Apr 3, 1804 Sermon Index
Van Deusen/Kosinski Collection
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PAGE 70

Alps. Not long after this, the remnant of the Taborites were discovered and persecuted with such unrelenting fury, that few escaped. The last of them suffered in 1512.

Then the witnesses were slain, the desolation was complete. Then the blood thirsty adversary had killed all upon whom he was permitted to lay his cruel hands. Any thing beyond this would, literally, have been a total extirpation. For the space of three days and a half, this is, three and an half prophetic years, the Church was able to continue in this low estate. How observable, that just that space of time elapsed from the last martyrdom to the preaching of Zwinglius, who then openly began to testify against antichrist. The next year, *   1517, Luther, the great Boanerges, came forward and was soon joined by a cloud of zealous adherents, who nobly withstood the rage of the enemy, and boldly defied all the thunder of the vatican.

Then the witnesses began to arise, and the spirit of life from God entered into them. In the year 1529, when many Christian princes and chiefs of the several nations protested against the edict of Worms and Spires, it might be said that the witnesses stood upon their feet. And after the victory obtain over Charles by Maurice of Saxony, in the year 1552, the witnesses ascended, and their enemies beheld them; they attained a high station, and were publicly protected (in the symbolical language, they ascended up to heaven;) and they have, in some degree, ever since maintained that elevated station, and been greatly honored and extensively blessed. Whatever partial injuries they have sustained; whatever retrograde steps may have been taken, and losses sustained by the church since the reformation; or whatever may be the troubles with which she may be called yet to struggle, they never have been, nor ever will be brought so low again. The witnesses have been killed, and their resurrection has commenced. Their desolation was gradual, and their resuscitation will be gradual. It has began, and will increase. The prediction respecting their death is already ACCOMPLISHED. Nothing can, therefore be alleged from this prophecy to authorize the expectation of any future low estate of the Church, but rather a certain proof of her increase and prosperity.

The remaining arguments to prove that the interests of true religion will decline, and the Church see worse days, which are drawn from SCRIPTURE, may be all answered, by asserting, without the least hesitation, that there is nothing in the word of God to support such conclusions. The passages which are adduced, when correctly explained, will be found either to refer to what has already been fulfilled; or to express a low state


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*   That Zwinglius began one year before Luther, see Joh. Hen Hettingeri Historiae Reformationis Helvetiae, tom. ii. lib. 6. Mosheim acknowledges "Zwinglius, quod dessiteri nolumus veritatis partem quamdam jam perspexerat antequam Lutherum publice cum pontifice conrederetur."

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of religion, without deciding the degree of apostacy, and to which the present state sufficiently answers; or, finally, to announce conflicts and trials arising from the dispensations of providence, in which the real interests of religion will not be injured, but actually increased and made ultimately to triumph. The wall has been, and will again be built, even in troublous times.

Arguments from existing FACTS are more alarming. The three principal classes to which these are reduced, which cannot here be even enumerated, are each of them formidable, and in their inseperable consequences, if permitted to prevail *   and become universal, would inevitably prove ruinous to the Church.


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*   Whoever blasphemes the Redeemer, blasphemes the Creator. He that honoureth not the Son cannot honor the Father. In opposing revealed religion, it is impossible to avoid opposition to the religion of nature. Deism in theory has its fixed limits; but the spirit of infidelity is as much at enmity against natural religion as revealed; and when once engaged in opposition to the latter, it unavoidly overleaps the boundaries of the former. Infidels may begin against the Bible, but they will end against the light of nature. This unhappy contest always militates against the first principles of moral obligation, and what was simple deism at first, with all its fair pretentions, becomes, when vigorously maintained, actual atheism in the sequel. This accounts for what many consider as a phenomenon in the character which stigmatizes infidels; and this confirms, contrary to their intention, the divine origin of that holy system of revealed truths, and duties, against which they wage such wicked and fruitless war. In falling upon that stone they break themselves. Ab! when that stone shall fall upon them, it will grind them to powder.

After all the writings, labors, and vauntings on one side, and the alarms and fears on the other, what has infidelity gained? Are the deists multiplied? Are they honored? Is their cause becoming more popular? Is it patronized by many men of information? Whatever may be the answer, as it respects Europe, it is a decided fact, that deism is declining in America. - That impious philosophy, which, by its novelty and impudence imposed upon the public mind, is so destitute of sound principle, and its abettors are detected in so much ignorance or wilful misrepresentation, that not only the wise and good despise and abhor it, but even the young and inexperienced have learned to shun a system replete with blasphemy and stupidity. Many who once inclined towards infidelity, have obtained clearer views. Instead of finding a better religion, they there found none at all. They have penetrated through the cloud, and begin to love their Bible. Booksellers declare this to be the book, of all others, now most called for, and of readiest sale. This is not a favorable symptom for infidelity. Let men read and understand the Bible, and they will be fortified against the sophisms and snares of the ungodly. Let parents recommend this best of all books to their children, and the rising generation will frown infidels and their writings into deserved contempt and oblivion.






        
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