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It may be supposed, that before he got the living of Fintona he had improved as much as possible his extraordinary talent for preaching. When he preached charity sermons in Dublin, as he often did, he always brought thither a crowded audience. It was remarked, that on these occasions, he generally got more to the poor, than any one else; and well might he enjoin charity to others, who set such a noble example of that virtue in himself. His manner in the pulpit was unusually vehement, suitable to the warmth of his feelings. Some degree of vehemence in a preacher is absolutely requisite, when man. kind are so careless about religion : indeed it requires no ordinary skill in one of these to make an audience listen to him for twenty minutes with tolerable attention.
To be continued.
TRUTHS of the greatest interest to us, and those which we cannot
1 help confessing to be such, are yet the most generally slighted, and treated as if we had no concern at all in them. Trifles and vanities, far beneath the consideration of a rational mind, are pursued with avidity, while maiters, which concern our eternal gain, or utter misery, are contemned with a stupid indifference, or put off to a distant period, which we may never enjoy. All men unite in one complaint on the brevity and uncertainty of human life, but how few are there who so husband their time, and improve their opportunities, as to be able to look forward into futurity with the serenity of a contented, mind, and with the expectation of a good conscience ?
When, therefore, we stand upon the eminence which brings us to the prospect of a new year, it behoves us to look back upon that which is fast, with a scrutinizing eye, and to examine the steps we have measured therein, with seriousness and impartiality.
The year which is expired, is one more taken from the number allotted to us by Him who will require of us, an account of the improvement which we have made in this our probationary state. What number of years we may yet occupy in this world is known to Him only; but this we know, that the remainder of our span is now contracted within nar. rower limits, and we cannot but view the circle, as drawing usnearer and nearer to the world of spirits. The years which we have already num, bered now appear, in contemplation, very few. Memory can indeed retrace numerous incidents and connexions which were once important and dear to us, but which now have no other relative existence or effect than in our melancholy idea, or perhaps in our mortifying reflection. But how painful is the remembrance of headstrong imprudencies, of frrors that never can be amended, of momentary follies which have
embittered embittered a great part of our lives; of days, and months, and years, squandered in, idleness or dissipation ; of opportunities of improvement, and seasons of grace neglected and despised, of warnings upheeded, and of providences abused. Who is there in this momentous hour of observation, if he dispassionately attends to the dictates of conscience, can say that in any or all of these particulars he is clear of selfcondemnation.
Every man who lays liis hand upon his heart, as in the presence of the all-seeing Judge of human thoughts and human actions, will, when he balances the various and immense benefits with which he has been favoured, against bis numerous sins of omission and commission, confess with a penitential icar that “ he hath indeed been what is described so forcibly in the parable of the fig-tree, a mere cumberer of the ground.”
In this parable we may learn the instructive lesson of humility, repentance, and caution, while it at the same time affords us a most consolatory view of the divine mercy and forbearance. It is true the parable, as related by our blessed Lord, primarily relates to the visitation of the Jews by the Messiah, and the long suffering of God towards that sinful națior, from which he continued, year after year, to look for the fruits of righteousness. But this most expressive parable has also a plain application to individuals who, planted in the vineyard of the Church, and blessed with all the means of grace it affords, are of course expected to make a suitable return for the favours bestowed upon them, by bringing forth fruit to the glory of God their Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. The picture here represented is a very alarming one. It is not said that the fig-tree brought forth pernicious fruits ; but that it was utterly barren, repaid not the cost and labour expended upon its cultivation, by corresponding marks of fertility, and was “ merely a cumberer of the ground.”
Alas! how many persons are there of this description in the Chris, tian Church, who bear the semblance of goodness to their fellow-creatures, because they appear harmless and inoffensive. But they manifest no positive virtues. They bring forth no fruits of holiness. They do not serve God in their generation, by promoting his cause in the world. They are not actively and openly on the Lord's side, fighting against sin; they are perhaps favourable to good principles and to good morals, but they are not seen exercised in the season of corruption and infidelity, on the side of truth and righteousness; and even in a private station they do not shew an eminently bright example. They are not lights set upon a hill, by which it may be seen in what their genuine character consists. On the contrary, they temporize with the sinful customs of the world. They are indifferent to the progress of truth or error. Their families are not distinguished by devotion. Little pains are taken in the religious care and instruction of their children ; and a small thing will lead them to the neglect of the most sacred institutions. In short, it matters little what their negative chiructer may be ; this is obvious, that in a religious point of view, they are not“ living branches of the true vine.”
