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Colenso and the Broad Church school are but the van of an increasing body in their rear, who teach that everybody, of every and any creed or no creed at all, is on the way to heaven, and all this is popular, and more and more fashionable. To teach, on the other hand, that there is only one way to heaven-Christ alone, and one fitness for it-regeneration by the Holy Ghost, is to incur the reproach of bigotry, the contempt of the learned, and the charge of uncharitableness. To declare that souls may be lost, and that millions are walking away from heaven and nearing eternal ruin, is accounted evidence of insanity or of a weak-minded and inveterate adherence to exploded errors. To be sincere is now-a-days to be sure of heaven; to pay one's debts is a title to the favour of God, and to be benevolent and kind and harmless is a passport to eternal life. At the opposite pole there is faith in censers, incense, vestments, and confession, but not in the preaching of Christ crucified; there are unmitigated denunciations of those living doctrines which were enunciated so clearly at Pentecost, and recovered at so great sacrifice at the Reformation. The Church seems lately to have taken possession of the theatre, and the theatre and the opera seem to have taken possession of the Church; a desperate scepticism sweeps out the precious truths of Christianity, and a superstitious Ritualism fills the vacant space with a contemptible ceremonialism. Both are equally antichristian in their nature; one only more attractive to the senses than the other. Rationalism is naked infidelity.
Ritualism is infidelity decorated in the cast-off robes of Romanism. Apparently strangers, like Milton's sin and death, they are really sisters accomplishing the same work.
If we regard faith as that which apostolic Christians felt in the second coming of Christ, we have only to read or converse with
true Christians to discover that, if held by a few, it is ignored or despised by the many. The early Christians so looked and longed for the Redeemer's return, that their first question before the ascension was, “Wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel ? ” the repetition of a former question, "Tell us when these things shall be.” Now-a-days many would rather that Christ would not return. They dread the dissolution of dreams, and prospects, and possessions ; " Thy kingdom come
” has parted with its interest and true significance; “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly” is an obsolete prayer. Among worldly men the second advent points a witticism or inspires a sneer.
Thank God there are those who unfurl the ancient historic banner, and proclaim grand Protestant truths, and “look for" and teach others to “look for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ, our great God and Saviour.” God has never left Himself without a witness, and Protestant truth will never be without a champion. “ Yet when the Son of man cometh shall he find faith on the earth ?”
THE FUTURE OF EUROPE.
WERE the programme of the future delineated in “the sure word of prophecy,” unsustained by a single existing historical fulfilment, it would not be the less certain of being translated into facts. But very many lights are visibly cast upon it from existing complications which reveal the rapid rush of prediction into fulfilment, and the past into the present.
It is certain, from Scripture and from facts, there will and can be no lasting or thorough peace in this dispensation. The great war, predicted in the Apocalypse as the finale of existing national territorial dimensions and conditions, is not yet exhausted. It is still carried on. Shock after shock has startled the cabinets of Europe, and concentrated their armies on battle-fields, but not ended “that great war. The unextinguished embers are everywhere smouldering in Europe. New interests are continually arising to kindle them. There is at present a partial lull in the fiery tempest; a breathing-time for exhausted
battalions to recruit their strength and dress their ranks; but no lasting peace exists or seems probable, such, for instance, as followed Waterloo. The preparation of arms, and iron-clads, and fortifications, and soldiers, goes on without interruption, and with increased speed and energy, while every nation talks peace with its hand on the hilt of its sword. Casting the horoscope of the future of Europe, this alone would be a significant element, almost an earnest, of what we expect. Reading the page of prophecy, we find predictions there parallel with the lines of development which the situation indicates here. Europe now exhibits what prophecy foretells. We may deplore the prospect, but we cannot transform it. It is, indeed, sad to think that the recent splendid discoveries of science should be prostituted to become the fierce missionaries of war, and that the genius of the most gifted of mankind should only give birth to the means of the most terrible and wide-spread destruction of human life!
The relations between existing peoples, and the feelings generated by the recent rapid victories and absorptions of Prussia, are not likely to subside or to lapse into European peace. The Emperor of the French, no doubt, would personally prefer peace. But the people of France not only dislike Prussia, but feel justly, or otherwise, that they have been insulted by the omission of all mention of the emperor's service, or complimentary reference in the King of Prussia's address or missive, and by the very decided
refusal of Bismarck to allow France to rectify her frontiers, by receiving her long-coveted possession of the Rhine provinces; a possession the emperor claims in justice, but allows at present to remain in abeyance. The emperor, as the “elect of six millions," and the embodiment and executive of the democracy or revolution, cannot afford to ignore his people's deep and wide-spread discontent. Napoleon may at present repeat “L'empire c'est paix,” but he is biding his time, and doubling his army, and pondering events; and his appearance a second time on the battle-field is neither unlikely nor distant, should French feeling remain unchanged. Prussia has the prestige of victory. The petty princedoms have fallen before her army in succession, like ninepins. But this prestige does not last long; it grows dimmer by the lapse of time; and the disturbed and aggregated kingdoms will become less satisfied. Her difficulties are still to come difficulties internal and external, both. She has gained great victories, but she has not secured a lasting peace. Austria, too, let it be observed, has now an eastward inclination, which points to Constantinople, and as Russia sympathizes with any and every force that serves to waste down the Moslem, the Czar may find it his mission to coalesce with the Kaiser, and open up again the smouldering Eastern question.
The Times justly observed in October, 1866 :“ Under these circumstances political affairs at home are for this week. likely to be almost entirely disre