human understanding is baffled in its attempts to fathom the mysteries of existence.
Lecture XVI. discusses the prophetic bearings of current political events. The result is to show that the times appointed for Gentile ascendancy are all either run out, or on the point of running out in the present age of the world. The state of affairs is shown to confirm this conclusion of chronology. Prophetic anticipations have been realised in a way that leaves no doubt of the correctness of the deductions. From the outbreak of European revolution, in 1848, to the British occupation of Egypt, in 1882, and the commencement of the Jewish colonisation of Palestine (on however small a scale), there has been an unbroken series of expected signs of the Lord's approach. The only point of failure has been as to the place in the programme at which the Lord's appearing would occur, and this is a failure not of the prophetic word, but of human estimate of probability. It seemed likely that the ending of Papal coercive power would be the time for the Lord to appear. The ending of the Papal coercive power came at the expected time, but not the Lord, and because of this, the thoughtless cry “ failure." True failure there has not been ; on the contrary, prophetic expectations that were truly warranted have in all particulars been realised in a very wonderful manner.
Parallel cases in ancient Bible times indicate the nature of the present situation. In the case of the Exodus, Israel left Egypt thirty years after the expiry of the period (of 400 years) specified as the duration of Israel's sojourning in the land of the stranger. In the case of the restoration from Babylon, it was not accomplished till a generation after the period ( 10 years) fixed as the duration of their captivity. But in both these cases, events tending to the development of the foretold results SIGNALISED THE EXACT ENDING OF THE PERIOD. In the case of the Exodus, Moses, who was fifty years of age at the end of the 400, had appeared on the scene, and “ supposed his brethren would have understood how that God, by his hand, would deliver them” (Acts vii. 25). In the case of the restoration from Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar's dynasty was overthrown by Darius, who belonged to a people favourable to Israel.
In the present case, all we need look for in this respect is transpiring before our eyes. The events prophetically characteristic of the termination of the “times of the Gentiles," are the facts of contemporary history, Papal ascendancy is at an end in the world of politics, secular and ecclesiastical. It came to an end in 1866, with the blow which levelled Austrian domination in Germany. The Prussian sword cut the Concordat, and, in the discomfiture of Austria, smote to the ground the prop which for over a thousand years has maintained the temporal supremacy of the court of Rome. This is an eloquent sign of the times, which derives additional significance from the concurrent downfall of church establishments in Italy, Spain, and England, and the uprise and prosperity of the truth.
Of the exact date of the Lord's appearing we have no information. We are in the era of that wonderful event, and it may be the occurrence of any day; but “ of that day and hour knoweth no man." We are in the position the disciples occupied in relation to the day of God's judgment on Jerusalem : we wait in a state of indefinite expectancy, knowing that the event looked for is near, even at the door ; but not knowing exactly how long.
The truth developed in a complete form is rapidly creating a people for the name of the Lord at his return. Such a work is a necessary prelude to the advent. The apostolic testimony gives us to understand that Jesus finds a people alive at his coming. Hence, their development is a necessity of the end. It is meet that Christ should have a people contemporary with the developments of the end.
At his coming in the flesh, John the Baptist, by preaching, gathered from Israel a select people, to whom in due course Christ was manifested by the descent of the Holy Spirit, and by means of whom, in their ultimate operations, he proclaimed the way of life to the world, vanquished paganism, and enthroned his name traditionally in the high places of the earth. His coming in the Spirit draws near; a people is in preparation, increasing in numbers, faith, zeal, and service, to whom, when their development has reached a certain point, he will be revealed, with the thousands whom he shall bring from the dead by his power. May reader and writer alike have the supreme happiness of being included in their glorious number.
BIRMINGHAM, June 5, 1890.
PREFACE . .. ... ... ... ... ... ...
LECTURE I.—THE BIBLE-WHAT IT IS, AND HOW TO INTERPRET IT.
Christendom Astray, page 1.-The fact explained, 1.-Scriptural study everyone's duty,
2.-Priestly assumptions false, 2.—The Bible ; & divine production, 2.-Its literary
structure, 2-4.-Its wonderful character, 4.-Disastrousness of doubt, 5.-Doubt
explained by false interpretations, 6.-An objection anticipated, 6.- The Dark ages, 6.
-The Reformation : its partiality, 6.--The clerical system, 7.- Popular neglect of
Bible study, 7.—Timidity of the thoughtful, 7.–Triumph of tradition, 8.-The remedy,
8.--The Bible means what it says, 8.-Interpretation primarily literal, 8.-Illustra-
tions from prophecy, 9 and 10.--Language of metaphor considered, 10.-Illustrations,
11.-The symbolic style, 11.-Comparative value of Old and New Testaments, 12.-
Christianity rooted in Old Testament, 13.—An appeal to the reader, 13 ..
LECTURE II.-HUMAN NATURE ESSENTIALLY MORTAL, AS PROVED BY
NATURE AND REVELATION.
Seriousness of the proposition, page 14.—Popular theory of the human constitution, 14.-
Immortal soulism, 14.-The contrary view affirmed, 14.-The line of argument, 15.-
Natural evidence in favour of the popular theory examined, 15.-Can natter think? 15.
