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“An eternal weight of glory.” “For our light affliction which is but for a moment worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." Oh, beloved, these certainties are worth pursuing ! When grasped, they will repay to the full all that has been passed through to obtain them. As a poor man we had called upon
the other evening, said, “ O Lord, we tread a zig-zag road, and, like Thy servant Job, find the way hedged up with hewn stones; yet Thou dost help us through and over all, and, by-and-by, we shall see and get home to our blessed Jesus."
Dear reader, art thou feeling it to be a "zig-zag pathway ?”! Never mind, it leads to Zion; it will end in a crown of glory, an immoveable kingdom, enduring substance, an abiding inheritance, precious treasure, an eternal weight of glory. “So run that ye may obtain.”
"Oh, for grace each day increasing
pursue my high career !
Till in glory
With my Jesus I appear.” And now, beloved in the Lord, in conclusion, let me remind you that, though you may be faint by the way, the Lord will still graciously uphold by His omnipotent power. Jesus is ever the same. Oh, how one's soul is stirred up to holy indignation at that God-dishonouring theme that one for whom Christ died can be lost, one for whom He shed His precious blood can perish by the way. Away with it! away with it! Why, if one could, why not all—and thus the scheme of salvation be a thing of nought? But not so; it is perfect and complete; therefore can we commend you unto Him who is able to keep you from falling, that He will grant you all the supporting grace you need, and preserve you unto His heavenly kingdom. Time is speeding, years are rolling away, eternity is nearing, but in Jesus all is safe and certain. Who can tell what this fresh year will unfold. We live in solemn times, and it may witness great changes, nationally, relatively, and personally. But the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. He who made all things is the Sustainer of all,
, and His children may depend upon it that His hand is in all.
Personally, beloved, doubtless some who read these words will be gathered home before January, 1870, others will be left following on, "faint yet pursuing.” Be it so; it is a right way terminating in glory, however pressed down during the pilgrimage. “The cross must be carried before the crown can be worn." The valley must be trodden before the mount of victory can be gained; but let us in all recollect that Gideon's God ever liveth, and will each saint to glory bring. He has led many of His own home safely; we are following in their trail.
“Then let us press on while the pages of time,
Yet open before us their records sublime,
We can follow the martyrs and worthies of old.”
Anecdotes and Extracts.
“The preacher sought to find out acceptable words."-ECCL. xii. 10.
ANTICHRIST AND THE PRESENT TIMES. MY DEAR BROTHER IN OUR BLESSED LORD.-I have for a long time wanted to send you a few extracts from John Bunyan's book, entitled “Of Antichrist and his Ruin,” as I consider them truly scriptural and very seasonable in the present perilous times. I said to a clerical brother, when Puseyism broke out, that it was, I believed, the beginning of the measuring of the temple, and the precursor of popery. We are now at the eleventh chapter of Revelation ; the measuring has begun, the distinction is now making between the spiritual and carnal worshippers. The outward want of nominal profession is being gained by the papists, who are to tread it down as Jerusalem is now trodden down (a most expressive word, to annihilate) by the Gentiles or Turks, for forty-two months, during which destruction the two witnesses are to prophesy or preach in sackcloth, or a state of mourning, as Ezek. ix. 4. But I need not intrude my opinion with the two learned witnesses I now quote. I only pray that God may bless their testimonies for opening the eyes of many Churchmen and Dissenters who are ignorantly voting for those who are helping the Beast of Rome. I remember the days which are past, when Wm. Huntington sent from his congregation every year a petition against altering the Test Act and granting the Roman Catholics emancipation, and I have read what Doctor Goodwin, Doctor Gill, and Doctor Hawker (the last great light in Sardis) have written upon these days; but our refuge is in the chambers of close and secret communion with the Lord of hosts (Isaiah xxvi. 20, 21). And our mercy is, the Lord will not suffer the righteous to be moved from the truth; for He hath set their feet upon the rock (Psalm xl. 2), and will not suffer them to be moved (Psalm lxvi. 9, and cxxv.). Glory be to His holy name.
I remain, very affectionately yours in faith and love, Thornton Vicarage.
OF ANTICHRIST, BY JOHN BUNYAN. 1692. ANTICHRIST is the adversary of Christ an adversary really—a friend pretendedly; so, then, Antichrist is one that is against Christ--one that is for Christ and one that is contrary to Him; and this is the mystery of iniquity. Against Him in deed—for Him in word, and contrary to Him in practice. Antichrist is so proud as to go before Christ-so humble as to pretend to come after Him-and so audacious as to say that himself is He. Antichrist will cry up Christ. Antichrist will cry down Christ. Antichrist will proclaim that himself is one above Christ. Antichrist is the man of sin—the son of perdition-a Beast that hath two horns like a lamb, but speaks as a dragon.
