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mouth was found no guile, for they are without fault before the throne of God.
Our leisure doth not permit us to go further into this subject at present: and we conclude with restating our firmer and firmer faith, that the Lord will accomplish all these things; that he is upon the eve of accomplishing them; and blessed is he that believeth, for there shall be a fulfilment of the things which the Lord hath spoken. If any one ask, But how am I to believe? As Sarah, who was dead, believed that her womb could be made alive again; so believe you that the dead church, the stonyhearted church, can be quickened with love divine; can be brought into virgin holiness, and bring forth the Man-child, the Emmanuel, which is to rule all nations with a rod of iron, and to manifest in flesh both the humiliation of the Son of God and his glory-the former, by the covering of sackcloth; the latter, by the fire of holiness which goeth out of their mouth, the power of God which resteth in their hand. Was it too much for God to break Egypt by the mouth and by the hand of one meek man, Moses? is it too much for God to break the world to shivers by the company of the witnesses? Oh for the faith that overcometh mountains ! Oh for the faith that obtaineth the promises !
The way of attaining to this excellent honour, is, first to believe that Jesus did take this stony, rebel, sinful human nature of ours, and make it obedient, tender, holy flesh, full of the mercy and sorrow and suffering of God ;-that the Son of Man, very man, in man's nature did work the righteousness of God, making all contrariety and contradiction to cease, making the vessel empty of the devil and of sin and of all uncleanness
S; that this is done for us, to our hand: he hath laboured, we enter into his labours; he fought and finished the battle, we enter into the victory, inheriting by faith a humble, meek, sorrowful, suffering, tender, divinely-affectioned flesh, meet in all respects for containing the glorious power of God. Until we believe that Jesus hath done this for us, and, holding fast that faith always, do always enter into crucifixion and death, into sorrow and anguish, into peace and hope and all assurance, there can be no fulfilment of the things promised to the church in this vision ; there can be no sealing of the Father, because there is no virgin purity of the flesh. The Father will not be glorified in any one who doth not glorify Jesus. He will not come as the Spirit of power where Jesus hath not come as the Spirit of cleansing. The blood must first clean the vessel, then the glory will fill it. The blood will not empower; the power will not purify. If the power come when the vessel is not altogether clean, and the vessel refuse to cleanse itself, but delight in the power alone, the power will burst it in pieces ; but if the vessel go on cleansing itself by faith, the power will flow sweetly in, and the glory of
the Son’s blood and of the Father's power will proceed apace. Therefore, the church, in denying the work of Christ in the Hesh, is preventing the power of God, and opening the power of Satan, who delighteth in an unclean vessel. Ye who wish to see the power and the glory, therefore, hold, hold to the work of Jesus in the flesh. He disenthralled the devil-captured soul; whereby he triumphed over mortal and death-possessed Aesh all his life long, and presented our body, soul, and spirit-mine and thine-blameless to the Father : through faith of which work we inherit blamelessness, and walk without guile and spot always.
Next to this, understand, and firmly hold fast, that we, who believe in Jesus' work in our flesh, have verily working in us that power which lifted him out of the grave unto the right hand of power without seeing corruption. That power now worketh in us which is written in Eph. i. 19—23. And is aught more needed to bring forth the man-child? Hath Jesus any power which we on earth share not ? Read the passage referred to (Eph. i. 19), and know. Is this power intended to be put forth on earth ? Read Eph.iv. 11-13 : " And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in 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 the fulness of Christ.” On earth we are to come to the stature of the fulness of Christ, which is the fulness of God. Were the Apostles in
this? Let these two passages, and this other, all taken from the same Epistle, testify: “ To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God” (Eph. iii. 10). And, finally, meditate this passage, and say whether all the glorious things written in these papers, and much more which remain behind, were not all in the Apostle's mind continually : “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man ; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge; that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Eph. iii. 15—21.)
(To be continued.)
GERMINANT FULFILMENT OF PROPHECIES.
Bengelius writes of the Apocalypse (p. 127): “ This prophecy is like a cloud richly full of fructifying rain, that spreads over a large extent of land, which sheds some parts of its waters on every ground in its turn, by streaks or spots. What belongs to each particular time, the believers of that age may turn to their advantage in a special manner, and THAT TOO, FROM TIME TO TIME, MORE AND MORE FULLY.” A much wiser man still, Lord Bacon, observes, that “ Divine prophecies being of the nature of their Author, with whom a thousand years are but as one day, therefore are not fulfilled punctually at once, but have springing and germinant accomplishment throughout many ages; though the height and fulness of them may refer to some one age. These extracts were brought forward in the Dialogues on Prophecy, vol. i. p. 378, and we now adduce them by way of reply to an objection that has been made to an interpretation of the Trumpets, which was printed in our last number, from the pen
of Mr. Irving It is said, that, although the doctrine of a germinant fulfilment of prophecy is most true, with respect to the discursive prophecies; yet to introduce the same doctrine into chronological prophecies would be utterly to destroy their whole force, which consists in their being applicable only to one particular time, and to no other : that nothing but confusion would arise ; and that we should be as much at sea as if no prophetic almanack had been given : and that, at least, there will be no great difference between a discursive and a chronological prophecy. This objection has been made by very pious and well-instructed men : not in a spirit of idle cavil, but in a spirit of holy jealousy, and anxiety to know the mind of God, in order to be conformed to it in the special circumstances of our own days; and ought, therefore, to meet with a full and candid examination.
