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slaying oren, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine: let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. And it was revealed in mine ears, by the Lord of hosts, surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till you die, saith the Lord of hosts.
Were they ashamed, when they had committed abomination? Nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush. Therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them, they shall be cast down, saith the Lord. A dreadful fulfilment these words will have, anong Antichristian nations, at the battle of that great day, which is fast approaching.
No doubt our nation is highly favored with praying people. Their numbers have of late increased. And often has the Most High blessed whole nations, in an. swer to the prayers of individuals; or for his Church's sake. Ten righieous persons would have saved Sodom! But we read of a time's coming, with sinful na. tions, when the prayers of the pious among them, will cease to prevail.' Therefore pray not thou for this people—for Icoill not hear thee. Though Moses and Sam. uel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people. Cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth. Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, they should deliver but their own souls, saith the Lord God.
Every thing then calls on our great national commu. nity to repent and reform. “At what instant I shall "speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, ""to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; if “that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn "from their evil, I will repent of the evil, that I thought "to do unto them.” Blessed encouragement! But read the alternative: “At what instant I shall speak concern"ing a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and “to plant it; if it do evil in my sight, that it obey not “my voice; then I will repent of the good, wherewith "I said I would benefit thein." These cannot be otherwise than words of alarm to our nation.
2. Faithfulness in the government of our literary Institutions,
These Institutions have a very powerful influence on ihe religious sentiments, and the morals of the community. Their members, and especially their annual graduates, are capable of doing great good, or evil, in society; they can greatly withstand, or greatly promote the cause of Infidelity and licentiousness. How important is it then, that, while obtaining their educa. tion, they be duly impressed with a correct view of the dangers of this period, arising from the influence of Antichrist? And that they be diligently guarded, by pious instructions, against every impression of that philosophy, which is falsely so called. It is of high ima portance to the community, that they be led to imbibe the spirit, and correct sentiments, of the Christian religion. This is an object, which depends much on those, who have the government of our literary Ins:itutions. And it is an object of great moment at this in. teresting period.
3. Vigilance and faithfulness in the embassadors of Christ.
Those, who are set for a defence of the Gospel, must in a special manner contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. Peculiar duties are atiached to the office of the waichmen, to give notice when the enemy are approaching. If they sleep, or are unfaithful, ruin may ensue; and she watchimen must answer for it at the peril of their souls. The embassadors of Christ must watch the attacks of the enemy; and, at whatever risk, they must sound the alarm. Blow ye the trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm in my holy mountain; let all the inhabitants of the land tremble for the day of the Lord; for it is nigh at hand.
Ministers ought to use great plainness in preaching and supporting the distinguishing doctrines of the Gospel; and never to handle the word of God deceitfully, in order to render it palatable to the carnal heart. Infinite mischief has been done, and Infidelity greatly promoted, by such attempts to please men. The Aristo: telian, Platonic, and other systems of ancient philosophy have been adopted in turn, or at different periods, 10 aid in unfolding the truths of revelation. But the consequences were fatal. Such atternpts are nearly allied to Infidelity. They are a virtual rejection of the word of God.
In that form of Illuminism, called The German Union, the German divines, while they professed the warmest attachment to the Gospel, united to explain away its most offensive, or its peculiar doctrines. This was a signal for others to come forward, and deny the superiority of the Bible to natural religion; and thus to preclude the necessity of a revelation. And this again opened a door for a third class to deny all religion, and its Author. The first of these classes, Judas like! betrayed the Gospel into the hands of the other two, by stripping it of its blessed peculiarities. By numbers of such hands, under the mask of friendship, the sacred pillars of the Gospel were there undermined; and Infi. delity obtained an easy triumph.
The faithful preaching of the distinguishing doctrines of grace must hold a prime rank among the means of withstanding the spirit of Antichrist, and of supporting the Christian Religion. This is a mean of God's ap. pointment; and a mean, which God will bless. Preach unto them the preaching, that I bid thee. Speak all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word. This is an essential mean of salvation. A cer. tain divine speaks of a twofold darkness;—infidelity, and a corrupt theology. The former, he says, has slain its thousands; the latter its ten thousands.
