DELIVERED ON SABBATH AFTER THE DISPENSATION OF THE
REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
COLDENHAM, N.Y., OCTOBER 20th, 1872,
BY THE PASTOR,
REV. J.W. SHAW.
To testify for Christ; to set the fact
Of his Salvation, Godhead, Sovereignty,
Massively visible, before the world.
JAS. J. MCNALLY, PRINTER, DAILY TELEGRAPH OFFICE.
We are a puny breed, a feeble folk;
Led by our King, we are a sacred band,
Armored in light and helmed in righteousness,
Bearing the ark that shrines the truth divine
Which shall regenerate a death-struck world.”
OUR BANNERS SET UP.
“And yet a Banner Thou hast giv’n
To them who Thee do fear;
That it by them, because of truth,
Displayed may appear.”
“In the name of our God we will set up our Banners.”—PSALM xx, 5.
It is well to advocate peace; it is a blessing to have it. Some seek it when they ought not and cannot have it. Some cry peace, peace, when there is no peace. There are some things of greater value than peace, precious as it is. Where would truth have been had peace always been more prized than it? Prefer peace to truth however things go, and the devil and sin will sweep the world.
The prominent idea connected with a Banner, is warfare. It may be used to distinguish parties,—it may be used in processions—in political contests, and at the polls. It may be used in important assemblies to excite enthusiasm, or, in the banqueting house to indicate the reign of Love; but wherever used, the ruling idea is warfare,—intended, prosecuted or celebrated. The Church of God is, has been, and while in the world, shall be in a state of warfare—the Church militant. The Seed of the woman heads her battalions, and with him are the hosts of heaven. The old serpent leads the opposing army, and with him are leagued the hosts of hell.
There are no neutrals in this warfare—no mere camp followers; all, old and young, male and female, professor and non-professor, are voluntarily or involuntarily, on the one side or the other: for Christ, or against him—gathering with him, or scattering. Admitting this, and knowing on which side truth, and right, and God are, and victory is sure to be, we can not hesitate in our choice. “Choose ye this day whom ye will serve.” I do not mean that you are not already in one of the opposing armies; but a gospel blessing is brought you, in the opportunity of voluntarily taking a side. This, I am pleased to know, is not the first time that this important matter has claimed your serious thought. The most of you, probably nearly all of you, have already, and some of you long ago, decided, and have taken your place in the ranks of Christ. You have said, “Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse.” As it regards you who have been at the Lord’s table, the matter is settled. You know, and the world should know, where you are. Having decided, and standing before men and high heaven, the sacramental soldiers of the Cross, what more plain, more appropriate, and necessary duty can claim your thought, than that resolved on and expressed in the test: “In the name of our God we will set up our Banners.”
The resolution does not imply that you have not already set them up, or that you have new banners to erect. It is cheering to know that our banners were set up in the Old Past, that they have been loved, and that they have been defended unto death by the noblest souls that ever tabernacled in flesh—that they have been delivered to the present generation of devoted heroes, defended and bloodstained, but without a shred left in the hand of the enemy—without a letter wanting in their motto, or their color less fresh and brilliant than on the day they were first let out on the breeze. Under these, you have rallied. To God, to the Captain of your salvation, to his cause and to one another, you have most solemnly pledged yourselves; and it is your acknowledged duty and earnest desire to display them anew.
This being the case, you will attend to any advice I shall offer, for the right discharge of the duty, and to a presentation of the demands which are made upon you in the discharge of it, at the present time.
I.—AS IT RELATES TO THE DUTY OF SETTING UP YOUR BANNERS, I advise:—
1. That you make yourselves thoroughly acquainted with them. In keeping with the expression in the text, and giving prominence to the military thought it involves, our collection and arrangement of the great truths of the word of God, as presented in the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Catechisms, Form of Church Government, Directory for worship and Testimony, are called subordinate standards—standards, “ensigns of war; staffs with flags or colors; banners.” They are called subordinate, because taken from, and subordinate to the word of God; the supreme and universal standard, which points out to the entire army, the Headquarters of the Lord of Hosts.
