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the old state of things, there is the beginning of a new and eternal state. So that which accompanied the destruction of the literal Jerusalem, was an establishing of the spiritual.' So with respect to the destruction of the old Heathen empire, and all the other endings of the old state of things; till at length the very outward frame of the world itself shall come to an end; and the church shall dwell in heaven, which will be a new habitation. Then shall the utmost be accomplished that is meant by the new heavens and the new earth. See Rev. 21 : 1.
The end of God's creating the world, was to prepare a kingdom for his Son, (for he is appointed heir of the world,) which should remain to all eternity. So far as the kingdom of Christ is set up in the world, so far is the world brought to its end, and the eternal state of things set up-so far are all the great changes and revolutions in the world brought to their everlasting issue, and all things come to their ultimate period—so far are the waters of the long channel of divine Providence, which has so many branches, and so many windings, emptied into their proper ocean, which they have been seeking from the beginning of their course, and so are come to their rest. So far as Christ's kingdom is established in the world, so far are things wound
and settled in their everlasting state, and a period put to the course of things in this changeable world; so far are the first heavens and the first earth come to an end, and the new heavens and the new earth, the everlasting heavens and earth, established in their room.--This leads me to observe,
IV. That the state of things which is attained by the events of this period, is what is so often called the kingdom of heaven, or the kingdom of God. We very often read in the New Testament of the kingdom of heaven. John the Baptist preached that the kingdom of heaven was at hand; and so did Christ and his disciples after him ; referring to something that the Jews in those days expected and called by that name. They seem to have taken their expectation and the name chiefly from the prophecy of Daniel in Nebuchadnezzar's dream. Dan. 2 : 44. And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom." See also chap. 7 : 13, 14.
Now this kingdom of heaven is that evangelical state of things in the church, and in the world, wherein consists the success of Christ's redemption in this period. There had been often great kingdoms set up before; as the Babylonish, the Persian, the Grecian, and the Roman monarchies. But Christ came to set up the last, which is not an earthly kingdom, but a heavenly. John, 18:36. “My kingdom is not of this world.” This is the kingdom of which Christ speaks, Luke, 22 : 29, “ My Father hath appointed to me a kingdom.” This kingdom began soon after Christ's resurrection, and is accomplished in various steps from that time to the end of the world. Sometimes by the kingdom of heaven, is meant not only that spiritual state of the church which began soon after Christ's resurrection; but also that more perfect state which shall obtain after the downfall of Antichrist; and sometimes that glorious and blessed state to which the church shall be received at the day of judge ment. So 1 Cor. 15 : 50. " This I say, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God."Under this head I would observe several things particularly, for the clearer understanding of what the Scriptures say concerning this period.
1. The setting up of the kingdom of Christ is chiefly accomplished by four successive great events, each of which is in Scripture called Christ's coming in his kingdom. The first is Christ's appearing in those wonderful dispensations of providence in the apostle's days, in setting up his kingdom and destroying its enemies, which ended in the destruction of Jerusalem. This is called Christ's coming in his kingdom. Matt. 16 : 28. Verily I say unto you, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” And Matt. 24. The second was accomplished in Constantine's time, in the destruction of the Heathen Roman empire. This is represented as Christ's coming, and is compared to his coming to judgment. Rev. 6: 13-17. The third is to be accomplished at the destruction of Antichrist, which is represented as Christ's coming in his kingdom. Dan. 7: &c. The fourth is his coming to the last judgment, which is the event principally signified in Scripture by Christ's coming in his kingdom.
2. Each of the three former of these is a lively image, or type, of the fourth and last-Christ's coming to the final judgment; as the principal dispensations of providence before, were types of his first coming. As Christ's last coming to judgment is accompanied with the resurrection of the dead, so is each of the three foregoing with a spiritual resurrection. That coming of Christ which ended in the
destruction of Jerusalem, was preceded by a glo rious spiritual resurrection of souls in the calling of the Gentiles through the preaching of the Gospel. Christ's coming in Constantine's time, was accompanied with a glorious spiritual resurrection of the greater part of the known world, in a rest ition of it to a visible church state, from a state of Heathenism. Christ's coming at the destruction of Antichrist, will be attended with a spiritual resurrection of the church after it shall have been long as it were dead, in the times of Antichrist. This is called the first resurrection. Rev. 20:5.
Again, as Christ in the last judgment will glo. riously manifest himself, coming in the glory of his Father, so in each of the three foregoing events Christ gloriously manifests himself in sending judg. ments upon his enemies and in showing favor to his church. , As the last coming of Christ will be attended with a literal gathering together of the elect from the four winds of heaven, so were each of the preceding attended with a spiritual ingathering. As this gathering together of the elect will be effected by God's angels with a great sound of a trumpet; Matt. 24 : 31; so were each of the preceding spiritual ingatherings effected by the trum. pet of the Gospel, sounded by the ministers of Christ. As there shall precede the last appearance of Christ, a time of great degeneracy and wickedness, so this has been, or will be, the case with each of the other appearances. Before each of them is a time of great opposition to the church: before the first, by the Jews; before the second, in Constantine's time, by the Heathen; before the third, by Antichrist; and
before the last, by Gog and Magog, as described in the Revelation.
By each of these comings of Christ, God works a glorious deliverance for his church. The first, which ended in the destruction of Jerusalem, was attended with bringing the church into the glorious state of the Gospel. The second, in Constantine's time, was accompanied with an advancement of the church into a state of liberty from persecution, the countenance of civil authority, and her triumph over Heathen persecutors. The third, which shall be at the downfall of Antichrist, will be accompanied with an advancement of the church into that state of the glorious prevalence of truth, liberty, peace, and joy, of which we so often read in the prophetical parts of Scripture. The last will be attended with the advancement of the church to consummate glory in heaven.
Each of these comings of Christ is accompanied with a terrible destruction of the wicked, and the enemies of the church: the first, with the destruction of the persecuting Jews, which was amazingly terrible; the second, with dreadful judgments on the Heathen persecutors of the church; the third, with the awful destruction of Antichrist, the most cruel and bitter enemy that ever the church had; the fourth, with divine wrath and vengeance on all the ungodly. Further, there is in each of these comings of Christ an ending of the old, and a beginning of new heavens and a new earth; or an end of a temporal, and a beginning of an eternal state.
3. I would observe, that each of those four great dispensations which are represented as Christ's coming in his kingdom, are but so many steps and