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it "by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." "For thine is the Kingdom, and the power and the glory for ever and ever:" while the phrase being also as properly and more literally "for ages reminds us before we quit the moral and meaning of the prayer, to cast a glance over the principal ages or periods of the Kingdom which is intimated in this concluding sentence to be for ever and ever.
It is not, that there are two Forevers: though eternity is observed to stretch itself two ways at once; that is, backward and forward, with Him who liveth, or as the Psalmist expresses it, is "King-for ever and ever:" (Ps. x. 18:) and to his all-seeing eye these two portions of eternity, the past and future, are perhaps equally filled with the traces of his Providence; but to a man dating individually from himself, and from himself only, the little that he knows, and has read or heard of the past, will present a very different picture from the blank of futurity. Therefore, not to make so very unequal a division of the times as we must, if all the particulars of the past were to be depicted in one part, and the vast blank of futurity set off against it in the other; we may divide the history or fortune of the Kingdom into seven parts after an example that occurs in the prophet Daniel, (Dan. ix. 24, &c.,) and in so far, too, as the small pittance or proportion of humanity is concerned; being 1, one part for creation; 2, one for uprightness; 3, one for the forfeiture of the Kingdom, and the fulfilment of guilt; 4, one for redemption by atonement and justification; 5, one for conversion; 6, one (perhaps) for a second period of earthly enjoyment, or for another heaven upon earth; 7, one for an eternal state of happiness or misery hereafter, which is as far as we are permitted to look that way. If a grosser division of the Kingdom were required, these seven periods might be contracted again into two, answering to the parts before mentioned, with a fixed instead of a moving interstice; and being one before the
coming of the Redeemer, and one after: when there would be three of the forementioned parts or periods on either side, and one with this act of redemption,—or week, as it would be called in Daniel, between. But
* With Him who rules the ruler of the age, "the prince of this world" as such ruler is called every period and every part, portion or particle of a period in time, or the terra cognita of eternity, is already marked from beginning to end as clearly as if it had been already fulfilled. The character of the age with its effect on its own public and private happiness is marked in his page or purpose; and every age will succeed in rotation from one point to another regularly according to the divisions in his book. Thus, to give an example; from the age of Daniel to the first advent of Messiah He makes one dispensation for the restoring of Israel to his place and worship: which dispensation he contracts into seven stages, or lines-for it does not clearly appear whether these distinctions were to be collateral or successive. But the effect of the whole tissue or dispensation of divine Providence in this work, by far the greatest that has ever been wrought upon earth, was to appear in a second part vastly beyond the restoration of Jerusalem to the Jews, or new ointment to Jerusalem; though these happening as foretold by Daniel and others, Isaiah especially, (Isai. i. 27; xxxii. 1,) would not have been unworthy of the wisdom and goodness of divine Providence, "If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day the things which belong unto thy peace." (Luke xix. 42.)
An angel is the organ or bearer of Daniel's prediction here alluded to, and Daniel, the recorder; whom he addresses, with very little preface, in these terms rendered literally upon the subject," Seventy times seven is b snipped off on thy people, and on thy holy city-to stop the defection, and to determine offences, and to point the time, and to bring in the epoch of justice, and to attest the vision and the prophet and to anoint the holy of holies." (Dan. ix. 24.) And, without staying to insist on the particulars of this remarkable and much controverted prediction, I may venture to assert its general application to our Saviour's first advent, and its importance likewise in connection with the after part more immediately concerning that sacred person. (Ib. 25, &c.) But any farther I will not presume to dive into such mysteries as these happening in a quarter remote from human observation, namely in the secret working of divine Providence. And only in the main prediction relating to such after part, as aforesaid,
a Our translation makes only six of them.
An impersonal expression, occurring, as it is said, only in this place, and reminding one of the fabulous Atropos.
More literally, to pitch-mark, as they mark sheep.
See Exod. xxx, 22, &c.
the most convenient order for a glance, or general notice of the said seven parts or periods of the Kingdom would be, to draw them into three; 1, the Creation; 2, Fall; 3, Redemption. For
First, the Period of Creation might well embrace the whole of man's upright existence, or his state in Paradise, from the uniformity of character and condition which marked that period or state, judging from its sacred record. For we do not read of any civil or political disturbance happening in that state, like those which mark the course of the present, to make an interval or distinction in its pure current; not so much as a single death, nor even so much as sickness, or loss, or any one sinister occurrence, to make a variety that would not be agreeable: no break, or interruption have we in the regular ordering of the Kingdom, to call for reform and produce a new era in the state or government, until that fatal event by which the Kingdom was placed beyond the scope of reform, being actually unmade, or as they say-undone. As man was created in the image of God, so he may be presumed to have continued; being like God's other works, and of course like their Maker-all "very good," (Gen. i. 27, 31,) up to that fatal hour in which by a single act of disobedience the metropolis of the Kingdom, as man may be called, both ruined himself, and involved the provinces or remote parts of the Kingdom, that is, the inferior creatures in his ruin. For though man still like appears the creatures above him in respect of knowledge, as God said, "Behold the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil," (Ib. iii. 22,) he does not appear like
which is indeed the burden of the prophecy, there may be enough, and more than enough for any human capacity; as it concerns the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow-" which things the angels desire to look into."
* I have taken the liberty of supposing the Deity, as " A Judge among gods," (Ps. lxxxii. 1,) to address this memorable speech to his servants, instead of his equals.
one of them in practice,-the more essential as well as primitive respect; without which the knowledge of good and evil is rather a curse than a blessing.
Next, it may appear from this expression, "The man IS BECOME," (suprà) alluding to the consequence of his Fall, that man was not endowed with the knowledge of good and evil originally, when he might have made a better use of it; consequently, that such knowledge was no point of resemblance between God and his image then: neither can it be at present without his righteousness, any otherwise than as a sword may be between the hand of violence and the hand of justice. This perversion of knowledge, for it can hardly be called an acquisition, makes all the difference between man as he was, and man as he is; between man walking happily in blameless ignorance, and man walking wretchedly beyond his proper limits, breaking down the ramparts of innocence to get at the knowledge of good and evil. Thus, by making a breach on the side of chastity he comes to know one sort of evil in the natural effects of " fornication and all other deadly sin;" being rendered at once both loathing and loathsome toward all that is amiable; as incapable of loving as of being beloved: by opening a way to discontent he lets in upon himself the dire evils of ambition and avarice: by getting the better of his modesty and humility he weakens himself on the side of vigilance and perspicacity, and may happen to find some cleverer than himself to his cost, if he will only allow it. These are some of the fruits of the present, by which it may be sufficiently estimated and thus has human nature ruined itself every way, to purchase that which it was richer without, to experience that of which it was happily ignorant, to know that which its bountiful Creator had prohibited. Through its own disobedience and self-will, or rather, will of the devil, the kingdom has lost its integrity, and is no longer a kingdom, but a set of dismembered provinces parcelled out among the satellites
of its enslaver, and purely human, or humano-divine, no longer; being divided physically into an innumerable host of human beings, and morally into just as great a complement of evil spirits residing with them and going about to the great trouble and discomfort of the broken kingdom. And it is only by the reassembling of its constituents and reuniting of them under one Head and empire, as at the beginning of the Kingdom, that it can be restored in any instance, and preserved from a woeful dissolution.
Thirdly, this reunion that should be, or Redemption, as I call it, is the last of the three principal periods of the kingdom before mentioned; which begins with creation, like the first; and is really a second paradise, as well as a second creation. A great happiness for the subject when, being delivered from the tumult and anarchy of a broken existence, he begins to experience the singleness and serenity of a christian life,-to be lost to the troublesome world and found in that peaceful retreat, -to "be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now (says the apostle): and not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our bodies." (Rom. viii. 21, &c.) But only now, though the righteous Kingdom of God be not come, or as we may say ARRIVED so far as our body; it still has over the former state in a spiritual respect all the advantages before mentioned with some more peculiar; as for example, that of stability: which is proved to have been wanting to man's first state of perfection by his subsequent disgrace.
Now, therefore, the Kingdom is ascribed unto God "for ever and ever;" being placed at length under the immediate direction of his Word. So says the Psalmist, "For this God is our God for ever and ever: he shall be our guide unto death." (Ps. xlviii. 13.) The Kingdom is