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dom, must be considered as a phenomenon in history, which, whether viewed in a religious or a political light, Fact alone could render credible. Would the piety and wisdom of our Ancestors, who rescued Britain from these chains, have believed it possible ? I am aware that the philofophized toleration d of modern days will readily furnish a specious justification of what They would have esteemed in difference to the interests of Religion. But surely it is high cime to return to the genuine principles of Christianity. By their fruits yé shall know thein.”
. Let me not be misunderstood; Christian toleration is equally remote from intolerance and indifference; it unites ardent zeal with perfect charity; it allows perfect liberty to every mode of worship; but forgets not the injunction, “ to labour earnestly to propagate the faith” by every means which argument, and example, and
encouragement, can furnish. And while it commands the protection of every individual person, and admits freedom of inquiry, it authorizes restraint upon actions, and the avowal of opinions inconsistent with the safety of the Religious or Civil establishments of the State, and the preservation of defensive barriers for their security. Upon this question I know it is common to urge, that Religion is itself invulnerable, and needs no defence from the civil power; for Religion is artfully considered, either in the abstract, or as a political insti. tution. But it may be asked, What would be said of that general, who, by destroying the outworks of a per culiar district, facrificed an army, and contented himself with preserving an impregnable fortress?
time h See vol. i. p. 212.
I shall conclude this Chapter with an appeal to the Prophecy of our Lord, which has been already examined as far as it relates to past events *, and shown to refer with equal certainty to “ the latter days. Is it possible to read this Prophecy, and not consider it as in a peculiar manner directed to “ the men of this generation," as a warning and consolation to the church in this awful period of time? “ When ye shall hear of wars, and rumous of wars, be not terrified, for these things must first come to pass ; but the end is not yet ; for nation shall rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars [symbols referring to churches as well as ftates), 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 fhaken. And
they (the nations] shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven [in judgment upon them as at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, and the victory over Pagan tyranny, which introduced the establishment of Christianity in temporary peace and glory in the Roman world'] And when these things begin to come to pass, then look
and lift up your heads ; for your redemption draweth nigh. Many, false Prophets (or teachers] shall arise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. BUT HE
THAT SHALL ENDURE
It requires no words to prove, that a great part of this Prophecy is actually fulfilling at this moment. In what herefy been more prevalent? In what period did false teachers ever arise with so much power to deceive? When did such multitudes fall the victims of delusion? When did iniquity so generally abound since the light of the Gospel arose to guide us into the paths of eternal life and happiness? And what age was ever marked like this, with indifference to the truths and the interests of Religion? Do we not hear of wars and rumours of wars-fee nation rising against nation, and kingdom against kingdom-defection and schisms in the churches-insurrections, commotions, and convulsions in the great and in the little states of the world, and the governments of all Maken in a manner unexampled in the annals of history? And is it possible to describe the character of the times more exactly than in the following terms ? “ Upon the earth, distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring.” This distress and perplexity was to arise, we fee, not from the ambition of monarchs, or the usual causes of contention among but was to be created and continued by the lower ranks of people. It was to be a democratic Spirit that was to occasion this tremendous confusion. Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming upon the earth. Wearied by the failure of conjecture, the disappointment of plans, and the torments of suspicion, the inhabitants of the earth
i See vol, i, p. 253-258.
seem' now to wait their doom with the anxieties of suspense, and the chill of defpair.
But amidst all these dreadful images of the «
days of vengeance,” what gracious comfort does our Lord afford to his faithful church! Be ye not terrified.
When these things begin to come to pass, then look up,
and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.” The reign of Antichrist is near its close, and the glorious day of your Lord is at hand.
ye terrified ;” “Lo I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”. Be patient under the correction which
Father shall fee necessary to prepare you for a place in my kingdom. Stand firm in the day of temptation, which shall come upon all the earth; and remember, that he who fall endure to the end, the same shall be saved. Whoever, or whatever church or nation, shall continue firmly attached to the Lord and Saviour of the world, in an
f See vol. i. p. 226. and p. 98. of this volume, for the fulfilment of this promise, as it respected the first Chriftians during the fiege of Jerusalem, and the Church of Philadelphia.