Page images
PDF
EPUB

coming, that men can walk together who differ on other points, while they accord in that blessed hope.I wish to encourage your circulation, and to multiply the number of your readers, and I ask the insertion of this, not for debate, but for the liberty of opinion to hold with our Lord : “ It is not for you to know the times, or the seasons, which the Father has put in his own power;" while I am with you expectant of his coming and kingdom.

HENRY DANA WARD. Shrewsbury, Mass., Nov. 15th, 1841.

[Signs of the Times.]

COMMUNICATION

Of Elder L. D. Fleming, read at the Second Advent Convention, New

York city, Oct. 27th, 1841.

DEAR BRETHREN :- In the providence of our heavenly Father who does all things well, I am permitted to meet with you on this occasion, which to me is fraught with deep interest. Were it practicable I should be happy to say much. But, deprived as I am of the power of speech, and having as it were but a few moments to commit my thoughts to writing, I shall on this occasion offer but little.

The theme that has called us together, is one of unutterable interest and importance; and to enter into the merits and spirit of it as its character demands, especially in this fastidious and unbelieving age, requires not a little faith-not a little moral courage-not a little self-sacrificing devotion, and uncompromising zeal. Entertaining the faith we profess, of the very near approach of the Saviour, the Lord from heaven, it seems to me, that, most emphatically, what we do, we must do quickly. What our hands find to do, we must do with our might. We are commanded to stir

up

each other's minds by way membrance, and so much the more as you see the day approaching. The might and force of this expectation is accumulating every hour. Yes, more and MORE as we see the day approaching.

Brethren, it is inost strikingly befitting us to heed this command. And, in assembling on this occasion, and all similar occasions, we are, I apprehend, stirring up each other's minds, and at the same time giving the midnight cry, “ Behold the Bridegroom cometh.But it is a lamentable truth, that amid all the signs both in heaven and earth, the deep slumbers that sit upon the church and the world are too slightly broken. But does the apathy of a slumber

of re

no means.

ing church, or the infidelity of a mercenary world, lessen in our minds the evidence of the near approach of the Saviour to take vengeance on the ungodly, and receive his weary bride home? By

Such a state of things is in perfect character with prophecy. God has ever taught by analogy, and still continues to teach thus. At the first advent of our Lord, the Jews were governed, in reference to it, by a carnal view of the subject. They were looking for the appearing of an ambitious prince, who should establish a temporal kingdom, and subject the whole world to them as a nation. In this they were disappointed. Their ambitious and selfish views blinded them to the truth, and incited in them a distaste for the gospel and its glorious promises. They loved their own chimerical notions better than the wisdom and goodness of God, as revealed by the true Messiah. When the apostles reasoned with them from the Scriptures, to show them that the life, and death, and resurrection of Jesus were the precise fulfilment of prophecy, they treated the subject with utter contempt. They rejected the counsel of God against themselves.

How is it with the church, as a general thing, at this time? There is a singular analogy between the spirit and expectations of the church at the present time, and the Jews, when Christ first appeared. The church is now entertaining carnal and ambitious views of a temporal millennium. It is calculating that the Saviour will soon make a spiritual appearance, through the influence of which the whole world will be brought into subjection to its reign. But, I ask, does this expectation comport with the declarations of Scripture on this subject ? By the sacred oracles of God we are informed that “the wheat and the tares are to grow together until the harvest.” That it shall be as it was in the days of Lot, of Noah, of Sodom and Gomorrah, &c. Things will proceed in an ordinary manner, until, suddenly, in an unexpected hour, “the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them who know not God and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Is it not strange, that with all these admonitions standing out in bold relief on the admonitory pages of the New Testament, staring us, as it were, full in the face at every step, I say, with all these, is it not singular that the church can calmly receive the opiate that deepens her slumbers ? Oh! what a strange delirium will sit upon her, when the shrill trump of the Archangel shall arouse her from her stupor, to realize the awful realities of the truth of the midnight cry. Too many, I fear, will awake, finding their lamps without oil, and be wholly unprepared to enter in to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

The coming of Christ in his glorious kingdom, was a theme that consoled the apostles and first churches amid all their tribulations. That the warfare of the church will be ended before the appearing of the Saviour, we have no promise. To that event the primitive

Christians all looked for the consummation of their hopes and their sufferings. The circumstances as contemplated in a temporal millennium, are wholly inconsistent with a state of discipline and probation. There can be no virtue without conflict-no victory without a struggle—no triumph without an engagement. The promises are made to none but those who fight the fight of faith, and overcome. The Master says, to him that overcometh, will I give to eat of the hidden manna," &c. Rev. ii17. “ He that overcometh and keepeth my words unto the end,” and verse 26—“He that overcometh shall be clothed in white raiment.” 6 Behold I come quickly.“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God.—To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me on my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set own with my Father on his throne.” Did Christ live as our example? As such, then, it was adapted to the wants of his people in the midst of temptation and conflict. Hence that example would be wholly useless and inappropriate to a millennium church. For these, there could be nothing to overcome, hence we could not be overcomers, so no promise would extend to us. But no, brethren, we are to live in conflict till the Master return. And to him that overcometh will he give a crown of life that will never fade away.

By anticipation we can now adopt the words of God by the prophet Isaiah : “ Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, for her warfare is (nearly) ended.” Yes—behold the Judge standeth at the door. Ìhe prayer that has so long been offered up, “ Thy kingdom come,will soon be answered. Hence, dear brethren, we should have our conversation in heaven; from whence also, we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. And when Christ who is our life shall appear, we shall also appear with him in glory. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air : and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.

Yes, to those who love his appearing, he will come the second time without sin unto salvation. If we are faithful our own eyes shall behold him. We shall see him for ourselves and not another. O, transcendent thought! Shall we see that head that was once crowned with thorns ?-Those feet that Mary washed with her tears, and wiped with the hair of her head? Yes, beloved, if we are faithful we shall soon see him, for he saith, “ Behold I come as a thief.Behold I come quickly! He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly-Amen.-Even so, come Lord Jesus." Newark, N. J., Oct. 26th, 1841.

[Signs of the Times.)

32 “BRETHREN, LOVE ONE ANOTHER.”

This exhortation of the beloved John was long and truly regarded by Christ's early disciples. They did love one another. The world saw it, and acknowledged it. They were united in constantly looking for their Lord's coming again from heaven, with his kingdom, to judgment. But now, and for some time past, the church has been looking, not for their Lord's personal and glorious coming, but for a thousand years or more, of peace, prosperity and triumph, on this old earth, still under the “curse,(Gen. iii. 17, 18; Rev. xxii. 3,) before the return of Christ with his kingdom, at the resurrection. And how great the present contrast also, in regard to their love to each other. Then they were united as one sect," though

everywhere spoken against ;and they_strictly watched against divisionsamong themselves. But now, see the Christian church alienated and severed into hundreds of divisions. And see them actually smiting each other “with the fist of wickedness," while saying My Lord delayeth his coming," till after they have had a millennium in this world. And now, even in the same sect, or one party, frequently the same hostilities exist. And many times, neighbors have lived together in peace till joining with these conflicting sects, when immediately they have become alienated, and apparently encouraged in such alienations by their not looking for their Lord's near coming to judge them.

And now, dear brethren in the faith and hope of Christ's near coming in his kingdom to judgment, let us imitate the primitive saints, not only in our looking constantly for this great and glorious event, but also in our firm union in the one body of Christ, and in our Christian affection for each other, though many of us as yet hold a standing with conflicting parties who look not for their Lord. It is hoped that the time is very near, when those professing to expect the Lord from heaven soon, will unite in brotherly love, and in their labors for the spreading of this quickening and heart-cheering doctrine of the “kingdom of heaven at hand.” I offer this remark, from having witnessed a disposition in some who also look for the advent near, not to co-operate in second advent labors with others of the same faith, because we do not understand the prophecies as foretelling the Jews' return, as they do. But if our own dear children were sound asleep on the rail-way, in the darkness of night, and the engine at hand, would we not at once, co-operate in efforts to rescue them as fast as possible, without a moment's delay, even if we had not agreed as to certain other things having nothing to do with this particular work? And so let us do for perishing men, in view of the " judgmentnow "to come"quickly."

[merged small][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »