Billeder på siden
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

man there floweth, hath flowed, and ever shall flow, a stream of evil, which God is not minded, or, being minded, is not provided with means, to destroy; but only is able to open a fountain of good, which sendeth forth a tiny streamlet, flowing sidė by side with the main rushing stream of evil. Then makest thou the fall of man an origin, a principle, a stronger power in creation than God. Why wilt thou indulge thy flesh, whereof the waters of baptism have purged away the filthiness; abolishing, even according to thine own good traditions, the body of sin and death-why wilt thou quicken it with thy vain philosophy, and by thy evil words quicken it in others ? Be taught, thou prophet of the Lord, by one whom the Lord hath set as a teacher, and, as thou well knowest, approved often to thy conscience as thy teacher.

Touching also the sameness of the generation of Christ and the regeneration of the believer, thou dost miss the mark, wresting the truth unto thine own destruction. Brother, is it any disparagement to Adam, that out of him should have issued millions like unto himself? And are we not predestinated to be conformed to the image of the Son of God, that he might be the first-born of many brethren! The generation of Christ, O man, and the regeneration of believers, is one work of God, for the sanctification of flesh, which Jesus by faith ever sustained, which we by unbelief ever destroy, and quicken not the flesh only again, but produce the mystery of iniquity in flesh; not again

.; returning into Egypt, but the Assyrian becoming our king. Learn, O child of the Spirit, and become in understanding a man.

Thou blasphemest the work of the Comforter amongst us, as if it suppressed the understanding. It doth but open the blind eye, which sin hath closed, that the pure light of life may fall upon the eye of conscience, which then doth ever see God. But thou, and with thee the brother that was wont to sit on my right hand, would not admit the light: ye called the blinds upon the windows, the windows; and ye said they must by no means be meddled with; and so ye are in darkness unto this day. And now, when God brought you to the light, yea, and brought the light into thee, thou, having made proof of it, dost say, The darkness is better; because thou wast in love with the hollow of that dark cave wherein heretofore thy spirit dwelt, because thou hadst graven it all over with the dark ciphers of space and time, of type and tradition. Oh what a shipwreck thou hast made of heavenly treasure ! Oh how thou hast rejected spiritual peace and joy, and bliss and rapture-fellowship with the Father and the Son presence of the Holy Ghost--for thine own wisdom and self-sufficiency! The shield of the mighty hath been vilely cast away. O Jonathan, my brother! thy bow never returned empty from the battle, but it is too much for a man to contend with his Maker.

[ocr errors]

As concerneth the inconsistencies which thou findest in thy prophetic utterances, publishing thine own shame, I leave thee to settle that matter with thy God, testifying to this one thing, That, of the thousands of utterances that I have heard in the face of my church, or in private, I have heard not one inconsistency; and thou hast been falsely informed, and propagated a falsehood, when thou saidst in thy book that once upon a time I told a prophet to speak more unto the purpose, or to cease speaking. But this and the other wounds thou hast dealt unto me I say nothing of, except that the wounds of a brother are hard to bear. But thou thinkest thou dost God service, and that grieveth me the most of all; for thou wast a field that he did bless, and he hath spared no pains upon thee; but thou hast brought forth thorns and briers, and art well nigh unto cursing, whose end is to be burned. Repent, repent, or thou shalt be taken in the greatness of thy way and broken to pieces. While I believe that in the presence of my flock thou wast holden from being tempted of the enemy to utter in his power, I can well suppose, having known an instance of the like kind, that in private he may have gotten the use of thy lips, through the uncleanness that now sheweth itself to have been in the vessel ; and that, though God hath a great jealousy over the utterance of those whom he setteth in the ordinance of prophets, it is not so great as to destroy their responsibility, and set them far away beyond temptation and a snare. Nevertheless, the Lord, for the ordinance sake, is slow to strike down the ordinance-holder; but slowly and at length he doth it, to those who exalt themselves, their own form and system of words, their own personal and domestic ends above the infallible word of God and the common weal of his church. That thou didst


say that thou mayest have done so, I can well suppose, though I am

I very slow to believe, for an evil thought of thee never harboured in my heart, and hardly findeth entrance now. But the day which trieth all things will try whether thou wast faithful to God, or as thou makest it out, God was faithless to thee; for that God spake not by thee I may not express even as a supposition, without subverting the foundations of believing within my soul, and casting the providence of a good God from the head of creation, the guardianship of the good Shepherd from the head of the church. Thou art a valiant man-stout, very stout—but no man may stand against his Maker. Ah, even still my heart goeth up for thee. O my God, let him live in thy sight!

