« PreviousContinue »
age when he is crucified afresh, and put to open shame "in the great city, which is fpiritually called Sodom and Egypt," from its dreadful wickednefs, and oppreffive tyranny ; whoever fhall refift the enticements of deceit, the fword of terror, and the torpor of indifference, "fhall come forth as filver that is tried in the furnace ;" for HE THAT SHALL ENDURE TO THE END, THE SAME SHALL BE SAVED;" "faved from the panic and fuffering which fhall overfpread the kingdom of the first beaft, in this time of her plagues"-saved from the tyranny of the Second, and be preferved as wheat, to be gathered into the garner, when the chaff is burnt up before the prefence of the Lord, when he cometh to establish his everlasting kingdom," in happiness and glory, according to the promises of God from the beginning of the world.
* Thus do I beg leave to interpret the angel's intimation, Rev. xi. and therefore confefs my fear that the witnesses are yet to be flain in fome way or other, which at prefent we cannot understand," in the ftreet of this great city;" by which I understand, the principal feat of the power of the second beaft, wherever that may be.
CHAPTER THE FOURTH.
PROPHECIES WHICH REMAIN TO BE FUL
CLUSION OF THE WHOLE WORK.
THE comparison of historic facts with Prophecy establishes Revelation, and strengthens Faith. The examination of Prophecies which relate to prefent times, particularly intereft our feelings, and must be allowed to be a proper exercise for our judgment. But the Prophecies which refpect future .times, must be confidered as objects of our faith, rather than our understanding. A dark veil hangs before them, which the curiosity of man cannot penetrate, nor his ingenuity wholly remove. But though the precife time, and the manner in which the Divine designs will be accomplished, may
be doubtful, mysterious, and unknown, the predictions concerning the events are confpicuous and undeniable, and offer to the pious mind many fubjects. of devout contemplation. From meditation arise, almost involuntarily, conjectures concerning their completion; and if thefe conjectures are accompanied by due humility and caution, they cannot be deemed reprehenfible.
We may then purfue this attempt to fhow the harmony which pervades the whole of Prophecy, and the poffibility of reconciling most of the various opinions concerning it, into the regions of futurity, provided we confine our steps to the path prescribed by Scripture for the courfe of inquiries to which the study of the Prophetic writings, and the paffing train of events, directly lead; and provided we remember, that the utmost reach of our refearches can only attain to probability. The aftonishing circumftances which have recently and rapidly happened in the European world, would have appeared incredible to the most fagacious fpeculatift, a very few years ago. Changes, now equally unknown, may again come on as fpeedily as those have done which now excite our wonder, and again
may prove the vanity of human foresight. But the word of God is fure ;" and every change will tend to forward those events which are to precede the coming of that kingdom," for which we are directed to offer up our daily prayers. Of this we may be confident, however erroneous may be our opinions concerning the operation of thefe changes; for the Lord will haften it in his time." I readily confefs, however, that the extraordinary circumstances of the prefent times indicate, in my judgment, the approach of fome fignal display of Divine power, to justify Divine truth " in the fight of men." And, as we are commanded to" watch the figns of the times," as we are expressly told, that" in that day, which shall be neither light nor dark, in the evening it fhall be light," I truft I shall stand acquitted of prefumption, though I venture to state some conjectures refpecting the probable course of fome of these great events, which appear to be now fulfilling the regular courfe of Prophecy b.
a Zech. xiv. 6, 7.
If a sketch of the present ftate of Europe, with reference to the fulfilment of Prophecy, were to be drawn by fimply bringing together, and arranging in their
"The many and clear Prophecies (fays Sir Ifaac Newton) concerning the things to be done at Chrift's fecond coming, are not only for predicting, but also for effecting a recovery and re-establishment of the longloft truth, and fetting up a kingdom, wherein dwells righteousness.' The event will prove the Apocalypfe: and this Prophecy, thus proved and understood, will open the old Prophets, and all together will make known the true Religion, and establish it. For he that will understand the old Prophets [relative to the last days]
proper order acknowledged facts that have happened within the laft fifty years, unconnected with political opinions as much as the nature of the fubject will allow, how ftriking would be the effect! Such a collection of indifputable facts, felected from different kingdoms, and arifing from various causes, confidered collectively, would appear to be directed by the hand of Providence to one point, and as affifting in the execution of the one great scheme, which the whole train of Prophecies and events, from the beginning of the world to the present hour, has gradually developed, and uniformly promoted: by means, however, fo confiftent with man's free will (fee the Bishop of Lincoln's Thanksgiving Sermon, 1797, p. 23.) that unless " his eyes are opened" by Revelation, he never looks beyond his own free-agency, and the supposed effects of chance, to account for the fuccefs or failure of thofe plans, which continually feed or difappoint his hopes.