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VI. This drawing to Christ was to be effected in a calm and noiseless way. There was to be no flourish of trumpets, no ostentatious parade, no voice of strife. Neither Christ, nor his herald, should strive nor cry, neither should any man hear his voice in the streets. With the calm energy of Omnipotence, he should send forth judgment. unto victory, and in his name should the Gentiles trust. How like this are all God's other works of blessing. How noiselessly does the sun rise, and pour his beams over the world;-how calmly do the wheels of nature move round;-how gently does the acorn start from the earth, and rise in spreading branches to heaven. Such is the modesty, so to speak, of God's way,-such the beautiful "hiding of his power."
And how unlike this, are the noisy and disorderly movements of second adventism. In the benign work of drawing men to the cross, the Lord is not in the wind, nor in the fire, nor in the earthquake, but in the still small voice. It is the gentle whisper of the cross-mild, tender, subduing.
VII. This drawing to Christ was to be effectual, and, ultimately, universal. My word shall not return unto me void, saith Jehovah, it shall accomplish the end for which I sent it. Although Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious, saith Christ, in the eyes of Jehovah. The Gentiles should come to his light, and kings to the brightness of his rising. Ages might elapse before the complete triumph should be gained;-multitudes, offended at the cross, and following the example of stubborn Jews, might wonder and despise, and perish, -but they would only destroy themselves. Thevict ories of the cross would ride over the opposer's head and grind him to powder, in their ongoings to complete and universal triumph. And I, if I be lifted up, said Christ, will draw all men unto me. This has unquestionable reference to the fulfilment of prophecy respecting the ultimate triumph of the cross. Just as if it should be said, that a victorious king will surely succeed in subduing a whole nation of rebels, although many of the incorrigible would perish in the struggle.
Jehovah even takes his most solemn oath on this subject:-As 1 live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall con'fess. All people and kindred and tongues shall come and worship, and bow down before him. The knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth, as the waters fill the seas. None shall have occasion to say unto another, Know ye the Lord; for all shall know him, from the greatest unto the least. The Lord shall make bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
Now every student of history must know that these prophecies have not been fulfilled. Hence, if the Bible be God's book-if the doctrine of the cross be true-the modern theory of second adventism cannot possibly be true.
That theory is briefly this:—that sometime in this year, 1843, Je
sus Christ will come in the clouds of heaven-raise the righteous dead and take them up, with the living believers, to be with himself in the air; while he burns up the world and all the unbelieving in it :—that the world, thus purified by fire-not by the cross-will be made into a beautiful habitation :-that the New Jerusalem, a literal city, with walls fifteen hundred miles long, fifteen hundred miles broad, and fifteen hundred miles high, will descend from heaven upon it-that Christ, and saints and angels, will also descend and dwell in that city, and, with the righteous of the earth, reign a thousand years. After that, the wicked, who have lain for a thousand years as ashes under the feet of the righteous, will be raised, judged, and sent to hell, or devoured by fire from the Lord out of heaven.
Now all this in in direct contradiction to the scriptural doctrine of the cross, which we have been exhibiting. It is equally in contradiction to the whole course of Providence.
Science teaches us, that the Creator was for a very long period engaged in preparing the earth for man, that by the slow process of ages he stowed away those vast treasures of coal, minerals, and metals, which we have but just begun to use, and which were clearly designed to minister to the wants of our race in the populous and prolonged ages of the millenium. History informs us that the sciences and arts have, as it were, but just emerged into day, and come forth to the service of the cross. Navigation, the application of steam, the principles and facilities of universal commerce, and especially that most important of all arts to the cause of Christ-printing-are of very recent origin. All things, in the course of Providence, perfectly harmonize with the views we have taken of the gradual conquest and ultimate triumph of the cross. The great law of God's kingdom, both in the natural and moral world, is one of gradual progression.
It may be incumbent on us briefly to state here, wherein lies the error of that strange theory respecting the destruction of the world in 1843. It lies not in the inference, but in the premise. Grant the premise, and the inference follows. The data being given, every school boy can figure it out ;-but it is quite another thing to go to the bottom of the subject, and settle the data themselves on a sound exegetical scripture basis. The errors of the premise are an unauthorised use of numbers, and a mixing together of prophecies that are distinct. The two thousand three hundred days of Daniel, are made to mean so many years. There are some instances in the Bible, in which days are used, figuratively, to signify years, and even generations and ages; but there is no proof that they are so used here. There is abundant proof to the contrary. Supposing days to mean years, the advocates of this theory have only to subtract from two thousand three hundred years four hundred and fifty-seven years, the number of years before Christ when Daniel prophesied, and the remainder is 1843,-the year of our Lord, when it is claimed that the great cleansing of the world by fire is to take place. It is also said,
that the seventy weeks of Daniel mean seven times seventy-that is, four hundred and ninety years--the period to elapse from the time of
Daniel to the crucifixion of Christ.
Now the fallacy is, that the two thousand three hundred days have not here a figurative, but a literal meaning. They mean not years, but days; and instead of refering to the cleansing of the world by fire, they refer to the cleansing of the Jewish temple, by Judas Maccabecus;-which took place 165 B. C., and two thousand three hundred days, or a little more than six and a half years after the "desolation" of the sanctuary, to which the prophet refers. The words of Daniel are, "How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot. And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." Take the prophet as he says, and all is plain.
The other error lies in confounding prophecies that are distinct. It should be here remarked, that the truths of God lie in the Bible very much as do his gifts in nature:-We find a strata of mineral lying close by the side of a metallic strata ;—we find a diamond sparkling in a bed of rough earth;-substances totally unlike, and having respect in their creation to widely different ends, are thus placed by God in juxta-position. Wise reasons for this may be shown, but our present discourse is not the place for them.
