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spirit. The leading Journals of the age refer to this fact as one that is known and undisputed. One of the most popular Reviews says : “ There can be no doubt in the mind of any reasonable man that now, more than at any previous period, the thought of intellectual people of all classes is drifting away from the Catholic and orthodox belief.” Another says: “A man of the penetration of the French emperor cannot fail to have remarked, what every body else sees, that the religious faith of all Europe is about to undergo a vast change; but looking at the prospect as an emperor and a family man, he did not intend or care to throw his weight into the anti-Catholic scale." A popular American Review remarks : “ That those of the thoughtful amongst them who cannot receive Spiritualism as a system are led away by simple materialism as a speculative doctrine;" and further remarks that the “increasing number of religious men who are outside the church, and who, in the language of the church, are infidels, unbelievers, and atheists

, are some of the signs of movements in religious thought, of revolution in the churches.” The Jewish Intelligencer tells us that “ infidelity abounds to an awful extent among many of the Jewish nation ;” and adds, “ that there is no disguising the fact, that under various forms and appellations nihilism makes dreadful progress amongst us, and ensnares many in its deadly toils."

In our own country, and amongst our evangelical churches, the most bold and unblushing attacks are now being made on the doctrine of eternal punishments; those who do so being divided into two parties, the one advocating the doctrine of annihilation,

he other reviving the favourite view of Oregon, viz. the universal restoration of lost men and devils. The former base their arguments on the alleged mortality of man; the latter on the acknowledged love of God, and upon certain passages which teach rather the universal happiness of this globe than of that of those who once lived upon it and of those who are now under it. We have before us the names of no fewer than thirteen different works, recently published by clergymen and dissenting ministers, all of which advocate one or other of the views named above. And in addition thereto, we possess at this time articles in popular periodicals, breathing a spirit of great earnestness and piety, but which are written on purpose to support one or the other of these doctrines. And when we consider how palatable such doctrines, especially that of restoration, are to the carnal mind, how loathe even good servants of Christ are to preach the “terrors of the Lord,” because they can only do so through a sense of duty and how, seemingly, annihilation is taught in the Scriptures, owing to the fact that certain of the terms used to denote 66 conscious punishment” may be also used in the sense of “a ceasing to be," we cannot be too much upon our guard against being led astray by this “ wind of doctrine" and “cunning craftiness, whereby many lie in wait to deceive." It is rationalism versus revelation ; puny man arraigning at the bar of his dim and feeble reason the government of an almighty God.

It is not our intention in this paper to enter upon a defence of the evangelical teaching on this subject; that has been done, and well done, in previous issues of this periodical. All that we deem it needful to say at present in respect of eternal punishment is, that it is taught by Christ in the clearest and most unequivocal manner, and that too without the slightest apology for uttering so fearful a revelation, nor the smallest vindication of Divine government as displayed therein; and when it is remembered how kind and tender, how. pure and holy was the Great Teacher, that his life was a sublime consecration to the weal of the human race, and that his lips never uttered a harsh word to the vilest and most miserable being who sought his aid, we are forced to bow in silent and reverential awe to his declaration, that quenchless fire and a deathless worm are the portion of those who end their probation in impenitence.

One reason why our “evangelical” preachers and thinkers are finding fault with this ancient doctrine (for it is as old as the Christian Church itself), is the contracted views they hold respecting the region of blessedness which lies beyond the grave. Heaven is regarded simply as the home of "the church,” “the body of Christ” only; and, as the body of Christ” consists of those who have been grafted into him by living faith, they see - nothing but hell for the rest ; and as the rest constitute by far the greater part of mankind, their minds recoil in horror from the thought that they are doomed “to weep, and wail, and gnash their teeth" in hopeless anguish. But why those limited views concerning future blessedness ? Are we not distinctly told that “Christ tasted death for every man ?” and that “whosoever, in every nation, feareth God and worketh righteousness, is accepted of him ?” The blessings of salvation exists where the word, of it does not; and there is no Bible statement which interferes with the hope that millions may escape, through Christ's mediation, the horrors of the wrath to come who never heard of such a being or of his death for them. It is admitted on all hands that infants who die are received into life through the death of him who gave his life a ransom for all;" if so, may not those who, having not the written “law,” are a “law unto themselves," and who act up to it, “escape the death that never dies ?" True, they cannot blend with those “who are Christ's" at his coming, seeing that they have not "followed the Lamb,” or “fallen asleep in him;" but cannot a place be found in the world of blessedness for them? This globe is not peopled entirely with noblemen nor yet with Englishmen;

still it is the home of human beings, all of them under the government of one God, and all, in one way or other blessed. And if in what is called “heaven," the “sons of God” have their abode, so also may his “servants;" if not as “kings and priests," certainly as subjects or congregations; the one on or next the throne, shining as the sun, the other walking in the light thereof, blessing and being blessed.

We throw out these hints as worthy of the attention of those who feel it hard to doom all to hell who have not had the.66 word of salvation” sent to them. We think there is in the thought something more than fancy. The word of God, we judge, sanctions the view we have here ventured to advance; and should the reader see eye to eye with the writer herein, he will rejoice with him in being able to look forward to the future with more hope than have those who limit future blessedness to those who know or have known the “joyful sound.”

