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events according to holy scripture, must take place before the millenium, (be that millenium what it may.) " and that day shall not come (as God the Spirit declared by Paul, 2 Thes. ii, 2, 3.) except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition!”
From this statement, the spiritual church of Christ whom I now address will perceive, that however gratifying it might be to us to be let into the arcanum of the divine counsel on this subject, our province of duty is to be distinguished from the carnal by not presuming to “be wise above what is written." In answer, therefore, to the question -“ Watchman! what of the night?” and in reference to what part of the night the present hour of the church is, I shall only bring before the church the prophecy of Daniel on the subject, explained in some measure as it is by corresponding passages in Ezekiel's prophecy, and the Revelations, on the same; and then leave the church to her solemn meditations thereon under the grace of God.
The prophet Daniel closeth the eleventh chapter of his prophecy, with describing some great earthly potentate," which shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palaces between the seas, in the glorious holy mountain, yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.” Nothing can be plainer than that it is the church, and not any worldly power that this prophecy refers to, where and when these events are to be accomplished. glorious holy mountain,” is Mount Zion. Ps. lxviii. 2.and " between the seas," as plainly defines the place, an island : and the time when, had before been marked, Dan. xi. 6, namely, " in the end of the years,” And by a comparative statement of Daniel with Ezekiel, chap. xxxviii. 8-16. we find a further light thrown
upon the subject. Then follows in the 12th chapter a fuller statement, to which for brevity I refer. And if the reader will mark the prominent parts in this close of Daniel's prophecy, particularly the 1st, 4th, 8th, 9th, and 10th verses of the 12th chapter, and compare them with modern events, he will discover a marvellous coincidence. That the prediction had a further aspect than to the siege of Jerusalem by Vespasian (though that might also be included, as is no uncommon thing in scripture) is evident from several of the leading points. Christ, the great Prince standing up for' his people, could not be so suitably applied to that season of his humiliation: neither could it be said, “ that then the delivery of his people,” was manifested, “ in their names being said to be found written in the book," Rev. xx. 15. But waving these considerations, the siege of Jerusalem could not be meant in those verses, where it is said, many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased;" neither could it be a suited reference at that time of what is said at the 10th verse, that “ none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.” But take this prophecy of Daniel in your hand, and compare it with the present day! Behold! “ how many are running to and fro, and knowledge is increased!" And connect with this missionary spirit, the decision of the Lord, none but the people of the Lord “ that shall be found written in the book shall understand !” And then let the reader (for I refer it to his own decision, under the Lord's teaching) judge for himself. And to suppress all irreverent curiosity, let him recollect that this highly favoured servant of the Lord was not gratified in his request to know more, who, when he had heard these things, but understood them not, said, “O my Lord! what shall be the end of these things? And he said, go thy way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end!”
And now, brethren, farewell! In thus addressing you on the entrance of a new year, I send my salutation, accompanied with prayer for each and for every one of the spiritual church of our most glorious Christ, that both in the opening and in the progress, the Lord whose we are may graciously prepare us for what he is preparing for us. Who shall say in the revolution of time what a month, or a week, nay, even a day, or an hour may bring forth ? And with many of the Lord's antient ones (and peradventure the writer) before the sun shall have finished once again his annual circuit, that blessed scripture in the fullest comprehension of it may be realized, on which the Lord saith, “ the year of my redeemed is come!” Isa. lxiii. 4 I commit all to the Lord in those sweet words of his grace, “ Unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen."
WHAT THINK YE OF CHRIST? THE GREAT QUESTION OF THE GOS
PEL: AS PROPOSED TO HIS DISCIPLES BY CHRIST HIMSELF:
What think ye of Christ?"-Matt. xxii. 42. I begin in those sublime words of the Lord by the prophet, “ Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One; to Him whom man despiseth; to
Him whom the nation abhorreth! Isa. xlix. 7. What Him is this whom man despiseth? And who is He whom the nation abhorreth? Nay there can be but one to whom the words are in the least applicable, even Him of whom the patriarch Jacob when dying spake, and under the spirit of prophecy declared " to whom the gathering of the people should be,” Gen. xlix. 10. That mighty Him of whom, in after ages by the same spirit of prophecy, it was said, " That in the dispensation of the fulness of time he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him!” Eph. i. 10. And as if this was not enough to define both the infinite greatness of his Person and the infinite completeness of his salvation, the same Almighty Spirit, who inspired both the patriarch and the apostle thus to speak of our most glorious Christ, added another scripture to the same amount, and thus described Him,
Having made peace through the blood of his cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto himself, by Him I say (repeating the mighty Him with the strongest emphasis) whether they be things in earth or things in heaven,” Col. i. 20.
But who is the man that despiseth Him? And what nation is it that abhorreth Him ? Nay, every man, and all men; not one, or two, or ten million, but every son and daughter of Adam, who are all alike by nature involved in the same universal corruption, and while continuing in the unregenerate state of the unrenewed mind. Nations and individuals must necessarily follow the bias of their depraved nature, which the sacred word of God in one sweeping clause decidedly declares to be “ enmity against God,” Rom. viii. 7. so that it is not this man or that nation, a single person or a community, but man himself, his whole nature, the inherent delinquency of sin in all his members, himself rotten at the core, and as impossible to create love
towards God in his unregenerate heart as to create a world. The Lord's statement cannot but be correct, when he saith, “ Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots ? Then may ye also do good that are accustomed to do evil,” Jerem. xiii. 23.
And the glorious gospel of the blessed God is founded on this very principle. Man is considered, as he is in himself, utterly lost, helpless, and hopeless: the Lord makes provision for his recovery in the incommunicable and complete salvation of God. Man's ruin is wholly in himself; his restoration is wholly in God. It is not what man can do, for he can do nothing except sin; but what God can do, and will do, yea, hath done for him. By the Adam-fall transgression, man is “ dead in trespasses and sins:" by rich, free, sovereign grace he is " quickened together with Christ,” Eph. ii. 1-5. The“ mystery of iniquity,” and the “ mystery of godliness,” are thus opened and explained by the Lord himself to his spiritual church: and in the Person of our most glorious Christ, who, by taking into union our human nature with his divine, became the visible Jehovah, to make known what without such a gracious revelation could not have been made known, namely, man's fall by Adam, and his recovery by Christ. Thus, (as is said by the apostle) in his times shewed, “ who is the blessed and only potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, or can see," 1 Tim. vi. 15, 16. Hence, therefore through that union with our nature, this became the medium of visibility. He is the whole efficiency of salvation. His was to do away all the injury of the fall for his people. His the sole work to bring for them redemption. His, as the Holy Ghost described him by the prophet, “ to build the old waste places, and to raise up the foundation of many generations.” And hence among the numberless, glorious names by