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accused of some political offence, such as belonging to secret societies, and a sort of Star Chamber is composed, not to try, but to condemn. King's vengeance, is the real judge, which, with the bench and paid witnesses, form a tria juncta in uno, worthy of the worst days of the inquisition. In this way hundreds of men have been sent, chained, to the galleys for life, where they are slowly dying under the eye of their Nero. Hundreds more are in prison, not even knowing their offence, while thousands have fled their native land are now in England and America. The amount of misery thus created is beyond calculation; the son has fled from the father, the father from the family, their interests all broken up and in ruin, their affections and ties torn, with no consolation at present, excepting having fought under that banner of liberty which has claimed so many victims in all ages.”
“The best information I can collect gives at least 100,000 Italians imprisoned for what are called "political offences” since 1848; while about 150,000 have fled the country. The numbers now actually in prison may be about 30,000. This is a frightful state of things, when it is remembered that their only offence is an endeavor to support that form of government to which their sovereigns swore before God and man!"
Thus, to my apprehension, has the shaking of the powers of heaven been strikingly fulfilled, together with the “distress of nations, the sea and the waves roaring,” which is the result of that shaking. Nothing else is now to be expected but the outburst of that universal storm that shall overwhelm the wicked in one undistinguished mass of ruin. May the Lord help us to watch and pray always, that we may be accounted "worthy to escape all these things, that are coming on the earth, and to stand before the Son of man.”
“Before leaving this subject, however, let me remark, that although the Greek expression rendered 'the powers of the heavens' does not, so far as I know, occur in the classics, nor in the New Testament, except in this passage and its parallels, yet to establish the usus loquendi of the phrase, we find similar expressions in the Greek Septuagint. It occurs in Dan. vü: 10; “It waxed great even to the host (power) of heaven. Here we have a politico-ecclesiastical government on the earth, waxing great even to the power of heaven, which, of course, represents some thing that transpires on the earth, and not among the literal stars. A similar expression is also found in the same verse, which, in our version, reads “ host ;" "and it cast down some of the host, and of the stars to the ground.” This is, of course, another symbolical expression representing events that transpire on the earth. In Is. xxxiv: 4, precisely the same expression occurs as is used by our Saviour, rendered in the English version, “the host of heaven;" and inasmuch as it is here said, “the host of heaven shall be dissolved,” we cannot take it to be literal unless we believe the heavenly bodies are to be annihilated at the judgment, which would be as unfounded as to believe in the annihilation of the earth; and besides it would put an end to the promise of an endless life, which is measured by the duration of the sun and moon. It must, therefore, I think, symbolize the destruction of earthly governments.”
v. 30. “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."
The sign of the Son of man in heaven comes in immediate connection with the glorious Advent of the Son of God. But as to what is to constitute the sign of the Son of man, exposuists are by no means agreed. By some it is regarded as a full development of the physical signs, namely, the darkening of the sun and moon, the falling of the stars, and the shaking of the powers of heaven; they contend that all these signs combined constitute the sign of the Son of man. Others have supposed that as at the first advent, a star appeared in fulfilment of Numbers xxiv: 17, indicating the birth of our Saviour, and directing the wise men to Bethlehem ; in like manner there would be a sceptre seen in heaven - an ensign of royalty-at His second coming. But we are inclined to believe the sign of the Son of man will be the appearance in the heavens of a cloud of glory, that will immediately precede the personal revelation of the expected Messiah.
In the record of the transfiguration, (Matt. xvii: 5,) we are informed,“ a bright cloud overshadowed them,” etc. The original term Nephele, is the diminutive form of nephos a cloud, and is frequently used in reference to some important occurrence in relation to the economy of grace. Says Matthew ; "A bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Says Peter, (2 Pet. i: 17, 18;) “For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory. This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.”
Matthew describes the voice as coming from the cloud, and Peter as coming from the excellent glory, which makes the cloud, and the excellent glory, identical. There is great force in the original word rendered excellent, it signifies "most splendid," or eminently conspicuous. The transfiguration may be regarded as a miniature representation of the coming, and kingdom of Jesus Christ.
Luke, in relating the particulars of the ascension, says; “A cloud (nephele) received Him out of their sight; while the two shining ones declare, that He shall "
so come, in like manner, as ye have seen Him go into heaven.” That the like manner includes the cloud of excellent glory, there can be no question; for in Luke xxi: 27 we read ; “ And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a CLOUD, with power and great glory.”
In the fortieth chapter of Isaiah, we have brought to view the preaching of John, the Baptist, in the wilderness; then the declaration that, “Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain : And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together : for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. The voice aid, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the
flower of the field : The grass withereth, the flower fadeth ; because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass,” (vs. 4-7).
When will this glory appear? Surely not until the end of this dispensation. But what is the result? “The voice said cry; and he said what shall I cry? All flesh is grass.” When is all flesh GRASS ? When the glory of the Lord appears. " Then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn.” When? When the sign of the Son of man shall appear, or when that cloud of glory shall shine out in resplendent brightness, which we regard as identified with His parousia, or personal appearing, in the glory of the Father, and of the holy Angels.
Imagine, for a moment, that while the inhabitants of earth are absorbed in the various occupations of life, steeping all their senses in the business enterprises of the passing hour, planting, building, buying, selling the farmer at his market! the planter with his trees ! the tradesman in his shop! the miser counting his gold ! the idler at his folly! the evil servant smiting his fellow! each in his day dream !-when all upon a sudden, there is discovered in the heavens, as far as the eye can reach, an undefinable brightness - it grows more resplendent as it approaches; and that which at first excited little or no concern, now begins to attract the attention of thousands and millions of the human race. As it moves on, the heart of the scoffer yields to misgivings, and begins to relent; but yet he tries affectedly to laugh - the philosopher endeavors to trace the second cause, but scarcely satisfies himself — the hypocrite, with his sanctimonious countenance, who "stole the livery of the court of heaven to serve the