« ZurückWeiter »
age when he is crucified afresh, and put to open shame “ in the great city, which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt,” from its dreadful wickedness, and oppressive tyranny & ; whoever shall resist the enticements of deceit, the sword of terror, and the torpor of indifference, “ shall come forth as filver that is tried in the furnace;" for THAT SHALL ENDURE TO THE END, THE SAME SHALL BE SAVED;" 4 faved from the panic and fuffering which shall overspread the kingdom of the first beaft, in this time of her plagues”-saved from the ty. ranny of the second, and be preserved as " wheat, to be gathered into the garner, when the chaff is burnt up before the pres sence of the Lord, when he cometh to establish his everlasting kingdom,” in happiness and glory, according to the promises of God from the beginning of the world.
*8 Thus do I beg leave to interpret the angel's intimation, Rev. xi. and therefore confess my fear that the witnesses are yet to be pain in some way or other, which at present we cannot understand, " in the street of this great city;" by which I understand, the principal seat of the power of the second beast, wherever that may be.
THE comparison of historic facts with Prophecy establishes Revelation, and strength, ens Faith. The examination of Prophecies which relate to present times, particularly interest our feelings, and must be allowed to be a proper exercise for our judgment. But the Prophecies which respect future times, must be considered as objects of our faith, rather than our understanding. A dark veil hangs before them, which the curiosity of man cannot penetrate, nor his ingenuity wholly remove. But though the precise time, and the manner in which the Divine designs will be accomplished, may
be doubtful, mysterious, and unknown, the predictions concerning the events are conspicuous and undeniable, and offer to the pious mind many subjects of devout contemplation. From meditation arise, almost involuntarily, conjectures concerning their completion ; and if these conjectures are accompanied by due humility and caution, they cannot be deemed reprehensible.
We may then pursue this attempt to show the harmony which pervades the whole of Prophecy, and the posibility of reconciling most of the various opinions concerning it, into the regions of futurity, provided we confine our steps to the path prescribed by Scripture for the course of inquiries to which the study of the Prophetic writings, and the passing train of events, directly lead ; and provided we remember, that the utmost reach of our researches can only attain to probability. The astonishing circumstances which have recently and rapidly happened in the European world, would have appeared incredible to the most fagacious fpeculatist, a very few years ago. Changes, now equally unknown, may again come on as speedily as those have done which now excite our wonder, and again
may prove the vanity of human foresight. But " the word of God is sure ;” and every . change will tend to forward those events which are to precede the coming of that
kingdom,” for which we are directed to offer up our daily prayers. Of this we may be confident, however erroneous may be our opinions concerning the operation of these changes ; for “ the Lord will hasten it in his time." I readily confess, however, that the extraordinary circumstances of the present times indicate, in my judgment, the approach of some signal display of Divine power, to justify Divine truth
" in the sight of men.” And, as we are commanded to “ watch the signs of the times,” as we are expressly told, that'" in that day , which shall be neither light nor dark, in the evening it shall be light," I trust I shall stand acquitted of prefumption, though I venture to state some conjectures respecting the probable course of some of these great events, which appear to be now fulfilling the regular course of Prophecy b.
a Zech. xiv. 6,7.
If a sketch of the present state of Europe, with reference to the fulfilment of Prophecy, were to be drawn by simply bringing together, and arranging in their
“ The many and clear Prophecies (says Sir Isaac Newton) concerning the things to be done at Christ's second coming, are not only for predicting, but also for effecting a recovery and re-establishment of the longloft truth, and setting up a kingdom, wherein dwells righteousness. The event will prove the Apocalypse: and this Prophecy, thus proved and understood, will open the old Prophets, and all together will make known the true Religion, and establish it. For he that will understand the old Prophets [relative to the last days]
proper order acknowledged facts that have happened within the last fifty years, unconnected with political opinions as much as the nature of the subject will allow, how striking would be the effect! Such a collection of indisputable facts, selected from different kingdoms, and arising from various causes, considered collectively, would appear to be directed by the hand of Providence to one point, and as assisting in the execution of the one great scheme, which the whole train of Prophecies and events, from the beginning of the world to the present hour, has“ gradually developed, and uniformly promoted : by means, however, fo consistent with man's free will (see the Bishop of Lincoln's Thanksgiving Sermon, 1797, p. 23.) that unless “ his eyes are opened” by Revelation, he never looks beyond his own free-agency, and the supposed effects of chance, to account for the success or failure of thofe plans, which continually feed or difappoint his hopes.