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many of its kings will probably be on the sea, taking refuge in some part of the new world, from the famine and pestilence which is to precede the fire, some of them perhaps tired of royalty like Charles the Fifth when he went into a monastery.
One of the most remarkable features in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, was religious intolerance. He set up a golden image and commanded that all who would not worship it should be burned in a fiery furnace; and wherever religious persecution exists, the spirit of tyranny which influenced Nebuchadnezzar is influencing those who thus abuse power. Too much of this Babylonish spirit is still visible in all the kingdoms into which Ancient Rome was divided ; and also that tendency to pollute the vessels of the temple which was shown by Belshazzar at his impious feast.
One of the consequences of the union of Church and State, is, that kings and prime ministers frequently appoint Bishops to rule over the Church of Christ, who are unworthy of the sacred office, and that thus the care of Christ's flock, is, through them, entrusted to unworthy pastors. But as the inhabitants of the world, before the flood, were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, when the flood came and destroyed them all; and as Belshazzar was feasting and polluting the vessels of the temple, when his kingdom, Ancient Babylon, was destroyed,--so will the kings, queens, princes, bishops and nobles who have not made a right use of wealth and power, be made to feel the justice of their punishment, as well as Belshazzar was made to upderstand the hand-writing on the wall. The palaces, cathedrals, colleges, manufactories, barracks and prisons of Modern Babylon are all doomed to destruction. Had the precepts of the Saviour of mankind and his apostles
been attended to, many of those buildings would not have been erected. They are all sacrifices to pride; and as meekness should be one of the characteristics of a child of God, they have evidently been erected by persons who were more influenced by the spirit which has been handed down from generation to the successors of the proud monarchs and priests of Ancient Babylon, than the spirit of Him who said, “ Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” When the proud cities of Modern Babylon have been destroyed by earthquakes and fire, the "meek” who have taken refuge in time in the “holy mountain,” will again go out and possess it; and the knowledge and experience of the last four thousand years, which the art of printing has put them in possession of, will give them advantages very superior to these which Noah and his family possessed on leaving the ark. The Lord himself has promised to be their teacher, and their occupations are to be such as will make his reign one of righteousness and peace, for a thousand years.
Thus will the prophecy be fulfilled of the stone becoming “a great mountain and filling the whole earth.”
We must observe in studying this prophecy that the stone bare no resemblance to the image, and that thus the inhabitants of the kingdom of God, are to be entirely divested of that Babylonish spirit, which still clings to a great number of the inhabitants of the ten kingdoms into which the Roman Empire was divided.
Let us now turn to the history of old Jerusalem, and inquire what was the transgression for which Saul, the first king of the Jews was dethroued; was it not for disobedience in keeping the cattle of the Lord's enemies, to sacrifice to the Lord, when he had been commanded to destroy them ? " Samuel also said unto Saul, the
Lord sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel ; now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel 'and ass. And Saul smote the Amalekites, and he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword, but Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and of the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them. And Samuel came to Saul; and Saul said unto him, blessed be thou of the Lord; I have performed the commandment of the Lord. And Samuel said, what meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which 1 hear? And Saul said, they have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed. And Samuel said, hath the Lord as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord ? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry, because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath rejected thee from being king."* Since Christianity has been the established religion of Europe, its rich and powerful professors, bave been too much influenced by the same spirit which Saul displayed in this act of disobedience. We find, by referring to the Acts of the Apostles, that Stephen warned his hearers
* 1 Samuel, xv. 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 22, 23.
against worshipping God by erecting splendid buildings, in imitation of the temple of Solomon. " But Solomon built him an house. Howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool ; what house will ye build me? saith the Lord; or what is the place of my rest ? Hath not my hand made all these things?”* Had this admonition of the first Christian martyr been attended to by those who styled themselves successors to the Apostles, would they have first erected splendid buildings to enable them to introduce pomp and vanity into the worship of God; and then built prisons for the punishment of those who preferred worshipping Him, as their divine master commanded them, in spirit and in truth.” † Had the command love one another been obeyed, would the castle of Chillon ever have been erected and Bonivard imprisoned in it? What a misapplication of industry to erect such a building at all! Lord Byron thus describes it:
Lake Leman lies by Chillon's walls ;
• Acts vii. 47, 48, 49, 50.. +John, iv. 24.
And then the very rock hath rocked,
Christianity was first firmly established in that part of the world designated by Daniel as “the toes of the image,” of which Nebuchadnezzar was the head; and through a series of conquests, in which the conquerors imperceptibly imbibed the manners and customs of the nations they conquered, it became tinctured with that proud and tyrannical spirit, which animated the head of gold. In tracing the history of the last 1850 years, we bave a right to look for that mixture of “tares and wheat,” which the Saviour of mankind told his disciples would exist in that great Babylon, until the end of the world; we must therefore accompany the study of modern history with a careful perusal of the word of God, to enable us to judge which of the professing Christians are tares, and which are wheat; which of the remarkable individuals, the biography of whom we read, have imbibed the Babylonish spirit, and which of them have been gifted with that spirit which was to produce “ love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” *
Had Leo the Tenth studied the writings of St. Peter before he began to build a splendid church, which be named after bim, would he have wasted the industry of his subjects, in building it in a place which the Apostle told him was to be “ burned up?”f and when he found he had not money enough to complete the building, in the same splendid style in which it was begun, must be not have been animated by the Babylonish spirit when
* Galatians, v. 22, 23.
+ 2 Peter, iv. 10.