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dom, must be confidered as a phenomenon in hiftory, 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 poffible? I am aware that the philofophized toleration of modern days will readily furnish a specious juftification of what They would have esteemed indifference to the interests of Religion. But furely it is high
d Let me not be misunderstood; Chriftian 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 earneftly 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 refraint upon actions, and the avowal of opinions inconfiftent with the fafety of the Religious or Civil establishments of the State, and the prefervation of defenfive barriers for their fecurity. 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 confidered, either in the abftract, or as a political inftitution. But it may be afked, What would be faid of that general, who, by destroying the outworks of a peculiar district, facrificed an army, and contented himself with preferving an impregnable fortress?
time to return to the genuine principles of Christianity. By their fruits ye fhall know them."
I fhall 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 fhown to refer with equal certainty to "the latter days." Is it poffible to read this Prophecy, and not confider it as in a peculiar manner directed to "the men of this generation," as a warning and confolation to the church in this awful period of time? "When ye fhall 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 fhall rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There fhall be figns in the fun, and in the moon, and in the stars [fymbols referring to churches as well as ftates], and upon the earth, diftrefs of nations, with perplexity; the fea 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 fhall be fhaken. And
h See vol. i. p. 212.
they [the nations] fhall fee the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven [in judgment upon them as at the time of the deftruction of Jerufalem, and the victory øver Pagan tyranny, which introduced the establishment of Chriftianity in temporary peace and glory in the Roman world.] And when these things begin to come to pafs, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. Many, falfe Prophets [or teachers] fhall arife, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity fhall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. BUT HE THAT SHALL ENDURE
ΤΟ THE END, THE SAME SHALL BE SAVED.
It requires no words to prove, that a great part of this Prophecy is actually fulfilling at this moment. In what In what age has herefy been more prevalent? In what period did false teachers ever arife with fo much power to deceive? When did fuch multitudes fall the victims of delufion? When did iniquity fo generally abound since the light of the Gospel arose to guide us into the paths of eternal life and happi
i See vol, i, p. 253-258.
nefs? 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 rifing against nation, and kingdom against kingdom-defection and fchifms in the churches-infurrections, commotions, and convulfions in the great and in the little states of the world, and the governments of all shaken in a manner unexampled in the annals of history? And is it poffible to defcribe the character of the times more exactly than in the following terms? “ Upon the earth, distress of nations, with perplexity, the fea and the waves roaring." This diftrefs and perplexity was to arife, we fee, not from the ambition of monarchs, or the ufual caufes of contention among nations; but was to be created and continued by the lower ranks of people. It was to be a democratic Spirit that was to occafion this tremendous confufion. Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after thofe things which are coming upon the earth. Wearied by the failure of conjecture, the disappointment of plans, and the torments of fufpicion, the inhabitants of the earth
See vol. i. p. 246.
feem now to wait their doom with the anxieties of fufpenfe, and the chill of defpair.
But amidst all these dreadful images of the 66 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 pafs, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.' The reign of Antichrift is near its clofe, and the glorious day of "Be your Lord is at hand. Be ye not terrified;" "Lo I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.". Be patient under the correction which your Father shall fee neceffary to prepare you for a place in my kingdom. Stand firm in the day of temptation, which thall come upon all the earth; and remember, that he who Shall endure to the end, the fame shall be faved. Whoever, or whatever church or nation, fhall 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 Christians during the fiege of Jerufalem, and the Church of Philadelphia.