Imatges de pÓgina

us leads onward, onward, onward out of sight. Morning prophesies the Noon, and Noon predicts the Evening. This week is the herald of the next. April is now whispering of blithesome May, its lilac-scented air and trees all white with blossoms; and ere long May will sing of sultry, gorgeous Summer. The things that we shall do in the year 1846 bear no comparison to the grand, prospective achievments of 1847-the houses we shall build, the rail-roads we shall grade, the fortunes we shall make! Childhood prophesies of youth; the youth, amid his juvenile sports with kite and ball, or gliding over the glassy bosom of the frozen pond, upon his sharpened skates, thinks within himself, what great things I will do when I become a man! Arrived at manhood's stage, and full of joyous expectation, he predicts for himself, at life's mid-day, within his dwelling, the companionship of merry, prattling little boys and girls, who call him grandsire: that period reached, he meditates instinctively of old age; and if its prospect of infirmity and decay be saddening, its promises of soothing quiet, abstraction from perplexing cares, and blissful memories of past years, with that spirit of kind allowance for old men's weakness evinced by all the household, and the respect and veneration for the aged gentleman which the young shall manifest, as they gather round in groups-these make life's evening twilight-time a season not unpleasant to reflect upon. And when at last that tranquilizing Autumn cometh, the thoughts are turned ever and anon to other scenes and joys more

lasting; and in the last moment of the spirit's conscious residence in the shattered mortal house, it looks from the window to catch some glimpse of that new edifice which soon shall throw open its doors to welcome its expected tenant. Thus, in every period of existence, we are attracted by the magnetic influence of the Future. What is the impulse of hope, that burns in all bosoms, but a prophetic emotion? How true is the couplet:

"Hope springs eternal in the human breast,
Man never is but always to be blest."

We bear within us an undying prophecy of immortal life. We yearn continually, with insatiate desire, for something now unrevealed-something holier, more beautiful, something fuller-fraught with joy and more enduring, than any thing we now possess.

Wherein did the ancient spirit of prophecy-that which moved the souls of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and others-differ from the faculty of foreknowing and foretelling which we share, in some measure, at the present day? If there be a difference, does it consist in quality or degree? Whatever the conclusion to which any one else may be led, I regard the prophetic power of the authors of those predictions contained in the Bible, as the same in kind with that which is now exercised, in various degrees, by different individuals of the human race. I am aware that the Apostle Peter avers, that "the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the

Holy Ghost." Does this, however, necessarily imply that the prophetic influence was supernatural? Are we authorized to infer from this language that the inspiration of prophecy was to be confined to one particular age, or to one special class? True, the influence is spoken of as coming from the Almighty. Do not all truth and goodness proceed from him? Do we not pray to him, in all our religious assemblies, asking that he will warm our souls with devotion, enlighten our understandings, and anoint our spiritual eyes that they may see more clearly the beauty of holiness? And if the Deity is not here to bless us if we do not believe in the present visitations of his Spirit-if we cannot feel its waves glide calmly over our souls, bathing us in the placid tide of filial thankfulness, devotion and love-then we are beneath the Hindoo when he worships his senseless idol: our prayers are a mere farce-a solemn mockery! "But holy men spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." What is the Holy Ghost? "The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." "The kingdom of God is within you." The Holy Ghost is simply the SPIRIT OF TRUTH. Said Jesus to his disciples"I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth...... The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send you in my name, he shall teach you all things."|| This spirit of truth was *2 Peter, i. 21. †Romans, xiv. 17. #Luke, xvii. 21. John, xiv. 16, 17, 26.

to abide with Christ's disciples forever. Does it not abide in the souls of his faithful followers now? And if so, may there not be some, in the present age, who speak as they are "moved by the Holy Ghost?" Are there none who are now influenced directly by the "Spirit of truth?" Who is prepared to answer these questions negatively? Perhaps, if we examine this whole matter closely, we shall be enabled, after a while, to determine who is the Infidel, and also who is the Believer!

It may be said, in objection to what I have advanced, that the ancient Biblical prophets did not base their predictions, as we do ours, upon the knowledge and maturity of judgment derived from past experience and a familiar acquaintance with the inevitable tendency of human affairs; but foretold, with the most wonderful exactness, as respects mode and time, certain events which could not have been discerned by the exercise of merely human faculties. Not to deny this directly, just now, I would ask, what proof of it can be shown? There is a vulgar idea of prophecy-of which Millerism is one of the grosser forms-that prevails to a considerable extent. It is the notion that the prophets of old were endowed with the capability of foretelling certain occurrences with great precision in regard to time—even to a year, month or day-centuries before they transpired. I am unable to find any evidence that such is the fact. Scriptural prophecies do not claim to be exact to a day, except in reference to some event near at hand. Such we may foretell, with tolerable precision. Christ,

who is acknowledged to be the chief among all prophets, said this, concerning one event which he predicted: "Of that day and hour knoweth no man; no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only."* By "that day and hour" was meant, not solely the period of twelve or twenty-four hours, or that of sixty minutes; but rather the definite time, as respects hour, day, month, the major divisions of the year, or the year itself. It is evident that Christ made no pretensions to any knowledge in regard to the time of year when the event should take place; for he exhorted some of his disciples to pray that it "be not in the winter." If Jesus could not foretell with exactness as regards time, who could? The prophets of the Bible speak of the future more in a general way, than with chronological exactitude. They treat of certain events as surely approaching, in the order of God's providence, and as the results of some great law which is undeviating in its operations. The prosperity of a nation is predicated of its moral purity, its justice and equity. Its ruin is predicated of its licentiousness, and continual disregard of moral obliga

tion. The overthrow of a kingdom was foretold by the ancient prophets, as the legitimate and unavoidable effect of moral trangression. I think it rational to believe, therefore, that they founded their predictions, in some measure, upon their knowledge of the sure tendencies of God's moral law. If they did not thus exercise their enlightened reason and judgment, in co-operation

*Matt. xxiv. 36. † Ibid, verse 20.

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