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is nei 01 N D now perhaps it may be asked, The Cone
as the Disciples asked our Blessed with some Lord, Mat. 24. 3. tell us; when shall these. Thoughts Things be? To which Queftion bour Lord concerning
the Signs has upon another Occasion, A&ts. I. 7 of the given us this short Answer, that it is not før Times. His to know the Times and the Seasons, wbich the Father barb put in his own Power. And it must be acknowledged, that no one thing has given fo fatal an Advantage to the Enemies of Prophetical Truth, as the vast Presumption of fome Men, who upon very slender Grounds have dared as in the Name of the Lord to confine the Completion of some very great Revolutions to a very narrow Compass of Time, and that with as much Confidence, as if their Comments, had been as Divine and Authentick as the Prophecies themselves which they pretended to explain. The Miscarriages of such Perfons have so prejudic'd the Men sof free thinking and Philofophy, as to make them (generally speaking) entirely neglect the Propherical Writings ; yea, not only. neg. lect but ridicule them, and think all that can be said for them, to be sufficiently anfwered with that bitter Sarcasme of a cer
tain Great Man, that the Book of Revelations either found people mad or left them fors which
however sometimes true it may be in Fac,is dire&ly contrary to the Declaration made by the Spirit of God Himself (if they will allow this Book to be Divine) who begins it with the Promise of a Blessing, a special Blesfing to the study of it ; Blessed is be shat readeth, and they that bear the Words of this Prophecy, and keep those things that are written therein. Rev. 1. 3
Now though our Blessed Saviour condemns a too positive Curiosity in things of this nature, yet does he by no means discourage the modest and humble Enquirer, having himself vouchsafed, Mat. 24. Mark. 13. and Luke. 21. to give us some Marks and Tokens whereby to judge of the near approach of that Time ; at least with as much Certainty as we can judge of the near approach of Summer, when we fee the tender Branches of the Fig-tree begin to bud and put forth its Leaves, or judge of the Weather by the appearance of the Sky.c- Learn (faith he to his Disciples, Mat. 24. 32, 33).a. Parable of the Figetree : when his Branch is get
, tender, and putterh forth bis Leaves, ge know that Summer is nigh: So likewise ye mben ye shall see all these things (meaning the Signs and Tokens afore-mention'd) know that it (the great Desolation) is near, even at the doors. So Mat.16. 2, 3. When it is Evening, ge fay it will be Fair Weather: For the Sky is Red. And in the Morning it will be Foul Weather to Day: for the Sky is Red and Lowring. O Je Hypocrites, ye can difcern the Face of the sky, but cannat ge difcern the Signs of the Times?
Omitting therefore all Chronological Dif. quisitions, which at the best are attended with infinite Uncertainties, we will take a short view of those Criteria, or Tokens, which our Blessed Lord has given us.
The first is Mat. 24. 6. Te shall bear of Wars, and Rumours of Wars, Nation Mall rife against Nation, and Kingdom against Kingdom, there shall be Famines and Pestilences and Earth quakes in divers Places. Upon this let any inquisitive Chriftian look a little into the face of the present Times, and let him seriously tell me, did he ever meet with such a fate of Affairs in any period of History, as that which at this time embarrasses the Princes and Potentates of Europe. Imean in relation to the different Interests and Pretensions,upon which the present War is grounded, which by some surprizing Springs and Motions have upon such different Grounds engaged so many States and Kingdoms, that there is hardly a Neutral Power left to be the Mediator or Guarantee of the so much expected and desired Peace. I cannot upon this Head forbear to mention the viâble Weakness and Declension of the Empire, as also their present Differences with the Court of Rome, which may possibly haften the Completion of Daniel's Prophecy of the Ten Toes of his Image, Dan. 2. 41. which will be an indisputable Proof of the near Approach of the grand Revolution. As for the other Instances, vizi, Pestilences and Famines, by the Mercy of God they have not yet been so univerfalz and O. may, the same
good Providence continue to be our Den fence and Protection! But for Earthquakes, they have been more common in many Parts of Europe and America within these few Years, than they have been for some Ages before.
ANOTHER Sign is the Perfecutions which the faithful Witnesses of the Truth of God shall suffer from the Opposition of those that have corrupted the Truth by the Workings of the Antichristian Spirit; v.9, Then shall they deliver you (the Teachers and Affertors of Apostolical Truth) up to be afe flicted, and shall kill you, and you shall be, hated of all Men for my Name's sake. And v. 10 many Sall-be offended, and shall betray one another, and hate one another. Upon which
Words I shall mention no other Comment * Cat. 15. than that of St. Cyril of Jerusalem * " If thou hearest that Bishops contend
against Bishops, and Priests against Priests, and People against People, even to Blood, be not disturbed at it ; for it was foretold
that it should come to pass. (And again) CC
Amongst the Apostles themselves there was Treachery, and doeft thou wonder that there is Variance amongft Bifhops?:?
!!! ANOTHER Sign is, yo it. Many False Prophets fhall arise, and shall deceive many. This Sign in particular has been visibly fulfilled in the fight of all Men, by one of the most notorious and remarkable Inftances of Delusion that ever was acted in any period of the Churchsia Delufion masked under so
vast a Mixture of noble Primitive and Evan
a gelical Truths, and such Appearances of Piery and dif-interested Zeal for God, that it deceiv'd many well-meaning pious Souls, who followed them in the Simplicity of their Hearts. These may, I think, in the most proper Sense be called False Prophets, though they taught and published many great and noble Truths. Prophets, I think they may be called, in the common Acceptation of the Word, for Persons that speak by the Direction and Aslistance of some supernatural Agent. For this I am perswaded was their Case, neither can I be induced to think that the whole was a Sham and Contrivance of some cunning Leaders amongst them who were at the Bottom of the whole Design, to serve some By-ends of their own; and I believe it appears by this Time, that there have been sundry Things done amongst them, that greatly exceed the Powers of Nature. Secondly, They are False Prophets, as having not justify'd their Mission by that decisive Miracle to which they made their * See, The last and most folemn Appeal. And Lastly, New Prethey may be called False, as speaking in and tenders to by a * false Spirit, and making those very examind,
Prophecy Truths they uttered subservient to the pro- and their moting of Error and Falsehood, as might Pretences be shown at large, and which I fear will be shewn to be but too fadly evident by the lamentable Ef- groundless
and false, fees which it has and will have according to by N. the different Impressions which it has made Špinckes, upon the Minds and Principles of different M. A. Persons. I cannot pass by this Sign, with- Printed for
R. Sare, P