It is certainly an unpleasant thing to deal thus plainly with a great part of those who make up the body of professing Christians ; but it is to be considered that our religion is a religion of life and ạcrivity, not of noiion,
sentia sentimentality, or mere moral decency. It demands of its followers a se. paration from all worldly corruptions, and the exercise of the opposite virtues ; a circumspect watchfulness over their tempers, thoughts, words, and actions; a continued spirit of benevolence and charity; a regular discharge of private and social duty; and an habitual inter: course with Heaven by meditation, religious study, and prayer.
Now, if in these essential points, which constitute the life of Christianity, we are found wanting; and thereby are regarded by the sovereign householder as “cumberers of the ground :" what will be their condition in the future state who have brought forth evil fruits ? Where will they appear, who, not content with an indolent life, openly and continually trampled upon every virtuous and religious principle? If the mere “ cumberers of the ground,” with a fair shew and character, shall yet suffer the sentence of excision, dreadful indeed will be the doom of those who have added presumptuous guilt, to sinful negligence.
Let it then be seriously considered at this interesting season, “ in which our Saviour Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility," that the day of grace opened by his incarnation and passion, yet remains for our admission into the divine favour, through his merits and intercession. Let the consolation suggested by this consideration, lead us to take a humble view of ourselves ; and in the true spirit of repentance, bring us to the footstook of divine grace for the pardon of our misdeeds. And when we consider how “ few and evil our days have been,” and how uncertain the remainder of them is, let it beget in our minds a principle of caution and virtuous resolution with regard to our future conduct.
The voice of mediatorial intercession we may properly conclude is now soliciting on our behalf, “ Lord let them alone THIS YEAR also! " though they have hitherto been cumberers of the ground, and many of them grievous abusers of thy mercies, yet spare them a little longer that thy judgments, now visibly abroad in the earth, and thundering so vehemently around them, may have the effect of bringing their minds to a sense of their errors, and leading them to newness of life. But if these should fail; if all the interpositions of Heaven, in the way of love and of terror, shall prove of no avail.—then after that Thou shalt cut them down !”
This may be considered as applicable to us, not merely as individuals, but as a community, for what nation is there so great that hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great that hath statutes and judgments so righteous ?” Deut. iv. 7.8. Should we not then, favoured eminently as we are, strive to deserve the character of “ a wise and understanding people" among the nations, by setting an example of righteousness, proportioned to our manifold advantages ?
In the scale of moral turpitude, we may not perhaps equal many of the great nations of the earth, and it is to be hoped that in respect of extensive benevolence, and a high sense of honour, BRITAIN stands upon an eminence above them all. Yet when it is seriously considered that she hath been distinguished by superior privileges, in the most important articles of an equal legislation and the free diffusion of re.
ligious truth, together with the visible protection of Heaven, on innumerable occasions of extreme peril and alarm.-- surely no one can dare to say that our fruits of virtue and holiness, have been at all answerable to the blessings which we have so abundantly and repeatedly received,
It becomes every man, then, to lay these things seriously to heart in this awful day of rebuke, and terror, and desolation ; that by the re. formation of his own life, he may contribute somewhat to the preservation of the state, and should the cup of our national iniquities be unhappily completed, he will, at least, have the satisfaction of saving his own soul.
TO THE EDITORS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S MAGAZINE.
ET us now proceed, as proposed, to determine the duration and L commencement of the reign of this triple headed monster, or Hydra of Antrichrist, in his Papal, Mahometan and Infidel forms; or the disastrous period of the general persecution of “the saints” or “ faithful witnesses” of the "holy Catholic Church, militant here on earth.”
