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and perhaps a third is undertaken without emolument, only on the principle of greater usefulness. The minister strongly expos.. tulates with the people, to engage them to attend both parts of the day; -- he places his finger on the Sabbath and its services, as of the first importance, without attention to which no religion can exist. New ideas about it are of course generated ; and if a person be inclined to keep up appearances at all, he finds him. self obliged to a more frequent and early attendance. In this endeavour to fill the place, the minister is also seconded by every serious member of his congregation. Heads of families imbibe the spirit, and generally make great exertions, not only to attend themselves regularly, but to bring their children and servants with them. Such will also aim to persuade and accommodate their friends, in hopes it may do thorn good. Love to souls will stimulate them to bring under the gospel sinners of every description; and, where this principle may be weak, attachment to the place or party produces a similar energy. Thus multitudinous endeavours are always at work, in order to produce a full attendo ance; and especially upon those whose attendance raiscs the surprize intimated in the question.
7. Without any thing like conversion, great also is the influence of natural conscience. Men, unless very profligate, nay, eyen they also, fcel the necessity of something like religion. Now, without kccping the Sabbath, and atiending at the Lord's house, common sense says there can be no pretensions to religion made : they must therefore atiend somewhere. This persuasion carries many to places of all sorts. It is the impelling principle which urges the costomary attendance where preaching and worship are condueted in the tamest style. If it have influence where there is so slight an appearance of obtaining what is sought, no wonder if it impel many to come where, according to appearances, religion much more alsounds, and where the same trouble of atiendance ray obiaiu a much larger proportion of the commodity sought.
8. There is also an indistinct sort of hope, which carnal persons feel in associating with the god!y. On this principles many desire to be buried near some of whose picty they have a high opinion, as if themselves should be somewbat safer for the contiguity. Those who wish to assemble with the righteous in the world to come, will endure, perhaps (lesire, to assemble with them in present worship. If once the idea rise that these people are inore gorlly than others (an idea which the wicked often are conscions of, though they do not always like to own ii) there will he a predilection for that sociсty, transferring to themselves a share of the reputatiori for religion which it enjoys. Mon will take credit to themselves for the general piety of the place or the people, and hope that, as they associate with numbers who will undoubtedly go to Heaven, their own chance is much fairer at such a place than where the general probability is less.
9. A's Hope stimulates many to attend the gospel who do not feel its real influence, so, I believe, docs soinetimes Despair. Sinners living the deepest in sin, and having the moni rooted aversion from the gospel, have nevertheless times of compunction and terror ;-their cordial needs be strony, in proportion to their deep languor. Whether, therefore, their opinion of the superior piety of such places may arise from the knowledge of the holiness of professors, or the free-grace truths' there preached, or, more indistinctly still, from the mere number and excitation there found, such, when they feel they must compromise with a little religion, are urged by their very despair to seek it in the strongest style. That this principle is very operative in some such way, is seen when characters notorious for profligacy, and perhaps too for their hatred to the gospel, will, supposing themselves on a death-bed, send for the most godly person they know, nay, for the minister they have sneered at and persecuted, to make a prayer by them,' as they term it, naturally concluding, that the prayers of the goilly are more likely to be efficacious than their own prayers, or the prayers of those ministers whom, by frequent associations, they know to have nothing of religiou in
them. As those who hate physic will, in a time of alarm, · swallow greedily medicine the most nauseons, so, without any
love to the truths of the gospel, or approbation of them, will the sinner, 'in his alarm, resort where it is preached in that style which most he hates, urged, by the mere pressure of desperation, to do something which may quiet his irritated conscience.
Most of the principles I have mentioned have 'much power and influence; and there are very few places where the gospel is preached where they do not all exist, and operate ta considerable effect in producing the attendance supposed. Happy is it when divine grace takes hence its opportunities to turn these deceptions of Satan (as some of them are) to his own discomfiture ! Happy for those who are brought any-liow under the word, when that word penetrates to their inmost sous, and produces real conversion! - when ihe doctrines of the gospel subdue all opposition, and, by enlightening the mind, lead it to the teet of a crucified Saviour! - when they give a man to say, not only "I go to the house of the Lord,' but? I am glad when they say, Let us go up! - Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thy honour dwelleth !' so
If so many principles operate to produce attendance on the '. gospel, men had need beware, and should examine closely into the nature of the motives wbich guide their choice of a minister, and produce their attendance on the word ; for mere atiendance, even on the most evangelical preaching, proves nothing as to the state of the heart towards Gol.
How awful is the case of men who have sat long under tha gospel, without having been drawn by it to the Savi jurt! Such, perhaps, take pp a hope as to their safeiy, and may die with a
sort of calm confidence; may, as represented in the parable, knock at the door of Heaven, and plead, 'Hast thou not taught in our streets ?' - but we know the answer that shall be given to all who are not real converts, " Depart from me, I never knew
Let ministers too be cautious how they measure the extent of their usefulness by the numbers who attend their labours. Mul. titudes crowded around Christ, thronging and pressing him; but he had few real disciples, and fewer still, then actually exercising that faith which drew virtue out of him...
Let us pray for a divine blessing to attend the gospel, whereever it is preached! ~ that, whatever be the motives which en gage mens' attendance, the effect of it may be, that God is found of them who songht him not! --and that the word of his grace may have free course through every power of mens souls, and be glorified in their true and effectual conversion, till gospel. truths be attended upon from actual approbation and felt effect !
THE FULFILMENT OF THE SCRIPTURES
RESPECTING THE PAPACY. (In a Letter from the Ray. Mr. BICseno to a Friend.) ! Dear Sir,
Nerobury, Sep. 2, 1809. The sentiments expressed in your friendly letter of the 20th ult. claim the earliest acknowledginent; and, though the mea. sures which have lately been pursued by the extraordinary man who bas turned the world upside down,' relative to the Pope and the papal hierarchy, the suppression of the bloody inquisition, the seizure of the temporal dominions of the pretended vicar of Jesus Christ, the annihilation of his court, and his banishment from thence, have served more to confirm me in the persuasion of the general justness of the conclusions long ago. drawn from the stupendous occurrences in Europe, than to crrate any new light, or to lead to any new opinions, yet, as what has laiely happened to the pa pacy appears to have excited in you, as it has in a few others, an increasing attention to the Scripture prophecies, and you so far honour me as to wish for my opinion on the present aspect of things, I devote the first hour I can command to scrawl a hasty letter; and wbicb I do, indeed, rather from motives of respect than from any expec. tation I have of being able to communicate much that may serve to illustra!e the sacred predictions, beyond what I have attempted to do in those publica ions of which you are, pleased to take notice.
It'any thing be capable of rousing the Christian world to an attentive enquiry into the meaning of the Scripture-prophecies
which refer to the last times, and to á careful comparison of events with whai the prophets have spoken, and with the pictures of future things which they have drawn, what is passing about us - cannot fail to do it. The spirit of anxious enquiry then which your letter manifests needs no apology, nor can excite surprize in any Christian at all observant of the Signs of the Times. The surprize rather is, that we see so much apathy; that ministers and people should be no more aliye to what is påssing ; no more affected with the unusual and awful dispen. sations of Providence; no more disposed to give glory to God, because of his righteous judgments ! Alas! (the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit hath made war against the witnesses, and ķilled them; and we have both forgolten them as the dead, and the promise of God, as if it had been written in the sand of the stormy desert!
You wish to be informed of my ideas respecting the present state of things, as they relate to the accomplishment of the prophecies, and ask * What part of the Scriptures a ppears now to be fulfilling ?” Your question involves (i conclude from other parts of your letter) more than you expect me to enter much into in this reply, and certainly much more than could be even slightly touched on in the limits I must prescribe myself; and as parts, at least, of what I have publisbed on these subjects are in your hands, I must refer you to them, and confine myself within very narrow bounds.
That the stupendous events of the present time are rapidly working the accomplishment of all the prophecies, both of tlie Old and the New Testament, which refer to those awful judg. ments of the latter days, which are proximately to effect or prepare the way for the final ruin of the Anti-Christian cause, for the restoration and conversion of the Jews, and the general prevalence of uncorrupted Christianity, and, of course, for the general renovation of human affairs, I am fully persuaded. The occurrences of every succeeding month in the course of the last twenty years, have uniformly concurred in adding additional strength to this persuasion. It is niedless to say to you, Sir, that this by no incans supposes any pretensions either to superior illumination, or to ability, to discover, by the light of prophecy, the exact time when this or that event is to take place, or in what way, or by what means, otherwise than as distinctly reyealed, ibe providence of God is to accomplish the divine pur. poses. I pretend to nothing like it. ' Prophecy is ' a light shining in a dark place. As much light is afforded as is sufficient to comfort the church of God under its trials, to aniinate our hope, and to induce us to watchfulness; but obscurity still remains. The duty of the Christian is to read, and to endeavour. to understand *.
You are not a stranger to the reasons which have led to the supposition, 'That the convulsions which have now shaken Europe for nearly twenty years, and by which so much has been effected in the subversion of the catholic governments, and by the cur. rency which has been given to a number of new opinons to: wards the ruin of the papal causc, may be expected to continue, altogether, for thirty years. These reasons may be seen in . The Signs of the Times,' part 1. But, supposing these reasons to be well founiled, yet it is impossible to say with certainty, in what part of this thirty years the complete ruin of the papacy will be effected. At the first glance, it may seem as if it inust be at the conclusion of them; for the cleansing of the sanctuary * will consist chiefly in the expulsion of this abomination from the temple of God; but this cannot be inferred with certainty, because the dragon, and others of his coadjutors, might still continue to pollute the sanctuary by their impieties and impositions, even dough the Pope of Rome and the papal hicrarchy were ane nihilated. There are other popes, and other ecclesiastical bodies, which might still usurp authority, and impose their corruptions in the church of Christ, and which must be all done away before the cleansing will be thorougbly effected.
But whatever may be the thought of this interpretation of the second number of Daniel (1290) yet the aspect of things may well induce in us a strong suspicion, that the great decisive judga ments of God, or “ the seven last plagues t, which are to accomplish the destruction of Babylon the Great, are not only begun to be poured out on the nations of the beast's kingdon, but far advanced, even though we may not be able easily to ascertain and trace their scptenary gradations.
Prophecy seems more than to intimate, that the two chief means to be employed by Providence, for effecting the ruin of the Anti-Christian party and cause, are to be, first, the spread of knowledge, and then the sword. I must here refer you to my Destiny of the German Empire, second edition, p. 5-16, where I bave endeavoured to explain the meaning of that most sublime Iconism which appeared 10 John, in Rev. x; and which seenis to be no other than a lively picture of that diffusion of know, ledge which was to commence its career from the time of the Turkish woe, and lead to the blowing of the seventh trumpet, when the sword was to destroy them who had destroyed the earth. .: To satisfy the mind of a serious and critical enquirer into the Signs of the Times, and to enable him to determine whether the present tempest, which has so long shaken the nations of Europe, and produced such astonishing changes, political and religious, be that series of judgments which ihe seventh trumpet was 10 bring, there are several questions, about which it is necessary to