Antichrist, therefore, is a mystical man, so made or begotten of the devil, and sent into the world, himself being the chief and highest of him. Three things, therefore, go to the making up of Antichrist-the head, body, and soul. The devil, he is the head-the synagogue of Satan is the body—that wicked spirit of iniquity is the soul, of Antichrist. Christ is the Head of His Church-the devil is the of Antichrist; the Elect are the Body of Christ-the reprobate professors are the body of Antichrist; the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of life that acteth Christ's Body—that wicked spirit of iniquity is that which acteth the body of Antichrist.
Antichrist had a time to come into the world, and so must have a time to go out again; and this the head of Antichrist understandeth very well (Rev. xii. 12; 2 Thess. ii. 8).
The first and chief proceeding of the Lord with the man of sin is to slay his soul, that his body may also be consumed. I do not intend things that only respect matters of worship, but those civil laws that impose and enforce them also.
We come now to the body or flesh of Antichrist, for that must be destroyed also, either as a body mystical or. under the more gross consideration (Rev. xviii. 21); wherefore you find that after Antichrist, as to the spirit and mystery of Antichrist, is slain, that the body of Antichrist, or the heap of people that became her vassals, begin a new war with the King whose name is the Lord of hosts (Rev. xvii. 19). Now therefore is the last stroke, and only the head of this monster remains, and that is Satan himself (Rev. xx. 1—3). There will be a strange alteration when Antichrist is dead, and that both in the Church and in the world. Then there shall be no Canaanite in the house of the Lord; no lion shall be there; no unclean tread in the paths of God's people; but the ransomed of the Lord shall walk there (Isa. xiv.).
The manner of this downfall of Antichrist will be sudden-unexpected -terrible (Rev. xviii. 7, 8; Ezek. xxxi. 16, 17; Isa. xiv. 11, 12); but I shall not enlarge upon this, but show you the manner with respect to the gradual way, or by degrees—a part after a part, piece by piece, step by step (Isa. li. 31). This is shewed by the vessels or vials which letteth out what is contained in them by degrees.
The downfall or ruin of Antichrist draws near when the Church and people of God are driven from all those hiding-places that God has prepared for them in the wilderness; when the time of the ruin of Antichrist draws on, then is the Church deprived of her shelter, having no more place in the wilderness—that is, among the nations, to hide herself from the face of the serpent. The time of the Beast's war with the Church of God, and the time that the Church shall have a hiding-place in the wilderness are both of a length—the one continuing forty-two months, the other one thousand two hundred and threescore days. When we, therefore, shall see that plots and conspiracies that design for utter ruin are laid against God's Church all the world over, and that none of the kings, princes, and mighty states of the world will open their doors, or give them a city for refuge, then is the ruin of Antichrist, at hand. There is one thing that can give me a show of doubt about this thing, and that is whether the time of this war against the saints and the woman's shelter in the wilderness began at the same time. I suppose they did commence much together, else with whom should this beast make war, and how should the Church escape ? what needed the woman to have a place of shelter in the wilderness, when there was no war made against her? Yet this must be, if her thousand two hundred and threescore days begin before the Beast's forty-two months; but they ended together, for the Beast could not kill the witnesses before they had finished their testimony, which testimony of theirs lasted this full time that the Beast had granted him to make war with them, to wit, one thousand two hundred and threescore days. Wherefore let God's people consider and remember that when God's Church is absolutely forlorn, and has no hiding-place any longer in the world, the kingdom of Antichrist will quickly begin to tumble.
Another sign of the approach of the ruin of Antichrist is this,towards the end of her reign the nations will be made to see her baseness and to abhor her and her ways.
A third sign of the approach of the ruin of Antichrist is this, when Babylon is become the habitation of devils, &c. True, Babylon was always a habitation for devils, but not a habitation only for them. The meaning then is, When you shall see the Church and people of God 80 forsake her that she is left in a manner to herself when you hear it proclaimed Jer. li. 8, 9.
Fourthly. Another sign of the approach of the ruin of Antichrist is the slaying of the witnesses; for the witnesses are to be slain before the fall of Antichrist, and that by the hand of the beast: not a man, but a beast must slay them, a den of thieves, a hold of foul spirits must do it (Ezek. v. 20—24), by the men who have the mark and image and number of the name of the beast.
