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9. FORETOLD MIDNIGHT “CRY” NOW FAINTLY HEARD. In connection with the latter signs, the present midnight

cry," "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him," shows the coming of Christ and his kingdom to be

near, cven at the doors. Christ, in foretelling that such a midnight cry should be made, foretold his coming so soon after its being heard, that he revealed no time to come to pass after it, except for the wise to trim their lamps," on a waking to see the full sign of its being near. And as it appears, for the first time since the falling asleep of the church over the subject of her Lord's glorious return, there is now an awakening "cry" being publicly heard, farther, louder, and more distinctly, through the borders of Israel, proclaiming the expected near coming of Christ to judgment, than before since the falling away.

10. FORETOLD LAST-DAY SCOFFERS NOW APPEARED. The late appearance of bold scoffersin the church and ministry, at the blessed doctrine of Christ's coming at hand, positively proves the event hard upon us. Peter, in calling our attention to what the prophets and apostles of Christ have taught on the subject, would have us to know this first, that there shall be scoffers in the last days, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming ? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation."* Infidels out of the church have never done better than this, about Christ's second coming; but it is truly something new, and would have astonished the primitive saints, to have suddenly heard their brethren and teachers denying the coming of the Lord at hand, raising false arguments against it, and boldly scoffing at it, as now most fully come to pass in these “last days. We are not shocked at it, as we should have been, were it not for our own remains of unbelief on the subject, and our long established habits of feeling and acting with the multitude, as though the near coming of Christ were a fiction, rather than a solemn reality. The reason, doubtless, why this scoffing at the doctrine of the second advent has not thus appeared before, is because the doctrine of the advent itself has been kept so far in the back-ground, or under foot of the enemy, that he could not suffer these scoffs at the doctrine, because of its tendency to wake up some of the sleeping to blow the trumpet of alarm. But now, as the doctrine is beginning to be brought back to the church, like the ark of old, these opposing scoffs are the natural consequence; and they do most certainly fulfil, as

*2 Pet. iii. 3, 4.

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SIGNS OF CHRIST'S SECOND CODIING.

Peter says, the former and latter prophecies, that we are emphatically " in the last days," and that now, very soon, and perhaps before another annual Conference on this subject, the duy of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, and the carth and the works which are therein shall be burnt up."

BRETHREN OF THE CONFERENCE,—“Seeing, then, that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be, in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens, being on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless, we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.We see that this holy apostle considers this as a most heart-stirring doctrine, to awake us all to a life of all holy conversation and godliness.And have we any evidence that we believe it, or that we are the true followers of Christ, unless we actually do awake to a full sense of it, and to the fullest preparation for the event, even to the constant and hearty longing for it, that we may sincerely say, "As the hart pantcth after the water-brook, so panteth my soul after thee, O God;" and, “Come, Lord Jesus," come quickly.With this state of feeling, we shall naturally renounce altogether our unbelieving attachments to the joys of this quickly perishing world. Then, with martyr-spirits, we may consecrate ourselves, soul and body, talents, reputation, time, friends, property, and all entirely unto the Lord. Then may we all be profitable or consistent workers together with him, in the rapid and powerful promulgation of this true gospel of the kingdom throughout the earth, as it was preached far round about Jerusalem in the days of the first Christian martyrs, for the awakening of sinners to repentance.

*2 Pet. iii. 11, 12.

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The restoration, or return of the Israel of God to their own land," is abundantly revealed in the Scriptures, and probably admitted by believers generally; though admitted in their own way of understanding the words of ihe promise. And while they differ somewhat in certain matters of this return, they generally agree in giving it a very close connexion with the second coming of Christ in his glorious kingdom. There are two very common and prominent views now taken of this subject, even among ourselves who advocate Christ's coming and kingdom at hand. Some of us firmly believe that the Israel of the promise are the Jews, the literal descendants of Abraham,-ihat the land promised on the return is the country of Palestine, or forrner Canaan; and that the promised return or gathering is the literal going back of the natural Jews from all countries to that literal country. Those of us who advocate this view of the proinised return, do it only as a supposed indispensable preparatory step to the soon-expected coming of the Son of man with his everlasting kingdom. In thus doing, it is natural for individuals to feel that nothing can prepare the way for the Messiah's glorious return, until the Jews, as such, shall be thus removed to the land of Palestine. Accordingly, should we all adopt this understanding of the promise and engage in the work of preparation for it, and should we unite all our efforts in it; we should, in our own view, be laboring most directly and expressly in preparing the way for the Messiah soon to come.

