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that Thou (the Saviour of the world] shouldst.be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel. I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.”
Indeed the last chapters of this book are only one continued prediction of this period, and the glorious circumstances attending it.
“ I am found, says he, of them that sought me not. I said, behold me, behold me, to a nation that was not called by my name*."
Nay he even gives a geographical division of the quarters of the world that were to receive the Gospel wherein he has included the whole four.
“ I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, says he, to Tarshish, Pul and Lud that draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the Isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles.”+
Now, according to our learned Commentators, Tarshish denotes the East, Pul and Lud the South, Tubal and Javan the North, and the Isles the West. For, in holy scripture, the Isles, the Sea, and the West are frequently put for one another; so that“ the islands afar off, which have not heard of God's fame, neither have seen his glory,” may well be understood to comprehend this American continent, or West Indies generally so called, as the learned Dr. Lowth has observed in his accurate commentary upon
Chapter Ixv. 1.
# Chapter Ixvi. 19.
To the same purpose speaks the prophet Jeremiah, in his sixteenth chapter. Intending to reproach the Jews for their absurdity in apostatizing from the true God, after they had once known him; he tells them that to their great disgrace, a time would come when the very Heathen themselves, who had never heard the name of God, would come to him even from the uttermost parts of the earth; and confess that the gods which they had worshipped were no gods at all, but that they and their fathers had inherited lies from the beginning, and put their trust in things that profited not.
“O* Lord, my strength and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction; the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the Ends of the Earth, and shall say, “ Surely our fathers have inherited lies and vanity, and things wherein there is no profit. Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods?”
Let us hear also the prophet Daniel. “ | The God of heaven shall set up a kingdom which shall break in pieces and consume all those kingdoms (i. e. the four monarchies) and it shall stand forever. Behold, one like the son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and there was given him dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all people and nations and languages should serve himț."
In like manner speaks Malachi. “From | the rising of the Sun even unto the going-down of the same, my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in .
Jeremiah xvi. 19, 20. all Malachi i. 11.
+ Daniel ii. 44.
I Chap. vii. 13. 14.
every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering; for my name shall be great among the Heathen, saith the Lord of Hosts.” All which is confirmed, with the utmost solemnity by the angel's sound in the revelation, and the great voices from heaven, declaring
“ That the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever*.'
Now, although these Prophecies may, in part, have had their completion, by the vast rapidity with which the Gospel spread itself into almost every known corner of the old world, soon after our Savi. our's ascension into heaven; yet, methinks, it is impossible that they should ever have their full accomplishment without the conversion of the Indian natives around us, and the propagation of Christ's kingdom to the remotest parts of this continent. We have many of the strongest arguments to induce this belief. For, in the first place, none of these texts, which I have read, put any shorter limit to the spreading of the Gospel, than the Ends of the Earth; and from the rising of the Sun to the going-down of the same.
And secondly, our Saviour himself, the greatest of all the Prophets, has expressly told us that “ Jerusalems shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, till the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Now Je. rusalem is still trodden down by the Gentiles, andi consequently their times are not yet fulfilled.
We believe, therefore, on the most solid principles, that there is reserved by Providence some future
• Rev. xi. 15.
+ Luke xxi. 24. # See the learned Bishop Newton's Dissertations, No. XX.
period or crisis in the Gospel-economy, for a more remarkable and final Coming in of “ the Fulness of the Gentiles*,” even to the ends of the Earth; and that it is the great and gracious purpose of God, in that day, to manifest himself to the “ Heathen around us, and bring them to the knowledge of his blessed Gospel, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ;" which was the first thing I proposed to shew.
But here infidelity usually urges the following questions, viz.
If such be the intention of God, and so great the efficacy of his Gospel; what must become of those who have sat so long in darkness and the shadow of Death? And why does he so long delay the accomplishment of his own eternal promises?
Reverence to the Supreme Lord of heaven and earth, it might have been hoped, would have secured the advocates of the Christian Revelation against questions of such high presumption. For who shall say unto the Almighty, what dost thou? Or what man, of mortal descent, shall hope to unfold those secret reasons of Divine conduct, which eternal wisdom hath not thought fit to reveal?
As for us, we shall only reply in general that as " Thoset who have sinned without Law shall also perish without Law; so those who have sinned in the Law (if they perish] shall be judged by the Law.” As the Spirit of God hath not thought fit to declare how far the Satisfaction of Christ will be applied to those who never heard of his name, we must not presume to be wise above what is written. The nations
that sit in darkness and the shadow of death must be left to God's uncovenanted Mercies, to judge them according to the measure of Knowledge and Light which they have received. The Tribunal of the Almighty is erected upon infinite Wisdom, Justice and Goodness—and infinite Wisdom, Justice and Goodness cannot commit Error or Wrong!
With respect to the second question—" Why doth the Almighty so long delay the accomplishment of his own gracious promises?” We must answer much in the same general manner. Known unto God, and Him alone, are all His councils from the foundation of the world. Some conjectures, however, we may humbly offer on this head, without incurring the charge of presumption.
Except in extraordinary cases, the supreme Being seems to conduct all his operations by general laws; and, both in the Natural and Moral world, the advances to Perfection are gradual and progressive. The Law and the Prophets, which were of old, were but a faint and mysterious Revelation of the Will of God, compared to the full blaze of the Gospel, whereby His “Whole* Council” shone forth at last to mankind. The Lord spoke once in thunders and lightnings from Mount Sinait, but now leaves the conversion of nations to the ordinary methods of His
providence. God did not give the Christian Reve:lation itself, till the Romans ambition had brought
Acts xx. 27.
+ Exodus xix. 19, + See some fine remarks on this head by Dr. Robe son, the celebrated author of the History of Scotland, in his sermon before the society in Scotland for propagating Christian knowledge.