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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 8

Flotsam and Jetsam. — Reminiscences of Argumentative Conversations held at sundry times between James Auldlicht and John Dubious, mostly regarding things spiritual. Written and collated by me the aforesaid John Dubious. — Chapter III

Flotsam and Jetsam.

Reminiscences of Argumentative Conversations held at sundry times between James Auldlicht and John Dubious, mostly regarding things spiritual. Written and collated by me the aforesaid John Dubious.

Chapter III.

James.—It appears to me, John, that ye rin up an' doun that chapter at random—piecin' a bit here and subtracting a bit there—when the answer to the hale affair lies i' the latter pairt o' the saxth verse, the whilk I could hae tauld ye at first, only I just wanted to see hoo far ye would gang wi' your nonsensical an' unbelievin' assertions. The saxth verse says maist expleecitly "but the end is no' yet;" and, again, the fourteenth says "An' this gospel o' the Kingdom shall be preached in a' the world for a witness unto all nations; an' then shall the end come."

John.—This is Anno Domini 1871, and "the end is not yet." Now, to understand this correctly, if you will take the view I have all along maintained, you will not only comprehend it, but comprehend also that it tallies with Matt. iv. 17. Further, John the Baptist (Matt. iii. 2) preaches in the wilderness of Judea that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Mark (i. 14, 15) informs us "that after John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand." You therefore observe that Jesus, like John, begins his public career by preaching that this Kingdom is at hand. Now, Mr. Auldlicht, I think you will surely not refuse to believe that the Disciples, who had often heard Christ announce "the end of the world," were surely in a better position to ascertain his meaning, than either lay or clerical followers two thousand years after the event. Luke (xxx. 11) tells us very plainly his opinion about this event. Peter (2 iii. 10. 13, 17) also is very explicit on this topic. John, the reputed author of Revelation, sees it in his visions (Rev. vi. 12, 17). And, moreover, hearken to what the Apostle Paul tells the Corinthians (1 Cor. xv. 51, 54). If you still require more evidence corroborative of the fact that Christ predicted the End of the World and the Day of Judgment as being then just at hand, it is to be found in almost all the Epistles and the Acts of the Apostles, the writers of which inculcate the very same doctrine, blended with the resurrection. page 248 By attentively reading Philip, iii. 21 and 1 Thess. 4, 15, 17 you will observe that Paul classes himself with the survivors—"We which are alive and remain." Now, any reasonable man will allow that the language used here is both clear and explicit, affording room neither for cavil nor tortuous reading.

James.—Ech! mon! John, ye pit mo in mind o' a stickit minister I ance kent, who was aye draw in' wrang eenferences. He preached, or rather he began to preach, on Sabbath in the auld pairish Kirk o' Kittlemeldrum frae that text in Jeremiah about the wild ass snuffing up the wind; an' what d'ye think was a' the eenference he drew?

John.—How can I tell? perhaps the inference was as asinine as the text!

James.—The eenference was, "that the ass would be lang o' getting fat on it." Now, John, ye are just like him; ye jump at the first conclusion that strikes ye. Noo, a' the texts ye hae quoted referrin' to the "Kingdom o' Heaven," or the Kingdom o' God," mean neither more nor less than "The Gospel Dispensation," or "The Kirk upon airth."

John.—If the Gospel Dispensation is here meant, how, in the name of all that is wonderful, do you account for Christ ordering his twelve Apostles to "go and preach that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand?" and that, in the charge he delivers them, he says that "in the day of judgment it should be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha than for the city that would not receive and hear them?" To this he adds that they should not go over all the cities of Israel before the Son of Man came (Matt. x. 1, 23). Or, what can you make of the expressions he uses to the seventy other Apostles he sends forth, "telling them to go their ways, healing the sick, and with this injunction—"the Kingdom of God is come nigh unto you" (Luke x. 1, 9). Then, again, this Kingdom is further mentioned in connection with John the Baptist. It is said, "that from the days of John the Baptist until now—the Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." According to Luke, the expression is, "Since that time (of John) the Kingdom of Heaven is preached, and every man presseth into it." Now, to diverge one moment, it seems pretty clear to me, that Jesus never could have uttered the words contained in Matt. xi. 12 and Luke xvi 16, and for this very simple reason, that Matthew here tells us of John being then alive and sending his disciples unto Christ. Jesus, therefore, would never have said—"From the day of John the Baptist until now"—when John's days had not terminated. The conclusion accordingly seems inevitable, that, in saying that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand, Christ meant that he should very shortly sot up a Kingdom in which he was to reign. Luke, after alluding to the strife among his disciples as to who should be accounted greatest, makes Christ say: "I appoint unto you a Kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me, that ye may eat and drink at my table in my Kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Luke xxii. 24, 29). This looks very like a secular Kingdom. In Matt, xviii. 1, 3 it is quite apparent, that, although the disciples, nearly since the commencement of Christ's ministry, had been under what you call the Gospel Dispensation, yet when Christ spoke these words they had not entered the Kingdom of Heaven. I might also allude to many of Christ's parables.

James.—Tak' your breath, mon, awee, an' let me tell ye this John, that it would be far better for ye to pray for the Holy Speerit's eenlichtment, than aye to be dealin' in negatives an' contradeections.

John.—That is your opinion; and as for prayer, I say with Coleridge.—

He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.

(To be continued.)

Audialterampartem Creek.

Urtica Urens.