Rev. xi. 7. We read that he made war against them all the time of their prophesying in sackcloth, and his commission was that he should have leave to make war so long; but we read again that when they had finished their testimony, and consequently he had run out the time of his first commission for war, he makes war again. By the first war he sought to beat down and overthrow their testimony; by this war he seeketh to overthrow themselves. The first war was grounded upon a vain confidence of his ability to destroy their faith; but this last was grounded upon madness against them, because their testimony had prevailed against him. All the time of their prophesying in sackcloth, which will be a thousand two hundred and threescore days, they overcame him by their faith and testimony; but now in this second war he overcomes them and kills them. Saints are not said to be overcome when they are imprisoned, banished, and killed, for their faithful testimony; no, by those things they overcome. To overcome them is to get the mastery, to subdue, to turn out of possession, to take and hold captive, to strip the subdued of power and privilege, as is sufficiently manifest both by Scripture and reason; for of whom a man is overcome, of the same he is brought in bondage : they shall grow faint before him, have no heart or spirit to bear up in their profession against him-against him, I say, as she did the thousand two hundred and threescore days' war with him, for then they were overcomers. Nor do I wonder at this, when I consider that these witnesses are a succession of good men, and that when Israel came out of Egypt, the feeble and weak-minded did come behind. It will be the lot therefore of the Church in the latter end of the reign of the Beast to be feeble and weak in their profession; the valiant ones have gone before, these will come in when those that were able have bravely borne their testimony; in comparison of whom they that come after will be but like eggs to the cocks of the game, wherefore they must needs be crushed and overcome, then will the Beast boast himself as did his type of old (Isa. x. 13). A sad time, and it is o happen to the
. people that are left.
“ And shall overcome them.”—There are two ways of overcoming, to wit, by power and policy; and perhaps by both these ways they may be over
The Church of God at that day will be under such a cloud as she never was since Christ's day. Now how long they shall be thus held captive before they are brought to execution; whether the Beast will ride in triumph while they are in his bounds, or whether he will suddenly kill
them, time and observation and experience must make manifest. But kill them he shall, that's most certain, for so says the Holy Ghost.
In this method, therefore, God will suffer the Beast to proceed with the Church of God. He shall war against them, but that is not all, he shall overcome them ; but that is not all, he shall overcome them and kill them. Not in a carnal or natural, but in a mystical sense; for, first, they are called witnesses ; secondly, they are put under the number of two, my two witnesses, both which are to be mystically taken : a mystical death suiteth best with their state and condition, which is mystical, besides, when they did overcome, they slew their enemies with the fire or sword of their mouth (Rev. xi. 9); so that (at least, so I think) there will be such ruin brought both upon the spirit of Christianity and the true Christian Church state before this Antichrist is destroyed, that there will be for a time scarce be found a Christian spirit or a true visible living Church of Christ in the world ; nothing but the dead bodies will be to be seen of the nations, nor them either, otherwise than as so many ruinous heaps. For the love that I bear to the Church of Christ, I wish as to this I may prove a false prophet; but this looks so like the text, and also so like the dispensations of God with His Church of old, that I cannot but think it will be so. The text supposeth that they had yielded up as dying men do their souls, their spirit of life into the hands of God; for it saith concerning them that at their resurrection the spirit of life from God entered again into them (Rev. xi. 11 ; Ezek. xxxvii. 9).
As I said, since in death the body doth not only lie dead, but the spirit of life departs therefrom, it is to show that not only their bodies, their Church state, shall die, but that spirit of life that acted those bodies shall be taken up to God. There shall for a time be no living, visible Church of Christ in the world—a Church, but no living Church as to Church state ; a Church in ruins, but not a Church in order, even as there was once a Christ, but no living Christ, in the grave. Yet the gates of hell shall not prevail to an utter overthrow, no more than they prevailed to an utter overthrow of Christ; but as one did, so shall the other, revive and rise again, to the utter confusion and destruction of their enemies. Yea, and as Christ after His resurrection was, as to His body, more glorious than He was before, so the witnesses after their resurrection shall be more spiritual, heavenly, and exact in all their ways than they were before they were killed.
Yet the beast shall not altogether have his will (if that at all was his will), that these witnesses in this second war should be conquered to a compliance with Antichrist in his foolish and vain religion, for it is not with dead men to comply. When the Jews had killed Christ, it was beyond all the art of hell to cause that body of His to see corruption; so when the beast has killed the witnesses, he shall not be able to corrupt them with any of his vices. Hence, you find, that not the witnesses, but the dwellers upon the earth, were those that danced after the devil's pipe when he had fulfilled their number.
By all that I have said I do not deny but that many of the people of God may die corporeally by the hand of the beast in this second war; but should as many more die, that will not prove that that death will be that that by the killing of the wituesses is intended.
This victory of the Beast shall not invalidate or weaken their testimony, no, not in the eyes of the world, for they will still remember and have a reverence for it; this is intimated by this : "that they of the people, and