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for his sake, they must pass—scenes so contrary to their hopes, so overwhelming to their fears—he sought to quiet their alarm, and confirm their wavering trust by revealing to them the scenes of glory that would follow:—“Look up and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh;” “Let not your hearts be troubled— I will come again, and receive you unto myself.”* True, you shall see me “led as a lamb to the slaughter.”” Though “despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows,” “ and a victim of the most cruel sufferings — bleeding at every pore and writhing in every limb, yet unappalled at the fearful expiation, I shall proceed “to give back to the smiters,” “ “my flesh for the life of the world.”* Yes, you must witness “the hour and the power of darkness;” but “let not your heart be troubled,” the day of my exaltation and of your rejoicing hastens. Soon you shall see me lay aside the priestly garments, the badges of my bloody sacrifice, my deep humiliation; and gird on the sword of my might. “Death shall be swallowed up in my victory;”’ and in the face of agazing world I will ascend, “leading captivity captive,” to “the place of my glory.” Nor is this all: I will come again ; and THIs very EARTH, which is to witness the scene of my agony, and hear the cry of my distress, shall yet behold the brightness of my coming, " and bend beneath the sceptre of my kingdom. " True,
1. Luke xxi., 28. 2. John xiv., 1–3. 3. Is. liii., 7. 4. Ibid, liii., 3. 5. Ibid, l., 6. 6. John vi., 51. 7. 1 Cor. xv., 54. 8. Eph. iv., 8. 9. 2 Thess. ii., 8, 10. Is. ix., 7; lxiii., passim. Phil. ii., 10. Rev. i. 7.
“you shall be called before governors and kings for my sake;” “yea, the time cometh, when he that killeth you, will think that he doeth God service.” But “let not your heart be troubled;” I will come again : will come unto you : will endue you with “the spirit of my glory :" * “will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.”” “No weapon formed against you shall prosper.”* Yes, “I will come again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.”* “Ye have followed me, and in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”.” Such is the enrapturing view unfolded by our Lord to his sorrowing disciples; such the bright vision of final victory, under power of which he left them “to contend earnestly for the faith.” The effect was such as might have been looked for. No sooner had he ascended, than the voice of these very disciples, just now sunk in despondency, is raised, as if in echo of his own exulting strain, to the highest note of encouragement. The timid are nerved, the sluggish aroused, the recreant filled with terror, by constant and thrilling appeals to the fact, that “the coming of the Lord draweth nigh:” that He who once “came to visit us in great humility,” would soon return in all the majesty of the Godhead, “to call the world from the rising up of the sun to the going down thereof: first, to gather together his saints unto Him in his everlasting kingdom; and then to adjudge the wicked and impenitent to the horrors of an endless punishment. " A departure, therefore, from, or a neglect of the ordinary avocations of life, when induced by a discovery of the above or any other truth, is an evidence that we “hold that truth in unrighteousness,” ” and that we are exposed to the danger of falling a prey to the demon of fanaticism. Here, again, we return to the subject of our more immediate concern; and taking it for granted that we have satisfactorily disposed of this objection against prophetic exposition in general, or of prophetic time in particular, as predicted of its fanatical abuse; we observe, that the very expression of Christ, “TILL I come,” implies, (at least, as present to the mind of the Father, though at that precise juncture with-holden from the Son,) a fired and definite time. But, at this point, the question again returns upon us: Is this fixed and definite time a matter of revelation 2 In other words, CAN we, Do we KNow IT 3 We intend, brethren, by God's assistance, to discuss this subject with the utmost candor and impartiality; in order to which, we shall now lay before you every objection which, in our judgment, can be adduced as of any weight, against the practicability
1. John xvi., 2, 2. 1 Pet, iv., 14, 3, Luke xxi, 15, 4, Is. liv., 17. 5. John xvi., 22. 6. Matt. xix., 28.
1. 1 Thess. v., 2, 3, 4. Acts xx., 32. 2 Tim. iv., 8, 2 Pet, iii., 11 to end. Rev. last two chapters. 2. Rom. i., 18,
of attempting to attain to such certainty in these premises. It is then objected, I. That the great diversity of opinion which prevail among expositors of the historical and prophetical portions of Scripture, in the department of chronology, renders impossible the attainment of any definite conclusions, in reference either to the entire age of the world, or of the commencement and termination of particular dispensations. It is further objected, II. That prophetical time, as, for instance, the seventy weeks of Daniel ix. 25, 26; the “time, times, and half-a-time,” of the same prophet, chap. vii. 25 ; and the twelve hundred and sixty days, or forty-two months of Rev. xi., - &c. are mere expressions, denoting indefinite periods, and not mystical numbers of specific dates. Hence, III. It is affirmed that we have no Scriptural data upon which to fix any definite period, as to “THE HND ;” which affirmation is founded on the following, and similar reasons, viz, : 1. No prophecy, it is said, “directly declares,” the great period of restitution as “far away,” or, indeed, as extending beyond the “death” (temporal) of those to whom it was uttered. 2. That “threatenings of woe" are denounced against any who presume upon a delay of the day of wrath. 3. That this is further evident from those numerous passages which speak of that day as near at hand. 4. That both Christ and his Apostles always evaded any direct answer to the repeated inquiries of their
followers, respecting this point, and this, for the very obvious reason, that they did not know it themselves. And, finally, 5. That, to suppose a revelation “to mortals” of any definite period in regard to the divine purposes, either past, present, or future, is inconsistent with the wisdom and benevolence of the Almighty. These, we flatter ourselves, will be found to cover the entire ground of objections deserving notice, raised against the scheme we are about to propose; nor shall we attempt a reply to them consecutively, but proceed to the following preliminaries, as essential to the elucidation of our subject, incorporating answers to each as we advance. And, I. The source, or sources of authoratative data for information in these premises, deserve our most careful regard. Here, we remark, a wide field of investigation opens before us. We must, however, content ourselves with a simple reference to the two extant sources of dependence for the information we seek, viz, : the annals of sacred and profane writers. Of the annals of PROFANE chronology, the following are the principal : First, the Egyptian chronographeon of Syncellus. Second, the Chinese records. Third, the Babylonian chronology. Fourth, the chronographia of Mametho. Fifth, the chronographia of Africanus. Sixth, the catalogue of Eratosthemes. Seventh, the chronicon of Eusebius, and, eighth, the chronicon of Alexandria. These, however, will all be dismissed with the single remark, that they are only of service in so far as they furnish