The Teaching of Jesus eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 161 pages of information about The Teaching of Jesus.
fails to “find” them.  Ours is a sternly practical age, and any truth which does not readily link itself on to the necessities of life is liable speedily to be put on one side and forgotten.  This is what has happened with this particular doctrine in the case of multitudes; it is not denied, but it is banished to what Mr. Lecky calls “the land of the unrealized and the inoperative.”  But if, on the one hand, the doctrine has suffered from neglect, on the other it has suffered hardly less from undue attention.  Indeed of late years the whole subject of the “Last Things” has been turned into a kind of happy hunting-ground for little sects, who carry on a ceaseless wordy warfare both with themselves and the rest of the Christian world.  Men and women without another theological interest in the world are yet keen to argue about Millenarianism, and to try their ’prentice hands on the interpretation of the imagery of the apocalyptic literature of both the Old Testament and the New.  As Spurgeon used to say, they are so taken up with the second coming of our Lord that they forget to preach the first So that one hardly knows which to regret more, the neglect and indifference of the one class, or the unhealthy, feverish absorption of the other.

As very often happens in cases of this kind each extreme is largely responsible for the other.  Neglect prepares the way for exaggeration; exaggeration leads to further neglect.  Moreover, in the case before us, both tendencies are strengthened by the very difficulty in which the subject is involved.  Vagueness, uncertainty, mystery, attract some minds as powerfully as they repel others.  And, assuredly, the element of uncertainty is not wanting here.  In the first place, this is a subject for all our knowledge of which we are wholly dependent upon revelation.  Much that Christ and His apostles have taught us we can bring to the test of experience and verify for ourselves.  But this doctrine we must receive, if we receive it at all, wholly on the authority of One whom, on other grounds, we have learned to trust.  Verification, in the nature of the case, is impossible.  Further, we have gone but a little way when revelation itself becomes silent; and, as I have said, when that guide leaves us, we enter at once the dark forest where instantly the track is lost.

Let us seek to learn, then, what Christ has revealed, and what He has left unrevealed, concerning His coming again.

I

As to the fact of Christ’s coming we are left in no doubt.  Our Lord’s own declarations are as explicit as language can make them.  Thus, in Matthew xvi. 27 we read that “the Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then shall He render unto every man according to his deeds.”  In the great discourse on the Last Things, recorded by all the Synoptists, after speaking of the fall of Jerusalem, Christ goes on, “Then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man

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The Teaching of Jesus from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.