Page images
PDF

those things which are coming on the earth : for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” Here it is perhaps due to myself to remark, that possibly my audience and I are quite at issue as to the mode which I have adopted in conducting the exposition of this subject. But I respectfully ask, of what avail is it to write, or talk, or preach about “Signs,” unless we can demonstrate them to have been appointed of God for certain wise, and holy, and gracious ends 2 And even this done, of what avail is it, comparatively, that in ages past, the heaven of providence has been studded with “Signs” multitudinous as yon twinkling stars 2 I say, comparatively — for, having accomplished the purposes of their appointment, they are of interest to us simply as matter of history. No. I should consider it alike unworthy your intelligence or patient attention, to address you even for ten minutes in a Lecture on “the signs of the times,” unless I could demonstrate that you, and I, yea, and all the world, even the people, and kindreds, and tongues, and nations of every clime, had an interest in them. No, nor even then, comparatively, unless I could equally demonstrate, that one and all had an interest in them NOW! And I now confess to you, that, if in this stage of our advance, I have failed in producing in your minds a conviction of this momentous truth, then has my labor indeed been vain. But, this end attained, and I am assured of your entire satisfaction with the very brief remarks which are now to accompany the pre

sent “Signs of the times,” with a recapitulation of which, our Lecture will close. How lamentable the reflection, that the prophetic book of Isaiah opens with the following solemn appeal, wrung from his reluctant lips, against the people of his nation. “Hear, O heaven, and give ear, O earth, for the Lord hath spoken —Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil-doers, children that are corrupters! They have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the holy one of Israel to anger, they are gone away backward "" Christian friends, do any of you know this picture ? Ah,

“— What are heaven's alarms to hearts that can cower
In wilful slumber deepening every hour,
That draw the curtains closer round,
The nearer swells the Trumpet’s sound,
Lord, e'er our trembling souls sink down and die,
Teach us with chastening hand, and make us feel thee nigh.”

Brethren and hearers, as Moses with Jeshurun, who “forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the rock of his salvation,” so would we expostulate with all such in this day. “O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their LATTER END !” ”

To give a proper direction to our meditations on the present “SIGNs of THE TIMEs,” the first which we shall mention, is,

1. Isa. i., 3, 4. 2. Deut. xxxii. 32—39.

1. The prevalent disinclination of Christian professors and others, to think of, or to study the subjects of unfulfilled Scripture prophecy. Now this “Sign,” we affirm, answers to that state of apostacy throughout the Christian world, predicted in that fearful interrogation of Christ, “When the Son of Man cometh, shall he find FAITH on the earth 2" | That our blessed Lord in this passage speaks of his Second Advent, none will deny. That he speaks of a personal and not a spiritual advent merely, is evident from the fact, that he has never yet been spiritually absent from the Church. In this last sense the promise was given, “Lo, I am with you ALway, even unto the end of the world.”” And, that this second advent is to be pre-millenial, is equally evident, as will appear from the passage, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate, and ye shall not see me henceforth, TILL ye shall say, blessed is he that comethin the name of the Lord.” Now, this cannot refer to the First advent. That had taken place already. The word “cometh” in this passage, (6 gröuevos,) may be rendered, “that is about to come,” Nor can it refer to the shouts of the multitude upon Christ's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem. That event took place before the utterance of this prediction. “ No-the time here referred to is the end of the Jewish tribulation, and of the treading down of Jerusalem by the Gentiles: or, in other words, to the restoration of the Jews to their own land. ... Then, “the feet of the Lord shall stand upon the Mount of Olives,” at which time “the spirit of grace and of supplications shall be poured out upon them; and looking upon him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn.”” And, methinks, amid the piercing agonies of the conviction that they once, “with wicked hands, crucified and slew the Lord of life and glory,” “ and the ecstasies arising from a sense of pardoned guilt, will exclaim, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” ** This, then, we say, is the repudiated faith to which the Saviour, speaking of the time immediately preceding his second advent, refers. And if the subject needs further confirmation, I would refer to Isaiah, who, speaking of this very period of the conversion and glory of the Jewish nation, says, that immediately preceding, “darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people.” Now, look the world over—pry into every nook and corner of Christendom — and what proportion of it, I ask are “looking for that blessed hope, the glorious [Pre-Millenial] appearing of the Great God, even our Saviour Jesus Christ?” " O, on this subject, I almost tremble to enlarge. Still, you demand evidence. Take then the following as an illustration. In this great city, which counts its hundreds of Christian

1. Luke xviii. 8, 2. Matt. xxviii., 20. 3. Ramsey on the sec.com. p. 96. 4. Compare Matt. xxi. 1–9, with xxiii. 39.

1. Zech. xiv. 4, 2. Zech. xii. 10.
3. Acts ii. 23. 4. Isa. lx. 1, 2.
- 5. Titus ii. 13. *

**

churches, planted in the midst of a population of hundreds of thousands, there is not one voice regularly raised from Sunday to Sunday, to sound the alarm of the rapidly-approaching pre-millenial advent of the Lord Jesus! We ask therefore, — Why is it thus 2 Would it so be, were the people, clerical and lay, disposed to think of, and to study this subject 3 I add no more, brethren, on this topic, but to ask, Is this a “sign” of these “last times?” What then think ye of it? Will you study it? I add, 2. Another “Sign” of the times, connected with, because growing out of the preceding. It is this— A most melancholy and general decay of vital piety. Opposed to the above prevailing disposition of Christians in reference to Christ's advent, was the following prominent characteristic of the Saints primitively— they “loved his appearing.” Yes, they loved to hear of it — to talk about it—to pray for it. Hence, of them it could in truth be said, “Ye are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. If ye were of the world, the world would love its own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” But what, I ask, now remains of this distinguishing feature of Christianity? What, on the part of professing Christians to cling to “the offence of the cross?”" Has not that “offence” long since ceased, “ by an un

1. 2 Tim. iv. 8. 2. John xv. 19. 3. Gal. v., 11. 4. Gal. v. I1.

« PreviousContinue »