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The Coming of the Lord

The Coming of the Lord

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St. James v. 8.
For the commg of the Lord draweth nigh.

St. James v. 8.
For the commg of the Lord draweth nigh.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 09, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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THE COMIG OF THE LORDBY H. HORSLEYSt. James v. 8.For the commg of the Lord draweth nigh.TIME was, when I know not what mystical meaningi,were drawn, by a certain cubaiistic alchymy, from thesimplest expressions of holy writ, — from expressions inwhich no allusion could reasonably be supposed to anything beyond the particular occasion upon which theywere introduced. While this frenzy raged among thelearned, visionary lessons of divinity were often derived,not only from detached texts of scripture, but fromsingle words, — not from words only, but from letters — from the place, the shape, the posture of a letter : andthe blunders of transcribers, as they have since provedto be, have been the ground- work of many a fine-spunmeditation.It is the weakness of human nature, in every instanceof folly, to rim from one extreme to its opposite. Inlater ages, since we have seen the futility of those mysticexpositions in which the school of Origen so muchdelighted, we have been too apt to fail into the contraryerror ; and the same unwarrantable license of figurativeinterpretation which they employed to elevate, as theythought, the plainer parts of Scripture, has been used,in modern times, in effect to lower die divine.Among the passages which have been thus misrepre-t^entcdby the refinements of a false criticism, are all those( 2 )uhich contain the explicit promise of the "coming of the
Son of Man in glory, or in his kingdom;" which it is be-come so much the fashion to understand of the destructionof Jerusalem by the Roman arms, within half a century afterour Lord's ascension, that, to those who take the senseof Scripture from some of the best modern expositors,it must seem doubtful whether any clear prediction is tobe found in the ew Testament, of an event in which, of all others, the Christian world is the most interested.As I conceive the right understanding of this phrase tobe of no small importance, seeing the hopes of the righte-ous and the fears of the wicked rest chiefly on the explicitpromises of our Saviour's coming, it is my present pur-pose to give the matter, as far as my abilities may be equalto it, a complete discussion; and although, from thenature of the subject, the disquisition must be chieflycritical, consisting in a particular and minute examinationof the passages wherein the phrase in question occurs, yetI trust, that by God's itssistance, I shall be able so tostate rny argument, that every one here, who is but aswell versed as every Christian ought to be in the EnglishBible, may be a very good judge of the evidence of myconclusion. If I should sometimes have occasion, whichwill be but seldom, to appeal to the Scriptures in the origi-nal language, it will not be to impose a new sense upon thetexts which I may iind it to my purpose to produce, but toopen and ascertain the meaning, where the original expres-sions may be more clear and determinate than those of ourtranslation. And in these cases, the expositions whichgrammatical considerations may have suggested to me, will,be evidenced to you, by the force and perspicuity theymay give to the passages in question, considered either inthemselves or in the connection with their several contexts.It is the glory of our church, that the most illiterate of her sons are in possession of the Scriptures in their mothertongue. It is their duty to make the most of so great a
( 3 }blessing, by employing as much time as they can sparefrom the necessary business of their several callings, inthe diligent study of the written word. It is the duty of their teachers to give them all possible assistance andencouragement in this necessary work. I apprehend thatwe mistake our proper duty, when Ave avoid the publicdiscussion of difficult or ambiguous texts, and eitherkeep them entirely out of sight, or, when that cannoteasily be done, obtrude our interpretations upon the laity,as magisterial or oracular, without proof or argument ; — a plan that may serve the purposes of indolence, and maybe made to serve worse purposes, but is not well adaptedto answer the true ends of the institution of our holj^ order.The will of God is that all men should be saved ; and tothat end, it is his will that all men, that is, all description;;of men, great and small, rich and poor, learned and ig-norant, should come to the knowledge of tlie truth. Of the truth, — that is, of the truths brought to light by theGospel: not only of the fundamental truths of faithtowards God, of repentance from dead works, and of afuture judgment, — but of all the sublimer truths concern-ing the scheme of man's redemption. It is God's willthat all men should be brought to a just understanding of the deliverance Christ hath wrought for us, — to a just ap-prehension of the magnitude of our hopes in him, and of the certainty of the evidence on which these hopes arefounded. It is God's will that all men should come to aknowledge of the original dignity of our Saviour'sperson, — of the mystery of his incarnation, — -of the natureof his eternal priesthood, the value of his atonement, theefficacy of his intercession. These things are never to beunderstood without much more than a superficial know-ledge of the Scriptures, especially the Scriptures of theew Testament ; and yet that knowledge of the Scrip-tures which is necessary to the understanding of thesethings, is what few, I would hope, in this country are too

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