Page images
PDF
EPUB

evidence aside, they will be little moved by the profusion of odious names which are so easily applied, and which have, in this case been so liberally bestowed. But, notwithstanding of the general indifference manifested, and the violent opposition some have made unto them, as these doctrines become more fully known, they are also more generally received. The prepossessions of men have been made to yield to the power of divine truth. On the continents both of Europe and America, the doctrine of Christ's Speedy Personal Return has made considerable progress. In England,

A distinguished clergyman from the city of New York, when on a visit to this country a few months ago, expressed his surprise at finding this doctrine so extensively advocated among us. He had supposed its propagation more particularly confined to the United States of America, where, he stated, it " has gone the length and breadth of the land.” And the F'dinburgh Christian Instructor for June, (1830,) contains the translation of a speech delivered in the palace of Gottorf, by his Serene Highness, Charles, Landgrave of Hesse, in 1829, at the Annual Meeting of the Sleswick and Holstein Bible Society, which is almost wholly occupied with a statement of his views of the Redeemer's Speedy Personal Return. The prince is father-in-law to the present king of Denmark, and is described as “a very old and a very worthy man," and apparently “ imbued with deep religious feelings.” In his expectation of the Second Advent of Christ, the translator considers him as " very sincere, talking of it as at once certain and near; and regretting in the niost pathetic manner that the natural term of life must prevent him from witnessing it.” It will be gratifying to friends to perceive from the following passages how accurate are his views, and how similar are the arguments advanced, to those urged among ourselves. «s Can we repress our astonishment,” he asks, " when we look at the past time so utterly irreligious—in which the Bible especially, as the only true foundation of the Christian religion, was derided, ridiculed, and almost entirely rejected; and at the excellent use now made of the divine bcok, to scatter the light of the gospel over the whole earth? Can we fail to perceive in it the wise direction of Providence? Does not the thought enter your minds? Is not his Second Coming, spoken of by our Lord to his disciples, now near, since the appointed sign by him has appeared!"

“ Mat. xxiv. 3. His disciples asked him, 'What will be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, (verse 14,) And the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come.'

“ The disciples considered the coming of our Lord as the end of this world and the commencement of a new, in which, seated on twelve thrones, they should reign over the twelve tribes of Israel. In Rev. xx. 4. an account is also given of these thrones and of the first resurrection of those who had lost their lives for the witness of a

it is now taught from greatly more than an hundred pulpits, and advocated from the press by perhaps half that number of authors. “ The Morning Watch," a Journal published in London, and commenced express. ly for the propagation of these truths, is extensively circulated; and the “ Jewish Expositor" maintains the same views--if with less decision, with less asperity also. Ireland likewise has largely received them ;indeed we have just this moment (Dec. 17th, 1830,) received information that “there can scarcely be less than one hundred clergymen of the Irish Establishment preaching the doctrine regularly.” That island has also furnished several able authors in its support: and, in Dublin, another periodical, confined almost exclusively to the elucidation of Prophecy, is the faithful “ herald” of our Lord's Return.*

Christ, and these, adds St. John, lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.' From this has been taken the idea of a Millennium. But in the 5th verse mention is made of a second resurrection of the dead. The world also will continue and not come to an end. In the 8th verse is the account of Gog and Magog. According to the Asiatic researches, the Tartars claim Magog, the second son of Japhet, the son of Noah, as their progenitor. From the same source spring also the Turks, at least in part, and it appears likewise that these people, occupying at present no small part of the Antichristian kingdom, after the perpetration of great enormities, are about to fall of themselves. :- When our Lord speaks of his kingdom, in Luke xxii. 30, he men. tions distinctly that his disciples should there eat and drink at his table, and sitting on twelve thrones should reign over the twelve tribes of Israel. It is also the account of a worldly kingdom, with which many other passages agree.”

* We feel peculiar pleasure in recommending the Dublin “Christian Herald," to the attention aud patronage of our Millenarian friends. Conducted with great ability and with Christian temper, and communicating in a popular form much information on the questions discussed, it is admirably adapted for general circulation among those whose situation in life precludes their access to more expensive works, or whose education unfits them for comprehending arguments presented in a more abstruse form. At a time when so many of the most eminent Christian authors, in fixing the price of their works, give little heed to the spirit of that peculiar characteristic of their Master's ministry—to the poor the gospel is preached”-it will not be considered unimportant to add, that the work, which is published monthly, is sold cheap. Although now enlarged, the price is only sixpence. It is published by R. M. Tims, Grafton-street, Dublin; and James Nisbet, Berners-street, London ; and we hope that enterprising booksellers in this country may find it their interest largely io introduce it here, where such a work is still a desideratum.

