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Anti-Christian powers, but all are agreed, and it appears from historical matters of fact, that they have made war with the saints and have overcome them for many years, and that the period of their continuance must be now drawing to a close. The sad effects of their tyranny are left on record in the bloodstained pages of the history of the by-gone ages of the Church. Among these records, we find that in the fourteenth century, one million of the Waldenses, the only pure Church in existence at that period, were slain with the sword: thirty-six thousand Protestants were put to death in the Netherlands in a few years. One hundred and fifty thousand were delivered over to the secular power by the Inquisition in the space of thirty years. In the memorable massacre of St. Bartholomew, several thousands were destroyed in Paris, in three or four days; and in the space of two months from that period, thirty thousand Protestants were murdered in cold blood, in the other cities of France. During another tremendous persecution in France, five hundred thousand Protestants were driven into banishment, while the prisons and galleys were filled with those who could not make their escape. Besides these, an immense multitude of Protestants were burned throughout Europe, and many in England, from the time of Wickliff to the accession of Queen Elizabeth. All these persecutions of the Church of Christ are on record, and appear to have been perpetrated by that Anti-Christian power described in the Revelations as the ten horned beast, all which will yet more fully appear, “ When the earth shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.”
Now though the spirit of persecution does not at present rage openly and unto blood, yet it evidently pervades every part of the world where Christianity is professed; and wherever there is an opportunity, it manifests itself with its usual bitterness, and shews what it would effect had it only the power.
And here I would mention a mistake which many seem to have made respecting the enemies of the Church of Christ: they appear to think that Popery and Mahometism are the only powers to be dreaded in the present day, and no doubt they are the two great apostacies which have exercised dominion for a predicted period, and over a considerable por. tion of the globe; but, “ there are many AntiChrists.” It is said that “ the whole world wondered after the beast; and they worshipped the dragon that gave
power unto the beast, and they worshipped the beast, saying, who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with the beast?”
And again it said, “ All that dwell upon the earth shall worship him ; whose names are not
written in the book of life, of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”—“ If any man have an ear, let him hear.” What the meaning of this mysterious prophecy may be, I shall ņot presume to say ; but I would ask, does it not seem to intimate, that all who are not true and sincere believers, who are not united to Christ by a living faith, walking with Him, and prepared to suffer for Him, will sooner or later prove, that though professing Christians, they never belonged to Christ ; that their spirit was that of his enemies, when in time of temptation they fall away; and “God sends them a strong delusion to believe a lie,” because they received not, they believed not the truth. This consideration holds out a warning to us and all professing Christians in the present day, and calls loudly on us all, to “ examine ourselves whether we be in the faith,” and “to prove ourselves, whether Christ is in us, or we be reprobates,” disallowed and rejected by him.
A trying and searching time may be at hand;" judge therefore yourselves brethren, that ye be not judged of the Lord;” and remember,
ye are his servants whom ye obey,” Christ, or Anti-Christ. I would endeavour to impress upon your minds, that the signs of the times are both solemn and alarming. The prophecies we have alluded to respecting the Church of Christ in her persecuted or wilderness state, have been
partly accomplished, and perhaps much does not remain to be fulfilled; and though as I before observed, it does not belong to us, to pronounce
" the times and seasons which the Father has put in his own power,” yet we must be blind indeed, if we cannot discern the signs of the present times. A most extraordinary spirit at this moment pervades every nation of Europe, and appears to be spreading throughout the world; and while it assumes the name and character of LIBERAL, and professes to raise its hand and voice only against arbitrary power, it has spread a flame which will not be easily extinguished; and raised a storm which seems to threaten the dissolution of all civil government, and the introduction of universal anarchy. And though we may hope better things of a British government, yet it is impossible to say
how long the ruling powers in any country, may continue to support the interests of true religion; and should our rulers fail to do so, and “ the foundations be thus destroyed, what can the righteous do ?” the believer can only reply in the language of the Psalmist, “ The Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord's throne is in Heaven, His eyes behold; His eyelids try the children of men; the Lord trieth the righteous," He chastens them for their good; “ but the wicked and him that loveth violence, His soul hateth; upon
the wicked He shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest, this shall be their portion to drink.”
These denunciations are not only threatened, but plainly foretold in the page of prophecy, concerning the latter days of the Church of Christ, and they seem to be at hand; some nations appear to be ripening apace for ruin : the vials of the wrath of God, are either pouring out, or are about to be poured out, on the AntiChristian powers, so that no enemy of Christ can escape. Infidels, whether in profession or in heart; heretics in name or reality ; self-righteous pharisees, and hypocritical professors of religion, all will fall indiscriminately under the rod of God's anger, “when He cometh to shake terribly the earth.”
It would appear from what is written, that in the shaking of the nations, only those would remain, who profess and maintain true religion, and who uphold the word and ordinances of God; who thus prove themselves to belong to the kingdom of Messiah, which is described in the Prophet Daniel, as “a great stone, a kingdom set up by the God of Heaven, which shall never be destroyed; but it shall break in pieces and consume all other kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever." O then let us, who are spared to this day, attend to present duties ; especially let us pray with earnest supplication for our king, that God “would so replenish him with