Page images

lands, and abundant treasures of their former occupants and possessors, and on the other, to reduce vast numbers of those who remained to a species of the most abject ecclesiastical slavery, under the plea that in that capacity they were the servants of God's immediate vicegerents on earth, and could not fail to purchase thereby a mitigation of their sentence from the great Judge. * Numerous similar pretensions, though of less notoriety, have transpired at different intervals, and in different countries, from that day to the present, and with like results; i.e., they have produced the conviction that they were the fruits, either of crafty and designing men, or of a spirit of misguided and reckless fanaticism. But, I would deferentially ask — are we hence to conclude that God's purposes are so deeply veiled in the darkness of uncertainty, as that we dare not “take in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which he hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began 2" | We as deferentially answer, No ! We say, “secret things belong unto the Lord our God; but things that are REVEALED to Us and to our CHILDREN.”* And now, of that Book called the Apocalypse, and which, according to the current view, has been, is now, and ever will be to the Church, a deep and dark enigma: We ask, what is its name 2 “The Revelation 1* not the secret, but the “REveLATION of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him.” But for what purpose? “To show unto his servants THINGs which must sHoRTLY come To PAss; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John.” And almost the very first words indited by the Spirit, and penned by St. John in this Revelation, is, “BLEssFD is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this PROPHEcy, and keep those things which are written therein.”” And as of this prophetic book, so of all the other prophets. “ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for instruction”—is designed “for the edification” of those “of the body of Christ,” who “speak the truth in love.”" At the commencement of this article we adverted to the abuse of the subject of prophecy, consequent of the prevailing fanaticism which accompanied it. We now say that this holds signally true of every promiment prophecy, FULFILLED or UNFULFILLED, from the days of Christ down to this time, and so will continue down to “THE END.”* Our divine Lord and his Apostles all spake of the false prophets, * false Christ's," and false teachers,” that would infest the Christian Church in all ages. Of the first and last of these, besides many false prophets who appeared between the ascension and the destruction of Jerusalem, during the first two centuries, of the principal heretical teachers the number that sprung up amounted to about one hundred and forty." Of the false CHRIST's who have appeared at different times, and in different places, during the interval from the ascension down to the seventeenth century, there have been between twenty and thirty 1 ° and it is a fact well worthy of observation, that the appearances of these false Christ's in every instance, was preceded by an expectation on the part of the people, of some approaching CRISIs. Thus it was with the Apostles and Christians primitively. They expected that a comparatively short interval would elapse between the First and Second advent. This circumstance, therefore, opened the way for the appearance of the false Christ's of their day, and exposed them to delusion. Hence the declaration of the Redeemer to them, “Many shall come in my name, saying, I am CHRIST, and shall deceive many.”" They “shall deceive, if it be possible, the very ELECT.” “ What, then, do these facts argue 2 Certainly this, viz.: that every great truth of God, as they unfold his purposes, and their adaptation to the successive periods of his dispensations to “the end,” would be counterfeited by false pretenders. And shall we, can we say, that this age and day is to be exempt from the prevalence of such false pretenders? Nay, verily. Look abroad at this moment. In the far west a standard is raised — and a loud welcome, wasted by every wind that blows, and falling upon the ear like the shrill blasts of a trumpet, invites us to flock around IT, as the subjects of the deluded founder of of the eternal city, NAuvoo. The fanatical spirit of a Joanna Southcoate lives, and is destined to spread, we cannot now tell to what an extent, in the founder of the recently erected MoRMoN Empire. Some forty thousand are already collected together in and about the city of Nauvoo, Illinois, from various lands, and are prostrating themselves before the shrine of a mortal, claiming regal equality with our now absent, but long-looked-for, and speedily returning Lord and Master Oh ! at every peril, we shrink not from raising the voice of admonition; of raising the beacon of alarm We, therefore, proclaim to you in the long-standing predicted admonitory language of Jesus, “If any man shall say unto you, lo, here is Christ; or there, behold, he is in the desart;” or, “behold, he is in the secret , chambers;” “believe it not —go not after them.” No, my brethren; the King of Zion is still seated on his mediatorial throne, where he is interceding for us at the right hand of God; and, ere he ascended thither, He deposited in His Church an infallible directory for the conduct of her members, till he come again. Here it is, “Occupy TILL I come ; "* in other words, continue in the respective spheres in which providence hath placed you, being “diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, “TILL I come again,” to “receive you to myself.” To add the greater impressiveness to this reflection, I take the liberty to quote the following from the preface of the Rev. Mr. Hare’s “Christ to return,” by the Right Rev. L. S. Ives, D.D., of North Carolina. He says: — In proportion as the mind is animated by a persuasion of success, will be its preparedness for vigorous, patient, and untiring exertion. This is felt to be a principle of such efficacy, as to have been called in to sustain effort and quicken zeal in all great undertakings. Even the religion of the Son of God, instinct as it is with Almighty energy, has not thought this principle unworthy of its regard, in promoting a spirit of magnanimity and endurance in its friends. If we turn to the birth-place of the Christian faith, we may hear the Divine teacher cheering the hearts of the disciples in their hard conflicts with the world, the flesh, and the devil, by the promise of being, at last, more than conquerors. His first act, as he led them forth, was an act of triumph over the Prince of Darkness — thus settling their confidence in his power to accomplish the deliverance of his people.: while such acts, to the same end, were constantly repeated before their eyes during his earthly ministry. * And when he opened to them the scenes of bitter trial through which,

1. St. Luke, i., 70. 2. Deut. xxix., 29.

1. Rev. i., 1. 2. Rev. i., 3. 3. Eph. iv., 15. 4. Dan. vi., 26; vii., 26; ix., 26; Matt. xxviii., 20; 1 Cor. i., 8; Heb. iii., 14; Rev. ii., 26. 5. 2 Pet. ii., 1; Luke vi., 26; Matt. vii., 15; xxiv., 11, 24; Mark xiii., 22. - 6. Matt. xxiv., 5 ; Mark xiii., 6; Luke xxi., 8. 7, 1 Tim. i., 7; 2 Tim. iv., 3; 2 Pet. ii., 1.

1. Simpson Key to the Prop. pp. 142—157. 2. Ibid, pp. 127–142. 3, Matt. xxiv., 5. 4. Matt. xxiv., 24.

1. Matt. xxiv., 26. 2. Luke xix., 13.

1. See Temptation of Christ, Matt. iv. 2. Matt. vii., 28; ix., 32, et passim.

« PreviousContinue »