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aecuracy than is proper for a serinon, the different classes of men, who have done most mischief to religion, we shall find them chiefly among those who take the name of philosophers. They make discoveries on matter, or think they do (for there is great contradiction among them) till they see no such thing as 'spirit: and so fall into materialism. It was an old aud true accusation, that the world by wisdom knew: vot God: 1 Cor. i. 21. and the same is the great misfortune of man at this day. Thousands are spoiled, not by philosophy itself, but by the cain deceit of philosophy. Tell a person of this sort, inflated with his own importance, that in order to be wise he must become a fool; and what good can be expected 2 His monitor will be set down for the fool; and the madman may probably be added. Some mathematicians, who see no farther than their own science, can find certainty no where else: not distinguishing, that there is natural certainty and moral certainty; and that by far the greater part of what we know, and receive, is, and must be, founded upon the evidence of testimony; and he that disputes this kind of certainty hath as little reason in him as he that disputes the other. Now, if we receive the witness of men, as we do every day, and neither knowledge nor business can go on without it, the witness of God is greater, 1 John v. 9. We call she evidence of testimony moral evidence; but in the case of religion, we can trace it tip to natural evidence; that is, to the miraculous facts evident to the senses of men, which were publicly given in confirmation of the word of God. But it doth by no means follow, that because the evidence is natural and sensible, the doctrine proved thereby will be admitted. In multitudes of people it had not that effect: for instead of admitting the truth which they hated, they attempted
to destroy the evidence; as in the case of the resurrection of Lazarus, and the resurrection of Christ himself. The wise men of Pharaoh's court were eyewitnesses to the miraculous deeds of Moses, but they were not convinced. And the apostle hath forewarned us, that men of like character, the wise men of the last days, should resist the truth, as Jannes and Jambres, the magicians of Egypt, withstood Moses. He calls them men of corrupt minds, in a state not fit for the reception of truth, and consequently reprobate. concerning the faith. The formal rejection of Christianity by a nation of reprobates, who build every, thing upon their philosophy (materialism), and are as busy in working natural wonders, and as conceited of what they do, as Jannes and Jambres were in the land of Egypt, is a melancholy demonstration of what I have here said, and ought to serve as a warning t(a.i. the philosophers of Britain. . I come now to the use of all that hath gone before; in which I must be brief. - .” The text gives us reason to expect, that at the coming of the Son of man, faith shall scarcely be found on earth. . It is therefore obvious to conclude, that in proportion as the faith decays, the coming of Christ is drawing near. The scoffers of the last days may insolently demand of us, as it was foretold they should, where is the promise of his coming 2 and object that there is no sign of it, for that all things continue as they were: but this cannot now be said with truth; all things do not gontinue as they were: there hath been a marvellous change of late in the affairs of this world, and in the state of religion, with which all serious men. are alarmed, justly apprehending that some still greater event is to follow. The signs of the time, to those who can read thcum, are many; and there is one which is
but little noticed. When it is mentioned, some will be ready to tear their garments with rage, as if they had heard blasphemy.
Before the first coming of Jesus Christ, the world had been harassed, plundered and destroyed for many years by a nation of Republicans; enthusiasts for liberty at home, but subjecting all nations in their pro* gress to robbery and slavery: who, like wolves, by nature quarrelsome and ravenous, were banded together to make a prey of mankind. This was the state of the world before the first advent of Christ, and with his appearance it ended. In the ways of Providence there p an uniformity of conduct; and though we must not presume, where we have no positive direction to guide V$, yet it is a very strange incident, that when the second coming of Christ is expected, the most powerful nation in Europe (for such they are) and the most monarchical (for such they were) should turn into the most savage and ravenous republicans, and form a plan, as the Romans did, of invading, overturning and plundering all other nations; this nation, in particular, if it should ever be in their power, above all the rest. How this began, we can tell: how it will proceed, and by what farther steps, God only knows: but this we are sure of, that however long it may last, it must cease with the coming and kingdom of Christ. Jn the interval, they may rejoice and be as merry as Ahab was, when he had seized upon the property of the murdered Naboth: hut the fearful question will come at last, hast thou killed, and also taken possession f 1 Kings xxi. 19. Then shall rebellion, and bloodT guiltiness, and blasphemy, call upon the mountains to hide them from Him, who will then manifest himself in the \wo characters, at present the objects of their ecujjar hatred and contempt—a Priest and a King.
It may be admired as a great exploit, that Christianity, with all its restraints, is driven out: but the world may be assured, this will be no peaceable event. The faith, planted throughout the earth, will never be rooted out without a tremendous shock. When the founder of our religion expired, the earth trembled, the sun was darkened, and all nature felt the stroke; and if his faith is to expire, the catastrophe will shake die world; a circumstance often spoken of in the Scriptures both of the Old and New Testament, as preparatory to the great day of the Lord. How much the earth is moved at this time, we feel every day: how much more it may be before the end cometh, it is not for us to judge: but this we know, that all the commotions of the earth will terminate in the fulfilling of the promises of God, when we shall receive a kingdom zchich cannot be moved *.
It is either weak and childish, or wicked and profane, to consider this as a frightful subject. We learn many things to prepare us for the part we are to take in this world; but we learn Christianity to prepare us for that other world which it hath promised: and shdfl we be afraid to hear it is at hand? shall we pray daily that the kingdom of God may come; and shall we wish at the same time it may not come? Is not death the end of this world to every man; and is there any man who thinks he shall never see it? Does, it come the sooner, because we preach about it? We may make people serious, and that may make them sober; and so they may live the longer; and then death will come the later. So in the other case; the Lord, in his time, must be revealed from heaven, with every circumstance of majesty and terror: he that shall come
* Heb.xii 28. See also Hagg. ii. 7.
will come, and he will come in this manner. If we preach about it, we may make men wiser; and that will make the event less terrible; and we shall thereby do them the greatest kindness in the world. If any man can be brought to such a state of mind, as to hope for and desire that great event, which all the powers of earth and hell can never prevent; then he is a happy man indeed; and not before. Let us therefore all devoutly pray, that when we are told of the Lord's coming, our hearts may be ready to anawefr-. Amen; even so, come Lord Jesus.