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religion by the instrumentality of human means--a grda dual conversion of mankind to the knowledge and love of our Lord and Saviour, previous to his second coming ; which is thus removed to such a distance that they can think of it without disturbance. Now what can we call this, but weak faith? There is but little room, indeed, for any faith at all in a system like this. For even unbelievers, the infidels themselves, arguing from the probable success of the exertions which they are making by the press, by the extension of schools, &c. &c. expect some remarkable progressive change to take place in the state of the world. Even these expect, by their infidel colleges and mechanic institutes and “libraries of useful knowledge and newspaper reading-clubs for the poor, and such-like contrivances, to work wonderful changes, and to bring on a kind of millennium of science and knowledge and intellectual refinement; which, being varnished over with a sort of spurious Christianity, are to produce (as they think) the reign of universal happiness, peace, and glory. Alas! this their dream will be fearfully dispelled, when the sword of the Lord, which appears even now to be shaking off its slumbers, shall awake, and put on its strength as in the days of old; when the Lord shall himself arise, and assert his majesty; when He shall rend the heavens and come down, to scatter his enemies from before him, and to take possession of his longusurped dominions. Oh, my readers ! if ye be indeed disciples of Christ the King, be not betrayed into a similar dream with theirs; but take hold of, and cherish, that true faith of God which takes Him at his word, and believes that what He has promised He will assuredly perform, however improbable, or even impossible, it may seem to the wise men of this generation. Look for that“ blessed hope” of the Gospel, “the glorious appearing” of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ-the true Melchisedec; King and Priest-Himof whom it hath been spoken," I will bring forth a Seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an Inheritor of my mountains: and mine Elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there” (Isai. Ixv. 9). Rest upon the word and promise of God, as Abraham did; and let not your hearts waver, till the promise made to him and to his seed be fully and finally accomplished, and “the tabernacle of God is with men."
And why should the heart of the Christian waver, or his mind revolt from the idea of God again dwelling with men, and again exhibiting his wonders before their astonished and adoring eyes? It is true, that for now nearly eighteen hundred years God has not shewn himself in a visible form to mortal sight, or interfered in a visible manner in the concerns of men : but does this make it a thing too hard to be believed that the time may be coming when he shall again do so? Do we not know, that the previous period of four thousand years was a period in which miraculous agency, and angelic appearances and ministrations abounded; and in which a visible manifestation, even of the Divine presence, was not uncommon? Did not God talk with Adam in the garden, both before and after the Fall ? with Noah, both before and after the Flood ? Did he not eat with Abraham ? Did he not wrestle with the patriarch Jacob ? Did he not talk with Moses, face to face, as a man speaketh with his friend ? Did he not shew himself to Joshua before the walls of Jericho, armed as a mighty warrior ? Did he not appear to Manoah and his wife, who (Manoah) exclaimed, in the overwhelming feeling of the moment, “ We shall surely die, for we have seen God?" (Judges xiii. 22.)
And, to come to later times, did he not condescend to be born of a virgin ; to wander amongst his own creatures as a poor man, without a place in which to lay his head; and, whilst in this humble condition, did he not miraculously cause the dumb to speak, the deaf to hear, the lame to walk, the blind to see, the sick to be healed, the dead to live? And did he not exhibit, not only himself, but also Moses and Elias, clothed with light, on the holy mount, as they should appear when he should come in his glory? And did he not endue his Apostles with the power of working kindred' miracles after his own departure ? And did he not actually ascend up into heaven in those very Apostles' sight? All these things, my Christian readers, you believe ; and you know that it is not more certain that you are now perusing these pages with your eyes, than it is that all these wonderful events took place, actually and really, upon the earth and in the sight of men. Why, then, should we count it a thing improbable, that, in the accomplishment of the great things yet to take place in our globe, such visible intercourse and agency should again commence, and be renewed before our sight?
I would earnestly entreat you, then, seriously to examine yourselves, and to see whether lamentable weakness of faith may not, in reality, be the cause which leads you to reject these views: whether a dislike and dread of what you esteem novelties (although in truth they are not so), or a nervous and trembling and faithless anxiety lest you should be exposed to the worldling's scorn, and accounted raving and enthusiastic, because you think it possible that God is about to revive a visibly miraculous agency in this world's affairs, and even to re-appear upon the scene Himself for the accomplishment of his wonderful purposes ;-whether all this may not weigh more than you may suppose in inducing you to turn the plain declarations of God's word into something figurative, in order that the necessity of such miraculous agency may be done away with, and that so a scoffing generation may cease to take offence. 4. And, oh! let me entreat you to examine yourselves closely,
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and see, whether a turning away from these truths may not arise from a defect in the love which you profess to bear to your Lord and your King. Pardon me for speaking plainly: “I speak as unto wise men; judge ye what I say." When we are separated from those we love, do we not long for the time to arrive when we shall meet again? If any of you had a husband, or a wife, or a child, whom you tenderly loved, far away from you in some distant land; would you feel disappointed if any one informed you that you had mistaken the time which had been fixed for the return of the beloved one, and that it would take place at a much earlier period than you were expecting? Would you not rather, without losing a moment, immediately re-examine every letter and document which related to the subject; and would you not rejoice if you found your informant right, and be disappointed if you found him wrong? And would not a contrary behaviour tend to cast some doubt upon the sincerity of your affection ? And such is the case with respect to the present question. If the Christian love his Lord—then, to see Him as He is, and to be with Him evermore, is the event to which his longing eyes are ever turned : and if a brother inform him that he has hitherto been wrong as to the time at which he might expect this longed-for consummation, and that there is reason to believe it will occur much sooner, would he, if his love were real, feel hurt, or angry? Nay, my Christian readers ; nay: he would instantly and eagerly examine whether the glad tidings could be true; and his disappointment would arise, not from finding them to be so, but from finding the contrary: I hesitate not to say, that the Christian who really loved his Lord would thus feel; and if he experienced any disappointment or sorrow at all, it would arise, not from the advocates of the Personal Reign having at any time the best of the argument (for if they are right, the Lord will come at least a thousand years sooner than the church has been in later times expecting), but from their failing to establish out of the Scriptures of truth the point which he must have so much at heart. He would grieve, I repeat, at our failure, not at our success. If, therefore, as there is reason to suspect, a defect in your love be at the bottom of the dislike you entertain of the doctrines of the Lord's speedy coming, and personal reign on earth ; then turn, oh! turn to the Lord, with prayer and supplication that he would shed abroad his love in your hearts ; ' for if you love not Him, you cannot love his appearing : and, remember, that to those only who do “ love his appearing” will that appearing be unto salvation.
