« PreviousContinue »
kingdom to another. The students of sense of continued imperfections. But prophecy seem desirous of consigning what says the faithful and true witness ? their opponents to perdition, and their -- Thou knowest not that thou art opponents charge the students of prophecy wretched, and miserable, and poor, and with madness; while the monster infi- blind, and naked; and because thou art delity is looking on with a Satanic grin. lukewarm, in the midst of all thy ostenThe convulsions of the church, in fact, tation and splendour, I will cast thee out exactly correspond with the convulsions as an abomination.” The bare supposiof nations. All things indicate that we tion that this may possibly be the case are on the eve of some fearful crisis. The should make us tremble. love of the world in the church has nearly If, then, we deeply ponder and seriously extinguished the love of God, and the reflect upon our daring carelessness of visible line of separation between the human life-our infidel indifference as to church and the world is withdrawn. All the worth of immortal souls—upon the the features of the last times," deline- guilt of our colonial system, like a mighty ated by the spirit of prophecy, are visible Colossus bestriding the whole world ; and prominent in the midst of us. Even our participation in the abominations of the balance of the state is sustained by Indian idolatry—upon the diffusion of impurity of motive. What a want of in- infidelity through all orders of the comtegrity, of principle, does the gazette munity, and the general rejection of the prove, and even common honesty ! gospel by the nation—upon the sin of
But the worst feature of our day is the our national administration, and the awwant of a due sense of the evil, or of pro- ful state of things, whether in the world per feelings with respect to the declen- or in the church, oh, what a weight of sion. We boast of our Bible Societies, guilt from national transgression stands and Missionary Societies, and, certainly, against us! 6 Shall I not visit for these they are the brightest ornament of the things, saith the Lord ? Shall not my day. In this light I have regarded them soul be avenged on such a nation as this?" ever since they were established ; and We fear and tremble. We hope, but it God forbid that I should say a word to is against hope; for can we hope to damp their glorious ardour, or check their escape? It is an observation that cangenerous flow of benevolence! But is not be too often repeated, or too deeply there not in these departments too great a impressed upon the mind, that the worst prevalence of the spirit of pharisaism ? feature of our case is the great ignorance Do we not sound a trumpet through the of our real character, which generally land, and spread our phylacteries, too prevails, and the torpid indifference which wide, if not in the synagogue, at least on is manifested to our state of danger. the platform ? And do not these things There seems to be a fearful anxiety on remind us of the awful charge alleged by the part of some men who ought to know the faithful and true witness, whose eye better, and perhaps do know better, to is as a flame of fire, against the degene- conceal both from the nation and the rate church at Laodicea, which some of church the prediction of those calamities our best expositors have considered as a which will certainly precede the millentype of the last state of the church uni- nium. But how will such men escape versal immediately before he appears in the charge of blood-guiltiness at the great judgment: “ Thou sayest thou art rich, day of the Lord? Will this ward off a and thou hast need of nothing ?" Is not single blow, lengthen out our tranquillity this the language of our annual reports, for a single day, or lighten the weight of our platform exhibitions, and even our God's indignation ? Whether men will fire-side conversations ? The benevolence hear or whether they will forbear, the of the age, the spirit of the age, the spi- vengeance of God is denounced against rituality of the times, are common topics; these lands, and will assuredly be exebut we forget that genuine piety is modest, cuted! Great Britain is one of the ten retiring, contrite, and humble, under a kingdoms symbolized by the ten toes of
the great and terrible image that must be population, of righteous men in Judea broken to pieces together, and with the only a few years before Jerusalem was ten horns of the fourth beast which shall destroyed? You have not surely forgotbe destroyed and committed to the flames, ten that three thousand were converted to unless unless a degree of reformation, the obedience of the faith in one day, five of which there is not the remotest expec- thousand the next day, multitudes, both tation or probability, can be effected. - of men and women, whose numbers are
Is, then, the case of Great Britain cer- not mentioned ; that a great company of tainly hopeless ? Is there no avenue by priests were also converted ; and that God which she may escape? Are we really still continued to add to the church—not to believe that this vast empire, upon as we add to the church now, ten, twenty, whose dominions the sun never sets in his or thirty at most, at our church meetings, diurnal or annual courses; and whose in- and which is considered a surprising fluence is still more extensive, reaching, number—but multitudes, daily, of such as from a common centre, all nations as should be saved ; and that, besides whether barbarous or civilized, must in- this, the word of the Lord was mighty, evitably perish? Is not the invoking and prevailed through Judea, Samaria, prayer of the righteous man availing with and all the regions beyond Jordan. And God? Does it not move the hand that how holy and dignified was the character moves the universe ? Doubtless! But, of these first Christians under the Pentehowever fanatical such a sentiment as the costal effusion of the Holy Ghost? How following may appear to the purblind eye superior to the most eminent Christians of infidelity, it is unquestionably warrant- of the present day! They continued ed by the Holy Scriptures, that, when a with one accord in the apostle's doctrine, guilty people have filled up the measure and in breaking of bread, and holy sacriof their iniquity, prophets and righteous fice, and in praising God. They had one men are forbidden by the God of nations heart, one soul, one common property; to intercede for them, and he has plainly and even the heathen were constrained to told them that he will not hear them. say, “See how these Christians love one Thus he said to Jeremiah, Thou shalt not another !” And did their prayers or their pray to this people, neither cry to me for persons prove the security of their beloved them; for I will not hear thee. But city and nation ? when Abraham was pleading on behalf of But will the Judge of all the earth dethe cities of the plain, did not the Judge stroy the righteous with the wicked ? of all the earth wait till his servant gave " That be far from me, saith the Lord.” the signal for destruction, and assure An ark was built for Noah and his family Abraham that if only ten righteous men before the windows of heaven were could be found in Sodom, the whole city opened, and the fountains of the great should be spared for their sakes? May deep were broken up. Zoar was prepared not, then, the number of righteous men for Lot before the Lord rained fire and which our country nourishes in her bosom brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah. A prove her security ? I bless God that place of safety in the mountains of Judea there are not only ten, twenty, thirty, was prepared for the devoted followers of forty, or fifty, but a large number of Jesus before Jerusalem was laid in ruins righteous men this day in Britain, who, by the Roman emperor, to which they instead of boasting of the spirituality and fied, in obedience to the Lord's command, the religion of our land, actually sigh and and escaped the fate of their unfortunate cry for the abominations that are done in countrymen. And, in like manner, some it; and who are weeping between the ark of salvation-some Zoar at a safe disporch and the altar, saying, “O Lord,spare tance from the outpouring of wrath-some the remnant of thy people, and give not shelter upon the mountains—some refuge thine heritage to reproach.” But was some asylum shall be prepared for the there not an equal or rather a much larger pure and the regenerate, to which they number, especially in proportion to the shall flee and be safe.
But you still deny it; and you insist | Jerusalem, tell us that the gospel had that the Christian benevolence which come into all the world (the Roman Britain has originated and still so ably world) and had been preached to every supports—her Bible Societies and her creature under heaven (under the politiMissionary Societies, and the benefits cal jurisdiction of the Roman empire) ? which, by their agency, she has conferred, Once more. Will the benefits, inand is still conferring upon the heathen valuable and immortal as they are, which world, prove her security. I candidly we are conferring upon the heathen naconfess that I was once of this opinion, tions, admit, for a moment, with the comand I called these excellent societies not parison of the gift of a Saviour—the gift, only the brightest ornament, but the I say of a Saviour—which Jerusalem constrongest safeguard of our country; and ferred upon the world? And yet the holy they are still dear to my heart, and com- city was laid in ashes, and her children mand any service I can render them, sent forth into a long and terrible caphowever feeble it may be, to the utmost tivity. As before Jerusalem was de extent of my ability. But can they ad- stroyed, a way was prepared for the mit of a comparison with the apostolic church of God in the Roman empire, so church at Jerusalem, and their godlike before the vials of wrath are emptied upon institutions, of which it is said, “ that the the fragment, or the whole kingdoms of multitudes of them that believed were of the empire, a safety-place must be proone heart and one soul; neither said any pared for the church beyond its limits. man that aught of the things that he And is not this the great work which the possessed was his own;" and if they Bible Society and our Missionary Sociewere possessors of lands, or of houses, ties are now executing under the protecthey sold them and brought the price tion of a special providence; and when thereof, and threw it into one common this purpose is executed, may not Britain treasury for the