« AnteriorContinuar »
refined to be worked up in any human institution, without a large portion of alloy; for no sooner is this small grain of mustard-seed watered with the fertilizing showers of civil emolurients, than it grows up into a large and spreading tree, under the shelter of whose branches the birds of prey and plunder will not fail to make for themselves comfortable habitations, and thence deface its beauty, and destroy its fruits.” The great mystery is to be finished by numbers of Christians and Jews simultaneously leaving the old world before it is destroyed, and then will satan's empire be utterly overthrown. Therefore the most important occupation for all who consider themselves the “Lord's people,” whatever sect they may belong to, is to ascertain the geographical position of the place where they are to reign ; of that “ kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world," * which they could not do, until every part of the habitable globe had been sufficiently explored, and the science of geography completed by the discoveries of Captain Cook and Sir Thomas Mitchell
There is a beautiful promise to the church in the prophecy of Hosea, which was partially fulfilled at the time that Protestant christians were obliged to flee to America, from Romish persecution: “ Therefore behold I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. And I will give her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achort for a door of hope; and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.” | A door of hope was then indeed opened to the church through trouble and perse
cution; and in late years, how frequently have the in babitants of the old world been thankful that they were able, in seasons of scarcity, to procure corn from America. How much also has the literature of the old world been enriched by the pens of American writers.
When our Lord sent out his twelve disciples, he said to them, “ Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves : be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues ; and ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles," * How plainly do the history of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, and the histories of Germany, England, France, and Spain, prove, that this prophecy has been fulfilled; they also prove the fulfilment of some of the more obscure prophecies in the book of Rerelation. In the 11th chapter we find St. John thus foretelling the persecutions which the church would suffer : “ And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophecy a thousand two hundred and three-score days, clothed in sackcloth. And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and shall kill them; and their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Saviour was crucified. And they of the people, and kindreds, and tongues, and nations, shall see their dead bodies three days and a half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put into graves.” † The witnesses here spoken of appear to be the Holy Scriptures, which, for
a period of 1260 years, during the dark ages, were locked up in monasteries ; during which time the Jews, who still are witnesses of the truth of the Old Testament, were greatly persecuted ; and the Waldenses, and the Albigenses, underwent the most cruel treatment from the Church of Rome. * When the Reformation, which was brought about by the discovery of the art of printing, triumphed, the witnesses no longer remained among the sackcloth of the monasteries, but Europe was stained with the blood of martyrs; and it is evident that the “great city” mentioned in the 8th verse, must be the old continent, in a part of which, our Lord was crucified : and which is yet to be punished, for shedding innocent blood. The martyrs are still crying, “ How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth ?" † On account of the death of the martyrs of the Reformation taking place after the invention of the art of printing, the records of their martyrdom will never die, as long as a corner of the earth endures to which books can be carried by ships; and the facility, which for the last three centuries and a half, has existed of translating works of interest, enables people of all nations and tongues to sympathise with them, and acknowledge the justice of the punishment denounced against nations which are stained with their blood.
The history of Europe for the last three centuries and a half appears also to explain the prophecy contained in the 6th chapter of the Revelation, in which four horses are described. The white horse, who had a crown given to him, bears a resemblance to Charles the 5th of Germany, who inherited crowns from several other relations
* See Jones's History of the Church.
+ Rev. vi. 10.
besides his father. He was a great opposer of the Reformation, and persecutor of the Protestants. But it is remarkable, that after being a successful conqueror, be became tired of royalty, resigned his crown to his son, and died in a monastery.
The red horse appears to resemble Louis XIV, who was a great persecutor of the French Protestants. In his reign 50,000 families fled from France. In the year 1685, those who wished to worship God, according to the dictates of their conscience, had to choose between death and conversion; a day was appointed to hear the decision of the reformers, and dragoons were to be their judges. All who refused to abjure their creed were hanged, and their chiefs and pastors were broken on the wheel. This was the work of a King professing the religion which was to bring, “ peace on earth and good will to men.” Well did the descendants of this emissary of satan deserve the scourge they received from infidelity the century following.
The black horse resembles Napoleon, who, although a great shedder of blood, did not interfere with liberty of conscience, but on the contrary, made many wise and just laws, and humbled the power of the church of Rome, and that of other kingdoms. During his reign there was great plenty ; commerce flourished; and it is remarkable, that although the European nations were at 'war with each other, those countries which did not produce the olive and the vine, continued to receive their supplies of oil and wine from France, Spain, and Italy. Death on the pale horse appears to be that part of the prophecy which is now fulfilling. That extraordinary disease, the asiatic cholera, has visited all the nations of Europe, and North America. The potatoe disease bas for a series of years caused famine in Ireland, and has obliged the rulers of Great Britain to recommence emigration on a large scale. The orphans which were left in a state of dependance on parish bounty, after their parents had fallen victims to cholera, fever, or famine, are now coming to Australia in crowds; and the trouble into which families of all ranks have been brought by the consequences of those awful scourges, has opened a door of hope to many of them in a country which the cholera bas not yet visited, and where the earth is ready to yield her increase to the industrious agriculturists.
The following lines, written by Thomas Campbell, Esq., * on the departure of emigrants for New South Wales, will be long applicable to families thus obliged to leave “father-land.”
On England's shore I saw a pensive band,
But cloud not yet too long, industrious train,
• Anthor of “The Pleasures of Hope.".