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times in relation to the kingdoms of this world ; how much more important must it be for those, who are waiting for the consolation of Israel, to consider the signs of the times, as they relate to the kingdom of heaven.
But the subject calls for something more than mere inquiries. The great end of knowledge is action. If this knowledge does not excite us to be up and doing for the advancement of Christ's kingdom, we may as well be without it. Nay, to us it will be worse than in vain ; for to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. If the word and providence of God are unitedly proclaiming, Behold the Bridegroom cometh ; surely we are bound to prepare for his reception, and to go out, and bring him on his way.
But, do you ask, what is to be done? What can we do for the promotion of an object so great, so glorious, and so desirable ? I answer, much ; there is much to be done, and there is much for us to do. The glorious Millennial period is to be introduced by means.
God works by Not only do two petitions of our Lord's Prayer teach us to pray for this reign of the Saints every day; but we are required to act. The amazing events, that will usher in the Millennium, will be principally effected by human instrumentality. Behold the stupendous wheels of Divine Providence already in motion, the wheels within wheels, urged forward by the hand of Omnipotence, and rolling forward to the blessed consummation. Though the Spirit of God must move the wheels, yet he makes use of human agents at every turn.
To assist in urging forward these wheels, we are not only allowed, but required, to apply our hearts, our tongues, our counsels, our property, our influence, our prayers, our talents, our utmost exertions, our every effort, to the blessed work.
This subject addresses itself in particular to Ministers of the Gospel. Ye heralds of salvation, thank God and take courage.
You are honoured with an agency in the work of salvation, and in introducing the Millennium, above men of any other profession, and probably above the Angels themselves. Then, cry aloud, and spare not. Prepare the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight. But this subject is also addressed to others, in every sta
tion in life ; to all Christians, of every denomination ; to Parents, to Teachers, to Magistrates, to the Affluent, to the Young. There is not one, who has not something to do, to bring on this glorious day. Some may imagine, that they have no time, no means, to engage in this work; that they have so much to do for themselves, their families, and fellow men, that they have no time to spare for this purpose. My dear brethren, Is the kingdom of Christ then nothing to you? Is death, judgment, eternity, nothing to you, to your family; nothing to your fellow men ? Be not deceived. The Judge standeth at the door ; and all the felicities of the upper world are depending — are depending perhaps upon the exertions of a single day. But, blessed be God, we believe that Christians are alive and stirring in this great work. We believe that more has been done, for the last twenty-five years, to forward the Millennial glory, than has been done for many centuries before. We believe that more is now doing, than ever yet has been done. This is emphatically the Age of Bibles, of Missionaries, of Prayer, of Sabbath Schools, of Benevolent Institutions. Go on, then, ye Vicegerents of God upon earth ; cease not ; faint not ; for verily ye shall in no wise lose your reward.
And now, my brethren, let us pause a moment, and reflect. We have been hearing of the happy times of the approaching Millennium. If such is to be the bliss and glory of the earthly Millennium, what is Heaven ? Compared with the light of Heaven, even the meridian effulgence of the Millennial day will be as darkness. Compared with the glory of Heaven, the Millennium itself will have no glory, by reason of the glory, that so greatly excelleth. Dearly beloved, let us give all diligence, to make our calling and election sure, and let us most fervently and constantly strive to enter into that glorious and eternal rest, that remaineth to the people of God.
WHEN we look at the different Lots in Life ; at the different degrees of bodily and of mental resource, of wealth and of reason, allotted to humanity ; we are naturally, and very properly, induced to apply our hearts to search out the reason of these things. In endeavouring to render a reason, which may be admonitory to the proud, and consolatory to the humble, I have thought it might be profitable to transfer, and apply, some opposite but parallel sketches of man, and of life, as they stand in strong relief, and may be daily seen, and contrasted, and pondered upon, in the majestic, but unequal ‘COURSE OF Time.'
