not, an event big with fate is just before us, but unnoticed, even by those who are employed as instruments
to introduce the important scenery; I mean those whom Heaven employs to establish to man his
unalienable rights, civil and religious, called, in the Revelations, the two Witnesses: This
is a necessary prelude to the display of his grace, in the Millennium. - If the general expectation of the
Messiah, by the Jews, is an evidence that he did come at that time, which may be admitted; then it follows,
that the universal expectation of his second coming, by all under the gospel, who keep their eyes upon
the sacred index, and compare it with the present appearances, in church and state, in the natural
and spiritual worlds, is an evidence that the era draws near: On the other hand, the general prevalency of
infidelity, of darkness and obscurity, that so peervades the minds of the greater part of mankind,
that they cannot discern any colouring of evidence that the scriptures are of divine original.
The man of sin, who hath just now furnished this fund of infidelity; the great abilities of his instruments,
Paines, Volneys, &c. all fix this day, and determine it to be undeer the theme of prophecy. The powers of
heaven are shaken, and the stars are falling to the earth;*
that is, the power of the Christian faith is shaken; and even the preachers of the gospel, called stars,
are declining the faith in Christ, and are turning to the beggarly elements, the world. This day is like
the cloud that stood between the armies of Israel and the Egyptian host: it gives light to them
who desire light, but darkness to the others. So we read in the Revelations,
The angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast, and his kingdom was filled with
darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, and blasphemed the God of heaven." We
have seen the vial executed upon the seat of the beast, in part at least: the papal power, and his
kingdom, it is astonishingly filled with darkness; the whole French nation are sunk into a disbelief of the
sacred writings. But the seat of the beast may extend to all who are not born of God: for this
darkness is almost instantaneous throughout the Christian world. "And they gnawed their tongues for pain."
This may be understood of that gloominess of mind, which it is impossible for a man to avoid, who falls from
that exalted expectation of the resurrection from the dead, and the hope of immortal life,
into the miserable uncertainty even of any
* Mr. Pope might have spared himself the talk of combating this passage,
from the lips of a divine teacher: (vide Pope's Essay on Man)
"Let ruling angels from their spheres be hurl'd,
"Being on hbeing wreck'd, and world on world;
"Heav'n's whole foundations to their centre nod,
"And nature tremble to the throne of God.
"All this dread order break! for whom? for thee?
"Vile wretch! O madness, pride, impiety."
It is certain that our Lord is not literally to be understood in this passage: But we know, that by
heaven we understand the church millitant, and by stars, the teachers of the word.
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