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specially to Isaiah xlii. 14—16, “I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once. I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs; and I will make the rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools. And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” Here, then, the Prophet very clearly connects famine with the restoration and conversion of Israel.
I would only, then, throw out as subject for solemn consideration, the revolutions which have been taking place on the Continent; the rumours of wars which have been in every journal of the day; the earthquakes which, though comparatively trifling in extent, as compared with those which have taken place at other times, still have been in divers places; a pestilence which seems to threaten us from the east, and another which is being generated by the miseries in Ireland, and ask you merely, whether these things may not be the beginning of sorrows ? For, indeed, however those times may be shortened for the elect's sake, yet that day will be a period of UNEQUALLED
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TRIBULATION. Thus we read in Zeph. i. 14—18, “ The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord : the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness. A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers.
And I will bring distress upon men, at they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord : and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord's wrath ; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land." There may be some persons who, in the scoffing spirit of Dumah of old (Isa, xxi. 11), may cry, “ Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?” as if there were no dangers to be anticipated; but Daniel (xii. 1) leaves us no doubt: “And at that time," says the Prophet, “shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” Our Lord, also, himself repeats the warning (Luke xxi. 25—27), “ And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory."
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But I would remark, also, that the day of the Lord will be also a DAY OF UNEQUALLED JOY. If our Lord did say that some men's hearts would fail them for fear, he did not fail to encourage his people by adding (verse 28), “ And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads ; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Does the Lord Jesus say, "The day of vengeance is in mine heart,” he adds immediately, “ The year of my redeemed is come.” Yes, my brethren, it will be a day of joy to those whose hearts have mourned for those near and dear to them in the flesh, for it will be a day of RECOGNITION and REUNION. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be recognised by us, even as Peter and John recognised Moses and Elias in the Mount;
our parents, our children, if in the Lord, again rejoined, to be separated no more. How full are 'those comforting words of St. Paul which I have already quoted (1 Thess. iv. 13—18), “ But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
So, also, will it be a day of the MANIFESTATION OF THE SONS OF God. Behold, now the Christian is condemned as a weak-minded enthusiast; now we hear his integrity doubted,-he is despised as weak, and cast out as a mere pretender to holi
But then, the earnest expectation of the creature waiting for the manifestation of the sons
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of God will be realized, and Christ will appear to the shame of the ungodly, and the comfort of his people, who will then experience the truth of their present reckoning, that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." How many, who are now like Dives, will wish they were as Lazarus then! How many wise men will then long for some of that which they now condemn as folly! But who will mourn over their present persecutions and trials, when commanded to inherit the promise that they who have suffered for Christ will also reign with him? Who will then regret that he chose to be a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord, rather than dwell in the tents of ungodliness ?
I will not stay to dwell upon the truth, that the day of the Lord will also be a day for the MANIFESTATION OF ALL THE LORD'S DEALINGS WITH MAN, and for THE UNIVERSAL RECEPTION OF CHRISTIAN TRUTH. When Isaiah's words shall be fulfilled (xxv. 6—9), “In this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all! people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over
all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations,