Page images

the blessed time I am now speaking of; when that covenant of peace shall take place, when God will cause the evil beafts to cease out of the land: and his sheep shall dwell fafely

in the wilderness, and feep in the woods *. When the meek shall inherit the earth. Then shall the original harmony be restored ; and what the great Poet says was once, will, undoubtedly, take place again :

About them, frisking, play'd
All beasts of th' earth, since wild, and of all chace,
In wood or wilderness, forest or den;
Sporting the Lion ramo'd, and, in his paw,
Dandled the Kid; Bears, Tygers, Ounces, Pards,
Gambol'd before them; th' unweildy Elephant,
To make them mirth, us’d all his might, and wreath'd
His lithe proboscis.

Milton. Hail, happy scenes of universal jubilee! when violence and spoil shall cease when no hurt or destruction shall be in God's holy mountain--when his wonderful promises shall be fully accomplished--And as he hath faid, I will rebuke the devourer for your. fakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, faith tbe Lord of Hofts. And all nations fall call you blessed: for ye ball be a delightfome land, faith the LORD OF Hosts t.

Ezek. xxxiv. 25. + Mal. iii. 11, 12

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]


Universal Benevolence.

MARK xii. 31.

Thou palt love thy Neighbour as thyself.


[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]

HETHER all these fteps, which will mark out

this blessed epocha which I am demonstrating, will happen in the succession in which I have arranged them, I cannot say; nor is it a point of very great importance, as I apprehend there will be no very great distance between them; for I suppose, when the Jews are

; brought in, with the fullness of the Gentiles, there will be little discord left behind : and when Christ becomes All in all-ivhen we love God with all the heart,-it will naturally follow we shall love our neighbour as ourselves; and the latter will never take place till the former is fixed in the soul. Therefore the loving God, with all the heart, is juftly called the first and great Commandment; not only the first in dignity, but the first in order : for there must be fire before there can be any flame. Now the love of God in the heart is the fire, and the same flowing to our neighbour is the facred flame. And here is the perfection of the law, or, as the Apostle says, the fulfilling of the


S 2

[ocr errors]


law. All that is said in the Ten Commandments, as they are a summary of the whole moral law, is briefly comprehended in these two points, viz. the love of God and my neighbour. And we may farther observe, not one jot er tittle of this law shall fail, but all shall be fulfilled. But I doubt few, at present, attain to this blessed mark; perhaps there may be here and there one who approaches near unto it: but now, when the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our God and of his Chrift, then shall this pure benevolence and love universally prevail. We shall, then see that these great and glorious Commands are not give a us as patterns to imitate, but that they shall be written upon the heart, as they were when God creater man in his own image. When that image was defaced, then God, iņdeed, condescended to write it upon tables of done, that we may see the tranfcendent excellency of that royal law. which man had tranfgreffed; but now he will write it by his Spirit on the feshly table of the heart.

Now, seeing this will be one ray of the latter day glory, it will be necessary to give it a serious attention ; for I look upon this happy period to be a true emblem of the New Heavens and the New Earth, where all will love each other with a pure heart, and that fervently. Let us,

I. Confider, Who is my neighbour.

II. What is my duty to him. 1. Who is my neighbour ? I answer, every child of

We are all relations, and nothing can dissolve the connexion while in this world; no distance of place, or manaers, or opinions, or cuftoms, language, or com

plexion. * Jer. xxxi. 33


[ocr errors][ocr errors]


plexion. It is true, self has found, or made, a variety of breaches, insomuch that the human kind are become, not only aliens, but implacable enemies to each other; and, oftentimes, no reason can be assigned why it is fo; and when something like a cause is pretended, it is scarcely the Shadow of a cause, but something which the grand enemy, and a fallen nature, can make a handle of. The difference of a point in religion, or politics, is oftere found as an excuse, not only for saying all manner of evil, but even ex. ercising all manner of cruelties against the hated party ; so that a house, as well as a kingdom, has been divided against itself, and a man's foes have been those of his own household; but that is a dire effect of the fall, and the great remedy-the Sacrifice upon the Cross, will draw all men unto himfelf, and then they will love as brethren.

2. This is further evident, because God bath made of one blood'all nations of men for to dwell :upon the face of the earth: So that,' in Him, we live, and move, and have our being and are denominated His OFFSPRING*. God is the common father of all Aeth, and all the inhabi. tarts of the world are his family ; and he makes one sun to shine upon the earth, and to rule it by day; and one moon to give light, and rule by night ; one earth to yield suítenence; not many suns, not many moons, not many earths; but, being one family, there is one fufficient provision made for us all, from that one Parent of Good, whole tender mercies a' e over all his works, and whose liberal hand is ever open to satisfy all plenteously out of his infinite fullness. I will this point was a little more at: tended unto than what it is ; it might have a tendency to

bring Acts xvii. 26-28.

[ocr errors]

S 3

bring us a little nearer to each other, and to feel for each other, and point to this great doctrine of loving my neighbour as myself. Then shall I be willing to do as I would be done by ; and, if I do this, I cannot bite and devour my neighbour : no; his character will be as sacred as my own, and I shall regard his welfare as my own. O charming temper of mind! Pleasing prospect ! O may thy kingdom come, that Thy will may be thus done on earth as it is done in heaven! Then they, who have come out of every nation, and people, and tongue, will be of one heart, mind, voice, and song! All harmony, peace, and concord !

3. We are all sprung from one common stock. The Great Author of All only created one father and mother, and the Bible is very explicit in describing their posterity, as it were, on purpose to keep this great point in view; so that we might treat each other as brethren, with tenderness and affection. If God had created several pairs at the same time, there might have been a sort of a plea for the want of natural affection, but we are very clearly informed of our real pedigree; hence all the inhabitants of the world, in the time of Mofes, were called the fons of Adam*. Likewise, Si. Paul, speaking of our original raint, says-By one man's disobedience many were made fora mers : and through the ff ace of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation t. Nor did the general jeluge cut off the entail, or diffolve this fraternity : far there, again, care is taken to trace the uninterrupted line from Adam to Noah, in whom we see a second general root, repleat with branches, extending all the world over, and from whom


Deut. xxxii. 8.

#Rom. 8. 18, 19.

« PreviousContinue »