Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

1

the interpretation of the 15th verse: “ And I will execute vengeance and anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard” (Micah v. 15). And it doth but remain that I should open the intervening verses, which announce the final and complete abolition of all superstitions and idolatries from the midst of the people and the land for ever.

These are delivered in order-witchcrafts, soothsayers, graven images, standing images, and groves. Now it is very remarkable, that God, in taking witness against the Israelites at the time he gave them into the hand of the king of Assyria, doth enumerate, as their capital offences, those very things which he now cutteth off from the midst of them, as a step preparatory to his dwelling amongst them for ever: “And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the Lord their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced cities. And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree : and there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the Lord carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the Lord to anger: for they served idols, whereof the Lord had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing” (2 Kings xvii. 9–12). The Lord doth not change his ordinances, but standeth to them for ever ; and accordingly, when his people come up to inherit a blessing, and possess the Lord their God for ever in the midst of them, they must first of all conform themselves to his holy and pure commandments, of which the first and chiefest is, “ Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” This is the eternal condition of peace and blessedness, and cannot be abrogated for ever.

Under the head of “ witchcrafts" we understand all sorts of sorcery

and enchantments which are handled with the hand : “ I will take away thy witchcrafts out of thine hands.And that there are rites unholy, and sacrifices and doctrines of devils, whereby evil spirits are moved to give men power supernatural, I have no doubt; and can have none, while I believe the word of God, which expressly declareth, and forbiddeth under the highest penalties, the practice of such abominations. Thus the Egyptian magicians wrought, withstanding Moses; thus the witch of Endor wrought; and for this working the people of Israel were cast out: and thus the whore of Babylon, which is the Papal church, worketh still; and doubt have I none that her miracles were, in respect of power, true ; in respect of the origin of them, diabolical : and when our Reformers rejected her miracles with her doctrines, they did right; but if they rejected miracles as the attendant upon the true doctrine of the church, they did wrong.

Nevertheless I believe, that, as the

true church was in the midst of the Papacy, and there only till the Reformation, many true miracles were performed by the pious, through right faith in the name of Jesus; but that the mass of them, and especially those which swarmed around monasteries and cathedrals, were either juggling deceptions, or supernatural powers wrought in the faith and to the glory of Satan. And I further believe, that we stand upon the edge of a great manis festation of the same devil-working, if we be not already in the midst of it, practised under the name of animal magnetism: for Christ hath warned us to be on our guard, immediately before his appearing, against false Christs and false prophets, who shall do great signs and wonders, such as would, if it were possible, deceive the very elect. These false prophets I parallel with the soothsayers, a people who profess to speak truth without any mixture of error; speaking in the name, not of man, but of a superior power, which they worship as their god. And this I conclude from observing them set in contrast with the Prophet whom the Lord was to raise up, and to whom the children of Israel were to hearken: “ There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord : and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God. For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners : but as for thee, the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee so to do. The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; according to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb, in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not (Deut. xviii. 10–16). These various orders of false prophets all profess to speak truth, and only truth; whereas that belongeth only to Christ, and to them whom Christ moveth by his Spirit. The Pope claimed this as his right, and so did his councils of priests, investing themselves with truth as a property of their place and function; whereas it is a property only of the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Christ, speaking in his members; and therefore Babylon is said to have deceived the world with her sorceries. Not but that the church hath given to her the knowledge of certain and infallible truth, but that this she hath only in the possession of the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, and not from sitting in the see of Rome, or filling office under the old anarch who sitteth there. That there were to be true prophets in the church, is beyond all question; and that there was to be in every Christian a capacity of distinguishing a true prophet from a soothsayer, is also beyond all question. And at the time when the Reformers came boldly forth to denounce the Pope and his Antichristian synagogue, had they been as careful to know the fulness of Christ and his church, and gone on boldly to ask and seek and knock, and importune God, for the completeness of the Holy Ghost, verily they should not have been without as large a measure of the prophetic gift as ever existed in the days of the Apostles : and that, in spite of their limited creed, they had a very considerable outpouring thereof, is clear from their personal history, especially of those who, in our dear Scotland, were shaken loose of natural resources and protectors, and driven in upon their faith in Jesus Christ. That the children of Israel were driven out, and have been kept afar off from God, in consequence of their wizard-ways, is clear, not only from the passage quoted above out of the Second Book of Kings, but from the following passage of Isaiah, wherein their starvation and misery and despair are all traced to their forsaking Jesus and his disciples, who were set for signs and wonders, in order to follow after all manner of wicked enchanters and diviners:“ Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion. And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep and that mutter : should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. And they shall pass through it hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward. And they shall look unto the earth ; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish ; and they shall be driven to darkness (Isaiah viii. 18-22). Nor shall their woful and desperate case cease until they hearken to that Prophet like unto Moses whom God hath now of a long time raised them up, and, acknowledging Him for the only faithful and true Witness, of whose fulness Moses received (“ for the law came by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ”), they shall be anointed with his Spirit of truth, and become themselves prophets of truth :.“ For in that day the Spirit shall be poured out upon all flesh; and their sons and their daughters shall prophesy, and their young men shall see visions, and their old men hall dream dreams; and upon their servants and their handmaidens shall the Lord pour out of his Spirit, and they shall prophesy.”

