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Forgotten Truths (eBook)

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  • 105 Pages



Preface to the Second Edition



The early demand
for a new edition of “Forgotten Truths” gives proof that truths which have been
let slip by so many are still cherished by not a few.



The only adverse
criticism the book has evoked is that which was anticipated in the closing
pages of Chap. 12.



In the early years
of my Christian life I was greatly perplexed and distressed by the supposition
that the plain and simple words of such Scriptures as John 3:16, 1 John 2:2, 1
Timothy 2:6 were not true, save in a cryptic sense understood only by the
initiated. For, I was told, the over-shadowing truth of Divine sovereignty in
election barred our taking them literally. But half a century ago a friend of
those days—the late Dr. Horatius Bonar—delivered me from this strangely
prevalent error. He taught me that truths may seem to us irreconcilable only
because our finite minds cannot understand the Infinite; and we must never
allow our faulty apprehension of the eternal counsels of God to hinder
unquestioning faith in the words of Holy Scripture.



Nor was this a
plausible effort to evade the special difficulty raised by a misuse of the
great truth of election; for a kindred mystery permeates our whole existence.
We are conscious of possessing a free and independent will which enables us to
turn hither and thither as we please, and to do good or evil. Were it
otherwise, indeed, the Divine judgment of the sinner would be unjust. And yet,
when we review the consequences of our conduct, we recognise the hand of God.
True it is that we think of Him only when the consequences are serious; but, as
the Lord explicitly taught, His sovereignty declares itself even in the fall of
a sparrow.



All this has its
counterpart in relation to the promise of the Coming. The believer and the
infidel are agreed that in Apostolic times the saints were taught to regard the
Lord’s return as a hope that might be realised during their lifetime. But now
we are asked to acknowledge that the infidel is right in maintaining that this
was entirely a mistake! For, it is argued, the Lord cannot come till “the
number of His elect” is complete. And Ephesians 1:4 is construed to mean that
at some epoch in time, prior to 4004 B.C. (or whatever date be fixed for “the
foundation of the world”), people now living were made beneficiaries of God’s
favour. It follows, therefore, that, as ex
hyp.
“the number of the elect” was not complete prior to this twentieth
century of our era, the Advent could not have taken place at any period in the
past; and possibly the thirtieth century may dawn before the promise is
fulfilled! And when in amazement we seek for some explanation of the words,
“Surely I am coming quickly, “we are told that “with the Lord a thousand years
are as one day” (2 Peter 3:8. See p. 84, post).
But does any one really imagine that there is a celestial timepiece with a
thousand-year dial! Is it not clear as light from the language of these and
kindred Scriptures, such, ex. gr., as
Psalm 90:4, that eternity is God’s domain? Therefore is it that His judgments
are unsearchable and His ways past finding out. For eternity is not unlimited
time, but the antithesis of time; whereas time is the law of our being, “the
condition under which all created things exist” (Trench, Synonyms).



Those who put a
special meaning on certain words in Gospel texts can plead with truth that
these words are sometimes used in a restricted sense. But no plea of the kind
is tenable here. “I am surely coming quickly”: “Yet a
very little while
and the Coming One will come, and will not delay.” These words are too definite to admit of any
second meaning; and to refuse to take them literally is equivalent to
challenging their truth. But how then can we explain the fact that they are
still unfulfilled? A solution of that most perplexing difficulty is supplied by
the following pages.



R. A.





Preface to the Second Edition



The early demand
for a new edition of “Forgotten Truths” gives proof that truths which have been
let slip by so many are still cherished by not a few.



The only adverse
criticism the book has evoked is that which was anticipated in the closing
pages of Chap. 12.



In the early years
of my Christian life I was greatly perplexed and distressed by the supposition
that the plain and simple words of such Scriptures as John 3:16, 1 John 2:2, 1
Timothy 2:6 were not true, save in a cryptic sense understood only by the
initiated. For, I was told, the over-shadowing truth of Divine sovereignty in
election barred our taking them literally. But half a century ago a friend of
those days—the late Dr. Horatius Bonar—delivered me from this strangely
prevalent error. He taught me that truths may seem to us irreconcilable only
because our finite minds cannot understand the Infinite; and we must never
allow our faulty apprehension of the eternal counsels of God to hinder
unquestioning faith in the words of Holy Scripture.



Nor was this a
plausible effort to evade the special difficulty raised by a misuse of the
great truth of election; for a kindred mystery permeates our whole existence.
We are conscious of possessing a free and independent will which enables us to
turn hither and thither as we please, and to do good or evil. Were it
otherwise, indeed, the Divine judgment of the sinner would be unjust. And yet,
when we review the consequences of our conduct, we recognise the hand of God.
True it is that we think of Him only when the consequences are serious; but, as
the Lord explicitly taught, His sovereignty declares itself even in the fall of
a sparrow.



All this has its
counterpart in relation to the promise of the Coming. The believer and the
infidel are agreed that in Apostolic times the saints were taught to regard the
Lord’s return as a hope that might be realised during their lifetime. But now
we are asked to acknowledge that the infidel is right in maintaining that this
was entirely a mistake! For, it is argued, the Lord cannot come till “the
number of His elect” is complete. And Ephesians 1:4 is construed to mean that
at some epoch in time, prior to 4004 B.C. (or whatever date be fixed for “the
foundation of the world”), people now living were made beneficiaries of God’s
favour. It follows, therefore, that, as ex
hyp.
“the number of the elect” was not complete prior to this twentieth
century of our era, the Advent could not have taken place at any period in the
past; and possibly the thirtieth century may dawn before the promise is
fulfilled! And when in amazement we seek for some explanation of the words,
“Surely I am coming quickly, “we are told that “with the Lord a thousand years
are as one day” (2 Peter 3:8. See p. 84, post).
But does any one really imagine that there is a celestial timepiece with a
thousand-year dial! Is it not clear as light from the language of these and
kindred Scriptures, such, ex. gr., as
Psalm 90:4, that eternity is God’s domain? Therefore is it that His judgments
are unsearchable and His ways past finding out. For eternity is not unlimited
time, but the antithesis of time; whereas time is the law of our being, “the
condition under which all created things exist” (Trench, Synonyms).



Those who put a
special meaning on certain words in Gospel texts can plead with truth that
these words are sometimes used in a restricted sense. But no plea of the kind
is tenable here. “I am surely coming quickly”: “Yet a
very little while
and the Coming One will come, and will not delay.” These words are too definite to admit of any
second meaning; and to refuse to take them literally is equivalent to
challenging their truth. But how then can we explain the fact that they are
still unfulfilled? A solution of that most perplexing difficulty is supplied by
the following pages.



R. A.




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