Billeder på siden

cause of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great." And now shall be thai treading of the wine-press spoken of Rev. 14: 19, 20.

This shall put an end to the church's suffering state, and shall be attended with their glorious and joyful praises. The church's afflicted state has been continued, excepting some short intermissions, from the resurrection of Christ to this time; but then shall a final end be put to her suffering state. Indeed after this, near the end of the world, the church shall be greatly threatened; but it is said it shall be but for a little season, Rev. 20:3; for as the times of the church's rest have been but short, before the long day of her afflictions are at an end ; so whatever affliction she may suffer after this, will be

In every other respect, the day of the church's afflictions and persecutions shall now come to a final end. The Scriptures, in many places, speak of this time as the end of the suffering state of the church. So Isa. 51 : 22. “Behold, I have taken out of thy hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury, thou shalt no more drink it again.” Then shall be proclaimed to the church, Isa. 40: 1, 2, “Comfort

very short.


ye, my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins.” Isa. 54:8, 9; and 60: 20. “ The Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.” Zeph. 3:15. "The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy; the King of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.

The time before this had been the church's sowing-time, wherein she sowed in tears and in blood; but now is her harvest, wherein she will come again rejoicing, bringing her sheaves with her. Now the time of travail of the woman clothed with the sun is at an end; now she has brought forth her son: for this glorious setting up of the kingdom of Christ through the world, is that for which the church had been in travail with such terrible pangs for so many ages. Isa. 26: 17.

Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O Lord.” Isa. 60: 20, and 61: 10, 11. And now the church shall forget her sorrow: now succeed her joyful praise and triumph. Her praises shall then go up to God from all parts of the earth, Isa. 42: 10–12; and praise shall not only fill the earth, but also heaven. The church on earth, and the church in heaven, shall both gloriously rejoice and praise God as with one heart. Without doubt it will be a time of very distinguished joy and praise among the holy prophets and apostles, and the other saints in heaven. Rev. 18:20. “ · Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets, for God hath avenged you on her.” See how universal these praises will be. Isa. 44 : 23. “Sing, O ye heavens, for the Lord hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth : break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein : for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel.” See what joyful praises are sung to God on this occasion by the universal church in heaven and earth, Rev. 19.

This dispensation is, above all preceding ones, like

Christ's coming to judgment, in that it so puts an end to the former state of the world, and introduces the everlasting kingdom of Christ. Now Satan's visible kingdom shall be overthrown, after it had stood ever since the building of Babel; the old hea. vens and the old earth shall in a greater measure pass away, and the new heavens and the new earth be set up in a far more glorious manner than ever before.

-Thus I have shown how the success of Christ's purchase has been carried on through the times of ihe afflicted state of the christian church, from Christ's resurrection till Antichrist is fallen, and Satan's visible kingdom on earth is overthrown.



In order to describe this part, I would speak, first, of the prosperous state of the church through the greatest part of this period; and, secondly, of the great apostasy there shall be towards the close of it.

I. The prosperous state of the church. And in general, I would observe two things:

1. That this is most properly the time of the king. dom of heaven upon earth. Though the kingdom


of heaven was in a degree sel up soon after Christ's resurrection, and in a further degree in the time of Constantine; and though the christian church in all ages of it is called the kingdom of heaven, yet this is the principal time of the kingdom of heaven upon earth, the time principally intended by the prophecies of Daniel, whence the Jews took the name of the kingdom of heaven.

2. Now is the principal fulfillment of all the prophecies of the Old Testament which speak of the glorious times of the Gospel in latter days. Though there has been a glorious fulfillment of those prophecies already, in the times of the apostles and of Constantine; yet the expressions are too high to suit any other time entirely but that which is to succeed the fall. of Antichrist. This is most properly the glorious day of the Gospel. Other times are only forerunners and preparatory to this: those were the seed-time, this is the harvest. But more particu. larly,

(i.) It will be a time of great light and knowledge. The present are days of darkness, in comparison of those days. The light of that glorious time shall be so great, that it is represented as though there should then be no night, but only day; no evening nor darkness. Zech. 14:6, 7. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark. But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at eveningtirne it shall be light.” It is further represented as though God would then give such light to his church that it should so much exceed ihe glory of the light of the sun and moon that they should be ashamed.

Isa. 24:23. “Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shal) reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously."

There is a kind of vail now cast over the greater part of the world, which keeps them in darkness : but then this vail shall be destroyed. Isa. 25: 7. " And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations." Then all countries and nations, even those which are now most ignorant, shall be full of light and knowledge. Great knowledge shall prevail every where. It may be hoped that then many Africans and Indians will be divines, and that excellent books will be published in Africa, in Ethiopia, in Tartary, and other now the most barbarous countries; and not only learned men, but others of more ordinary education, shall then be very knowing in religion. Isa. 32:3, 4. “ The eyes of them that see, shall not be dim; and the ears of them that hear, shall hearken. The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge." Knowledge then shall be


universal among all people. Jer. 31: 34. " And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know him, from the least of them unto the greatest of them.”

There shall be a wonderful unfolding of the difficulties in the doctrines of religion, and clearing up of seeming inconsistencies. Crooked things shall be made straight, and rough places shall be made plain. and darkness shall become light before God's people. Difficulties in Scripture shals then be cleared up,

and wonderful things shall be discovered in the Word of

« ForrigeFortsæt »