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tent of Satanic power; but this we know, be it of whatever magnitude, the Lord hath set it bounds which it cannot pass: our most holy faith is the great appointed bearer; and in proportion as we diligently build ourselves up on that, we shall be safe.
SATANIC WRATH, AS THE END DRAWS
HITHERTO, our principal concern has been with the history of the past: we now enter upon the no less certain history of the future. To suppose that God has vouchsafed to show unto his servants the things which must shortly come to pass, yet has shown them in such a way as to darken and perplex the honest inquirer, is to do Him great wrong. No, the word spoken is, “Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it; for the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” Hab. ii. 2, 3.
In various parts of Scripture, but more particularly in the discourses of our Lord, shortly before his cru. cifixion, we are apprized of a period immediately preceding the commencement of Christ's glorious reign upon earth, when tribulation such as the world has never yet seen shall prevail, if not universally, at least in those parts of the earth to which the general word of prophecy refers.
Daniel thus speaks of it; or rather, the celestial Being who came to instruct Daniel: " At that time shall Michael stand
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 time.” Dan. xii. 1. This is mentioned as taking place at the time of the destruction of what we have every reason to believe is the Turkish empire ; and. synchronizing with the duration of that empire, is the period of 1260 days mentioned in Rev. xii. 6, at the end of which we are told, “ There was war in heaven ; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought, and his angels.” The whole passage has already been given, (page 24 ;) and the concluding words are terribly impressive, “Rejoice ye heavens, and them that dwell in them. Wo to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea ! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time,'' (verse 12.) The tribulation then, which excites the exclamation of "wo!” from the heavenly voice, is the work of Satan, permitted to plunge the world into one great final trouble; overruled for the purification of God's children, and the destruction of his enemies. In the message to the church of Philadelphia, which has endured to this day, the same period is probably referred to. " Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” Rev. iii. 10. Such being the declared purpose of God, and Satan being the immediate inflicter of the terrible chastisement, let us, with awe, reverence, and godly fear, yet confident in Him through whom we shall be enabled to escape every snare, and to be “ more than conquerors," approach this subject; convinced that whatever he has caused to be written, was written for our learning.
We are told by our Lord that “ wars and rumors of wars, distress of nations and perplexity,” shall usher in these fearful times. War is an element that Satan must exceedingly delight in; for it often cuts off in their sins more souls in a day than by natural death he can hope to grasp in many years. It fosters every bad passion ; its origin is in the lusts that war in our members, desiring things that in God's providence are withheld from us, and wading to them through the blood of our brethren. A hateful, an accursed thing it is; wholly irreconcilable with the gospel, or with any one precept of the gospel ; yet Satan prevails to make “wars and fightings” not only a branch of their policy, but even a matter of boasting among nations professedly Christian. One of his first achievements in this closing convulsion, will be to put the nations in battle array, one against another, and all against God. Earthquakes, famines, pestilences, fearful sights, and supernatural signs, domestic treachery, and public hostility, are all enumerated as concurrent evidences of the time when the three “spirits of devils,” (Rev. xvi. 13,) shall have entered upon their infernal mission. It were easy to speculate as to the precise nature of their operations, and the particulars of the tremendous battle-field into which they will bring the deceived hosts ; but the subject is too solemn for such guess-work; it better becomes us to receive with reverent thankful. ness the intimations actually given, and to wait patiently the appointed time for making manifest what the Lord hath decreed. The “ fearful sights” which are spoken of in such connexion as to make it plain they will be of a supernatural character, are here represented as the performance of miracle-working devils. The great Antichrist, Popery, is described as him “whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and all deceivableness of unrighteousness ;” (2 Thess. ii. 9 ;) and though, in a measure, this has been characteristic of the Papacy from its first rise, still we are led to expect a very great accession of devilish power at that time, when the Lord is approaching to destroy the Deceiver with the brightness of His coming. There is, so to speak, an antagonist “coming” of Popery described when the Lord himself comes to judge and to reign: when the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet, each contribute a missionary devil, invested with extraordinary powers, to tempt the kings and nations of the earth to battle against the Lord God Almighty. Great indeed must be the liberty given to the evil One when thus far he will prevail ; and that he lacks only liberty to accomplish it is clear enough. When leave was granted him to afflict Job, we have seen how his herds, flocks, servants, houses, children, and health passed away, as it were, in a moment;