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THE POOR MAN'S FRIEND.
THE POOR MAN'S GUIDE TO THE more concern, and who a deeper
UNDERSTANDING OF THE PRO- interest in all that relates to futu. · PHECIES.
rity, than " the poor of this world, Introduction.
whom God hath chosen rich in The attention of all classes of faith, and heirs of the kingdom religious persons has been much which he has promised ?" It is attracted of late to the subject of true, with respect to some descripprophecy. This has been occa- tions of persons whom one wishes sioned, partly by the number of to find readers of the Christian able writers who have of late vears Guardian, one would wish to ocwritten on the subject, and partly cupy all the scanty attention, from the sudden and extraordinary which they will ever bestow on changes which, withịn our memo- reading, upon the fundamental ries, have taken place in the church points of is repentance towards and in the world : changes which God, and faith towards our Lord have led to a well-founded appre- Jesus Christ.” But besides these hension, that “the time draweth persons, there are readers of the. nigh when the mystery of God Christian Guardian among the will be accomplished.” I have of poorer classes of society, who need ten wished to see some short work not again be taught what are the on this subject that might be put rudiments of the Gospel, and who, into the hands of the poorer classes to a general thirst for information, of our Christian brethren. And by add the feeling of a particular desire poorer classes I do not mean those to be instructed in whatever may alone who are low in worldly cir- enable them to understand better cumstances, but those also who the word of God. Will it be said, have not had the benefit of much the prophetic parts of Scripture education, or are so much engaged are too hard for the poor unlearns in the labours and business of life, ed Christian to comprehend, since that they have had but little time it requires no small share of learn. for reading, and but little acquaint- ing and knowledge to discover their ance with books. It is for the signification. To this I can only edification of persons of this de- say, I am of a different opinion, scription, as I have been given to Generally speaking, all that the understand, that the Christian learned can explain, the poor will Guardian is principally intended. I be able to understand. And as the would, therefore, with the permis- learned scholar enjoys the fruits of sion of its Editors, avail myself of the labours of the poor, without their publication, to make the at- understanding either the skill of tempt, since no one else has done the husbandman or the art of the it, to be The poor man's guide to the mechanic, so may these avail them. understanding of the prophecies. selves of the labours of the scholar,
As these prophecies form a part though altogether unacquainted of the revealed word of God, no with their sources and means of inreader of the Christian Guardian . formation, and not so capable of will, I may venture to say, ask the deciding as they may be in doubta question, what concern the poor ful cases. have to trouble themselves about In two branches of knowledge, such mysterious subjects ? Or it however, I grant, that a poor man might be answered, Who have must have a little understanding in
order to make out the meaning than the careful study of prophecy, of the prophecies. These two to assure his mind of a superinbranches are, Geography and His- tending Providence, to lessen his tory. But these hard words need concern for earthly things, and to not alarm him. For geography, animate his soul with the prospect let him only procure a map of the of an eternal world. world, as good as he can afford, As an introduction to the poor and fix it up in his cottage. For Man's Guide to the Understanding history, it will be one object of the of the Prophecies, I would firsť call following attempt, to supply him his attention to 2 Pet. i. 19, 20, 21; with such extracts and general not only because this passage is views as may serve to explain the well calculated to persuade him to prophecies which have been fulfil take all possible pains in the study led, and to assist his notions respect of prophecy, but also because, as ing those which are now fulfilling, a late very learned bishop of our or yet remain to be fulfilled. It is church * has observed, it contains not, indeed, it should be observed, "an infallible rule to guide plain the plan of the following sheets to men in the interpretation of proattempt the explanation of every phecy.” This passage be will find prophocy of Scripture, but to se- to be as follows: “We have also lect, in order, the most interesting a more sure word of prophecy, and important, such as relate not whereunto ye do well that ye take to any particular nation, but to the heed, as unto a light that shineth world at large, and such as concern in a dark place, until the day davor us and the whole human race in and the day-star arise in your general. And may He, who has hearts : knowing this first, that no encouraged us to the reading of pro- prophecy of the Scripture is of any phecy by these remarkable words, private interpretation ; for the pro5. Blessed is he that readeth, and phecy came not in old time by the they that hear the words of this pro will of man, but holy men of God. phecy, and keep those things which spake as they were moved by the are written