By Rev. I ® . H. Bates, D. D.
Note.— Following is a portion of an inductive exegesis on “The World,” by Dr. Bates, reprinted from the “Bibliotheca Sacra.”
History gives man knowledge of the past: observation gives him knowledge of the present; but he has no means by which he alone can acquire certain knowledge of the future. What has been, and is, he knows: what is certainly to be he cannot know except as He who “changeth the times and the seasons” reveals it. It were presump tuously trespassing the limits of human knowledge even to attempt to* determine the destiny of the world, apart from the revealings of God’s Word. What He has revealed concerning it we may seek to determine. What, then, is the destiny of the world- system? The world-system was inaugurated by Satan in his triumph in the garden of Eden; and humanity went into the wilderness. Into the wilderness Christ went, triumphed over Satan, and practically served upon him notice of the future overthrow of his king dom, together with personal dethronement and destruction. “Now (i.e. in this dis
pensation) shall the prince of this world be cast out” (John xii. 31). There is a quite prevalent notion, as irra tional as it is unscriptural and as unscrip- tural as it is irrational, that the millennial state is to be brought about by a progres sive betterment resulting from the preach ing of the gospel. In substantiation of this notion, often is quoted Psa. ii. 8, “Ask of me, and I shall give the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession;” but a reading of the whole psalm will show there is not one particle of progressive betterment in it;,instead, there is overwhelming catastro phe (vs. 9, 12). In the parables in Matt, xiii., Satan catches away one-fourth of the seed entirely, two-fourths are fruitless, and only one-fourth is fruitful; the tares grow rank, choking, to the end of the present dis pensation; the little mustard seed generates a tree in which the birds of the air, unclean fowls (Dan. iv. 12), lodge; the leaven, undeniably everywhere else in Scripture a
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