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With this great truth stamped upon the hearts of the apostles and early ministers, they made all speed to carry the glad tidings of a perfect, free, and present salvation to all men. And as to the future, it can not be denied that, with one voice, they pointed to it as only having in store the resurrection of all men, the reward of the righteous, and the banishment of the wicked to hell. All of which was to transpire on the last day of this last dispensation. Thus they followed their Master in holding forth salvation now, and only judgment and eternity to come. Peter testifies that' "Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls, " we " are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time."—1 Pet. 1: 5, 9. And furthermore declares that "The end of all things is at hand; be ye therefore sober and watch unto prayer."—1 Pet. 3: 7. This language is too plain to be misunderstood. A perfect salvation has prepared us, and does preserve us in condition to be revealed in the last time; and the end of all things is at hand' next to appear. This must include the end of time, the end of probation, the end of the world, the end of the redemptive reign of Christ. As Paul says, " He must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet." And, speaking of the resurrection of them "that are Christ's at his coming," he adds, "Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father."—1 Cor. 15 23 25. "Cometh" is not in the text. "Then, the end," is the correct rendering. Christ's reign is upon a mediatorial throne. The instant he leaves that throne, the world will be without an advocate, without a Savior, or further opportunity of salvation. Yea, " The end of all things is at hand, " and salvation is now or never.
But we will hear Peter a little further. Read his loud blasts of warning in 2 Pet. 3. "But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men."—Ver. 7. That day of fire which shall consume this world, "the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men," will be the day of the Lord's second advent. See verse 4. "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens—atmosphere—shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up." —Ver. 10 So we see clearly that the end of all things does not mean a renovation of this earth; but an utter consuming, and melting of the same into the same chaotic state its matter existed before the six days of creation. In this chapter the coming of Christ, the day of judgment, and utter destruction of the earth and its works, are all pointed forward to as the events of one great and last "day of God, wherein the heavens—the atmosphere—being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements—that compose the earth— shall melt with fervent heat." Ver. 12.
Now let us see if any offers of salvation to our race will extend beyond that awful day. Owing to the long pending of Christ's second advent, it was foreseen that "there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming?" Wherefore the Lord, by this inspired writer, explains the reason of his delay. "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."—Ver. 9.
"And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation."—Ver. 15.
Surely this is all very plain. The' long pending of Christ's second advent, we are told, is not because of any slackness on the part of the Lord to fulfill his promise, but because he is not willing that poor sinners should be cut off from all hope and entirely perish. We are, therefore, taught to count the longsuffering, the prolonged delay of the Lord, and day of judgment, "his salvation." So let all men take warning that "salvation" is now, and only now; is all on this side of the coming of the Lord. Is it not one of the most astonishing things that devils ever invented on earth, that men—such for instance as Russell, the age to come heretic—can be so subverted as to teach that now is not the time of salvation and healing, but that glorious work is " deferred until after Christ's second advent, in the millennial age"? How dare men teach such shocking lies in the face of God's word? Truth declares that now is the day of salvation, and that the present day of grace is drawn out by the mercy of God, to enable more lost sinners to be saved; and that when Christ comes salvation work will forever cease, the judgment and perdition of all the wicked take place, and this earth perish. Whereas, Russell asserts that now is not the day of salvation, but it will be ushered in by the second advent. Oh reader, "Let God be true and every man a liar," who wickedly disputes his Word!
Let us now listen to some further testimony from the apostle Paul. "Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."—1 Cor. 10: 9-11.
How solemn this declaration! God has from the beginning meted out and fixed the time of this planet's end. One long age has succeeded another, until we have entered the "last days" of this world's career. Upon us, in the present dispensation, the ends of the world have fallen. And we have approached eighteen hundred years nearer that final end than the apostle lived; and here we stand upon the very verge of eternity. Just a small step before us has fallen the end of the world. Oh how much more weighty the exhortation of Peter falls upon us than upon the church when first written ! " Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?" "Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless."—2 Pet. 3: 11, 14.
Eternal happiness or woe turns upon the condition in which death, or the coming of Christ finds us.
"But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your men shall dream dreams. "—Acts 2: 16, 17.
The last days of this world began with the present Holy Spirit dispensation. "And it shall come to pass —in these last days—that whosoever shall call upon the Lord shall be saved."—Ver. 21. The last time is here, and salvation is now or never.
"But now, once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. " —Heb. 9: 26. Thus it is rendered in Young's translation: "Now once, at the full end of the ages." So the sacrifice of Christ for the sins of the world was at the beginning of the last dispensation, the full end of the ages; and nothing more but eternity is before us. Thus, the Emphatic Diaglott readers, "But now once for all, at the completion of the ages." So the present gospel age is the consummation of all time, the completion of all the ages alloted to this world. Hence, the supposed millennium age is a delusion of the adversary of souls. But now is the day of salvation, now or never.
The same fact is announced in 1 Pet. 1: 20. "Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you. " —1 Pet. 1: 20.
Here again we must conclude that if these be the "last times," there will be no time for any future salvation. But time and salvation will end with the present gospel era.
We conclude with a very positive testimony of John, the beloved apostle.
"And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever. Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last times."—1 John 2:17, 18.
As probation ends with time, and salvation with probation; and the inspired apostle positively declares that he knew this is the last time; it follows, as an absolute certainty, that right now, under the abounding grace of God, our race is enjoying its last chance of salvation; and this world is moving through its last epoch of time. Therefore, behold, now, yea, now, is the day of salvation. Now, O lost sinner, be saved. It must be NOW OR NEVER.
Salvation is the sweetest thing,
That mortal ever found;
My soul can never cease to sing,
Such love and peace abound
Jesus our Friend and Redeemer!
Jesus, my wonderful light!
Saved by thy grace, we're forever
Singing the blood that makes me white.
Salvation is omnipotence,
Combined with love supreme,
Come down in pity, so intense,
To rescue and redeem.
Salvation flows from Father's heart,
A stream of holy love;
It floods me all with glory bright,
And wings my soul above.
Salvation is a perfect plan;
It heals the saddest ease
Of all who seek the Son of Man,
And find his boundless grace.
Salvation! oh, that word so great!
It thrills my heart with joy;
To me it is a rich estate,
No foe can e 'er destroy.