Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

vastly increased. How rapidly will population advance, , when very few, probably, if any, shall 'die in infancy, childhood, or youth ; particularly when God shall bestow the special blessing, by which he has promised to distinguish his people, when they shall return unto him. I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth. And again, In multiplying, I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore. But how can the earth support such amazing numbers ? An answer to this question will be attempted in the next proposition.

15. During the Millennium, the fruits of the earth will be much more abundant, than before. A much greater portion of the earth's surface will probably then be cultivated, than at any time before. It is supposed, that about a million acres of land remain uncultivated in the ancient and populous island of Great Britain. What vast tracts then must we suppose are lying waste, in other countries of much greater extent; especially in those, that are comparatively new and thinly inhabited. There is reason to believe, that the whole habitable earth will be cultivated with much more care than China has received, and with ten times the skill. Rulers and subjects, philosophers, chemists and cultivators, seem to be uniting their efforts in various countries, for the advancement of agriculture. May we not expect, from these considerations, that the time will come, when the fruits of the earth will be increased a hundred fold? But to the Christian, there are other reasons to justify the expectation of an increase

Ever since the fall of man, the earth has been under a curse. The 'ground was a second time cursed for the murderous conduct of Cain. And since the days of Adam and Cain, how often has the earth been cursed, in one part and another, for the wickedness of

So that now the earth may be considered as lying under an accumulation of curses, like mountains piled

It will be far otherwise in the Millennium.

Then no doubt the curse will be almost or altogether removed; and the earth, by the abundant blessing of God, converted into one vast Eden, will bring forth by handfuls. In the bold language of Scripture, There shall

greater still.

man.

upon mountains.

be a handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains, and the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon. What then shall we think of it, when such fruitfulness is represented as being upon the top of the mountains, the most unproductive parts of the earth? Thus, except one small spot, which, according to the prediction of Isaiah, is to remain under a tremendous and perpetual curse, for the controversy of Zion; perhaps to show succeeding generations how much the Lord abhors the haters of Zion; the rest of the earth will probably be so cultivated, and so blessed, that its productions will be increased a thousand fold.

16. During the Millennium, Christians will be much better united, than before. The flock of Christ has not only been a little flock, but the members of this little flock have often been grievously divided among themselves. As early as the days of the apostles, they began to divide into different sects, and to arrange themselves under different leaders. One was of Paul, another of Apollos, another of Cephas, and another, with perhaps an equal degree of sectarian spirit, professed to be more particularly of Christ. And since the days of the apostles, the denominations of Christians have been exceedingly multiplied, and even the members of the same sect have had very different opinions concerning important doctrines and practices. These divisions have been the cause of coldness, disaffection, wrath, strife, bitterness, slander, persecution, and almost every evil work. Some have been so affected with these things, as almost to despair of union among the members of Christ's body, in the present world. To such, it may be said, O ye of little faith, wherefore do ye

doubt ? Are we not assured, that the meek shall inherit the earth, and delight themselves in the abundance of peace? Yes, my brethren, there will be abundance of peace, all kinds of peace. They will enjoy peace of conscience, peace with God, and peace among themselves. Ephraim shall not envy Judah, nor Judah vex Ephraim. Differences in opinion will be constantly diminishing. As they become more and more united in sentiment, their practices will become more and more similar. therefore with confidence anticipate the time, not only

We may

when all mankind shall be Christians, but when all Christians shall be of one and the same denomination.

17. In the Millennium, the souls of the martyrs of preceding ages will live and reign with Christ upon earth. And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. The question may arise, Will Christ reign on earth personally, or only spiritually; visibly, or invisibly? That his reign on earth during the Millennium will be spiritual, in the hearts of his people, and not personal or external, seems capable of satisfactory proof. We have already seen, that the resurrection of the martyrs and distinguished saints at the beginning of the Millennium, which is called the first resurrection, is to be merely spiritual, or a resurrection of souls, not of bodies. John did not see the bodies of them that were beheaded, but only their souls. As the first resurrection, therefore, is to be merely spiritual, and as the martyrs will be only spiritually raised to reign with Christ, it seems most rational to conclude, that the reign of Christ on earth will be merely spiritual. But what are we to understand by the saints reigning with Christ during the Millennium? No doubt it implies, that the hearts of the saints will be so completely conformed to the will of Christ, that they will cordially approve all his laws and dispensations, and exceedingly rejoice in them; that the saints will be eminently honoured and blessed; and that they will be workers together with Christ in the administration of his affairs, in a manner more striking and interesting, than in preceding ages.

