Page images

infidelity, in that awful period which is the peculiar reign of Antichrist. The signs of the times all concur to teach us, that we are fast approaching towards the catastrophè of the great drama. We have seen the unexpected union of Infidelity and Popery; an union, no doubt preparatory to the predicted final league of the beast, the false prophet, and the kings of the papal earth *. We have seen measures taken, as it were, towards making the atheistical king the last head of the beast t. We have seen Palestine, the predicted stage on which Antichrist with his congregated vassals is doomed to perish, brought forward in a remarkable manner to public notice, and becoming at once a subject of political discussion and an object of hostile invasion. We have seen the kings devouring the flesh of the great whore, and making her naked and desolate, though her spiritual empire over the minds of men still continues. We have seen, and may now see, the rapid decline of the Ottoman empire, preparatory to the final complete exhaustion of the mystic Euphrates under the sixth vial. And we have seen of late years, what I cannot but consider as at least one of the minor signs of the times, an unusual and laudable attention paid, in this protestant country, to the

* This confederacy seems now actually to have begun to be formed. June 10. 1806.

+ There is reason to believe, that the atheistical king is now hecome the last or Carlovingian head of the beast. June 10.

predictions predictions of the ancient prophets. Although the book be sealed, and will not be fully understood, till the time of the end : yet, as that time is now approaching, many run to and fro and knowledge is increased. Of the wicked indeed, of those who are either members of the great Apostasy or have been tainted with the blasphemous impieties of Antichrist, none shall understand; but the spiritually wise children of the symbolical woman, they who profess the same evangelical principles as those who perished at the era of the Reformation in trying, in purging, and in making white, their apostate brethren, these shall understand*.


* Compare Dan. xii. 3, 9, 10. with xi. 35. · The wise, here mentioned, are evidently the same as those men of understanding, some of whom, at the time of the Reformation, should perish in attempting to propagate the truth. To these spiritually wise children alone shall it be given of their heavenly Father to understand the signs of the times: their opponents, through ignorance or contempt of them, will suddenly pull down swift destruction on their own heads. I know not any better comment upon the words of the prophet than the sciolist Voltaire's pert remark, that the great Sir Isaac Newton wrote his comment on the Revelation, to console mankind for his superiority over them in other respects. With regard to an attention puid to the prophecies being one of the signs of the times, the opinion of Sir Isaac Newton and Bp. Horsley will at least exempt me from the charge of fancifulness in enumerating it among them. “ Amongst the interpreters of the last age,” says Sir Isaac, “there is scarce one of note who hath not " made some discoveries worth knowing: and thence I seem " to gather, that God is about opening these mysteries.” In a


As yet we have beheld no signs of the restora. tion of Judah: nor, to all appearance, shall we behold any, till the three times and a half draw very near to their termination *.

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

similar manner, the Bishop remarks, that the character of the maritime people destined to take the lead in the restoration of Judah

seems to describe some Christian country, where the phophecies, relating to the latter ages, will meet with par“ ticular attention ; where the literal sense of those, which

promise the restoration of the Jewish people, will be strenu

ously upheld; and where these will be so successfully expounded, as to be the principal means, by God's blessing, of

removing the veil from the hearts of the Israelites.” It cannot but be pleasing to the serious reader to observe the different estimation in which prophecy is now held throughout the protestant kingdom of England, from what it was by the Jews previous to the sacking of Jerusalem. We are informed by Josephus, that in his days it was no uncommon thing to hear. his hardened countrymen ridicule the oracles of their ancient prophets, which they had already defied by crucifying the Messiah. Καλεπάλελο μεν εν πας αυλοις θεσμος ανθρωπων, εγελατο δε τα θεια, και τες μεν προφήλων θεσμες ώσπερ αγυρίικας λογοποιϊας εχλευαξον (Joseph. de Bell. Judaic. 1.4. c. 6.). What a singular resem. blance there is between this state of the Jews and that of the French at the time of their boasted Revolution.

* Since this was written, Buonapartè has begun to assemble the Jews in a grand council at Paris. Whether it will lead to their restoration, time alone can determine: at present we have certainly no right to say that it will. The avowed plan of the usurper is to incorporate them with his other subjects: his real , plan may be something different. It is said that the Jews of Frankfort have impiously hailed him as their expected Messiah. Though I do not suppose the individual Buonapartè to be Antịchrist, it is worthy of notice that Popish commentators have


But, when that famous period shall have expired, then will commence the wars of Antichrist with the kings of the south and the north, and the restoration of the unconverted Jews through his instrumentality. Then will the Lord call unto the land spreading wide the shadow of its wings, which is beyond the rivers of Cush, accustomed to send messengers by sea, even in quick-sailing vessels upon the surface of the waters. Then shall the swift messengers go unto a nation, dragged away and plucked, unto a people wonderful from the beginning bitherto, a nation expecting, expecting, and trampled under foot, whose land rivers have spoiled. Then shall all the inhabitants of the world, and dwellers upon earth, see the lifting up, as it were, of a banner upon the mountains; and shall hear the sounding, as it were, of a trumpet. In spite of the opposition of the atheįstico-papal confederacy, the great maritime power of the day shall take the lead in the restoration of the converted of Judah : while the enemies of the Lord, notwithstanding their invasion of Palestine, and notwithstanding their temporary success against Jerusalem, bent only upon the accom, plishment of their own schemes, and unconsci


adopted the belief of some of the fathers, that, whenever Antia christ should appear, the Jews would acknowledge him as their Messiah, and attempt to procure their restoratlon by his instrumentality. See Calmet's Dict. Vox Antichrist-Cornelius à Lapide's Comment, in Dan. vii. Rev. xiii. Nov, 20. 1806.

ously subject to the influence of Satanical delu. sion*, will madly rush on to their own destruction in the valley of Megiddo, in the region between the two seas, , the region whose limits extend 1600 furlongs.

On the whole, it is reasonable to conclude, that the time is not very far distant, when the symbolical heaven and eurth shall pass away, and when the personal Ilord shall begin to tread the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

Never were there more awful times than these of i the third woe-trumpet. All civilized government

has been in a state of commotion; and the powers of Europe have been shaken to their very centre, The end however is not yet. Tha calamities of the harvest are but the harbingers of those which shall take place under the last vial during the period of the vintage.

For ourselves, we have only to labour, through the grace of God and the assistance of his Holy Spirit, that we may be prepared to meet the Lord at his coming. Death, whensoever

Death, whensoever it shall arrest our progress, will assuredly be the end of the world to each of us. We pervert the study of prophecy, if we make it only a mere curious speculation. We ought rather so to read the oracles of God, as to profit by them in all holiness of life and conversation. Neither a hearty reprobation of the cruelties and corruptions of Popery; nor an ab

* Rev. xvi. 13, 14.


« PreviousContinue »