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TIMES AND SEASONS.
Acts i. 7; 1 Thess. v. 1.
Latter rain (Jos. ii. 15, iv. 19) before the 10th
........1 Cor. v. 7
8 (16 Wave-offering of first-fruits (Lev. xxiii. 11)
I Cor. xv. 20
II VIII 14 Passover, if unclean in former month (Num. ix. 10, 11)
Vintage about this time
10 Day of Atonement. Jubilee (Lev. xxv. 9) Sab. year.. VII
I 15 Feast of Tabernacles, or in-gathering (Lev. xxii. 39)
22 Last day of the feast (John vii. 37)
Rev. xi. 19
vii.9,17 Sxxi. 3,6 xxii. 17
of that feast when he before entered Jerusalem “as her King.' Hence we see why this feast alone is to be observed in the future glorious state (Zech. xiv. 16), Passover and Pentecost having already been fulfilled.
Rev. xxi. 6, and xxii. 17, appear to be allusions to the custom of the Jews on the last day of that feast, when they poured out water round the altar, and chanted Isai. xii., which our Saviour countenances, John vii. 37, 38.
I have added an arrangement, by the Times and Seasons, of part of the prophecy of Isaiah. For example, chap. ix. 3,
They joy before thee according to the joy in harvest." Thé next verse to which may also shew the application of typical histories; and if we refer to Judges vi. 11, 13, we find that Gideon's call was at the same time of the year; and in viii. 2, the allusion is to the vintage that followed. By comparing Isai. X. 26, with ix. 4, we may observe, that Gideon's victory is used to adumbrate the destruction of the Assyrians; and that both are typical of the future destruction of the enemies of the church
(compare Isai, xi. 4, with 1 Thess. ii. 8)—and the following chapter in Isaiah was sung at the Feast of Tabernacles, as before observed, ending with “Great is the Holy One of Israel, in THE MIDST OF THEE.'
ON THE DUTY OF STUDYING UNFULFILLED PROPHECY.
WHATEVER is known by man of his origin and destiny, is the subject of Divine Revelation. Unassisted Reason has been, and ever must be, baffled in all her attempts to account for the present state, or to throw light on the future prospects, of our race. Of this there are many melancholy proofs, in the wild and disjointed systems into which the heathen mythology has moulded the early history of our world, and in the nature of those shadowy and joyless abodes, which it has fabled for the dwelling-places of good and bad men after death. Nor in these mysterious paths which Reason knows not, and which she cannot by any light of her own explore, has the learned philosopher been more successful in his inquiries than the untutored barbarian. With greater ingenuity, indeed, has he propounded his doubts concerning what we are, and in the darkness of a more magnificent gloom has he shrouded our hopes for futurity ; but the speculations of both have alike tended to render perplexity more perplexed : and among all the thousand systems which learned and illiterate men have held on these deep matters, one only proposition has been laid down as certainly true; and that is, That man is miserable in time, and without hope for eternity:
This deplorable state of human knowledge, even when thus superficially glanced at, most plainly teaches two things: first, That man is in urgent need of a revelation from God; and secondly, That when such a revelation is given, his most important duty is carefully to study, and humbly to receive, all which it commands for his practice, and all which it proposes to his faith.
So far, no one, who professes to believe in the truth of the Christian revelation, will hesitate to accompany me. But it not unfrequently happens, that a truth generally stated meets with the willing acceptance of those who, in its more especial application, will resolutely deny some of its essential parts. And so it is in the case before us. The Papist, for example, and the Pelagian, the Arian, the Socinian, and many others--but to transcribe whose names would greatly exceed my limits-all zealously contend that the Bible is the word of God, and therefore the only standard of faith and morals; yet no sooner are its plainest doctrines stated, and individual texts cited in their proof, than each begins to take offence, and forth with addresses himself to explain away, or altogether to invalidate the authority, of such passages as most clearly expose and condemn the fallacy and danger of his particular error.
