« EdellinenJatka »
from the ways which it renders thus clear before us, why should we expect an exemption from the indignation of God, or that he will not withdraw the profferred guidance of his hand?
Upon this foundation are all our proofs to stand; and though to the candid enquirer we might fairly put the question, what becomes of the Patriarchal, if it be separated from the Mosaic? or of the Mosaic, if it be separated from the Christian dispensation? yet we are desirous rather of bringing confirmation to the truth of our position, from the progressive periods of their history, from the memorials of heathen nations, the dispersion of the Jews, and the apostacy of the present times. We wish to shew, that by considering the religion and the ritual of the patriarchs and the Israelites only as separate forms of national theology, and not materially connected with the Christian creed, the peculiar advantage of sacred history which records and points to Christ, as the guide and saviour of man, is relinquished, and that in attempting to explain his own nature and destination, he has either wandered into conjecture, or reposed in infidelity,
With a present sense, and a melancholy foreboding of their fatal consequences, we appeal to many an highly-esteemed publication to substantiate these assertions. And from studies which might adorn, but should not be made the basis, of a christian education, what evils have originated in a christian land, for which the most extensive learning never can compensate! How many, from a classical or scientific direction of their talents, have brought to the prophetic writings only a critical acuteness to decide upon their respective merits, or a disposition to search after that sort of demonstration, which the oracles of God could not afford, without destroying at once the faith and free
Such enquirers after truth will find little there of Christ or his gospel. In the works of genius, in the fietions of imagination, in abstract speculation, or in experimental discovery, in short in every arrangement of the materials before them, because it appears as it were the work of man's own creation, such students will derive a gratification more congenial to the pride of intellect, to their literary attainments, and to their habits of reflection,
agency of man!
In the progress of talents thus directed, would to God that religion had only to weep over their useless employment! but it has had to sustain their wanton and determined attacks. From the boldness of infidelity, that would dispute the authority of the holy writings, to the cavils of sophistry that would weaken their sanctions, every thing has been attempted that the vigour or acuteness of the human mind could atchieve; and Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever, has been stigmatized as an impostor, ridiculed as an enthusiast, denied the evidence of miracles, and robbed of every ornament and of every pre-eminence of character.
It seems, indeed, to have been reserved for this enlightened age to oppose with more decided malignity the revelation of Jesus Christ; with an awful warning to the wisdom of this world, we have seen men plunge from doubts, which questioned the validity of God's word, to the madness of impiety that denies his existence. But the judgments which have followed, and the crimes and horrors which now desolate the earth, bring the most indisputable
marks of the hand that directs the moral like the natural hurricane to its ordained purpose; of the hand of Him who is pledged to maintain the cause of righteousness, who has ever avenged his violated laws, and who, to punish and correct mankind, is now making an apostate world the engine of its own destruction.
To the maturing scheme of prophecy preordained and foretold by the faithful witness, the christian looks with confidence, but rests in hope. Waiting, like the patriarch, for the fullness of consummation and the promised rest, he may mistake the increasing light for the brightness of the perfect day; yet in its progress onwards, as it must shine with clearer lustre, he will follow it as a guide amidst the darkness of events, and as the day-star that is to lead him to the God of his salvation. Whatever seal may now be opened, whatever vial of wrath may now be pouring forth, he will not rashly decide; but directed by the word of Him who was, andis, and is to come, he will discover in the signs of the times something like the approach. of that dreadful period, when the measure of iniquity is to be full, and when the Son of
Man at his second advent shall hardly find faith upon the earth. He may, perhaps, so far presume to remove the veil that hangs between him and futurity, as to disclose, under the symbol of the beast that was to ascend out of the bottomless pit, the spirit of antichrist under its last terrific form; that was not only to speak as 'a dragon, to change times and laws, to have its mouth full of cursing and bitterness, and its feet swift to shed blood, but was to trample under foot the two witnesses of Jesus, to insult their memories, and to rejoice in their destruction. Whether or not this part of the prophetic vision be now realised, and a tyrannical and ferocious government be allowed to identify the features of the hideous monster;-whether or not a rejection of the Old and New Testament, (the witnesses of Jesus) a change of times and ordinances, and the senseless admiration of deluded nations, be admitted as an interpretation of the symbolic language, and explain the apostolic picture of all men wondering after the beast, and worshipping his power;-certain it is, that new scenes are unfolding themselves in the great system of Providence, and that they are acting