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The following Lectures have been prepared and preached without any concert between those who have taken part in them. They contain the individual testimony of each preacher to the truths of the everlasting Gospel, in their bearing upon the coming and kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. Some, whose privilege it was in former years to proclaim these truths, now sleep in Jesus. They wait with us for the realization of all their hopes at the coming of the Lord. Their privilege is now inherited by their brethren. God has not left Himself without witness. It is cheering to find that there is in the waiting Church an increasing desire to search the Scriptures, and that faithful men are rising up on every hand to call attention to the sure word of prophecy. This is matter for great thankfulness, because we know that this word is intended to be a light and safeguard until the dawn of that day when the Saviour will appear
as the hope of His people and the strength of the children of Israel.
There are some indeed who fear that increasing attention to prophetic truth may lead to serious evils : but it may be safely affirmed, as the result of the experience of those whose public testimony on this subject has been given for now eleven years, that the effect upon their own minds, has been to increase their reverence for the Word of God, to convince them of its plenary and verbal inspiration, and to lead them to very precious discoveries of the grace and glory of the Lord Jesus. To Him that word bears witness, for the Holy Ghost by whose inspiration it was written, is the glorifier of Christ and testifies of Him. The lessons of the revealed Word are never rightly learnt, unless as they lead us to the Incarnate Word. It is by the Bible alone that the preachers of the following Lectures would have all their statements tested and tried. They desire to search and investigate carefully and earnestly all that the Lord has revealed. But they have no theory to maintain that shall be found to be at all repugnant to His holy Word. Their appeal is to the law and to the testimony.
There is an unity of design and a harmony of truth running through the whole Bible. While sitting at the feet of Jesus, we hear the same lessons as are taught by prophets and apostles. He spake indeed as never man spake, but the utterances of His wisdom have been recorded for our instruction by the same Holy Ghost who moved holy men of old to speak concerning the things of the kingdom of God. When He exercised His public ministry it was His custom to speak unto the people in parables, and even to His disciples to whom it was given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, He intimated that there were many things which He would have communicated to them if they had been able to bear it. He might have told us much respecting His future kingdom which He has been pleased to conceal. The secret things belong unto Him. We should be rash and presumptuous were we to endeavour to know them. But the things which are revealed belong unto us and unto our children for ever. We should be slothful and disobedient were we to neglect or despise them.
It is well then, that having considered in former years the testimony of Scripture on various matters connected with the Lord's return, attention should be now specially directed to the teaching of our blessed Master in those parables which shew what He was wont to reveal concerning His coming and the end of the world. One portion of inspired truth will always be found to shed light upon the rest; and we may hope that the result of a patient and prayerful investigation of 'the deep things of God' contained in the parables, will be, that from the lips of Jesus we shall be permitted to learn that which will confirm us in the assurance of His love, in attachment to His person, and in adherence to His truth.
The grand preservative against prevailing errors and surrounding evil, is that we should abide in Christ, and that His words should abide in us. The disciples of the ancient philosophers were proud of the master who taught them, and gloried in being called by his name. Servants, sometimes, have been so attached to the families in which they have served that they have been unwilling to leave, even when the circumstances of the family were quite changed. The Levitical law made provision for this unwillingness, as if it were then a matter of not unfrequent occurrence. We have heard of soldiers so attached to their commander, that with their dying breath they have been heard to utter his name.
We know also of subjects attached to their sovereign in faithful allegiance and ready with all their hearts to render loyal and devoted service. Now it is important that there should be a constant testimony given forth to a world that will not give unto Jesus the honour due unto His name, that all the claims that teachers have on their disciples, masters on their servants, commanders on their