Submitting, as we do, these subordinate standards to undergo the scrutiny of the keenest search of the enemy, we ought to be quite familiar with them; we ought to be sure there is nothing in them contrary to the word of God, if there is, to stand by it ensures our defeat: if there is not—if their doctrines are God’s revealed verities, they shall stand, and so shall we if we stand by them. To show their perfect agreement with the word of God does not, as a primary undertaking, devolve on us. Thanks be to God for the men who drafted them, who gave them to the Church, and taught and successfully defended, even their most questioned parts. They laboured and we have entered into their labors. But it is not enough, that we take them even from their noble hands; it is not enough to know that they have been successfully defended against their wily enemies; we should, for ourselves, bring them to the test of the infallible rule. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
It is when we know that they accord, almost to the very letter, with the divine law, and as we know it by our own ascertainment, that our belief in them and profession of them will ensure our adherence to them; and the heart strengthening and soul-solacing practice of them.
2. We should know their history. Few things afford greater pleasure, or better means successfully to encounter life’s trials and fight its battles than history. Inquisitiveness pertinaciously pries into its secrets; fancy revels in its luxuries; knowledge re-lights her taper at its altar and prepares to investigate the obscurities of the present. Since the days of the iron pen, which left its record on the tablets of stone, from the days of Moses till this day, the lives of men and the transactions of nations, have been placed on the enduring page. We can converse with the ancient dead, and furnished with their wisdom, apply it to ourselves and to those of our own age. But of all histories, the history of the Church is the most congenial and profitable to the christian. She was the centre, around which, and for which, the many and notable nations rose, revolved and perished—the centre around which, and for which, God’s providences have all, from the first, revolved. She, and God’s purposes concerning her, assure the world’s existence; and when the circling ages shall have rounded up her fulness, time will end an the future of eternity begin.
A most striking feature of the Church’s history, is the evolutions which brought into prominence her Creeds and Confessions. As she travailed in giving them birth, the enemy plied his every art to prevent, and, when he would not, to destroy her offspring. But notwithstanding his efforts, many as they have been, subtle as they have been, and determined as they have been. Creeds and Confessions still live. Among these, and most prominent among them, and most opposed, are the Creeds and Confession of the Westminster Assembly of Divines—of the Second Reformation—of the Reformed Presbyterian Church. Our subordinate standards were perfected, and boldly presented, in trying times, to the infuriating of the myrmidons of Antichrist. They are the product of the highest attainments in theology, piety, and ecclesiastical literature of uninspired men. They came into prominence in connection with those immortal deeds, the National Covenant of Scotland, and the Solemn League and Covenant of the three kingdoms. These covenants were the heart of them; these covenants leagued the nation and the church in the maintenance and defence of their truths; and consequently, it was not directly against the Confession, but against the Covenants, that in the defection and persecution which speedily followed their adoption, the infernal enginery of the persecutors, was directed. It was because of adherence to the Covenants, that fires were kindled, gibbets erected, the thumbscrew and the boot applied, and barbarous hordes let loose to scour the country, shooting, maiming and torturing, regardless of age, sex, or condition. It was for these covenants that Scots Worthies contended, the Cloud of Witnesses testified, Cameron fought and Renwick died.
Men die, but the truth never dies. “The Fathers, where are they?” Gone, gone to their reward, their throne and crown. They have left us the invaluable legacy of their Reformation attainments, and their noble example in opposing error, and in contending for all divine truth. They have left us their creeds, their deeds, their covenants—the Banners, which in the name of God they set up, fought under, and defended. These they have handed over to you, you their legitimate descendants. What will you do with them? Sons of the Reformation, what will you do with the deeds of your fathers? Will you join with those who scout them? Will you modernize them? Americanize them? Will you accept a substitute for them? How can you? The graves of the fathers of the Covenanted Church in this land, the monuments of the martyrs on the moors of Scotland, would cry out against you; thunders, from the Cloud of Witnesses, would startle you—your own consciences, writhing in the tortures of remorse, would clamorously accuse you! No. you have sworn and you will perform; you have opened your mouth unto the Lord, and you will not go back! You will familiarize yourselves with their history, and hold fast and defend them till death.
3. You should know the ends for which they were designed and will certainly accomplish. Deeds which came into existence accompanied by circumstances so singularly memorable,—deeds which have cost such grievous sufferings, and for which so much of the blood of God’s dear saints has been shed,—deeds which have drawn upon them so many eyes, and have caused the stir which these deeds have, must be of importance; and being yet, notwithstanding the lapse of time, and the murderous treatment they have received, fresh and influential; drawing to them the warmest and most devoted hearts of the age, must be destined to act no minor part in the immediate future. The old enemies of Truth are rapidly increasing. Seeming success emboldens them; but, they can not hold back the advancing light of the gospel in heathen lands, or draw again the covering of ignorance over Christendom; but, they can poison the evangelical streams that issue from the temple and send delirium and death to those who drink of them. They can seize the fountains of education and abstract that element which vitalizes and purifies all the rest. They can, by the aid of willingly-deceived christians, and unscrupulous politicians, attain political power. They have attained it; and today they would lay their daring hands on the life of the nation, and destroy it; but One, more potent than they, holds back their efforts until the marking angel has set heaven’s seal on the foreheads of the elect. So soon as his withholding hand is slackened the restrained the spirit of persecution will spring at the throat of Liberty. The attack will rouse the spirit of the Fathers. The spirit of the Reformation will burst from its grave, and casting away its grave-clothes, lead the friends of truth in their victorious attacks. “For Christ, or for Antichrist,” will be the war cry, then!
When that time comes, and the signs speak falsely if it is very far off, the same weapons which were furnished out fathers from the armory of heaven, shall be again in the requisition. These never change. The sword of the Spirit, the helmet of Salvation, shield of Faith, and the girdle of Truth never change, never wear out—were made for the victory, and shall gain it.
The banners we now display, shall then take that prominence which is their due. The battle is for the kingdom, and the greatness of the kingdom, even the dominion of the whole earth, and Christ shall win it. Jesus is King, is inscribed on our banners. The standards that bear that inscription, shall stand boldly prominent to every eye in the conflict. Jesus is King, shall be shouted from hill to hill. Jesus is King, the distant vales shall cry; and as victory perches on that ancient Banner, the heavens shall ring with the shout of angels—Jesus is King! “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ.” Then shall the nations enact their laws conformably to the supreme standard—the word of God. Then shall just men, fearers of God, haters of covetousness, be entrusted with power. Then shall the Church be honored: kings shall be her nursing fathers, and their queens her nursing mothers. For this we have ever plead, and it is inscribed on the Banners we have set up in the name of our God.
II.—THE DISCHARGE OF THIS DUTY requires:—
1. That we should bring our principles into prominent notice. They are light, and are imparters of light; and notwithstanding the boasts of our age, it needs as it needs few other things, the light which they can impart. They are light, and no man having light, is justified in withholding it—in putting it under a bushel, or under a bed. Who ought to know the crafty policy of Rome, and its incessant worming of itself into power? Who ought to know the intoxicating qualities of the cup, which the kings of the earth have drunk to drunkenness? Who ought to know the deadly poison of the adder the nations are warming in their bosom? Who ought to know the infernal savagery of Popery, better than those whose fathers suffered death, and worse than death a thousand times, at its hands? Who should know the worth of loyalty, and the price of patriotism, better than they, who, for their loyalty to their covenants, their country, and their God, are, by the impiety, usurpation, and disloyalty to the King of kings, by the lands where they reside, and in which they were born, disfranchised and aliens in the commonwealth? What class of Protestants should know the need, and the defenses of Protestantism, better than those who have ever protested, and this day protest, against all that is contrary to the interest of the church, and of the nations? Inheriting a monopoly of opprobrium, cradled in the sackcloth of the witnesses, and having drunk, with their mother’s milk, from the fountain of divine and human rights, it is not astonishing, that Covenanters are pioneers in the overthrow of tyranny, or in advocating reform. The legitimate and well earned place in every reform, is the front for Reformed Presbyterians. When they play second to any, they play where they have already lost—lost the place their birthright gave them, and God assigned them; and succeed they can not, until they repent, and themselves reform.
Parents should diligently indoctrinate their children; pastors and preachers should preach; professors of Theology should train the future ministry; and all, every pen that can advocate our distinctive principles; every purse that can secure their publication, should be devoted to their spread in tract, newspaper and book, until the atmosphere shall be filled with them, as with the wind-driven leaves of autumn; and they shall find a lodging at every hearth and home of the land.
The press is an immense power. It is doing an immense work. For good? Not entirely: not even for the greater part, I fear. There is a religious press, but it is sadly erroneous and erratic. There is a secular press, it is supremely devoted to Mammon; and there is a licentious press, flooding the land, invading parlor and bedchamber, polluting the souls of our youth. Will Christians, will Covenanters, look tamely on, while the emissaries of destruction are working so vigorously, and so successfully? Come to the rescue! you, who can write, write; you, who can use the press, use it, until the leaven of the tree which are for the healing of the nations, shall be unsparingly scattered; until the truths your fathers died for, shall claim the attention of the people, and the Banners we set up in the name of our God, shall engage the eye of the world.
2. Use them in opposing the errors of the day. The “three unclean spirits like frogs,” which the Apostle saw, “come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet,” have multiplied, until, like locusts, they fill the land. Liberalism, in all things, moral and religious, spreads till Universalism is fain to hide its diminished head. The broad Church is as broad as the road that leads to death. Romanists and the professed descendants of the martyrs, “clasp hands over the bloody chasm.”
“Of late,” says Rev. C. H. Spurgeon, “we have heard deniers of our Lord’s Divinity spoken of as Christian brethren. Now, my common sense does not enable me to see how a man would be called a Christian who rejects Christ. Charity by all manner of means, but not falsehood. Union certainly, but not union in deadly error. Confederacy with those who do not believe Jesus Christ to be God, and deny His atoning sacrifice, is treason to the Lord of glory. Such persons may be excellent Mahometans, or Jews, or pure Theists, but they are not Christians; and if they wrongly assume that title, we ought not to concede it to them.”
There is, at present, a growing tendency to indiscriminate interchange of pulpits by ministers of different denominations; and, of course, indiscriminate church-fellowship by the people. Cooperation with good men, in promoting the moral social welfare of our race; and with christians, in the furtherance of the interests of the kingdom of Christ, where no sinful compromises are required, we do not oppose; but this is not what is known as “Christian, and ministerial fellowship.” The ambassador of the gospel should preach wherever and whenever he can. He may preach in an Indian temple, a Mahomedan mosque or a Popish chapel; but, if the condition on which he does so is, that nothing shall be said that may offend those who usually worship, his occupancy of them is rebellion against Christ. Here lies the danger. If the privilege is sought for by the yearnings for popularity, he is not likely to witness against the errors of his generous patrons. Ritualism, the effervescence of Popery, and the settings of human folly, is making rapid strides. Instrumental and operatic music in the worship of God; and hymns of human composition, as a substitute for “the sacrifice of praise,” is passing out of the category of toleration to that of positive sanction. Sensationalism is characteristic of the age, and it is no stranger in the pulpit. A writer in the Glasgow Reformed Presbyterian Witness says, “There is a pretentious, fussy, impudent, and ignorant class in the so-called religious community, always on the lookout for ecclesiastical monstrosities—eccentrics who pride themselves in striking out some devious course from the straight lines of orthodoxy, and zig-zagging in a little uncertain orbit of their own. It is most pitiable to observe the notice which these theological comets attract, and the popularity to which they attain in their downward course! There is a large class in the community who take great interest in these ecclesiastical eccentricities; and who regard them as reformers and leaders of thought.” It is popular now, where there is any shadow of terms of communion still retained, to abbreviate as much as possible. An example is given by our Scottish New Lights. At the disruption in 1863, and since, they persisted, as others have done, in declaring that they had made no change; but, recently, instead of their former “Terms of Ministerial and Christian Communion,” they have adopted “a New Formula for Admission of Members.” “It consists of five questions,” says the Reformed Presbyterian Witness, in which there is no reference whatever to Presbyterianism as the only scriptural form of church government. Of the Westminster Standards the Shorter Catechism alone is mentioned, and all required is an acceptance of the views of truth and duty set forth therein. The Covenants, National and Solemn League; the Testimony; and the Scriptural testimonies and earnest contendings of Christ’s faithful witnesses, are never so much as alluded to. Their downward course, and that of others, furnish solemn warning to beware of dealing unfaithfully with truth, and disregarding vows and engagements to maintain it. What shall counterwork these frogs? What shall force back the tide of popular delusion and soul-destroying error? The doctrines of the word of God systematically arranged in our Subordinate Standards—the principles of the Second Reformation applied to the need reforms of the day. Our Covenants, like monster siege guns, when brought to bear upon them, will demolish these refuges of lies.
3. They should be the governing principles of our life. It is well to know and profess them. To maintain and propagate them, is the most needed work of our day—our country’s and the world’s need. Religion, from the captivity into which her professing friends have led her, calls for reform—speedy and radical reform—if she is not to be totally and forever banished—reform, personal and social, ecclesiastical and national. To effect it the setting up of our banners, the promulgation of reformation principles, by the pulpits and the press, is loudly demanded and absolutely necessary: but more effective than all else, is the living epistle of conformable practice, which may be known and read of all men.
It is a grievous mistake that many have fallen into with regard to our principles; that they are cramped and impracticable—fanatical, and the product of a semi-barbarous age, and people. Nothing would be more wide of the truth. Perhaps one reason for the existence of this belief is, that those who profess them do not generally rank with what is reckoned the polished part of society. This, however, may not be attributable to their principles, but to the false standard of what men call polish; and to the fact that God will choose for himself the poor of this world, rich in faith. Our ancestors were not the uncouth characters some seem to think they were. We can not do better than carefully study their history, and imitate their example in interweaving our principles with every deed of our life. The better we are acquainted with them, the deeper of our life. The better we are acquainted with them, the deeper will be the conviction, that in striving together for the faith of the gospel, it was the love of Christ that constrained them. No men could act more valiantly, as witnesses for Christ than they, and very few are to be compared with them for eminent godliness. Their sermons and correspondence with friends, which were not written for publication, contain the plain and natural expression of their thoughts and feelings. In them we get some glimpses of the sufferings they were enduring, and ascertain the inmost breathings of their heart, the workings of strong faith, ardent love, and lively hope. We see how they looked steadfastly at the things which were not seen and eternal—how they endured as seeing Him who is invisible—how their hearts were filled with admiring views of the matchless excellency, the boundless love, and infinite condescension of the divine Saviour—how their soul rejoiced in that everlasting covenant which is well ordered in all things and sure—how they delighted to commend the Redeemer—how they counted all labor and suffering sweet for his sake—and how they reckoned the sufferings of the present time not worthy to be compared with the glory to be revealed. We see how their soul was gladdened by the light of Jehovah’s countenance, and how they looked forward with rapturous delight to the full enjoying of God in heaven. We see their meekness, and patience, and deep humility. We see how they combined Christian gentleness with christian fortitude—the meekness of the lamb and the courage of the lion—adopting the exhortation of Renwick, “Let us be lions in God’s cause, and lamb in our own.”
Of their eminent godliness, nothing can be more decisive than the test given by our Lord, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” In their case this was exemplified in no ordinary degree. It was at the scaffold of martyrs, and in full view of suffering, that some of the made their firm determination, and deliberately cast in their lot with those against whom the storm of persecution was raging, most violently. But they feared it not. To them Christ was all, and in all. Under His banner they would be safe, whatever might befall; and with firm resolve they would go forward, although all the powers of earth and hell might be arrayed against them. Nor did they repent of their choice. Instead of shrinking at the Master’s call, they stepped boldly to the front, and nobly carried aloft the glorious standard of the Reformation—faithful unto death. By holy living, written testimonies, epistolary communications, and declarations on the scaffold, they bore faithful testimony to the crown rights and royal prerogatives of Jesus Christ. Messiah’s crown and the Covenanted Reformation were, and are still, inseparably joined. Immanuel is the Head of the Church, and He is Governor among the Nations. For these grand truths our fathers lived, testified and died; and have left us their example. Will any, truly acquainted with them, say their principles were not practical, and were not interwoven in their life? Nothing would be more direct and determined than was their testimony against every claim of supremacy, in things ecclesiastical and civil, but Christ’s. They condemned the tyranny, the persecution, the indulgences, the taxations laid on expressly for suppressing the gospel. They would have the authority of Christ everywhere acknowledged, honored and obeyed. They would have all the affairs of the Church regulated by the laws of her exalted Head. they would have all kings to fall down before Him, and all nations to serve Him. For this testimony they were content to be persecuted wanderers in their native land; and willingly gave their life for it.
It should not be said, that in following their example we are wanting in patriotism. They were patriots, not in word, but in deed, and in truth. It was their leading aim to exalt and ennoble all classes of men. They knew “that righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people.” They aimed to deliver their country from the cruel tyranny, misgovernment, and persecution under which it groaned. They proclaimed the wickedness of the Stuarts. They proved that neither Charles nor James had any right to reign over the people of Scotland. They demonstrated that to own the lawfulness of their authority was unfaithfulness, and disloyalty to the great King, against whom they were in rebellion, and whose crown and authority they had impiously usurped. They exposed the Indulgences of Charles, the deceitful Toleration of James; and the justness of their position was made manifest. The dynasty of the Stuarts was crushed; and in the very year that Renwick died their wicked Government was disowned and rejected by the united voice of England and Scotland.
But their patriotism reached still farther. They sought for those countries as we should for ours, the enjoyment of the blessings which the Solemn League and Covenant was designed to secure—that rulers and people should be united in defence of religion and liberty, according to the word of God, that strenuous exertions should be made to promote true and undefiled religion, that the pure doctrines of the word of God, as set forth in the Westminster Confession and Catechisms, should be faithfully preached, and that Jesus Christ should be acknowledged as King and Lord, and His authority in all things obeyed. These have not yet been attained, but we are confident that they will be; and therefore, “in the name of our God we will set up our Banners.”
And in yet more direct application, I remark:—
1. It must be evident that the blessings of the principles our fathers advocated were not designed for those lands in which they taught and witnessed for them only. They involve the ultimate designs of the everlasting gospel for every nation under heaven. When these principles, fraught with gospel blessings, were, in the providence of God, preached in America, and when, imbued with the spirit of the martyrs, and following the example of the Covenanters, the United States refusing to succumb to British tyranny, declared their independence, and adopted their constitution, what position did they take? They were free. Positions were at their option. Did they choose to take the glorious Second Reformation as their model? No! Did they choose to put themselves on the side of Jesus Christ, the Governor among the nations, and of his gospel of universal freedom? No! Did they shut the door, once and forever, against the known enemy of civil and religious liberty in Great Britain, and throughout the world? No! Did they pledge themselves to foster and defend the Church of Christ, the object of his love, the purchase of his blood, and for whom he reigns, till his last foe is made his footstool? No! Did they take God into their counsels, and his law as their chief guide in their constitutional and legislative enactments? No! No!! What did they do? Ignored them! What then are you to do with the United States? you, who in the name of your God have set up your Banners? Ignore them? You cannot. Since they are not with Christ, they are with his enemies, and you cannot ignore an enemy; and certainly you will not identify yourselves with one. Stand apart! lift up your voice like a trumpet; cry, and spare not; point the nation to its sins; work and pray for its reformation; but be careful how you mingle with nominal reformers.
2. Remember that the Banners you set up, are opposed also to corrupt churches. Occupying the platform of the Reformation, you stand side by side with its martyrs and confessors. Their testimonies are your testimonies; their public engagements are yours; and those whom they opposed, you oppose. To cruel Popery, and to bloody Prelacy, you are in sworn opposition, and under solemn pledge for their extirpation. With the churches, which have repudiated the Covenants, or their offshoots, which ignore them, you can have no fellowship. All who do not adopt the only form of government Christ has given His church; all, who do not observe the scriptural mode of worship; all, professing to hold these, but with them, hold principles and follow practices, “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men,” you stand away from, and protest against.
3. This being your situation, what may you expect? Just what has ever been the lot of the faithful: opposition, ill names, to be treated as offscourings; and should persecution arise for the word of God, to be dealt with as your fathers were. What will you do about it? Fight it out on this line if it requires a thousand years. What else can you do, but that to which God has called you? and keep doing whatever He calls you to do, so long and as thoroughly as you shall have strength to do?
4. What are your prospects? “The morning cometh, and also the night.” Yes, night; but not all night; “at evening time it shall be light.” “The morning cometh!” Its dawn already streaks the sky. I have no faith in the near conversion of the United States. I have reason rather to fear their servility to the Man of Sin. There is nothing specially encouraging in the outlook of the Old World. I look to Reform, but it is an empty boast, to Protestantism, but it is asleep. With throbbing pulse, I look to the Witnesses, now reduced to a number far less in proportion than Gideon’s three hundred, and tremble in the apprehension that small as their number is, it may be yet farther reduced. But while I look, I hear: “They overcame by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.”
Witnesses for Christ, potent is the word of your testimony, glorious is the truth inscribed on your banners, but infinitely more glorious and potent, is the blood of Jesus Christ. He reigns for the subduing of his enemies—he comes to crown with victory the contest of his redeemed; and hark, it is himself that speaks: “BEHOLD, I COME QUICKLY; HOLD THAT FAST WHICH THOU HAST, THAT NO MAN TAKE THY CROWN.” “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
“I wait for God, my soul doth wait,
My hope is in his word,
More than they that for morning watch,
My soul waits for the Lord.”
IN THE NAME OF OUR GOD
WE WILL SET UP OUR BANNERS.
“Bear aloft our Sion’s Banner,
Crimsoned o’er with martyr’s blood;
It hath waved through lapse of ages,
Undestroyed by fire or flood.
O’er the field of deadly combat
It hath waved amid the strife,
And our fathers to preserve it,
Peril’d fortune, home and life.”