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getfulness of that Divine power which ruleth over the destiny alike of nations and of individuals. Consult St. James on this subject. “All such boasting is vain.” Passing this, the Apostle says that men should be, 4. “Proud.”—The disposition here intended is, that of contemning and setting at naught the authority of God, as illustrated in the following passages— Neh. ix. 16; Ps. cxix. 21, 51; Jer. xliii. 2. As applicable to our own times, it is sufficient (though equally true of all the commands of God) that we instance the present universal desecration of the SABBATH. In view of all the Divine injunctions regarding holy time, do not the mass with one voice exclaim, “who is the Lord, that I should obey him 2" * That men should be, 5. “Blasphemers,” is another predicted characteristic of the last days. Scriptural blasphemy “consists, first, in speaking against the revelation or ordinances of God; and secondly, in the avowal of heretical doctrines, indirectly calculated to degrade the glory of the triune Jehovah, and the gospel of his grace.” And such are the Socinian and modern Unitarian heresies, the promoters of which, under the reign of William III,” were held to be criminals. And, while we consider these heresies as “damnable” “ they cannot withhold from us the meed of candor in conceding that now an unchecked liberalism has removed from them all restraint, and that, by a rapidly increasing coalition with the various grades of existing semi-protestant Orthodoxy, there is a fair prospect before them of repeating the scenes of other days, and joining issue with their sister compeer (France) in the Deification of human reason. Of the prevalence of this species of “blasphemy” we affirm, (and we challenge contradiction,) no period in the history of Christendom, will compare with the last fifty years. It was in A. D. 1792, just fifty years ago, since atheistic France made a general boil-fire of the Scriptures, – designated Jesus Christ as “the wretch,”— pronounced death to be an eternal sleep, —and bowed themselves before the shrine of a prostitute, as a personification of the goddess of reason 1 And, to a similar, yea, and to a more fearful consummation, is the tendency of every existing species of heretical blasphemy, however modified its present form. We pass to the next of the above characteristics of the age, – viz., that of being, 6. “Disobedient to parents.” In the broad sense, of parents there are several orders, which we shall classify as follows: God is our heavenly, our spiritual Father, — “the powers which be,” in the state, constitute our national or political : ther — in the church, our ecclesiastical father, — in the departments of education, our teachers may be called fathers — and, our parents are our natural father and mother. Now, in illustration of that disobedience towards God as our heavenly, our spiritual Father, which characterizes these “last days,” turn back and read the 4th article in
1. James iv., 13 — 16. i 2. Exod. v., 2. 3. See the 9th, and 13th of William III., Chap. 32. 4. 2 Pet. ii. 1.
this category. Of the others, whether of the civil magistracy, or the sacred orders of the ministry, as spiritual rulers, or of teachers, how evident the disposition among all classes of subordinates to “despise government,” and “dominion” and to “speak evil of dignities " " And, “in regard to disobedience to matural parents, it is a circumstance so commonly noticed by persons at all observant of the moral character of the age, as especially belonging to the present times, that it requires no further comment. A great declension has been noticed in this respect in the last half-century, as compared with the times immediately preceding. Indeed I fear, that it would now provoke the laughter of many, were they to be seriously reminded, that the sons and daughters of patriarchal times rose up before their parents and superiors, and did them homage.” " Filial insubordination may be traced to the following and similar causes.—A rejection of the headship of the family compact" — neglectofparental discipline, so that parents have now come to treat their children with the familiarity of brothers and sisters, rather than of sons and daughters; and to make it a moral question, whether it be right to coerce or to chastise them:" the effect of which is to engender, first, disrespect, and second, contempt. And, this disposition of mind once
1. 2 Pet. ii. 10, |2. Jude 8. 3. Gen. xxi. 31; 1 Kings ii. 19; Lev. xix, 32. 4. 1 Pet. iii., 1–6; Eph. v. 22, 24. 5. Compare Heb. xii., 9, 10; Prov. xxix. 15; xxii., 15, with x., 13; xiii., 24.
gaining the ascendancy over the mind of a child, it grows with his growth and strengthens with his strength, till, passing through all the intermediate grades of insubordination, it reaches the throne of God . We pass to the next article. Men should be, 7. “Unthankful.” The spirit of disobedience, of insubordination to the powers which be, as comprehending the various orders from our natural parents up the great Parent of all, coming in contact with those of “boasting,” and “pride,” (see articles 3 and 4,) its natural allies, begets that feeling of independence which says, “My power, and the might of mine hand hath gotten me these things?” Hence men are “unthankful.” Are our national fasts in times of calamity treated by the mass with neglect and derision. Our national thanksgivings are converted into seasons of inordinate indulgence. And, viewed as a religious act, how often is the public or family “grace before meat” followed by “the Non Nobis Domine, after the repast?” And, in offering up prayers in the great congregation at the request “of persons under affliction or
in sickness, how few out of the number restored are
found to return thanks! Alas ! though “ten may - be cleansed, there is found only one to return thanks to God.” Above all, see this spirit of ingratitude on the part of the people to their God and Saviour in all our churches, on those Sundays devoted to the commemoration of the sufferings and death of our Lord in the holy Eucharist. See the dying love of Christ
1. Deut. viii., 17. 2. Luke xvii., 17.
in the redemption of the world as then and there slighted, by the crowds who refuse to “draw near with faith, and partake of that holy Sacrament.” 8. “ Unholy.” Let it not be forgotten that the Apostle is treating of those who have “a form of godliness.” Nor is it difficult to describe such. Their language is not how much of self-sacrifice will it “cost” me to be a Christian? but how far may I conform myself to the maxims and customs of the world, and still retain the Christian name Hence such are ever ready to denounce as puritanical and enthusiastic, every grade of religious character that rises above their standard. Some of them have conformed outwardly to ALL the ordinances and rites of the Church—Baptism, Confirmation, and the Lord's Supper. But the unholiness of the age may be inferred from the low and worldly views and motives which actuate many in seeking admission thereto, and especially of those who though they have been baptized and confirmed, yet abstain frem the holy communion, because “it does more solemnly engage them to that holiness which they are resolved not follow after.” They have a name to live, but they are dead.” They “profess to know God, but in works deny him.”* Oh, how great, we fear, is the number of such ! Another predicted characteristic of these times is, that men should be, 9. “Without natural affection.” The time was, when children were considered a “gift and heritage
1. Sce Matt. vii., 21; xvi., 24.; Luke xiv., 28. 2. Rev. iii., 1. 3. Titus i., 16.