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they had relapsed :) “all these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up, our blessed Redeemer adds, “ to be afflicted, and shall kill you;
shall be hated of all nations, for the Saviour's sake;" and then shall many be offended, and their love wax cold. They shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And at this melancholy juncture, it is highly probable, that the evidences of the truth of that religion, in the belief and practice of which their ancestors so long had prospered, will be again confirmed by miraculous attestation; because in the next verse it is said, that many false prophets should arise: and in verse 24th, that there would arise false Christs, as well as false prophets; and that they should show great signs and wonders, insomuch that, if it were possible, they would deceive the very elect, even those righteous persons, whom God by his foreknowledge knew would stand the ordeal of these trying days.
And immediately subsequent unto this tribulation, we know that the world will be visited with supernatural appearances. The common laws of nature, no longer supported by him who had ordained them, will cease to fulfil their functions. “ The sun will be darkened, the moon of consequence will cease to give her light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And then shall
And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn;" (Matt. xxiv;) all those that have apostatised from religion, in faith and in practice ; " for as the days of Noe were,
so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” In the" days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage, sunk in luxury and sensuality; so will they be again, when Christ comes to judge the world. And as we know with certainty, that the great evil spirit will be, previous to this awful juncture, for a short space let loose from out his prison, and be allowed to go out and deceive the nations, (Rev. xx. 7,) his power will be most likely opposed by the power of God and his miraculous interposition. But previous to this (as measured by human comprehension, no very distant era,) there is every reason to believe, that the power of working miracles and foretelling future events, will not be renewed. The very powerful external evidence to the truth of our religion with which we now are blessed, consists therefore not in seeing new miracles wrought before our eyes, but, as before remarked, in the incontestable miraculous manifestation given to the truth of Scripture by fulfilled prophecies.
The evidences to the truth of the Christian religion are, as that very eminent writer Dr. Johnson observes, very strong; but some of its doctrines are contrary to reason ;* which remark was stated at the commencement of this work; and was a principal stimulus to the undertaking.
* Boswell's Life of Dr. Johnson.
It does, we think, supply a very strong and almost incontestable evidence to the truth of the Christian religion, that some of its doctrines are generally considered as utterly beyond the reach of human comprehension. And while we continue to walk by faith, not by sight, in their full extent they undoubtedly
Should its feeble writer have proved, even in ever so small a degree, the means of removing this impediment to the reception of divine truth, all that can be said is, that God has made his strength perfect in weakness.
Dr. Horne tells us, that “nobler and more extensive ideas than time allowed him to express, arose before his view; that he stands at the door of the temple with his torch; but that if we would view its glories, we must enter in and dwell there for ever."*
Should any of the observations contained in these pages contribute to irradiate our view, a momentous point is gained, as we do in all humility conceive that a right understanding of the Christian religion can never be attained without just conceptions being formed of the religion which was dispensed by its initiatory schoolmaster, when through these appointed means we become rooted and grounded in that holy faith which works by love, and manifests itself by good works, and are enabled through the gift of God to pray unto the Source of light and truth, not only with the Spirit, but with the understanding also. (1 Cor. xiv. 15.)
But this fact, as was formerly observed, certainly propounds a very unanswerable argument in attestation of its truth : because what unassisted reason could not have disco
unassisted reason could not have invented. For where could he be found, or who could ever have been the human being, whose own imagination suggested that Deity comprised a plurality of persons ? Yet the sacred pages are uniform and consistent in asserting that the Divinity is composed of a plurality of persons. Even those Scriptures that are handed down to us by the avowed enemies to Christianity, are equally express on this astonishing revelation, as are those which we receive from its early proselytes. And how could such information have ever been collected from such discordant quarters through a series of ages, and ultimately imparted to mankind, but by the interference of God?
* Preface to Horne's Sermons.
We recommend the advice of Mr. Addison, viz. “ That when by reading or discourse we find ourselves thoroughly convinced of the truth of any article of our faith, and the reasonableness of our belief in it, we should never after suffer ourselves to call it into question, for we may perhaps forget the arguments which occasioned our conviction. But we ought to remember the strength they had with us, and therefore still to retain the conviction which they once produced. This is no more than what we do in every common art or science; nor is it possible to act otherwise, considering the weakness and limitation of our intellectual faculties, how liable they are to be impaired by old age, and many physical causes : it likewise being certain, that faith is kept alive in us, and gathers strength from practice more than speculation." *
But to conclude with a much higher authority, that of the great apostle Paul: "Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection.” (Heb. vi. 1.)
* Addison's Evidences, p. 203.
IBOTSON AND PALMER, PRINTERS, SAVOY STREET, STRAND.