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" hasten our hope," without “deferring" the hope of those who lived long since.
Mr. D. also argues, that " There is reason also to fear that such prospect, however pleasing, might now enervate instead of invigorationg the hearts of good men; as the near prospect of success in any enterprise, where men have a part, often relaxes their vigilance and activity, more than all difficul. ties and delays they have encountered." ib.
It is believed that this has not been found to be the case in the political world ; then why should it in the religious? If any thing could give vigor and energy to any effort, it would seem that a prospect of certain victory would accomplish it. And it would seem that nothing would chill and dampen one's energy more than doubt and uncertainty.
He says, “ supposing, however, the time in question to be not merely the commencement of prevailing holiness on earth, but Christ's personal coming to raise the righteous dead, and to destroy his foes," " the foreknowledge of it must then appear still less desirable. Make the supposition, that God has purposed the event shall take place in the next century, would it be best for the.world to know that it will not come before? Yet if God had revealed it in his word, then, wherever that word has been read in ages past, the righteous might have been made to despond and the wicked to exult in the prospect.”
We reply to this argument, that it could not be the case if such revelation were closed up and sealed till the time of the end;" and we have the testi
mony of Daniel, that such is the case respecting the revelation in question.
“Or,” he says, “make the supposition that God has purposed the event shall take place the next year. Do you rejoice in believing that probation will cease, while not more than a fragment of the whole adult human family will have been saved, rather than in believing that it will continue for an indefinite period, during which, by the greater spread and prevalence of the Gospel, the number of the saved may, on the whole scale of time, come to exceed thai of the lost ?" p. 270.
We reply that the event itself does not depend upon our choice respecting a knowledge of it, and the infinite wisdom of God will do that which is for the best. Besides, we can find no evidence in the word of God that religion is thus to spread and save the majority of the human race, and to hope for the contrary of what God has revealed, would argue a distrust of his wisdom and goodness. The world, when the Son of man is revealed, is described to be in the condition of the world before the flood, and like Sodom and Gomorrah before their destruc. tion. Our Savior assures us that the tares and the wheat will grow together till the end of the world : and-Daniel is told that the “ little horn” will make war against the saints, and prevail against them until the Ancient of Days shall come. The saints are also said to be redeemed out of every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people. These, with other considerations, convince us that when Christ does come, precisely the same scenes will have to be enacted, as will occur if he comes in 1843; so that what would cause us to desire the delay of his coming one year, might cause us to desire it to be delayed forever. Neither can it be delayed for an indefinite period of time, for Daniel is assured that “at the time appointed, the end shall be.”
Any loss of happiness to those who can never have an existence because probation is cut short before their time, can not weigh in this case; whereas the misery which will be thus averted from multitudes who would be born, die, and go to perdition, were time to continue, is quite a consideration. And when we consider that the majority of those who are born, die in their sins—that the great majority of those now alive would all probably die before the world could be converted—that the number of those who are yearly born far out number those who are yearly converted, and that this melancholy proportion will continue to swell the tide of human beings rushing to destruction, so long as probation continues, benevolence and humanity would force us to pray," Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly."
Again, it is asked, " But looking at the supposed event by itself, and not as compared with universal
so soon to arrive, be pleasant and profitable to good men? It must be pleasant to a Christian,' say some, because he will so soon see his Savior.' But this may be said of death, also, and this was the reason Paul gave for desiring death not for desiring the end of the world having a desire to depart and to be with Christ,' counting it 'gain to die,
though to him to live,' was Christ. Yet surely every Christian is not of course eager to die. On the contrary, this world is desirable for him during his allotted time, and Christ's intercession for his followers was, 'I pray not that thou shouldst lake them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil. Because the vision of Christ itself appears inviting, whether by means of death or of his personal coming, we cannot infer that either event would make his people happy at any other than the appointed time, and still less that itwould be desirable for them to foreknow that time."
It is certainly our duty to wait here our appointed time, until our change come; nor have we any right to rush unbidden into the presence of our God. We cannot meet Christ either by a natural death, or by his personal coming, before our appointed time, and therefore we shall not discuss the question, whether such a meeting would conduce to happiness; but none can question but that such a meeting, at the appointed time, would be a happy one. We may therefore desire to know that such appointed time is near. Paul desired death that he might be with Christ, then why may not every Christian desire death for the same reason? We have no right to set our affections on the things of this world, nor to lay up our treasures here, for where our heart is there we shall receive our portion. We are but strangers and pilgrims here, and have no right to look upon this world as our home. Death is how. ever a very different affair from the personal coming of Christ. To die and go into the world of spirits will bring us near to Christ, but the personal coming of Christ will restore all who are his to the earih, restored to its Eden state, in accordance with the covenant God made with our father Abraham, to give him and his seed the land, for an everlasting possession. This is the appearing to which Paul referred when he said, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me AT THAT DAY: and not to me only, but unto all them also that live his appearing,” 2 Tim. iv. 8. Is it not natural that we should desire the approach of that day in which ALL THE RIGHTEOUS are to receive their CROWN ? And can we truly love his appearing without desiring the approach of that day? That appearing can. not be our death, as some contend, for in the 1st verse, the apostle says that Christ will “judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his king. dom."
"Again,” he says, “we are told 'it must be pleasant to be among the living when Christ appears, and thus escape corruption. But says Paul, .We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed;' and you know not what violence there may be in this change, since it must in some way arswer to that death which has passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.'”
As this change is to be “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,” we know that as soon as we are aware of any “violence," all our sufferings will be forever past.