But others of us, in looking out also for the now immediate coming of our blessed Lord to redeem, and finally deliver all his people, consider that the literal and unbelieving Jews have nothing to do with these restoration and returning promises. We consider, rather, that the Israel to whom all such promises are made, are God's true saints, or

Israel only by faith in Jesus Christ,—that the land of promise is a heavenly country,or this earth new-created, so as to become the promised new heaven and new earth,for their eternal abode; and that the promised restoration, or return of God's Israel, is the final gathering of God's saints, also called Israel, from all nations of the whole world, into this glorious "heavenly Jerusalem," at the resurrection of the dead, and second appearing of Christ, in which “ Jerusalemthey will all dwell and reign with him in their promised everlasting life, or forever and ever.

Thus, we consider this restoration, or return of Israel, to be one of the mighty events of Christ's second coming itself, and not as a lingering work done by mortals in the flesh, as only a preparation for it. In fearing to be found of our Lord among those who, in any way, say, "my Lord delayeth his coming,it naturally seems to us, that the theory of the unbelieving Jews' return, preparatory to the coming of Christ, is only as an imaginary mighty block before the chariot wheels of the Almighty; while, indeed, there is no such obstruction in the way of his coming suddenly as the lightning from heaven, to save his people, and to destroy his unbelieving enemies, both Jew and Gentile. And thus, it naturally seems to us, that such a hindering of ourselves to remove a mere imaginary impediment of the Lord's coming, must also, in an equal degree, hinder our necessary united and loud blowing of the trumpet in Zion, to " sound the alarm in God's holy mountain,” that "ull the inhabitants of the landmay tremble,in view of "the day of the Lord -NIGH at hand,or of Christ's coming, at the very "door,instead of its being off beyond the natural Jews' return to Palestine.

Of course, the view now to be taken of this subject, is, that the glorious return of the Messiah is now specially at liand, without any foretold literal return of such Jews first; and that these restoration, gathering and returning promises all belong rather to God's believing Israel or saints, who, at the now soon coming of Christ, are to return and come to " Mount Zion," " with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads," where “sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

In undertaking to establish this position, I proceedI. To show its harmony with some of the first principles of the oracles of God."

II. Its harmony with certain other scripture facts.

III. Its harmony with those returning promises, as explained by their several connexions. And,

IV. To show an apparent misapprehension in some of the

supposed most prominent arguments in favor of such a literal return.

I. I proceed to establish the position by showing its harmony with some of the first principles of the oracles of God.

1. It harmonizes with the scripture principle, that the very word Israel,” and its parallels, in the promise, mean the saints, and not the unbelieving Jews. In seeing that this is a true scripture principle, it will be remembered how Christ himself explained it, when the unbelieving Jews pretended that they were the true Israel, or children of Abraham; he told them boldly that they were rather of their "father the devil.And thus has an apostle decided the same question, by saying that he is not a Jew,or Israelite, who is one outwardly; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly;" that

they are not all Israel who are of Israel,or not all saints who

may call themselves so; and that “all Israeltruly, or all the saints, shall be saved,though not so of all the natural Jews. Further, he tells us that "they which are of faith," or are true believers," the same are the children of Abraham," or "Israeltruly; and that they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.And again, he says,

If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.And what a palpable contradiction it would then involve, to say, that the unbelieving Jews, of their " father the devil,are rather Abraham's seed, to inherit all these restoration and returning promises.

2. The position is proved by the scripture principle, that the divine promises made to a believing Israel, are quite too great and glorious to be inherited in a temporal Canaan, and can only be received in an everlasting "heavenly Jerusalem" or city of God. Without multiplying proof, as might be done exceedingly, in showing that this is a scripture principle, we have only to remember, that, as now shown, all true saints are the Israel of the promise, and that, as all the saints · agree, their own promise is for an everlasting rest in heaven, and not for a Palestine of this world. And further, the apostle sets this question beyond all appearance of doubt, in telling us of the seed of Abraham, as numerous as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand of the sea-shore innumerable ;" that these all died in faith," i. e. being true believers, "not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, were persuaded of them and embraced them, and confessed that they were pilgrims and strangers on the

Then the same apostle proceeds to call over by name, a catalogue of saints, including Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and many others, even " of whom the world was not

earth.

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