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that“ all nations shall serve him ;" and in ver. 17,“ men shall be blessed in him, and all nations shall call him blessed.” And in Isa. ii. 2, it is said, that “ all nations shall flow unto the mountain of the house of the Lord.” And Jer. iii. 17, that “ all nations shall be gathered unto the name of the Lord to Jerusalem, and shall walk no more after the imagination of their evil heart.” So it it is said, that all flesh shall come and worship before the Lord, Isa. lxvi. 23. And that all flesh should see the glory of God together, Isa. xl. 5. And that all flesh should come to him that hears prayer, Psal. lxv. 2. Christ compares the kingdom of heaven in this world to leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened, Matt. xiii. 33. It is natural and reasonable to suppose, that the whole world should finally be given to Christ, as one whose right it is to reign, as the proper heir of him, who is originally the king of all nations, and the possessor of heaven and earth: and the Scripture teaches us, that God the Father hath constituted his Son, as Godman, and in his kingdom of grace, or mediatorial kingdom, to be the heir of the world, that he might in this kingdom have the heathen for his inheritance, and the utmost ends of the earth for his possession ; Heb. i. 2, and ii. 8, Psal. ii. 6, 7,8. Thus Abraham is said to be the heir of the world, not in himself, but in his seed, which is Christ, Rom. iv. 13. And how was this to be fulfilled to Abraham, but by God's fulfilling that great promise, that in his seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed? For that promise is what the apostle is speaking of; which shows, that God has appointed Christ to be the heir of the world in his kingdom of grace, and to possess and reign over all nations, through the propagation of his gospel, and the power of his Spirit communicating the blessings of it. God hath appointed him to this universal dominion by a most solemn oath: Isa. xiv. 23, “I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” Compared with Phil. ü. 10, 11. Though this solemn oath of God the Father is to be understood in so comprehensive a sense, as to extend to what shall be accomplished at the day of judgment, yet it is evident by the foregoing and following verses, that the thing most directly intended, is what shall be fulfilled by the spreading of the gospel of his salvation, and power of the Spirit of grace, bringing “ all the ends of the earth to look to him that they may be saved, and come to him for righteousness and strength, that in him they might be justified, and might glory." God has suffered many earthly princes to extend their conquests over a great part of the face of the earth, and to possess a dominion of vast extent, and one monarchy to conquer and succeed another, the latter being still the greater; it is reasonable to suppose that a much greater glory in this respect should be reserved for Christ, God's own Son and rightful heir, who has purchased the dominion by so great and hard a service : it is reasonable to suppose, that his dominion should be far the largest, and his conquests vastly the greatest and most extensive. And thus the Scriptures represent the matter, in Nebuchadnezzar's vision, and the prophet's interpretation, Dan. ii. “ There the four great monarchies of the earth, one succeeding another, are represented by the great image of gold, silver, brass, iron and clay; but at last a stone cut out of the mountain without hands, smites the image upon his feet, which breaks the iron, clay, brass, silver and gold in pieces, that all becomes as the chaff of the summer threshing floors, and the wind carries them away, that no place is found for them; but the stone waxes great, becomes a great mountain, and fills the whole earth ; signifying the kingdom which the Lord God of heaven should set up in the world, last of all, which should break in pieces and consume all other king
doms.” Surely this representation leads us to suppose, that this last kingdom shall be of vastly greater extent than any of the preceding. The like representation is made in the 7th chap. of Daniel; there the four monarchies are represented by four great beasts, that arose successively, one conquering and subduing another; the fourth and last of these is said to be dreadful, and terrible, and strong exceedingly, and to have great iron teeth, and to devour and break in pieces, and stamp the residue with his feet; yea, it is said, ver. 23, that the kingdom represented by this beast shall devour the whole earth; but last of all one like the Son of Man appears, coming to the ancient of days, and being brought near before him, and receiving of him a dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him. This last circumstance, of the vast extent and universality of his dominion, is manifestly spoken of as one thing greatly distinguishing his holy kingdom from all the preceding monarchies : although of one of the former it was said, that it should devour the whole earth, yet we are naturally led, both by the much greater emphasis and strength of the expressions, as well as by the whole connection and tenor of the prophecy, to understand the universality here expressed in a much more extensive and absolute sense: and the terms used in the interpretation of this vision are such, that scarcely any can be devised more strong, to signify an absolute universality of dominion over the inhabitants of the face of the earth : ver. 27, " And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the most high God. Agreeably to this the gospel is represented as preached unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and tongue, and kindred, and people, Rev. xiv. 6. The universality of the prevalence of true religion in the latter days, is sometimes expressed by its reaching to “ the utmost ends of the earth,” Psal. i. 8. “ To all the ends of the earth, and of the world,” Psal. xxii. 27– Ixvii. 7-xcviii. 3, Isa. xlv. 22. “ All the earth, with those that are afar off upon the sea," Psal. Ixv. 5.“ From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, Psal. cxiii. 3, Mal. i. 11. “The outgoings of the morning and of the evening,” Psal. Ixv. 8. It seems that all the most strong expressions, that were in use among the Jews to signify the habitable world in its utmost extent, are made use of to signify the extent of the church of God in the latter days : and in many places, a variety of these expressions is used, and there is an accumulation of them, expressed with great force.
