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the Millenium has fully commenced; whereas it will be found, on examination, both from the order of the vis. ion and its express object, that it comprehends some. thing vastly beyond what was realized at the Reformation; and so far from actually belonging to the millenial period, it is only the appointed means for introducing that state.
Some predictions expressly specify the period when the thing foretold shall take place; others connect the event with something preceding or subsequent. It is thus here. This vision is the second recorded in this chapter; and the time when the angel will commence his preaching must be after what is intended by the first vision, and before the third.
The first vision plainly refers to the reformation;* which happened about 300 years ago. The third vision is the fall of great Babylon. Different calculations have been made when the 1260 prophetic years began, and consequently when they will terminate; but the latest date which can be fixed for their commencement, ex. tends their continuance at farthest to the year 2000, when the Millenium will be fully introduced.
Here then we have two extremes, between which the prediction in question will be fulfilled. It must be after the Reformation, and before the fall of Antichrist. The angel must begin his flight after the year 1500, and before the year 2000. This brings our inquiry within the space of 500 years.
These boundaries will be abridged, when we reflect that 300 years have elapsed since the Reformation, and nothing corresponding to the vision has yet been seen;
* This the author largely shews in his appendix.
nothing in respect to the universality, the power, and success which characterize the preaching of the gospel described in the prediction. Much was confessedly done; but this is another angel, another preaching vastly more enlarged and interesting in its consequences.
We are compelled, therefore, to look forward for the accomplishment in the short remaining space of 200 years. We shall perhaps approach nearer, if we attend to some momentous events which are to happen previous to the Millenium: the punishment of the nations which aided Antichrist in murdering the servants of God, the bringing in the fulness of the Gentiles, and the fall of the Mystical Babylon.
What changes in the moral world, what revolutions in the civil, are now impending! Attend to each of the enumerated articles, estimate their magnitude, recollect the maxims respecting the procedure of Divine Providence, and then determine whether 200 years are not a short space for the communication of such events? And, if the extensive propagation of the gospel is to precede the conversion of the Jews, the bringing in the fulness of the Gentiles, and the destruction of Antichrist, say, Whether we may not indulge the expectation, that it will soon commence, if it be not already begun? We conclude, without hesitation, that the churches are authorized to hope, that “the vision shall quickly speak, and will surely come; it will not tarry."
With this conclusion, if, now we compare existing facts; if we view the Missionary spirit which has suddenly pervaded the churches, and estimate the efforts lately made, and still making, for sending the Gospel to those who know not the precious name of Jesus, do we not discover a striking resemblance of what the vision describes? May we not exclaim, “Behold the angel! his flight is begun!"
THREE GREAT POINTS IN RELIGION.
The three great and leading points of the Gospel erplained to the humblest Capacity, by way of Dialogue, between a Minister and one of his Parishioners.
“The wayfaring men though fools shall not err therein.” Isa. xxxv. 8.
In consequence of an observation which you lately made, in the course of your preaching, I have taken the freedom to call upon you with a request, that you would further explain it. You said (if I mistake not) that the substance of the Gospel, considered as to its saving influence on the soul, might be brought within the narrow compass of three particulars. First; To know ourselves in our lost and ruined state before God. Secondly; To know the Lord Jesus Christ under all his divine oífices, as the restorer of our fallen nature. And, Thirdly; To know that we have a clear interest in Him: for under one or other of these great branches, the whole Gospel is included. So that with respect to the first; if I have a real conviction, that I am a poor helpless sinner: and in respect to the second; if I am convinced that Christ is an all sufficient Savior for sinners: and thirdly; if I am enabled through the same Divine teachings, to bring home those great truths to my heart, by a personal application, to my own case and circumstances, and can truly say, that Christ is my Savior: that then, I should have learnt every thing essential, in the life of a Christian. Now, Sir, as my understanding is not very great, nor my memory very retentive, it would be, I conceive, a mighty help to me, in a matter of such importance, if these great points were further explained, in being brought down to a level with my humble capacity, and reduced at the same time, within such a compass, as my little grasp of knowledge might take in, without injury. If therefore, you would kindly condescend to this charitable office, in setting up those three great waymarks, in the Christian road, and write the direction posts in such plain characters, that "a wayfaring man, though a fool (as Scripture says) might not err therein," Isa. xxxv. 8; I persuade myself, that under the light of heaven shining upon them, and Divine grace guiding my feet in the way, your services would prove instrumental to my pursuit, in the path which leadeth to everlasting life. And I need not say, how much cause I should have to thank you; but I venture to believe, I might add, your labor of love would be thankfully received, by every serious traveller in the road to Zion, who, like myseif, is "asking the way thitherward to join himself to the Lord in a perpetual covenant." Jer. 1. 5.
Minister. My Christian brother, you are perfectly right, in your recollection of what I said, on those great points, in the course of my preaching. And it gives me great pleasure, that you have called upon me for a farther explanation; I shall most readily comply with your wishes, and have only to pray God, that while I endeavor to inform your understanding, by the outward ministry of the word; he may mercifully instruct
your heart, by the inward illumination of his grace. But that no time be lost in any unnecessary introduction, let us at once enter upon the subject. Suffer me to begin it with questioning, what your present notions are, in respect to the first of these great way marks, as you call them: I mean what views have you of your being a sinner before God?
Parishioner. That I am a sinner before God, it is impossible for me to question or deny: for both Scripture and my own experience concur, to testify, that “in many things I have sinned and come short of the glory of God," Rom. iii. 23. And were I so blind to my own imperfections, as to say, that "I have no sin, I should but deceive myself, for the truth would not be in me,” 1 John i. 8. But yet I flatter myself that I am not such a sinner, but that I am an object worthy of the Divine mercy.
Minister. I perceive at once by this answer, that notwithstanding all that seeming candor of confession, you are a stranger to your own heart, and have yet to learn what sin is before God. The man that fancies himself an object worthy of Divine mercy, it is plain neither knows God nor himself. Such loose and unfelt confessions, as you express, are very common in the world, in which the heart feels but little interested, and consequently but as little apprehensive of the wrath to come. Whereas the soul that is brought under the conviction of God's Holy Spirit, is led to see the righteousness of that law which he hath broken, and the holiness of that God, whom by sin he hath offended; and under both, sin then appears exceeding sinful. Like one exposed therefore to the just judgment of an offended