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revelation, do but foster a species monarchies shall have disappeared, of religious delusion, which, sooner and “ no place shall be found for or later, must terminate in disap- them.” And finally, that period, pointment.
according to St. John, is ushered in That this hope is destitute of such with a resurrection, at which the a foundation, we are prepared to Lord gives rewards to his servants assert. We deny not indeed, that the prophets, and to them that fear the Spirit speaketh expressly of a his name, both small and great; and glorious period, when the earth takes to him his great power and shall be full of the knowledge of reigns. • the Lord, as the waters cover the We are quite persuaded of the
sea ; "amwhen the stone cut out of legitimacy of those exertions which the mountain without hands shall
are now making; and that the become a great mountain and fill result of them (which we shall the whole earth ;b—and when the presently notice) may likewise be kingdoms of this world shall become gathered from the Word of God: the kingdoms of our Lord and of his but
but then the incidental circumChrist :c but we cannot think, when stances, which accompany them are we come carefully to consider the so different from those which shall context of Scripture, that these characterize the operations of the events are to take place under the great calling of the Gentiles, that present dispensation. In that
we are again forced to the concluday,” according to Isaiah xi, the sion, that believers have generally Lord shall set his hand the second confounded two events. We shall time to recover his ancient people point out some of those circumfrom Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, stances. Elam, Shinar, Hamath and the
First, in regard to the agents islands of the sea ;-then shall he employed; the conversion of the utterly destroy the tongue of the heathen is to be chiefly, if not enEgyptian sea, with his mighty wind tirely, brought about through the smiting the river in the
instrumentality of the Israelitish streams, that men may go over dry- nation. This may be gathered from shod ;—at the same period THE Isaiah lxvi, 19, Zechariah ii, 11, BRANCH from the root of Jesse shall Rom. xi, 15, and other places. * be Judge over his people, reproving But the present efforts are with equity for the meek of the ducted by Gentiles, who are preachearth and smiting the earth with the ing to the Jews among others, inrod of his mouth ;—the ferocity of stead of receiving the Gospel from the beasts also shall be converted, them. the wolf dwelling with the lamb, the Secondly, as regards the number of leopard with the kid, and the lion agents employed; it is written of eating straw like the ox ;—all which that time, “ The Lord gave the is introductory to the millennial dis- word- great was the company of pensation. According to Daniel, at those that published it.”d But it the time when the stone smites the was a complaint repeatedly made by image and becomes the mountain, the public agents of missionary the remains of the four great gentile societies, that it was difficult to
a Isaiah xi, 9. b Dan. ii, 34, 35, 44, 45. c Rev. xi, 15. d Psalm lxviii, 11.
* See a Sermon on this subject by the Rev. G. S. Faber, preached before the London Society for promoting Christianity among the Jews, April 18, 1822.
meet with suitable individuals, who propriety be called a national conwere ready to go forth to the work; version ; and if we concede that and that they had been compelled to character to the present condition of engage ministers chiefly from the some of those islands, (which howLutheran church, on account of the ever is questionable,) we cannot backwardness and indisposition forget the long dreary night, which which prevailed in our own land.
the labourers there had to encounter, And though the spirit of the rising before they witnessed any fruit; nor generation of ministers in this coun- the fluctuations in the spiritual state try is greatly ameliorated of late of that people which have immediyears; still, when we compare the ately followed. millions of unconverted souls with We only notice further, that the the comparative handful of mission- context of Isaiah lv, 12, seems to aries, we cannot say, “great is the fix that passage to the same glorious company of the preachers.
period; and if so, the messengers of A third circumstance is the effect peace are then to “go out with joy:" which shall immediately follow the whereas those who now bear the prefinal call of the Gentiles.
cious seed, though they shall doubtas they shall hear of me, they shall less rejoice hereafter, do at present, obey me; the strangers shall sub- on account of their discouragements, mit themselves unto me."e How rather go forth weeping;” g it being opposite this to the notorious dis- the characteristic of God's witnesses, couragements and difficulties, which during the present dispensation, our ministers have to encounter. that they prophesy in sackcloth. h Instead of submitting as soon as Now we would humbly ask of they hear of Christ, the heathen the friends of missionary exertions, generally oppose and gainsay, or whether their hopes and arguturn away with apatlıy. Even ments have been in unison with where the Gospel has been blessed to these facts. They rather seem to the conversion of many, it has never- anticipate, (and indeed have plainly theless been after a long scries of expressed themselves to that effect,) patient labouring and endurance on that the success of the Gospel is to the part of the missionaries. be in a geometrical progression ;
A fourth circumstance, but inti- thc prcacher converting his seven or mately connected with the former, ten, each of these ten converting is the measure of success in the two ten more, and that hundred made
According to the uviform instrumental in awakening a thouinterpretation of missionary advo- sand, and that thousand a myriad;--cates, their success shall one day be and thus the work is gradually such, that a nation shall be born to ramily and extend itself, till in a day.”f This is certainly con- all the ends of the earth remember sonant with the promise just ad- and turn to the Lord, and a present duced—“ as soon as they hear of be prepared for him, at his coming, me, they shall obey me:" but where of a world universally leavened have we witnessed any thing of this with holiness: contrary to the kind in the whole history of mission- scripturedeclarations, which describe ary exertions ? Excepting some of the world at that period immersed the South Sea Islands, tliere has in sin and secularity, taken by surbeen nothing which can with any prise, and visited with indignation.
