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years are accomplished, we shall be swept with the besom of destruction. For thus saith the infallible Oracle→→ Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, AND BECAME LIKE THE
CHAFF OF THE SUMMER THRESHING FLOORS, AND THE WIND CARRIED THEM AWAY, THAT NO PLACE WAS
FOUND FOR THEM. The four empires and ten kingdoms, as they are now constituted, shall, along with the Whore of Babylon, be swept from the face of the earth, and be known no more at all, in the present forms. And what shall be the issue? Afflictive as the change may be, the end shall prove glorious. In the days of these kings, shall the GOD of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed, and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but IT SHALL BREAK IN PIECES, AND CONSUME ALL THESE KINGDOMS, and it shall stand for ever. All people, nations, and languages, shall serve the REDEEMER of mankind in the true spirit and power of his religion. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall NOT BE DESTROYED. The kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the MOST HIGH, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.-Then shall the wolf dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf, and the young lion, and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice-den. The followers of JESUS shall never hurt or destroy one another again, but shall beat their swords into plowshares; and their spearsinto pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea*.
The reader may consult and compare other prophecies of a similar kind with the above; particularly Isaiah ii. 1—5 ; and Micah iv. 1-5.
"But still it is not easy to discern, why a Protestant "nation should share the common fate of the Catholic "countries, even upon the principles of the prophetic Scriptures ?"
Possibly:-But have you reflected upon the fate of Holland, Geneva, and the reformed Cantons of Switzerland? They were wholly Protestant, and made their boast of being more pure than most other churches of the reformed religion, and yet they have undergone the same changes as the Catholic states, though with infinitely less blood and slaughter. And I strongly suspect, that though the Pope and Church of Rome may be, and certainly are, at the head of the grand 1260 years delusion, yet all other churches, of whatever denomination, whether established, or tolerated, or persecuted, which partake of the same spirit, or have instituted doctrines and ceremonies inimical to the pure and unadulterated Gospel of CHRIST, shall sooner or later share in the fate of that immense fabric of human ordinances.
That we have various things in our ecclesiastical Establishment, which cannot be defended, upon the pure prin
*The Pope of Rome may be, and probably is, a worthy and respectable private character. There have been many such in a course of ages. But, because he is at the head of the great apostacy from the genuine Gospel of CHRIST, he shall go into perdition, let his own moral conduct be what it may. So the late King of France was a worthy man, and had many and considerable virtues; yet, because he was at the head of one of the ten antichristian kingdoms which gave its power to the support of the Beast: and, because the 1260 prophetical years in that kingdom were expired, he went into perdition, in a manner the most afflictive that can be conceived. King GEORGE, too, is a most worthy character; and his successors, we trust, will be the same; but unless there shall be piety and wisdom enough in the government of the country, civil and religious, to reform radically the Constitution, and render it consistent with the true spirit of Divine Revelation, there is reason to tremble for the consequence. Private worth, it is evident, from a thousand examples, will never protect public and general depravity, from the punishment due, and the destruction denounced. All that can be said for it is, that the fate of a nation may, for a season, be suspended, till the NOAHS, the DANIELS, the JBs, and the JOSIAHS, are taken out of the way.
Consult the pamphlet entitled Reform or Ruin, for some useful hints. That pamphlet, however, though containing valuable matter, as far as it goes, leaves the constitutional defects of the country untouched, and seems to take for granted all is there pretty near as it should be.
of the Son of GOD, seems to many unquestionable. Our excellent Reformers* did great things, considering how they had been educated, and the age in which they lived. They were good men, and proceeded, in their regenerating work, much farther than might have been expected; but their successors have not followed the noble example set before them, of reducing the religious Establishment of the country to primitive purity, and evangelical simplicity. We have been contented to
*It has been the opinion of many disinterested persons, that several of our churches appendages are not only unnecessary, but pernicious. Archbishop CRANMER, in particular, speaks in strong terms against some, which he was obliged from the necessity of circumstances to retain. In a letter to Lord CROMWELL, he says: "Having had experience, both in times past, and also in our days, how the sect of Prebendaries have not only spent their time in much idleness; and their substance in superfluous bellycheer, I think it not to be a convenient state or degree to be maintained and established. Considering, first, that commonly a Prebendary is neither a learner, nor a teacher, but a good viander. Then by the same name they look to be chief, and to bear all the whole rule and pre-eminence in the college where they be resident; by means whereof, the younger of their own nature, given more to pleasure, good cheer, and pastime, than to abstinence, study, and learning, shall easily be brought from their books to follow the appetite and example of the same Prebendaries, being their heads and rulers. And the state of the Prebendaries hath been so excessively abused that when learned men have been admitted into such room, many times they have desisted from their good and godly studies; and all other virtuous exercise of preaching and teaching." Monthly Mag. for May, 1798.
"There are many prophecies which declare the fall of the ecclesi powers of the Christian world. And though each church seems to flatter itself with the hopes of being exempted; yet it is very plain, that the prophetical characters belong to all. They have all left the true, pure, simple religion; and teach for doctrines the commandments of men. They are all merchants of the earth, and have set up a kingdom of this world, abounding in riches, temporal power, and external pomp. They have all a dogmatizing spirit, and persecute such as do not receive their mark, and worship the image which they have set up.-It is very true, that the Church of Rome is Babylon the Great, and the Mother of harlots, and of the abominations of the earth: But all the rest have copied her example."
