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this beast, which was to drive into the wilderness the church, "and tread her under foot forty and two months.”
We must look, then, for some law, passed by some Roman emperor, and sanctioned by the ten kings, (for they, too, had the same mind to give their power and strength unto the beast,” meaning, as I understand it, Rome Papal,) in order to find the commencement of the church in the wilderness.
We find that Justinian, emperor of Constantinople, formed a code of laws about A. D. 534, which were published and sanctioned, in the Western Empire at Rome, about four years afterwards; on which code of laws, the Pope has claimed his authority to rule over kings, and punish heretics with confiscation of their goods, imprisonmeħt or torture of body, and even death; which laws continued in force until 1260 years afterwards, in the year 1798, when the French people, under General Bonaparte, abolished the laws, and constituted Italy a republic.
Then, in the year 1798, the church began to come up out of the wilderness. “What,” says the objector,“ has Bonaparte or the wars of France to do with the church coming out of the wilderness ?” I answer, Much; for the same power that gave the anti-Christian beast his authority, must take it away. The political river Jordan must be parted asunder; the law of outlawry against the church must be abolished, before she could enjoy rights and privileges in the great city of nations. In this war, under the modern dragon, the emperor of the French, the barriers were broken down. And now, the church is permitted to exist in almost all kingdoms in the known world.
This is coming up out of the wilderness," for she is now permitted to publish the gospel of her beloved among all nations. She can now translate his word into every language, and send his servants into every quarter of the globe. By this were the armies of Christ to conquer his enemies by the “sharp sword which proceedeth out of his mouth.” And as the Jews overran and conquered a large share of the promised land, after they
came out of the wilderness, even so, in these days, the church is extending her banners over a large share of the earth, the
promised land of the Christian. See Psalm xxxvii. 22, 28, 29, and 34. Prov. ii. 21,
22. x. 30. Matt. v. 5. For the apostle Paul tells us, 1 Cor. x. 11, 6 Now all these things happened unto them for examples, (or types,) and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the end of the world is come.” It is very evident that the apostle, in this passage, is speaking of the travel of the children of Israel through the wilderness, and their entrance into the promised land, or their coming out of the wilderness, as a type or resemblance of the Christian church in these last days.
Therefore, we are allowed by the inspired apostles to use their journey and acts, to illustrate and show the present state of the church, if we can gain any instruction thereby.
The Jews had a promise that they should inherit the land of Canaan; the Christian, that he shall inherit the earth — “For the meek shall inherit the earth;” and “ The kingdom, and greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High.” The Jews used carnal weapons in their wars with the inhabitants; the church are commanded to use spiritual ones, to the pulling down of the strong-holds, &c. They were led by their temporal Joshua; the church, by her spiritual leader. The Jews conquered by sending out their chosen and expert men with the sword; the church has sent forth her chosen missionaries, expert men with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
The Jews had great success in conquering their enemies when they first came out of the wilderness; even so the church has had her unexpected success in her missionary efforts. The Jews, within twenty years, became a proud, haughty, and an idolatrous people, ascribing all their success to their own power; and mingling themselves with the nations around them, they began to bow down to their gods, and worship Baalim, and Ashtaroth; just so, and in about the same time, since the cause of missions began to succeed, has the church
become proud and haughty, publishing her donations upon the house-top, mixing her moral questions with the political partizans of the day, and courting the applause of men more than obeying the voice of God: she is preparing for a sudden overthrow, a signal defeat.
The church is evidently worshipping her god Baalim; her teachers are seeking to be called by great names, such as A. B., A. M., B. D., D. D., or Rev., &c; to lord it over each other, and to be called master. See the meaning of the word Baalim, idols, masters, false gods. It is equally as evident, that she is bowing herself to the god Ashtaroth, flocks, the sheep, riches.
Where, in the history of the church, can we find a time that the people called Christians were, apparently, engaged after the riches of this world as now? Then, the agreement, in almost every thing, between the Jews, when they came out of the wilderness, and the church at the present day, holds good, and proves clearly to me that the church is now out of the wilderness. If it is not so, When, I ask, since the apostles' days, has the church been out of the wilderness ? Instead, then, of being in the wilderness only 1260 years, she evidently has been 1800 years in the wilderness; and this prophecy has failed, or has no meaning.