e Psalm xviii, 44.
f Isaiah lxvi, 8.
8 Psalm cxxvi, 6.
h Rev. xi, 3.
What is still more remarkable, ner a sufficient occasion to fill the many of the more sanguine friends heavens with their praise, it well beof missionary exertions look forward comes us to try and catch their spirit, to the conversion of the world as an and to rejoice in the most limited event rapidly approaching ; and that triumphs of the Gospel. Neither through the instrumentality of ex- would we have our missionaries less isting means, quickened perhaps by patient and persevering in their toil; some additional degree of energy. nor less earnest for a large out-pourOne would suppose, that the little ing of the Spirit on their labours success hitherto experienced might nor less confident, that the Lord have convinced them long ago, that hati only to speak the word, and their anticipations were fallacious. converts will start up like willows The number of communicants, com- by the water courses, and surname pared with the world's population, themselves by the name of Israel. are still but as drops in the ocean ; But for the sake of confirming their and the missionaries themselves do patience, and preventing undue disfor the most part confess, that their appointments, we would have their chief hope is from the rising gene- expectations sobered by the Word ration. In spots which have for a of Truth; and, therefore, we would few years appeared the most pro- earnestly press these considerations mising, the work has been checked on the cordial friends of missions, and has retrograded: we have scarce- and entreat them to express a hope ly rejoiced over a blessed airakening, on these subjects, more in accordwhen another communication has ance with the Scriptures of God. led us to mourn over melancholy It may seem paradoxical to some declensions. The very fact, that so Christians, that we should deprecate much is continually made of indivi- those expectations hitherto indulged; dual cases, evince that conversion and yet profess at the same time a on a large scale has not yet been real attachment to the cause of miswitnessed. There must indeed be sions: it may even appear to some, a great quickening of existing that, though it may be an unfounded means, to effect the conversion of expectation to excite, yet, (if human the world, within anything like the nature be more readily induced to period of time ordinarily calculated energetic exertions and costly sacriupon. The conversion of three thou- fices by the prospect of magnificent sand souls on the day of Pentecost triumphs, than by ordinary and lihas by most christians been con- mited results,) it were better for the sidered, as the fruit of a miraculous cause that men should not be undeeffusion :i but were there daily to ceived in this respect. We grant be added to the church an equal the premises, but not the conclusion ; number of converts, it has been for it never can be right to wink at accurately observed, that it would
But waiving the discussion still require 350 years to convert of the question on this ground, and the world!
looking at it only through the meNow, we would not have a less dium of expediency; we are persuaded, emphasis laid upon the importance that no righteous cause will ultiof individual conversion ; since we mately prosper by error, but must in are well assured, that, if angels the long run be impeded. And thus deem the repentance of a single sin- it has proved in regard to missions.
i Acts ii, 41.
The student of prophecy no sooner
more imbued with a conviction of discovers, that the world is not to be duty, with spirituality of mind, with converted until the fourth empire is self-denial, and with confidence in overthrown, the Jews restored, and God. the glorious kingdom of Christ mani- II. The principal object, which fested, than so much of his zeal, as appears to us to be accomplishing was stimulated by the expectation of by the present extended preaching such a result under the present dis- of the Gospel is, the calling out pensation, collapses; and his subse- the election of grace. Every thing quent depression of energy will appear else we consider only subordinate. greater or less, according to the pre- This work is clearly symbolised in vious vivacity of his hopes. The the Book of Revelation. It is ad same consequences ensue in nu- mitted by most commentators, that merous other instances not from a the hour is rapidly approaching, more correct discovery of the pur- when the mystic Babylon, the poses of God; but simply from the papacy, shall be destroyed : but in reaction which takes place, when the fourteenth chapter of Revelation that enthusiastic impulse has sub- this judgment is evidently preceded sided, which was superinduced by by a missionary work. The Apostle delusive expectations. They look saw another angel fly in the midst at results, and comparing what is of heaven, having the everlasting done with the magnificent promises Gospel to preach unto them that so frequently held out, their con- dwell on the earth, and to every fidence in the prophetic word is nation and kindred and tongue diminished : and some also, points and people, saying with a loud ing to these deficient and (as they voice, Fear God, and give glory to assume) inadequate effects, raise him, for the hour of his judgement from them an argument against ris
In the eighteenth missions altogether.
