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'the pestilence, and burning coals 'went forth at his feet.* He stood and measured the earth: He be
held, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting moun'tains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow," &c. "Thou didst 'march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen ' in anger.—Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed,' &c. i "The adversaries of the Lord 'shall be broken to pieces: out of heaven shall He thunder upon them :-The Lord shall judge the ends of the earth, and he shall give strength unto his King, and exalt the horn of his Anointed." "The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: He uttered his voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge. Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the ends of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in
I sunder, he burneth the chariot in
the fire.-Be still and know that I
am God: I will be exalted among
the heathen; I will be exalted in the earth."k
safety, it may be well to notice of the nations generally, that however some Scriptures may apparently speak of their absolute and entire destruction; yet that living creatures will be left, both men and animals, from out of that dreadful time of desolation: for I must again remind the Reader, that one passage of Scripture must not be so interpreted as to contradict another; but such a sense must be sought for, as shall be consistent and harmonious with the whole of divine Revelation. That some will escape is, generally speaking, rather a matter of inference, to be educed from certain expressions in those passages themselves, which, in their first aspect, would lead us to conclude the contrary: for I apprehend, that the Spirit would have our minds chiefly fixed on the very great and extensive desolation.
First, let us take the prophet Isaiah. In chapter xxiv, 5, 6, we read: "The earth also is defiled ' under the inhabitants thereof; be
cause they have transgressed the ' laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured 'the earth, and they that dwell 'therein are desolate therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and-few men left." This first speaks as if all were burned; but afterwards it lets fall an intimation, that a few will be left.
In chap. lxvi, 16, when the same Prophet says; "By fire and by his sword the Lord will plead with all
* I lay no stress upon it in the way of argument, but I have a persuasion on my mind from these words-" before him went the pestilence, and BURNING COALS went forth at his feet" that Christ's advent will be preceded (it is impossible to say by how long an interval) by some pestilence which will overspread the world, and which the cholera appears to answer to ; and that his coming will be accompanied by some tremendous and extensive eruption of volcanic matter, signified by the burning coals at his feet. Thus He will" touch the mountains and they shall smoke: He will cast forth lightning and scatter them; shoot out his arrows and destroy them." Psalm cxliv.
i Hab. iii, 5—13.
j 1 Sam. ii, 10.
k Ps. xlvi, 6—10.
flesh," he adds--" and the slain of the Lord shall be many" but that this does not mean all, though the prophecy relates to the great catastrophe under consideration, is evident from verse 19—“ And I will • send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, Lud, Tubal, Javan; &c." which is important as giving color to the opinion, that the nations on whom the desolation falls are those of Christendom, or of the prophetic earth, and does not include the tribes and families of the earth still called heathen.
Jeremiah xliv is worthy also of notice, not as containing matter immediately bearing upon the Judgement, but as evincing how expressions must be qualified and deterIn mined by the general context. that none of verse 14 we are told, the remnant of Judah, which are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall escape or remain, &c: yet at the end of the verse is added none shall return but such as shall escape." Verse 27 is still more sweeping in its sentence of destruction: Behold I will watch over them for evil, and not for good: and ALL the men of Judah that are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by the famine until there be an end of 'them." But in the next verse it is added, Yet a small number that escape the sword shall return, &c."
A similar instance occurs in Zechariah, chap. xiv, in which all nations are first described as gathered against Jerusalem to battle, (v. 2) then as smitten with a plague which consumes them; (vv. 12-15) but afterwards there is mention of every one that is left of all the 'nations that came against Jeru
Through not carefully collating Scripture with Scripture on this principle, Mr. Irvine, looking only at Numbers xvi, 26-33, and considering the great destruction there described of Korah and his company, takes it as a type of the utter destruction also of the infidel powers in their last rebellion.* Certainly, when we look at this passage, it would seem that all belonging to Korah did perish : So they gat up
from the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram on every side:
and Dathan and Abiram came out
and stood in the door of their tents,
and their wives, and their sons,
and their little children." (v. 27.)
And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods: they, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, &c.” (vv. 32, 33.) But turn to Numbers xxvi, 11, and we have these words; "notwithstanding the children of Korah died not : not:" and a more careful review of the former passage will then lead us to see, that it is not the children of Korah who are there enumerated, but of Dathan and Abiram.
Our Lord's intimation likewise concerning the tribulation, is to the point in hand; that except those days should be shortened there · should no flesh be saved :" for they clearly intimate that some in the flesh will be saved.
The viiith Psalm is likewise applied to the reign of Christ, both in Corinthians and Hebrews; and this states, Thou hast put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, yea and the beasts of the field, the 'fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea :' so that if the conflagration be pre-millennial, there are animals preserved from it. By what means I presume not to state: until God by his special power brought them to Noah into the ark, no man could have conceived how they should have been saved from the waters of a flood; neither have I a satisfactory perception of the mode in which all these things will be so brought to pass as to harmonize with the entire Scriptures.*
2. Of the safety of God's people at this period of judgement, we have abundant and clear testimony. The world and the merely professing Church, will, alas! be taken by surprise. In the first instance all will appear going on as usual, in peace and security. Just as when the flood came in the days of Noah, and the burning in the time of Lot, they will be giving their chief concern
1 Matt. xiv, 38. o 2 Pet. iii, 4.
' rest.”m But when they shall
say, Peace and safety then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape."n The most striking figures are made use of to show, how sudden and unexpected the Judgement and Advent will be: the pangs of labor”— lightning cometh out of and shineth unto the as a snare or trap upon the nations ;" and "as a thief in the night:" just as in Pharaoh's time, the destroying angel went out at midnight, and a cry of distress was heard from the king on the throne to the captive in the dungeon. Up to the moment of his coming, men will be refusing to look at prophecy, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming;"o and so little will his approach be credited, or his power believed in, that the Lord makes question, whether, when the Son of Man shall come, he shall find faith on the earth.P
as the the east west".
But of the righteous we are expressly told, that the day of the Lord shall not overtake them as a thief in the night : they will be looking out for the Saviour's approach, satisfied, from the signs of the times, that their redemption draweth nigh.r It would indeed appear that some of those careless and lukewarm spirits, whose love is now waxing cold through abounding iniquity, will be saved, and that by means of the tribulation itself:
m Zech.i. Compare v. 11 and vv. 18—21.
n 1 Thess. v, 3.
r Luke xxi, 28.
it will be as by fire, and they will suffer loss. S Zechariah speaks of an elect remnant, whom the Lord at this time will bring through the fire, in such manner as to refine them as silver is refined, and to try them as gold is tried. t And Isaiah distinguishes between some who will profit by the tribulation, and others who will despise the warning and perish. He says, "When thy judge. "When thy judge. ments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. Let favor be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness-—in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and ' will not behold the majesty of the 'Lord. Lord, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see: but they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at the people; yea the fire of thine enemies shall devour ' them."*
But it is those who look and wait for the Lord, whom I would more immediately speak of;—and these, though they will apparently witness the tribulation, and it will be cut short for their sakes, will be spared in it; of which, I repeat, we have many blessed promises. First, David says of the righteous-"that
in the floods of great waters they 'shall not come nigh unto him."u In another place—“In the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion-in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me
he shall set me upon a rock."v Psalm xxxvii is throughout to this point, but especially verses 34, 38-40 : Wait on the Lord,
and he shall exalt thee to in
s 1 Cor. iii, 13—15.
w vv. 1-3.
of the righteous is of the Lord, he is 'their strength in the time of trouble; and the Lord shall help them and deliver them; he shall deliver them from the wicked and save them,
because they trust in him.' Again in the xlvith Psalm, God is our
refuge and strength; a very pre
sent help in trouble: therefore
' will we not fear, though the earth ́ be removed, and though the moun'tains be carried into the midst of
the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled ;—though the ' mountains shake with the swelling 'thereof."w Isaiah says of the Lord's people-"They shall dwell
in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places; when it shall hail, coming down on the forest, and the city shall be low in a low place."x And again, “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee" (an exhortation to prayer) hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For behold the Lord 'cometh out of his place to punish
the inhabitants of the earth for
herit the land: when the wicked are cut off thou shalt see it-The transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off: but the salvation
* Another proof, that fire is a symbol of wrath and destruction: for this latter clause describes the mode in which these blinded persons will be destroyed; viz. the enemies of the Lord will mutually destroy each other-it is by their fire or wrath the desolation will chiefly be effected.
concerning Judah. For thus saith the Lord We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now and see, whe ́ther a man doth travail with child? Wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned ' into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it. It is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. For it shall come to pass · in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him but they shall serve the Lord their God and Da'vid their King, whom I will raise up unto them.”z
The next promise I shall notice is in Joel. After describing the time of trouble, he adds: "The Lord shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem, and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of His people and the strength of the children of Israel." a I shall only quote one more from Zephaniah, because it shews again the suitableness of prayer at this time: Seek ye the Lord, all ye 'meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgement: seek righteousness, seek meekness ;— it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger.”
I do not consider arguments derived from types as suited to lay at the foundation of a doctrine; but when we have direct testimony, similar to that which I have brought forward, they are very important collateral evidence. The analogy then of the types clearly confirms the testimony adduced. The deliverance, for example, of Noah at the flood; from which some argue, that
z Jer. xxx, 4-9.
(as the ark rose above the waters of the deluge, so in the fiery deluge,) the Church will rise to meet the Lord in the air, whilst the conflagration is going on below. The deliverance also of Lot at the destruction of the cities of the plain, set forth as a special example of the vengeance of eternal fire,b abounds with significant instruction. The Exodus from Egypt again typifies a way of salvation for the people, at the very time when their enemies shall be involved in destruction. The proceeding of Jehu,c in the destruction of the whole of the worshipers of Baal, just at the moment when they thought their cause was most prosperous; and the careful exclusion from among them of the worshipers of Jehovah; I take to be another type. The well known escape of the christians to Pella at the destruction of Jerusalem may also be instanced; as may many other events.
But I must now bring this subject to a conclusion with an enumeration
a Joel iii, 16.
of various practical applications of those truths which I have discussed, since my last citation of similar texts at p. 67; viz―the doctrines of the first resurrection, judgement, &c.
First, these things are practically enforced as a call to the ungodly; that they may seek
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you, whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, &c." Acts iii, 19, 21. God now commandeth all men every where to repent; because he hath appointed a day, in the which
c 2 Kings x, 18—25,
b Jude v. 7.