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H AVING gone through all the dreadful * and glorious things which are to take place until the new
heaven and earth shall be created, and the new Jerusalem come down, when Christ shall deliver up the kindom, and have his throne and kingdom in the new Jerusalem forever. I now proced,
III.... To consider the duty enjoined on all by the apostles in the text, mentioned in page 14, of this work, viz.... To take beed to the prophecies until the day dawn and the day star arise.
In this proposition are two things;
1. The duty enjoined, which is to take heed to the word of prophecy, as a light shining in a dark place, until the day
dawn and the day fiar arife. To2. Doing this, is doing well.
1. We will consider the duty enjoined, which is constantly * to take heed to the fure word of prophecy, as to a light shining in a dark place,
In the verses before this, the apostle had given his brethren the reason why he and the other apostles, had given such dire&ions to the brethren concerning the manner in which they ought to conduct as pilgrims on the earth, “We have not followed cunningly devised fa. bles when we '
made known to you the power and com. ing of our Lord Jesus Chrift; but were eye-witnesles of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory,this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased, and this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount."
Notwithstanding the apostles heard the voice of God te Christ in the mount, and were eye witnesses of the glory which Chrif bad, yet, he considered that his brethren had fomething more sure than that, which was the proc. phecies, which went before, testifying of that very glory: which the apostles faw, and which the faints then enjoyas ed.
What the apostles preached, was not a plan, or fable, . which they had devised, and imposed on their brethren: and the world ; the prophets hundreds and thousands of years before had spoken of these things which they ? preached concerning falvation. The prophecy is confid i ered the sure word, and a light shining to as in this worlds which without it would be a dark place,
The nature of the prophecies ; those which have been :) fulfilled, and fuch as are fulfling at the present day, prove that all the prophecies are true. There are several things which have prevented people from attending to i the duty enjoined in the text, some of which I will med tion.
1. Many people though they consider the prophecies true, yet do not consider that they mean as they say, is they suppose there is a spiritual meaning, (as it is term *} ed) or that the scriptures mean something more than is expressed ; if this be the case how can the prophecies bei a light shining in a dark place?
This plan was invented by Origen, who lived in Aly exandria in Egypt, about fifteen hundred years ago He said that those who understood the scriptures as they read, could not be saved; in this way the fcriptures, have it been laid aside for other books, and the prophecies of 1 great and glorious things to 'come, are confidered, as re.. fering to the experience of believers, or to what a party spirit is in love with. In this way the 1 beauty, excellence, and glory of the prophecies is laid i; afide.
In order to take heed to the prophecies as a light, weii! must consider that they mean as they say; and that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation, !' The plain sense of the prophecies is ceretainly the bette: 1
If we do not consider them in this way, the vision of all will be as a sealed book instead of a light. In this way the propheciesare confidered by many in the present day, according to what is said in Ifa. xxix. 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, . 14, 15, 16, “Stay yourselves and wonder, cry ye out; and cry , they are drunken, but not with wine ; they ftagger, but not with strong drink. For the Lord hath: poured out upon you 'the fpirit of deep jeep, and hath closed your eyes į the prophets and your rulers, the feers. hath he covered. And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, faying, read this, I pray thee; and he faith I cannot ; for it is sealed:
And the book is delivered to him that is not learned; faying, read this, I pray thee; and he faith - I am not learned, Wherefore the Lord faid, forasmuch as this. people draw near to me with their mouth, and with their . . lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear towards me is taught by the precept of men; therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a mar. velous work among this people, even a marvelous work, and a wonder ; for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. Woe to them that dig deep to hide their coun fel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark ! and they say, who feeth us? and who knoweth us? Surely: your turning things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay."
Had the prophet Isaiahi lived in this day, and lived in. New England, he could pot have given a more exact defcription of priests, rulers, and people, in this country than is given in these verses.
1. He describes the prophets; rulers, and feers, as in a ftate of drunkenness, and stupidity ; this is the case with those who are called ministers in this country beyond. what ever it was fince New England was settled.
In former years they were active, in firing up the government to make laws to hang the Quakers, ur bank ish the baptists, enforce uniformity, make platforms, or put those in execution already made ;. but how differ
ent is it now? At the present day, there is now and then a folitary pamphlet upon sprinkling babes, sometimes, ap ordination, or election fermon, but in general, a deep Sleep appears among the rulers of the people. , ni
2. Befides all this, the scriptures of the prophets,or the prophecies are become to the learned and unlearned as a seal ed book. The prophecies, a light in a dark place, which we are commanded to take heed unto, is thought to contain things which we ought not to fearch after in the view of people in general. When these learned men are asked the meaning of the prophecies; they have at once a plea for their ignorance, it is a sealed book," (is their reply) which learned men do not know the meaning of. These men talk much about revealed religion ; but ask them the meaning of revelation, and at once they call revelation something that is hidden from mortals. When the un. learned are asked the meaning of the prophecies, their reply is, “I am not learned, I cannot tell you what it means," thus between the learned and unlearned, the enquirer learns, that the learned, (as they are wrongly called) are as ignorant of the prophecies, as the unlearned.
3. The consequences of all this is, that the scriptures, (a fealed book to them) is laid aside, and the fear,or our duty to God is taught by the precepts of men, becanse mens' precepts can be understood. The consequence of all this is, we have articles upon articles, platforms, upon platforms ;-creeds upon creeds ;-covenants upon covenants ;-catechisms upon catechisms ;-bodies and systems of divinity, upon bodies and systems ;-associations upon association ; miffionary plans, upon missionary plans-instead of the word of God line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. All chete things are facts. i , : 4. Notwitbftanding all this, the Lord will proceed, to
do a marvelous work and a wonder ;, he will cause the # wisdom of the wife to perish, and the understanding of the
prudent to be hid. All this is taking place in the prelent day, and particularly in New Englanda iki u
How little are the doctrins and commandments of men regarded now, to what they were a few years ago. How are the human forms of men tumbling to peices, in different parts of our country. How little are those men reverenced, who have the impudence to file them. felves the reverend ! &c.-How is their wisdom perishing! How is their understanding hidden ! like stars hid. den by the greater light of the fun. They are constantly leaving the assemblies of the people, especially, where the most of the light of the scriptures is received. They seek to hide their counsels from the Lord, and their works are in the dark. As soon as the light of ihe scrip, tures come, they are afraid, left their works will be difcovered. The light is to them as the terrors of death. - What a wonderful and marvelous thing is done in this country, within a few years ! How are men freed from the precepts of men,those shakles of soul and body. Al. most every state in the union is free from tyranny, under the name of religion. .
How marvelous is the conduct of the legislature of Vermont. No longer ago than O&tober 1807, the gener. al affembly repealed all laws respecting religion in the state ; fo that no man is obliged to pay a tax to the clergy. This has set the clergy on float, while their cry is, religion is coming to nothing-A religion which human law upholds. ; 5. The Lord tells those who conduct in this manner
that they are turning things upside down, and that it is · not good. By laying aside the true meaning of the
fcriptures ; they have turned another side to the people from what is meant. The consequence of all this is, people are become so expert, that each one can prove from the fcriptures what he wishes to believe. People in general from this notion, have learnt enough, to make out that the scriptures abound in contradictions ; because cach one wilhes to fupport his plan from the scriptures, and as they are taught that the scriptures do not mean. as they fay, each one makes a meaning to please himself, but this is not taking heed to the sure word of prophecy as unto a light shining in a dark place,