« AnteriorContinuar »
EXTRACT OF A CIRCULAR LETTER,
WRITTEN BY MR. WALTER SCOTT, FOR THE MAHONING ASSOCIATION OF 1829.
[From the Millennial Harbinger, Vol. II.]
The Christian of the 19th century has been permitted to witness the accomplishment of wonderful events-Providence has stationed him on a sublime eminence, from which he can behold the fulfilment of illustrious prophecies, and look backwards upon nearly the whole train of events leading to the Millennium.
Afar off, and upon the back ground of the picture before him, of wonderful extent, and in all the greatness of imperial ruin, appear the three empires of Babylon, Persia, and Greece. Nearer to hand lays Rome, eternal Rome! terrible in her origin, terrible in her glory, terrible in her decline and fall! Living and acting through a long series of ages, she approaches the very verge of the present scene of things, till she assumes the distracted form of the ten kingdoms spoken of by Daniel, the remains of which now reel to and fro upon the face of Europe like a drunken man, ready to be ingulphed in the yawning judgments of Almighty God. Sic transit gloria mundi.*
But from amidst the blaze of her glory see yet loftier scenes arise-Behold the kingdom of our Lord Jesus, awaking under the eye of the Imperial Cæsars: small in its beginnings it rolls forward, it survives all Roman greatness; and that which was yonder a little stone, is here become a vast mountain and fills the whole earth; the waters which yonder issued from the threshold of the Lord's house, have here arisen, they have become waters to swim in—a river that cannot be passed over!
Here, too, are the impostures of Mahomet and the Pope, with temples having the lowermost part consecrated to God-the upper to the worship of idols. Arrayed in purple and scarlet, decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, behold the apostate Church, mounted upon her
* So passes away the glory of the world.
imperial beast, holds forth to the intoxicated nations a golden cup in her hand, full of abomination and of the filthiness of her fornication: on her fair, but unblushing forehead, is inscribed Mystery-Babylon the Great-the Mother of Harlots, and abominations of the earth. She shall be thrown down with the violence of a millstone plunged into the midst of the ocean.
Her portentous offspring also, issued to mankind at the mature age of 666, with the head of a Lamb and the heart of a Dragon-the Inquisition raiseth itself on high, with the power, the delusion, the cruelty, of its parent-it comes roving o'er the earth, and causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand or in their forehead—and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Here, also, is the French atheism, filled with all presumption, and magnifying himself above every God-he speaketh marvellous things against the true God-his hands are filled with spears, and his skirts are drenched in blood; but he shall come to his end, says Daniel, and none shall help him.
All these things, beloved brethren, have passed in review before the Christian of the nineteenth century; but if we have had to witness schemes of policy and superstition so wild and enthusiastic, and apparently so unfavourable to the true religion, we have seen many things introduced, also, highly conducive to its promulgation and reception among mankind. Above all, we have seen the Church in America seated down under a gracious and efficient Government, affording her and all men an unprecedented security of life and property; and if her unity be still a desideratum, we ought to remember that the Saints, for nearly three hundred years, have been combating tyranny and superstition with astonishing success, until those who despise every name and every phrase not found in the Scripture, have become probably by far the most numerous party of professors in the United States.
But who would have thought it remained for any, so late as 1827, to restore to the world the manner, the primitive manner, of administering to mankind the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ? Or which of you, brethren, would
have thought, two years ago, of men coming from forty to a hundred and twenty miles to the ministers of the Mahoning Churches for baptism? Yet these things have actually occurred. And who cannot see that, by the blessing of God, the ancient Gospel and ancient order of the Church must prevail, to the certain abolition of all those contumacious sects which now so wofully afflict mankind.
Brethren, we have a right to expect great things at the hand of our Father-if we are united and stand fast, striving together for the faith of the Gospel. And be it known to you, brethren, that individuals eminently skilled in the word of God, the history of the world, and the progress of human improvement, see reason to expect changes much greater than have yet occurred, and which shall give to political society and to the Church, a different, a very different complexion from what many anticipate.