It were to undertake a very unnecessary labour, did I attempt to refute the several opinions to which I have just alluded, the shafts of whose heresy have all been long blunted by ineffectual strokes against the shield of truth. I have only referred to them as many instances, in all of which Infidelity has had recourse to her uniform plan of attempting to misrepresent, or altogether to set aside, some portion of the word of God. But our godly fathers, who lived in the days when these several heresies began to infest the church, opposed them with all diligence and zeal, as so many stratagems of the devil, by the cruel deceitfulness of which he aimed at the subversion of the true faith. By the blessing of God on this their noble testimony, not seldom maintained through the agonies of martyrdom, we enjoy in its purity the faith once delivered to the saints: and it becomes us, in all meekness, but with unyielding faithfulness, to labour in like manner against the growth of such poisonous weeds amongst ourselves ; if haply, by the same grace of God, we may succeed in repelling “ those evils which the craft and subtlety of the devil and man are continually working against the church.
In compliance with this suggestion of duty, I have determined, if I shall be permitted, in a series of papers, of which this is the first, to expose the heresy and infidelity of an opinion very prevalent in these days, which obliquely contradicts some of the leading doctrines of Christianity, and which aims a more direct attack against the true and faithful declarations of prophecy, allegorizing and sublimating into absolute intangibility whatever is unfulfilled in its awful page. This opinion gives no uncertain note of its alliance, when it attempts to entrench itself in one of the strong-holds of the Papacy-namely, partial reading of the holy Scriptures. But to this it has betaken itself both in the pulpit and in the press. It is maintained through both these mediums of instruction, by men of no mean repute, that we should not meddle with the dark things of futurity. “ It is wise,” say they, " and prudent, for Christians to leave unexamined the statements of prophecy not yet accomplished, which cannot be understood, because we see them not realized : it is enough for us that we believe what has already taken place.” They tell us also, that it is rash and extravagant, and many unseemlier things than I choose to repeat, to search into the meaning of those glorious promises which pourtray the future blessedness of the true church, or to investigate those fearful threatenings which forebode the doom of the antichristian apostasy.
An opinion springing from such a source, and bearing on such principles, might well be expected to lead to wild and dangerous conclusions. And this, as we shall hereafter see, it has not failed to do. In the mean time, I shall proceed, in what remains of this paper, to make some remarks on that most pestilent spirit of false humility, which seems in these times to be so much admired, and which deems it wise and prudent and modest in man that he give no heed to the words of his Creator.
And it is very plain that this spirit goes, in the first place, directly to destroy all true faith ; the very essence of which is, to believe on the simple testimony of God's word that for which the common course of events affords no evidence, or that even which may seem rather to be contradicted by the probabilities of things. “Faith,” says St. Paul, “is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” That faith which believes only what is seen, or what is offered on the testimony of all history, is most obviously excluded by the Apostle's definition, as well as by the uniform tenor of Scripture, from being any part of the holy principle of which I speak. Does any one believe that Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Mary, led a life of sorrow, died on the cross, was buried, rose again, and ascended up to heaven? He only admits what he cannot deny, except on principles which would make it untrue that Cæsar governed Rome. Nay, has the testimony of Nature, as it is poured forth in the voice of her thunder, or inscribed on the leaves of her loveliness, convinced any one that there must be, and is, one God? He does well; but the devils also “believe and tremble." The faith which was counted to Abraham for righteousness, was that which believed the promise of God, though made as if to counteract the ordinary course of affairs. It could make glad the unquestioning Patriarch, while it directed his hopes, through the medium of dark sayings and obscure types of sufferings and glory, to the far-off day of the Messiah." In the exercise of no less unhesitating a faith could he believe, on the testimony alone of God's promise, that hea childless old man-should yet, together with his own seed, numerous as the sand on the sea shore, inherit the land on which he was a stranger. By such a faith also it was that Job could “ know that his Redeemer lived, and that he should stand upon the earth at the latter day; and that, though his body should become the prey of worms, yet in his flesh he should see God." And how, let me ask, except in the exercise of a faith which made no account of this false prudence and modesty, could a pious Jew have believed any of all the prophecies which have already been fulfilled ? Was it consistent, for example, with the ordinary course of things, that the “ lasting Father” should first be “the Son given ?” that the “ Prince of Peace” should appear as a “Root out of a dry