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There is, however, if possible, a still more serious aspect of the times in which our lot is cast, and that is as was predicted by the prophet Jeremiah, where he says, “ A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to hare it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?” Now, here is the awful feature of the circumstances thus depicted, God's professing people loving to have it so. Their simplicity, their zeal, their professed love to Jesus and His people, sacrificed to party-feeling, and petty strife, and worldly pleasure and conformity.
In regard to the days in which we live, we would have the reader carefully consult what the Holy Ghost has said by the apostle Paul, in 2 Thess. ii., where “the mystery of iniquity," or Popery, is most plainly and emphatically pointed out, and which, in spite of its marked decay and abandonment in other countries, is, and long has been, making the most fearful advances in our own land. In relation to this undeniable fact, it must be patent to every spiritual and observant mind, that political Dissenters have, in their antagonism to State-control in regard to Church government, aided and abetted the spread of Romanism to a most perilous extent. In so doing, they have acted a most suicidal part; for assuredly no sooner will the Church of England follow in its disendowment the Church of Ireland, than the bulwark of British Protestantism will be removed; and Popery will seekand be content with nothing short of—absolute and entire supremacy. Dissent has of late been a mere tool in the hands of the Papacy; and we verily believe that Dissenters will live to rue the day that they ever adopted the course they have of late pursued.
Not only, however, has the apostle Paul, in his epistle to the Thessalonians, but likewise in both his epistles to Timothy, drawn to the very life the character of our own times. Mark, reader, what he says, in the opening of the fourth chapter of his first epistle, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils ; speaking lies in hypocrisy ; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” And again in the third chapter of his second epistle he writes, “ This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lust, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth : men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further : for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as their's also was.”
Well does one of the oldest correspondents of the Gospel MAGAZINE write: “ The seas and waves are roaring just now, but the Lord on high is mightier. The people are breaking the bonds and casting away the cords of Christ; but God has set His King on the holy hill of Zion; and He must reign, and put all enemies under His feet.”
In contemplating the truly solemn aspect of the times, personally we gather comfort from sundry Scriptures, such as the following: after the Lord had declared so solemnly, “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon 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. And then shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory”_He adds, “ And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” The apostle, moreover, in 2 Tim. (from which we have already quoted), says, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His.” Further, there is that blessed declaration in Psalm cxii., touching the righteous and his seed, “Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. He shall not be afraid of evil tidings : his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.”
Now, dear reader, these and sundry kindred passages, are as so many strongholds for the believer to grasp, come what may. And to our own mind there is likewise much consolation to be gathered from the fact, that, if the cities of the plain had not been destroyed, provided ten righteous had been found there, what shall we say in respect to the hundreds and thousands of " tens” yet to be found in guilty, but still dear old England ?
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