Page images

ordinary avenues to wealth, have, under “a form of godliness,” sought to “make merchandize” of christianity, by erecting large and magnificent places of worship, and supporting a succession of popular pulpit actors, as a matter of mere speculation. 19. “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” It is then assumed that the truth of these predicted characteristics of “the last days,” and of their special applicability to our own times, none will pretend either to gainsay or resist; and if there is anything in these premises calculated to impose a more than ordinary tax upon our credulity, it would seem to be this—that so many, both in theory and practice, should deny not only, but in heart despise religion, and yet invest themselves with its outward “form.” See this exemplified in almost every religious organization of the day, where the true principles of the gos. pel are made subservient to personal name and influence and wealth, “because of advantage.” No. “There is in the present age no want of high patronage, when solicited, for our various evangelical institutions; no deficiency of persons to take the chair, and preside on religious occasions; no want of the form of churchgoing, baptism, &c.; but the very men who can thus far approve religion, and “do many things gladly,” betray either a smile of contempt or a feeling of repugnance,” the moment you speak of religion as imparting spiritual power to the soul of the believer. Nor is this all. What is of more common occurrence in these days, than the cry of, “PERsecution?” by the various heretical sects, e.g., Deists, modern Unitarians, Socinians, Universalists, German Neologists, &c., because, forsooth, we withhold from them all right to the Christian name. Of this however, we can no longer (comparatively) complain, when various systems of perverted philosophy is employed in sowing anew the seeds of ATHEIsM, under the pre text of promoting Christianity. Here then, under the influence of the all-potent alembic of modern liberalism, we have Heretics, of every name, and Infidels, and Atheists, though differing widely from each other, yet joining issue in laying claim to and using the Christian name ! “HAv1NG A ForM of GoDLINEss, BUT DENYING THE Power. THEREof.” We do therefore most solemnly affirm, and challenge contradiction, that the above Pauline prediction of the marks of Christian apostacy of “THE LAST DAYs,” if they have any meaning, and if they apply to any age, their import is verified to a fearful extent throughout Christendom at this very moment; and consequently, that they apply to our own times. Yes, that this is most emphatically THE TIME that the apostle in 2 Tim. iv., 3, predicted would come, when “men would not endure sound doctrine; but that after their own lusts they should heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” Heaven prepare the humble few of the faithful in Christ Jesus, to meet with becoming composure and fortitude the consummation of these mysterious workings of iniquity, in the establishment in his seat of the last Anti-Christian power . We pass, 4. To the predicted prevalence of Scoffers in these last times, as another “Sign,” designed to indicate the speedy appearance of the son of man in clouds. Says St. Peter, “there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, where is the promise of his coming's For since the father's fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the Creation.” Nor, sad to tell, is even this class necessarily and exclusively confined to the unbelieving world. Would God it were so! But, how many professing Christians, forgetting that “the Lord is not slack concerning his promises,” that the faithful in Christ Jesus shall in due time inherit that “New heavens and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness; ”’’ join with the Infidel scoffer and say, “where is the promise of his coming?” What “Signs" are to be given that he will so come 3 Ah, none so blind as those who will not see. Alas, for such is reserved the greater condemnation.” 5. The fifth Pre-millenial advent “Sign” is, the universal spread of the Gospel among all nations, Says our Lord, “This Gospel of THE KING DoM shall be preached as a witn Fss among all nations, and then shall the END come.” Mark — as a witness — not as the instrument of the conversion of all nations — “for, this glorious and immense accession to the kingdom of our Redeemer is an achievement reserved for the Millenial age”—See on this subject the first fourteen verses of the sixtieth chapter of Isaiah. The question then is, has the gospel been a witness for the truth of God to ALL nations, or has it not 2 “If we look over a map of the world, and the reports of the different Missionary and Bible Societies, we shall find it difficult to place our finger on one spot of the globe where the glorious gospel of the blessed God has not been sent.”* This remarkable Sign, says Mr. Thorp of Liverpool, in his Destinies of the British Empire, moving with speed and majesty in the spiritual heaven of the Universal Church, and indicating the coming of the Lord, is visible to ALL nations ; for the symbolical angel takes wing immediately before the days of vengeance. And it is remarkable, that these noble institutions of Christian benevolence originated in Great Britain, at the momentous crisis when the papal kingdoms began to shake under the visitations of Divine wrath in 1793. Yes, my brethren, it was amidst the rage and madness of Atheism, -amidst the horrors and chaos of anarchy and revolution, — that these societies rose with placid dignity; combining, as they rose, the wealth, the talents, the influence, and the energies of myriads of Christians, in various nations and of all denominations, in one generous ef. fort to rescue the heathen world from the bondage of corruption.”

1. Jude 16.

1. 2 Pet. iii., 1–4. 2. Isa. lxv., 17. 3. Matt. xxiii., 14.

1. Thorp's Destruction of the British Empire, p. 76. 2. Hooper's Criss, p. 7, 8. 3. See Note, Thorp p. 77.

- It is believed, therefore, that this “Sign” has performed its entire circuit among the nations. 6. Indulgence of some of the worst passions of our nature, by professing Christians, is another predicted “Sign” of the Second Advent as nigh at hand. “Then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.” Diversities of opinion, to say nothing of articles of faith among Christians, possess, inherently, the elements of disunion. And those elements have at times appeared in outbursts of extreme virulence. But, we venture to affirm, that in no instance has such acrimony, such a vituperative and denunciatory spirit exhibited itself as in that of a difference of opinion among Christians regarding the time of our Blessed Lord and Saviour's Second Advent. In various parts of England, pulpits have been closed against the advocates of the pre-millenial advent of Jesus, by brethren of the same faith in all other respects, because they viewed that event as Post-millenial Periodical expositors of Prophecy, conducted according to the rules of interpretation founded on this principle, have also been denounced in the most unmeasured terms. And, what is true of England, in both these respects, is true also of our own country. - Brethren, I mean not to turn Prophet myself—no, far from it. But, mark ye, – as this truth of the Pre-millenial advent of Jesus, with its kindred topics is studied, and believed, and advocated, you will receive abundant additional illustrations of the truth of this predicted “sign” of these last times.

1. Matt. xxiv., 10,

« PreviousContinue »