With these ministers of demons and their unclean rites shall

[ocr errors]

per

depart away all their sacred places, idols, and gods of every name. These places were chiefly the groves, in commemoration of that sacred grove planted of God, where Satan won his great victory over man, and brought desolation upon the world. Nor would they conform to the way of God, who required to be worshipped in a house, and on a chosen hill, in a chosen city. Therefore God took up his controversy against the groves, and shall not cease until he hath utterly abolished superstition and will-worship, and brought the whole world to worship him at his holy hill, which is Mount Zion, in Jerusalem. And their idols, whether molten, to be carried up and down, or standing, to be worshipped in particular places, with all the shrines, fanes, altars, temples, consecrated cities, mountains, and groves, shall be abolished utterly, and for ever, from the land of Israel: God will not mit a vestige of the superstition to remain ; all must give place to that pure worship of his holy temple, which is set forth by the Prophet Ezekiel, immediately upon the destruction of Gog and Magog. There is a time and a season, during which they wait for their God; stripping themselves of all false religion, and of all natural defences, they stand waiting and abiding for their God ;-a time of expectation and desire, during which it is likely that Elias cometh to them, to order all things according to the mind of the Lord, to settle and to plant them according to their tribes, to turn the hearts of the children to the fathers, lest the Lord come and smite the earth with a curse. While this season of purifying and cleansing their state and constitution as a nation is proceeding, the nations shall gather against them amain, and they shall wait in patience the gathering storm of

Then God shall reward their patient expectation and constancy, by consuming the nations which come up against them, in his anger; and having, in the manner that hath been said above, gathered all the relics of his people, so that there shall not be one wanting, he doth then begin to build the temple, even He whose name is The Branch, and to order all things according to his own heavenly mind. This done, the new Jerusalem descendeth from heaven, bringing with it the presence and the power of God, the glorified saints and their glorified King; who, possessing the spiritual glory of God, and the completeness of his power, do exercise it over the heavens and the earth: over the former by the ministry of the invisible creation, the angelic hosts ; over the latter by the ministry of the earthly Jerusalem and the Jewish people; they the Spirit, and these the flesh of Christ; they the power of God spiritual, these the power of Christ incarnate; the one the body of God the Spirit, the other the body of Christ the Man; and the one for manifesting the fulness of Godhead, the other for manifesting the fulness of manhood; the one the form and power of the Creator, the other the

VOL. IV.NO. I.

war.

M

form and power of the noblest of the creatures, which is man. Thus, as it appeareth unto me, shall the world be organized : God energizing the new Jerusalem, or body of the saints under Christ their Head; this body of God expressing itself to the nations of the earth through the Jewish people; through them communicating every blessing, and without them communicating none. The true figure of it is Christ, in whose soul God abode, and made it all-glorious and powerful, the image and the seed of the new Jerusalem ; yet this soul used a mortal body, which it sanctified wholly, and made an instrument of redemption to the whole world : this body is the germ and image of the Jewish nation in the mortal state; altogether holy, and in their holiness blessing the nations, who continue blessed so long as they do venerate this the constitution of God; against which rebelling, there is nothing for them but instant destruction. And what is the constitution afterwards I do not so clearly apprehend; but this I know full well, that the new Jerusalem, with its inherent God, suffers no change; and I think also that the earthly Jerusalem and the Jewish people suffer no change, save that they are certainly delivered from mortality; and represent flesh in its creation completeness, upheld by Spirit in its Divine fulness; the earthly Jerusalem inspired and upheld by the heavenly Jerusalem. But into what condition those who are acquitted in the judgment are brought, whether into the glory of the spiritual or the glory of the natural, or some into the one and some into the other, I cannot tell. There are depths here which I cannot fathom; which at blessed moments I obtain a glance into, but when I attempt to express what I see, my tongue faileth, and my pen dareth not.

And many there be who think I dare to express what is above and beyond man's comprehension, intruding into those things which we have not seen, vainly puffed up of our fleshly mind. It is not so.

I am a man most reverend of the word and Spirit of God, waiting daily at the gates of Wisdom, and not presuming to force my way, but asking to be taught of God. I do not speculate, but interpret. As more light is given me, I look over the subject afresh, and discover new distinctions and divisions in it. "I submit my knowledge and my interpretation to the rectification of the Spirit, and am not ashamed to mould and to modify what I have written. I am in a state of growth, as every child of God is in this state; yet am not prevented from writing my mind unto the churches, any more than Paul was prevented from writing to the Philippians, when he said, not as though I had already attained, or were already perfect.”. I see but as through a glass, darkly; and so must we all, till that which is perfect is come. I say to the wise, “ Prove all things, hold fast that which is good;" and to the ignorant I say,

« AnteriorContinuar »