The prophet Danicl foretold, that, when the little horn, (or papat power) waxed great, it should make war with the saints, and prevail against them”- and that they should be given into his hand, until a time, times, and half a time.” Dan. vii. 21. 25.
The same period is repeated, and most solemnly announced, at the close of the last vision; when the spiritual HIGH PRIEST, “ clothed in linen."
" lift up his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and sware by HIM that liveth for ever, that to the end of these wonders, should be a time, times, and a half; and that, on the accomplishment of the dispersion of the holy people, all these things shall be fulfilled.” Dan. xii. 6. 7.
These two parallel passages indisputably prove that the end of the period of persecution, in the former, and of the grand prophetic period of 2300 days or years, (Dan, viii. 13. 19.) when “the sunctuary shall be cleansed-ut the end of the indignation," (to which the latter passage oba viously refers) are one and the same; consequently, that both will expire about A. D. 1880, which we have shewn to be the most probable termination of the grand prophetic period. Vol. iv. p. 201. '
To the true explanation of this mysterious number, of a “time, times, and half a time," an admirable clue is furnished in the apocalypse,
without without which indeed, we must have remained in the situation of Daniel; “ who heurd, but understood not : but blessed be the great REVEALER OF MYSTERIES, and the Father of LIGHTS, what was “ closed up” and “ sealed” from the “ highly favoured" prophet, was “ opened" or revealed to the “beloved" apostle John; and through him to us, in these last days, gradually unfolded and illustrated by the awful and eventful signs of the times.
The little horn of Daniel, was represented in the apocalypse, (as we have seen), by the first wild beast, after it had received a deadly wound, (in its imperial head), but revived (in the papal ;) and is described as follows, more circumstantially, in the apocalypse:
And there was given to it a mouth speaking great (things) and blasphemies; and there was given it authority to make war, forty two months : and it opened its mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and the dwellers in heaven; and there was given it to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and all the inhabitants upon the earth shall worship it, whose names are not written in the LAMB's book of life; who was sluin (or sacrificed) from the foundation of the world.” Rev. xii. 5. 8.
Here forty two months, or three years and a half, exactly expresses Daniel's period of a time, times, and half a time ; supposing " a time” in the singular number, to denote one year; and " times,” in the dual, two years :, a supposition supported by the phraseology of Daniel elsewhere; for the predicted “ seven times" of Nebuchadnezzar's derangement, are understood by Josephus, and all the commentators, to denote seven years. Dan. v. 31. and in the last vision, times are expressly put in apposition to years; where it was foretold, that the king of the north (Syria) should reiurn with a mighty armament to invade the king of the south (Egypt) " at the end of the iimes, even of years.” Dan. xi. 13. where qur public translation has paraphrased it, “after certain years.”
The same phraseology occurs in the NEW TESTAMENT, and in profane writers also: thus, the evangelist Luke applies Xpoves izaves, in the sense of “ several years;" xx, 9. and Herodian says of the emperor Severus, after his conquests, darcofaş ixavas zpoves sv on Pwuen: “ He spent several years at Rome;" and Plutarch observes, ev deouw tepiw Troles XƏT!0%.XTEN Xpoves, “ he pined many years in prison.”- Hence Phavorinus in his Lexicon, defines the word Xpova, a solar year ; xports λεγεται η τε ήλιο κινησις απο τα αυτα εις το αυτο, και ενιαυτG- και ετο-. “ The term Xpore, signifies a revolution of the sun from the same point to the same again ; and is synonymous with EylauTC., and et@u; both signifying a yeur.” And the latin poet Ovid, uses “tempora" in the sense of full years of 365 days and a quarter.
Is decies senos ter centum et quinque diébus
See Wintle on Daniel xii. 7. But " forty-two months,” in a second contemporaneous vision of the apo. calypse, is represented as the term, during which “ the outer court of the spiritual temple, and the holy city, were to be given up to the Gentiles to be trampled upon.” Rev. xi. 2. manifestly alluding to Daniel's prophecies, viii. 13; and ix. 27 and our LORD's, Luke, xxi. 24. and forty two months, of 30 days a piece, make 1260 years; the exact term also, of the unheeded