To such of my readers as have embraced the blessed truths I am contending for, what shall I, finally, say? You have felt their power; you have experienced their comfort ; you know their joys; and, therefore, I can but exhort you to hold them fast, and not to let them go. If, even, we were living in peaceful times, and the lines had fallen unto us, in a temporal sense, in pleasant places, how inexpressible would have been the happiness with which the prospect of a speedy union with our beloved Master would have inspired us! But when we look at the times in which our lot is actually cast-in what a day of trouble, and rebuke, and blasphemy-the doctrine of the speedy coming of our Lord acquires a double preciousness : for it holds out, as well, the prospect of a sure deliverance from positive and dreadful evils, as of the near enjoyment of pure, and unutterable, and never-ending bliss. That we do live in times when iniquity is growing to its full height, and when awful judgments may be expected, we know full well : and those even who oppose us in other respects are beginning to think with us here. And these judgments are evidently in active preparation, if we are not actually beginning to taste them. To go no further back, nor beyond the borders of our own land ; are we not constrained to acknowledge, that, from the time in which the national guilt was consummated in the admission to the national councils of the adherents of the accursed apostasy of Rome to the present moment, embarrassment, distress, division, disappointment, and perplexity have followed us like our shadow ? And all this, I doubt not, will prove to be but the beginning of sorrows. For what other Christian nation has been favoured with blessings of every kind like our own nation? and what is the return that has been made, and is making, for the mercies that have been showered upon us with such an unsparing hand? A remnant—a remnant-doubtless shall be saved in the midst of us : but what is our state as a nation ? Vice and profligacy are marching through the length and breadth of the land, and bearing all before them. Infidelity in religion, and revolutionism in politics, disguised under specious names-such as liberality, candour, toleration, love of freedom, and so forth—are spreading on all sides ; and all the characteristics of the last and perilous times are rife, both in the church and in the world. Drunkenness, pride, covetousness, disobedience to parents, contempt of all established authority, and other abominations, meet the pained heart and the aching eye of the Christian observer on every side. And what must be the end of these things ? Must we not expect that God will say to us, as to the Israelites of old, “You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities” (Amos iii. 2).
We, my companions in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, though we mourn for these things, yet fear not. The darker the aspect of the world, the nearer the arrival of our complete redemption; and therefore we can look up, and lift up our heads in joyful expectation, in the midst of those events which fill others with terror and dismay. They are the rumbling of the chariot-wheels, and proclaim to us, with a voice that cannot be mistaken, “ The Lord is at hand !” They alarm us not, therefore, but fill us with hope: they make us gird our loins, and trim our lamps; and quicken us to be still more earnest and unremitting in our prayers that we may be found, on our Lord's arrival, “ like unto men that wait for Him, and be “counted worthy to escape all those things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."
NO GIFTS NO PERFECT CHURCH. We presume that no one will deny that the churches as constituted by the Apostles are the models to which all Christian churches ought to be conformed; and as little will it be denied that all the gifts of the Holy Ghost were in some of the individuals who composed them. That the gifts are not in any modern congregations called churches, is an indisputable truth; and so far, therefore, is it equally indisputable that these are not churches exactly similar to those which the Apostles planted; but the question for present consideration is, whether they have not departed further from their original than the mere absence of miraculous gifts will account for.
Taking the Epistles and Acts of the Apostles for our guide, we shall find that every church ought to contain in it four distinct orders of persons : and here, to avoid future question, we define by the word church, "any congregation of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ where the sacraments are administered, and who assemble under a duly ordained minister.” In the Epistle to the Ephesians five orders are described as necessary “ for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; until we all come into the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of Christ;"that is, until the whole mystical body of Christ be completed. These five are “apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers.” In the further consideration, however, of this subject, we shall omit the apostles, without entering into the discussion whether the twelve apostles of Christ are here signified or not. We think, however, that they are not exclusively; but that an order of persons is intended possessing more or greater gifts than the rest, and were that order to supply whose place and function the bishops, presbyteries, councils, assemblies, congregational boards, &c. are the substitutes in modern times. These, then, had a more extended jurisdiction than over a single