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Signs of the Times.

Signs of the Times.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE

REV. R. CECIL


Matt. xvi. 1, 2, 3.

The Pharisees also, with the Sadducees, came : and. tempting, desired
him that he would show them a aign from beaven. He answered and
said unto them, When it is evening, ye s:ty, it will be fair weather; lor
the -kv i> red: and, in the morning, it will be foul weather to-day: for
the skv is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face
of the sky, but can ye not discern the signs of the times.

REV. R. CECIL


Matt. xvi. 1, 2, 3.

The Pharisees also, with the Sadducees, came : and. tempting, desired
him that he would show them a aign from beaven. He answered and
said unto them, When it is evening, ye s:ty, it will be fair weather; lor
the -kv i> red: and, in the morning, it will be foul weather to-day: for
the skv is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face
of the sky, but can ye not discern the signs of the times.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on May 06, 2013
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09/22/2013

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SIGS OF THE TIMES.REV. R. CECILMatt. xvi. 1, 2, 3.The Pharisees also, with the Sadducees, came : and. tempting, desiredhim that he would show them a aign from beaven. He answered andsaid unto them, When it is evening, ye s:ty, it will be fair weather; lorthe -kv i> red: and, in the morning, it will be foul weather to-day: forthe skv is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the faceof the sky, but can ye not discern the signs of the times 1The Pharisees and Sadducees were the formalistsand infidels of that day. They came in a curious,unbelieving spirit, — a spirit never likely to receiveany instruction: but they came in this spirit, desiringto see a sign or a miracle. Our Lord reproved thisspirit: for he Looked at the hearts of these men. Heseems to have reproved them in this sentiment:— •• Yr are observant in natural things; ye Know howto read the fact of the sky ; but how is it that ye areso blind in moral considerations, tftat ye seem to knownothing at all of the signs of the times!" — or, as St.Luke expresses it, in the twelfth chapter of his Gos-SIGS OF THE TIMES. 153pel, ' ' How is it that ye do not discern this lime ? W hydo not ye understand your dispensation ? Why, likechildren, do ye want to see something ihat shall meetyour curiosity, in this idle and unbelieving spirit?You see enough, if you could read what you see.Why do you not perceive that the kingdom of Godis among you? — that Christ, the Son of God, is comeand hath eternal life. Having eyes, ye see not ! Youlook at the skies, and learn to read them ; and whydo you not read the signs and tokens of your times?"We are here taught, therefore, that a conscientiousman will endeavour, so far as he is able, to read thesigns of his time.I shall endeavour to point out,
 
1. The signs of our times.2. What these signs suggest in regard to our duty.I. Let us inquire, what are the sidvs of our times.1. As they proceed from God.He hath afforded us a singular dispensation of grace. He hath put us in a capacity of being deliv-ered from our sins, in their guilt and power. Hehath set before us a refuge : " that we, being deliveredfrom our enemies, might serve him without fear, inholiness and righteousness all the days of our lives."He hath set forth " a new and living way, which hehath consecrated for us:" by this way we haveaccess to God.ot only is this special privilege a sign of our times,but God has evidently a contention with Europe,under its awful neglect of this dispensation of mercy."The Lord is doing his strange work." He hathevidently "risen out of his place," as the prophetexpresses it. I cannot adequately speak on this sub- ject; it must overwhelm you. He brings vast armies154 SERMO XV.to nothing ! " The mighty men do not find theirhands !" The most unexpected vicissitudes takeplace — such as we cannot match in history ! Thevaliant expire in the arms of victory.*Consider more particularly onr condition as a na-tion. How long have we been threatened with anoverwhelming invasion ! Every preparation hasbeen made, and yet how has it been delayed ! Howhave the armies of onr enemies been chained ! Whata train of victories mark the history of the presenttimes! or ought it to be forgotten, that God hascaused his name to be owned in those victories.What patience and long-suffering has God exercisedtoward us, under great provocations ! It seems tohave been said concerning us. as it was concerningthe fig-tree, "Spare it yet a little longer."
 
Such are the signs of the times, as they proceedfrom God.2. Let ns turn to the consideration of these signs,as they proceed from man.It will be much too large a field to enter on theatrocious and audacious infidelity of the times — tosay nothing of the contempt, or at least the neglect,of the dispensation of grace under which we live — to say nothing of the worldly spirit of speculation,and the multiplied efforts after gain — to say nothingof the affectation, the consequence, and the extrava-gance which pervade all orders; and the impurityand insubordination of spirit, diffused over the world.1 pass by these general sins, to mark one: and thatone appears to me t<> be the most awful of all sins — Imean the moral inst risibility of tin (inn s ! — the moral* Tins sermon was preached 1000 after the intelligence arrived of thevictory of Trafalgar, and the death of Lord elson. J. p.SIGS OF THE TIMES. 155insensibility ! — for if, while God is contending withthe careless and wicked world, which despises thedispensation of his grace, Christendom still continuesoverwhelmed in its sins, I cannot understand howthe stroke is to cease. Is it not sent to scourge Chris-tendom, till there appears something like moral sen-sibility? till the sinner is disposed to cry, I havesinned? till some shame is felt for our insulting con-tempt of the Son of God's coming down from heaven"to bear our sins in his own body on the tree?" Icannot understand how the stroke should cease, tillthis moral sensibility appears !One, who has not looked into this matter, mightperhaps be ready to say, " What can you mean byinsensibility? The greatest sensibility prevails atthis very time. Every idea seems to be called home.Every one speaks feelingly of the extraordinary in-telligence of the last week. The whole conversationturns on this subject!"

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