Page images

nently present with their nation'. When the account given of the Millennial church is view.


(1) When the conduct of Divine Providence to the Jewish nation in past ages, is viewed in conjunction with the promised fuperiority of their church in future times, fome may be led to charge the Deity with partiality. In order to remove that prejudice, observe, that the Jews were originally separated from the other nations of the world, as being the progenitors of the Saviour of mankind, and the trustees of the oracles of God, containing the knowledge of that Saviour. Their feparation until the appearance of Christ, was absolutely necessary, to afford rational and convincing evidence to the other nations of the world, as to the person of the Saviour, and the truths they ought to believe concerning him. It was therefore no less beneficial to us, than to them. The conduct of Divine Providence to their nation, during the period that elapses betwixt the appearance of Christ and their future restoration, does by no means savour of partial kindness. They are expelled from their land, dispersed among the nations, perfecuted and defpifed every where, retaining their infidelity, yet preserved a separate people.

But all this is intended as much for the benefit of the other nations, as for their own instruction. Their calamities, their preservation, and their obstinate infidelity, are all foretold in the prophecies; their state being according to the representation given, affords a direct demonstration of the truth of God's word! and this demonstration ascertains to the rational mind the reality of those things revealed in the same word, which are beyond the reach of our bodily senses. Their infidelity, in a particular manner, gives force to our application of the


3 L

ed in the scriptural light, it furnishes no pretext for the dangerous errors which enthufi


prophecies concerning the Meffiah. Had the Jews, as a nation, believed on Christ, when he first appeared, infidels would have cried out, Coilusion; and asserted, that the prophecies were penned after the event: But in regard they then were, and still are his bitterest enemies, and at the same time were the trustees of the oracles concerning him, we may be assured they would permit nothing to be asserted favourable to his cause. These oracles, therefore, have to us all the force of the evidence given by an enemy, in favour of the cause he opposes.

Their future converfion and restoration is calculated as much for the benefit of the other nations of the world, as for their own advantage. These events, when accomplished, shall not only give additional force to the evidence arising from prophecy, but shall likewife animate their love more abundantly, and raise their zeal to a pitch beyond other nations, while the design of this is to qualify them for propagating the gospel throughout the world. They are now in the furnace of affliction ; hereafter they shall enjoy a far greater profperity than their fathers, and dwell together in the love of God. Thefe changes are intended to temper them, as inftruments for the work to which God has appointed them; and in these changes, therefore, God discovers as great a regard for the work, as for the instrument, for the other nations of the world, as for them. When we view the matter thus, instead of suspeating partiality, we have reason to admire the evidences of infinite wisdom and paternal love, which God manifests to us, in his dealings with them. “ ( the depth of the riches both of the wir“ dom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his “ judgments, and his ways pas finding out !" Rom. xi. 33.

afts have grafted upon it; nor does it contain any thing contrary to the analogy of faith, but rather affords a solid ground of confolation, for those who are interested in the success and prof. perity of the church of Christ. For the present, as in times past, men of wit may employ their talents to ridicule,-men of power, their influence to oppose,-corrupt churchmen may pervert,—and profligate Christians disgrace the religion of Jesus Christ. But the time is fast approaching, when God himself shall set all to rights. Religion shall be had in honour. Truth and righteousness shall prevail, in defiance of the opposition of earth and hell. Such as are faithful witnesles to the truth, however unsuccessful in their day and generation, have the consolation to think, that when they fhall be reaping the reward of their fidelity, in the higher House, the doctrines they taught, and the prayers they offered, shall have their full effect on generations yet unborn.

As this view of the Millennium, unfolds the several representations of scripture concerning it, so there is nothing in it improbable, or beyond what we may reasonably expect from the demonstrations of divine power, already manifested in the dispensations of grace, and the con. duct of providence. If we consider the powerful effect produced by means seemingly inade


quate, in the first

ages of Christianty; if we reflect that a few illiterate fishermen, teaching naked truths, without eloquence to persuade, or power to oblige men to receive them, triumphed over the prejudices of the Jews, and the enmity of the Gentiles; broke down the bulwarks of fu'perstition and priestcraft; resisted the utmost force of a warlike empire exerted to suppress them, and induced multitudes to receivethetruth in the remoteft corners of the earth; it cannot appear improbable, that by a greater exertion of the same divine power, at the period which God hath appointed, the truth shall spread more extensively, and operate more effectually on those who receive it. Again, if we reflect, that the greatest empires have had their fall; particularly, that the last and most powerful, which fondly vaunted itself to be eternal, has been dissolved by his command, “ who hisseth “ from afar, and the nations of the earth obey “ bim.” Is there any thing unreasonable in faying, that the mightiest empires now on earth, whether Pagan, Mahometan, or Popish, are feeble barriers against the power of that stone cut out without hands, which shall reduce them to duft, and become a mountain to fill the whole earth.

C H A P.


Of the Events which shall take place, from the close of the Millennium, to the great Day of Judgment.


The Invasion of the Church by Gog. The happiness of the church, after the union of Jews and Gentiles into one body, continues a thousand years uninterrupted. There is notwithstanding reason tosuppose, that certain coun. tries, or at any rate, individuals remain all along strangers, to the vital influence of the truth. These

are, “the miry places not healed by the “ river that issued from the sanctuary,” Ezek. lxvii. 11. It may happen too, that the long continued prosperity of that period, mall, towards the close, multiply worldly minded persons, within the pale of the church; for it is certain, that of such the army of Gog consists, as we shall presently fee : “and when the thousand

years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his

prison, and Mall go out to deceive the na" tions which are in the four quarters of the “ earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them toge“ther to battle; the number of whom is as the

“ fand

« PreviousContinue »