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" The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count
slackness ; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should
perish, but that all should come to repentance." 2 PETEB iii. 9.


" The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count
slackness ; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should
perish, but that all should come to repentance." 2 PETEB iii. 9.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Feb 02, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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BY EDWARD GARBETT, M.A.," The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men countslackness ; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any shouldperish, but that all should come to repentance." 2 PETEB iii. 9.words are invested by their context with-* peculiar importance and significance. As to thetime of the great catastrophe which they announce,and the exact position which it will hold among theevents accompanying the second advent of our Lord,there may be a difference of opinion among thestudents of the Divine Word. There are evidentreasons why we should acquiesce in a degree of uncertainty on the minor points of unfulfilled pro-phecy. If we knew all with the same absolute pre-cision which marks our acquaintance with events past,it would assume the characteristics of history, ratherthan of prophecy. What we may expect to find, is aclear and distinct intimation of events, while thesecondary causes which are bringing them to pass,and all the detailed circumstances which will accom-pany them, remain obscure. It is most consistentwith the Divine character and necessary for the train-ing of faith and trust, that some degree of darknessshould still hang round that which is to be.In the whole of this passage, the events predictedTHE SURE PROMISE. 327are described with so much precision, as not to leaveupon the mind a doubt of their literal and exactaccomplishment. It seems that, as the deep taint of sin upon the soul requires a purifying process of trialand affliction, before it can be removed ; as the fleshmust needs undergo the corruption of the grave, be-fore it can be raised again into its final beauty andmade like to the glorious body of our Master ; so theearth itself, and that planetary system of which itforms a part, needs to undergo a fiery purification. Ithas been stained by human sin, and made very dif-ferent from what the beneficent Creator intended itto be. It must pass through a purgation of its ownbefore it can become the new heavens and the newearth, wherein shall dwell righteousness ; as the soulitself, even in its state of partial sanctification here onearth, is still said to be a new creature, so marvellouswill be the change which the absence of sin's effectswill work upon this lower world. There will be no
storms and tempests, no violence and confusion, nodiscords, decay, and death, to disturb it more ; and intheir absence, it will be as a new creation for thehabitation of the new creatures, the redeemed peopleof God. Not without inward struggle and sufferinghas the spiritual revolution in the soul been broughtabout, and this purification of the world will be effectedby a catastrophe so awful in its nature and so vast inits extent, that it may well occupy a large portion of our wondering expectation.In this chapter, St. Peter particularizes three things.First, he declares that the earth itself will be burnedup, while the heavens above pass away with a greatnoise, being rolled up like a parched scroll, and that328 THE SOUL'S LIFE.the elements will melt with fervent heat. Secondly,he states that this event will come upon the worldsuddenly : " The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night." It will not be ushered in by notes of preparation audible to human ears, nor by thosephenomena in heaven and earth which men are apt toconsider the natural premonitions of great events. Itwill come when the world is rolling on its busy course, just as it does at the present moment : " Likewise alsoas it was in the days of Lot ; they did eat, they drank,they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded ;but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rainedfire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed themall. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Sonof man is revealed." lWhen we remember that this catastrophe is to takeplace, not on some far-off distant globe of which webarely know the existence, but on this familiar earthof ours this scene of our daily cares, and hopes, andinterests it must needs become a matter of intenseinterest to us. Nor can we avoid remembering thatthe instruments of this destruction are already pre-pared. God has already stored the fires within ourglobe, smouldering beneath our feet, latent in everystone, breaking forth in volcanic agency, and irradi-ating the heavens above our head. There is theappointed agent only waiting for the appointed timeto do its work. What will be our feelings when wespring from the grave, or are aroused, it may be, bythe shrill blast of the archangel's trumpet from ourbeds, or are arrested in the midst of our daily cares,to witness the vast conflagration ? Shall we see all1 Luke xvii. 28 30.THE SUEE PROMISE. 329
that we have loved perishing in the flames, or stillretain our hope firm and our treasure safe amid themall ? These things may appear to some men idletales, as they appeared to those in Peter's days, whoasked where is the promise of His coming? but yetthey are sure as God is true. " For the Lord is notslack concerning his promise, as some men countslackness; but is longsuflering to us-ward, not willingthat any should perish, but that all should come torepentance."Note here :I. The nature of the slackness which accompaniesGod's promises.II. That this is but a proof of their certain accom-plishment.III. The practical lessons which the soul shouldlearn from it.1. The nature of the slackness which accompaniesthe Divine promises. "When the apostle says, " Forthe Lord is not slack," that is, does not delay Hispromise, as some men count slackness he intimatesthat there really is a measured deliberation in theDivine dealings, though it is not of the same natureor owing to the same causes that men may suppose.Here, then, let us first of all note that the word"promise" is directly referred to the great catas-trophe of which he proceeds to speak. Yet thatevent would appear to us to be rather an act of  judgment than of mercy, and to be esteemed as awarning rather than as a promise. Yet there is noambiguity in the words used, " The Lord is not slack concerning his promise." If, indeed, that event benot a topic of joy and thankfulness to us, the fault is330 THE SOUL'S LIFE.in that guilty conscience which colours with its ownfears both God himself and the promised times of God's triumph. But when we speak of God's triumph,let us recall how it is that His glory is bound up atall with any event which affects our world. It is notthat human sin can take away aught from His majesty,or can dim one star in His presence, or can silenceone note of the everlasting hallelujahs which soundeternally before His throne ; but it is that when Heundertook to redeem man, He associated by thatvery act the vindication of His wisdom and powerwith its successful accomplishment. When at thegreat day all that now opposes His truth shall finallybe subjected beneath the feet of the crowned Jesus,

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