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in the latter time of their kingdom (that is, Alexander's successors) when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance shall stand up and shall destroy the holy people, when both the sanctuary and the host is to be trodden under foot for 1260 days, which, according to prophetic time, will end 1878, being also the end of the seven times from 606, thus : 2520 — 606=1914– 36= 1878. As the year (637) when the Saracens took Jerusalem is the third and last step in the rise of Mahometanism, so it will in all probability form the last step in its fall. The Euphrates being dried up, the way of the kings of the cast will be prepared, that as the country being in a great measure desolate, or so thinly peopled, there will be no ground to fear opposition from its inhabitants. The Jews are represented in Ezekiel as lately settled and dwelling in unwalled villages, without bars or gates, when Gog comes up against them as a cloud to cover the land, when they will be brought into great affliction, and will confess their iniquities and the iniquities of their fathers, and shall look on him whom they have pierced, and mourn ; and dark and gloomy as the cloud may be, there is a bow in the cloud-they are drawing near 1897, the year of the covenant, when God will miraculously destroy their enemies, remember his covenant, and restore the land. Then may they take up the language of the Psalmist and sing, “When Zion's bondage God turned back, they were as men that dreamed.'
THE SPIRIT'S TWOFOLD WORK.
OPEN thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.' • He shall take of the things of the Father and of the Son, and shali show them unto you. The bible says there are two things that man needs : to have certain objects shown to him, and to have his eyes opened to see them. Now there can be no doubt that the Spirit in the word holds up the love of God in the cross of Christ to all within the sound of the gospel—but were nothing more than this done, it would only be the light shining in darkness, and the darkness comprehending it not—the sunbeam falling on the sightless eyeballs of the blind—and not the blind merely, but the born blind. The opening of the eyes of the blind, and especially of the born blind, was fully conceded by the Jews to be a work of supernatural power, nothing short of divine. “Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind?'-John ix. 32.
· Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?'-John x. 21. And where spiritual things are illustrated or typified by material things, it is on all hands admitted that the antitype must have at least the full force of the type—so that if the opening of the bodily eyes require a divine interposition, not less, but still more, must the opening of the spiritual eyes require such an interposition. Now, we know that although to all within the sound of the gospel, the love of God in Christ is displayed, yet the eyes of all are not opened so as to look and be saved.' If we should be met, however, by the statement, that the disability of the spiritually blind is not physical but moral, and therefore a disability the removal of which is in his own power; we need simply reply, that the disability of unwillingness, is proverbially the greatest of all-and if
, in the place of the blind, we substitute one who positively refuses to open his eyes, the light is equally unavailing, until his determination be overcome. The gospel pro
clamation is, undoubtedly, · Whosoever will, let him come'-universal in one aspect-limited in another-excluding none, but the unwilling and that exclusion not so much the judicial punishment, as the necessary effect of their unwillingness. But then, it is not less true, that all in their natural state are unwilling-sufficiently so to make them keep away, and perish for ever, unless that great change take place upon them, which is characterised by being "born of the Spirit. Here again, the type cannot mean more than the antitype, or thing typified ;—and as much as the infant takes part in the production of its own existence, so much, and no more, does the 'new-born babe' of the Spirit take part in the production of its own spiritual life. It is, indeed, said, 'work out your own salvation,' etc., but were this command not given to a creature in himself impotent, what follows would neither be necessary nor true, 'for it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do.'
The doing naturally enough follows the willing, but it is on this point that the whole subject hinges—the origin of the change of will
. The bible ascribes it to God-proud man arrogates it to himself
, assuming that he is as equally free to choose the evil, or the good, as before the will was perverted by the fall—forgetting, it is to be supposed, that they only whom the 'Son makes free, are free indeed'—and that whomsoever they obey, his servants they are to whom they obey'— and that so far from being free to choose the good, they are the willing slaves of him who now worketh in the children of disobedience, and will continue so for ever, unless a stronger than he bind the strong man, and spoil his house. And if God be stronger than Satan, is he not stronger than him who is the slave of Satan? To say that the Spirit of God can be foiled in the struggle, either by Satan or Satan's slave, is tantamount to a denial of his divine omnipotence. Is it only in mechanical force that he is Almighty ? Has he not creative power of a moral nature sufficient to renew the spirits he hath made, in spite of all opposition ? He may be provoked, and voluntarily and judicially cease to strive, but to say that he can be overcome, where it is his purpose to prevail, is just to say that the spirit of man is stronger to resist than the Spirit of God is to subdue, that the Creator is vanquished, and the creature victorious, which is to undeify God, or more than deify man.
