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SINCE the period of the publication of the Author's former volume, entitled “ A practical View of the Redeemer's Advent,” that subject has, from various causes, excited a peculiar degree of attention.
Although different sentiments are entertained as to the manner of our Lord's Coming, most persons, who have studied the prophetic Scriptures, consider the day is fast approaching in which He will “ take vengeance upon his enemies," and fulfil the promises made to his servants. A writer, remarkable for his extensive information *, thus expresses himself::“ The movements of Providence in reference” to various events particularized by him, “ lead the most cautious and sober Christian
* The Editor of the Missionary Register. See Introductory Remarks to the Annual Survey of Missionary Stations for 1828.
to conclude that we are actually in a great crisis of the world.” It is but natural, therefore, that Christians should follow the course of those holy men of God, who
searched what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” Interesting, however, as unfulfilled prophecy is, and efficacious as its grand features are as motives to warn men to flee from the wrath to come, and to lead them cordially to receive the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; it is in one very important particular but a secondary subject. It is in this view like the omnipresence of God: when we have ascertained the truth of that doctrine, we are further anxious to know whether the Lord is with us as a friend or as an enemy. The most intimate acquaintance with the abstract point will give us no information in this inquiry : we must refer to other parts of Divine Truth to know who are the friends of God. So the deepest study of the prophecies which foretel the pouring out of the vials of the wrath of Almighty God, bis judgments upon Babylon, the Second Coming of our Lord, or the general outpouring of the Holy Spirit, will not enable us to meet undismayed the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world, or to wait for His appearing with joyful hope. We must know the Gospel, and be partakers of its present blessings.
It is said, that when the cry was made, Behold, the Bridegroom cometh,” then “ all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.” The wise sought for that lively exercise of faith, and that active influence of the grace of the Holy Spirit, which would make them to resemble those whose lamps were brightly burning. This state, so full of comfort to themselves, attracted the regard of the other virgins : “ the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out.” It was not their having gone forth to meet the Bridegroom, or their having heard that he was coming, which excited the attention of the foolish; it was the brilliancy of their light. This led them to say, Give us of your oil.
The design of the Author, in the following work, in dependence upon the aid of the Holy Spirit, is, by exhibiting the privileges and the conversation of true believers, as inculcated by the Gospel, to lead Christians into this happy state ; that, having heard the approach of the Bridegroom announced
-whether with truth or not, time only can develop—they may both be ready for his coming themselves, and win others to prepare
also. The Discourses were written for that dear flock which the Lord has entrusted to his care, and are primarily published for their spiritual benefit; this being his great desire, that they may shine “ as lights in the world;" and that, when the Bridegroom does come, they may be ready, and go in with him to the marriage. But the Christian Public having so favourably received his former Discourses—for which he desires to return his grateful thanks--the Author, with a view to more extensive usefulness, has felt