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are but a small part of what the habitable world now is. As to extent of ground they all together bear, I suppose, no greater proportion to it than the land of Canaan did to the Roman empire. And our Redeemer in his kingdom of grace has hitherto possessed but a little part of the world, in its most flourishing state, since arts are arisen to their greatest height; and a very great part of the world is but lately discovered, and much remains undiscovered to this day. These things make it very evident, that the main fulfilment of those prophecies that speak of the glorious advancement of Christ's kingdom on earth, is still to come.
And as there has been nothing as yet, with regard to the flourishing of religion and the advancement of Christ's kingdom, of such extent as to answer the prophecies, so neither has there been any thing of that duration that is foretold. The prophecies speak of Jerusalem being made the joy of the whole earth, and also the joy of many generations (Psal. xlviii. 2. Isai. Ix. 15.) That "God's people should long enjoy the work of their hands," (Isa. lxv. 22.) That they should "reign with Christ a thousand years," (Rev. xx.) by which we must at least understand a very long time. But it would be endless to mention all the places which signify that the time of the church's great peace and prosperity should be of long continuance. Almost all the prophecies that speak of her latter-day glory, imply it; and it is implied in very many of them, that when once this day of the church's advancement and peace is begun, it shall never end till the world ends; or at least, that there shall be no more a return of her troubles and adversity for any considerable continuance. Then "the days of her mourning shall be ended;" her tribulations "be as the waters of Noah unto God, that as he has sworn that the waters of Noah should no more pass over the earth, so he will swear that he will no more be wroth with his people, or rebuke them." It is implied that "God's people should no more walk after the imagination of their evil hearts; that God would hide himself no more from the house of Israel; because he has poured out his spirit upon them; that their sun should no more go down, nor the moon withdraw itself; that the light should not be clear and dark," (i. e. there should be no more an interchange of light and darkness, as used to be) but that it should be all one continued day; not day and night (for so the words are in the original in Zech. xiv. 7.) alternately, "but it shall come to pass, that at evening time (i. e. at the time that night and darkness used to be) it shall be light; and that the nations should beat their swords into plow-shares, and their spears into pruning-hooks, and thai nation should not lift up sword against nation, nor learn war any more; but that there should be abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth."
But the church of Christ has never yet enjoyed a state of peace and prosperity for any long time; on the contrary, the time for her rest, and of the flourishing state of religion, have ever been very short. Hitherto the church may say (as in Isai. lxiii. 17,18.) "Return for thy servants' sake the tribes of thine inheritance; the people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while." The quietness that the church of God enjoyed after the beginning of Constantine's reign, was very short. The peace the empire enjoyed in freedom from war, was not more than twenty years; no longer nor greater than it had enjoyed under some of the heathen emperors. After this the empire was rent in pieces by intestine wars, and wasted almost every where by the invasions and incursions of barbarous nations; and the christian world soon after was all in contention and confusion, by heresies and divisions in matters of religion. And the church of Christ has never as yet been, for any long time, free from persecution; especially when truth has prevailed and true religion flourished. It is manifest, that hitherto the people of God have been kept under, and Zion has been in a low afflicted state, and her enemies have had the chief sway.
Another thing which makes it exceedingly manifest that the day of the church's greatest advancement on earth, which is foretold in scripture, has never yet come, is, that it is so plainly and expressly revealed, this day shall succeed the last of the four monarchies, even the Roman, in its last state, wherein it is divided into ten kingdoms, and after the destruction of Antichrist, signified by the little horn, whose reign is contemporary with the reign of the ten kings. These things are very plain in the iid and viith chapters of Daniel, and also in the revelation of St. John. And it is also plain by the ixth chapter of Romans, that it shall be after the national conversion of the Jews, which shall be as life from the dead to the Gentiles and the fulness of both Jews and Gentiles shall be come in, all the nation of the Jews, and all other nations, shall obtain mercy, and there shall be that general ingathering of the harvest of the whole earth, of which all that had been converted before, either of Jews or Gentiles, were but the first fruits.
Thus it is meet that the last kingdom which shall take place on earth, should be the kingdom of God's own son and heir, whose right it is to rule and reign; and that whatever revolutions and confusions there may be in the world, for a long time, the cause of truth, the righteous cause, shall finally prevail, and God's holy people should at last inherit the earth, and reign on earth; and that the world should continue in tumults and great revolutions, following one another from age to age, the world being as it were in travail, till truth and holiness are brought forth. It is meet that all things should be shaken,
till that comes which is true and right, and agreeable to the mind of God, which cannot be shaken; and that the wisdom of the ruler of the world should be manifested in bringing all things ultimately to so good an issue. The world is made for the Son of God; his kingdom is the end of all changes that come to pass in the state of the world. All are only to prepare the way for this; it is fit, therefore, that the last kingdom on earth should be his. It is wisely and mercifully ordered of God that it should be so, on this account, as well as many others, viz. That the church of God, under all preceding changes, should have this consideration to encourage her and maintain her hope, and animate her faith and prayers, from generation to generation, that God has promised her cause should finally be maintained and prevail in the world.
The latter-day glory unspeakably great.
The future promised advancement of the kingdom of Christ is an event unspeakably happy and glorious. The scriptures speak of it as a time wherein God and his Son Jesus Christ will be most eminently glorified on earth; a time wherein God, who till then had dwelt between the cherubims-and concealed himself in the holy of holies, in the secret of his tabernacle, behind the veil, in the thick darkness-should openly "shine forth, and all flesh should see his glory," and God's people in general have as great a privilege as the High Priest alone had once a year, or as Moses had in the Mount. A time this, wherein the "temple of God in heaven should be opened, and there should be seen the ark of his testament ;" (Rev. xi. 19.) a time wherein both God will be greatly glorified, and his saints made unspeakably happy in the view of his glory; a time wherein God's people should not only once see the light of God's glory, as Moses, or see it once a year with the High Priest, but should dwell and walk continually in it, and it should be their constant daily light, instead of the light of the sun (Isai. ii. 5. Psal. lxxxix. 15. Isai. Ix. 19.) which light should be so much more glorious than the light of the sun or moon, that "the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts should reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, before his antients gloriously;" Isai. xxiv. 23.
It is represented as a time of vast increase of knowledge and understanding, especially in divine things; a time wherein God would "destroy the face of the covering cast over all people and the veil spread over all nations;" (Isai. xxv. 7.) wherein the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the
light of the sun seven-fold," (Isai. xxx. 26.)" And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the heart of the rash shall understand knowledge,” (Isai. xxxii. 3, 4.) “And they shall no more teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, know the Lord, because they shall all know him from the least to the greatest," (Jer. xxxi. 24.) It is declared to be a time of general holiness, (Isai. lx. 30.) "Thy people shall be all righteous." A time of prevailing eminent holiness, when little children shall in spiritual attainments, be as though they were a hundred years old, (Isai. Ixv. 20.) wherein "he that is feeble among God's people shall be as David," (Zech. xii. 8.) A time wherein holiness should be as it were inscribed on every thing, on all men's common business and employments, and the common utensils of life, all shall be dedicated to God, and improved to holy purposes. (Isai. xxiii. 18.) "Her merchan dise and hire shall be holiness to the Lord." (Zech. xiv. 20, 21.) "In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, holiness unto the Lord; and the pots in the Lord's house shall be like the bowls before the altar; yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts."
A time shall come wherein religion and true christianity shall in every respect be uppermost in the world; wherein God will cause his church to "arise and shake herself from the dust, and put on her beautiful garments, and sit down on a throne; and the poor shall be raised from the dust, and the beggar from the dunghill, and shall be set among princes, and made to inherit the throne of God's glory ;"- a time wherein vital piety shall take possession of thrones and palaces, and those that are in most exalted stations shall be eminent in holiness, (Isai. xlix. 23.) "And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers." (Chap. lx. 16.) "Thou shalt suck the breasts of kings." (Isai. xlv. 12.) "The daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift, the rich among the people shall entreat thy favour." A time of wonderful union, and the most universal peace, love, and sweet harmony; wherein the nations shall "beat their swords into plow-shares," &c. and God will "cause wars to cease to the ends of the earth, and break the bow, and cut the spear in sunder, and burn the chariot in the fire; and the mountains shall bring forth peace to God's people, and the little hills by righteousness;" wherein "the wolf shall dwell with the lamb," &c. and wherein "God's people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and quiet resting places ;" (Isai. xxxii. 17, 18. and xxxiii. 20, 21.)
A time shall come wherein all heresies, and false doctrines shall be exploded, and the church of God shall not be rent with a variety of jarring opinions, (Zech. xiv. 9.) "The Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day there shall be one Lord, and his name one." All superstitious ways of worship shall
be abolished, and all agree in worshipping God in his own appointed way, and agreeably to the purity of his institutions; (Jer. xxxii. 39.) "I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them and their children after them." A time wherein the whole earth shall be united as one holy city, one heavenly family, men of all nations shall as it were dwell together, and sweetly correspond one with another, as brethren and children of the same father; as the prophecies often speak of God's people at that time as the children of God, and brethren one to another, all appointing over them one head, gathered to one house of God, to worship the king, the Lord of hosts.
A time approaches wherein this whole great society shall appear in glorious beauty, in genuine amiable christianity and excellent order, as "a city compact together, the perfection of beauty, an eternal excellency," shining with a reflection of the glory of Jehovah risen upon it, which shall be attractive and ravishing to all kings and nations, and it shall appear as a bride adorned for her husband.-A time of great temporal prosperity; of great health; (Isai. xxxiii. 24.) "The inhabitant shall not say I am sick" of long life; (Isai. lv. 22.) "As the days of a tree, are the days of my people." A time wherein the earth shall be abundantly fruitful; (Psal. lxvii. Isai. vi. 23, 24. Amos. ix. 16. and many other places.) A time wherein the world shall be delivered from that multitude of sore calamities which before had prevailed, Ezek. xlvii. 20.) and there shall be an universal blessing of God upon mankind, in soul and body, and in all their concerns, and all manner of tokens of God's presence and favour, and "God shall rejoice over them, as the bridegroom rejoiceth over his bride, and the mountains shall as it were drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk;" (Joel iii. 18.)
A time of great and universal joy, we are taught to expect, will take place through all the earth, when "from the uttermost ends of the earth shall be heard songs, even glory to the righteous," and God's people "shall with joy draw water out of the wells of salvation." God shall "prepare in his holy mountain, a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things, full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined," which feast is represented, Rev. xix. as the marriage supper of the Lamb. Yea, the scriptures represent it not only as a time of universal joy on earth, but extraordinary joy in heaven, among the angels and saints, the holy apostles and prophets there; (Rev. xviii. 20. and xix. 1-9.) Yea, the scriptures represent it as a time of extraordinary rejoicing with Christ himself, the glorious head, in whom all things in heaven and earth shall then be gathered together in one; (Zech. iii. 17.) "The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save: he will