What we chapter the same thing is as plainly therefore are led to conclude is, intimated : an angel with great that such would not be the case, power is introduced, whose glory were the hopes of Christians of a enlightens the earth, and who demore sober character in the first in- clares the fall of Babylon to be imstance. The present measure of suc- mediately at hand; but another cess would be found commensurate voice is heard from heaven at the with a scriptural expectation : and same time, saying, come out of if something must necessarily be her, my people, that ye be not abated from the splendid results partakers of her sins, and that ye which they propose to themselves; ' receive not of her plagues.” k The yet will it appear, that there are Lord is now (as we conceive) thus still most powerful motives to a zeal- sending his angels with a great ous advocacy of this holy cause ; that sound of a trumpet, and they shall all our exertions, and sacrifices, and 'gather together his elect from the prayers, fall lamentably below the four winds, from one end of heamark of what they ought to be, even ven to the other.” 1 under existing circumstances; and Intimately connected with this that a far more abundant harvest of subject is the preaching of the souls might be anticipated, if the Gospel of condemnation to the refriends of missions were generally probate. For the same blessed
j vv. 6 and 7.
k v't, 1-1.
1 Matt. xxiv, 31.
word, which is “ a savour of life unto the harvest is come,”q Likewise life in them that are saved, is a of the good seed as distinguished savour of death unto death in them from the tares, which both grow that perish.”'m “ God will be together till the “ harvest ; and in `justified when he speaks, and clear the time of harvest the tares are ' when he judges ;' n and this will gathered in bundles to be burnt, be the condemnation of those who and the wheat is gathered into the are lost—" that light is come into barn." And all these, we prethe world, and men loved darkness sume, represent the ingathering of rather than light, because their God's elect prior to the end of this
deeds were evil."0 It is interest- dispensation or age.* The judgement ing to observe the connection of on apostate Christendom is reprethese subjects (viz. the calling out sented by the vintage in Rev. xiv. For of the elect and condemnation of the immediately following the harvest ungodly) in the two chapters already already considered, the Apostle sees noticed in the Book of Revelation. another angel, also liaving a sharp In chapter xiv, the angel who has the sickle, And another angel came everlasting Gospel is followed by out of the altar which had power another angel, declaring—not the over fire; (the symbol of wrath or conversion of the world, but the “judgement;) and he cried with a judgement on Babylon; and a third loud cry to him that had the sharp angel follows declaring the torments sickle, saying, Thirust in thy sharp prepared for those, who continue sickle, and gatlier the clusters of nevertheless to worship the beast tlie vine of the carth; for her and his image. P Then follow a
grapes are fully ripe. And the vest and a vintage. One like angel thrust in leis sickle into the the Son of Man is secn sitting on a ' earth, and gathered tlie vine of the white cloud, having on his licad a earth, and cast it into the great golden crown, and in liis liand a ' wine press of thic wrath of God, sharp sickle ;
and another angel and the wine prcss was trodden came out of the temple, crying without the city, and blood came r with a loud voice to him that sat 'out of the wine press even unto on the cloud, Thirust in tlıy sickle the lioise bridles by the space of and leap ; for the time is come for ‘1600 furlongs.” Tliis also forcibly thee to reap; for the harvest of reminds us of an awful passage in 'the earth is ripe. And he that sat Joel. " Let the heathen be wakened on tlie cloud thirust in luis sickle on
and come up to the valley of the earth, and the earth was Jchosaphat: for there will I sit to 'reaped." We apprehend the “judge all the heathen round about. Reader will already have been re- Put yc in the sickle for the harvest minded of the parable of the good 'is ripe : come get you down for seed passing through its several 'the press is full, the fats overflow, stages, till it has brought forth “ the &c."S full corn in the car; but when the We shall only notice further, (in fruit is brouglit forth, immediately regard to the objects, which the he putteth in the sickle, because christian may propose to himself in
m 2 Cor. ii, 15, 16.
q Mark iv, 26—29,
n Ps. li, 4. o John iii, 19. P vv. 8-10.
r Mati. xiii, 24, 30. s Joel iii, 12, 17.
* Compare alwv, which is the word translated world in Matt. xiii, 39, with kookos, also translated world in verse 38.