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THERE never was a time, when the servants of Christ were more loudly called upon to stand forth in the cause of truth, than the day in which we live. Combining evidences of the rapid approach of the most eventful scenes, force themselves upon the observation; and Christians should listen to the testimony, that their God draweth near !-He, before whom the nations shall tremble ; He, at the brightness of whose coming the powers of darkness shall be confounded ; and by whose triumphs the ransomed church shall be exalted in righteousness, and established in peace.
Prophetic witness is plain, and decided, in drawing the features of the last times ; so thàt
men shall be inexcusable, if those times overtake them unprepared ; and the gathering tokens of the approaching crisis so rapidly multiply upon us, that the most superficial observer of events must be struck with their correspondence with the Scripture account of the days that shall immediately precede the manifestation of Messiah's glory. To such as have a good hope, built on the promises in Christ, the expectation of the Lord's coming has nothing in it of terror; they “ shall stand in their lot ;” and they possess the spirit of faith, which looks for, and hastes to the coming of the day of God. Yet there attach to this event deeply important considerations, which ought to be received and well digested by the Church, so that God may be glorified, in and by her, according to the particular circumstances in which she may be placed. Previously to the last controversy, when the enemies of the Lord shall be gathered together and receive their final downfall, we are informed, that there shall be a desperate effort made by combined powers of darkness to obstruct the rising greatness of the true Church. Satan shall go forth with great fury, knowing that he has but a
short time; and Satanic influence, operating upon human depravity, shall produce a monstrous conspiracy between infidel and superstitious powers, against the life of the saints and the purposes of Jehovah. The conflict will be short, but desperate : the struggle is comparable to that of a dying man, in the reluctance of nature to yield to the eternal decree; but impotent in resistance, and levelled by the stroke of an irresistible arm. The preparatory measures are evidently ripening in their execution. Late years have gradually developed the accomplishment of prophecy in innumerable particulars ; and this day seems to be that critical and interesting period in which the Lord is hasting to seal His servants in their foreheads, and is mustering the hosts to the battle.
It is with a deep conviction of this truth, and with a full persuasion that infidelity and superstition are best opposed by the “ sword of the spirit, the word of God,” that the author of the following Exposition of the Thirty-Nine Articles has ventured to present these pages before the public. At the period when these Articles of the Church of England were compiled, our country was emerging from a dark and woful