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trary, the Bible gives us direct reasons for inferring that there will always be prophets, more or less. Joel represents God as saying, “It shall come to pass
afterward that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions."* Paul seems to have regarded prophecy as a gift which is in some degree common. He says, “We know in part, and we prophesy in part.”+
There are prophets now living! They both cheer and admonish us,—they speak words of encouragement concerning the ultimate triumph of the True and the Right, though they warn the Liar and the Oppressor, of the terrible evils which shall ere long wait upon their obstinate continuance in the wrong. The trumpet-tongued GARRISON, the morally intrepid PIERPONT-are not these men prophets of the living God? They are sounding in the ears of this guilty nation a prophetic warning of the fearful doom which is impending over it,—which shall fall and lay waste its fairest scenes, if its conscience is not moved to "undo the heavy burdens and let the oppressed go free.” These men lay no claim to infallibility: it is not an essential requisite to a prophetic character. Was the prophet Jonah infallible ? Nay, was he unwaveringly obedient to the voice which bade him call the Ninevites to repentance? We undervalue the worth and the importance of the great prophets who
* Joel, ii. 28. +1 Corinthians, xiii. 9.
characterize cur age. We revere disproportionately the men of old, for the simple reason that
"Distance len Is enchantment to the view." It is now somewhat as it was anciently, “A prophet is not without honor save in his own country, and in his own house.”* We may trace the impress of Divine agency along the path of many a man now living. To my mind, there is as much of special, superhuman interposition manifested in the career of FrEDERICK DouGLASS, as in the disenthralment of Moses from Egyptian bondage: to me, the North Star, which has guided so many "fugitives” to a safe retreat from a region where the soul and its prospects weré enshrouded in worse than Egyptian darkness, is as wonderful as the "pillar of fire by night” which led the wandering Israelites. And may the glad deliverance of that ancient people, be a symbol of the glorious disenthralment of the outraged millions in this land !
The lyric strains of WHITTIER and LOWELL, and other God-sent poets of our age, -breathing love for all the innumerable children of Our Father, celebrating the triumphs of humanity over caste and hatred, and predicting the approach of a happier day,--are, to my sense of hearing, as sublime, as soul-stirring, and as divinely inspired, as any of the most thrilling tones from the harp of ISAIAH.
All true Reformers are more or less gifted with prophetic vision. Especially are the leaders of great social,
*Matt xiij. 57.
political, scientific and moral revolutions, enabled to look forward and predict with considerable accuracy the results of certain movements and undertakings. This perceptive power of strong-minded, leading men, is perhaps partly natural, and partly acquired: their sphere of action tends continually to the development of foresight and calculation: they watch the gliding currents of human affairs, and so judge how soon the tide will reach its height. What truly great event has not been predicted beforehand ?
It may have been expected that I would notice, in this lecture, those passages in the prophetic books, and in some other writings of the Old Testament, which are supposed to have been originally intended as predictions concerning Jesus. But I have reserved the consideration of these for the next lecture, as the supposed prophetic character of many of them is inferred from the fact that they are quoted, apparently as original predictions, in the Gospels and in some other parts of the New Testament; and as it will therefore be necessary, for a clear illustration of the whole subject, to refer particularly to the connection wherein each is cited.
Some portions of the old prophetic scriptures, particularly those bearing the name of Isaiah, may be properly applied, by way of metaphorical description, to the subject of the ultimate triumph of Christianity in the earth,—whether we consider them to have been primarily intended for such application, or not. We do no in
justice to their original purpose, when we employ them secondarily in endeavoring to portray the social and moral blessedness which we believe shall ravish the gaze of some future generations. What philanthropic heart does not yearn for the coming of the glad period, when human society every where shall present to the delighted eye a complete fulfilment of Isaiah's glowing, rapturous anticipation ?
“The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice's den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."*
* Isa. xi. 6-9.