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pented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. I would add, that the seaman, who summoned his sailors to prayer, acknowledged that God's arm was strength, and that victory was his, shall rise up in judgment with many in this generation!
II. We have marked a few of the prominent Signs of the Times : let us now consider to what DUTIES these views should lead us.
1. They should lead us to RECOLLECTION.
A man must have made but little observation, not to see how much multitudes resemble thoughtless sailors; who, when a wreck is going down, will satisfy themselves with some momentary gratification; and, though eternity is before them, let them but have this, they think nothing of death and the terrors of hell. My dear hearers, man's grand concern is with his eternal state. It is not the moment of life it is not the first stage of bis existence—it is what he is to be for ever-it is what God thinks of him, and what he thinks of his God. This is the grand concern: for, till he lives thus by faith, he is a mere child, trifling with the occasions of the day: What is the news? What shall amuse his attention? What is the thing that he shall call very important in its place? But if, after all this, while this important concern, or that important concern, is occupying his mind, the man himself totally forgets his condition--forgets his character as a sinner-forgets the provision of grace, and the redemption that is in Christ Jesus-what is this man, but, like one of the poor perishing sailors, amused with a momentary gratification ? Little does such a man understand the Signs of the Times. He may be amused with the face of the sky, and may very skilfully investigate appearances there, and furnish himself with matter of conversation--but he will not know the Signs of the Times. VOL. II.
2. These signs point out to us also the duty of
EVERY MAN IS
It is in this way, that we transact with heaven : this is God's appointment: it is our duty; and, therefore, he, who rightly understands the Signs of the Times, will say, as the Prophet saith, “ Oh, that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down! Oh, that thou wouldest set to rights, that which is wrong! that thou wouldest put a stop to this bloodshed and misery! Oh, that thou wouldest say to these proud waves, Peace!' for thou only canst say it."
Such a man is standing, like Aaron, between the living and the dead: like Abraham, he is interceding for us before the throne of God.
3. The Signs of the Times point out THAT PROVISION
AND BODY, WHICH
SUCH TIMES; not knowing what vicissitudes, troubles, and extremities he may have to encounter.
He was a wise man, who said, “I see warfare and misery spreading over the earth; and it may bend its course shortly toward me: but ‘I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower: and will watch to see what he will say unto me; and what I shall answer when I am reproved.' I will be in a position to meet
This is true wisdom; and to this the signs of the Times particularly urge us: that, when the Son of Man comes in his providence, we may have nothing to do but to meet him.
4. The Signs of the Times point out to us, AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF GOD's GOODNESS AND SPECIAL
God is now saying as it were, “Chain up, a little longer, the force that has been prepared against that land !" It is as though he said to the enemy, “Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed.'
Let us, then, look up to God, that he would make the wrath of man to praise him; and that he would restrain the remainder of that wrath. Surely, if there is any nation on the earth that has special benefits to acknowledge, sparing mercies to record, and high privileges which it has long enjoyed, it is England! Let us, therefore, beseech God to give us a deep sense of his mercies.
My dear hearers, you may remember, that our Lord divides the world into what he calls the children of this World, and the children of Light.'
I would improve this subject by addressing both these classes.
1. I will speak to those, who are the CHILDREN OF
You have perhaps often looked out to discern the face of the sky, and the posture of affairs. No one, perhaps, will deny that you are men of sense, or that you are men of science, and perhaps men of great information : but yet suppose, that, in conversing with you, it was to be found, that you did not know the day of your visitation : that you knew nothing of the spiritual or moral considerations, or signs of your times; that
you had made no provision to meet God or eternity—I know not a more deplorable sight on earth, than you
exhibit? I know not a more affecting sight, than a man of sense and science, a man looked up to, a man who not only admires himself but is universally admired; and yet is a fool, an idiot, in the sight of God! for he has not at all concerned himself about the one thing needful—the better part, that shall never be taken from him !
The astronomer, who was examining the heavens, stumbled, because he did not regard his steps : what are men who are conversant only with the prospects of this world, which pass away like a dream? What
are men, who engage in no commerce, but in that of temporal affairs; and in no science, but what respects the moment ?
Oh, that thou hadst known,' and wouldst consider, at least in this thy day, the things that belong to thy peace,' before they are hid from thine eyes ! for this is life eternal, to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent.'
While, then, you are considering, the late victory, and swallowed up in its importance, Oh that you would lay to heart also, that, unless you overcome by the blood of the Lamb’and the power of his spirit, it will only be a ground of lamentation to you to all eternity, that you heard the Gospel, that its privileges were afforded to you, and that, like the fig-tree, you were cultured and manured in vain! for God saith of his ancient people, “You, of all nations upon the earth, have I known: therefore will I punish you. May you lay this to heart; and pray earnestly to God, that you may "know the day of your visitation, the "Sign of your times, and the things that belong to your peace.'
2. CHILDREN OF LIGHT! you have prayed for your country! Your prayers have been answered ! it is yet preserved! God hath stretched out his arm, in its defence: and therefore you have been encouraged to persevere in prayer. Cease not, but still pray. Beg of him to put forth his mighty arm ; and to supply that
l; strength and wisdom, which man cannot supply.
While others scorn your principles, and misunderstand you,
and are not concerned in your griefs, remember that in the ninth chapter of Ezekiel, a grand distinction is made between those who lament over the evils of the Times, and those who do not.
God is evidently doing a strange work in the earth, far beyond our comprehension. It would be mere vanity to conjecture his designs. Yet your duty is plain : - Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men, that
wait for their Lord, when he will return from the wedding. Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord, when he cometh, shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth, and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. Be ye, therefore, ready also : for the Son of Man cometh at an hour when ye think not.'
This it is, to know the true Signs of the Times. This it is, to be found in your place. This it is, to be ready to meet every event. And, that it may please God to influence your hearts to this end, I most earnestly beseech him for his infinite mercy's sake! Amen.