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times are coming. 104 "Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” The tares, which naturally grow much faster than the wheat, shall continue up to the harvest. Mat. 13:40. tery of iniquity” which already worked in the days of the apostles, shall culminate in “the man of sin,” the personal antichrist, whom even the mass of the Jews will receive,105 and who will be so great and rule with such universal authority that he is to be destroyed only by the personal appearing of the Lord Himself.106
There is no hope, then, for the world, but in the coming of Christ the King. And, praised be God for the promises, the Lord will come at the end of this age. Antichrist will be destroyed.106 All things that offend shall be gathered out,107 and the Millennial Kingdom of righteousness shall be established on the earth. So, while there is a gloomy prospect for the world during this evil age, there is a bright and glorious prospect during the coming mil
(106) 2 Thes. 2:8. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming :
9. Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
Also Rev. 19:20.
shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
2 Pet. 3:7. But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
Also Jude 7, Mark 9:43-48.
(104) 1 Tim. 4:1. Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2 Tim. 3:1. This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
(105) John 5:43. I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.
Also Isa. 23:15-22.
(107) Matt. 13:41. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity ;
42. And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
43. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Civilization and Beneficent Institutions.
But perhaps it is still insisted that the world has made great progress in civilization and refinement, in benevolence, in personal liberty, international fraternity, Christian work, etc. In proof of this, the abrogation of slavery is cited; also the cessation of the inquisition and martyrdom, the establishment of charitable institutions, the great postal and commercial means of communication, built upon the agencies of steam and lightning; the right of trial by jury, international arbitration, missionary triumphs, etc.
Well, first of all we answer that Civilization and Refinement are not the Scurce of Holiness. They may elevate the head, while the heart is untouched. The gilded palace of sin is as certainly the gateway to hell as the darkest den of vice.
The cultured and scientific atheist is as surely in the service of Satan as the thief or the murderer. Jesus Himself classed them all together when He said, “He that is not with Me is against Me.” Mat. 12:30. So it matters not how much more like an angel of light the serpent may appear, nor how civilized and refined the world may be.
Satan is the devil still.
His manifestations and methods may be changed, but the spirit of darkness is the same. And accordingly we see that while slavery is disappearing, communism, socialism and nihilism are lifting their godless, headless forms. And darker are their forebodings than were even the days of the inquisition and martyrdom. Oppressing monopolies, systematic peculation and fraud are parallel with charitable institutions. The mails, so useful for news and correspondence, afford a most convenient agency for dis. seminating the flood of obscene literature which is blasting the morals of the young. Trial by jury has too often proved a mere farce, in which the criminal escapes. The nation which opened the way for the missionary also forced upon the teeming millions of China the awful curse of opium.
While missionary efforts have been greatly blessed abroad (and praise God that they have), infallibility, ritualism, skepticism and desecration of the Lord's day have more than equally triumphed at home. And let it not be forgotten that the monstrous assumption of infallibility has triumphed in what was once an apostolic church of Christ.
The past century has had its full share of war and carnage. Numerous, dark and fearful have been the fields of blood up to this very year. In short, Satan is on the alert and fully up to the times, multiplying his deceptions on either hand, as he will continue to do, until chained by the angel at the beginning of the Millennium. 108
Is the Church Progressing? Lastly, it is argued that, as Christians are the light of the world and the salt of the earth,109 the greatly increased number of professed Christians must certainly have augmented the light and the salt, and consequently have made the world better.
Jesus was indeed the light of the world, but He shone in the darkness and the darkness comprehended it not. Men loving and clinging to the darkness, because their deeds were evil, would not see the light, and were not made better by it.110 So true Christians, reflecting the light from
(108) Rev. 20:1. And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
3. And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more,
till the thousand years should be fulfilled; and after that he must be loosed a little season.
(109) Mat. 5:13. Ye are the salt of the earth : but if the
salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted ? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Phil. 2:15. That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world. (110) John 1:4.
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
John 3:19. And this is the condemnation, that light is come
heaven, only intensify the darkness about them. The darkness is still darkness and cannot be improved. The sinner must forsake it and come to the light, or he can never be saved.
Losing the Saltness. Let us notice carefully that Jesus speaks of the salt losing its saltness and becoming good for nothing, and He also intimates that the light may be hid under a bushel. And therefore He exhorts, “Have salt in yourselves.” Mark 9:50. Evidently the Jews lost their "savour" (Mat. 5:13) and “were broken off.'111 This leads to the solemn query, is the professing Church progressing or declining in faith and spiritual life?
The kingdom in mystery,112 or the state of Christendom until Christ comes again, is taught us, we believe, by the parables of Mat. 13.
The Parables. “The parable of the Sower shows the varied and imperfect reception of the Word. The parable of the Tares shows the early and continued effects of Satan's presence among the saints. The parable of the Mustard-seed shows outward growth sheltering evil. The parable of the Leaven shows the gradual and utter corruption of the truth. The parable of the Treasure hid in a field shows what Israel is to be in the world. The parable of the Pearl of great price shows what the Church is to Christ. And the parable of the Dragnet shows the cleansing of the kingdom at His second coming."
into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20. For every one that doeth evil bateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
(111) Rom. 11:20. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest
by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:
21. For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
(112) Mat. 13:10. And the disciples came,
and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
11. He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
There is, perhaps, but little opposition to this interpretation of the parables, excepting that of the Leaven, which has quite extensively been interpreted to teach exactly the opposite, viz.: that the power and influence of the gospel or Christian life is to permeate the masses of the world, until the whole is leavened into holiness. The inconsistency of this is seen when we consider that precisely the contrary is taught by the parable of the sower and the tares, each of which most undisputedly shows that evil is to continue and grow up to the end of the age. This is surely the most sufficient and scriptural reason for 'assigning the same typical meaning to the Leaven, in this and the correlative passage,
113 which we find it to bear in the numerous other passages, where the same word is used, viz.: the corrupting influence of evil and the symbol of death. See carefully Mat. 16:6-12.114
(113) Luke 13:20. And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God?
21. It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.
(114) Mat. 16:6. Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
7. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread.
8. Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, o ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?
11. How is it that ye do not understand that spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?
12. Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of
the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
Mark 8:15. And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.
Luke 12:1. In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
1 Cor. 5:6. Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
7. Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
8. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the un