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reconcile such a scheme with the revelation before us? May we not say to the advocates of the common theory, On your scheme, surely the Lord would find the masses of humanity in moral glory and spiritual elevation, ready to bail his appearing with transport and holy songs,
Could the Son of God, on your scheme, find crime and revelry and indifference nearly universal? Iniquity so widely extended in its ravages, and so hideous in complexion ? Or, could his appearing find a slumbering world, neither watching nor believing, only awakened in thunder, to sleep no more for ever ?
We need not press this matter further. The passage we have noticed corresponds with the awful description of latter times, given by the inspired man of God in writing to the evangelist :
" This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, having a form of goilliness but denying the power thereof.” 2 Tim. iii.
In the midst of such wide and desperate pollution-amid these consuming ulcers of flesh and of spirit, while all are lapped in carnal security, the Son of man will be revealed in his terrible glory, to banish the spirit of evil by the energy of his personal power. Then shall the desert rejoice and blossom as the rose, and streams of limpid water, fresh and musical, gush out from the flinty ground. Then shall the ransomed of the Lord return home with songs upon the road—with everlasting joy upon their heads. Then shall the mysteries of life and death receive a bright solution, and aching hearts shall enter into rest.
But let us not deceive ourselves by dreaming of a converted world in this economy, for our dispensation, or age, will roll away in storm and darkness, as the former have done. It will gather blackness and tempest as it advances, until heaven is weary in beholding, and the mighty Angel, with one foot on sea and the other on land, swears, by the living God, that there shall be time no longer, or, no more delay, but the glories and felicities of the eternal age shall rush upon the theatre of the universe.
SECTION II.—THE IMAGE BREAKER.
“ Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form therefore was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thiglis of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, :he silver and the gold, broken to pieces together,
and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them; and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” Dan. ii. 31–35.
1. There are several things admitted among prophetic students concerning this connexion. It is agreed that the golden head was the Babylonian Empire-that the silver breast and arms pointed out the Medopersian Kingdom-that the belly and thighs of brass represented the Grecian power-and the iron legs the Roman.
2. It is equally admitted, that the stone which smote the image sets forth our Lord Jesus Christ.
3. But there is a third conclusion nearly as general, which is much to be deplored, viz., The conclusion that Jesus in his first advent smote the image, and that the kingdom then established will gradually subdue all other powers.
There are two insuperable objections to such a theory :
1. At the first advent of the Lord, and likewise during the amazing success of his missionaries, the iron empire existed in the zeuith of its glory. The Roman majesty of power was undivided and unbroken. The feet of the image were not in existence for the stone to fall upon. The clay was not at that period mixed with the iron. After a long career of military splendor, the Roman people were finally enerrated by luxury and unnatural crimes. The territory was so large, that when the life at the centre began to lose its fulness, it could no longer circulate to the extremities, and they died. Other races and seeds crowded into the place of renown, with whom the Romans sought to mingle, but they could not cleave to each other. There were no principles of affinity or bonds of cohesion among them sufficiently powerful to maintain the great unity of a consolidate kingdom. It was broken up and divided into ten kingdoms.
2. According to the Prophet, when the stone falls and smites the image, there is immediate destruction among human empires—and the wind of oblivion and the storm of vengeance sweep away the dust into which they are pulverised. The everlasting kingdom, or great mountain, fills the whole earth, leaving no room for rivals or enemies. Has anything like this been accomplished by the passion and exaltation of Christ, or the Pentecostal baptism? Have the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Christ and of his God? Is religion the law, and righteousness the practice, and love the universal element of life? Nay, surely! the world still lieth in the arms of the wicked one. The diabolical angel of wrath and ruin, of wickedness and woe, remains in his high place of infernal pride. The earth still groans beneath monsters of Atheism, superstition, and licentiousness. Creation is still alternately á slaughter house, a dungeon, or a brothel, as the wild passions of
human vindictiveness, ambition, and lust, sweep over in mad succession. Some commentators have attempted to escape by supposing a series of blows on the image, beginning with the first appearing of Christ, and continued by the advances of his people. But such a dream is unnatural—for the passage only refers to one mighty crash, which requires no repetition.
3. “In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up an everlasting kingdom.” The words in italics are fatal to the common theory. What kings ? At the first advent of the Lord, and during the labours of his Apostles, there was one great Empire, a universal kingdom. But when the everlasting kingdom approaches, it will find a broken condition of petty rival monarchies and races that cannot mingle. The true exposition is found in the seventh chapter, where we learn from the twenty-fourth verse, that ten horns. or ten kings, shall arise when the fourth empire perishes as a unity.
On account of these reasons, we are constrained to the conclusion that the stone has not yet fallen. And if such be the case, the kingdom predicted by Daniel is not yet set up.
We have a guide-post in this journey provided in the gospel by Matthew xxi. 41-43:
“Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and is marvellous in our eyes! Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken : but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder."
The Jews in their nationalty fell upon the stone while it lay in humiliation: it was to them a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence. They were broken, but did not perish; consequently amid their darkness and weariness, they have still gleams of animating hope, which will finally enlarge into the fruition of a meridian summer day. The stone of stumbling was elevated when the erucified one arose from the dead, and ascended to the throne of his Father. The stone will fall and shatter the image, when the sound of the Archangel's trumpet announces the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour. Then, and not till then, shall we have the sublime, unsuffering kingdom, where the saints are princes and administrators of equity and love. Infidelity trusted that Napoleon might establish a fifth universal empire, and thus falsify the Holy Book-but the Lord had them in derision. His vast dominion was dismembered more rapidly than it was reared, and the great scourge and tyrant expired in self-consuming agony on the solitary rock. The fifth universal empire cannot be built until He appears who sunk the pillars of the earth, and built the stories of the heavens
whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pare wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judg ment were set, and the books were opened.
“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him dea. before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that whiel shall not be destroyed.
" And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom unde 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 an obey him." Daniel, vii.
2. T'he student will perceive, in perusing the chapter from whic these fragments are quoted, that the mysterious hom out of th beast, with iron teeth, cannot be subdued until the saints of th Most High take possession of the kingdom. And the saints canno take possession of the everlasting dominion, until the Son of ma comes in the clouds of heaven, to receive the worship and obedienc of all languages and nations. The horn will prevail against th saints, until the nobleman, their king, returns, and his princes ar manifested in unfading splendour. Never, till then, will the hor of antichrist cease its ravages. Until then, the eyes will continue t burn and flash with infernal lustre, and the mouth will still b haughty in the utterance of blasphemy towards God, and rancou against man.
T By consequence we cannot have our rest until the Lord appears second time without a sin offering to the salvation of all who obe him. He is coming to be glorified in all his saints, and admired b all that believe and trust in him. The lightning of his presence wi scare away all agents of evil and impurity—but the light of hi countenance will steep in mellow repose the people that hay desired his spirit and manifestation. com
SECTION IV.-MAN OF SIN IN THE FIRE. Thus speaks the man of God in addressing the sufferin Christians
to "It is a righteous thing with God to recompence tribulation to them thi trouble you; and to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jest shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels. In flaming fire takin vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of ou Lord Jesus Christ : who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” 2 Thess. i.