Volume 10, Issue 3: Verbatim
Quotations on Peaceful Triumph
Various Saints and Wiseguys
Before God there remains nothing of which we can glory save only his mercy, by which, without any merit of our own, we are admitted to the hope of eternal salvation: and before men not even this much remains, since we can glory only in our infirmity, a thing which, in estimation of men, it is the greatest ignominy even tacitly to confess.
But our doctrine must stand sublime above all the glory of the world, and invincible by all its power, because it is not ours, but that of the living God and His Anointed, whom the Father has appointed King, that He may rule from sea to sea, and from the rivers to the ends of the earth; and so rule as to smite the whole earth and its strength of iron and brass, its splendour of gold and silver, with the mere rod of his mouth, and break them in pieces like a potter's vessel; according to the magnificent predictions of the prophets respecting His kingdom (Dan. 2:34; Is. 11:4; Ps. 2:9).
Since the Savior's advent in our midst, not only does idolatry no longer increase, but it is getting less and gradually ceasing to be. Similarly, not only does the wisdom of the Greeks no longer make any progress, but that which used to be is disappearing. And demons, so far from continuing to impose on people by their deceits and oracle-givings and sorceries, are routed by the sign of the cross if they so much as try. On the other hand, while idolatry and everything else that opposes the faith of Christ is daily dwindling and weakening and falling, the Savior's teaching is increasing everywhere! Worship, then, the Savior "who is above all" and mighty, even God the Word, and condemn those who are being defeated and made to disappear by Him. When the sun has come, darkness prevails no longer; any of it left anywhere is driven away. So also, now that the Divine epiphany of the Word of God has taken place, the darkness of idols prevails no more, and all parts of the world in every direction are enlightened by His teaching.
Q. 191. What do we pray for in the second petition?
A. In the second petition, (which is, Thy kingdom come,) . . . . we pray, that the kingdom of sin and Satan may be destroyed, the gospel propagated throughout the world, the Jews called, the fullness of the Gentiles brought in; . . . and that he would be pleased so to exercise the kingdom of his power in all the world, as may best conduce to these ends.
Westminster Larger Catechism
There have been great and glorious days of the gospel in this land; but they have been small in comparison of what shall be.
David was not a believer in the theory that the world will grow worse and worse, and that the dispensation will wind up with general darkness and idolatry. Earth's sun is to go down amid tenfold night if some of our prophetic brethren are to be believed. Not so do we expect, but we look for a day when the dwellers in all lands shall learn righteousness, shall trust in the Savior, shall worship thee alone, O God, and "shall glorify thy name." The modern notion has greatly damped the zeal of the church for missions, and the sooner it is shown to be unscriptural the better for the cause of God. It neither consorts with prophecy, honours God, nor inspires the church with ardour. Far hence be it driven.
The Scriptures, both of the Old and New Testament, clearly reveal that the gospel is to exercise an influence over all branches of the human family, immeasurably more extensive and more thoroughly transforming than any it has ever realized in time past. This end is to be gradually attained through the spiritual presence of Christ in the ordinary dispensation of Providence and the ministrations of His church.
A. A. Hodge
There will come a time when in this world holiness shall be more general, and more eminent, than ever it hath been since Adam fell in paradise.
We find that Christ's work of redemption truly has as its object the people of the entire world and that His Kingdom is to become universal. And since nothing is told us as to how long the earth shall continue after that goal has been reached, possibly we can look forward to a great "golden age" of spiritual prosperity continuing for centuries, or even for millenniums, during which time Christianity shall be triumphant over all the earth, and during which time the great proportion even of adults shall be saved. It seems that the number of the redeemed shall then be swelled until it far surpasses that of the lost.
"In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed." Paul interprets this to mean that the seed of Abraham should be heir of the world . . . To this we can surely relate the promise of Christ in the Sermon on the Mount: "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." We do not honor God by reducing the covenant concept of "all nations blessed" to a bare representation of all nations. We, under the grace and power of Christ, are to make disciples of all nations. This means China as well as North America; this means Africa as well as Holland; this means Russia as well as Scotland.
J. Marcellus Kik
"I will shake heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will move all nations, and the desired of all nations shall come." The fulfillment of this prophecy is in part already seen, and in part hoped for in the end. For He moved the heaven by the testimony of the angels and the stars, when Christ became incarnate. . . . So we see all nations moved to faith; and the fulfillment of what follows, "And the desired of all nations shall come," is looked for at His last coming. For before men can desire and wait for Him, they must believe and love Him.
In [an] eschatology of predestined historical suffering, Christians are told to expect Christianity's influence to diminish steadily through history. . . . [But] it is the unshakable confidence of the Suffering Church that she one day will be the Victorious Church: "To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations" (Rev. 2:26-28).
The Gospel will be spread abroad over the seas and the islands in the ocean, and among the people dwelling therein, who are called "the fullness thereof." And that word has been made good. For churches of Christ fill all the islands, and are being multiplied every day, and the teaching of the Word of salvation is gaining accessions.
"The gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few" (Matt. 7:14). "Strive to enter by the narrow door" (Lk 13:24). Can such texts be reconciled with the picture of vast numbers of people being converted to the Christian faith during a future period of great revival? . . . The sayings concerning the narrow gate (Matt. 7:14), the narrow door (Lk 13:24), and the few chosen (Matt. 22:14) are best understood in the context of Jesus' own earthly ministry. The "gate" or "door" that leads to eternal life is narrow in several respects. First, it is narrow theologically: Jesus, and Jesus alone, is the door to eternal life (John 10:7; Acts 4:12). . . . Second, the "gate" is narrow circumstantially in that few of the Jews responded savingly to the Lord's own earthly ministry; indeed, he was "despised and rejected by men" (Is. 53:3). Many of the Jews were called to the Messianic banquet (Matt. 22:14), but relatively few responded to the Lord himself.
John Jefferson Davis
In the latter days, . . . the churches of Christ being enlarged and edified through a free and plentiful communication of light and grace, shall enjoy in this world a more quiet, peaceable, and glorious condition than they have enjoyed.
We live in an era in which pessimism has become the norm, rather than the exception. . . . Cultural pessimism draws heavily on the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche and on his sweeping condemnation of the European society of his day as "sick" and "decadent." "There is an element of decay in everything that characterizes modern man," Nietzsche wrote in 1885.
It's always hard to see hope with a hangover.