HARTLEY'S Observations on Man, p. 2. s. 82. Be it observed, that HARTLEY was no Dissenter, but a most serious, learned, and candid Churchman; and wrote near fifty years ago.
If my memory does not fail me, Dr. DowNHAM, some time since Bishop of Derry in Ireland, reckoned up 600 gross errors in the system of Popery.
suffer our religious Constitution, our doctrines, and ceremonies, and forms of public worship, to remain nearly in the same unpurged, adulterated, and superstitious state in which the original reformers left them*. At least the alterations that have been made since EDWARD VI.'s time, have been few and inconsiderable. And the very last improvements which took place in our ecclesiastical frame of things, were in the reign of that haughty, persecuting, wavering, and yet tyrannical bigot JAMES I. who would bear no contradiction, but establish every thing just according to his own pleasuret. Indeed,
If any person will seriously consider the low and superstitious state of the minds of men in general, in the time of JAMES I. much more in the reigns of his predecessors, he will not be surprised to find, that there are various matters in our ecclesiastical constitution, which require some al teration. Our forefathers did great things, and we cannot be sufficiently* thankful for their labours; but much more remains to be done; and it will be found a task of no ordinary difficulty, peaceably and quietly to reduce things to a pure evangelical state. This never can be done, indeed, but by a strong concurrence of providential circumstances. The approba tion of his Majesty, with a majority in the two Houses of Parliament, might easily effect every thing that is desirable. This would render a reformation practicable, without danger to the Throne. But it should seem, that, with danger, or without danger, the prophecies of DANIEL being true, such a change must take place sooner or later. This power of reforming whatever is amiss, is one of the peculiar excellencies of the British constitution.-Consult SIMPSON'S Key to the Prophecies, in a note on the last sheet, for some thoughts on this subject.
* CRANMER, BUCER, JEWEL, and others, never considered the reformation which took place in their own time as complete. They did what they could, and what the humours of men would then bear, and left to their successors to accomplish what was still lacking. Vide NEAL'S History of the Puritans, vol. i. ch. 1. and 2. where evidence for these assertions is produced at some length. And now that I have mentioned this Work, I beg leave to recommend it in the warmest terms, as containing abundance of the most important and authentic information concerning the history of the English churches, from the time of the Reformation, in the reign of HENRY VIII. to the Revolution under WILLIAM III. in the year 1688. The last edition, enlarged by Dr. TOULMIN, is by far the best. No Clergyman of the Establishment should be without these valuable volumes. It is the interest of truth alone we should wish to ad
+ Vide the Conference at Hampton-Court for the over-bearing conduct of this pedantic king, and the fulsome flattery of court-bishops. Several
Indeed, to many well-informed persons, it seems extremely questionable, whether the religion of JESUS CHRIST admits of any civil establishment at all. They rather suppose it is inconsistent with the very nature of it, and that it was never designed to be incorporated with any secular institution whatever *. Certain it is, that it made its way at first, not only without human aid, but even in opposition to all laws, both civil and religious, which then prevailed in the Roman empire. This was the state of it for upwards of 300 years. It seems too, to be the intention of DIVINE PROVIDENCE to reduce it again to the same simple and unconnected state. America hath set the example. France, Italy, Holland,
persons, moreover, were put to death, in this reign, for their religious opinions. Is not this one of the infallible marks of the Beast?
The next serious effort for reformation in our church was soon after the Restoration. CHARLES II. behaved handsomely at first upon the occasion; but, acting under the controul of a number of bigoted and highpriestly Bishops, whose minds were still sore with resentment, he afterwards forfeited all his merit as the guardian of religious liberty, and became a vile and cruel persecutor. Is not this too an indubitable mark of the Beast?
After this again, a very serious attempt was made to remove the things objected to in our church, soon after the Revolution, under the auspices of those excellent men, TILLOTSON, PATRICK, TENNISON, KIDDER, STILLINGFLEET, BURNET, and others; but being opposed by a larger number of old-wifely Bishops, all their efforts came to nothing. They had been accustomed to read mumpsimus all their lives, and mumpsimus it should be, they were determined; and the two Houses of Parliament were disposed to acquiesce in their papistical and superstitious views. We shall rarely have again, at one time, such a constellation of learned, pious, and liberal minded Bishops as then adorned the English church.
*It is a remarkable fact, lately brought to light, that the immense empire of China, which is said to contain 333 millions of inhabitants, has no established religion. And, in the opinion of many, the Gospel of JESUS CHRIST will never have its full and proper effect upon mankind, till it is completely disentangled from every human institution. Leave it to itself; let it have fair play; clog it not with civil pains and penalties; let it stand or fall by its own intrinsic worth; let neither kings nor bishops lay their officious hands upon it; and then see how it will make its way among men. The greatest possible motive by which man can be animated, is the salvation of his own soul. If this will not move us, nothing else will be of any avail. These are the sentiments of some very sensible and well-informed persons. Whether they are right in this respect, I leave others to judge. To me there seems some weight in theur,