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charged with divine judgments, and about to burst in scathing lightning upon the earth, is fanaticism ; it is no significant prophetic event; it is one of the ordinary natural phenomena.” When one day men awaken, and hear that great Babylon has sunk like a millstone in the depths of the ocean, they will say, “ It is because Vesuvius and Etna have not burst out as usual ; and a new volcanic orifice has taken place." When one day there shall be seen the rushing crowds of God's ancient people, now seeking rights in Europe, and then finding them only in Palestine ; when Jerusalem shall be recognized by the kings of the earth as its capital and the just possession of its own neither forgotten nor forsaken people; they will say, “What an enlightened liberal policy, which balances conflicting nationalities, and erects in Jerusalem a dynasty that will resist Russia, solve the long-dreaded Eastern question, and prevent complications that might have disturbed the safety and peace of Europe.” When the world shall see unexpected phenomena in the sky signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; thousands of telescopes will be directed upward, and every telescope will bring back the intimation, “Oh, it is a meteoric sign, it is an electric phenomenon, it is a new volcano in the moon, it is meteoric substances crossing the sun's disc; it is nothing abnormal.”
This will seem to be science, only to be found folly; explanations that do not explain ; solutions that do not solve.
AMID LOVE GROWN COLD.
ANOTHER presignificant sign of the Redeemer's return will be “the love of many will wax cold.”
The temperature of the Christian's heart is too apt to fall.
This is sensibly felt in Christendom. God's people suffering from those that are his enemies discourage those Christian people that witness it. Seeing Christianity clad in sackcloth, many a Judas betraying with a kiss, many a Demas forsaking religion, having loved this present world, true Christians come to be discouraged, and begin, like David in the seventy-third Psalm, to doubt if there be a God in the world, or if there be a Providence over all, and if the ways of righteousness be ways of pleasantness and of peace. The last days will load the atmosphere with social evil; Christian people breathing that atmosphere will be infected. If we live in Paris, or in Vienna, or in any other corrupt capital, insensibly its moral influence contaminates. We go there resolved to maintain the sacredness of the Sabbath, to keep up our habits of public worship, to read our Bibles, to
avoid what is sinful, but insensibly and imperceptibly the warmth of our Christian character evaporates or cools down to the zero of the atmosphere we are obliged to breathe ; and we find it literal fact that the abundance of social immorality around us makes our love to God in our own heart begin to grow cold. But how does this cooling love exhibit itself? In a less sense of the value of Christian truth, of the necessity of pure and scriptural doctrine, and the increasing of the popular feeling that it does not matter what a man believes if his life only be right-a maxim as unholy as it is logically untrue, which aggravates the evil and chills the heart. This falling temperature shows itself in less love to the house of God, a diminished desire to listen to the preaching of the gospel : little things prevent us occupying the accustomed place, and many things about which all are troubled deaden the influences of the great truths we hear preached. Another effect will be less given, and less done to spread the gospel, to educate the ignorant, and to do good among all that are in want. Prayer will grow fainter, though it be the very breath of the Christian life; there will be less sense of the need of it, less frequent and fervent appeal to God that He would pour out His Spirit upon us, and raise our love to the height it once stood at, and make us zealous in all that is holy, just, and beneficent, and good. Let us pray, that if iniquity does abound, our love
be preserved in its morning warmth and purity notwithstanding, and that the Spirit of God would quicken
our dead hearts, and warm our cold affections; and would enable us, in the chill, freezing atmosphere of an atheistic world, to maintain that warmth and glow of spiritual life which God will by His Spirit keep burning until it mingle with the splendours and the glories of everlasting day.
Let us live near the Fountain of love, the love that gave Jesus to die for our sins, and so catch daily the radiations of its warmth. We cannot create love in our hearts. It is received by contact and communion with Him who is love. So living, we shall endure to the end.
Let me ask if, like the lightning that rushes from the east to the west, that day should come; if the warning voice, “Behold, I come as a thief,” were tomorrow to be a reality; if the shout were heard reverberating from earth to heaven, and echoing back from heaven to earth, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh ;" are we ready? are our lamps burning ? are our loins girt ? Can we say what we feel, “I know in whom I have believed, and that he is able to keep what I have committed to him against that day ?” Have we settled the momentous question of personal acceptance before God through Christ Jesus? If not, we dream upon the edge of a tremendous precipice; we sleep on the margin of the sea on which the flowing tide is rolling inwards with irresistible force; our safety is peace, peace, when there is no peace. We stand, and eat, and drink, and walk in jeopardy. But if we have accepted as our Rock the only Saviour;
if we have committed soul, body, and spirit to His keeping; if our only ground of trust is, that He was made sin for us, and that we are made righteousness by Him; if we be justified by faith in His blood, and regenerated by His Holy Spirit; then, whether we are called to Christ or Christ comes, whether we are taken or He comes to us; it will be well, for there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.
The Apostle Paul, speaking to his Thessalonian converts, savs,
“Of the times and the seasons that is, the hour and the day-"ye have no need that I write unto you; for yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night; for when they shall say, Peace and safety; sudden destruction shall come upon them. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief;" indicating that some clear intimation of the times and seasons was given to the apostles subsequent to the Day of Pentecost, which enabled them to communicate some idea of their nearness to or relative remoteness from the coming of our Lord. When, sailing on the ocean, we meet with large pieces of driftwood, we suppose we must be approaching some land—or when we discover quantities of floating weeds, as Columbus did on the very point of despairing of finding the great western continent —we take heart and say, “ The continent of glory is near, for we see the drift detached from the shore, which must indicate we are approaching land.” As men that watch