OF preaching any doctrine is a strong evidence of its falsity or truth. It can never produce any good effect to preach error, neither
can it ever be injurious to preach the truth.
If therefore we find that the preaching of any doctrine causes iniquity to abound, or the love of any to wax cold, if it lowers the standard of piety, and weans hearts from God; we may know, that however plausible it may appear, it is not approved of God. On the contrary we may know that any doctrine is true which has a tendency to purify the heart and fill us with love to God, which weans our affections from this world, and centres them on one purer and better or which causes the sinner to forsake the error of his way and to turn unto God.
By the above rule we propose to test the doctrine of Christ's second advent near. It is claimed that its effect will be injurious if it does not prove true.
As no evidence of such a consequence has ever been adduced, it will only be necessary for us to show what has been its effect where it has been received, and this has in all cases been most salutary. It has awakened the slumbering christian, and aroused the careless sinner. It has caused sectarian prejudices to be forgotten, and has revived decayed and drooping piety. It has unsealed the prophecies to many an inquiring mind which was before to them a dead letter, It has shown that there is a beauty, a harmony a simplicity and a fulness in many portions of that word, which had before been veiled in obscurity by those who mystify and spiritualize away its plain and simple meaning. It has been instrumental in the conversion of souls, and has filled the hearts of christians with new joy. It has caused Universalism and Infidelity to tremble before it, and to loose their hold on their ensnared victims; and erronists of every name make common cause against it. It draws the heart of the believer near to God, fills it with joy and peace, in believing, and prompts him to renewed exertion in his Master's service. And it has convinced the sinner of the danger of delay, and of the necessity of making his peace with God at once. These are the results which indicate that it is a cause which is blessed of God, and meets his favor and approval.
On the other hand, we find that preaching against this doctrine has no good effect. It never awakens the sinner; nor alarms the skeptic: neither does it tend to fill the heart of the christian with
any of those graces which draw the reclaimed nearer to God; but its effect is directly the reverse. It lulls to sleep the already slumbering christian. It says to the sinner, to-morrow is as well as
to-day, so that he need not be alarmed, and invites him to delay repentance. It also conveys the idea that there is nothing desirable in the coming of Christ.
But a still more convincing argument is the
fact that all the unbelievers, whether infidel or Universalists, look upon those who oppose it as champions of their own views. On so momentous a question as this they can endure very well all allusions to
death and futurity which their allies make if they will only take common ground on this question.
Such being the effect of preaching the kingdom of God at hand and denying that it is near, can any doubt,
which it is that meets the favor and approbation of God. - Signs Times.