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évent; "and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
3. In verses 17, 18, the point under consideration is decided "But, beloved, remember the words, which were spoken before of the apostles' of our Lord Jesus Christ; how they told you, there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts." Here the characters, whom he was de. scribing, are the mockers of the LAST TIME! And they are the very characters described by the other apostles; that, "in the last days perilous times shall come;" "there shall come, in the last days, scoffers.”
Thus we may consult Jude's Epistle with an assurance that those whoin he describes, are the abominable characters of the last days.
In his introduction of the subject is a solemn caution to duty. “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you, that ye should earnestly contend for the faith, which was once deliver. ed unto the saints.” He then begins bis subject. “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condeinnation; ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” Here is the same character, given of the terrible Power, Dan. xi, 36-, rejecting God and the Savior. 1 John ii, 22, “He is Antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son." These characters have “crept in unawares:"—come, as from some dark recess: Under fatal disguises:-- Are among a people, and have effected their mischievous plans, before they are known.
The writer now, to fortify the minds of his readers, before he leads them over the ground, or unfolds the terrific picture, introduces the idea, which generally at. tends the description of this terrible Power, that his reigo shall be short; he shall soon be destroyed. This he does, in verses 5, 6, 7, by noting the signal ruin of the ancient most inveterate enemies of God, as an enblem of what is just ready to be executed on these wretched characters of the last days, when they should appear. "I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them, that believed not. And the angels, who kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them, in like manner giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, and set forth for an example, suffering the ven. geance of eternal fire.” He goes on, “Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.” They are here noted by the Holy Ghost as dreamers. Their plans are wild dreams. They are as much at variance with the established and most useful institutions among men, and the approved paths of experience, as dreams are at variance with common sense. And they are notorious for despising virtuous dominion, and vilifying all dignified characters, who stand
“Yei Michael the Archangel, when con. tending with the devil, he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not could not endure to ) bring against him a railing accusation; but said, The Lord rebuke thee.
But these, (i. e. the characters of the last days) speak evil of those things, which they know not; but what they know naturally as brute beasts, in those things they correct themselves.” Characters and insti- . tutions, whose excellency is beyond their perverted conceptions, they slander. And their natural powers are utterly vitiated.
“Wo unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” Cain hated and slew his brother, because his own works were evil, and his brothers were righteous, 1 John iii, 12. Balaam was hired to curse, and labored to corrupt and to destroy the people of God. Korah, and his impious company rose against the order of Religion and government established in Israel; and all perished under the immediate avenging hand of God. See
in their way;
Numb. xvi, 1-38. These characters of the last days are, in all these particulars, followers of those men.
“These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear; cloulds without water, carried about of winds; trees, whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, pluck. ed up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is re. served the blackness of darkness forever.” Amazing descriptions of the diabolical deceivers of the last days! The last above mentioned is striking; "wandering stars!” or comets with fiery tails, sweeping awry over every land; crossing the orbits of all other planets; and deemed harbingers of war and judgments. The afore- . poted passage, relative to the prophecy of Enoch, fol. lows. This has already been noted. The description then continues.
“These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaking great swelling words; having men's persons in admiration because of advantage.” Murmuring and complaining, under some sly pretence, against whatever impedes their purposes: Their words being abundant and very stout: While they Aatter the tools, and cringe to the more im. portant agents of their cause.
“But, beloved, remember the words of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how that they told you, there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts."
The next characteristic is remarkable. “These be they, who separate themselves; sensual, having not the spirit.” Their plans are formed separately from the mass of mankind. All is done in the dark. The great spring of their vast machine is designed to be kept out of sight. Their object is designed to be kept concealed, till it is effected. The world is to be bound by in. visible hands!
And their leaders are not only graceless, but grossly “sensual.” Sensuality and selfishness are their highest motives. “Having not the Spirit.” The mass of
. mankind have usually been subjects of the striving,
checks and restraining influences of the Spirit of God. Even the violent people of the old world were thus. God said of them, "My Spirit shall not always strive with man;" which implied that he was then still strive ing. But with the diabolical seducers of the last days, the Spirit of God has ceased to strive! It is emphatically announced of them, even in comparison with the rest of the impenitent part of mankind, that they have not the Spirit. A spirit very opposite to the Spirit of God, has leavened their whole souls. The whole scheme is, in other scriptures, represented as being under the agency of the wicked one, instead of the Spirit of God. “For they are spirits of devils,” it is said of these three unclean spirits like frogs. In one passage they are represented, to be "an habitation of devils; a hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird." This Beast "ascendeth out of the bottomless pit.” “And the dragon gave him his power, and seat, and great authority." "Wo to the inbabi
? ters of the earth and of the sea; for the devil is come down unto you, having great wroth, because he knoweth he hath but a short time.” No wonder then, that it is said of them in Jude, “having not the Spirit.” They have a reprobate spirit, the spirit of the wicked one. Hence David, predicting the Kingdom of the righteous Ruler, (Christ,) and the scene of its introduction, concerning these very characters in Jude, writes thus; “But the sons of Beliel shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands; but the man, who would touch them, must be fenced with iron, and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burnt with fire in the same place.” 2 Sam. xxiii, 6, 7.
Jude informs, (as we have seen,) verses 17, 18, that the other apostle also predicted these mockers of the last time. We may then turn to their writings with an assurance, that we shall find their predictions of these wretched characters. And we do find them.
Paul described ihis terrible Power of the last days, and the agents of his mischief, not only in the Man of sin in an Epistle to the Thessalonians; (see sect. viii,
chap. 1 of this dissertation;) but also in 1 Tim. iii, 1–8. In this first Epistle, he had predicted the apostasy and superstition of the church of Rome, chap. iv, 1-3. "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times, (mark here! it is not in the last days; but latter times) some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry; and commanding to abstain from meats, which God had created to be received with thanksgiving of them, that believe and know the truth.” Here was predicted, not a system of infidelity, but of superstitious religious rites; "doctrines of demons,"
" the papistical worshipping of saints and images, as some expositors explain it. But in his second Epistle, iii, 1–8, Paul makes an advance; and predicts the rise of another later Power; and one of a different char, acter. “This know, also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” q. d. This know, over and above what I before predicted concerning the Papal apostasy. That was to be in the latter days; this in the last days. “For men shall be lovers of their ownselves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce, breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, having a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away. For of this sort, are they, who creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts; ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres (the pagan magicians of Egypt) withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth; men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.” Here we have a striking description of the malignant passions of men let loose from the restraints of Religion, and of a good education; as is abundantly predicted to be the case, in the last days, in the reign of infideliiy and of terror; when the rage of the times will be; "Let us break their bands asunder; and cast away their cords