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T is witnessed of David that he served the will of God in his generation. Every generation has its peculiar work. The present age is distinguished you know by the progress of infidelity. We have long been exempted from persecution; and he whose fan is in his hand, perceiving his floor to stand in need of purging, seems determined by new trials to purge it. The present is a winnowing time. If we wish to serve the will of God in it, we must carefully attend to those duties which such a state of things imposes upon us.
In the first place, Let us look well to the sincerity of our bearts; and see to it that our Christianity is vital, practical, and decided. An army called to engage after a long peace, requires to be examined, and every one should examine himself. Many become soldiers when danger is at a diftance. The mighty host of Midianites were overcome by a felected band. A proclamation was issued through the army of Israel, “ Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return :" and after a great diminution from cowardice, the rest must be brought down to the water, to be tried. Such, or nearly such, may be the trials of the Church : those who overcome may be reduced to a small company in comparison of those who have borne the Christian name. So indeed the Scriptures inform us : They
Finally, Let not the heart of any man fail hin, on account of the high tone and scornful airs asumed by infidels. The reign of infidelity may be extenfive, but it must be short. It carries in it the feeds of its own diffolution. Its immoralities are such, that the world cannot long sustain them. Scripture prophecy has clearly foretold all the great governments of the world, from the time of the Jewish Captivity to this day : the Babylonian, Persian, Macedonian, and Roman; together with the ten kingdoms into which the last of these empires has been divided, and the papal government which sprang up from amongst them; but it makes no explicit mention of this. It has no individual subsistence given it in the system of prophecy. It is not a beaft; but a mere: putrid excrefcence of the papal beast; an excrefcence which, though it may diffuse death through every vein of the body on which it grew, yet shall die along with it. The beast and all which pertains to hiin goeth into perdition.* There is no space of time allowed for this government: no sooner is it faid, Babylon is fallen, than voices are heard in heaven declaring that the marriage of the Lamb is come.t No sooner does the judgment fit, to take away the dominion of the little horn, to confume and to destroy it unto the end, than it follows, And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High. I
* Rev. xvii. 8, II.
| Rev. xviii. xix.
| Dan. vii. 26, 27. The writer has since read a very able difcourse by Mr. Nathan Strong, of Hertford, Connecticut, entitled Political instruction from the prophecies of God's word'; in which the above sentiments are stated with great force of evidence.
Popery is not yet destroyed, though it has received a deadly blow; and from what is said of the little horn, that they shall take away his dominion, to consume, and to destroy it unto the end, it should feem that its overthrow will be gradual. While this is accomplishing, the reign of infidelity may continue, with various success; but no longer. Only let us watch, aud keep our garments clean, a caution given, it is probable, with immediate reference to the present times, and we have nothing to fear. It is a source of great consolation that the last of the four Beasts, which for more than two thousand years have persecuted the Church, and oppressed mankind, is drawing near to its end. The government that shall next prevail will be that of Christ, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. Even so, amen. Blessed be his glorious name for ever; and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; amen, and amen!