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Nor is it only of natural knowledge that the streams are thus set flowing: by that truly extraordinary, that greatest of modern benevolent establishments, the British and Foreign Bible Society, we also behold dispensed, with a copiousness unknown to former ages, the streams of salvation. The formation of such a society is itself a phænomenon; and its operations have been a series of wonders. When we behold men of all Christian sects, abandoning their particular differences, unite to distribute the Scriptures free from the glosses and corrupt expositions which most sects have appended to them; who can fail to discern in the work the mighty finger of God? When we see, by the exertions of this Society, not only all Christendom supplied with the inestimable treasure, but almost all the nations of the earth, the multitudes of a thousand tongues, who never knew before that God had given such a revelation of his will, enabled to read the Word of God, in their own languages, and presented, in their own languages, with the Word of God to read; who can help exclaiming, "This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?" Who can fail to discover in it the effects of a new divine influence, providing, more extensively than ever, the means of human salvation? Nor are the efforts which are making by Missionary Societies, and the success which, in some instances, has attended them, unworthy of being noticed in this sketch of the signs of the present times. If the theology which the Missionaries teach is not such as we can regard as pure, its effects upon the degraded idolater are

through the press, and which evinces, that those effects of the last judgment that we are here noticing, have powerfully forced themselves upon the attention even of those, whose natural prejudices and interests (I do not say this invidiously) most indispose them for admitting their reality, and even incline to regard them as an evil. The following strong statement is from the Quarterly Theological Review (No. IV. p. 399): "It is now to late too press objections, be they strong or weak, against universal education-against that (if we may speak chemically) hyperoxygenated passion for imparting knowledge, which so prevalent in our times. We are not left to argue and debate upon what might have been better or worse; we must act upon what we find in operation. The fountains of the great deep have been broken up, and a deluge of information,-theological, scientific, and civil-is carrying all before it, filling up the valleys, and scaling the mountain-tops. A spirit of inquiry has gone forth, and sits brooding on the mind of man.


highly beneficial: and who can fail to recognise the divine energies which are now pouring forth for the improvement of the human race, when he beholds, among their results, the Hottentot reclaimed from his filth, and the Otaheitan from his impurity,—the barbarian brought within the circle of civilized humanity,-the savage elevated to the man!

Here, I think, I may close this Section. Were I to attempt to enumerate all the symptoms of the mighty change that has taken place in the state of mankind, I might write a volume on this subject alone. Allow me, then, ye. Candid and Reflecting, to request your serious attention to the instances which have been adduced, the number of which your own recollections will readily augment. Is not every one of them, taken singly, of sufficient magnitude to excite surprise, and to awaken serious meditation on the subject of its cause? But when such hosts of them press on our notice together, are we not compelled to refer the cause to something of a very extraordinary nature indeed? Here are multitudes of phænomena which every observer sees and owns; and every one who observes them owns likewise, that "the most unthinking, as well as the most prejudiced, must be struck with the fact, that the period in which we live is extraordinary and momentous:" and not only, that "amongst the great body of the people an unparalleled revolution is at work,"-that "the fountains of the great deep have been broken up," but that the main seat of the revolution is in the mental part of man,- "that the intellectual spirit is moving upon the chaos of minds," that "it sits brooding on the mind of man," and this with such energy as to authorize the expectation, that "nature will be melted down and recoined." Where, I repeat, can the cause of such a simultaneous alteration in human minds be looked for, but in the world of minds itself,-in other terms, in the spiritual world, with which man, as to his mind, is most intimately connected? And what change there could be adequate to the production of so great a change as we are witnessing here, but the performance of the Last Judgment, the entirely new state which is thence induced on the intermediate region of the spiritual world, the seat of man's most immediate spiritual association, and the

