live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present worldbut also to be looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Surely the Bride must desire the presence of her Lord; the faithful steward will long to give account of his stewardship. And, though we be in everything so defective, and have come so shortof the glory of our God; yet, when we remember, who it is that is coming, even him who to them that look for him will appear the second time without sin unto salvation, (Heb. ix. 28.) and who is touched with a feeling of our infirmities, and who has himself borne the iniquities of our holy things ; when we remember the glorious objects for which he is returning ; to put down all wickedness, to establish for ever truth and righteousness, to deliver the afflicted children of God, and to fill the whole earth with his glory ; How can we but look for his return as the consummation of all our hopes, and the final accomplishment of all our desires, and the fulness of all our joys.

How near that appearing may be! It is intimately connected in the Scriptures with the end of the Turkish woe ; the ripeness of iniquity; the extended preaching of the Gospel ; and the restoration of the Jewish nation: and we see signs of all these things. On the end of the Turkish woe we have dwelt in the first part of this Treatise. It is connected also with the ripeness of iniquity. So it is in the Epistle. And thus Enoch prophecies, Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all, that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches, which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. It is on the removal of impediments out of the way, that the wicked or lawless one shall be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of his mouth, and destroy with the brightness of his coming, and thus the kingdom of Christ increases and triumphs over all. There is, indeed, in these days, a double ripening; a ripening of the wheat for the harvest of mercy (Mark iv. 28, 29; Rev. xiv. 15, 16.) and the ripening of the vine for the vintage of wrath (Rev. xiv. 18—20.): but all issues in his glory.

This appearing is again intimately connected with the preaching of the Gospel to all nations. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations, and then shall the end come. Matt. xxiv. 14. See also Rev. xiv. 6, 7. We have ourselves in the last half century witnessed an unparalleled wide diffusion of the Gospel among all nations, and the uttermost parts of the earth have received the Law of Christ.

This appearing is again intimately connected with the Restoration of the Jewish nation. The general voice of prophecy when the Lord shall build up Zion, then shall he appear in his glory. Psalm cii. 16. There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob, (Rom. xi. 26, 27.) And unequalled since the Apostolic age is the interest that has been manifested for this people in recent years by the Church of Christ and Christian nations in general. May it grow to that fulness of love which marked the Apostle of the Gentiles, (Rom. ix. x.) and our Saviour Christ himself, (Isaiah lx, lxi. Matt. xxiii. 37. Luke xix. 41–44.)

But be it near as I believe, or be it more remote, it should ever form the animating object of our hope, the quickening motive in all our labours for the salvation of souls. Then it is we shall have to appear with those to whom God has blessed our labours, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. Col. i. 28. What is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing ? are not even the faithful among our flocks; they are our glory and joy in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming. Our great Master for the joy set before him endured the

Let us then set this unspeakable joy of our Saviour's acceptance and approval ; and the bliss of saving souls from death, and appearing with them in glory at his right hand, continually before our eyes. What cheering and glowing motives are thus furnished for entire devotedness to Christ.

We are sure the time is short. The last words of his gracious voice from heaven in the sacred volume are Surely, I come quickly. Our great Master is at hand. Soon we shall stand before him. The crowns of life


and glory are at his disposal. Oh that his ministers may so act that they may hear at the last his welcome words, Well done, good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.*

* A spiritual, searching, and awakening sermon, opening out our sinfulness as ministers of Christ in these days, was preached by the Rev. Charles Brown, minister of the Free New North Church, Edinburgh, before the General Assembly of the Free Church, on May 21, 1844. It has been published, under the title, “State of Religion in the land,” by Nisbet, at the cheap price of 2d. for wide circulation, with a letter prefixed giving an account of the circumstances under which it was delivered. It is delightful to see such a spirit in this part of the Church of Christ. Were it more general in his ministers every where, what hopes we might have of a blessed revival in our churches. God graciously give a humble, holy, devoted spirit to us his ministers, that we may be a large blessing to our fellow men through the world!






To give warning of dangers to our fellow Christians without showing them the way to escape, would be an incomplete fulfilment of duty. When Joel gives the warning of coming judgments, he calls the Jewish nation to repentance. When God was about to destroy Nineveh, by his blessing on the preaching of Jonah, repentance is produced and the judgment is postponed.

But the most suitable lesson perhaps at the present time recorded for our use in Scripture, is the instruction given by Daniel to Nebuchadnezzar—the monarch of the first universal prophetic empire at the height of his glory ; when filled with pride in the sense of his power and his wide spread dominions : so exactly corresponding to the situation of our own country, exalted as it

« ForrigeFortsett »