-Matter and Spirit, 15.–What is thought? 16.-A fallacy exposed, 16.-Nature but
partially known, 16.-Reason and immateriality, 17.-"Mind travelling,” 17.-Dreams,
17.-Consciousness of dissevered limbs, 17.-Continuous identity, 18.-Natural argu-
ments on the other side, 19.-Location of the mind, 19.-The brain, 19.-Mental
depression, 20.-Physical debility, 20.-Cranial injury, 20.--Infantile inanity, 20.-
Diversity of capacity and disposition, 21.-Compound nature of man, 21.-Mystery no
bar to belief, 21.-Functional activity, 21.- Objectors beg the question, 21.–The natural
conclusion, 21.-What the Scriptures say, 22.-Silence on immortal soulism, 22.-A
false deduction, 22.-"Soul," its significance in Scripture use, 22.--Illustrations, 23.-
Scriptural testimony to the vanity of human nature, 23.-The creation of man, 24.-
Sontenced to return to dust, 24.-Coincident sentiment of Scripture, 25.–Tendency of
immortal soulism, 25.- Personal duty, 25 .........
LECTURE III.-THE DEAD UNCONSCIOUS TILL THE RESURRECTION, AND
CONSEQUENT ERROR OF POPULAR BELIEF IN HEAVEN AND HELL,
Error leads to error, page 26,-Death, 26.-Universal, 26.-Inconsistency of survivors, 26.
-Nature of death, 26.- Deprivation of existence, 27.-Life, total of functional activity,
27.-Non-existence once a fact, 27.-In death, again a fact, 27.--State of the dead, as
depicted in the Scriptures, 28.-Modern sentiment contrasted, 29.--Nature of Scripiure
testimony, 29.-Resurrection a necessity, 30.--Scripture statements used interroga-
tively, 30.--SUPPOSED NEW TESTAMENT PROOF OF THE POPULAR DOCTRINE, viz., the
thief on the cross, 31.-The rich man and Lazarus, 32.-The great multitude that no
man can number seen by John in Patmos, 34.—Stephen's dying prayer, 31.-"Absent
from the body," 31.-“ Desire to depart and to be with Christ," 35.-“No peace to tho
wicked," 37.-Moses and Elias on the Mount of Transfiguration, 37.--"God is not the God
of the dead," 38.–The angels of belieyers, 39.—“In way of righteousness no death,” 39.
- Man unable to kill the soul, 39,-HEAVEN, 40.-Popular Theory, 41.-Apparent Scrip-
tural sanction, 41.-Its true significance, 42.-"No man bath ascended into Heaven," 42.
-The true hope of the dead, 42.-New Testament consolation for the living, 43.-Salva-
tion to be manifested on the earth, 43.-HELL, 44.-Horrible picture, 45.- The hell of
the Bible, 44.-Scripture testimonies, 46. -Hell synonymous with grave, 46.-Hades, 46.
-Gehenna, 46.-“Unquenchable ire,” 47.-Hell, a Pagan speculation, 48.—“Everlast.
ing punishment," 48.-Orthodox doctrine losing ground, 49.—The Bible view of man's
LECTURE IV.-IMMORTALITY, A CONDITIONAL GIFT TO BE BESTOWED AT
The question proposed, page 51.-Dread of death, 51.-Desire for immortality, 51.- Plato's
argument, 51.-Wbat desire proves, 51.-Limits of the argument, 52. -Mortality and
life considered, 52.-Mystery of being, 52.-Contrast between aspiration and con.
dition explained, 53.- Adam and Eve, 53.-The test, 54.–The failure, 54.–The
consequence, 64.-Origin of death, 54.-The foolish sneer, 54.-The 'wisdom of the
devout, 54.-Exclusion from the Tree of Life, 55.-An inference, 55.-Future life, a
revelation, 56.-Mission of Christ to reveal it, 56.-New Testament proofs, 56.-Incom.
patible with "natural" immortality, 57.-Nature of immortality, 57.-Incorruptibility,
57.-The resurrection body, 58.-Spiritual body substantial, 58.-Proof, 58.-Christ's
sample body, 58.-Natural and spiritual bodies explained, 58.-Glorious condition of
incorruptibility, 59.-Not indiscriminately bestowed, 60.-Scripture proofs, 60.-Fatal
to Universalism, 60.--Different class not entitled to life, 60.-Grounds of condemna-
tion, 61.-Destruction, 61.- Endless torment unscriptural, 61.-Aion, or an age, 01.-
Grounds for believing in endless life, 61.-The irresponsible classes, 62.- Their
LECTURE V.-JUDGMENT TO COME, THE DISPENSATION OF DIVINE AWARDS
TO RESPONSIBLE CLASSES AT THE RETURN OF CHRIST.
The last day of popular belief, page 63.-Universal resurrection an absurdity, 63.-The
ignorant and the brutish never raised, 63.-Judgment restricted to such as are re.
sponsible, 64.—The source of responsibility, 61.-God's dealings with the human race,
65.-The antediluvians, 65.—The call of Abraham, 66.- The election of the Jews, 66.
-National responsibility, 67-9.-Christ the Judge of the quick and the dead, 69.-
A part of the gospel, 70.—The necessity for a judgment-seat, 71.-A fallacy, 71.-
Divine omniscience: no argument against a judgraent, 71.-Divine accommodation to
creature apprehension, 72.-Perniciousness of the fallacy, 72.-The gladsom
the doctrine of judgment. 72.-The object of judgment, 72.-The official and public
separation of good from evil, 73.-The parables of Christ and the statements of Paul.
73.-The presence of the wicked at the judgment-seat, & necessity, 74.-The position
of the resurrected dead before judgment, 74.-The great question undecided, 74.-
The body unglorified, 75.-Immortality not bestowed, 75.—The judgment an indi-
vidual reckoning, 76.—“Immortal resurrection "a mistake and a heresy, 76.–Review
of supposed New Testament proofs of immortal emergence from the grave, 77-81.-
Oonclusion, 82. ...