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Isaiah we read, "Damascus is taken away from being a city." That is false, says Infidelity. Damascus, from the days of Abraham until now, has ever been a city and is at this present moment advancing in prosperity. It has never been "a ruinous heap." What is our answer to this? we any? Of the Land of Edom it is said, "And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever; from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever." (Is. xxxiv. 9, 10.) This too, says Scepticism, is false. Edom has ever been visited and traversed, and is so still. What is our reply? Of Egypt, Nineveh, and Babylonia, like things may be said. Evidence of this will be found in the following pages. The fact is that we have been in the habit of saying things that are not true respecting all these places; and thereby we have greatly strengthened the enemies of Scripture. Infidelity cannot be silenced by falsehood: but it may bow, under God's blessing, to the voice of Truth. Several instances of this have come within my own knowledge—one
(as I have already said) very marked and important in its consequences. The narrative would greatly interest; but for private reasons I forbear to give it. To every argument, urged by Scripture respecting these things, the one same answer is to be given. The predictions that are referred to have not been fulfilled. Foreshadowing fulfilments there may have been, but foreshadowment is not fulfilment. The period of their accomplishment is not only marked as future, but it is declared to be at the time when God shall forgive Israel, His nation; restore them to His favour; place them under the shelter of the Blood of Jesus, and make them a blessing to the whole earth. The judgments spoken of will be inflicted in the "Day of the Lord's recompense for the controversies of Zion." "Thus saith thy Lord, the Lord, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again: but I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over; and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over." (Isaiah li. 22, 23.) Then Damascus shall be taken
away from being a city: then Edom will meet its doom. Nor must we hide from ourselves the sinfulness of explaining away the force of the descriptions of Scripture under the pretext that the language is poetic, exaggerated, and virtually untrue. If we say that the predictions of Psalm xviii., or the closing verses of Revelation vi., or Isaiah xiii. 9, 10, 11, or Joel iii. 9, 10, &c., have been fulfilled in any past events in the history of Earth, we open wide the door to the reckless impiety of Neologianism, and the dishonesty of "Non-naturalism," in all its forms. Satan, no doubt, desires that we should hide from ourselves, and from others, all that Scripture has revealed respecting both the glories, and the terrors, and the judgments of the great Day of visitation. Shall we voluntarily enter his snares? Shall we deliberately nullify that which God has said respecting the great Day of the Coming of our God and Saviour? Figurative language, and symbolic visions, can convey to us the knowledge of literal facts, quite as well as simple language.
They who may kindly condescend to read and consider the statements made in the following pages will, I think, admit that, if those statements.
be true, the teaching of Christendom since the Apostles died, has been on these subjects fearfully false; and that a rectification of doctrine is urgently required. Such a rectification would, no doubt, involve a vast change in our present habits of thought and action. If, on the other hand, my statements be false, they cannot be too strongly denounced, or too strenuously resisted. These are subjects that do not admit of compromise, or qualification.
That there are many blemishes in this book, I feel acutely but I am equally convinced that its facts and principles are substantially true. Repetition may be complained of, but this can scarcely be avoided in a book written at different periods, and having to do with circumstances identical as to time, but different as to locality.
The words I take refuge in are, "If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared."
My earnest desire is that not one self-conceived thought of my own should have any influence. I
* Extracts given in the Postscript from the writings of Augustine, Jerome, and Lightfoot justify this condemnation.
desire that all who fear God should be brought nearer to God and to His ways, and be truly enabled to say, "By the Word of Thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the Destroyer." The bright blaze of the light of concentrated AntiChristianism will soon be seen in avowed contrast with the light sent forth by God, through His Prophets and Apostles, to guide unto His holy hill and to His Tabernacles. Which shall we follow ? The one leads surely to the Pit; the other to Christ, and to His glory.
LONDON, July, 1890.