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account, it will surely be obvious, that the present Crisis is distinguished, in a peculiar manner, for its efforts in advancing the Church and Kingdom of Christ.
But, it may be asked, as it sometimes is asked, by persons, who, from whatever cause, are unfavourable to these efforts, “ What is the good effected by them? We see no benefit resulting from them; none, at least, commensurate with the exertions that are made, and with the importance attached to them. Where are the Heathen nations which have embraced the Gospel? Where are the congregations of Jews which have been converted to Christianity ? Where are the Papal communities which have renounced their superstitions and corruptions ? Where are even the Protestant countries or churches which have been reformed and purified? The success which has attended these labours, even according to the statements of their most strenuous advocates, have been too partial and confined to be construed into a fulfilment of prophecy, or to stamp, with any peculiar impress, the days in which they have occurred.” Such objectors, however, may be reminded, that it is not the success of these exertions, which the prophecies intimate as designating the present Crisis, but the circumstance of the exertions themselves being made. They
are not the triumphs of the Church which are to mark the period preceding the Time of Trouble, but the Preparation which leads to then. This is the Time of Preparation; and, however persons may be disposed to undervalue present exertions, and to decry them because of their supposed unproductiveness ; yet, let them remember, that though the seed-time be not the harvest, it is a season of essential importance in reference to the future crop: and that those persons, who would depreciate the labours of the sower, because he is not the reaper, would betray great unacquaintedness with the subject on which they should pretend to decide. The triumphs of the Church are reserved, according to prophecy, to a future period. It is during the approaching Time of Trouble that she will be purified and made meet for the marriagesupper of the Lamb. There is a season appointed when all Israel shall be saved, and when the fulness of the Gentiles shall come in. But the present is not that season; nor, consequently, do these events form any part of the Signs of the present Times. The work of the present Crisis is to prepare
for these events in their season, by diffusing among all nations the Light of the Gospel, and the Word of Truth ; which, like seed deposited in the earth, will, in its due time, spring up; and watered by the Spirit from
above, will bear fruit an hundred fold. The Lord, indeed, does not now leave his servants to labour altogether in vain, as these objectors may sometimes intimate. He vouchsafes to them from time to time such success in their work as is sufficient to encourage their patient perseverance in well-doing; and to show them, that as the work is altogether His own, so He approves of their efforts in his service. But, on the whole, they are now sowing in faith. Hereafter the harvest will come: when he that soweth and he that reapeth shall rejoice together."
These remarks seemed necessary to meet the objection which was suggested. They intimate that the exertions of the present Crisis are not to be appreciated by the benefits which may seem to result from them; that their present success does not constitute, according to prophecy, any part of the “ Signs of the Times ;" and, consequently, that the apparent want of it, even though it were as great as it is represented to be, in no respect weakens the interpretation here assumed. The present is the Season of Preparation. Such the predictions of Scripture intimate that it would be. Such facts show that it is: and so far, therefore, the intimations of prophecy once more concur with the existing state of things.
Upon the whole, then, it appears that the argument, which has been now unfolded, tends,
like that which preceded it, fully to establish the position which it has been brought to confirm. The State of the World, and the Signs of the Times, at the present Crisis, so strikingly accord with the intimations of prophecy, with respect to those particular marks which would designate the Period of the Sixth Vial, as to leave no reasonable doubt but that this Crisis is the very Interval zohich precedes the commencement of those hitherto unerampled judgments, with which the Almighty will visit, and, in the end, will overthrow every
Antichristian power ; and during the progress, and through the operation of which, He will convert and restore the Jews, and will protect and purify his Church
THE PRESENT CRISIS FURTHER PROVED TO BE THE
INTERVAL WHICH PRECEDES THE TIME OF UNPRECEDENTED TROUBLE, BY A DIRECT AND INDEPONDENT PROOF FROM THE WORD OF GOD.
It is presumed that the arguments already advanced have been sufficient to establish the position repeated at the close of the preceding chapter; and that if nothing more could be adduced in support, yet enough has been said to awaken the attention of the Church and People of Christ to that most important admonition, which, as it has been already seen, is so seasonably addressed to them at the present Crisis.
But the subject, in the opinion of the writer, does not terminate here. There is, as he conceives, another argument to be produced ; which, by furnishing a direct and independent proof from the Word of God, will add, by its collateral evidence, considerable weight and strength to the preceding testimonies.
In a Crisis, somewhat analogous to that which the present is supposed to be, the Interval which preceded the predicted judgments on the