Page images
PDF
EPUB

vel, gives counte:hance to general scepticisin, and opens an easy and wide door to atheisin. It has been the principal stumbling block in the way against the conversion of the Yews to christianity, which, through their prejudice, they have been too much disposed to contemplate in the disguise of the popish false Dogmas, palpable deceptions, and notorious idola tries.

Thus like iron blended with clay, the mighty fabrick of the papal hierarchy and spiritual catholic empire, contains in its original construction the causes of its present weakness, and rapid downfal. In fostering principles of atheism and of a philosophy noxious to public security and domestic peace, it has afforded a favourable nidus for the eggs of a cockatrice to hatch in, and in due time to send forth a fiery flying serpent, to sting in the most vital parts the parent which

gave it birth, and to be the instrument of Providence in effecting her dissolution. The gospel of Jesus Christ is as gold for value, and for durability and for it: all-subduing strength, like iron.

But the

apostacy of popery mingled with it, in so large a proportion as totally to destroy its saving efficacy, has rendered it in their hands a compound worthy of the prophetic comparison of iron mixed with miry clay; or like that by which Isaiah figured the most corrupt state of the Jewish church. Tby silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water. Righteousness once lodged in it, but now murdercrs.

UNIV

TY

CALTE

[ocr errors]

SECTION XXXIV.

The kingdom of Christ announced as commencing in

the days of the fourth universal monarchy or the ROMAN EMPIRE.--- But not established in the ful. ness of its power and glory until that shall be totally removed.— False apprehensions of the MILLENNI. UM as past already.-Christ's reign on earth of slow progress.-Antichrist not the only obstruction to the kingdom of heaven on earth.-Both the past and present state of the christian world inconsiste ent with it.- Superstition and fanatical enthusiasm in different ways tend to the same end, in defeating the due influence of the gospel.-- False measures of holiness and spiritual pride, still oba trude themselves upon the votaries of delusion for shristian humility and operative faith.

AFTER this gloomy picture of the progressive degeneracy of the image from the nobler metals to iron, and from the genuine iron which prevailed in the Legs, to a base mix

ture of iron and miry clay in the FEET AND Toes, which represents the state to which the late invincible empire, and formerly pure and exemplary church of Rome should, at this period, be reduced, (and in which, with little variation, both should continue till the time appointed in the foreknowledge of God for their breaking up and dissolution ;) the opening of a brighter prospect is announced. -And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, and the kingdom shall not be left to other people : but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.—The dawn of that glorious day at length appears, which St Peter admonishes christians to hope for, in a continual dependence upon the light of prophecy, which, by the ministry of holy men of old, God hath cast upon the long and dark night of popish tyranny that necessarily must intervene, until the morning break, and the day star arise in your hearts.

The kingdom here announced is the kingdom of the Son of David, in which the faith

ful still expect a full and perfect accomplishment of those many sublime prophecies, which describe it in such terms as we cannot have a perfect apprehension of, until they shall be expounded by the corresponding facts. Our Saviour said—“ My kingdom is not of this world,”-and no merely earthly kingdom can be well conceived, which shall actually correspond to such notes of character, as that it shall be the peculiar work of beaven, and calculated for eternal duration :-whose subjects shall be all righteous, * and over whom Cbrist shall personally, or at least eminently, reign on earth, &c.--This is therefore to be referred to a fifth monarchy, to be raised up upon the ruins of all the preceding ones, of which the great image was the type; and which, by receiving the converted jews, and the gentiles of all nations into the bosom of the spiritual society, and being governed upon principles of invariable truth and equity, shall be worthy, in literal fact, of that universality and glory, which was ascribed to all

* Isaiah Ix. 21; xxvi. 2,

« PreviousContinue »