CCLXXIV. The Promise of His Coming.

2 PET. iii. 4. “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the
fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the
beginning of the creation.”

ST. PETER here describes what would be thought and said
in after years about the Lord’s second coming. In the
first days of the Christian Church men gave a large part
of their thoughts to Christ’s Second Advent, and constantly
looked out for it.
Natural impatience, half belief in God’s action of old,
disbelief in it now, and finally a secret hope that He may
have left man to himself, are the thoughts which underlie
the state of mind of these scoffers who ask the question of
the text.
I. St. Peter in answering them, raises first the question
of fact: They say that there have been no catastrophes, and
that therefore none are to be expected. St. Peter points to
the deluge, and draws the conclusion that what has been, or
the like of it, may be again.
II. St. Peter grapples with the complaint of the long
delay of the Second Advent, and explains that with the
eternal God centuries do not exist. He lives in an eternal
present, “One day is with the Lord as a thousand years,
and a thousand years as one day.”
III. The reason for the delay of Christ’s coming.
The delay is not accidental, nor enforced, nor the result
of caprice. It is dictated by the throbbings of the heart
of God bending over the moral world in an unspeakable
compassion.
For every judgment there is really a preceding period of
preparation; that is delay. One cause only delays the
coming of the Judge—the boundless love of God. It has
been said that Christians of to-day think much less of our
Lord’s Second Coming than those of past times. To living
faith the Second Advent is at present a fact, as the first.
We know that He has been true to His word in the days
that are gone, so He will be in the coming time.
Death is practically judgment; and the thought which
we bestow on the one catastrophe is a fair measure of our
relation towards the other.
Henry Parry Liddon, D.C.L.

print
Spread God's love