A Remarkable Statement of an Old Writer

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The following extract, on Rev. 11, which gives such a marked and striking picture of the spirit that is working at the present time, is worthy of a place in our pages. It was written over two hundred and fifty years ago, by one whose powers are above question, while those better instructed in the ways of God, could not accept to the full, the interpretation of the Scriptures treated of, celebrated though the writer was.
The direct interpretation of the book of Revelation (chaps. 4.-22) is strictly future, although affording, doubtless, certain large features in outline, of the protracted history of the events of the last eighteen centuries or more. Still, when details are examined, the futurist view alone will stand, i. e., when the true state of the professing church seen in chaps. 2. and 3. is past, the saints are seen in heaven from chap. iv. and onwards, during the short period of judgment which ushers in the millennial kingdom. All that part of the book is strictly future in direct application:
"The church of God on earth will be greatly rednced, as we may well imagine, in its apparent numbers in the times of Antichrist, by the open desertion of the powers of the world. The desertion will begin in a professed indifference to any particular form of Christianity, under pretense of universal toleration; which toleration will proceed from no true spirit of Christian charity and forbearance, but from a desire to undermine Christianity by multiplying and encouraging sectaries. The intended toleration will go far beyond a just toleration, even as it regards the different sects of Christianity; for governments will pretend an indifference to all, and will give protection in preference to none. All establishments will be laid aside. From the toleration of the most pestilent heresies, they will proceed to Mohammedanism, Atheism, and at last to a positive persecution of the truths of Christianity.
" In these times the temple of God will be reduced to the holy place, viz., to the small number of real Christians who worship the Father in Spirit and in truth, and who regulate their doctrine and worship, and their whole conduct by the word of God alone.
" The mere nominal professors will all desert their profession of the truth when the powers of the world forsake them; and this tragical event I take to be typified by the order of St. John to measure the temple and the altar, and to leave the outer court (National Church) to be trodden under foot of the Gentiles I The property of the clergy will be pillaged; the public worship insulted and vilified by the deserters of the faith they once professed, who are not called apostate, because they were never earnest in their profession; there was nothing more than a compliance with fashion and public authority; in principle they were always what they now appear to be-Gentiles.
" When this general desertion of the faith takes place, there will commence the sackcloth ministry of the witnesses. There will be nothing of splendor in the external support from government, no honors, no emoluments, no immunities, no authority but such as no earthly power can take away, which they desire from Him who commissioned them to be His witnesses."