of Rome, for she declares in her own language in the Council of Trent, that if any one shall say that justifying faith is nothing else than a confidence in the divine mercy, pardoning sins for Christ's sake, let him be accursed. There is the creed of the church of Rome at this moment, and has been for three hundred years; and it is this which brands her as coming under the stigma here given, as being poisoned by the tail of Satan's malignity. Now it said that those who are to overcome that power are those who contend with the blood of the Lamb, while Rome comes with her awful curse and says that man is to be damned who will believe alone in the blood of Christ, the witnesses for Jesus come with that blessed declaration, “they are to overcome with the blood of the Lamb." The Romanist will come and strike the bible out of the hands of men, but the witnesses of Christ overcome by the word of their testimony, and they love not their lives unto the death.

These times of the Gentiles are now hastening on; they are indeed solemn times, for we have in the papal aggression that is at present attempted in this kingdom, and in the more successful aggressions in other kingdoms, the darkening of that cloud which is hastening on the final contest of which our blessed Saviour speaks in this very prediction.

IV. Succeeding to his declaration of the times of the Gentiles, the fourth subject brought before us by our Lord is, the fall of the nations and the accompaniments of that fall. The very word times or seasons infers the ripening of the harvest. Then if we have christianized nations dealt with in grace and in mercy, a true church, a ministry, the sacraments and revelation of God committed to the nations, they are standing upon their

[ocr errors]

“ the

probation. “Behold therefore,” says St. Paul, goodness and severity of God, on them which fell, seve. rity; but towards thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness; otherwise thou also shall be cut off ” But we have not continued in Christ's goodness, the platform of Christendom has not continued in the goodness of the grace of God, as revealed in the gospel of his dear Son. And therefore Christ speaks here of the awful fall of nations which is to take place, “ Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the earth distress of nations with perplexity : the sea and the waves roaring, men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” In the 12th chap. of Hebrews the apostle reminds us that this is an unfulfilled prophecy, where in speaking of an earthquake he says

in the 26th and 27th verses, " Whose voice then shook the earth, but now he hath promised saying, yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven; and this word, once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.” Here we have then a shaking of things in heaven and things on earth: in the symbolic language of scripture, the casting down of national thrones and national constitutions of the people of the world. That passage is quoted from the 2nd chap. of Haggai, where he declares of the then existing powers that they were not to last long; that the time was coming when the Lord of hosts would once more shake the heavens and the earth, and the sea and the dry land, and all nations. Now if we turn again to the book of Revelation, we have that shak

[ocr errors]

ing of the nations brought before us in very solemn and awful language. We find there in the 16th chap. and thọ 12th verse, the great river, the Euphrates, dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. And here is the prediction of the withering away of the Mahometan power, that power which was to be marked out by the river Euphrates. And where is the Mahometan power that has not been withered up? Indeed, at this very moment the great capital, the centre of Mahometanism in India is about being made the centre of our Indian possessions. There is just that much said about it here, and the subject is then left in comparative darkness; but immediately follows three unclean spirits like frogs, coming out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet; for they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth, and of the whole world, and gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Now here is a pretence to superhuman power from three sources,—the beast, that is the secular power,—the dragon, satanic power,—the false prophet, pretended religious power. And do we find no indications of attempts at supernatural power at this moment? Have we no claims to false miracles by the false prophet? or why is it that an apostate minister of our own church, now unhappily seceded to the church of Rome, could stand forward and defend all its absurdities that are called miracles in the church of Rome as if they were truths? And why is it that we have so many men of science, yet but sciolists in science, infidel men, pretending to be able by the perfection of science to do miracles, as much as our blessed Saviour did of old; pretending, by the discoveries of human science, to be able to equal the things that the blessed Jesus did. And the bible warns us here that these are not mere pretences, but though now indeed but pretences, they are like the full ripening of the harvest of wickedness. They will not be always so, for that which appears in man's sight to be of men is in heaven's sight demoniacal. They are the spirits of devils, they are unclean creatures like frogs, coming out of the shrine of this world instead of coming with the purity of heavenly power, and yet they are coming with real supernatural power, as we find it said in the 13th chap of the same book of Revelation, in the 13th verse, of the image of the beast, “And he doeth great wonders so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by means of those miracles which he has power to do in the sight of the beast, saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast which had the wound by the sword and did live.”

Now what were these demoniacal miracles to denote? They were to make great conversions to those that were to gather men together, by the battle of that great day of God Almighty. It is an awful sign of the times to see, on the continent of Europe, so great a religious power of Popery, so great a democratic power as is now spread over the surface of the European continent. But, perhaps a more dangerous sign, is the great attempt by foreign sovereigns who will not stand fast in the liberty of Christ, and hope for peace by other means than by the diffusion of the principles and the laws of peace, to screw down by tyrannical laws that spirit that has risen up against them. Here is the prediction that we have respecting the foolishness of such attempts



in the 18th verse, “And there were voices, and thunders, and lightenings, and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.” Here we have then the fall of the nations predicted, and this a fall after a great gathering together of the nations. And we have much reason to hope, brethren, that our beloved kingdom and empire will be saved from that very judgment that is here spoken of. It depends upon our Protestantism whether we shall

escape whether we shall not: it depends upon our own maintenance of bible truth, upon our testimony to the blood of the Lamb, and our testimony against the abominable idolatries and gross superstitions of the corrupted church of Rome. From that very indication of the kings of the east, in connection with the declaration made in the 38th chap. of Ezekiel, the merchants of Tarshish joined with Sheba and Dedan in opposing the antichristian confederation, we have scriptural grounds to hope that we ourselves are raised up of God to be the witnesses of his truth, to be the maintainers of his gospel, and to support the testimony of his Son while all the world around remains in darkness. :

V. But Christ speaks not only of the fall of the nations but of the budding towards the summer, when the fig-tree has yet her branches tender, and but beginning to put forth her spiritual life,

" then know that summer is near, even at the doors.” And although the Jew be not yet brought back to Jerusalem, yet the Jewish people are now more than ever attending to the truth of Christ. There

« ElőzőTovább »