relief of the brethren, and be destroyed, as the Babylonian, the Perfor the furtherance of the gospel? How sian, the Macedonian, and the Roman contracted is the benevolence that charac-empires were destroyed, when the end for terizes the church at the present day, which God had raised them up was achowever excellent in itself, and however complished ? When the machine has creditable, when compared with that of done its work, may it not be broken or laid the mother of all the churches, walking aside ? under the influence of the Spirit of holy But how long will it be to the end of love poured down upon her without these wonders ? Is the great and terrible measure? Will the labours of our Mis- day of the Lord near at hand? Is this sionary Societies, however creditable, the crisis of the nations, and of Britain's bear a comparison with those of the apos- destinies ? A miraculous degree of inspitles and their fellow-labourers planting ralion is necessary to enable any man to the gospel—where ?-not only in Judea, answer these questions positively in the in Galilee, in Samaria, and in all the re-affirmative, and as I make no pretensions gions beyond Jordan-not only in lesser to such inspiration, it behooves me to Asia, Greece, Italy, the then great thea- guard against such a presumption. “ The tres in the world; but northward as far as Father holdeth the times and seasons in Cesarea ; southward, as far as Ethiopia; his own power." “ Secret things belong eastward, as far as Parthia and India; to the Lord our God; and the things that and westward, as far as Spain and Great are revealed belong to us and our chilBritain, according to the united testimony dren.” But as he has been pleased to of all contemporary historians, both civil lay before us several chronological proand ecclesiastic, whose testimony is fur- phecies, doubtless with some wise and ther confirmed by that of the apostle to gracious design, it is our duty to examine the Gentiles, who, in his Epistle to the them, and see whether, by comparing Colossians, wrote only a few years, them among themselves, and with the about seven-before the destruction of general train or system of prophecy, and with the signs of the times, something his precursor, John the Baptist; and the may not be discovered to put us on our third, which, though its existence is inguard, and to encourage the faithful ser comparably the most important, includes vants of God to bear up with patience the closing scene of his life and death. under the trial of their faith, which we They have, moreover, proved that the are told is much more precious than gold, spirit of prophecy foretold the year, the though it be tried in the fire, and shall be month, the week, the day when the Megfound to praise, and glory, and honour, siah should be cut off, not for himself, at the appearing of our Lord Jesus but for the transgression of the people; Christ!
when he should finish transgression, The spirit of prophecy informed Daniel, make reconciliation for iniquity, bring that at the time of the end, the very crisis in an everlasting righteousness, abolish which we have supposed to be near at the Jewish sacrifices, and confirm the hand, many shall be purified and made covenant of redemption. white, but that the world shall go on to Three prophetic years and a half, or do worldly. He further observes, and 1260 years, are frequently mentioned by the passage is very remarkable, that Daniel and St. John, as the period that “none of the wicked shall understand should intervene from the full dominancy, these events when they come to pass, but of papacy, until the second coming of the that the wise shall understand them, for Messiah to destroy the man of sin, to the secret of the Lord is with them that break in pieces the papal kingdom, and fear him.” Seventy prophetical weeks, to establish his millennial kingdom in its or 490 years, according to the chronologi- meridian brightness. As the object of cal prophecies of Daniel, were to intervene these lectures is not a learned or critical from the going forth of the commandment analysis of chronological prophecies, but to restore and to build Jerusalem to the is rather of a practical nature, as will be first advent of the Messiah, and the pro- seen from the last lecture, I shall not prephecy was well understood by the Jewish sume to say with a confident tone of innation. At the time of his appearance fallibility when the mysterious 1260 years every eye was awakened, and every ear commenced; whether in the reign of the was attentive, both in the land of Judea, tyrant Phocias-according to the opinion and in all the nations where the Jews re- of Faber and other writers of high ausided, to mark the signs that immediately thority; or in the reign of Justinian, as indicated his coming. And not only so, mentioned by Freer, and Irving, and other but this prophecy had been translated respectable writers; or not until the papal into the Greek language, which at that throne was seen in its full growth and time was universally read and universally full development, when the Roman ponunderstood. A general expectation of his tiff was made a secular as well as a spi. appearance prevailed through the whole ritual sovereign in the reign of Charleworld. Here, then, is a numerical pro- magne, according to the opinion of Bishop phecy-one of the most mysterious pro- Newton, Sir Isaac Newton, and other phecies in the whole book of God, but writers of very great authority. It would yet it was plainly understood before the seem, from many prophetical intimations, event predicted came to pass : for the that when the 1260 years have run out whole world was in expectation of its ful- their course, or very soon after it, the man filment. The learned Mede and Prideaux of sin must be destroyed, the kingdom of have clearly proved that Daniel, or rather the papacy broken to pieces, the Ottoman the interpreting angel of the remarkable empire overthrown, and the sacred seed prophecy, not only foretold the precise of Abraham be restored to the land of time of the Saviour's advent, but that he their fathers. But the man of sin is not divided the history of his life into three yet destroyed, the papal kingdoms are distinct periods; the first of which he not yet broken in pieces, the Ottoman spent in obscurity; the second compre- empire is still standing, the seed of Abrahends his personal ministry, and that of ham are still scattered among the nations;
we may therefore, I think, conclude that has there been such a deep and intense the mysterious period is not yet fulfilled, attention paid to sacred prophecy, as and that a great work yet remains to be within the last thirty or forty years. Yes! done on the theatre of the world. Recent the seals are being removed; the signs of events, however, especially the late revo- the times are throwing light upon the lution in France, the concussion of the prophetical dates the prophetical dates continental nations, and the sudden and are reflecting their light upon the signs almost instantaneous change of public of the times; the general or descriptive opinion, both in this country and through prophecies lend their radiance also to the all Europe, prove that the Supreme Ruler stock of general information; and all of the nations may accomplish, and very together form a concentrated body of light, probably will accomplish, a great work which is quite conspicuous to all except in a short time.
those who are wilfully blind. In correspondence with the chronologi- Among these signs or various precurcal prophecy, several signs or prognostics sors of the appearance of the Son of man are given us as harbingers announcing the coming in his kingdom, witness, speedy coming of the Son of man. “Learn 1st. The present concussion of the na(says our Lord) a parable of the fig tree; tions. when his branch is yet tender, and putteth We have entered upon a new era in the forth leaves, ye know that summer is history of the world ; revolution has benigh ; so likewise ye, when ye shall see gun its march ; the great wheel of human all these things, know that the kingdom affairs has turned round, nearly so at of God is nigh at hand.” Although the least, in our own time; and He who hath Father keepeth the times and seasons in said, “I will overturn, overturn, overturn, his own power-although no man know- until he shall come whose right it is," eth the day or the hour wherein the Son hath plainly told us where all these of man cometh-although it was not given mighty revolutions shall terminate in in commission to the Son himself, to the destruction of the man of sin, the make it known in his public ministry, yet breaking in pieces of the papal kingdom, by comparing the signs of the times with the overthrow of the Ottoman power, the the numerical prophecies, we may know conversion of the heathen nations in their with certainty when the day of the Lord national capacity, and finally– transis advancing rapidly upon us. The great porting thought in the triumphant esand broad outlines of prophecy are open tablishment of the millennial kingdom of to the man who is exercised in the study our beloved Redeemer. of the prophetic writings, even long be- 2d. The smallness of all the provinces fore the events are fulfilled; but the small- of the Ottoman empire, with the convulsions er lines, which refer to the times, the of the papal kingdoms, is another sign of places, and the circumstances of their ac- the nearness of that great day. complishment, are faint, are less distinctly Popery and Mohammedanism -- the defined ; and the Saviour of the world has eastern and the western scourges of the been pleased that a considerable obscurity church of God-rose about the same time; should rest upon the prophetic dates, until and about the same time, according to the consummation is drawing near. Thus prophetic intimation, they will fall in one the interpreting angel informed Daniel common ruin. that the prophecy should be closed up 3d. The fearful progress of infidelity and sealed till the time of the end, when is also mentioned as one of the signs of the book was to be opened, the seals were the nearness of the great and terrible day to be removed, the prophetic dates to be of the Lord. developed, many were to run to and fro, Daniel foretold that, when the ruin of and prophetical knowledge was to be in the papacy was hastening to its close, creased. The period here foretold is that an atheistical power should rise and do very period in which we are now living: according to its will, exalting and magfor never since the time of the reformation) nifying itself above every God, speaking