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sions, "for your redemption draws nigh. And he spake to them a parable, Behold, the fig tree, and all the trees, when they shoot forth, ye see and know your ownselves that summer is nigh at hand: so likewise ye, when ye see these signs come to
ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.* Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” unfulfilled.
“ And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares; for as a snare shall it come upon all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth."--That is, upon all in the unregenerate or natural state, whose minds are solely fixed upon earthly things. “Watch ye, therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man" in the glory of his Holy Spirit.
Again, the Lord likens the final redemption to the birth of a child. “Shall I bring to the birth, Isaiah lxvi. 9. and not cause to bring forth ? saith the Lord; shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb ? saith our God.”
* “ But of that day and hour knoweth no 'man, no not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." Matt. xxiv. 36.
Again, the Lord's parable of the ten virgins, il
lustrates the time previous to his coming and his Matt. xxv. 1. judgment, “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be
likened unto ten virgins which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom, and five of them were wise, and five were foolish: they that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them;" that is, no addition gained of the Holy Spirit by faith in the redemption. “But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom,” the Lord “tarried, they all slumbered and slept, and at midnight there was a cry made; Behold, the bridegroom cometh”-known by the inward signs already mentioned, together with the outward signs foretold by Daniel,—“Go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil, for our lamps are going out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you,
go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves,” in faith and good works. “And while they went to · buy, the bridegroom came, and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage,” by becoming one spirit in the Lord, and the passions under their feet, as he prayed for when on earth" and the door was shut. Afterwards came the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us : but he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not:" by their being of the depraved nature of the spirit of malignity, and not of his Holy Spirit.
The same judgment is manifest in the parable of the talents : that is He that improves in the Spirit of the Lord, by the gift to every one according to their several abilities, to become the sons of God, will be admitted into the kingdom of heaven; but those who do not do it, even that gift they have of the Holy Spirit, which affords the little comfort they obtain, “will be taken from them.” therefore evident, that as the unregenerate are in the darkness of the passions, whilst those in the Spirit of the Lord are progressively strengthened and enlightened by it, in approaching the day of redemption, that day will come as a thief in the night upon them.
Hence St. Paul says to all the disciples of the Lord—“ That yourselves know perfectly that the 1 Thess. v. 2. day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night” upon the children of disobedience,* “ for when they shall say
Peace and safety”—from their prosperity“then sudden destruction cometh upon them as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief in the night; ye are all the children of light,” in the Spirit of the Lord, “and the children of the day,”—ap
* Ephesians v. 6. Colossians iii. 6.
proaching of rest;—“We are not of the night,” in ignorance, “nor of darkness : therefore let us not
sleep as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” 1 Thess. v. 9. “For God hath not appointed us to wrath.”
Hence the words of the Holy Spirit, speaking in Psalm xcii.7. David: “When the wicked spring as the grass, and
when all the workers of iniquity do flourish : it is then that they shall be cut down for ever.”
The apostles asked the Lord, what should be the outward signs of his coming, and of the end of this world ;-because, with those outward signs, and the inward already explained, none of his flock can be deceived. For what events are foretold, and not yet fulfilled, cannot deceive, when every one sees the occurrence as related. If, then, either this, or a future generation shall see these outward signs fulfilled, it will be a demonstration of the certainty of every thing which is to follow them; and, therefore, the strongest assurance to fortify every one in the faith of Jesus Christ, that no possible deception may lead them astray.
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you, for, many shall come
in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive Matt. Ixiv.23. many,” therefore, “if any man shall say unto you,
Lo here is Christ, or there, believe it not; for there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold he is
Matt. xxiv. 4.
in the desert, go not forth : behold he is in the secret chambers, believe it not: for as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be:" that is, the Holy Spirit filling all things “in a 1 Cor. xv. 52. moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, when we shall be changed :" but “sparing Mal. iii. 17. them" of his nature, “as a man spareth his own son,”—whilst those of the spirit of Satan, will pass away amidst the elements of fire around us, as appears from the following revelation.
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in 2 Pet. iii. 10. the night,” on the children of disobedience; “in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness : looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless, we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that
look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in” the spirit of “ peace,
without spot, and blameless.”
Hence, the Lord said, “Wheresoever the carcase Matt. xxiv. 28. is,” that is, the body without a soul of the Spirit of