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A COURSE OF LECTURES,
AT FOUNDERS' HALL, LO THBURY, LONDON
WILLIAM JONES, M.A.
HISTORY OF THE WALDENSES,” “LECTURES ON THE -POLYPSE,"
BIBLICAL CYCLOPÆDIA,” ETC. ETC.
The subject of Ecclesiastical History, which has never been devoid of interest to the friends of Divine Truth, has lately acquired an unusual degree of importance from the extraordinary occurrences that are transpiring on the theatre of Europe. In these occurrences may be found the accomplishment of prophecies that were delivered and committed to writing seventeen or eighteen hundred years ago, and some a much longer period. The sceptic may turn this assertion to ridicule, and even statesmen and philosophers, who are too much absorbed in their speculations to regard “ the work of the Lord, or consider the operation of his hands,” may be perplexed and confounded by passing events ; yet to the humble Christian, who is attentive to the signs of the times, and whose daily prayer is, “ Thy kingdom come,” no subject can be more consolatory and cheering. The fact is, that the period allotted for the reign of Antichrist, in the mysterious plans of Providence, and not obscurely pointed out in the sacred records, is now rapidly approaching its consummation, and the present convulsion of the nations is the harbinger of the triumphs of the kingdom of Christ over every opposing power, and of the accomplishment of the grand things that are recorded concerning it.
To draw the attention of men to this all-important subject was the authors motive in commencing this Course of Lectures, and with the same object in view they are now issued from the press. He is well aware that his sentiments respecting the nature of the Redeemer's kingdom, as an economy entirely spiritual and heavenly-the impossibility of amalgamating it with national establishments of Christianity-and its hostility to every scheme of church-government devised by the wit or wisdom of man-cannot fail to expose him to the contemptuous sneer and indignant frown of high-churchmen of every class, whether Papist, Episcopalian, or Presbyterian ; but treatment such as that will neither surprise nor move him. His appeal is to the Law and the Testimony, to the writings of the Evangelists and Apostles, which he considers to be the alone rule of religion since Christ left the earth. By that unerring standard he is desirous, that whatever he has advanced may be tried; and, as imperfection is the lot of man, whatever he may have said that is at variance with it, on being apprised thereof, he shall be most ready to expunge.
May He who is head over all things to the Church, and who is the only legitimate Head, condescend to smile on this humble effort to expose the wicked devices of men in all ages, in adulterating his religion, usurping his authority, changing his laws, and rendering his "precepts void, by their own traditions,May he make it instrumental in freeing the minds of his own disciples from the doctrines and commandments of men, and leading them to distinguish between Christianity and its numerous corruptions, thus enabling them to separate the chaff from the wheat, and to his name be all the praise !
Critchill Place, Horton, ,
March 25th, 1831.
A VIEW OF THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST, THE SAVIOUR OF
The truth of the Gospel history, and, consequently, the divine origin of Christianity, are so intimately connected with the character of the Lord Jesus Christ, that an attempt to exhibit that character in its true light seems necessary to lay a proper foundation for a history of his church or kingdom in the world. The materials for such an enquiry are to be found in the writings of the four Evangelists, the Acts of the Apostles, and the apostolic Epistles, which collectively form the book of the New Testament; from this source alone our information must be derived, and the present attempt will be restricted to a simple statement of what these inspired writers have left upon record regarding this most important subject, accompanied by such remarks and reflections as appear adapted to present it to the reader in a just point of view.
I enter upon this task by observing that the appearance of the Messiah in this world, and the setting up of his kingdom, formed a prominent article in the writings of the ancient prophets.* Accordingly the Jewish nation, who had in those writings the means of calculating the time of his advent, were anxiously expecting his appearance about the period of 4000 years from the date of the creation ; and, if history may be credited, even the heathens had a notion about that time-a notion probably
* Ps. ü. 8, and xxii. 27, and lxxii. passim, and lxxxix. 19-36. ; Is. ix. 6, 7, and xi. 1-9; Dan. ii. 44, and vii, 14.