In order to limit our inquiry within the shortest range, let us confine ourselves to the Apocalypse, and see what light we can gather upon the subject from the book itself. And let us begin with the first series of events presented to us-namely, the seven epistles to the seven churches. There can be no doubt but that the seven churches, to which these epistles are addressed, not only were in existence at the time when the epistles were written to them, but also in the very states in which each is severally described to be. Nevertheless, it is equally clear that those seven states do pourtray the only states into which any church can be brought; and that, therefore, one or other of them is applicable to every church, at some period or other of its course. Moreover, as churches are composed of individuals, so does it
appear that these states are those which every Christian experiences, in some part of his life-states which alone he can experience, let him live as long as he may. And, in addition to all this, we know from history that the visible church has passed through these seven states, exactly in the chronological succession in which they are related, although the time of the vision is limited to that of the ten persecutions which the churches sustained between the day of Pentecost and the conversion of Constantine.
The first condition of the church upon the hearing of the Gospel preached by the Apostles, is described in Acts ii. 43–47; iv. 31–37 : whence we learn, that, such was their extent of brotherly love, they shared all which they possessed with one another, filled with gladness and singleness of heart. In less than sixty years after this, the Apostle writes the Epistle to Ephesus, telling it that it had “left its first love.” The next temptation to which the church was exposed was from“ persecution,” the “ tribulations” which it received at the hands of the Roman emperors. As it advanced, philosophers and learned men joined it, and the church was infested with heresies; all arising from the introduction of Jewish or Heathen practices; as the Jewish church had been corrupted of old by the blandishments of the two Moabitish women, when it could not be destroyed by the violence of Balak and the curses of Balaam. The greater part of Christendom, however, was seduced; and the Popish apostasy grew up as the consequence, forming the fourth condition of trial into which the visible church fell. Next there arose the dead and lifeless formality of Protestantism, with its name to live while it was dead; thinking itself right because it was not Popish. As soon as it was aroused out of this, it put forth the little strength,” the weakness, of Evangelicalism, as it first broke out in Whitfield and Wesley. And the last state into which it has fallen, is the “ lukewarm” condition in which it subsists at the present day; in which the Lord finds it at his coming, and spues it out of his mouth.
At the same time, it is equally apparent that the condition of the visible church at the present day combines all these states, which we have just seen have already been consecutive : it has none of its first love; it is not indeed persecuted, but a spoliation of its wealth is begun, and the spoilers will not be very chary of the persons of those in whom that wealth is vested; it is seduced by human learning; it is apostate; it is formal and dead, while it thinks itself lively; it is weak; and it is indifferent, neither hot nor cold about any thing, be it doctrine or discipline-except, indeed, to cast out the Spirit of God, which “ stands at the door and knocks” for admittance, while all refuse to open the door. In asserting this to be the present state
of the church, we do not set aside the chronological succession of those states in the church of former times, nor do we deny the original application of those states to the churches to which they were addressed.
Now, we see no good reason for dealing with the series of events told out by the seals and trumpets and vials, in a different manner from that in which we deal with this series of events told out in the epistles to the churches. The time and place of the seven trumpets are given in the words the fourth part; the time and place of the seven seals are given in the words the third part; and the time and place of the seven churches are given in the words tribulation ten days. And this view of the subject is confirmed by the interpretation of the seven vials. Without entering into the scrupulous minuteness of Mr. Frere, who fancies he can give the day of the month on which each vial began to flow; or contending, with Mr. Cuninghame, whether they all were poured out together, and continue to flow on the whole time between the sixth and seventh seal; we see no great difficulty in believing that both ideas may be correct, by supposing that each came into fuller manifestation at one period of the interval than at another; and for their particular interpretation we are content for the present to agree with that given in the Dialogues on Prophecy, to which we have before referred. But we nevertheless maintain, that the vials are to be poured out in their fullest and most literal sense by the risen saints, in company with their Lord.
As the seven successive states of the church do all unite together in its present condition, so should we not object to any explanation of the seals and trumpets which should shew them all concentrated likewise, in the last scene of the world's eventful history. This would in no wise set aside any interpretation that has been hitherto given; applying the one set to the West, from Constantine to Napoleon; and the others to the East, from Alaric to the Turks. While we must take the liberty of observing, that, although we adhere to the explanation of both series, according to the above outline, there are yet difficulties to be surmounted, and points to be cleared up, in order to make the whole perfectly complete; and we shewed good reason, in our last Number, for asserting that the woe-trumpet at whose sound Satan falls out of heaven to the earth is not heard until after the translation of the saints.
The same principles apply to that which is at the base of the objection which we have been considering, namely, the numbers themselves. We have no reason to doubt that the ten persecutions of heathenism constitute the chronological mark of the vision of the churches; that the division of the empire into three parts by Constantine, and into four prefectures, do make the