We draw our remarks to a close by asking—What do the signs of the times portend? Never in the history of Christendom was there such awful meddling with sacred things as now. The Saviour has told us that the last great judgments upon the wicked would be presaged and indicated by such worldliness and infidelity as marked the days of Noah and Lot. Daniel, in his wonderful prophecies, tells us that in the days of the fourth great empire ten horns or kings would arise, and in the midst of them “a little horn,” before whom three of the first horns would be plucked up by the roots; and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things. Then, on asking for an interpretation of what he saw, he was told : “ Another king shall rise after them (the ten kings of the fourth great potentate), and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings, and he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws.” Paul refers to this awful power in his second epistle to the Thessalonians, where, speaking of a terrible falling away from godliness, he says that, in connection therewith, " there shall be revealed a man of sin, the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth. himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”. Referring to this lawless one, John says: “It was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them; and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations; and all that dwell on the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life.” Connected with this fearful power John saw another beast (or power) coming up out of the earth, and he had “two horns, like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon; and he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them that dwell thereon to worship the first beast. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of the miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast."

These Scriptures are so plain that a wayfarer may see their meaning. An apostacy is to take place of world-wide magnitude. Associated therewith is the development of a huge infidel power, inflated with ambition, and girded with might. Leagued with him is a false prophet, a sacerdotal power, who, armed with satanic potency, shall work miracles in attestations of the pretensions of him who shall speak great things and blasphemies, and reign supreme over the commercial world, forbidding the rights of trade to any who shall not acknowledge his authority. See Rev. xiii. 16, 17. This is the time of the great tribulation, the like of which has never yet been known; but which, for “the elect's sake, will be shortened.” And, let us ask, are not the facts we have pointed to in this paper solemn forebodings of the coming storm ? Such acts as are ascribed to the “man of sin" and the “false prophet” could not find a single patron amongst a people whose eyes are under the power of the “holy anointing,” and whose “ loins are girt about with truth.” But amongst a community such as that which now peoples Christendom, they will find a constituency ready to acknowledge their pretensions. The fearful belief in “ the doctrines of demons,” to which we have called attention, the bold and presumptuous daring of multitudes of Christian teachers in throwing away the mysteries of God's word, to make way for their own views of things, and the almost universal craving for the sensational in every department of human life, show a state of mind such as is described by Paul in the passage wherein he speaks of the advent of the “wicked

“Because they received not the LOVE OF THE TRUTH that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie. That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." 2 Thes. ii. 11, 12. Thus the mind in which is still living a “love of the truth” is the only mind which shall not be given up to this “strong delusion." Let the reader and the writer then pray that the “ spirit of truth” may “ lead and guide them into all truth.” To be thus led, a child-like heart must be possessed; for from all else the things which “make for peace” are “bid," whilst they are “revealed unto babes.” And except we receive the kingdom of God as a little child” with unreasoning faith, and a yielding up of our will to that of the Supreme,” we cannot enter therein.” But to such as have contended for “the faith once delivered unto the Saints,” the Lord will say,

one."

“ Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut the doors about thee: hide thyself as it were a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity." Isaiah xxvi. 20, 21.

SIGMA.

ART. III.-EXPOSITORY PREACHING.

IT
T pleases us to observe that this kind of pulpit exercise is

becoming popular. Occasional articles that appear in religious magazines, and other monthlies issuing from the Press, vindicating and recommending its claims, are a good omen. As coming events cast their shadows before them, we regard these pleadings as predictive harbingers of the more general use of the thing advocated. Having both experienced and witnessed its good effects, we shall devote a few pages to a consideration of its nature, advantages, and the qualifications it requires.

1.—THE NATURE OF EXPOSITORY PREACHING.

What is it? Something distinct in certain respects from topical, textual, metaphysical, or other kinds of public discourse. Preaching is an office that admits of great variety, according to the capacities, acquirements, and inclinations of those who exercise in it. Provided the chief objects of Gospel ministry be not overlooked, as, to show the way of salvation by faith in Christ, and to enforce the obligation of holy living, there is no need to insist on a cramped uniformity in the method of preaching.

Men of metaphysical tendencies deal with truth in the abstract, and handle it philosophically. Men of scientific learning bring more or less of science into their pulpit illustrations. Linguists lay their philological wealth under contribution. Logicians argue closely, and reason out their ideas in sylogistic form. Others preach dogmatically, or with only such a small modicum of argument as comes readily to hand, simply stating the truth, and urging it home on the mind and conscience. Sometimes the pulpit yields an essay, lecture, or even a brief biography. Sometimes there comes forth a simple exhortation, alive with the fervour of benevolent desire. All this variety is, we think, profitable, and, consequently, admissible ; and not only so, but highly desirable. Moreover, it is well, not only that different persons in ministerial office should thus give scope to themselves in the direction of their respective peculiarities, but that the same individual should

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