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A FOURTH sign of the times, is the efforts that have been made, through the instrumentality of different religious societies, within the last thirty years, to propagate the Gospel throughout the world. Our Lord hath told us (Matt. xxiv. 14) that “this Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and THEN SHALL THE END COME.' And in Rev. xiv. 6,7, at the time when the hundred and forty-four thousand (the symbolical number of the Lord's elect) who have been sealed against the coming days of vengeance and slaughter, are represented as standing with the Lamb on Mount Zion, a symbolical angel is seen flying “in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; FOR THE HOUR OF HIS JUDGMENT IS COME; and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." From both these important announcements, each of which is made in connection with the judgments of the last times, it is evident that this remark. able sign is indicative of the nearness of the “ time of THE END”-for “THEN shall the end come.' Perhaps there is scarcely a portion of the habitable globe in which, either by the labours of Bible or Missionary Societies, the
Gospel has not been preached; so that this sign, inasmuch as it was to be not for the conversion of, but only as a witness to, all nations, has already been fully accomplished; and we have therefore, on this account, every reason to conclude that “the hour of his judgment” is indeed very near at hand.
A Fifth sign of the times, is the extraordinary movement that has, within the last few years, been made by many of the Lord's people in favour of the Jews. Not that much good has been really effected; not that their labours (any more than has been the case, as above noticed, with other societies) have been much blessed in the way of conversion; but because they are connected with a Divine promise. In the 102d Psalm, the prophet says:
" Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come: for thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof."
The sixth and last sign of the times which I would notice, is the fatal security and indifference of nations and individuals, during the present calm, to any approach of danger. It may be argued, that “had these great and tremendous judgments been announced to happen during the alarms of the last great war, there might have been reason to apprehend danger; but what have we now to fear? what appearance of any great changes now present themselves? * All things continue as they were. But thus it is written that it shall be : thus fatally secure shall both the church and the world consider themselves, when the blast of “the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria .... and the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem" (Isai. xxvii. 13). For it is expressly said that “the day of the Lord so cometh As A THIEF in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then SUDDEN DESTRUCTION cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (1 Thess. v. 2, 3; see also Matt. xxiv. 43; 2 Pet. iii. 10; and Rev. xvi. 15).
Before closing this part of the argument, it may not be considered irrelevant to notice more particularly the important fact, that in the contents of the sixth vial, we have these signs of the times, and their results, drawn by the immutable pen of Eternal Truth; and that it is more especially and more unquestionably here that the book of Revelation performs (according to the idea of the late Dr. Clarke, in the motto prefixed to the introduction of this work) the office of a LiviNG PROPHET. Thus considered, it must be deserving of the deepest consideration; and its great importance will, I doubt not, and Dioclesians of ancient Rome ; as it has been exhibited by the Attilas, Genserics, and Alarics of the barbarian Goths ; and by the Caliphs, Sultans, Deys, and Czars of more modern times. Second: that of Infidelity, as it has been shewn in the violences, rapines, murders, carnage, confiscations, spoliations, tyranny, cruelty, and unblushing avowal of Atheism, of the French Revolution. And third, if we consider the operation of the “spirit” of Popery, as it has been exhibited in the lives of the Popes, the actions of the Inquisition, or as it is recorded in the history of the Church of Christ. Indeed, the drying-up of the Ottoman empire is not more apparent, than is the prevalence and collision of these three spirits. The
MIRACLES”-an expression which Captain Ross is reported to have used on hearing of the wonderful events that had happened during his residence in the polar regions—the "miracles” which they have already performed are permanently written in the late struggles between Russia and Poland, and between Belgium and Holland; in the late revolution of France; in the civil wars of Spain and Portugal; in the contests in the British Parliament; and in the revolutionary movements of Germany, Switzerland, and the Italian States.
The final issue of this collision is here said to be "to gather the kings of the earth, and of the ignominious a manner polluted both the city and the sanctuary.
This mystical “ drying-up of the Euphrates” thus materially, and indeed conclusively, bears on the argument before us, irrespective likewise of the interpretation generally given to the expression “KINGS OF THE East;" to“ prepare the way" for whom this operation is said to be going forward. It is generally understood to mean to prepare the way for the return of the TEN LOST TRIBES, which were carried captive into eastern nations by the kings of Assyria : but I should think that the term “kings” had a more literal signification, and was intended rather to be taken in the sense in which it is subsequently used in this vial, where it names “ kings of the earth and of the whole world ;” and that it meant real sovereigns. Perhaps, at least as a matter of opinion, the following suggestion may not be thought unworthy of attention, though it is confessed that a considerable degree of mystery may yet rest on a correct interpretation.
The eyes of the world are confessedly fixed in a remarkable manner on the extinction of the Turkish empire, as an event involving the peace of Europe.
That Russia is manœuvring to swallow it up; that, whenever its consumption or evaporation in the eye of God shall be fully completed, she will be able to effect her pur