« PreviousContinue »
most fearfully ruinous. Witness the recent, and now almost daily occurrences of outbreaks of popular commotion among us; and what, I ask, remains but to snap in sunder the cobweb bands which now confine these “roaring waves of the sea” within certain limits, when Democracy, degenerating into a universal anarchy, like a desolating tornado, shall sweep over this now fair and beautiful garden of the new world, and
leave not a wreck behind."
9. But we pass to another “sign;" it is this: "The unusual determination of the dominant nations of Europe to maintain the mutual relations of peace;' a verification of what the apocalyptic "angel " whom John "saw ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God," and who "cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea," said, "Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads."! Now, is it not remarkable that in the month of July, 1840, the confederated powers of England, Russia, Austria, and Prussia united in staying the ravages of the usurper, Mehemet Ali, against his Syrian master, the Sultan ; which, unchecked, would doubtless have deluged that whole country in a sea of blood. Equally ineffectual thus far have been all those exciting topics mooted between England and our own country, to ultimate an open war. And though to this general state
1. Rev. vii., 2.
of national repose there may be the exception of
wars and rumors of wars," as between England and China, yet the present tranquillized state of the four allied powers, sufficiently indicates God's care of his chosen ones, and serves to give them the assurance that not a hair of their head shall perish. Yes, the redeemed of the Lord, collected together from the four corners of the earth, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in his kingdom ; and “the four angels to whom power is given to hurt the earth and the sea,” will have nought to do but to turn upon and devour each other! With this sign before us, therefore, my dear brethren, let our humble prayer be, “that we may be counted worthy to escape all these things, and to stand before the Son of Man.” 1
This tranquillized state of the European and other nations, however, will be but of short continuance. Indeed, the present shaking of the nations indicate the speedy fulfilment,
10. Of these predicted signs of our Lord, Matt. xxiv., 6, 7, of " wars and rumors of wars,” accompanied with famine, and pestilence, and earthquakes in divers places, together with those mentioned Acts ii. 19., of “ wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come.”
(1) “With regard to wars, it is unnecessary to
enlarge. This species of trouble being every where threatened. The prediction of the battle of Armageddon, (whatever may be the nature of that event) is familiar to every student of prophecy. When "the kings of the earth are gathering together their armies against the Lamb;" I when the heathen shall furiously rage together, and the people imagine a vain thing ;" : and before the occurrence of that battle, which shall be, “not with confused noise, and with garments rolled in blood, but with burning and fuel of fire ;” 3 we may surely believe, that "the nations will be angry," that the passions of men will be roused, and that the whole earth shall be rife with wars and with rumors of wars.
(2.) Next, with regard to famines and pestilences. When God executes judgment upon a guilty nation, he often shows the extent of his power by the variety of calamities which he inflicts. It is not by war mereiy that he brings down their strength, but he arms the very elements of nature against them. Ezekiel enumerates four sore judgments—the famine, the sword, the pestilence, and the noisome beast; and he threatens, that when the wickedness of men shall have provoked God to inflict them, the presence even of a Daniel, a Job, or a Noah shall not avail to the preservation of a guilty nation. Many perished by famine when Jerusalem was destroyed by the king of Babylon; and afterwards, when it was destroyed by Titus. And Gibbon has remarked the frequency with which fa
1. Rev. xvii.
2. Psalm ii.
3. Isa. ix.
mines, pestilences and earthquakes occurred during the reign of Justinian, under whom the saints of Christ were given into the hands of the little horn. We might, therefore, conclude, a priori, that in the execution of the last judgments upon apostate Christendom, God would pursue the same course; and that the sword would be accompanied by other plagues, such as famines, pestilences, and earthquakes. And this conclusion is confirmed by many passages in the prophetic books of the Old Testament.
One passage which I shall quote, extends from Isa. viii, 21, to ix. 7. The prophet speaks of a great tribulation, during which the conflict takes place when the rod of the oppressor shall be broken as in the day of the Midian, and after which the kingdom of Christ shall be established. And in chap. viii, 21, mention is made of men who shall be “hardly bestead and hungry; and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and shall look upward."
Another passage I shall adduce is Isaiah xlii. 15. This chapter is evidently prophetic of Christ's kingdom. After declaring how the Lord, who had long refrained himself, would at last go forth, like a mighty man, and stir up jealousy like a man of war, he then subjoins these threatening words : "I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs; and I will make the rivers islands, and dry up their pools. And I will bring the blind by a way that they know not; I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight." This evidently implies that
God will for a time withdraw the bounties of providence, and thus bring days of straitness and trouble upon the earth, before that final restoration of the Jews, the glory of which shall so far surpass their former deliverance out of Egypt, that that deliverance shall be, in comparison, deemed scarce worthy of remembrance.'
Another passage I shall adduce is Ezekiel xxviii. 20, to the end. This prophecy is addressed to Zidon, but no one can read it without perceiving that it must belong to some future Zidon, which shall be flourishing on the earth in the latter days. The promises contained in the last two verses are applicable only to the millennial state ; and in the 23rd verse God threatens that he will send a pestilence and blood into her streets, and thus make her know that he is the Lord.
Other passages might be adduced bearing on the same point. I shall, however, notice only one more, viz. Rev. xvii. 8. It is said of Babylou, “Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death (i. e. pestilence) mourning, and lamine, and she shall be utterly burned with fire. For strong is the Lord God who judgeth ner.”
From the attentive consideration of these passages we learn that famines and pestilences will constitute a portion of the bitterness of that unparalleled tribulation which as yet awaits the world, and which will precede the establishment of Christ's kingdom.
(3.) And, lastly, with regard to earthquakes. We know that the last judgement will be by fire, the fer
1. Jeremiah xxiii. 7, 8.