The Millennium-the Millennium described in Scripture, will doubtless be a wonder, a terrible wonder to ALL! The Gospel, since last year, has been preached with great success, in Palmyra, Deerfield, Randolph, Shalersville, Nelson, Hiram, &c., by brothers Finch, Hubbard, Ferguson, Bosworth, Hayden, and others. Several new Churches have been formed; and so far as I am enabled to judge, the congregations are in a very flourishing condition: indeed, the preacher of the present day, like the angel of the Revelation, seated on the triumphant cloud, has only to thrust in his sharp sickle in order to reap a rich harvest of souls, and gather it in unto eternal life.
PRIMITIVE AND MODERN CHRISTIANITY. [From the Christian Baptist, Vol. II.]
A series of almost 2000 years has now fled away since the Gospel announced light and religious liberty to the enslaved world; since Messiah, emerging from the rocky sepulchre, destroyed Death, and delivered those who, through fear of his merciless domination, were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Strong and implacable were the enemies of Jesus; many were the foes with which the
Captain of our Salvation had to contend, and for a moment they seemed to prevail. They crucified him, and thought themselves secure: they entombed his murdered body, and vainly imagined the conquest was complete. Unhappy men! how blind to the future! Scarce was the palm of victory lifted to their brows when it withered; scarce did the dawn of conquest rise upon their marshalled efforts when it set in the midnight of everlasting dismay. They succeeded in depriving the Champion of Israel of the light of life; but in the awful moment he only groped for those pillars on which the whole temple of Jewish and heathen superstition stood. Then, indeed, he bowed himself. The grave could not retain him who made the world. The Shepherd of Israel descended into the pit, but it was only to destroy the enemy of the flock, and having seized him he slew him. When the Son of God rose from the dead, and thereby brought life (eternal life) and immortality to light, ignorance, the cause of all Jewish, heathen, and Antichristian superstition fled before him; and seeing that the world were in great bondage through fear of death, and especially through their ignorance of that life which lay beyond death, it was necessary that he who gave his life for the world should deliver his children from the bondage of this fear. Having risen from the dead, and removed the cause of all uncertainty respecting a resurrection and eternal life, nothing remained but to let the children know it. To effect this, to remove all fear, to inform the body of the resurrection of its head, to let all flesh see the salvation of our God-the Lord Jesus called the twelve, and, viva voce, commissioned them to go into all the world and to preach the Gospel (i. e. his death and resurrection) to every creature: "He that believeth shall be saved he that believeth not shall be damned." by the way, is the only constitution of a Christian assembly, in opposition to all written instruments. Having received this Gospel in charge, the Apostles went forth every where preaching it, God bearing them also witness in signs and wonders, and diverse miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his will. Having made disciples in Jerusalem, and everywhere among the Gentiles, it became necessary to assemble the brethren on that fact
which they had believed, in order that they might edify one another, grow in grace and knowledge, increase in every good word and work, and finally show forth the death of Jesus in the eating of the supper.
To manage the business of the Church in all ages, it pleased the head of the Church to appoint Bishops and Deacons. The Apostles were chiefly employed in ordaining elders" in every Church" on their return from their first tour through the Lesser Asia. Titus was left in Crete for the express purpose to "ordain elders in every city," and Timothy had this business in charge in the Church at Ephesus. And in all those appointments the Bishops and Deacons were chosen from among those who believed. Besides this, they were numerous in every Church.
Of the Elders or Bishops at Ephesus, it is said that they "all fell upon Paul's neck," &c., but the word "all" is never used of one or two, but of a considerable number of persons. Two things, then, are remarkable in the choice of the primitive Bishops. 1st. They were selected from among the brethren; 2dly. They were numerous in every Church. Two things are remarkable of modern teachers : 1st. That they are not chosen from among the brethren; 2dly. That there is uniformly but one in every Church. The order established by the Apostles was the same in every Church, and was very simple; but the world, which perverteth all things, soon began to make inroads into the beautiful and simple institution of the Lord Jesus, and from the most instructive and pure society, it has become the nest of every unclean bird. Evil men did not wait until the Apostles were dead, but even while they were alive commenced their Antichristian labours, which caused the Apostle to say that even now, i. e. while the all-authoritative Apostles and chief servants of the Lord Jesus were present, the mystery of iniquity was a-working; yes, even then there were evil men and seducers, who were to wax worse and worse; and those men were not without, but within the Church, like Diotrephes, who loved to have the pre-eminence, who received not even the Apostles, but prated against them with malicious words. So says John. Peter tells us that these false teachers were to be remarkable for false doctrine, for covetousness, for their con