18.' In the Millennium, Zion will appear exceedingly beautiful and glorious. Zion has often been covered with a cloud, and the beauty of Israel cast down to the ground. Long has the church been travelling in the wilderness, clothed in sackcloth, with dust and ashes upon her head, and often with her garments rent. But behold, she is coming up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved, her almighty Maker, Friend and Husband. The time is coming, my brethren, when the church will look forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun ; beautiful as Tirzah, and comely as Jerusalem, The King's

of

daughter shall then be all-glorious within, and appear allglorious without ; her clothing shall be of wrought gold ; she shall be brought to the King in raiment of needlework. He shall greatly desire her beauty, and exceedingly rejoice in her love.

19. During the Millennium, the earth will be filled with the glory of God. In one sense indeed, the earth is now filled with the glory of God. It contains numberless displays of his power, wisdom and goodness. But then, it will be filled with displays of his power, wisdom and goodness, much more rich, abundant and striking. The wickedness of mankind, and the curse of God, under which the world shall have been groaning for thousands years,

will then be removed. Seasons and climates, winds and waves, will probably exhibit a milder and more delightful aspect. The rich luxuriance of the fruits of the earth will exhale a more glorious cloud of incense to the God of nature. The beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, instead of devouring each other, will dwell peacefully together, and seem to unite in harmonious anthems of praise to the God of peace.

But these will be faint glories, compared with others more illustrious, with which the earth will be filled during the Millennium. It will be filled with moral agents, perhaps a thousand times as many as its present inhabitants. These will be greatly distinguished above all preceding generations, for the powers of their minds, for their attainments in knowledge, in understanding, in prudence, in refinement, in every intellectual and social excellence ; but especially for their zeal for the Lord of Hosts, for their glowing and rational devotion, for their fervent charity among themselves. And they will be distinguished for good works, no less than for zeal, charity and devotion. And the myriads of holy beings that shall then people the earth, will have eyes to see, and hearts to admire, the glory of God, in every dewdrop, in every opening bud, and more especially, in every singing, shouting, exulting Christian. Then may it, with most striking propriety, be said by Jehovah, This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise.

[ocr errors]

20. During the Millennium, Christians will be much happier, than before. Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, and her sin pardoned. How great, how unspeakable, will be the enjoyment of Christians, when pure and undefiled religion shall be so extensively, so universally triumphant ; when all the dark places of the earth shall be enlightened and cheered by an immortal Sun ; when the persecutor's sword shall cease to reek with human blood ; when the tongue of slander shall be silenced, and the land no longer mourn by reason of lying, and swearing, and stealing, and cheating, and wrath, and strife, and bitterness; when disease and pain shall scarcely be known upon earth ; and when the whole world shall swarm with Christians, with Christians glowing with the spirit of the martyrs. Happy, thrice happy sons of Millennial glory, with what tender compassion will you look back upon us, who, though we have so much reason to be thankful for the light and privileges we enjoy, yet, compared with you, are still groping in the dark, and grovelling in the dust. Sing, Oye heavens ; shout, ye lower parts of the earth ; break forth into singing ; for the Lord hath done it.

INCULCATED UPON US BY

IV. WHAT DUTIES ARE THIS SUBJECT ?

Having considered when the Millennium will commence; how long will be its duration ; and what will be the state of the world during its continuance ; by far the most important inquiry, as respects ourselves, yet remains to be considered. It is this. What are these things to us? Are they designed as mere speculations to amuse curiosity ? Or are they addressed to conscience, with a most solemn commission to engage our hearts and hands? This leads to the fourth general inquiry, What duties are inculcated by the subject of the Millennium ?

My Brethren, are we not called upon, with a voice from the Prophecies, loud and clear, to attend to the Signs of the Times? Do they not even now strongly indicate the preparing of the way for the latter-day glory? If it is important for the statesman to observe the signs of the

« ПредишнаНапред »