As in our holy faith, so in the ways of Providence, are many things mysterious. They are mysterious, not because Jehovah, or religion wishes to conceal them ; for the Christian faith, and the order of Providence, are both frank, standing forth to view, and inviting all to prove, and search, and investigate; and yielding themselves a light to see them by. But they are mysterious, because they are too large for the human eye, too long for the human
1. One feature in the ways of God, that seems wonderous, and at which some men complain, is the unequal gift of worldly things. Indeed, there is a great difference in men, externally, from the beggar to the prince. Take one of the highest, and one of the lowest, and conceive the scale between them.
Here is a noble of the earth, who dwells in a splendid mansion. He is robed in silk and gold; and every day fares sumptuously. He is titled, honoured, and served, by thousands, who await his nod, and receive his will for law. Whole provinces attend his march, and draw his chariot, or bear the precious man aloft on their shoulders. Abased millions fall prostrate at his feet, and millions more thunder praises of adoration. As far as the eye can reach, he calls the land his own, and adds yearly to his fields. Like a tree of healthy root, he towers, and spreads his ample shade over half a nation. The air, the earth, and the sea, even all nature, the brute and the rational, minister to please him; and, watching the rising of his thoughts, vie among themselves who shall most anticipate his desires. His palace rises and seems to kiss the gor
Streams bend their music to his will, and the native waste puts on luxuriant robes; and plains of happy cottages cast out their tenants, and become his hunting field. Before him, the distant isles bow with their fruits, and rare spices. The South brings her treasures ; the East and West send theirs ; and the frigid North comes with her offering of glossy furs. Musicians soothe his ear with select airs ; beauty holds out her arms to him; and every man of cunning skill and curious device, and endless multitudes of servants in livery, wait his pleasure with obsequious looks. And when the wants of nature are supplied, and all common-place extravagancies are more than filled ; and when caprice itself, in all its irregular appetites, is gorged to the full ; he plans new wants, and new expenses. Nor does he plan alone. Wise, learned, and sober men, of deep meditation, take up
and plan for him new modes of wild folly ; and contrive new wishes and wants, and wonderful means of spending with despatch. Yet, after all his spending, his fields extend, and his riches still grow, and what seems his infinite splendour still increases. So lavishly does Providence shower his daily bounty upon a single man.
Turn now thine eye, and look on Poverty. Look on the lowest of her ragged sons.
We find him by the way, sitting in dust. He has no bread to eat, no tongue to ask, no limbs to walk, no home, no house, no friend. Ob
serve his hollow cheek, his wretched eye ; and see how his hand, if he has any hand, involuntarily opens, and trembles forth, as the traveller's foot approaches ; and hear his groan, his long and lamentable groan, announce the want that gnaws within him. In midsummer, the sun scorches and burns his aged bald head. In midwinter, the frost glues him to the chilly earth. The hail, rain, and tempest, rudely beat upon him ; and all the winds of heaven, in jocular mood, sport with his withered rags, that, tossed about, display his nakedness to the passers by; and grievously burlesque the human form. Observe him yet more narrowly. His limbs lie blasted about him, shaken with palsy ; and all his flesh is full of angry sores, and noisome wounds, and his bones of racking pains. A strange vesture is this for an immortal soul.
A strange retinue to wait upon a lord of the earth. It seems as if Nature, in some surly mood, after long musing and debating, had tried how vile and miserable a thing her hand could fabricate, and then had made this meagre man ; a sight so full of perfect misery, that passengers turn away their faces, and hasten to be gone ; and delicate and tender women take another path.
And now do you seek the reason of these things ? Of this wide difference in the allotments between man and man, on their Father's earth ? I answer. disparity of outward things teaches many lessons ; but this is taught chiefly, although the lesson is learned by few. That God sets no value, and that man should set none, on goods of worldly kind ; on transitory, frail, external things, which are ever migratory, ever changing. And it further teaches, that in the soul alone, the thinking, reasonable, and willing soul, God places the total excellence of man ; and means that he should evermore seek it there,
2. But another feature in the ways of God seems stranger still — the distribution of intellect; though fewer here complain. Each one appears, upon the whole, content with his own share.
Here is one man, and many such you may have met, who never had a dozen thoughts in all his life, and never VOL. II.