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of a bank as being really, after all, his true trust in Providence, and to think of nothing beyond it; and so every profession the same. My dear friends, time is our apprenticeship to eternity ; earth is a vestibule that leads to heaven or to hell. What we now sow we shall eternally reap. Are we treading that way? Are we beating our path to glory? Are we here in the world but not of it, looking for a brighter glory, and a city that hath foundations, whose builder and whose maker is God?
THE TIMES AND SEASONS-SUDDENNESS OF THE ADVENT-COM
FORT-DUTIES AND PRESCRIPTIONS.
In the previous chapter the apostle predicts, for the consolation of the sorrowing Thessalonians, and of sorrowing Christians to the very end of the world, that the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and that the dead in Christ shall rise first.
“ In the first part of this chapter, he doth persist in the former digression, about Christ's second coming, showing the time appointed for it could not be known (ver. 1): which he confirmeth, first, from their own knowledge of its unexpectedness (ver. 2); and, secondly, from the terrible and unexpected judgment which shall then come upon secure reprobates (ver. 3), against the terrors whereof he doth confirm the godly (ver. 4, 5.)
“ In the second part of the chapter, he presseth the exercise of several virtues : as, first, of watchfulness and sobriety (ver. 6), because the contrary vices are works of darkness and ignorance (ver. 7), from which they were mercifully delivered (ver. 8); secondly, of faith, love, and hope (ver. 8), to the last whereof especially he doth encourage them from the certainty of salvation hoped for, because of God's decree (ver. 9) and the Mediator's purchase (ver. 10); thirdly, he exhorteth all to the duties of mutual edification (ver. 11); and, fourthly, the people to acknowledge and respect their ministers (ver. 12, 13); and, fifthly, all to live peaceably (ver. 13); and, sixthly, to administer with patience a suitable remedy to three several sorts of spiritual diseases (ver. 14); seventhly, to abstain from private revenge (ver. 15); eighthly, to entertain a cheerful frame of spirit under all dispensations (ver. 16); ninthly, to be much in the duty of prayer (ver. 17); and, tenthly, of thanksgiving, as being well-pleasing to God (ver. 18); eleventhly, not to quench, but to cherish the gifts and motions of God's Spirit (ver. 19); and, twelfthly, in order hereto, not to despise, but highly esteem the public preaching of God's word (ver. 20); and, thirteenthly, to try what doctrines they hear, and, after trial, to hold what is sound (ver. 21); and, lastly, to eschew whatsoever hath any rational appearance of sin (ver. 22).
“ In the last part of the chapter, he concludes the epistle; first, by prayer, for their growth and perseverance in sanctification (ver. 23); secondly, by a promise, assuring them that God would answer his prayer (ver. 24); thirdly, by recommending unto them, first, to pray for him (ver. 25); secondly, to salute all their church-members in his name (ver. 26); thirdly, to communicate this epistle unto them all (ver. 27); and, fourthly, he concludeth with his ordinary farewell wish (ver. 28).”
To those very persons to whom he had addressed these consolatory words, he says, “But of the times when this shall be fulfilled, and of the seasons when prophecy shall be translated into history, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.” It has been supposed that the expression, “the times,” refers to the language of Daniel, “ time, times, and half a time;" the words that are quoted also by John, in the Apocalypse, and shown to be identical with what he calls twelve hundred and sixty prophetic days, or forty-two prophetic months. These three forms of expression, “time, times, and half a time”-forty-two months, twelve hundred and sixty days—are all used by Daniel, and by John in the Apocalypse, to denote a great period which was to commence with the rise of the Great Apostacy; and at the close or exhaustion of which, judgment should begin to settle upon that Great Apostacy. These three epochs are the same in amount; “a time,” is three hundred and sixty years ; " times,” twice three hundred and sixty years; and “half a time,” the half of three hundred and sixty years. You will find that these make twelve hundred and sixty years, called twelve hundred and sixty prophetic days, or forty-two prophetic months; all three periods denoting the same time.
Now, the great question that Bishop Newton, Joseph Mede, and Elliott, and some of the ablest students of prophecy, have discussed, is, When did this period commence ? All depends upon that. From Daniel, and from the Apocalypse of John, we gather that it was to be at the commencement of some great apostacy in the Christian Church-to spring out of it, to be the corruption of it, and to endure in meridian and full strength for twelve hundred and sixty years. Well, the most judicious think that the twelve hundred and sixty prophetic days or literal years, or forty-two prophetic months, or “time, times, and half a time," which are the same thing, began about the year 532, when the Pandects of Justinian record the fact that the Imperial power was transferrred to the Pontifical power, and the Romish Church, for the first time, exercised not only spiritual but civil supremacy over all Western Christendom, punishing with the sword all that repudiated the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome. Then you will notice that if that period, to begin with a great apostacy, commenced in 532, it would necessarily terminate in 1792; if it did terminate in 1792, we must expect that this great apostacy, which rose from a little, developed itself into a portentous power, persecuted God's people, corrupted God's truth, would begin, after 1792, to waste, to be consumed, until a day comes when it shall be utterly annihilated and destroyed for ever.
When we read history, we find that in 1792 the very first judgment sat upon that great Apostacy. I admit infidelity judged it, but the judgment was the same, whatever was the cause of it; and from 1792 onward to the present moment, these vials of wrath have been poured out upon the seat of the Beast (to use the language of the Apocalypse), and upon all contaminated and corrupted by it; until the last shall be followed by the glorious voice, “ Babylon is fallen, and the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdom of our God and of his Christ.”
Then the apostle says, “If you know all these things, you have no need that I write unto you the details. This at least you know perfectly well, that, as far as a thoughtless and an ungodly world is concerned, the day of the Lord”-what is that? Not the fall of Jerusalem—that is absurd; not each individual's death
that is unreasonable, for death is not Christ coming