« הקודםהמשך »
A. D. 1798, but the papacy was not broken then; to break it, requires more than the imprisonment of the pope ; and not only is it still a persecuting power, but in many respects stronger since the French Revolution than before, and on the increase, we are told, in such Protestant strongholds as England and this country.”
There was no prediction made previous to 1798, which required any event in that year as a fulfillment of such prediction, therefore “ the papal pow. er in their scheme” was not“ to be broken” in 1798; but since that year has passed away, it has been found that the events of that date are so in accordance with the predictions of events that were to mark the termination of the papal power over the saints of the Most High, that ii has been made one of the great landmarks in prophetic chronology, which has shown us, where, on the stream of time, our bark is floating. That the power of the Pope over the lives of the Protestants then ceased, has not been denied; and that is all that is claimed for the loss of his power to fulill this prophecy. If it was not still a persecuting power, it could not be the “litile horn” of Dan 7th, for that was to make war with the saints, and prevail against them, until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High. Its existance, as such a persecuting power, therefore, cannot denote the failure of any part of this scheme, but is rather a confirmation of it.
The prediction of the downfall of Turkey, is spoken of as another failure. “Again they say the Turkish power was to be broken in the summer of A. D. 1840, and for the result they refer to the interference of the Allied Powers, at that time, in the political affairs of Turkey. But Turkish independence no more ceased then, than French independence ceased, when the same Allied Powers did more violence to France, invading her capital, and giving her one monarch in the place of another."
The entire subversion of that government was never expected at that time, but only “ a voluntary surrender of Mohamedan supremacy.” This it is believed has been proved to have been fulfilled. The Turkish Sultan now only reigns by the sufferance of the Christian powers of Europe, and not as an independant Mahomedan prince. Mahomedanism can no longer carry terror to the hearts of any in Christendom; and it is no more contrary to the fulfillment of that calculation, that the Turkish sultan should remain upon his throne by the consent of Europe, than it was for Deacozes, the Greek monarch, to continue in the same manner on his throne, by permission of Amureth, for four years after he had voluntarily relinquished his supremacy. The reference to the French revolution is just in point. The government of Napoleon was opposed to the legal heir of the French throne. When therefore the Allied powers defeated him, and placed the legal heir on the throne, French suprernacy was not gone, but the supremacy of Jacabinism ceased in France.
There are two reflections drawn from this subject, p. 279-281. The first is, that “ If it is not for us to know the times or the seasons, we shall do well not to agitate questions of this nature. If such
knowledge does not belong to us, neitber is it our business to seek such knowledge.”
It will also follow, if such knowledge does belong to us, that it is our business to seek such knowledge. Such knowledge can only be sought successfully by prayer, and the study of God's holy word. God has revealed nothing in His Word, but what is desira. ble for man to know, and in protestant countries the study of God's revealed will is encouraged. We find no evil threatened in the Bible upon any who search that book, although they should search as for hid treasures ; but there is a blessing pronounced upon him “that readeth, and they that hear the words of this” Apocalypse, “and keep those things which are written therein ;” and the reason that is given, is, “ for the time is at hand.” To refuse to endeavor to know and understand what is thus revealed, would seem to be treating with indifference and disrespect, and to undervalue, that which “ the LORD God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show unto his servants."
As the opinion has prevailed that the Prophecies could not be understood, they have been greatly neglected; but is there not reason to fear that if the infidel is culpable for neglecting the whole of the Bible, that we are in proportion culpable if we neglect a part ? The celebrated Hugh M'Neile of England says,
" Yet whole books of God's sacred word are left unstudied and unexpounded. Texts are selected as mottos, and human compositions brilliantly framed are annexed to them, containing occasional quota
tions from the Scripture, and spiritual adaptacions of texts to the experience of Christians or the doctrines of the Gospel, instead of selling forth God's word in the first place, with occasional comments to elucidate and enforce it; but the mind of the Spirit of God in the context is not sought after, the primary application of the language, as a whole, is not elucidated. Hence, in the midst of the riches of evangelical piety, it is to be feared that there is a deplorable poverty of scriptural information. The legitimate consequence is, intermittent excitement, rather than progressive holiness. It may readily be admitted that there are many parts of Scripture, a knowledge of which is not essential to a mere escape from wrath: but who will venture to say, that any portion of truth in the word of God is not essential to progress in sanctification ? For what pur. pose, then, is it written?—and for what purpose do we combine to circulate it far and wide ? Why do we protest against scriptural extracts, if we after all practically confiae ourselves to extracts? Why would we refuse, for ourselves or our people, Bibies from which Hosea, Micah, Zechariah, the Apocalypse, were suppressed, when we practically suppress from ourselves and our people, those books? I would therefore, my Reverend Brethren, with affectionate freedom, exhort you to expository preaching.
* I do venture, with all singleness of heart, to counsel you to a wide course of study; for I fear exceedingJy that in the midst of outward activity there is comparatively little real scriptural ballast: and in the midst of the richness of evangelical piety, there is still to be found great poverty of scriptural information. It is on this account that those who attempt to expound the Scriptures are charged with advancing new things-charged with nóvelties-because they attempt to expound the hitherto unexplored mines of the sacred prophetic volume. It is not because these things are new, but because they have not been attended to, that they appear new; and therefore, by all who desire ibai the whole word of God should be expounded, we would earnestly deprecate the charge of novelty against those who are aiming at the redemption of these neglected portions of the word of God, and are bring. ing them forth to the observation and faith of the church. It is, I believe, my Reverend Brethren, on this very account that certain subjects of PROPHECY have met with so much opposition. It was thought at first sight to be a departure from the simplicity of the Gospel; and often while elucidating a chapter of Isaiah, or Jeremiah, we have been told that we were not preaching the Gospel. Surely if sanctification be by the truth, and all the wurd of God be truth, all of it-although in a certain sense it may be said there are many paris, the knowledge of which is not essential 10 personal escape from wrath-is essential to a progress in sanctification. Why has God given it all ? And why, may we not ask, is the church so low in her standard and char. acter? Is it not because the materials for sancufi. cation have not been fully gone into ? The materials have not been supplied, and consequently the fire has not burned bright. I would, therefore, with affectionate freedom, exhort my brethren 10 the study of the prophetic portions of Scripture.”
* * *
With the closing reflection of the sermon under review, p. 281, we fully accord, viz. “ It becomes us to live in habitual readiness for the end of our probation. Whenever the present dispensation may terminate, and however the glorious reign of Christ may be ushered in, there is a temper of heart and a way of life which may prepare the living for that day, while yet they cannot learn its dale; just as there is a preparation for death, which depends not on any knowledge of its approach. And since, for every individual, probation ends with life, as truly