One word more as to the extent of the Spirit's work. It is affirmed to be co-extensive with that of the Son, and both together are declared to be not only sufficient, but designed for the salvation of every fallen child of Adam. In what way then are these made available for the heathen who live and die in ignorance of both? If any soul can be saved in virtue of this conjoint work of the Son and Spirit of which it never heard, then indeed must such a soul be saved as a mere passive machine, by a divine decree, and without any concurrence of its own. But if this be not the case, then must innumerable multitudes perish, because God in his providence has not made known to them the provisions grace, so that the man who affirms that Christ died for, and that the Spirit is poured out, equally upon all flesh, is landed in the dilemma that either multitudes of the human race are saved in ignorance, by a sovereign act of God's will, altogether apart from their own, or that multitudes perish because kept in ignorai
rance by God himself of the provision made for their salvation. But neither of these conclusions being tenable, the principle that results in one or other of them must be untenable also.
Returning, however, from the wastes of paganism to the cultivated fields of Christendom, we are gravely told that by the intimation of some receiving the seed into honest and good hearts, we are to understand an inherent differ ence between one heart and another previous to the reception of the seedi. e., in its natural state. To this we need only confront the bible testimony: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked;' "The imagination of man's heart is evil, and only evil continually;' and, ' As face answereth
to face in a glass, so doth the heart of man to man. The honest and good heart is precisely the soil which has been prepared by the direct and special action of the Spirit, in order to the reception of the seed which is broadcast by his outward and ordinary influences, to which, in common with others, it is subjected, but which, without the special preparation of the soil itself, would be altogether inadequate. If the heart were honest and good by nature, not for it is the gospel message ; for the Son of Man is not come to call the righteous, but sinners.
Another word, and a brief one, about the work of the Son. And here the universalist must be content to change sides with us, while we plead for a universal redemption which he denies. Much has been said on both sides as to the actual signification of the little word all. Some contending for its application to every individual of the species; others understanding it of the extension of christianity to all nations, kindreds, people, and tongues, in distinction from the monopoly of sacred privileges by the Jews under the Mosaic dispensation. But there is one passage in which the word admits of no such explanation, the context determining it to be understood in the widest sense, without exception. It is declared in the scriptures of truth, that, “ As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive. The universality of death sufficiently determines the acceptation of the term.
The meaning is, therefore, either that all who die in Adam shall be made alive in Christ, without exception, or that all who are in Christ shall be made alive, without exception. If the former be contrary to fact, we are then reduced to the latter, that all in Christ—in him when he died-in him when he rose again-in him when he entered as a forerunner within the veil-in him as Levi was in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him,' and 80 paid tithes in Abraham ;' Heb. vii. 9, 10 : all thus in Christ shall be made alive, and, because he lives, shall live for ever. The parallel runs close. Adam stood for the whole human race, without exception, therefore, in and through him the whole human race, without exception, were made sinners. If Christ stood for the whole human race, without exception, then in and through him the whole human race, without exception, would have been made righteous. This is not the fact. It is not true that all who die in Adam shall be thus made alive in Christ. The bible, therefore, declares that in Christ, all for whom he stood, and, consequently, for whom he died, shall be made alive, without exception.
The distinction made by some between ransomed and pardoned is a mere quibble upon words. The bible acceptation of the term ransomed, (upon which alone we are entitled to proceed) is sufficiently obvious from the following passages :- The ransomed of the Lord shall return with songs of everlasting joy upon their heads—Isa. xxxv. 10; “The Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand that was stronger than he'-Jer. xxxi. 11. Here it is employed as synonymous with redeemed; and who shall
say that the redeemed are not the pardoned ? Shall the ransomed slave continue under the might of the oppressor? or the ransomed captive rot out his existence in a dungeon ? No more can the ransomed of the Lord perish, nor any pluck them out of his hand.