Suffice it to say, that the prophecies lie in the Bible in this manner; and it is impossible to see them in their precise nature and bearings, without a careful study of the genius and structure of the original Hebrew. Hence, no man should undertake to be a public teacher of that most delicate and difficult of all subjects the prophecies--without a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures in their original languages.
Let us here state a single principle of the prophetic Scriptures, which may be obvious to all :-Between two distinct prophecies, which lie by the side of each other, there is usually one or more points of resemblance, making the first a type of the second. Thus the reign of Solomon, typefies that of Christ; the destruction of Jerusalem, the end of the world, &c. Hence these prophecies are found in juxta-position, the one sliding into the other, as in the seventy-second Psalm, and in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew The same principle applies to the prophecies of Daniel. Prophecies respecting the temporal troubles and deliverances of the Jews, respecting the desolations and restorations of the temple, respecting the coming and death of Christ, are connected with others refering to the final consummation, when the dead shall awake from their graves, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt; when "they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars, for ever and ever." By not regarding this principle, and thus confounding things that are distinct, men have been left, at other periods, as well as the present,
to form those idle theories respecting the end of the world, which have wrought such evil.
In this way the end of the world was predicted to take place in A. D. 365, from the scripture which records that Christ, atter reading of the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God, said, "This day is this scripture fiulfilled in your ears." Considering this a prophetic year, many imagined that the day of vengeance, or day of judgment, would immediately follow the termination of the 365th year. The general panic was awful. The ordinary pursuits of life were abandoned;-some rushed upon suicide; and others even sacrificed their own children. Such are the bitter fruits of error and fanaticism. It is by a similar mode of calculation, that the present second-advent theory is made out. The morbid passion for excitement, unbridled imagination, love of the marvellous, dethrone reason, and carry judgment away as with a tempest. This, however, is said with all due tenderness and respect ;-for many of the subjects of this delusion are among our most excellent citizens and fellowchristians. Some of them it may permanently injure, but with most it will soon pass harmlessly away.
A similar panic, respecting the end of the world, occurred in the year 1000. Mr. Mosheim says-" Among the opinions which took possession of the minds of men, none occasioned such a universal panie, nor such dreadful impressions of terror and dismay, as a notion that now prevailed, of the immediate approach of the day of judgment. They imagined that St. John had clearly foretold, that after a thousand years from the birth of Christ, Satan was to be let loose from his prison, and the conflagration of the world to follow. Hence prodigious numbers of people abandoned all the civil connexions and their parental relations, and giving over to the churches and monasteries all their lands, treasures, and worldly effects, repaired with the utmost precipitation to Palestine, where they imagined Christ would descend. When an eclipse of the sun or moon happened to be visible, the cities were deserted, and their miserable inhabitants fled for refuge to caverns, and hid themselves among the craggy rocks, and under the bending summits of steep mountains. In many places, temples, palaces, and noble edifices, both public and private, were suffered to decay; they were even pulled down, from a notion that they were no longer of any use, since the final dissolution of all things was at hand. In a word, no language is sufficient to express the confusion and despair that tormented the minds of these miserable mortals on this occasion."
Similar panics have been experienced at other periods of time. Still we are asked-What evil can the modern theory respecting the end of the world do? We answer, much, every way; chiefly, because men are saved by truth, not by error. But, it is asked, Should we not be always ready? True, but not always in expectation of an immediate end, when that end is obviously remote.
God has made all things beautiful in their place. We ought to be
ready to die, within one hour; but we ought not to expect to die in one hour, and make our calculations accordingly. Suppose all men were to be under the perpetual expectation of dying in one hour? What would become of the world? And so all men ought to be ready for the judgment day; but suppose all men were to be in actual expectation of it, within one month? Suppose all the world were to believe this modern theory of second-adventism :-The earth would be filled with maniacs. God gives to the Christian dying grace for the dying hour; and when that great and awful event-the conflagration of the world-shall actually come, it will be after Christians have received the appropriate grace for it, in the long ages of millenial glory. With entire composure they will then be able to look down, as from the pavillion of Jehovah, on a burning world.
Nor is this all. To have the mind so intensely absorbed with the single idea of the speedy destruction of the world, is to divert it from the essential duties of religion, as well as of social life. The single point comes to be, to believe this theory;-there is no repentance of sin, no regeneration of heart, no drawing of men to the cross of Christ. The great and beneficent design of the gospel is defeated. The cross is set aside, and another agent is looked to.
In conclusion, what are we taught respecting the end of the world? I cannot find that the time of the end is any where made known in the Bible. Indeed, we are expressly informed that no man shall know it. That Christ will finally come in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, to consume the world, and assemble the whole race of man to judgment, is clearly revealed; but when that will be, God has, for wise reasons, concealed among the secrets of his own mind. We have seen, however, that great and prolonged events are yet to precede it. A mighty roll of glorious prophecies remains to be fulfilled. Many ages are yet to pass away. The world is in its infancy. It has scarcely begun to speak and go alone; it has not fully learned its alphabet. Our convictions are continually gaining strength, from every view of the subject, that the cross of Jesus is to stand high in the eyes of the world, and sway a glorious dominion over it, for very many ages longer than the earth has yet stood. If we may so speak, the cross of Christ is but just beginning to educate the infant world, for a prolonged and vigorous manhood of holy service. And there shall be no disappointment; FOR THIS IS OF GOD.
"Jesus SHALL reign where'er the sun
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
Long enough will the cross have dominion over a ransomed world, to do ample justice to the blood of Christ, and satisfy the large desires of his benevolent heart. He shall see the travail of his soul and be satisfied; he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of Jehovah