What greater privileges did the church ever enjoy than now? Were their privileges among the nations of the earth greater, even in the days of the Roman emperors, under the nursing care of Constantine and his sons? I answer, No. Then, surely, the church is now cut of the wilderness, and has been nearly or quite forty years. If so, then the 1260 years of the reign of antiChrist to give the court of the Gentiles to be trodden under foot have ended.
Then, the two witnesses, prophesying, clothed in sackcloth, 1260 years have ended. Then, also, has the civil power of the anti-Christian beast, to rule over the kings of the earth forty-two months, been taken from the beast.
Then, also, has the time, times and a half,” mentioned in Daniel vii. 25, and xii. 7, had its fulfilment,
os to the end of these wonders.” And now, the antiChristian beast will no longer be able to deceive the nations with her false miracles, or make the kings of the earth acknowledge her power as supreme. They have eaten her flesh; they have made her drink her own blood; her great men have departed from her; they are casting dust on their heads, crying, “ Alas! alas! that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.” 66 And when she shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished,” Dan. xii. 7. This beast has but one more work to perform “to scatter the power of the holy people; to divide, that she may conquer. It is the last gasp of the expiring monster; it is the dying struggle of the man of sin. And, for a little moment, they will succeed. For the church must be humbled; she has departed from her Lord, she has grown proud of her worldly connections, she has become haughty, and lording it over the heritage of the Lord. She must be divided. She is already. She must be scattered, shaken like grain in the winnowing-fan, that that which cannot be shaken may remain. She will be delivered when her Lord returns to the wedding, and sends forth his angels to gather his elect from the four winds of heaven, where they have been scattered in the dark and cloudy day. Then will he destroy the man of sin by the brightness of his coming. Then, too, will the little horn cease making war with the saints, and no longer prevail against them.
The Ancient of days will come, and judgment will be given to the saints of the Most High; and the time will have come when the saints, in union with their spiritual Joshua, will enter into that eternal Sabbath of rest which remains for the people of God.
Nothing can be more clear, or self-evident, than that the church is combating the great natural and moral evils, which men in this state of sin are prone to commit. What shall we make of all these societies which the church have instituted since she came out of the wilderness, but so many attacks upon the enemies of the land ?
The Bible society, instituted since 1798. This has proved a powerful weapon to expel the moral darkness
from the mind of the unenlightened, to open the prison of the votaries of superstition, and to knock off the shackles of bigotry. We have seen, in our day, Deism humbled from a haughty tyrant to a cringing sycophant. We have seen Romanism, from a monarch ruling over the souls and bodies of men with an absolute sway, be
a slave, a follower in the wake of Protestants, in publishing and circulating the Scriptures. The Deists, a few years since, had the control of nine tenths of all Europe; now, not a petty kingdom under their control: the Roman church, for centuries past the mistress of most of the kings of Europe, now a poor dependant on the breath of kings.
Our missionary societies have carried the banners of the cross where hope never smiled before, nor faith ever lighted the cheerless sky of the heathen's land. And we have seen nations hearing the word of God, and islands converted to the faith of the gospel of Christ.
Temperance societies. We have seen the attack upon intemperance, the Anakim of our world, and we have heard the shout of triumph from every quarter of the globe. Rapid, indeed, was the march to victory! Again, our moral reform societies, our Sabbath schools, Bible classes, &c. &c., are all so many attacks on moral evil, which have produced, in many cases, wonderful effects; so much so, that it has astonished even the projectors themselves.
These aggravated sins are falling before the all-conquering weapon of God's word, like the walls of Jericho before the blasts of the trumpets; and it will go on conquering and to conquer, until tyranny, oppression, and slavery, in every form, shall be destroyed." Perhaps nothing, at the present time, impedes the progress of these things so much as the popular spirit, the pride, and arrogance of the church herself. She is, more or less, courting the applause of the world. She is mingling her holy religion with the opinions and principles of men. She is proud and self-sufficient, doting upon her own works, and forgetting her dependence on God. If this should be the true state of the church, God may suffer tyrants to remain as a scourge to the church, “as a rod for the fool's back."