WHENEVER Israel forsook God, God forsook them. With the loss of his countenance, their liberty and glory departed. We have a proof of this assertion in the beginning of the sixth chapter of the book of Judges : And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord: and the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian
seven years. And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel; and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strongholds. And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them; and they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza; and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass. For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number; and they entered into the land to destroy it. And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites.' The situation of Israel was now very deplorable. They had lost their independence, and almost their existence, as a nation. Encompassed by enemies, who were numerous as grasshoppers, dispersed and dispirited, and trodden, as they were, under the heel of oppression, how shall they regain their freedom? In what quarter of the firmament shall the star of deliverance arise ? Shall these cowards, who lurk ignobly in the mountains, assume the attitude of men, and act the part of patriots ? As soon expect the silly dove to emancipate itself from the talons of the eagle. Jacob never arose when he was small but by the mighty God of Jacob; and when the Lord appears for the deliverance of his people, it matters not how dark their prospects.
Man is often at a loss for instruments to effect his purposes: but this is never the case with God. Rather than his work shall stand, he will turn 'stones into children of Abraham. The individuals chosen by God, to carry his plans into execution, are not always such as men would have chosen. • Man looketh on the outward appearance'-to the high-descended, the wealthy, and the talented, as if these alone were capable of wielding the destinies of the world. But a higher nobility is often to be found in a cottage than in a palace, and the rustic's bonnet often covers as sound a head as ever was surmounted by the plume of a chieftain or the diadem of a king. And, when we look into the past history of the church, it is astonishing to find how many of God's most distinguished servants have been raised in obscurity. Long before this period, God had taken Joseph from the prison, where his feet were hurt with fetters, and he lay in irons,' to make him the premier of Egypt and the deliverer of Israel. Afterwards, he took the son of Jesse ‘from the sheepfolds, from fullowing the ewes great with young, and brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.' And, at a much later date, when the gospel of the kingdom was to be preached to all nations, he sent not for instruments to the orators in the Roman forum, nor to the conscript fathers in the senate. No: 'to make foolish the wisdom of this world,' he went down for his apostles to Galilee, the rudest district of Judea, and took the fishermen from their nets.
And now, when the enemies of Israel hung like a black cloud over the land, and the whirlwind of war was seemingly about to uproot, in its destructive course, the last remains of the chosen people, Jehovah
sought for a deliverer in the 'threshing-floor of Joash the Abi-ezrite.' The commission of Gideon being sanctioned, and his courage confirmed by a divine omen, he was commanded to throw down the altars of Baal. This command he obeyed, and erected altárs to the Lord in their room. Enraged at the dishonour done to their deity, the Midianites, Amalekites, and the children of the east, assembled to avenge the injury; and no doubt they said within their hearts,
Come and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel
may be no more in remembrance. But men can only do what God will permit them. The race is not always to the swift, nor is the battle to the strong.' And numerous as were the hosts of Midian, flushed as they were with former victory, and certain as they fancied themselves to be of present success, they were destined to be defeated, for they fought against more than man. “The Spirit of the Lord’ came upon Gideon, and the blast of his trumpet sounded like inspiration in the ears of his countrymen; it awoke the ancient valour of the land ; and they came from their caves, from their hills, and from their pastoral valleys,-fathers to fight for their children, sons for their parents—the young, that they might live in freedom—the old, that they might die in peace.
Assured of victory by a double sign, Gideon drew up his followers within sight of the enemy. The number of the Midianites is not specified, but it was undoubtedly greater than that of Israel, and Gideon would have been glad of a reinforcement. At this period, he received a command, which, had it not come from God, would have been the consummation of folly : “And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people are too many for me to deliver the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.' This command was in direct opposition to the first principles of the science of war. The fundamental principle of success in war is the concentration of the greatest force upon the point in danger, and of this force numbers, though not the only, are a principal element. Instead, however, of concentrating the forces of Israel, in order to gain the victory, God diminished them in the presence of the foe. “The people are too many for me to give the Midianites into thine hand. Too many, Lord ! are we not already a mere handful, compared with the enemy? Too many to be victorious ! The more numerous we are will your success be the more certain, and our victory the more complete. No, says God:
No, says God: The people are too many for me to give the Midianites into thine hands.' This does not mean that God wanted power to deliver by many as weil as by few. Physically considered, the greater their numbers, success was the more likely; but, morally considered, numbers were a bar to success ; for they were a bar to the forthputting of divine power in their behalf. God would have the glory of their deliverance secured to himself; and if it had been gained by a numerous host, though inferior to that of the enemy, it would have been claimed for the superior valour of man, and not ascribed to the arm of God: “Lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.'
By God's direction, means are therefore used to diminish the