Things to Come


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Its qualities of timing, drama, economy and pace are everywhere to be found in his work, with his own flair for colour and the understanding that theatre is a means and medium of expression, not the message itself, that gesture, like logic, is a tool, not a truth.

The Sound of Things to Come

What gives his music durability is the appreciation of classical values - proportion, design, restraint, integrity and growth. Nowhere will you find a better demonstration than Things to Come of this synthesis of vision, intellect, technique and panache. It must have been this sympathy for the theatre, overcoming his reservations about the film medium generally and its music in particular, that led him to accept this first commission for the genre. With Morning Heroes and the Clarinet Quintet he had or so he supposed closed the book on his own personal wartime nightmare and tragedy.

He responded eagerly to H. Wells's approach and his message: warning and hope, the dangers of war and the war mentality, the vision of science creating a new world-order of peace, leisure and contentment, coupled with his assertion that music should be integral to the concept, not tacked on later.

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Whether the producer, Korda, ever actually agreed to this is debatable, but both writers undertook the project on that basis. Several sections of score were indeed recorded in advance of shooting, and some used intact, but inevitably tidyings-up and surgery were done by Lionel Salter at editing, under the watchful eye of Muir Mathieson - also involved as music director on his first major film.

He even foresaw aerial warfare and the invention of nuclear weapons. The Alexander Korda production of Things to Come is the only motion picture in which the venerable author was ever directly involved. While his screenplay often favors characters who represent ideological positions over ones who suggest any sort of inner life, his acute vision of the future cannot help but astound the modern viewer with its poignancy. From the first frame we understand the nature of his allegory when we are introduced to a city called Everytown, in a country presumably Britain on the eve of war.

Revelation of Things to Come

Keep in mind that the film was produced 3 years before Great Britain entered the second world war. Two men, John Cabal Raymond Massey and Pippa Passworthy Edward Chapman argue the costs and benefits of the world to come and we are witness to a montage of the instruments of warfare from the technology of the previous war to increasingly more advanced weapons.

Things to Come (1936) Full Film

Courage, men and brethren, the winds which toss the waves of the Atlantic of your life, are all sworn to waft your bark safely into the desired haven. God walks the tempest, and rules the storm; order reigns supreme in the uproars of elements or men, for the divine hand compels the most rebellious creatures to obey without fail the divine and all-wise decree.

What cheer is this for the saints of God!


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Passing on a little further in the word of God, we have certain dark hints, as to the grand events of the future, which concern the church and the world. I must confess myself to be, in the presence of the writings of Ezekiel and Jeremiah, and John of Patmos, as a little child wandering through the museum, marvelling at the Egyptian hieroglyphs, and the Assyrian cuneiform characters, but quite unable to spell them out; fancying, sometimes, that I have the key of the mysteries, and anon discovering some new form of divine symbology which quite confuses me, and makes me confess that I am but of yesterday, and know nothing.

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Yet does it appear that we are to expect the overturning of many things, which now we regard as permanent. Heavings and convulsions there will be till all the things which can be shaken will be removed in the general conflagration; when the earth also, and all the works that are therein, shall be burned up, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat. I am not putting these events in order, for I do not even know their order, and am neither a prophet nor an expounder of prophecy — but it is clear we are to look for the establishment of the Jews in their own land, the conversion of Israel with the fulness of the nations.

We expect a reigning Christ on earth; that seems to us to be very plain, and to be put so literally that we dare not spiritualise it. We anticipate a first and a second resurrection; a first resurrection of the righteous, and a second resurrection of the ungodly, who shall be judged, condemned, and punished for ever by the sentence of the great King.

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All things that shall happen, be they ever so cross to your thoughts and counter to your wishes, will, nevertheless, come up, like Blucher at Waterloo, at the exact moment when they shall help on the grand old cause. Justice must reign; the church of God must be free from her adulterous connection with the state. God ordereth everything in providence; neither the good by excess of zeal, nor the bad by their malice, shall mar his work. Through the thick darkness I hear the tramp of another host marching to battle, and though I cannot see their plumes, yet am I assured that whether friend or foe, they must, ere the battle is over, have yielded no mean service to our holy cause.

