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Then shall all the world be united in one amiable society. All nations, in all parts of the world, on every side of the globe, shall then be knit together in sweet harmony. All parts of God's church shall assist and promote the spiritual good of one another. A communication shall then be upheld between all parts of the world to that end; and the art of navigation, which is now applied so much to favonr men's covetousness and pride, and is used so much by wicked debauched men, shall then be consecrated to God, and applied to boly uses, (see Isa. Ix. 5-9.) And then men will be abundant in expressing their love one to another, not only in words, but in deeds of charity, Isa. xxxii. 5.
The vile person sball be no more called liberal, nor the churl said to be bounçiful;" but, (ver. 8.) “ the liberal deviseth liberal things, and by liberal things shall be stand."
(5.) It will be a time of excellent order in the church of Christ. The true government and discipline of the church will then be settled and put into practice. All the world sball then be as one church, one orderly, regular, beautiful society. And as the body shall be one, so the members shall be in beau. tiful proportion to each other. Then sball that be verified in Psal. cxxii. 3. Jerusalem is builded as a city, that is compact ogether.
(6.) The church of God shall then be beautiful and glosious on these accounts; yea, it will appear in the perfection of beauty: Isa. Ix. 1. 6 Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." Isa. Ixi. 10. “ He bath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth berself with her jewels.” On these accounts, the
" church will then be the greatest image of heaven itself.
(7.) That will be a time of the greatest temporal prosperity. Such a spiritual state as we have just described, has a natural tendency to health and long life; and that this will actually Þe the case, is evident by Zech. viii. 4. “ Thus saith the Lord of hosts, There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age.” It has also a natural tendency to procure ease, quietness, pleasantness, and cheerfulness of mind, also wealth, and a great increase of children; as is intimated in Zech. viii. 5. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof."-But further, the temporal prosperity of the people of God will also be promoted by a remarkable blessing from heaven : Isa. lxv. 21. “ They shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them." And in Mic. iv. 4. “ But they shall sit every man under his vine, and under his fig-tree, and none shall make them afraid." Zech. yii12. “ For the
seed shall be prosperous, the vine shall give her fruit, and tbe ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew, and I will cause the remnant of this
people to possess all these things.” (See also Jer. xxxi. 12, 13, and Amos ix. 13.) Yea then they shall receive all manner of tokens of God's presence, acceptance, and favour: Jer. xxxiii. 9. “ And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the good. ness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it.” Even the days of Solomon were but an image of those days, as to the temporal prosperity wbich shall be obtained in them.
(8.) It will also be a time of great rejoicing: Isa. xxxv. 10. " And the ransomed of the Lord sball return and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sigbing shall flee away." Chap. lv. 12. “ For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you. Chap. Ixvi. 11. “That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations: that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory." Chap. xii. 3. “With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” That will be the church's glorious wedding-day with Christ upon earth : Rev. xix. 7.
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and bis wife hath made berself ready Verse 9. « Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
The scriptures every where represent this prosperity to be of long continuance. The former intervals of rest and prosperity, as we before observed, are represented to be but short; but the representations of this state are quite different : Rev. xx. 4. 66 And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus,--and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years." Isa. Ix. 15. 66 Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.”—This may suffice as to the prosperous state of the church through the greater part of the period from the destruction of Satan's visible kingdom in the world, to Christ's appearing in the clouds of heaven to judgment.
II. I now come to speak of the great apostacy there should be towards the close of this period, and how the church should, for a short time, be threatened by her enemies. And this I shall do under three particulars.
1. A little before the end of the world, a great part of the zoorld shall fall away from Christ and bis church. It is said, Rev. xx. 3, tbat Satan should be cast into the bottomless pit,
and shut up, and have a seal set upon him, that he should
This intimates, that the apostacy would be very general. The nations of the four quarters of the earth shall be deceived; and the number of those who shall now turn enemies to Christ shall be vastly great, as the army of Gog and Magog is represented in Ezek. It is said, (Rev. xx. 8,) that the number of them is as the sand of the sea, and that they went upon the breadth of the earth, as if they were an army large enough to reach from one side of the earth to the other.
Thus after a happy and glorious season, such a long day of light and holiness, of love and peace, and joy, it shall again be a dark time. Satan shall begin to set up his dominion again in the world; and this world shall again become a scene of darkness and wickedness. The bottomless pit shall be opened, and devils shall come up again out of it, and a dreadful smoke shall ascend to darken the world. And the church of Christ, instead of extending to the utmost bounds of the world, as it did before, shall be reduced to narrow limits. The world of mankind being continued so long in a state of great prosperity, shall now begin to abuse their prosperity, to serve their lust and corruption. This we learn from Luke xvii. 26, &c.
2. Those apostates shall make great opposition to the church of God. The church shall be threatened with a sudden and entire overthrow by them. It is said, Satan shall gather them together to battle, as the sand on the sea-shore; and they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city. So that this beloved city shall seem just ready to be swallowed up by them: for her enemies shall not only threaten her, but shall actually have gathered together against her; and not only so, but shall have besieged her, shall have compassed her about on every side.-However, there is nothing in the prophecy which seems to hold forth, that the church had actually fallen into their hands, as it bad fallen into the hands of Antichrist, to whom it was given to make war with the saints, and to overcome them. God will never suffer this to take place after the fall of Antichrist; for then the day of her mourning shall be ended, alarmingly threatened with utter and sudden destruction.
3. Now the state of things will scem most remarkably to
call for Christ's immediate appearance to judgment. For then the world shall be filled with the most aggravated wickedness. For much the greater part of the world shall have become visibly wicked and open enemies to Christ, and their wickedness shall be dreadfully aggravated by their apostacy. Before the fall of Antichrist, most of the world was full of visibly wicked men. But the greater part of these are poor Heathens, who never enjoyed the light of the gospel; and others are those that have been bred up in the Mahometan or Popish darkness. But these bave apostatized from the Christian church, the visible kingdom of Christ, in which they enjoyed the great light and privileges of glorious times, which shall be incomparably greater than the light and privileges which the church of God enjoys now. This apostacy will be most like the apostacy of the devils of any that ever had before been : for the devils apostatized, and turned enemies to Christ, though they enjoyed the light of heaven; and these will apostatize, and turn enemies to him, though they have enjoyed the light and privileges of the glorious times of the church. That such should turn open and avowed enemies to Christ, and should seek the ruin of his church, will cry aloud for such immediate vengeance as was executed on the devils when they fell.
The wickedness of the world will remarkably call for Christ's immediate appearing in flaming fire to take vengeance on them, because of the way in which they shall manifest their wickedness. This will be by scoffing and blaspheming Christ and his holy religion ; and particularly, they will scoff at the notion of Christ's coming to judgment, of which the church shall be in expectation. For now doubtless will be the greatest fulfilment of 2 Pet. jii. 3, 4. Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own_lusts, and saying, where is the promise of his coming ?. For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” They shan be in no expectation of the coming of Cbrist to judgment, and shall laugh at the notion. They shall trample all such things under foot, and shall give up themselves to their lusts, or to eat and drink, and wallow in sensual delights, as though they were to be bere for ever. They shall despise the warnings the church shall give them of the coming of Christ to judgment, as the people of the old world despised what Noah told them of the approaching flood, and as the people of Sodom did when Lot said to them, The Lord will destroy this city. Their wickedness on this account will cry aloud to heaven for Christ's appearing in flaming fire to take vengeance of bis enemies; and because they shall exercise their wickedmess in a wicked design and violent attempt against the holy
city of God, wherein for so long a time, so much of the religion of Christ had been seen.
And the great number of the wicked is another thing which shall especially call for Christ's coming : for the world then will doubtless be exceeding full of people, having continued so long in so great a state of prosperity, without such terrible desolating extremities, as wars, pestilences, and the like, to diminish them. And the major part of this world, which shall be so populous, will be wicked contemptuous apostates from God. Undoubtedly the world then will be by far fuller of wickedness than ever it was before, from its foundation. And if the wickedness of the old world, when men began to multiply on the earth, called for the destruction of the world by a deluge of water, this wickedness will as much call for its destruction by a deluge of fire.
Again, the circumstances of the church at that day will also eminently call for the immediate appearing of Christ, as they will be compassed about by their blaspbemous murderous enemies, just ready to be swallowed up by them. And it will be a most distressing time with the church, excepting the comfort they will have in the hope of deliverance from God : for all other help will seem to fail. The case will be come to the last extremity, and there will be an immediate need that Christ should come to their deliverance. And though the church shall be so eminently threatened, yet so will Providence order it, that it shall be preserved till Christ shall appear in his immediate presence, coming in the glory of his Father, with all his holy angels. And then will come the time when all the elect shall be gathered in. That work of conversion which has been carried on from the beginning of the church after the fall through all those ages, shall be carried on no morc. There never shall another soul be converted. Every one of those many millions, whose names were written in the book of life before the foundation of the world, shall be brought in; not one soul shall be lost. And the mystical body of Christ, which has been growing since it first began in the days of Adam, will be complete as to the number of parts, having every one of its members. In this respect, the work of redemption will now be finished. And now the end for which the means of grace have been instituted shall be obtained.-All that effect which was intended, shall now he accomplished.