Last Updated on :Thursday, November 20, 2014












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THE caption of this article has been selected as expressive of a startling truth, in which all men, profane and pious, are equally interested. There are in the world two great objects of desire, which all profess to hope for and to which all who profess them aver that God has called them; hence, they may be still further characterized as the Two Hopes of the Two Callings. These two hopes are different in all their details; they are opposite and antagonistic, and so contrary, therefore, the one from the other, that if one be demonstrated to be God's truth, the other is thereby proved to be no hope at all, because in fact a mere vain imagination. For this reason Paul, in writing to the brethren who were sorrowing for some Christian relatives, who had fallen victims to the power of the enemy, exhorts them not to mourn as did "the others", the Pagan Gentiles, "who had no hope"; for they should embrace them again, when Jesus should raise them from the dead (1 Thess. 4:13).

We say that the phrase "the others", in Greek, hoi loipoi, with the definite article the, imports the Heathen Gentiles. This will be still more evident from Eph. 2:12, where Paul defines the state of Gentiles out of Christ. "Remember", says he to the Adopted Israelites of the Ephesian Body, "that ye, in time past, were Gentiles in the flesh, and styled the Uncircurricision by the circumcised Jews": (Eph. 2:11) "at that time ye were choris Christou, separate from Christ, being aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the Covenants of Promise, having no hope, and atheists -- atheoi, i.e. without God - in the world." Not to multiply quotations, it is clear from this that the Gentiles not in Christ and in God are "the others who have no hope". Let it then not be forgotten by any, pious or impious, that the scriptures write that man hopeless who is alien from the Jewish State or Polity. "The Hope of Israel" (Acts 28:20) is not such a Gentile's hope even though he may speculatively believe it; what shall we say of those pietists who repudiate its details, general and particular, as "husks" and "useless speculations"? Their hope it is not; they also are self-convicted as hopeless of the truth.

*As a result of preparing this and the next two articles, Dr. Thomas recognized that when he was immersed by Walter Scott he was ignorant of the One Hope : see Introduction, pages 11-45. Momentous Truths was an appropriate title.

This then is certain, namely, that it matters not what a man hopes for, if that hope be false or spurious; if it be not the Hope promised in the Covenants of the Promise, he is repudiated as hopeless in the scriptures of truth; and further, that even if in theory he believe it, if he continue in his Gentilism, i.e. if he become not an Adopted Citizen of the Jewish Polity (politeia), he is without Christ, without hope, and without God. Let the prophets and diviners of the living age, the leaders of the people, professors, editors and preachers give ear to these things; for we speak to them especially as to those who cause this people to put their trust in things which form no part of the truth of God.

But indeed, though the heathen were hopeless of the true hope, and atheists as respected their acknowledgement of the one only living and true God, they had a hope and a godliness of their own imagining. These are termed by the apostle in 2 Cor. 10:5 logismoi (reasonings), which exalt themselves against the knowledge which comes from God; and speaking of them to the Christian Disciples at Rome, he says in chapter 1:21, that they were "vain in their imaginations (dialogismoi, reasonings or dialogues, such as Plato's Dialogue on Laws) and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be sophoi, wise men, they became fools". They hoped for things relating to souls which were vain dialogisms or speculations. Believing in the inherent immortality of corruptible flesh, because they imagined it to be pervaded by an immaterial soul, they hoped at death to be delivered from present evils by the reabsorption of their imniortalities into the Divine Essence. To them the idea of a resurrection of the mortal body was a monstrous absurdity; hence they laughed Paul to scorn when he announced it on Mars' Hill at Athens. They deceived their foolish heart by the vain imaginings of the translation of their souls on the wings of demons to the Elysian fields in the region of everlasting light. The terms being changed, angels being substituted for demons, and heaven for the Elysium, the hope of the present generation of Gentiles is identical with the heathen dialogisms of the apostolic era.

We repeat it. Let the reader examine into this matter, and he will find, that the hope of the Catholic, Protestant, Mohammedan, and Pagan communities of the 19th century, is the same, substantially the same, though philologically metamorphosed, as the hope of the heathens of Greece and Rome. Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, Universalists, Baptists, etc. all teach it as the "one hope of their calling"; the translation of their immortalities at death from earth to heaven on angels' wings is believed by the people and preached by the clergy, and advocated by partisan editors as the revealed truth of God! They pray for it in prayers, eulogize it in their rhapsodies, and sing it in their hymns, as the consummation most devoutly to be wished!

We shall not pause here to argue against these absurdities when we show what the true hope is, they will be as conspicuous as the sun at noon-day. We shall now content ourselves with affirming simply that the scriptures do not teach these things. They belong to the New Platonism of the Egyptian Theology. To sing these things is to pour into the ear of the Deity what is not of the truth, and therefore as saith the apostle, lies; for what is not of the truth is a lie.

Nevertheless, these are all items of the hope, both of the pious and undevout of this generation. Suppose we grant that it is the true hope; it must then be the hope of Israel, and if so, it will be found in the Covenants of the Promise made to the Fathers, and confirmed by the oath of God. Will any one be kind enough to show us where any such hope has been promised to Israel? And if this were promised, how comes it that Paul saith the Gentiles had no hope, seeing that they had indulged in these items of expectation almost from time immemorial?

Here then is one of the hopes -- the hope of the pious, the hope of the impious, and the hope of the hypocrite as well! A hope which the scriptures aver is no hope, and that all who trust in it are doomed to utter and irretrievable disappointment.

We have already hinted what we now affirm, namely, that the character of a man's faith, whether it be living or dead, may be determined by the hope he assuredly entertains.

The One Faith embraces the things which relate to repentance and remission of sins in the name of Jesus, as well as to those which pertain to the hope; whereas the hope relates to things in the undeveloped future; hence the apostle says "hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it" (Rom. 8:24,25).

A man may believe all things relating to repentance, and the remission of sins, but if his faith do not embrace the true hope, he does not possess that faith which pleases God. This appears from Paul's teaching in Hebrews. "But", says he, "we are not of a drawing back unto destruction, but of a faith unto an acquisition of life. Now faith is an assured expectation (hypostasis) of things hoped for; a conviction of things unseen." Having thus defined the Faith unto Life, which is nothing less than a belief of "things which are eternal", (2 Cor. 4:18) he tells the Hebrews, that without it, it is impossible to please God (chap.10:39;11:1, 6). This was saying in effect, that unless their faith comprehended the things contained in the Covenants of Promise, they could not be saved; for, says he elsewhere, WE WERE SAVED BY THE HOPE (Rom. 8:24); that is: "Christian disciples in Rome, when ye were saved from your past sins through the name of Jesus, it was not only by faith in his death, in the sin cleansing efficacy of his blood, and in his resurrection abstractly considered; but by an assured expectation and conviction of the things unseen and eternal, which are comprised in the hope of the Gospel". "For", as if he had continued, "even the redemption of your mortal bodies from corruption is purely conditional on your adhesion to the hope."

We wish here to be distinctly understood. We affirm that no man hath the remission of past sins, a title to the Kingdom of God, nor will he obtain possession of it, unless his faith include a belief of the true hope, and unless he keep this hope in mind stedfast to the end. Now let the prophets and diviners of this age give ear to the proof we now present for their conviction.

In Hebrews 3, the apostle is discoursing concerning the One Hope, or "Rest which remains for the people of God": (Heb. 4:9) "Holy brethren", says he, "partakers of the heavenly calling, consider Christ Jesus; whose house we are IF indeed we hold fast the confidence and the hope firm unto the end. For we have become associates of Christ, IF indeed we keep in mind the principle of the assured expectation (hypostasis) stedfast to the end (verses 1,6,14). You see here what is predicated on an "if". If you possess not the assured expectation, you are neither of the house, nor associates of Jesus.

Again, in 1 Cor. 15, Paul discourses of the hope into which the Christian disciples in Corinth had been immersed. In this chapter he speaks of the Resurrection of the Dead, the Second Advent of Jesus, the delivering up of the Kingdom, the duration of his reign, the complete subjection of his enemies, baptism for the resurrection of the dead, the nature and appearance of the saints when glorified, the impossibility of mortal men inheriting the Kingdom, the instantaneous transformation of the saints in the flesh into incorruptible and immortal persons, the abolition of death, the subjection of the Son to the Father, etc. He treats of all these things as of so many items of the glorious hope, which made the things he delivered to them glad tidings or Gospel. These astonishing revelations to the heathen mind, were all predicated on the fact of the resurrection of Christ according to the Prophets. If he had risen, as Paul testified, all these things would come to pass; but if he had not, then none of them would happen. It was certain that Jesus had risen from the dead; their belief, or disbelief, would not alter the fact; though it would materially affect themselves individually: for if they denied the true hope in relation to the resurrection; if they affirmed that there was no future resurrection, or, what was equivalent to it, that "the resurrection was past already", as some of them did -- then they were in effect denying the resurrection of Jesus, and by implication, everything consequent upon it.

But upon what ground did they conclude that there was "no resurrection of the dead", or that "it was past already", by which conclusion their faith was overthrown, and shipwrecked? The foundation of their error was the adoption of the "profane vain babblings, and oppositions of a false gnosis, or science", (1 Tim. 6:20) "which was then being taught pretty extensively, in the churchs by such men as Hymenaeus and Philetus. These sophists inculcated the reveries of Plato, and other heathen philosophers, about souls, immortality, heaven, hell, etc. They taught that all men were inherently immortal, because of the immaterialities which pervaded their bodies; and that at death, the immortal part of man went direct to heaven or hell. Hence resurrection and the judgment day, the Second Advent of Jesus, the waiting for the Kingdom of God, etc., were all superfluous incumbrances, which might very well be dispensed with as so many "useless speculations", which tended only to prejudice the literary and philosophic community against the doctrine of remission of sins in the name of Jesus, and the acknowledgement of the one God, "without making men any better, or increasing the Christian virtues!" Professing to be wiser than the Apostle, they became fools; nevertheless, many embraced their notions as less unpopular than the teaching of Paul. Now to these pious professors of another hope, and therefore of another gospel", the apostle says, if you hold these profane or heathen notions, which are subversive of the true hope, you profess a vain faith; ye may indeed believe that Jesus died for our sins according to the prophets; that he was buried, and arose again as predicted; but if you abandon the hope of Israel, for which I hazard my life daily, and embrace the heathen philosophy concerning the "immortality of the soul", "ye are yet in your sins", (1 Cor. 15:17) and consequently "without Christ, aliens from the Jewish Polity, strangers from the Covenants of the Promise, having no hope, and atheists in the world". (Eph. 2:12) You thus become heirs of perdition, and the horizon of your destiny is limited by the things seen and temporal. Alas for you; for, "if in this life only you have hope, ye are of all men most miserable!" (1 Cor. 15:19)

Now let this make an indelible impression upon our minds, namely, that these Christian disciples at Corinth had attended Paul's reasonings in the Synagogue every Sabbath Day, by which they had been persuaded of the truth, both Jews and Greeks (Acts 18:4). Having heard, many of the heathen Corinthians also believed and were baptized (verse 8). In writing to these persons, he tells them that "they are washed, sanctified (or made saints) and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God" (1 Cor. 6:11). But upon what principle? Upon the very same as were the Christian disciples in Rome: they were saved by the hope.

Their salvation, then, from their past sins, and their continuance in a saved state, were conditional. Hear what Paul saith to them: "But I now make known to you, brethren, the glad tidings which I myself announced to you; by which also ye are saved, if ye hold fast a certain word (tini logo) I myself brought to you, unless indeed ye have believed it to no purpose" (1 Cor. 15:1,2). What was this certain word, or tis logos? The things he recalls to their recollection in this chapter; and which he predicates on the death, burial, and resurrection of the Messiah, as en protois, among the first things, he delivered to them. If they did not hold fast to this word, or hope, which made his annunciation glad tidings, he declares that they would go to perdition, although they had been washed, sanctified and justified as aforesaid.

Again: in Colossians the Apostle also makes the hope of Israel the topic of discourse. No one, we presume, will venture to affirm that the hope of the gospel is not identical with the hope of Israel, for which Paul was bound in chains and carried prisoner to Rome. We say then that he discourses in this epistle of the hope of Israel, because he treats of the hope of the Gospel. This hope is contained in the "word of the truth of the gospel" which he preached. He says he was made a minister of the hope, that he might fully preach the word of God concerning it. He styles it, "the Mystery which hath been hid from previous ages and generations, but now (in his time and by his agency) is made manifest to his saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of the Mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you the Hope of Glory" (chap. I: 5, 25-2 7). As the minister of this glorious hope, wherever he went he proclaimed it to the people; and so indefatigable were he and the rest of the Apostles that within thirty years from the Ascension it had been made known "to every creature under heaven". (Col. 1:23) The Colossians had received it. It taught them that their "life was hid with Christ in God"; and that "when Christ their life shall appear, then shall they also appear with him in glory" (3:3,4). It taught them this, which excluded all speculation about going to glory at death, and having immortal life within them. Still they were no more than others proof against the Gnosis of the Hymenaeus and Philetus class of preachers, whose word ate like a canker, as is evinced in this day. Like a phagedenic ulcer upon the body, it has eaten out and thoroughly eradicated from the human mind almost all vestiges of the Hope of Israel. Where is the prophet, where the divine, where the scribe, that does not inculcate the "profane babblings" of Hymenaeus and Philetus? "Beware", says the Apostle to the Christian disciples at Colosse, "lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ" (2:8). He knew how that men from among themselves would arise, teaching "perverse things to draw away disciples after them". (Acts 20:30) Hence, he exhorts them to "let no man judge them in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holy day, or the new moon, or of the Sabbath; nor beguile them of their reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up in his fleshly mind" (2:16,18).

These teachers were "false apostles, deceitful workers transforming themselves into apostles of Christ" (2 Cor. 11:13) Paul styles them "fools" (verse 19); who preached "another Jesus, another Spirit, and another gospel" (verse 4), by which, "as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtility" (2 Cor. 11:3) they corrupted the minds of the brethren from the simplicity that is in Christ (verse 3). Now, says he to them at Colosse, of such men "beware". Be on your guard, lest ye slip your cable; for the safety of your vessel depends on holding fast to the anchor. Remember, that formerly ye were alienated and enemies in your minds by wicked works, but now are reconciled, that ye may be presented holy, and unblameable, and unreprovable in his sight (chap. 1:21,22).

Ah! exclaim the Diviners, here is a case in which the reconciliation is absolute, and not at all conditional upon holding fast to the hope of Israel! Not so fast. The presentation of these Christian disciples before the King, as "holy, unblameable, and unreprovable" persons, is predicated on the following conditions, namely: "IF ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature under the Heaven; whereof I, Paul, am made a minister" (Col. 1:23).

Here, then, are two indispensable conditions of salvation,
1st. -- A continuance in The Faith without vacillation;
2nd. -- Immobiliy from the Hope of the Gospel.

The first condition implies that The Faith has been embraced; for a man cannot continue a believer unless he primarily believe. The second presupposes that his primary belief comprehended the knowledge of the Hope of Israel; for it is enjoined upon him that he "hold fast to it stedfast to the end", that is, "be not moved away from it".

You perceive then, if a man would be saved, he must have the right kind of a hope. If he hopes for things which God has not promised, he hopes for things which will never exist, and therefore his hope is a mere delusion. Now the scriptures style God, "the God of hope"; (Rom. 15:13) is He God of a true hope, or of a false hope? If of a false one, then He is God of no hope; but, if of the true one, then be assured that as men are saved by the hope, God will save them only by that which is true. This is just, however calamitous to the man; for, if one hope that his "immortal soul" will go to the right hand of the majesty in the skies at the instant of death, he would be exceedingly disappointed at finding himself on earth at the coming of Jesus; and that he had never been where he hoped he should have been at all. If a man hope for a nonentity he has no hope; and therefore being de facto hopeless, he is an heir not of salvation, but of destruction.

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Thus, then, we have shown,

1st. -- That the heathen Gentiles had a hope of immortality, predicated on the speculation of man being constituted of two principles, the one material and the other immaterial and therefore immortal;

2nd. -- That, though they had a hope yet as it was a false one, the scripture regards them as having none;

3rd. -- That the hope of the ancient heathen is substantially the hope of the Romanist, Mohammedan, Pagan and Protestand communities even to this day; and therefore no hope, but purely a delusion;

4th. -- That the character of a man's faith is determined by the things which he hopes for;

5th. -- That the hope of the Gospel relates to things in the undeveloped future;

6th. -- That a faith destitute of the true hope is displeasing to God;

7th. -- That men are saved by the Hope of the Gospel;

8th. -- That salvation by the true hope is conditional on not being moved away from it;

9th. -- That the "profane vain babblings and oppositions of science falsely so called", taught by the ancient heretics, Hymenaeus, Alexander and Philetus, "whose word" hath "eaten like a canker", constitute the theology inculcated from the pulpits and presses of the present age; (1 Tim. 6:20; 2 Tim. 2:17)

10th. -- That this speculative and corroding theology has not only eaten out "the One Hope of the Calling", (Eph. 4:4) that the world has lost all knowledge of it; but it has popularized the religion of Jesus, stultified the public mind, seared its conscience, and lulled it into a profound sleep; and shut the Kingdom of God against the people;

11th. -- That the spurious hope inculcated by the ghostly leaders of the world is subversive of the Gospel, and therefore, inimical to the well-being of mankind;

12th. -- That the hope which saves through Jesus was unknown until it was announced by the Apostles;

13th. -- That the command to preach this hope "to every creature" (Col. 1:23) was executed within thirty years after the Ascension, by the Apostles; hence, no rational expectation of converting the world by stationary or missionary clergy, founded upon the text in Matt. 28:19,20, can be entertained: it is not salvation, but damnation, which awaits the sapless, fruitless and faithless Gentiles of these latter times; and

14th. -- That teachers of a false hope are deceiving and being deceived.


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