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Chapter XXXIV.—A Presumption that All Things Were Created by God Out of Nothing Afforded by the Ultimate Reduction of All Things to Nothing.  Scriptures Proving This Reduction Vindicated from Hermogenes’ Charge of Being Merely Figurative.

Besides,64896489    Ceterum. the belief that everything was made from nothing will be impressed upon us by that ultimate dispensation of God which will bring back all things to nothing. For “the very heaven shall be rolled together as a scroll;”64906490    Isa. xxxiv. 4; Matt. xxiv. 29; 2 Pet. iii. 10; Rev. vi. 14. nay, it shall come to nothing along with the earth itself, with which it was made in the beginning. “Heaven and earth shall pass away,”64916491    Matt. xxiv. 35. says He. “The first heaven and the first earth passed away,”64926492    Rev. xxi. 1. “and there was found no place for them,”64936493    Rev. xx. 11. because, of course, that which comes to an 497end loses locality. In like manner David says, “The heavens, the works of Thine hands, shall themselves perish.  For even as a vesture shall He change them, and they shall be changed.”64946494    Ps. cii. 25, 26. Now to be changed is to fall from that primitive state which they lose whilst undergoing the change. “And the stars too shall fall from heaven, even as a fig-tree casteth her green figs64956495    Acerba sua “grossos suos” (Rigalt.). So our marginal reading. when she is shaken of a mighty wind.”64966496    Rev. vi. 13. “The mountains shall melt like wax at the presence of the Lord;”64976497    Ps. xcvii. 5. that is, “when He riseth to shake terribly the earth.”64986498    Isa. ii. 19. “But I will dry up the pools;”64996499    Isa. xlii. 15. and “they shall seek water, and they shall find none.”65006500    Isa. xli. 17. Even “the sea shall be no more.”65016501    Etiam mare hactenus, Rev. xxi. 1. Now if any person should go so far as to suppose that all these passages ought to be spiritually interpreted, he will yet be unable to deprive them of the true accomplishment of those issues which must come to pass just as they have been written. For all figures of speech necessarily arise out of real things, not out of chimerical ones; because nothing is capable of imparting anything of its own for a similitude, except it actually be that very thing which it imparts in the similitude. I return therefore to the principle65026502    Causam. which defines that all things which have come from nothing shall return at last to nothing. For God would not have made any perishable thing out of what was eternal, that is to say, out of Matter; neither out of greater things would He have created inferior ones, to whose character it would be more agreeable to produce greater things out of inferior ones,—in other words, what is eternal out of what is perishable. This is the promise He makes even to our flesh, and it has been His will to deposit within us this pledge of His own virtue and power, in order that we may believe that He has actually65036503    Etiam. awakened the universe out of nothing, as if it had been steeped in death,65046504    Emortuam. in the sense, of course, of its previous non-existence for the purpose of its coming into existence.65056505    In hoc, ut esset. Contrasted with the “non erat” of the previous sentence, this must be the meaning, as if it were “ut fieret.”


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