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work before him!' The issue is: the church shall become 'a holy people, the redeemed of the Lord and she shall be called, Sought out, a city not forsaken.'
It is thus that the sublime passage under consideration is introduced. It is not enough to say, the Salvation of Zion will come; but we are presented, as it were, with a sight of Him, glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength, declaring to his admiring people, that the day of vengeance is in his heart, and the year of his redeemed, the jubilee of the church is come!
Then follows a penitential confession of the jewish church, which is supposed to be overwhelmed and melted into repentance by his great goodness, and the multitude of his loving kindnesses towards them, amidst all their disobedience and rebellion against him. It is not difficult to perceive from hence, that the prophecy is yet to be fulfilled. But another source of evidence of the same thing may be taken from the nineteenth of the Revelation, where many things, as already noticed, are borrowed from this passage. As in Isaiah, so here we see a glorious personage in warlike attire: His name is Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. He is clothed in a vesture dipped in blood, and treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of almighty God.' The fowls of heaven are called together to eat the flesh of kings, and of captains, and of mighty men, and of horses, and of them that sat on them, and of men both free and bond, small and great. The issue of this dreadful war is, that the beast and the false prophet are taken; Satan is bound, and Christ reigns.
But little if any doubt, I think, can be entertained of the events in these two passages being the same, and of their being designed to describe the tremendous wars by which the great Head of the church accomplishes the ruin of antichrist. Behold, he cometh as a thief: blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.'
Influence of the Conduct of Religious people
ON THE WELLBEING OF A COUNTRY.
THE 21st of Sep. 1803 was fixed upon, by several dissenting ministers in London, as a day of fasting and prayer on account of the state of the nation ;* and they expressed a wish that their brethren in the country would unite with them. Being at one of those meetings in the country, I was forcibly struck with an idea suggested in a passage of scripture which was read on that occasion. It was Isai. v. 5. And now, go to: I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down.'
I had often heard it observed, from the intercession of Abraham in behalf of Sodom, and other scriptures, that God might spare a country for the sake of the righteous few; but never recollect hearing it noticed before, that the sins of professing christians might also be the principal cause of a nation's overthrow. Certainly the church is here represented as God's vine, the grand object of his care. He fences it by his providence, cultivates it by the means of his grace, and looks that it should bring forth grapes, or fruit to his glory. But if instead of this it bring forth wild grapes, what inducement can he have to continue the fence?
I am more afraid, said the minister on the above occasion, on account of the sins of my country, than from the threatenings of the enemy: and I am much more afraid
* Several days of public fasting and prayer were voluntarily held by the dissenting body, at distant intervals, during the war with revolutionary France; and this in 1803 was in contemplation of the French invasion.
for the sins of professing christians in my country, than I am for those who are openly profane. It is true, they are wicked, and will not go unpunished: but God does not look to them for fruit in such a manner as he does to us. If the hedge be taken away, and the wild boar of the wood suffered to enter in and destroy, I fear it will be principally, though not wholly, on our account. Our ingratitude, lukewarmness, worldly-mindedness, animosities, divisions, scandals, and other evils, may be more offensive to God, than all the wickedness of the land besides.
If these remarks be just, what a weight lies upon the religious part of a nation; who either prove, like Paul, the salvation of them that sail with them; or like Jonah the principal cause of the storm!
REFLECTIONS ON THE EPISTLE OF JUDE.
Extracts of a Letter, during the alarm of an Invasion in 1803.
I HAVE been much struck of late, in reading the Epistle of Jude; and think I see there the very character of some of our modern democrats.* (1) They were wicked men; yet they crept in unawares amongst religious people, ver. 4.-(2) They were apostates from the truth, after the example of the devil himself, ver. 5, 6.—(3) They were lascivious characters, given over to fornication and all uncleanness, ver. 7.-(4) They were despisers and depreciators of civil government, using language concerning their superiors which an angel dare not use of the devil himself, ver. 8, 9.—(5) Their real object, whatever
*See Morris's Memoirs of Mr. Fuller, p. 71.
were their pretences, was the hope of plunder and of power, ver. 11.-(6) The admission which some christians gave them into their churches, was to their reproach, ver. 12.-(7) They are characters whose society we should avoid, as we tender our own salvation; for the course which they steer leads to perdition, ver, 12, 13..
[Its having been suggested by a correspondent, that the characters described by Jude were apostates from the truth, and not the enemies of the state, the subject had nothing to do with civil government; and that as the fatal consequences of Cain's impiety, of Balaam's covet ousness, and Corah's rebellion, are adduced by the apostle as a warning to those in his day; it must allude to the rejection of divine authority, and the government which God has established in his church. This objection elicited from Mr. Fuller the following defence and modification of his previous statement.]
It is certainly true, that the error of Balaam,' Jude 11, was not jacobinism, and that the sin of Cain and of Corah was not committed against civil government. But on a reperusal of the Epistles of Peter and Jude, it does not appear to me that civil government can justly be excluded from the things against which these men set themselves. There is nothing surprising that they should despise and set themselves against all that which set itself against their lusts, which every species of legitimate authority did, whether civil or ecclesiastical. It is thus interpreted by all the expositors and lexicons to which I have access. They admit indeed that the passage referred to in 1 Pet. ii. 10, proves a part of their opposition and contempt to have been directed against Christ, and the authorities in his church; but consider other parts of it as directed against civil government. The term rendered government or dominion,' in 2 Pet. ii. 10 and Jude 8, is never applied, I believe, to ecclesiastical authority, but either to that which subsists among the different orders of angels, or to civil government amongst men. Ephes. i. 21. Col. i. 16.
Christ, it is true, exercises all authority and dominion; but the dignities which they blasphemed, do not seem to relate to his spiritual authority. Moreover, the argument used by the apostle Jude in ver. 9, seems to imply that the authority or dominion, against which these men set themselves, had in it a mixture of evil, which afforded them a handle for running it down. Jude's answer is, Be it so, that it has a great many evils attending it, as administered by wicked men; yet an archangel, when speaking to the worst of beings, did not dare to use such language as theirs. The answer supposes that to exist which did not exist in Christ's spiritual government, nor yet in the ecclesiastical government of the church at that time; but which might well be supposed to exist in the imperial government of Rome, under which the early christians suffered so much persecution.
I HAVE been much edified by some things which appeared in print, respecting the present state of our country, especially by those which have been directed against what may with propriety be called Political self-righteousness. I am persuaded this is a sin which cleaves closer to men, and even religious men, at the present time, than most of us are aware of; and that we are more in danger from it, than from almost all our other national sins put together.
I have heard it said in conversation, when the sins of the nation have been mentioned as a ground of fear, 'True; but we are not so bad as our enemies.' Mr. Robert Hall, in his fast sermon lately published,* has shown,
* "Sentiments proper to the present Crisis." Oct. 19th 1803.