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signate the whole earth, in the largest sense of the expression; or only that land, viz. the whole land of Palestine, to which the people were going. However this may be decided, we know that examples occur in other parts of Scripture, in which the term “ earth”. is applied in the largest sense, and also connected with a promise that the whole inhabited globe shall one day be filled with the knowledge and glory of the Lord. In giving the most ample interpretation, then, to the language of our text, we are certain that we do not go beyond the spirit of Holy Scripture.
There are three things in the passage before us which demand our notice-THE IMPORT OF THE PROMISE WHICH IT CONTAINS ;-THE REASONS WHICH WE HAVE FOR BELIEVING THAT THIS PROMISE WILL, IN DUE TIME, BE REALIZED ;-AND THE DUTY DEVOLVING ON US IN RELATION TO THE PROMISE. I. Let us attend to THE IMPORT OF THE PROMISE
This import, expressed with so much solemnity of asseveration, is large and precious. As I live, saith the Lord, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.
Glory is the manifestation of excellence. The glory of God is that display of his most blessed character and will, which opens the way for his intelligent creatures to know, to love, and to obey hin. This glory is exhibited in various ways. It shines in all the works of creation. All the works of God, we are told, praise him. The heavens declare his glory, and the firmament showeth his handy work. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of
the world. Again, the glory of God is manifested by the works of his providence. Here his wisdom, his power, and his benevolence, gloriously shine. The Lord, we are told, is known that is, is made known -by the judgments which he executeth. But, above all, is the glory of God displayed in the work of ReDEMPTION ; in that great plan of love and mercy by a Redeemer, which was first revealed to the parents of our race immediately after the fall; which was more and more unfolded in the ceremonial economy; and which reached its meridian brightness, when the Saviour, the blessed “Sun of Righteousness," rose upon a dark world. In this wonderful plan of salvation, the glory of God shines with its brightest lustre. Here all his perfections unite and harmonize, and shine with transcendent glory. Now, when the Gospel, which proclaims this plan of mercy, shall be preached and received throughout the world; when every kindred, and people, and nation, and tongue, shall not only be instructed in its sublime doctrines, but also brought under its benign and sanctifying power; then, with emphatic propriety, may it be said that “the earth is filled with the glory of the Lord.” As the highest glory, of which an individual creature is capable, is to bear the image of his Maker; so the highest glory of which our world at large is capable, is to be filled with the holy and benevolent spirit of Him who is the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person ;-is to have the knowledge and love of the Saviour reigning over all the population of our globe, from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same.
It is this universal prevalence of the true religion; that religion which alone can enlighten, sanctify, and
save; that religion which imparts the highest physical and moral glory, wherever it reigns, and in proportion as it reigns ;-it is the universal prevalence of this glory which is promised in our text. When this holy and benevolent religion shall fill the world, then shall be brought to pass the promise which is here recorded. Yes, when the benign power of the Gospel, and all the graces and virtues which it inspires, shall reign over all the family of man; when the highest intellectual and moral culture shall be every where en . joyed; when the voice of prayer and praise shall be heard in every tabernacle ; when the Sabbath shall be universally kept holy to God; when the Christian law of marriage, that noblest and most precious bond of social purity and happiness, shall be universally and sacredly obeyed; when the temperance reformation, without any unscriptural extremes, or fanatical perversions, shall pervade the world: when “wars shall cease to the ends of the earth ; " when fraud and violence shall be banished from the abodes of men ; when the voice of profaneness shall no more pollute the lips or the ears of creatures claiming to be rational; when tyranny and oppression, in every form, shall come to an end ; when sectarian feuds and jealousies shall be unknown, save only in the pages of history; when all heresy and error shall give place to the power of truth, and all vice and profligacy to the reign of Christian purity; when the Mosque and the Pagoda shall be transformed into temples of the Christian's God; when the habitations of savage .cruelty shall become the abodes of holiness and peace ; when the activity of a greatly extended commerce shall be directed chiefly to the intellectual and moral culture of society;. when justice, order, industry,
brotherly kindness, and charity shall universally reign; -in a word, when the church of God, with all its choicest influences, shall fill the earth ;-—then shall the promise before us be gloriously realized. This will be emphatically, “the glory of the Lord ;'—the glory of his power; the glory of his holiness ; the glory of his love. It will be, in its measure, the same glory which forms the blessedness of the heavenly world ; the same glory in which those whose robes have been washed in the blood of the Lamb, walk in white raiment before the throne of God. 0 how glorious shall this fallen world be, when all the nations which compose it shall be “just, fearing God;" when those who are nominally “the people of God, shall be all righteous;” when every family shall be the abode of purity, order, and love; when every individual shall be a "temple of the Holy Ghost;" and when, from pole to pole, the song of jubilee shall be heard-Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power be unto Him who sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever and ever! Alleluia! for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth !
Such appears to be the import of the promise before us.—Let us next inquire,
II. WHAT REASON HAVE WE FOR BELIEVING THAT THESE SCENES OF GLORY WILL ONE DAY BE REALIZED? This is, to the Christian's heart, a most interesting inquiry. Let us ponder it with a seriousness corresponding to its unspeakable importance.
And here it is obvious to remark, that there will be no need of miracles (in the ordinary sense of that word) to bring about the accomplishment of the promise before us. Only suppose the genuine power of the Gospel, which we see to reign in thousands of
individuals and families now-actually to reign in all hearts, and to pervade the world,—and the work is done. But how can we hope for this ? I answer
1. First of all, and above all, our hope is founded on JEHOVAH'S FAITHFUL AND UNERRING PROMISE. This is, undoubtedly the chief ground of confidence. For that a religion which has been preached for eighteen centuries, and which has been as yet received, even nominally, by less than a fourth part of mankind, will one day, and, at most, in a century or two from this hour, pervade and govern the world, we can expect with confidence only on the promise of Him who is Almighty, and who cannot lie. But this promise is, surely, enough for the most unwavering confidence. Hath he said, and shall he not do it? Hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good ? Jehovah is not a man that he should lie, nor the son of man that he should repent. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but one jot or tittle of all that has gone out of his mouth shall not pass away, until all be fulfilled.
Let us attend, then, to some of the promises on this subject with which the word of God abounds. Take the following as a small specimen of the “exceeding great and precious” catalogue found in the inspired volume. The kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, Rev. xi. 15. Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession, Ps. ii. 8. All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before him, Ps. xxii. 27. From the rising of the sun, even unto the going down of the same, my name