*Pastor’s Note: I was looking through my Bible software on the subject of our “Redemption Draws Near” and I became intrigued with the subject by this past great Scottish preacher and thought it would be a great addition and one my readers might enjoy and be blessed by. Now think of this; he died in 1800 and yet he was able to preach on a subject that is alive to us today! Again, it is longer than my usual posting for these great Preachers, but I have broken the article into four parts. Again, God bless you for your patience, but be blessed! – Pastor Roland
Hugh Blair (April 7, 1718 – December 27, 1800) was a Scottish minister of religion, author and rhetorician, considered one of the first great theorists of written discourse. He was part of prestigious Fellowship of the Royal Society at Edinburgh (FRSE). Blair was born in Edinburgh into an educated Presbyterian family. His father was John Blair, an Edinburgh merchant. He was great great-grandson of Rev. Robert Blair of St Andrews, Scotland.
As a minister of the Church of Scotland, and occupant of the Chair of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres at the University of Edinburgh, Blair’s teachings had a great impact in both the spiritual and the secular realms. Best known for Sermons, a five volume endorsement of practical Christian morality, and Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, a prescriptive guide on composition, Blair was a valuable part of the Scottish Enlightenment.
On the Dissolution of the World
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens 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.” – 2 Peter 3:10
2. Let us contemplate the dissolution of the world, as the end of all human glory. This earth has been the theatre of many a great spectacle, and many a high achievement. There, the wise have ruled, the mighty have fought, and conquerors have triumphed. Its surface has been covered with proud and stately cities. Its temples and palaces have raised their heads to the skies. Its kings and potentates, glorying in their magnificence, have erected pyramids, constructed towers, founded monuments, which they imagined were to defy all the assaults of time. Their inward thought was that their houses were to continue forever, and their dwelling-places to all generations. Its philosophers have explored the secrets of nature; and flattered themselves, that he same of their discoveries was to be immortal.-Alas! All this was no more than a transient show. Not only the fashion of the world, but the world itself, passes away. The day cometh, when all the glory of this world shall be remembered, only as a dream when one awakes. no longer shall the earth exhibit any of those scenes which no delight our eyes. The whole beautiful fabric is thrown down, never more to arise. As soon as the destroying angel has sounded the last trumpet, the everlasting mountains fall; the foundations of the world are shaken; the beauties of nature, the decorations of art, the labours of industry, perish in one common flame. The globe itself shall either return into its ancient chaos, without form and void; or, like a star fallen from the heavens, shall be effaced from the universe, and its place shall know it no more.
This day of the Lord, it is foretold in the text, will come as a thief in the night; that is, sudden and unexpected. Mankind, notwithstanding the presages given them, shall continue to the last in their wonted security. Our Saviour tell us, that as in the days of Noah before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.-How many projects and designs shall that day suddenly confound? What long-contrived schemes of pleasure shall it overthrow? What plans of cunning and ambition shall it utterly blast? How miserable they, whom it shall overtake in the midst of dark conspiracies, of criminal deeds, or profligate pleasures? In what strong colours is their dismay painted, when they are represented in the book of Revelations, as calling to the bills and mountains to fall on them and cover them?-Such descriptions are apt to be considered as exaggerated. The impression of those awful events is weakened by the great distance of time, at which our imagination places them. But have not we had a striking image set before us, in our own age, of the terrors which the day of the Lord shall produce, by those partial ruins of the world, which the visitation of God has brought on countries well known, and not removed very far from ourselves? When in the midst of peace, opulence, and security, suddenly the earth was felt by the terrified inhabitants to tremble, with violent agitation, below them; when their houses began to shake over their heads, and to overwhelm them with ruins; the flood, at the same time, to rise from its bed, and to swell around them; when encompassed with universal desolation, no friend could aid another; no prospect of escape appeared; no place of refuge remained; how similar were such scenes of destruction to the terrors of the last day? What similar sensations of dread, and remorse, and too late repentance, must they have excited among the guilty and profane?
Too much formidable convulsions of nature, we, in these happy islands, through the blessing of Heaven, are strangers; and strangers to them may we long continue! But however we may escape partial ruins of the globe, in its general and final ruin, we also must be involved. To us must come at last that awful day, when the sun shall for the last time arise, to perform his concluding circuit round the world. They how blest, whom that day shall find employed in religious acts, or virtuous deeds; in the conscientious discharge of the duties of life; in the exercise of due preparation for the conclusion of human things, and for appearing before the great Judge of the world! Let us now,
3. Contemplate the soul of man, as remaining unhurt in the midst of this general desolation, when the whole animal creation perishes, and the whole frame of nature falls into ruins. What a high idea does this present, of the dignity pertaining to the rational spirit! The world may fall back into chaos; but, superior to matter, and independent of all the changes of material things, the soul continues the same. When the heavens pass away with a great noise, and the elements melt with fervent heat, the soul of man, stamped for immortality, retains its state unimpaired; and is capable of flourishing in undecaying youth and vigor. Very different indeed the condition of human spirits is to be, according as their different qualities have marked, and prepared them, for different future mansions. But for futurity, they are all destined. Existence, still, is theirs. The capacity of permanent felicity they all possess; and, if they enjoy it not, it is owing to themselves.
Next time we will take up with Part Three