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“to parents, unthankful, unholy, without nat"ural affection; truce-breakers, false accu"sers; incontinent, fierce, despisers of those "that are good; traitors, heady, highminded; "lovers of pleasure, more than lovers of God "for of this sort are they which creep into


houses, and lead captive silly women laden with "sins, led with divers lusts, ever learning, and "never able to come at the knowledge of the "truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres with"stood Moses, so do these resist THE truth. "Men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning THE faith: but they shall proceed no "further; for their folly shall be manifest to "all men.' Such is the apostolic account of the degeneracy and corruption of men in the "last days;" and in which he seems to labour in finding phrases of adequate description. It includes every vice, every crime from the smallest degree of immorality up to the extreme of blasphemy, which the depravity of man can commit against himself, his fellow-creatures, and, above all, his God! Still there is not a vice mentioned by the Apostle in all his dreadful catalogue, which the pious and considerate observer does not see "worked out," though not "with fear and trembling," by all ranks of men, and even by whole nations, in the present day.

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The past annals of mankind exhibit no such scene. We read, indeed, that, before the flood, "God saw that the wickedness of man was great

in the earth *;" but there is no intimation that can induce us to believe that this wickedness, although great, had arrived at the sin of atheism, or a general denial of the existence of God. And since the flood, no history whatever gives any account, in which the wickedness of man will bear any comparison with that here described by St. Paul, or with that of the present times: on the contrary, we learn that all nations, down to this period, whether Pagan or christian, have been convinced of the utility and absolute necessity of embracing, and openly professing, some moral principle, and some kind of religion, founded on the belief of one supreme God, the Creator and Governor of the universe: the first, as a rule of right and justice towards mankind, and the other, as the law of gratitude and obedience to the great author of their existence. Hence it has come to pass, that in all former ages, the nations of the earth have been preserved from falling into that extreme of libertinism, blasphemy, and atheism, described by the Apostle.

If then, no former age bears any resemblance to the apostolical description of the last days, let us inquire, whether it does not apply to the present times. A few years only have elapsed since it was a doubt, whether the reason of man could so far be corrupted, as to believe there is no God, the Creator of the universe: it was thought the immense volume of demonstrations incessantly presented to the mind of man, rendered that per

* Gen. vi. 5.

suasion impossible. Indeed, among all the falsehoods within the limits of human invention, this seems to be one of the most weak, the most-absurd, and most palpable; and therefore it has heretofore been discredited and rejected by all nations, in every age of the world. But in the present days, we have seen kings, princes, nobility, and other great men of the earth, with multitudes of the lower ranks of mankind, perverted from faith in God, and his eternal Son, to the blasphemous doctrines of French philosophism and atheism; that sum total of all sin, that "mystery of iniquity *;" and, if I understand that tremendous passage aright, the express blasphemy "against the Holy Ghost," which shall not be "forgivent." We have seen a whole nation, computed at thirty millions of people, establishing this horrible doctrine as an essential part of its state polity and resolving to compel every other nation to drink of the same deadly poison, or to extirpate them from the face of the earth. To effect this satanical purpose, they have sent, from their revolutionary Pandemonium, innumerable emissaries to all the four quarters of the globe; who, forming themselves into societies for that express purpose, have spread their pestiferious doctrines among mankind, with inconceivable success. We have seen this same power, where the arts, temptations, and bribes of their agents have not altogether succeeded, without the least provocation or offence, and in di

* 2 Thess. ii. 7.

† Luke, xii. 10. Matth. iii. 29.

rect violation of the most solemn treaties, overwhelming other nations with blood; in order to compel them to embrace the blasphemous falsehood: and we have seen these republican and atheistical monsters, thus spread over the world, teaching, and living, and seducing others to live, "after the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, " and the pride of life*;" giving themselves up to the unbounded gratification of every passion, and the perpetration of every crime: living "without God in the world t. So it is they have endeavoured to break the chain which unites man to the great author of his being; to dissolve all the social and reciprocal obligations of prince and subject, of parent and child, of husband and wife, and of man to man; and establishing in their stead the wild anarchy and unbridled licentiousness of atheism.

This enormous and destructive system of sin and blasphemy, we have seen generated in France, with its dreadful consequences; and within the compass of a few years, extended by its arts and policy to the four quarters of the earth. How far it shall please the God of infinite power and mercy, to suffer its pestilential influence to infect the minds of those who have hitherto escaped the contagion, who can foresee? However, blessed be his sacred name, he has not left the true believer in his holy word destitute of hope, that he will stop its progress in his own time for we are assured by the Apostle, at the

* 1 John, ii, 16.

† Ephes. ii. 12.

conclusion of his description of the last days "that they shall proceed no further; for THEIR

FOLLY SHALL BE MANIFEST TO ALL MEN." Does not this unexaggerated description of the present times come up, in every respect, to the sinfulness and blasphemy marked by the Apostle? Is there one phrase, chosen by him, to describe the depravity and confusion of the last days, which we do not see professed and practised in an eminent degree, by a great part of the world at present? Are not then these "perilous times" indeed, to the believers in the word of God, who are the particular and marked objects of atheistical destructive machinations and vengeance? Are they not more "perilous" than those of any other past period, of which any history gives an account? so" perilous," that even the good and the righteous cannot promise themselves a momentary safety, but in the providence and protection of an ALMIGHTY AND MERCIFUL GOD?

2 Tim. iii. 9.
Verse 4.

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2. This interpretation respecting the present times, seems to be further countenanced by St. Jude, who, in the beginning of his epistle, gives us several signs to induce us to believe they are "the last days" referred to by the prophet and Apostles; where, speaking of the state of the churches at that time, he entreats them "earnestly to contend for the faith t;" assigning this "for there are certain men reasont, << crept in

+ Verse 3.

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