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FAITH AND INFLUENCE
REV. ARCHIBALD HALL,
LATB MINISTER OF THE ASSOCIATE CONGREGATION, WELLS' STREET, LONDON.
AN INTRODUCTORY ESSAY,
THOMAS CHALMERS, D. D.
PROFESSOR OF DIVINITY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH,
PRINTED FOR WILLIAM COLLINS;
W. F. WAKEMAN, AND WM. CURRY, JUN. & CO. DUBLIN ;
SIMPKIN & MARSHALL; BALDWIN & CRADOCK;
AND HURST, CHANCE, & CO. LONDON.
It is remarkable, that our Saviour, after foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem, and giving the assurance that he will speedily come to avenge his .elect, makes this solemn and awakening inquiry: “ Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth ?” We cannot so far dive into the unrevealed secrets of prophecy, as to affirm how much, or how little, of analogy there is between the destruction of Jerusalem and the final dissolution of our world. It is impossible, in reading the woes and denunciations of our Saviour upon this subject, to rid ourselves of the impression, that there is a general resemblance between these two events. Both of them are described under the figure of the coming of the Son of man. At both of them there is a work of vengeance to be done, and a fell manifestation given of God's wrath against the finally and obstinately impenitent. In both an old economy is entirely swept away, and a new order of things emerges from the ruins of it. But there is one point of the comparison, at which, instead of a likeness, we believe it to be the general
apprehension of Christians, that there must be a strong dissimilarity. We are apt to look forward to a mighty spread and revival of the Gospel in the latter days. Ere the day of judgment shall arrive, we count on the restoration of Jews, and the flocking in of Heathens, and the consummation of a great moral triumph over the world's blindness and depravity; and, in short, a whole species visibly awakened from the lethargy of nature, and turned, intently turned, on the things of eternity. Now, we dispute not that in our book of prophecy there is a warrant for all these expectations. But the difficulty is, how to find an adjustment between these high millennial hopes on the one hand; and on the other, the su den and overwhelming surprise wherewith the last day is to come on an unbelieving world. If it be as applicable to the breaking up of our globe as it was to the breaking up of Jerusalem, that its coming is to be as a thief in the night, and that it shall bear with it a sudden destruction, on men steeped in the delusion of all around them being peace and safety, and that, wholly given over to earthliness, they shall be caught at unawares, while “ eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage,"—if it be really true, that it is in the midst of holiday enjoyments, and among the songs of mirth and revelry, that the sound of the last trumpet shall be heard, and the Judge is to descend with the authority of a sudden arrest on all the pursuits and frivolities of a then unthinking generation, may it not, after all, be true of this his latter visitation, as it was of his former one, that when the Son of man cometh he shall not find faith upon the earth ?