Page images

vent heat of which will melt the elements of which the earth is composed. And it seems natural to imagine that the fire destined to produce this conflagration, and now perhaps imprisoned beneath the soil on which we tread, will often, as if impatient for a vent, make frequent eruptions, before God finally permits it to break out to execute his work of vengeance. Such eruptions will cause earthquakes. And these minor terrors are to be regarded as harbingers of that last destruction, which shall be accomplished, when the Lord of hosts shall arise to shake terribly the earth. It is perhaps by means of these convulsions, that the Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea, and shall smite the river into seven streams." Thus we also learn that in that day, when God shall punish the host of high ones that are on high, the earth shall be utterly broken, that it shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage.” The prophet Joel declares that the Lord shall roar from Zion, and the heavens and the earth shall shake.” Zachariah foretels, that at the coming of the Lord the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst, towards the east and towards the west, and there shall be a very great vallay." But St. John, in the book of the Revelation, is still more explicit: upon the pouring out of the seventh vial, “there were voices, thunders, lightnings, and a great earthquake.” (4.) Other phenomena also, or the predicted “wonders in the heavens, and signs in the earth, blood, and fire, and vapour, and smoke, it is more than conjectural have been, and are still receiving their fulfilment in the appearance of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, respecting which the following appropriate effusion, from the pen of a poet of promise, is here inserted:—

1. Isaiah xi. 15. 2. Isaiah xxiv. 19–23. 3. Joel iii. 4. 4. Zech. xiv. 16 5. Rev. xvi. 18.

“Ye gorgeous visions of the Northern sky,
Mysterious and sublime!
Who lit your brilliant light on high?
Stream ye alone in idle revelry,
Alone, oe'r cloudy clime;
Without an aim, or nature, more
Than mortal vision can explore?

Or have ye some high, unknown ministry?
Whence sprang ye into birth
In distant realms unseen 7
Or claim ye sisterhood with earth?
And will your strange ethereal sheen
Fade with her fading sphere 3

Man's wisdom has not told—
Ye are a MystERY,
Which time perhaps shall ne'er unfold;
Philosophy, whose eagle pinion bold
Has conquered space, and brought the planets near
To her expecting eye,
Has sought in vain to fathom you,
Or tell the office that ye do.

Ye are of later date—

Say, are ye for a sign,

Lit by the hand Divine,
Whence earth should read her coming fate?

Signs shall be set in heaven,
And wonders meet the eye,

And flaming prodigies be given
Within the upper sky.

Ye may be such—yet man would be
Most backward thus to interpret ye,
Who glides in blind security,
Down time's exhausting tide;
Puts far away the evil day,;
Or dreams that he shall dwell for aye,
In all his lust and pride.

Whate'er ye are, ye have an aim,
For HE has lit your wondrous flame,
Who fashions not a flower in vain.
And howe'er fruitlessly we pry,
Into your inward mystery,
One feature still is plain–
Like as in all his works, sublime or fair,
We trace the glories of the GoDHEAD there.”*

Respecting these, a late writer remarks, – “And can it be doubted, that the signs in nature — in the heavens and in the earth — have for some time been appearing 2 We have seen the appearance in the heavens of “blood and fire, and vapour of smoke.” No words could be used to give an idea of the Northern Lights, as they are called, more fitly than these. They so exactly answered the scripture prophecy, as, at first, to occasion great alarm; but, becoming frequent, now scarcely attract the eye of curiosity.”* I would add, e'er we treat this subject with a spirit of incredulity or in a way of trifling evasion, would it not be well to ask, what, in our view, admitting that the Scriptures teach us to expect that the closing scene of time is to be receded by certain natural phenomena, would approach nearer thereto than the above 7 And, who will, who can deny, but that the world appears

* Isaac Gray Blanchard, from the “Brother Jonathan.”

“To toll the death-bell of its own decease,
And by the voice of all its elements
To preach the gen'ral doom. When were the winds
Let slip with such a warrant to destroy 7
When did the waves so haughtily o'erleap
Their ancient barriers ?—

* These northern lights “ appeared in this part of the world early in the present century, just above the Northern Horizon; and about the same time, in much the same manner, they appeared in Europe. They, or something very similar, a few times at some periods, had been observed before, viz., 1621, Sept. 2, they were observed a 1 over France. 1581 they appeared in Germany, in an extraordinaryl manner in April and Sept., and in a less degree at some other times the same year; and the year before, 1580, they were there observed seven times. 1575 they were seen twice in Brabant, February 13, and September 28, 1574 they were observed in England, two nights successively, November 14th and 15th; and also October 7th, 1564, and January 30, 1560. And, there were several such like appearances in the age immediately preceding the destruction of Jerusalem. Before the beginning of the present century, however, they had not been noticed for near an hundred years; but, from that time, or from March 6, 1716, they became very frequent; and continued gradually to rise, and approach toward the South, apparently, widening and spreading as they advanced, and about the middle of this century often reached the Zenith of New England; and at length have proceded so far South, or have risen so high, as to be seen sometimes in the West-Indies.”

Fires from beneath, and meteors from above, Portentous, unexampled, unexplained, Have kindled beacons in the skies; and th' old And crazy earth has had her shaking fits More frequent, and foregone her usual rests. The pillars of our planet seem to fail, And nature with a dim and sickly eye To wait THE close of ALL | " 11. As another “Sign” of the times, we refer you to the predicted approaching overthrow of the Turkish Empire, or the drying up of the mystic Euphrates. Here, as though all the preceding “Signs” so to speak, were to fail in awaking the attention of Christians to the awful CRISIs at hand, the Almighty has furnished us with a “Sign” that meets the eye and the ear at every turn. I mean, the present rapid decay and approaching ruin of the Turkish or Ottoman Empire. This Empire, before its consolidation under Othman, was divided into four SULTANIEs, having for their capitals Bagdad, Damascus, Aleppo, and Iconium. These Sultanies were the “Angels” which were “bound in the great river Euphrates,” being for a long time confined to its banks by the agency of the Crusades. But, the Apocalyptic “Sixth Angel who had the trumpet,” was commanded to “loose these four Angels,” for an appointed time. And, we now observe, that this appointed time is defined and limited, even to a day ! “And the four Angels were loosed, who were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a wear, for to slay the third part of men.” Interpret

1. Rev. ix. 14, 15.

« PreviousContinue »