Page images

corn arrives at a state fit for the sickle; but the ripening is speedy. Joel says, that this harvest is great wickedness. Whatever this wickedness is, it is not among professors of the religion of Christ, peculiarly called so, though it may be among those who bear his name. This is called the harvest of the earth. They who profess to be the disciples of Christ in destinction from such as are merely called Christians, are the vine, and their distruction is the vintage. But this is the harvest. We are therefore to look for this wickedness among those on whom the profession of religion is not the principal mark. It is then that which is common among men who profess nothing more than what is worldly, or belonging to the affairs of this life. Yet at the time here described, in a more remarkable manner than usual. They are the same things as have long been seen and done, yet not arrived to such a state as to call for the just judgment of God in this world. Paul, in writing to Timothy, has marked the last days as perilous. For men shall be lovers of their ownselves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. 2 Tim, 3. 2, &c. Men are always so, but not in the degree, that they shall be so in the time

which Paul points to, insomuch that they shall mark that period from all others. And when these are at, or nearly at, their height, then cometh the harvest; and one verse more describes the vine; having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof, when this is very conspicuous, then cometh the vintage. And when both are ripe in the just judgment of God, then look for the sickle; and when you hear and see much destruction and desolation in the earth, far and wide, by tumults, seditions, murders, suicide, famine, pestilence, public executions, and above all, general and long continued warfare, so that these things are remarkable, then judge that the sickle is put in, and the harvest cutting down-not at a stroke, but by stroke after stroke, gradually, yet effectually gathering off num bers of the children of men, from youth to old age.

And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he having in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over the fire, and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. As this is yet to come I meddle not with it, only observing that there is a Christ professed and maintained in


near resemblance to the Saviour of the world, but not the true vine. John 15, 1 This is the vine Moses speaks of, the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah growing to sudden destruction. There are clusters, but they are bitter, in opposition to that cluster in which is a blessing. Isa. 65. S. They are the gall of bitterness, and the bond of iniquity; the heart full of enmity and covetousness, and only held together by hatred of the truth. Their wine is not spoken of in thisdescription, the heavy judgments of the Lord putting an end to all their mirth. As vines are not so common, as corn, this growing in many countries, where vines cannot flourish, and vineyards bearing no proportion to the number of corn fields, the desolation will not be so wide as in the harvest. Yet is the destruction most conspicuous and complete. It follows quick upon the other, as the vintage upon the harvest. The winepress is trodden without the city; not in the communion of the Romish church, that great city, but without the city, among those who are separate therefrom, and profess a purer faith, and abhor her abominations

On account of these heavy judgments follow. ing rapidly one after another, and the last display of God's wrath in the seven last plagues, a voice from heaven said unto John, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, from henceforth, yea saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.

These things are accomplished by Him who once died for us men, and for our salvation, and therefo: they must be right. We can then but allow, that their song is pitched in the right key who sing and say, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways thou King of saints. Amen and Amen.

To God be Praise.

Living at some distance from the Press, there are many mistakes which would otherwise not have been. The errors in stops and letters I have not noticed, the following affect the sense.

Page 41. line 6th read supplies her aid.
53. line las for he read the.

61. line 4th for for read of

70. line 22d read we have boldness.
77. line 12th for them read him.

95. line 13th read that we were.

102. line 4th for attended read uttered.
103. line 21st read on one side.

119. line 4th read shall thus be.
121. line 10th read vision in which.

122. line 10th read mentioned in Isaiah.
122. line 22d read there is no general.

Baxter, Printer, Lewes.

« PreviousContinue »