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will be able to work miracles in conjunction with Antichrist : will they be real miracles, or merely the discovery and use of some hitherto hidden resources of nature ?
Revelation xiii. gives us the account of the two beasts, and there we read that the second beast doeth great wonders (seemeion, signs); he maketh fire to come down from heaven to the earth in the sight of men; he will deceive men by the miracles (signs)
; which he will have power to do. He will be able to give life to an image, and make it to speak and cause men to be put to death who will not worship the image.
Again in chapter xvi. we read of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. “Out of their mouths proceed spirits of demons, working miracles” (signs) to gather together the kings of the earth to the battle of the great day of God Almighty. Chapter xix. 20 again speaks of the prophet that wrought miracles (signs]."
In 2 Thessalonians ii. 9, we have the powers of Antichrist thus detailed, " whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.”
Here we get all the three things we have been looking at as attending the path of our Lord and His apostles.
We can come to but one conclusion, namely, that Satan will be permitted in a coming day to work, by his agents, real miracles in the sight of men. The permission must come from God, as it did in the days of Job, before Satan could touch that good man. This is confirmed by a little word in Revelation xiii. 14: “He had power to do,” is literally, "it was given him to do”-given to him by God.
If we turn back to the Old Testament, we find
Pharaoh's magicians, for a time, doing the same signs as Moses and Aaron-real miracles, I believe, by the power of Satan, under the permission of God. So again in the raising of Samuel by the witch of Endor.
Now what is plain in these cases is that these things were only permitted where a man's doom was sealed. Pharaoh hardened his heart against God, and God hardened Pharaoh's heart by permitting these miracles. Saul, too, had forsaken God and his doom was sealed: he ought to have rooted out the witches from the land, but he had not, and this one was permitted to raise Samuel that he should rehearse the doom of Saul.
So in the last day, we read that God shall send them “ strong delusion, that they should believe a lie".
—a lie confirmed by signs, and wonders, and works of power; but it is “ because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved ;" they “ believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
Allow me to ask, in conclusion, whether we sufficiently ponder over the dreadfúl times that will accompany the reign of Antichrist ? and sufficiently warn our hearers of that deceivableness of unrighteousness” that shall fall upon apostate Christendom?
DEAR MR. EDITOR,
In theso days, when even some godly earnest Sunday-school teachers are apt to be discouraged, it may be encouraging to my brethren and sisters to know that in our Sunday school during the
past few months, we have had a great work of God going on. I will not mention numbers, but rery many have undoubtedly been genuinely converted—some of whom have been already received at the Lord's table.
It may be useful to others to know how we deal with such, mingling, as they do, amongst unconverted scholars. Every Tuesday evening we have amongst the teachers a Young People's Bible reading for one hour, to which no grown-up people are invited. It has been going on for four or five months with attendances varying from 30 to 60. We had some thought of giving it up during the summer months, but were urged not to do so by the young people themselves, and so now we hold it at 8 o'clock, with an attendance of from 30 to 40. Sometimes, at the close of the school on Lord's day afternoon, we ask Christians to remain behind, and one of the teachers gives them a short address. This, too, is a good way of putting before them their responsibilities, &c. I just mention these meetings as having been much blessed in our own Sunday school.
I have been reading an account of a teachers' meeting in the July number of the “Worker," in which a brother speaks of the importance of teachers being regular. If I may, I would also add the deep importance of teachers being much in the Lord's presence about their class, and the individual members of it. This gives us power with the scholars. O, brethren and sisters, let us be regular, earnest, prayerful, quietly conscious of His own blessed promise—"Forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
EDUCATING THE YOUNG. MR. EDITOR,
I have had some very serious thoughts as to how far we, as Sunday-school teachers, are doing rightin seeking to educate our scholars. When I have clearly before my mind the gospel, all is clear. I may say many things as a means to this end, or speak on a passage of scripture in general, providing I can make it culminate in a statement of the gospel, or an appeal to the scholars as to their reception of the gospel which they have often heard; but I am more and more in doubt as to the correctness of attempting to teach truth, or expounding scripture apart from the gospel.
I do not think we sufficiently remember the soil" on which we have to sow our seed. If it is the gospel seed, then all is clear, for we are to sow beside all waters. God will prepare some of the soil, and make it good ground, ready for the good seed. But what soil have we for truth? Scripture says
that “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him ; neither can he know them : for they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. ii. 14.) Have we kept this sufficiently in view ? Is " the natural man" in boys and girls any different from that in grown-up people? I have heard the thought ex-pressed, that the children of believing parents are not now born in sin and shapen in iniquity; but till I find it in God's book, I repudiate it with the utmost abhorrence. There I find that which is born of the flesh is flesh;" and even to a religious Nicodemus was the word, “Ye must be born again."
I do not for a moment suppose that many-I
trust none-of your readers would endorse the above theory; but they may, nevertheless, be seeking to instruct their scholars in the truths of the Bible, without having sufficiently considered as to how far they are justified in so doing.
Of course, I do not exclude any truths that bear upon the gospel-such as the depravity of man; the holiness of God; the need of atonement, and many others that are often referred to by evangelists in preaching the gospel to adults : the same may all be freely used in the Sunday school. But I refer to truths altogether beyond the scope of the gospel.
There is another point also that occurs to me, namely, giving the scholars portions of scripture. to commit to memory.
agree that it is a good thing that the
mind of the young be stored with scripture, but I question whether we are sufficiently exercised as to what portions of scripture we give the scholars to learn. “All scripture is profitable for the believer, but I think the unconverted may make great mistakes in appropriating the statements of scripture that in no way apply to them.
Look, for instance, at Psalm i. Surely every one can see that such a psalm can safely be committed to memory by the most depraved. Blessed is the man that does not associate with the ungodly—the sinner—the scornful.
Such a man delights in the law of the Lord, and meditates thereon day and night. He is like a fruitful tree that shall not wither. The ungodly are not so: they are like chaff, and shall not stand in the judgment, nor be associated with the righteous; for the Lord regardeth the way of the righteous, but the wicked shall perish. Thus this psalm beauti