It would be unreasonable to say, these are only bold figures, used after the manner of the eastern nations, to express the great extent of the Christian church, at and after the days of Constantine: to say so would be in effect to say, that it would have been impossible for God, if he had desired it, plainly to have foretold any thing that should absolutely have extended to all nations of the earth. I question whether it be possible to find out a more strong expression, to signify an absolute universality of the knowledge of the true religion through the habitable world, than that in Isa. xi. 9, “The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” Which is as much as to say, As there is no place in the vast ocean where there is not water, so there shall be no part of the world of mankind where there is not the knowledge of the Lord; as there is no part of the wide bed or cavity possessed by the sea, but what is covered with water, so there shall be no part of the habitable world that shall not be covered with the light of the gospel, and possessed by the true religion. Waters are often in prophecy put for nations and multitudes of people : so the waters of the main ocean seem sometimes to be put for the inhabitants of the earth in general; as in Ezekiel's vision of waters of the Vol. III.
sanctuary (Ezek. xlvii.), which flowed from the sanctuary, and ran east, until they came to the ocean, and were at first a small stream, but continually increased until they became a great river ; and when they came to the sea, ihe water even of the vast ocean was healed (ver. 8), representing the conversion of the world to the true religion in the latter days. It seems evident, that the time will come, when there will not be one nation remaining in the world, which shall not embrace the true religion, in that God has expressly revealed, that no one such nation shall be left standing on the earth : Isai. lx. 12, “The nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.” God has declared that heathen idolatry and all the worship of false gods shall be wholly abolished, in the most universal manner, so that it shall be continued in no place under the heavens, or upon the face of the earth: Jer. x. 11, “The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.” Ver. 15, “ They are vanity, and the work of errors, in the time of their visitation they shall perish.” This must be understood as what shall be brought to pass while this earth and these heavens remain, i. e., before the end of the world. Agreeable to this is that, Isa. liv. 1, 2, “Sing, barren, and thou that didst not bear; for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord; enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thy habitation; spare not; lengthen thy cords, strengthen thy stakes.” Ver. 5," For thy Maker is thy husband; the Lord of Hosts is his name ; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall be be called.”
The prophecies of the New Testament do no less evidently show, that a time will come when the gospel shall universally prevail, and the kingdom of Christ be extended over the whole habitable earth, in the most proper sense. Christ says, John xii. 32, “ I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.' It is fit, that when the Son of God becomes man, he should bare dominion over all mankind : it is fit that since he became an inhabitant of the earth, and shed his blood on the earth, he should possess the whole earth : it is fit, seeing here he became a servant, and was subject to men, and was arraigned before them, and judged, condemned and executed by them, and suffered ignominy and death in a most public manner, before Jews and Gentiles, being lifted up to view on the cross upon a hill, near that populous city Jerusalem, at a most public time, when there were many hundred thousand spectators, from all parts, that he should be rewarded with a universal dominion over mankind; and it is here declared he shall be. The apostle, in the 11th of Romans, teaches us to look to that great outpouring of the Spirit, and ingathering of souls into Christ's kingdom, that was in those days, first of the Jews, and then of the Gentiles, to be but as the first fruits of the intended barvest, both with regard to Jews and Gentiles, and to look on the ingathering of those first fruits as a sign that all the remainder, both Jews and Gentiles, should in due time be gathered in : ver. 16, “For if the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root be holy, so are the branches.” And in that context, the apostle speaks of the fulness of both Jews and Gentiles, as what shall hereafter be brought in, as distinct from that ingathering from among both, that was in those primitive ages of Christianity: in ver. 12, we read of the fulness of the Jews, and in the 25th of the fulness of the Gentiles : and there in ver. 30, 31, 32, the apostle teaches us to look upon that infidelity and darkness, that first prevailed over all Gentile nations, before Christ came, and then over the Jews after Christ came, as what was wisely permitted of God, as a preparation for the manifestation of the glory
of God's mercy, in due time, on the whole world, constituted of Jews and Gentiles. God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. These things plainly show, that the time is coming when the whole world of mankind shall be brought into the church of Christ ; and not only a part of the Jews, and a part of the Gentile world, as the first fruits, as it was in the first ages of the Christian church; but the fulness of both, the whole lump, all the nation of the Jews, and all the world of Gentiles.
In the last great conflict between the church of Christ and her enemies, before the commencement of the glorious time of the church's peace and rest, the kings of the earth, and the whole world, are represented as gathered together, Rev. xvi. 14, and then the “ seventh angel pours out his vial into the air," which limits that kingdom that Satan has, as god of this world, in its utmost extent; and that kingdom is represented as utterly overthrown, ver. 17, &c.
