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periods of time, were revealed to the prophets by the Holy Spirit; and begat faith, love, hope, and joy, in the hearts of God's people. By these means Abraham saw Christ's day, and was glad; and thus also the wor thies, mentioned in Hebrews, chapter xith, saw God's design afar off; were persuaded of the truth of them, and embraced them in love; and resolutely turned their eyes from this wilderness unto a better country. The punctual accomplishment of Old Testament proph ecies is an encouragement for us to expect the fulfilment of those respecting gospel times; and the preservation of the Jews, as a distinct people, is a living evidence that God remembers what he has said concerning them, viz.-"That the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and turn away ungodliness from Jacob."
The prophecies like the other parts of the Scriptures have a vast fulness in them, and admit of several gradations, or steps, before they arrive to their final issue. Thus, the first coming of Christ was included in the prophecies of the deliverance of Israel from Babylon; and his second coming is included in those prophecies which respect the destruction of Jerusalem; for neither the prophecies of vengeance against his enemies, or redemption to his people, will be fully accomplished until all enemies are under his feet, and all his friends with him in glory.
Forbidding appearances in the affairs of this world should not weaken our faith in the prophecies. If we consider how God has worked in former times, we shall be convinced that there is no ground for unbelief on that account. The deliverances from Egypt and Babylon, and the state of things at Christ's coming, were ex
ceedingly forbidding; yet the deliverance from Egypt was on the self same day that God foretold: the same may be said of the release from Babylon;-and our Lord was sent forth as God's Son in the fulness of time. From hence we may justly infer, that when the time, set of God, shall draw near, every unpromising appearance in the affairs of the world shall be removed. The man of sin shall be consumed by the spirit of God's mouth, and destroyed by the brightness of his coming; the Jews shall be converted, and be gathered to their own land; and the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of our God and his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever.
We may hope, that the late assembling together of so many ministers of the gospel, in London, of different denominations, for the purpose of deliberating on sending missionaries to preach the gospel to the heathen, will be a leading circumstance towards the accomplishment of the latter-day prophecies, of the general spreading of the knowledge of Christ. There was never before such a respectable convention of the ministers of Christ among us; they were also of different denominations; but laid aside their prejudices, and were harmonious in the work. The Holy Spirit seemed to be poured out on this assembly, and their committees, and the subscriptions entered into, for the support of this undertaking, is a happy presage that some great event is drawing near; which the present convulsions in Europe, however impious, hostile, and bloody the agents may be, shall help forward, rather than hinder.
DIVINE SIMILITUDE, I.
Hosea xii. 10. I have used similitudes.
DEATH LIKENED TO A PASSAGE
Psalm xxiii. 4.
THROUGH A DARK
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, &c.
THAT there cannot be two hills without a valley between, is a rule that admits of no exception. "To ap prehend the scenery in this scripture, we must conceive the Church Militant and the Church Triumphant as two mountains, between which lieth the Valley of the Shadow of Death, necessary to be passed by those who would go from one to the other. Over all that region of dreariness and desolation, extendeth the empire of the King of Terrors: and the believer alone feareth no evil, in his passage through it; because he is conducted by that "great Shepherd of the sheep, the Lord Jesus Christ, whom God brought again from the dead;" and who can therefore shew him the path of life, through this dark vale. In all our dangers and distresses, but chiefly in our last and greatest need, let thy rod, the sceptre of thy kingdom, O Lord, protect us; and thy pastoral staff guide and support our steps, till, through the dreaded valley, we pass to the heavenly mountain, and join the multitude of the redeemed, which St. John saw, standing with the Lamb thereon.
Death cannot make my soul afraid,
If Christ be with me there;
Soft is the passage through the shade,
DIVINE SIMILITUDE, No. II.
THE CONVERSION OF A SINNER REPRESENTED BY THE ROTATION OF THE EARTH.
Job. xii. 22. "He discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death;" or "He turneth round the lower parts (i. e. of the earth) from the darkness; and bringeth out to light the shadow of death;" as the earth turns from west to east.-Bate's Lexicon.
JEHOVAH divided between the darkness of night and the light of day. The dividing partition is our globe of earth. Darkness is in the earth's shadow. That part of the earth which is turned from the sun, is the Deep, or Lower Parts; and when that part is turned to the sun, as in the morning, then is "the shadow of death brought out into light."
The natural estate and conversion of a sinner, are represented by this metaphor:-Mankind, as fallen creatures, are turned away from the Lord; and so in a state of darkness. Satan, the God of this world, hath blinded the minds of them that believe not. Their understandings are darkened through the ignorance that is in them. Hence, though the light of Divine truth shines in darkness, the darkness comprehends it not. But as Jesus Christ came into this world, "to give light to them that sit in darkness and the shadow of death,”-so he orders his gospel to be preached, "to open blind eyes, and to turn men from darkness to light." When the Lord sends his word, with divine power, to a sinner's conscience, it carries light with it. As it is written, "The entrance of thy words giveth light." As light makes manifest, when that God,who commanded the light
to shine out of darkness, shines into the heart, the sinner sees his sinfulness and dangerous state; and when he is turned from the error of his ways, and from the power of Satan unto Jesus, the Sun of Righteousness and Light of Life, then is he "brought out of darkness and the shadow of death," into the Lord's marvellous light; and the man being thus made light in the Lord, he walks as a child of the light in the light of the living. Following Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, he no longer walks in darkness; but casting away the works of it, and putting on the armor of light, he shines as a light in the world, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.
Reader, is thy face turned towards Jesus, or from him?
DIVINE SIMILITUDE, No. III.
Heb. xii. 29. Our God is a consuming fire.
We are assured from Revelation that, though hand join in hand, sin shall not go unpunished; for God, the Lawgiver and Judge, is just, and able to destroy. So, likewise, we find in Nature the irresistible power of FIRE, which dissipates and destroys whatever it acts upon and which, in many instances, hath been applied as the instrument of vengeance on wicked men. With this tremendous element of nature God destroyed the cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, &c.; shewing the world thereby, that, in a future day, he will rain burning coals, fire, and brimstone, upon all the wicked; which,