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that in the last time there should come mockers, walking according to their own desires in ungod. liness: these are they who separate themselves, sensual men, having not the Spirit.” 1

Four things are here especially predicted by the Apostles, concerning the condition of the world in the latter days :- 1st. A frightful corruption of heart, men walking after their own lusts, and turning the grace of God into lasciviousness. 2nd. A disregard for the sound doctrine of Christ, which

many will abandon to turn themselves to fables, and to follow teachers having itching ears. 3rd. A contempt for higher powers, and a great prevalence of the schismatical spirit, resulting in the separation of many from the unity of faith. 4th. A deep hypocrisy, men having the form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.

But what shows still more clearly the frightful state of corruption and depravity in which the world will be plunged at the time of the second coming of Christ, is the prediction of our blessed Saviour Himself: "As in the days of Noah," says He, “so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. For, as in the days before the Flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, even till that day in which Noah entered into the ark, and they knew not till the flood came, and took them all away; so also shall the coming of the Son of Man be." ? We have here a sufficiently strong indication of the frightful state of the world at the time of the second coming of Christ. A particular characteristic of mankind in the days of Noah, was their intense worldliness; the world was their treasure; indulgence of the appetites their delight; the gratification of the Jude i. 8--19.

2 Matt. xxiv. 37, 38, 39.

flesh their enjoyment. Forgetful of supernatural things, they centred their thoughts, affections, and cares in the good things of this earth. This world was their all; they made the most of it; they were eating and drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage. Similar will be the conduct of mankind at the time of Christ's second advent. Careless of the future, and intent only upon the present, even amidst the most awful political convulsions which ever agitated the universe, men will lose sight of their future destiny, they will disregard the blessings of faith, they will consider this world and the enjoyment of the world, as their greatest good, and will devote themselves to the worship either of Belial or Mammon.

But there is another striking point of resemblance. The period which precedes the second advent of Christ will not be more distinguished by the prevalence of iniquity than by the want of faith. The antediluvian world seems to have been eminently characterized by a daring spirit of infidelity, which, originating with Cain, gradually infected the whole human race. There was amongst men a total disbelief of the testimony of Noah, as to the awful visitation which was impending upon the earth. When Noah predicted that the flood should shortly come, how did they receive this prediction ? Either in scorn or neglect; and in like manner, the postdiluvian world will be in such a state at the time of Christ's second advent, that even the elect will be in danger of being seduced into error, and were it possible, drawn into perdition.

Since Christ has chosen the Church to be His beloved spouse for ever, there is no doubt that the gates of hell shall never prevail against her;

Yet we

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as the spotless bride of the Holy One, she will never cease to generate and cherish in her bosom children worthy of His love, such children who, by the purity of their manners and the holiness of their lives, will form her glory and her consolation until the consummation of ages. are assured, that in the last days the spirit of wickedness shall so far prevail, even amongst Christians, that many will abandon the pillar and ground of the truth to follow the seduction of iniquity, the spirit of unbelief. Hence Jesus Christ says, “The Son of Man, when He cometh, shall He find, think you, faith on earth ?”1 Which words, although addressed by Jesus in a question to the Pharisees, contain a distinct prophecy respecting the state of unbelief, which shall prevail amongst many at the time of His second advent. And if holy faith, which is the foundation of all supernatural blessings, shall then be rare upon earth, what shall be the condition of the world as to religion in general and Christian morality ?

On comparing the several characteristics which mark the time of Christ's second advent, with those which distinguish the period in which we are now living, it will not be difficult to perceive that we are fast approaching the time of that great event. We are told, that in the latter days the heart of man will be deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. But is man's heart now unchargeable with this? In our days people make great boast of civilization; but does this civilization make them better men according to God? does it make them more humble, more pious, more charitable, more righteous ? or does it not rather

I Luke xviii. 8.

make them worse, by swelling their pride, and filling them with the love of the world? Can we say, that as men are now more civilized, they are also more sanctified than their ancestors ? Can we assert that the hearts of men are now raised higher from earth to heaven, and drawn closer and nearer to God than they were in former times ? Have we not reason rather to think the contrary ? Do not the awful and flagrant crimes which inundate the earth show that man's heart has corrupted its way?

It is also said that, in the latter days, “men will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires will heap to themselves teachers having itching ears.” Behold here another feature which corresponds but too well with our own days. The men of our days display everywhere great anxiety for learning; next to the love of mammon, the hunger and thirst after knowledge is perhaps the strongest and most general aspiration of the human heart. But, alas ! how few are really anxious to attain that only true and solid learning which can make them wise unto salvation! The generality long only after a vain knowledge which puffeth up, and disdain that heavenly wisdom which edifieth. They cannot endure the just severity of sound doctrine, but seek after the delusions of their corrupt imagination. “They will not hear the law of God. But they say to the seers : See not. And to them that behold : Behold not for us those things that are right; speak unto us pleasant things, see errors for us. Take


from away from us the path; let the Holy One of Israel cease from before us."1 They anxiously seek the truth in those things which please them, in those things which gratify their passions, and disdain to seek it where it is really to be found. In short, they are fond of a mere appearance of truth which flatters them, and hate the real and severe truth wbich would save them.


1 Isa. xxx. 9, 10, 11.

us, turn 1 1 Cor. vii. 31.

And what shall I say of the schismatic spirit, which is another mark characterizing the period of the coming of Christ? Look around through the various nations of the earth, and you will meet everywhere the strongest proofs that the present age cannot be very far from realizing this mark also. What more is wanting to the triumph of this evil spirit in England, where the devil of discord seems to have established its throne ? What nation, since the establishment of Christianity, ever swarmed with so many opposing religious sects as England does now? And if, to the desolation prevailing in England, in Germany, and in Europe generally, we add the evils which prevail in America, and still more the great ruin effected in Asia, by the Mahometan apostasy and the Greek schism, have we not reason to conclude, that the time of our Saviour's second coming cannot be very far distant ? Another remarkable feature of the period of Christ's second advent is an extreme worldliness ; men idolizing the world and its pleasures. Now, who can consider the state of modern society, and not feel inclined to conclude that such a feature is a true picture of our times? O how few “ this world as if they used it not,” considering that “the fashion of this world passes away ?i How few live as pilgrims upon earth, longing after their true country which is to come ? How few


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