And in another description of that great battle, chap. xix., Christ is represented i as riding forth, having on his head many crowns, and on his vesture and on his
thigh a name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords. Which we may well suppose signifies, that he is now going to that conquest, whereby he shall set up a kingdom, in which he shall be King of kings, in a far more extensive manner than either the Babylonish, Persian, Grecian, or Roman monarchs were. And in ver. 17, and following,“ an angel appears standing in the sun, that overlooks the wbole world, calling on all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, to come and eat the flesh of kings,” &c. And in consequence of the great victory Christ gains at that time, an angel comes down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand, and lays hold on the devil, and binds hiin, and casts him into the bottomless pit, and shuts him up, and sets a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more. Satan, being dispossessed of that highest monarchy on earth, the Roman empire, and cast out in the time of Constantine, is represented, chap. xii., by his being cast down from heaven to the earth: but now there is something far beyond that; he is cast out of the earth, and is shut up in hell, and confined to that alone, so that he has no place left him in this world of mankind, high nor low.
Now will any be so unreasonable as to say, that all these things do not sig. nify more than that one third part of the world should be brought into the church of Christ; beyond which it cannot be pretended that the Christian religion has ever yet reached, in its greatest extent? Those countries, which belonged to the Roman empire, that were brought to the profession of Christianity, after the reign of Constantine, are but a small part of what the habitable world now is; as to extent of ground, they all together bear, I suppose, no greater proportion to it, than the land of Canaan did to the Roman empire. And our Redeemer in his kingdom of grace has hitherto possessed but a little part of the world, in its most flourishing state, since arts are risen to their greatest height; and a very great part of the world is but lately discovered, and much remains undiscovered to this day.
These things make it very evident, that the main fulfilment of those prophecies, that speak of the glorious advancement of Christ's kingdom on earth, is still to come.
And as there has been nothing as yet, with regard to the flourishing of religion), and the advancement of Christ's kingdom, of such extent as to answer the prophecies, so neither has there been any thing of that duration, that is foretold. —The prophecies speak of Jerusalem's being made the joy of the whole earth, and also the joy of many generations (Psal. xlviii. 2, Isa. Ix. 15). That God's people should long enjoy the work of their hands (Isa. Ixv. 22). That
they should reign with Christ a thousand years (Rev. xx.), by which we must at least understand a very long time. But it would be endless to mention all the places, which signify that the time of the church's great peace and prosperity should be of long continuance: almost all the prophecies that speak of her latter day glory, imply it; and it is implied in very many of them, that when once this day of the church's advancement and peace is begun, it shall never end, till the world ends; or, at least, that there shall be no more a return of her troubles and adversity for any considerable continuance; that then the days of her mourning shall be ended; that her tribulations should then be as the waters of Noah unto God, that as he has sworn that the waters of Noah should no more pass over the earth, so he will swear that he will no more be wroth with his people, or rebuke them; that God's people should no more walk after the imagination of their evil heart; that God would hide himself no more from the house of Israel, because he has poured out his Spirit upon them ; that their sun should no more go down, nor the moon withdraw itself ; that the light should not be clear and dark (i. e. there should be no more an interchange of light and darkness, as used to be), but that it should be all one continued day; not day and night (for so the words are in the original in Zech. xiv. 7) alternately, but it shall come to pass, that at evening time (i. e. at the time that night and darkness used to be) it shall be light; and that the nations should beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks, and that nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor learn war any more ; but that there should be abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. And innumerable things of this nature are declared.
But the church of Christ has never yet enjoyed a state of peace and prosperity for any long time; on the contrary, the times of her rest, and of the flourishing state of religion, have ever been very short. Hitherto the church may say as in Isa. Ixiii. 17, 18, “Return, for thy servants' sake, the tribes of thine inheritance; the people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while." The quietness that the church of God enjoyed after the beginning of Constantine's reign, was very short; the peace the empire enjoyed, in freedom from war, was not more than twenty years; no longer nor greater than it had enjoyed under some of the heathen emperors. After this the empire was rent in pieces by intestine wars, and wasted almost everywhere by the invasions and incursions of barbarous nations, and the Christian world was soon all in contention and confusion, by heresies and divisions in matters of religion. And the church of Christ has never as yet been, for any long time, free from persecution ; especially when truth has prevailed, and true religion flourished. It is manifest, that hitherto the people of God have been kept under, and Zion bas been in a low afflicted state, and her enemies have had the chief sway.
And another thing, that makes it exceeding manifest that that day of the church's greatest advancement on earth, which is foretold in Scripture, has never yet come, is, that it is so plainly and expressly revealed that this day should succeed the last of the four monarchies, even the Roman, in its last state, wherein it is divided into ten kingdoms, and after the destruction of Antichrist
, signified by the little horn, whose reign is contemporary with the reign of the ten kings. These things are very plain in the 2d and 7th chapters of Daniel, and also in the Revelation of St. John. And it is also plain by the 11th chapter of Romans, that it shall be after the national conversion of the Jews, which shall be as life from the dead to the Gentiles, and the fulness of both Jeus and Gentiles should be come in, and all the nation of the Jews and all other nations shall obtain mercy, and there shall be that general ingathering of the harvest of the whole earth, of which all that had been converted before, either of Jews