While the ministers of Christ at this day are wise as serpents, and harmless as doves; they will need to be. strong, and bold, and very courageous. The wiles of Infidelity are so reduced to a system, and have taken such deep effect, that to expose them, is rendered unpopular with thousands, and dangerous to the undertaker. All the depths of Satan are interwoven with this scheme, to enable it to defy the friends of religion. Its pillars and bulwarks are numerous, and of long preparation. The last words of David, in his sublime prediction of the Kingdom of the Righteous Ruler, and of the scenes that shall precede it,* are here directly in point.
. 2 Samuel xxiii, 1, 6, 7.
“But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns "thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands; “but the man, that would touch them, must be fenced “with iron, and the staff of a spear; and they shall be "utterly burnt with fire in the same place." This is a prophetic description of the agents of the Infidelity of the last days. Ministers will be under great temptation to shrink from this important brauch of their offcial duty; and to avoid the task, of exposing the men of Belial. But it is a duty, which the Great Head of the Church has assigned to his embassadors, to descry the approach of the enemy, and to give faithful warning. And they have no right to decline it, for any consideration. Neither Aatteries, frowns, interests, nor dangers of death, can justify them in such neglect. Their Master endured the cross, and despised the shame. And they must follow him. He, that would save his life shall lose it.
The embassadors of Chrisi, of this generation, especially the younger part of them, may possibly see days of trial. Trials to the faithful will precede the Millennium. The fect of the ancient priests were dipped in the waters of Jordan, overflowing all its banks in the time of wheat harvest, before the waters divided to give a passage to the tribes of the Lord into the promised land.* It was the lot of these ministers of the Lord to lead the way, hearing the ark of the covenant before the people. Thai procession, divinely or. dered, was about to take possession of the promised Canaan, and also to present us with a type of the transition of the Gospel Church from her wilderness state, to her millennial glory. They moved forward toward the foaming waters, which rolled furiously between them and the promised land, till the feet of the priests were plunged. Human wisdom saw no way of being transported over the flood. They confided in God The command, given at the Red Sea, became again applicable; Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord!
Joshua iii, 10.
The floods were cut off. The waters were thrown asunder. Israel passed on dry land; and all was safe!
May the ministers of Christ, with a correct view of the present signs of the times, awake to duty and faithfulness; and cheerfully stand in their lot.
4. Proper caution in the induction of men into the Gospel ministry.
While a pious and learned ministry are to hold the first rank among the means of withstanding the Infidelity of the last days; unconverted and ignorant ministers are among the most fatal means of betraying the cause of Christ into the hands of Infidels. Hence the inspired caution, Lay hands suddenly on no man. This holy office is to be committed only to "faithful men, who "shall be able to teach others also. Holding fast the "faithful word, (says the apostle) as he hath been “taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both "to exhort, and to convince the gainsayers.” Surely none but men of grace, of abilities, and of good education, as well as of known and approved character, are adequate to this work. And none but such should be admitted to ordination, nor as candidates. False teachers, in such a land as this,-are to be among the most fatal propagators of the Infidelity of the last days.
5. A faithful support and improvement of the regular administration of the Gospel; avoiding erroneous and unknown teachers; and aiding the missionary cause.
The enemies, aware that the administration of the Gospel is essential to the well being of Zion, and a prime bulwark of her defence, make this one of the first points of their attack. Their modes of attack are various. Where the way is prepared, the attack may be expected to be direct and decisive; as was the case in France, after the revolution. There the Protestant, as well as Catholic ministers were put to death in mul. titudes; or had to renounce their profession; or flee their country. In Holland also, after the French had gotten possession there, violence was used against the order of ihe Gospel. The people were forbidden to be called together, as had beco usual
, for Divine worship, by the