therein : for the time is Holy Ghost." St. Peter had said at hand *:"_may HE, I pray, bless above, ver. 16: " For we have not the present design, and grant that followed cunningly devised fables, both reader and writer, while they when we made known unto you the are pursuing the wonderful theme, power and coming of our Lord Jemay know that the “ spirit of pro- sus Christ." The exaltation of the phecy” is the “ testimony of Jesus,” risen Saviour, and his promised and, believing in him, may be of the coming with power and great glory, number of those who love his ap- is here, we are to observe, held. pearing, and for whom there is forth as the great object to which jaid up a crown of righteousness, Christians were looking, as though which the Lord, therighteous Judge, on this event all their hopes de shall give him in that day.” To pended : “ If in this life only we those, indeed, who are destitute of had hope in Christ, we were of all the hope of the Gospel, the study men most miserable;" but, “ our : of prophecy will be of little use, life is hid with Christ in God;
and of less comfort ; for on every when Christ, who is our life, shall . unfolded page is written, Woe to appear, then shall we also appear the wicked, it shall be ill with him! with him in glory." -Our conversBut, on the other hand, to the ation is in heaven, from whence humble and spiritual Christian, I also we look for the Saviour, the know nothing better calculated Lord Jesus Christ, “who shall
* Bishop Horsley,
change our vile body, that it may be caused to run in that particular be fashioned like unto his glorious train which, step by step, 'shall body, according to the working lead at last to the establishment of whereby he is able even to subdue the everlasting kingdom of our all things to himself.” This Sa- God and of his Christ. These are viour had appeared once to put the subjects of prophecy, and as away sin by the sacrifice of him- we see them fulfilling from age to self, and to those that wait for age, exactly in the order foretold him he will appear a second time, by the word of prophecy, it bewithout sin unto salvation. He, comes an evidence surer and surer having finished our redemption," is that this is no cunningly devised set down at the right hand of the fable, but the determined counsel Majesty on high, from henceforth of the Almighty God, which will expecting till his enemies be made all certainly come to pass at the. his footstool ;" when he is to come appointed season. The fulfilment again to judge both the quick and of every prophecy in its turn is an the dead, and establish a kingdom additional proof that the prophethat shall have no end. That all cies which remain will also be fulthis is no artfully contrived fable, filled. . continues St. Peter, we have reason ... Whereunto ye do well that ye to be assured ; for I, and James, take heed, as unto a light that and John, saw Jesus Christ with shineth in a dark place, until the our own eyes, clothed with his day dawn and the day-star arise eternal majesty, on the mountain in your hearts." The situation of of transfiguration; and we heard mankind is compared to that of the declaration of God the Father wanderers in the dark, so ignorant out of " the excellent glory” in are we of what lies before in the which he was present. This seems plans of Providence; to such unto have left an impression on the certainty as to the results and cons mind of the Apostle that he could sequences of things, are we pronever forget : “ And we have,” he ceeding in our course ; so much proceeds, “ a more sure word of confusion seems there in the affairs prophecy"--a still greater proof of men, so many contradictions to to the church at large of the power the wishes of those who have the and coming of Christ, than the re- cause of God at heart.--Yet all cord of any miraculous vision seen these things will be over-ruled for by us Apostles, is the PROPHETIC good by an all-wise Providence, WORD. That is, the whole scheme though we are in the dark as to
of prophecy contained in the Old his management. There is a day, · and New Testament, which God moreover, coming, which will ex. has been pleased to give us for the plain all, “and we shall know as confirmation of our faith. Now, we are known."~Until thạt day the grand theme of the prophetic begins to dawn, and its morningword, from first to last, from Ge- star shall arise, the Apostle advises nesis to Revelation, is all concern- 'attention to the word of prophecy. ing the power and coming of Jesus It will not so fully render visible the Christ : his power to govern the designs of God and the secrets of affairs of the world, in order to ac- futurity, as the rising morning discomplish the redemption of his covers to the traveller all the counpeople, and so as to bring about try where he had set out to travel that order of things which he sees in the dark; but it will serve him best; so that all things shall work for a lamp to guide his feet, it will together for the good of his church; afford him light enough to find his and all the changes and revolutions way through darkness he will see in the kingdoms of the world shall enough to satisfy his mind that the
Lord reigneth in the kingdoms of “ For the prophecy came not in men, and is doing whatsoever pleas. old time by the will of man; but eth him, making even the follies holy men of God spake as they and sins of men to accomplish his were moved by the Holy Ghost :" righteous purposes.
as though the Apostle should say, ..“ Knowing this first, that no Nor is this to be wondered at, that prophecy of the Scripture is of any no prophecy can be its own interprivate interpretation." In order to preter, since the Prophets did not understand rightly the meaning of deliver what they had themselves prophecy, we are, before all things, discovered, or even understood, to bear in mind that no prophecy when they uttered them; they were of the Scripture is of any private the mere instruments of the Holy interpretation ; or is its own inter- Ghost; their “ tongue the pen of preter ; or is of self-interpretation. a ready writer.” It is the same, That is, you must not think to un- Spirit that speaks throughout, un. derstand one prophecy apart by it- folding by degrees his plans, dropself; you must take it in connexion ping a hint by one Prophet, and anwith other prophecies, as one of a otherhint by another, as he deems it set, as a link of a chain. And, proper to excite the expectations again : you must not fancy that of mankind; meaning still, that fu. you can make out its meaning by turity should be partially covered the bare words of the prophecy it- from a too prying curiosity. The self; you can only trace out the only way, therefore, in which we exact meaning of a prophecy in can expect to understand the mean, the events foretold as they arise. ing of the prophetic Spirit, is to History is the interpreter of pro- compare together the whole that phecy; the prophecy itself is al- he has said at different times, and ways, more or less, a riddle or to trace in the passing scenes of enigma, until the prediction is the world those events which were come to pass. Those parts of the in the view of the Holy Ghost : prophecies which are already ful when he moved the Prophets to filled we can explain with great utter the mysterious sayings. This exactness; concerning those which rule for interpreting the prophecies are now fulfilling, we begin to form the reader will carefully bear in some guess ; but those that are still his mind, since of this we must 'to be fulfilled are involved in dark- make great use in all our attempts ness; our lamp. can only show to to explain the meaning of the oraus some grand outlines of the cles of God. greater objects which are before us..
THE YOUTH'S REMEMBRANCER.
ADDRESS TO YOUTH ON THE RE- is that of the restoration of the TURN OF THE KING OF FRANCE. exiled sovereign of the Gallic na
tion to the throne of his ancestors: · Amidst the various events which every considerate mind cannot fail - have of late pressed upon our view, to ascribe the event to Him“ by
and excited our wonder as well as whom kings reign," who has thus, demanded our gratitude, the cir: in much mercy, arrested the horcumstance which appears most for- rors of a long-protracted war, cibly to have rivetted our attention and caused the smiles of peace
CHRIST. GUARD. Vol. VI. . Rr
again to beam on a distracted uni- the inspired penman's description verse. The general expression of was at this time receiving realizajoy which attended the return of tion; that the assemblage I was Louis to his native land, was highly regarding were going up to the pleasing to every loyal heart; but altar of God with exceeding joy, the Christian will not merely mingle publicly to renew their vows, and in the evanescent feeling of the devote themselves to the service of multitude-he will appropriate the their Saviour; that the language of language of the sweet singer of their hearts was, “ Come and let Israel, who exclaims, after beauti- us join ourselves unto the Lord in fully recounting the dealings of a perpetual covenant, that shall the God of Providence, “Whoso not be forgotten.” It was an inteis wise and will observe these things, resting and beautiful sight. I eneven they shall understand the lov- čered the church, and enjoyed the ing kindness of the Lord;" he will privilege of uniting in the suppliponder on the circumstances de- cations of the congregation, that signed and executed by the hand the grace of the Holy Ghost might of unerring Wisdom; and from be abundantly vouchsafed to the this reflective conduct a blessing souls of every one present; that it shall arise, his faith shall be might be a time of love” never strengthened, his hope animated, to be forgotten; a season of rehis love increased. Let us pause, freshing from the presence of the then, and consider--Is there not Lord : that he would be pleased to spiritual instruction to be derived defend his adopted children with from the contemplation of this in- his heavenly grace, that they may teresting event ?--As in the nå. continue his for ever, and daily intural world, the element of fire is crease in his Holy Spirit more and said to exist in the coldest sub- more, until they come to his everstances, which may be drawn forth lasting 'kingdom. The service by the skill of the philosopher, so concluded, I pursued my way much the Christian, by the help of the gratified, and, 'I trust, edified, 'by blessed Spirit, is enabled to extract the interruption I had received. benefit from the consideration of My thoughts recurred to the topic subjects, which, in the apprehen- which had occupied my mind presion of others, seem entirely desti, vious to my entering the sacred tute of improvement. I was én- walls; but my heart dwelt on the deavouring to lift up my heart in scene I had been witnessing: and gratitude to the gracious Bestower are not both subjects capable of of every comfort for the sweet pri- union? thought I. Surely a great vileges to which his children are analogy subsists between the conadmitted, and in supplication for duct of the French nation with reaid to render my meditations pro- gard to their earthly sovereign, fitable, when I approached the and that of these spiritual converts. venerable episcopal edifice of St. with respect to their heavenly Andrew's: I observed a number of King. Let us retrace a few partiyoung persons, of both sexes, as- culars 'relative to the subjects of cending the steps leading to the the Bourbon prince: they were courts of the Lord, whose remark- bound to submit to his government
ble seriousness of deportment, as their lawful ruler; as their sove. and happy expression of counte- reign they have vowed allegiancé nance, rensinded me of the lovely to his authority, and fidelity to his company- portrayed in prophetic interests; but how did they fulfil painting, who were asking the way these obligations? They disregardio Zion with their faces thither. ed them entirely, and devoted ward. On inquiry I learnt that themselves to the service of an