consequent outpouring from heaven of new streams of light and life into the world of nature? The illustrious Swedenborg, so long ago as the year 1758, declared* that, by the Last Judgment, then just accomplished, spiritual liberty was restored, and the state of servitude and captivity in which men's minds were previously held, in regard to spiritual subjects, was removed; and in the year 1763 he added,† that the efflux of divine energies from heaven into the world, which had been in a great degree intercepted by the presence of those called the dragon and his angels in the intermediate part of the spiritual world, was, by their ejection, restored. These assertions were made, when no remarkable effects of the change had yet begun to manifest themselves in the world, and when, consequently, they could not be corroborated by acknowledged facts: but how wonderfully have they thus been corroborated since, and what striking confirmations of them does every day's experience now bring with it! Am I then doing any more than anticipating the suffrage of many of my readers, when I conclude that our second proposition is sufficiently established;—that, independently of the assertions of Swedenborg, there are various considerations tending to evince, that the Last Judgment has, in the spiritual world, been performed? Will not all acknowledge, that the spiritual cause thus assigned for the astonishing change in the state of mankind, is, at least, likely to be the true one? and since no other can be conceived that is adequate to the effect, will not the candid admit it to be at least highly probable, that the Last Judgment, so long looked for and so much misunderstood, has, at length, actually been accomplished?

* In his work on the Last Judgment.
In his Continuation of the former work.


A Human Instrument Necessary, and therefore granted.

I MAY now appeal to you, I apprehend, with confidence, my Reflecting and Candid Readers, respecting the means by which the great events, considered in our preceding and second Sections, must be communicated to mankind. If it be true that the long expected last judgment has at length been performed, that the long looked-for time of the Lord's second coming has at last arrived,—in what nanner would it be reasonable to conclude that the important tidings should be conveyed? Are we to behold a multitude of angels in the air, sounding great trumpets, and vocally calling the attention of the world to the crisis which has arrived? In their spiritual, which, as regards this subject, is their only true sense, the prophecies which speak of such an announcement doubtless must be (and we trust have been) accomplished: from heaven,-that is, from the Lord through heaven,-the divine truths of the Holy Word must be (and we trust have been) discovered anew; for of the revelation, or communication, of Divine Truth, the sounding of trumpets is, in the Word, the expressive symbol: but if, as I hope has been sufficiently proved, the second advent of the Lord was not to be of a personal nature; if the scene of the last judgment was not to be in this lower world, any otherwise than as to its effects; it follows, that it was not by a visible exhibition of angels with trumpets that the annunciation was here to be made. Yet, most unquestionably, some annunciation was necessary. The events which have passed in our times, and which are transacting still, upon the theatre of the globe, are indeed such as proclaim, with a voice of thunder, that some most extraordinary operation from the spiritual world upon the world of nature is in action; they are indeed such as demonstrate, when looked at under the proper aspect, that the last judgment has been performed and that the second coming of the Lord is taking place: thus, when the truth is distinctly proclaimed, they bear witness to it in the most decisive manner: but they

require a human announcer to give their loud voice a distinctly speaking tongue. The second coming of the Lord, also, as we have seen, is mainly effected by the re-discovery of the momentous and saving truths contained in his holy Word: among the signs of the times which we have noticed, are the loosening of the hold which erroneous sentiments had taken on the minds of men, a general change in men's modes of thinkng, and such an alteration in the state of the human mind as indicates a preparation for the reception of juster views of divine truth than have heretofore prevailed: but still it is obviously requisite that the truth itself should be explicitly announced, and, of consequence, that a Human Instrument should be raised up for that purpose. This appears to be the evident dict..e both of reason and of necessity: and to these is added the confirming suffrage of experience. Never did a similar crisis in the history of the divine economy occur before, but human agency was employed to make it known. Prior to the flood, the divine purpose was communicated to Noah; who, as tradition reports, warned, though in vain, his abandoned contemporaries; whence he is called by an Apostle "a preacher of righteousness."* When the time had arrived in which Jehovah proposed to verify to the Israelites the promise made to their fathers of putting them in possession of Canaan, a band of angels. was not sent to announce the fact to the whole nation, but God revealed himself to Moses and commissioned him to bear the tidings to his brethren. Even when the Lord Jesus Christ appeared personally on earth, and when, if ever, it might be supposed that merely human agency might have been dispensed with, he did not shew himself to the people, till John the Baptist had announced his approach, and had proclaimed the kingdom of heaven to be at hand. Surely then, at his second coming, which was not to be a personal one, a human

herald must be altogether indispensable. Had it occurred in the first ages, when Christians were looking daily, though mistakenly, for the second coming of their Lord, and when they had not yet learned to regard such an interposition as impossible, the appearance of

* 2 Pet. ii. 5.

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