But what serveth this dispensation to the church? Much, every way. Chiefly to mar the work in the sight of the multitude, who were gaping after it, as to a market-place of mighty power and signs and wonders ;- to separate those who bowed the knee to the waters of the Spirit and drank, from those who did but stoop their girded loins and stretch down the hand of


[ocr errors]

faith to the brook that runneth in the way: to send back the thousands to their homes, while the handful pass onward with Gideon to the fiery fight. For this battle is not with confused noise and garments rolled in blood, but with burning and fuel of fire: whereunto who would send the hay, the wood, the stubble, and the chaff? Nay, but only the gold and silver and precious stones may abide that fiery conflict. Therefore is it that God hath permitted thee to put forth thine own shame, which will serve as a touchstone, to distinguish the men that have been feeding upon the word of God, from the men who have been eyeing it with suspicion, lying in wait for the faltering of their God, and taking good heed to risk nothing for the Šaviour of their souls. But, o ye little ones, who are stumbled by this stumbling-block which a giant has cast in your way--for he is a very mighty man-know the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel : Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord.” Taste and see that God is good ; prove ye the meat by the eating of it; know ye Satan from Jesus, by the house which he buildeth ; come amongst us, and see whether we be a church of the living God or a synagogue of Satan. Ah! this pang woundeth the deepest, thať Satan should have the credit of such a work! O thou enemy, thou hast triumphed; but thy triumph is short. And thou, Robert Baxter, hast lifted up Satan in the sight of many men, and crowned him as the author of a work which has been, and is, the joy and edification of thousands of saints. Be ashamed ! fear and tremble! Repent of thy wickedness, and pray, if haply the thought of thy heart, the word of thy mouth, and the work of thy hand, may be forgiven.



In establishing this Journal, it was a primary object to bring before the church the abstruser, and too often forgotten, points of doctrine, which it was supposed were especially needed at the present time, though from the peculiar character of the age they were especially deficient in the quarters where most needed. This primary object we have never lost sight of, and it has given our journal a dry and didactic character, of which those who know not the reasons for it have sometimes complained. To these we would say, that it is the importance of the subjects before us, the shortness of the time for discussing them before the dispensation shall close, and our wish to tell as much truth in as few words as possible, that have prevented us from going over the elementary grounds, both of doctrine and of prophetic interpretation. We have thought it better, also, chiefly to select subjects suited to the ministers of the church, and to treat them in a manner calculated to rouse their attention and forward their inquiry; leaving it to them to break down the truths they might receive to the less informed understandings of their congregations, and translate them into an elementary form. But we have been requested by so many to give a simple statement of our conclusions on unfulfilled prophecy, and the path by which we have been led to form these conclusions, that we no longer delay complying.

The grand conclusion, which comprehends all the rest, is the demonstrable fact that a very large portion of the word of God remains yet to be fulfilled : and the path whereby all the other conclusions may be most readily attained, is the study of the parables and discourses of our Lord, compared with the OldTestament Scriptures on which they are founded, or to which they refer. The chief conclusions being thus established on these indisputable premises, all the minor details may be gathered from the Prophets, whose various strains, uttered at various times, are all then found to fall into regular order; and the whole is illustrated and confirmed by the types, histories, and ordinances of the Jewish people, all of which then become significant and instructive.

It is a demonstrable fact that a large portion of the word of God still remains unfulfilled, even all that portion which threatens universal destruction to the wicked, and which promises universal triumph, peace, and joy to the people of God. A still more glorious portion, which yet remains to be fulfilled, is that which declares the universal reception of the truth by all the inhabitants of the earth; the universal worship of the one true God, whom all shall then know, from the least of them to the greatest of them :"and in that day there shall be one LORD, and his Name One.” And a still more glorious portion is that which predicts the coming of the Son of Man in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory, to receive the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven;" which shall then be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; and all dominions shall serve and obey him.”

The mere statement of these points will receive the assent of the attentive students of Scripture, and a few texts will suffice to demonstrate them to all. Wickedness shall not always triumph on the earth, as we behold it now, when not a hundredth part of its population make even a profession of Christianity, and when, of those who do profess it, not one in a hundred is a true Christian. But a day is coming when this melancholy prospect shall be wholly reversed; nay, more than reversed, shall be wholly joyous ; and say not in your heart," how can these things be ?” The God of truth hath said it, and He, the Almighty, will accomplish it: heaven and earth may pass away, but the word of God shall not fail.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

This first point, of the destruction of the wicked, for the deliverance of the people of God, is demonstrable from a great variety of passages of Scripture, in which the time is called the day of the Lord, and the day of vengeance, and the time of harvest; the gathering is called the supper of the great God, the battle of the great day of God Almighty; and the place of gathering is called the valley of Jehoshaphat, and of Jezreel, Armageddon, and the valley of decision, or excision : for there is decided the controversy between the children of God and the children of Satan, between the Seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, which has been going on ever since the Fall; and there all the wicked of the earth are congregated for final excision.

“Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the earth desolate : and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven, and the constellations thereof, shall not give their light : the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible" (Isai. xiii. 9). This destruction of the wicked, and this darkening of the sun and moon, we know, from the words of our Lord, shall immediately precede his glorious advent, and is the time of the mystical Babylon's fall.“ Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken : and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.” (Matt. xxiv. 29). And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake ; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig-tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken by a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places; and the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens, and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand ? ” (Rev. vi. 12.) A puerile objection is sometimes made here, that the departure of the heavens as a scroll indicates the destruction of both heaven and earth : but how, then, could the terrified spectators of the glorious Advent which follows, call upon rocks and mountains to

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsæt »