Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

But if they show that Prophecy may be interpreted so as to reconcile most of the various

opinions

of the Most High when the government, in a proper sense, is put into the hands but of Christian Kings only, and subordinate rulers. As when it is said, ' Fear not, little Aock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom,' meaning the kingdom of heaven, Luke xii. 32. we are not to understand thereby that he will make each of them kings in that kingdom, as that signifies power and authority to rule and govern it; but that he will give them poffefsion and fruition of the glory and happiness of that kingdom, the affairs and concerns of which will be managed by the glorious King of Heaven, in a more immediate manner than the Kingdom of Christ on earth was, when God himself shall be all in all.'

“ Rev. ii. 26, 27, and iii. 21. doubtless fignifies rule and government in this world, under Christ, King of all Kings. The first instance of the fulfilment of these Prophecies was Constantine, the first Christian Emperor. And these Chrif tian Kings, who are deputed and delegated by Christ to rule under and for him, may be said to • sit down in his throne (as Solomon is faid, i Chron. xxix. 23. to fit in the throne of the Lord, as King, instead of David his Father), as he is set down on his Father's throne, by having all judgment (or government) committed to him by the Father.' In that happy time of the Church, set forth by a new heaven and a new earth, and by the New Jerusalem's -coming down from God out of heaven, it may be said, , Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will

dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself fhall be with them, and be their God,' Rev, xxi. 12. And when God fhall please to exhibit himself thus unto men, we may be well afsured of a very plen

opinions concerning it—if they tend to display the HARMONY and REGULARITY which per

vade

tiful effufion of good things, of fpiritual good things especially; and among them, Divine assistances to enrich the fouls of men with great measures of light and love. And this cannot but produce much righteousness and great peace among men. This saying, The Tabernacle of God is with men, seems to signifie as niuch happiness thereby to be vouchsafed to men, as they can be well capable of in this world, and on this side heaven itself, but especially in God's communication of such benefits as will best fit and prepare them for the happiness of another world. And when Ezekiel seems to have set forth the glory of the new city (which seems to be the New Jerusalem of the Revelations), he concludes, c. lxviii. with that which would commend it most of all, saying, “That the name of the city from that day shall be, The Lord is there. Considering then the great plenty of internal assistanee which God will vouchsafe unto inen in the happy times we speak of, and considering the excellent order and government which will then be observed both in Church and State, by Princes, Bishops, and Rulers, well qualified for it; it will be no hard' matter to believe that their peace then will be as a river, and righteousness as the waves of the sea.'

« St. Paul says, the creature itself also, shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God,' Romans viii. 21. And if he hereby means a deliverance which the animate and inanimate creatures shall one time or other receive from the vanity, weakness, and hurtfulness, which is come upon their nature by reason of man's sin, as it's generally held he does, then the great prosperity we have been speaking of, is not likely to be peculiar to the nation or people of

the

vade the WHOLE OF THE PROPHÉTIC SCHEME -if they excite attention to passing objects,

and

che Jews only, when they shall be restored, but seems to be a thing more generally to be enjoyed in the world in those happy times. For, if that be St. Paul's meaning, then the deliverance of the creature from the bondage of which he speaks must be its deliverance in a great measure from that curse that came upon the earth for the sin of man, and that was extended to the other parts of the earth as well as the land of Canaan; and therefore the removal of this curse must concern the other parts of the world as well as that. And if the creature,' or whole creation,

which travaileth in pain until now,' shall be delivered from this bondage one time or other, when can it be lo reasonably expected as in those times in which the reign and government of Christ will make them so happy as we have set forth? It cannot reasonably be thought to be at the judgment of the great day, for then will be the conflagration of the world by fire, and that will not be a dea liverance to the creatures, but a destruction of them.

« The hot and unchristian contests and divisions about føme doétrines of lesser moment, but especially about Church government and discipline, with the great neglect of difcipline itself; and most of all, the unsuitableness of men's lives to the Reformed Religion which they profess, has greatly obscured the glory of the Reformation itself, and made the day of it to be neither clear nor dark.' And indeed, the great degenerateness of the Reformed Churches from the power of Christianity gives too much cause to fear left Almighty God should chastise that decay by letting the Reformed Churches fall once more under the power of that which is unreformed. God may suffer them to be brought very low by their enemies to bring them to repent

ance,

and to their ultimate direction, they will answer most important purposes. Should the

course

ance, and then deliver them in some extraordinary manner..... The general victory, which the Church in the latter days shall obtain over her enemies, will be brought to pass, fo as that it will appear plainly that Almighty God, that Christ, the King of his Church, does interpose and concern himself in it after a more immediate and extraordinary manner than what has been usual at other times, Rev. xix. Psalm cx, 5, 6. We have great reason to think, that the

slaying his enemies with the sword of his mouth' in this · place, and on this occasion, must needs signifie a temporal

destruction which they shall receive from him at the battle of that great day of God Almighty, which is as likely to be as much, or more, the day of his wrath, than any on this side the day of the general judgment of the world..... And it is not unlikely but that the enemies of the Church at such a time as this, when the kings of the earth and of the whole world have brought their armies together, may so far outnumber those of the Church, that, unless the Lord of Hofts himself should by some extraordinary acts of Providence engage for the one against the other, the Church would be in great danger of being devoured by her enemies. But, besides this, Almighty God, by appearing thus visibly by some token of his power and presence in the behalf of his Church and people, and against their enemies, will serve another great design of his grace and favour towards the world, and that is, in making such proceeding of his to be a means of convincing the world in general, that the God of these Christians, for whom he thus wonderfully appears, is the only true God, and their Religion the only true Religion ; upon account of which they will be drawn to learn it of them. There

are

course of some extraordinary circumstances, now hanging in fufpence, but of which there

was

are many Scriptures which give intimation of this, and some hints of the manner in which the enemies of the Church will be destroyed; one of which is, the enemies falling out among themselves, and falling foul upon one another, instead of prosecuting their design against the armies of the Christians. Isaiah ix. 2. Zechariah xiv. 13. xii. 2, 3, 4. Haggai ii. 22. Ezekiel xxxviii. 21. Micah v. 6. This seems to be designed to be put in execution upon the pouring out of the seventh vial..... An:os ix. I1, I2. The raising up the decayed and low estate of the house of David, or of the people of the Jews, is, we see, designed by God not only as an extraordinary favour to them, but to this end also, as a means conducing to it, viz. thac (the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord,' for fo the words run, Acts xv. 17. These glorious things spoken of this people of God, which will thus affect even nations, and cause them to desire and seek their favour and friendihip, are to be understood, I conceive, of their outward prosperity especially, and of the extraordinariness of the change of their outward condition, both for the suddennefs of it, and the means of effeeling it. As for their spiritual glory and beauty, the Heathen, it's like, will not at first be moved with that to seek their favour and friendship, nor to admire them for that glory, because they cannot have a sense of that until they are instructed in the nature of spiritual things. Only so far as they come to hear of the excel. lency of their morals, their truth and charity, their temperance and chastity, these the Heathen can judge of indeed, and an eminency in these will procure reverence and respect even from barbarous nations. But it is likely

tha

.

« EdellinenJatka »