Page images
PDF
EPUB

every day. The murmurings of their subterranean action are audible everywhere. They are repressed, not extinct, and this repression adds to their elasticity and fury. Such internal disquiet tempts kings to go to war even against what they recognize as their own best interests, and thereby precipitate the calamities they would otherwise avert.

Nor is the priest party at once unscrupulous and powerful, working night and day one hundred thousand confession boxes, on the Continent, likely to keep aloof where they feel acquiescence to be destruction, while agitation may furnish at least a chance of prolonged existence or success.. Sustained and directed by the Jesuits, the best-informed and the most vigorous police for evil in the world, the priests will not go down without a struggle. Thousands of monks and nuns justly cast out from their convents will prove a desperate militia, gathering strength and inspiration from what they regard as the wrongs they have suffered. The whole horizon of Europe is dark—peace is impossible. The “last woe” hastens to its consummation.

May we and our beloved country “be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man."

337

OUR PLACE IN PROPHECY.

ARE we as a people to perish in the wrecks of nations that take place under the seventh vial? Is national apostasy from the faith in the last times to be universal ? Will God be without a witnessing nation during this economy? During the sounding of the seventh trumpet “the nations were angry” because “Christ reigned” and the “times of his wrath was come.Will there be no exceptional nation—no protesting and reclaiming witness for the truth ? I think there will be one spared, less, perhaps, in consequence of any distinctive excellence, and more because of its special mission. With the Earl of Shaftesbury, I believe we are to be tried as by fire, and chastened most severely; but I am also convinced we shall emerge from the ordeal, and be treated with the fulfilment of a mission the most glorious ever confided to a people.

In several lectures and expositions I have tried to show that our native land will not be involved in the great tribulation that rises and rolls inward on the

Z

earth. The following lecture was originally delivered in Paris in the church of the Oratoire. It is now given in its full and most complete form.

Great Britain was the latest, but not the least conspicuous, of the ten horns. It was "a tenth part of the city,” that is, of decem-regal Europe. Caracalla granted the freedom of the city to provincial towns, and thereby made them liable to pay taxes. Thus the Roman City expanded till it became identical with the Roman Empire. At the great Reformation of the 16th century our country broke off from the “City," by renouncing the supremacy of the Pope, and based her throne on Protestant truth. In the language of the historian Robertson, Charles V., 1534, quoted by Elliot, “That vast fabric of ecclesiastical dominion was overturned in a moment."

On England's deliverance from Rome by Mary's death and Elizabeth's accession, our nation collectively and publicly gave glory, not to saints and angels, but to the God of heaven, Rev. xi. 13. There is no proof in history or in the acts of the nation that Britain has repented of her secession, rejoined the ten kingdoms, and if this be her position, it is highly probable she will be spared the overwhelming and crushing judgments that will sweep Europe and finally destroy the Great City.

The very sublime representation of the harpers by the glassy sea mingled with fire, who had come off victorious over “The Beast," having harps of God, singing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and

the song of the "Lamb' in Rev xv. 1—8, as Mr Elliott has conclusively shown, sets forth the triumph and position of insular and Protestant England. While, in the words of Montalembert, “the revolutionary lava covered Europe," and the fire of continental revolution blazed across the Channel, we find our country giving praise in sacred and triumphant songs to Him who was alike her glory and her defence. From her, too, sprung those noble Bible and Missionary Societies which continue the brightest gems in her crown.

Hers was then the “new song, and she only as a nation knew its mystery, and could

sing it.

But there is reason to infer the distinct existence of our country from other portions of the word of God, and with honourable mention. In Matt. xxi. 43, the Saviour says, “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you (the Jews) and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof."

This clear prediction, from the lips of our blessed Lord, proves, that the “kingdom of God,” that is, the sacred trust of the gospel, or pure teaching of the living and true Church, shall be taken from the Jewish people, whose for years “were the fathers," and “to whom pertained the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises,” who have now forfeited all, and shall be given to and possessed by some nation distinguished as such by its “bringing forth the fruits thereof."

It is not taught in this prophecy that this will be a perfect nation. No such nation or Church exists. There is much that needs forgiveness in the best, and much deeply to be pitied in the worst. But fairly comparing with one another the different nations of the earth, let us try to ascertain what nation is on the whole most distinguished for the purity of its faith, its reverence for the Bible, its justice, generosíty, and munificent responses to every true appeal made by the destitute and the suffering. No existing nation in decem-regal Europe meets the requirements of the prophecy as fully as Great Britain. Her unrivalled social greatness-her supremacy on the seas -her weight in the councils of Europe, and, indeed, in those of the wide world, constitute and mark her the leading power on the earth. Her wide sympathy with suffering, wherever and by whomsoever endured, her ardent appreciation of freedom, her “ love of whatsoever things are just, and honest, and true, and lovely, and of good report,” her munificence to all real claims on her resources, her Bible and Missionary Societies at home and abroad, her varied benevolent and philanthropic institutions, and her Protestant throne, seem to identify her alone amid the nations of Christendom as the distinctive subject of the Redeemer's prophecy. Wise and careful interpreters concur in this.

The late Dr Croly, in his preface to a “New Interpretation of the Apocalypse," justly observes :

« PreviousContinue »