In Scotland, however, an appalling stillness prevails. From some of lier watch-towers the

note of alarm has indeed been heard, in solemn warning of approaching judgments; but how few of the ministers of Jesus have yet lifted up their voice to proclaim their Master's speedy coming, or to call for thankfulness on account of it! When formerly Christ tabernacled on earth, we are told, (Mark xii. 37,) that “ the common people heard him gladly, while the Scribes and Pharisees were his implacable foes. Yet these were most familiar with the Scriptures, and were also faithful in their injunctions with regard to legal observances: “All, therefore, whatsoever they bid you observe," said the Saviour, (Matt. xiii. 3,) " that observe and do.” They also knew the time when, and could tell the place where, the Messiah should be born, yet with awful infatuation did they reject, and persecute to the death, the Lord of glory, entailing ruin upon themselves and upon those who trusted in their false interpretations.*

Since the publication of former editions, the Millenarian cause has indeed received large accessions, both in England and Scotland, from all denominations. Neither the ribalry and ridicule of the profane, nor-what, to a mind rightly exercised, is more painful by far --the indifference and disbelief of the church itself, have prevented the acknowledgment of these truths; and, did the strength of our cause depend in any degree on the opinions of men, the names of not a few might be exhibited, of long-acknowledged and distinguished talent, who have enrolled themselves under the Millenarian banner. The expression of regret in the text has, however, been left unaltered, as the number of those by whom these doctrines are taught from the pulpit in Scotland is still comparatively. “ few.", We rejoice rejoice however that the fierce opposition with which they were even recently met, by men whose ill-regulated zeal allowed them little time for close examination or cool reflection, now begins to subside. A large proportion of our ministers, awed into silence if not convinced in their hearts, already shrink from all regular discussion of the subject; and, except from the anonymous revilers in periodical publications, opposition seldom rises higher than a feeble attempt at argumentation on some clause disconnected from its context, or an occasional unsupported sneer directed against brethren more faithful by far in the discharge of their trust, and haply more candid in the acknowledgment of their convictions. It is also cause for gratitude, that if the number be yet small who faithfully proclaim these truths, God has endowed some of his servants here, as well as in England, with an ardour for his work which has only been inflamed by opposition. Instances of this godly zeal might be adduced, displayed by inclividuals all over the country: but, besides a sense of

But neither the silence nor the opposition of any

of the ministers of Christ should prevent Christians from making a proper improvement of the exemplary punishment inflicted on the Jews, by examining for themselves the scriptures of truth, and watching with care against that spirit of unbelief which will assuredly involve many in a catastrophe still more awful. Not a few who now wonder at the blindness with which the Jews were visited, and the infatuation they displayed in overlooking evidence so full, so various, and so unambiguous, are themselves wilfully shutting their eyes against the clearest light. While we lament that darkness which so beclouded the moral vision of God's ancient people, and prevented their perceiving the promised Messiah in the meek and lowly Jesus; and while we reprobate their criminality in His rejection and accursed death, it becomes us to enquire whether there may not be the tendency to a similar spirit in our unwillingness to believe the predictions of his future glory. Guilt may perhaps be as really contracted by having our attention so completely engrossed by the sufferings and death of Christ, that we disregard or discredit the testimony of God by his prophets concerning the Redeemer's glorious reign, as in being so dazzled by its splendour as not to perceive the necessity of His

gratitude for numerous obligations public and private, the place of eminence he occupies demands from me more than an allusion to the Rev. W. Anderson of Glasgow. From the pulpit and the press, this reverend gentleman has, with fidelity and power, laboured to awaken attention to the Coming Kingdom of Christ, in that great and popu. lous city. Statedly, from month to month, and occasionally also at other times, with much success did he long lift up his warning voice unaided and alone, in testimony to his Lord's Return in Glory, while assailed by the obloquy of the worthless, and suffering from the misrepresentations of his brethren; and, although no longer called in this advocacy to occupy that place of honourable singularity, his efforts are in no degree relaxed by his now enjoying the co-operation of a brother in the ministry, belonging to another section of the Church. When all the slumbering virgins shall have at length bestirred themselves, (and from the Saviour's parable we dare not doubt they will do so,) it will be matter of gratitude to God, and remain a pleasing reflection to himself, that, amid much opposition, he was by his stedfastness made the honoured instrument of awakening many from their lethargy, when others would have lulled them into deeper repose.

death for the redemption of a lost and guilty world, and the glorious display which was thus made of the divine perfections. "If Jewish infidelity, with respect to the humiliation of Christ, has been visited by a punishment so severe, Christians would do well to consider whether there be not an approximation to Jewish glosses in our usual explanations, (if such they can be called,) of predictions concerning the glory that should follow. May not we be as guilty as the Jews, who rejected Him who came to redeem them from the power and consequences of sin, should we be found among those who say in their hearts, “ We will not have this Man to reign over us,” in the manner and at the time He has been pleased to appoint? “Be not high minded, but fear, for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee.” Romans xi. 21. Israel is not finally cast off by God. A remnant is still preserved, to whom His grace shall be manifested, and by whom His power is yet to be signally displayed. But the day of their restoration will be one of awful destruction to their enemies—the enemies of God, and the enemies of men.

SECTION XXVI.

DESTRUCTION OF ANTICHRISTIAN NATIONS.

CONTEMPLATING the period when Judah, now dispersed into every land, by all oppressed, shall be visited by the day-spring from on high; and when Israel, long left to wander in the vain imaginations of their own hearts, outcast from the favour of God and concealed from the observation of men, shall be cleansed from their iniquity and brought into the land of their fathers, which is promised them for an everlasting possession,-anticipating with delight the glories of that blissful day, the Christian will exclaim with the Psalmist,“ Oh! that the Salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When the Lord brings back the captivity of His people, Jacob

« PreviousContinue »