Homage must be done even by the powers of darkness to the great King, the Lord of Hosts. Therefore, by the cross and by the crown of Jesus, ye lovers of truth and justice, ye children of a free church and a just God, charge home against the foes of God and man; who under pretence of religion would continue to oppress the sister isle. Ye that love the Lord hate evil, abhor the doing of evil that good may come; believe in the true and the just, but have no faith in wrong.

Jesus your Lord would not worship Satan though all nations were showed him as a bribe, neither must we be guilty of injustice though we anticipated from it the happiest results. Let right be done come what may. Consequences are with God; duty alone is ours. Sever the church from the state let it cost what it may.

Even if for the moment advantage should seem to be given to the enemies of our faith, it is but so in appearance, or if it were real, we can afford to give it them and yet defeat them. We can hurl down this day the gauntlet of our God, and of his Christ, in the presence of earth and hell, and let those take it up who dare; for with all the deadliest odds against us we shall triumph yet, for the Lord is in the midst of his church, and therefore is she invincible.


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We will give Goliath his greaves of brass, his spear, his armour, and his shield, for what are these? Let every Christian, then, look forward to future events, on the largest scale, with complete complacency. Once more, amongst the things to come, we mainly consider the heaven of God and the blessedness eternal which are ordained for the righteous.

Now, whatever heaven is, and wherever heaven may be, this one thing the text declares, that it is ours. The heaven of the separate spirit before the resurrection, the place where disembodied souls dwell with Christ — this is ours: the perfect heaven of the saints, after the body shall be raised in the likeness of Christ, when soul and body in one man shall sit down at the right hand of God — all this is ours.

To attempt to describe heaven as some have sought to do, is to prove our folly; it shall suffice us to wait till we enjoy it; and meanwhile we will comfort ourselves with this thought, that all its delights are ours. Come with me, dear hearers, to the text again. Come with me and let down the bucket and draw the water fresh and living from the ever springing well.

Samaria was straitly shut up when the coarsest offal sold at a high price for food; and men must be thoroughly famished when they desire benefit from words like these:—. Their songs would be more seemly when the battle is won, than when the young knight buckles on his harness.

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Wise men shout at harvest home and not at seed-sowing. The angels know full well that such as Jesus hath redeemed, such as God hath called, such as unfeignedly believe, such as have been regenerated by the Holy Ghost, shall be saved. All things, ye faithful in Christ, are yours — not as the Pope gave England to the Spanish king — if he could get it! How can they be ours till they have come? But the text speaks in the present tense; and brethren, all the bliss of the future, and the heaven of God as yet unrevealed, are ours at this very moment, for we have a title to them, clear and good; and though, like young nobles who are under age, we come not into our estates until a little time has passed, and we have reached our majority, yet those estates are as much ours by indisputable right as if we did possess and enjoy them at this moment.

When one of our English kings demanded of his barons where were their title deeds to their lands, a hundred swords flashed from the scabbards, as every man swore to maintain his right by his good sword. We take no sword from its scabbard, but we point to the person of our blessed Lord in whom we trust, for he is both our God and our right, and we are persuaded that as our Surety and our Representative, he will preserve our inheritance for us.

Then there is nothing excepted. I mention this because there is a new doctrine springing up and there is generally a new doctrine every week nowadays — a new doctrine that some of us who may not hold certain views of the millennium, or who may not be so readily duped as others are with fanatical views of the future, are not to have a share in the kingdom, and to be shut out from many divine favours.

There is not a word of Scripture to back such an idea, and my text, if there were nothing else, puts its foot upon so wretched a notion and crushes it outright.


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  7. All that is promised in Scripture, all that heaven will disclose, belongs to every child of God. Oh, trouble not your heads with these whimsies of modern fanaticism. Let this be your comfort and delight. The text speaks without a grain of contingency as to the things to come. It is hastened on by every event of Providence; it is prepared by the ascension of our blessed Lord, and his session at the right hand of God; it is existing even now; in measure, beatified saints are already partakers of it, and we may rest assured that by no means shall we be defrauded of the bliss which God has promised.

    To introduce you a moment into this glory, let me remind you of a choice text, which like a golden gate leads us into the city. It is in the sixteenth Psalm, just at the close of it. The things to come thus mentioned belong to all the saints; life is yours — not mere existence, but life fraught with happiness and bliss. Life and the path of it — that mysterious secret which only Jesus could reveal.

    But that path of life is yours to-day! Think of it! Christ in you is that path of life — he is yours! The life eternal is in you now.

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