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for an amelioration of civil government. At the first Advent, there was a general expectation that a great Prince was to arise, and sit upon the throne of David : hence the visitation of the wise men to Jerusalem, and their adoration of the new-born Monarch. Now, also, a star is seen by the Magi of the political world, and a confident expectation is abroad, that all despotic governments are soon to be abolished; and civil institutions, based upon the principles of equality and popular privilege, are to be erected on their ruins. As the voice which proclaimed from heaven the glory of Christ, (Jno. xii: 28,) was not equally intelligible to all, some believing it the voice of God, and others the result of natural causes, and therefore " said that it thundered ;” so the sound that is now through all the earth,” even the rumbling of the mighty car, whose swift, revolving wheels, cause the pillars of the earth to shake, and the thrones of earthly power to totter on their base ; this note of alarm, this tocsin of universal war, is, to the saints, that voice of God which once shook the earth, and concerning which, it is said, “ Yet once more, I shake not the earth only, but also heaven; and this word, yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, that the things that cannot be shaken may remain ;' even the everlasting kingdom of God; while to the uninitiated in respect to the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, this commotion is the result of natural causes in the political world, and destined to usher in an era of equitable law, civil liberty, and earthly glory.
The thunder is loud enough to be distinctly heard by all, that have ears to hear; but it requires ears that have been circumcised to distinguish its tones of denunciation to a guilty world, and consolation to the “weary saint as he sighs for home."
At the commencement of the Messianic dispensation, the recipients of evangelical faith were of humble origin, and of modest pretensions; while the despisers of their hope, the crucifiers of the Lord of glory, were exalted in station, and learned in the law. Thus, at the present crisis of human affairs, when the messianic reign is about to be established, the advocates of His immediate coming are but humble instrumentalities employed by the Head of the Church; and talent seems to be created for the occasion: thus demonstrating that passage of scripture which says; "Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called ;” while, on the other hand, the scoffers at our faith, the disbelievers in the blessed hope, are in stations of worldly honor, and pecuniary emolument; men who enjoy preëminence in the Church; so that it may be said, as in olden time, “Have
of the rulers believed on Him?"
Says Jesus to his disciples, "Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.” (Matt. xiii: 16.) This benediction is pronounced on them after being assured it was their high prerogative “to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven;" while to the stubborn Jews it was not given; for their ears were dull of hearing, and their eyes had they closed, etc. “Henceforth I call you not servants,” says Jesus, " for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth, but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you." (Jno. xv: 15.) “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto his servants the
prophets.” (Amos iii : 7.) Thus we find it a principle of the divine administration, that the evolutions of light in the unfoldings of that economy, are to be clearly perceived by the adherents to “the present truth.” Those who are identified with the economy of grace, constituting the agencies through which truth is evolved, and disseminated, must of necessity comprehend the light, which they are the organs of communicating; and understand the truth, which they are the instruments of eliciting from the oracles, and extending for the condemnation of the world, and the edification of the Church. Thus we find that in the entire history of redemption thus far, prophets have been raised up to foretell coming events; and when those events actually transpire, other servants are endowed with wisdom from on high to recognize and point out the fulfilment of those prophetic delineations. Otherwise, how could the
be accom: plished ? Since the days of miraculous development, what instrumentalities are to be employed to enlighten the world, and give the signal of impending danger, and direct the church to her appropriate position, if uninspired men are not to know the will of God, and understand the unfoldings of the gracious plan?
In the destruction of the antediluvian world, and that of the cities of the plain, we have two great, prominent events, which stand forth on the record as everlasting monuments of God's displeasure on the one hand, and merciful interposition on the other; and these two events are held up by our Saviour as beacon lights to the Church in subsequent ages, as precedents of a coming day, developing and establishing princi
ples of the divine economy, and illustrating the dealings of our heavenly Father, both with the righteous and the wicked. And we are expressly told, that in those instances, while the wicked knew not” the approaching judgment, and were reckless and insensate as the adamantine rock, in relation to the appalling scenes of desolation before them, the righteous were apprised, not only of the event, but of the time of its occur
They were “not in darkness, that that day should overtake them as a thief.” Thus, in every age, those who have enjoyed most intimate union with the Head of the Church, who have been in harmony with God's moral government, have been also identified with His “present truth,” and understood the developments of the divine economy at the passing hour; so that they could say with Peter, “this is that which was spoken by the prophet.” It is not in God" to slay the righteous with the wicked; and that the righteous should be as the wicked ; that be far from thee,” said the patriarch. Truly as the electric spark darts instantly from one conducting medium to another, and is never attracted by substances that are non-couductors of the fluid ; just so certainly the bolts of heavenly light on the purposes of God, proceeding from His throne, strike on the hearts of true believers; but are repelled from those who are filled with unbelief.
At the epoch of the flood, “Noah being warned of God, of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by which he condeinned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” When the awful catastrophe overwhelmed Sodom and Gomorrah, righteous
Lot was divinely forewarned of approaching danger, and fled to the mountains for refuge. On the deliverance of the Jews from Egypt, the same kind interposition of God's hand was manifest; and the seed of Abraham knew the day of their release, and made preparation for their journey to Canaan. The same principle was verified at the destruction of Jerusalem. Those who were identified with the truth, as it is in Jesus, discerned the signs of approaching ruin ; and when Jerusalem was encompassed with armies, fled to Pella and were saved ; while those who were alienated from God by wicked works, were involved in one universal scene of horror, desolation and ruin.
We are authorized by the laws of analogy to look for a complete development of the same principle of the divine economy, even in our day; for “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants, the Prophets.” But on this subject we are not left to the conjectures of men. God has been pleased to give explicit directions and distinctive tokens, by which the Church may know her position, when in proximity to the glorious consummation of their hope. In the ever-memorable discourse delivered on the Mount of Olives, Jesus forewarned his disciples of the prominent scenes of trial and affliction through which they were to pass, and the events that were to transpire as harbingers of approaching deliverance. He predicted “wars and rumors of wars,” that nation should rise against nation, "kingdom against king. dom,” that there should be “pestilences,” “ famines” and “ earthquakes in divers places,” that the saints should be delivered up to be persecuted ; and finally