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does it become us, diligently to search the scriptures respecting this separation. See Matthew xiii. 36-52; xxv.

. Luke xvii. 20—37, and various other passages. There is no intimation in these passages of a previous Millennium, and there are expressions in them that seem inconsistent with the idea of an intervening period of universal righteousness. That glorious millennial kingdom follows the coming of Christ and the punishment of his enemies; that coming is also the blessed hope of the believer.

The Christian, though now surrounded with difficulties, and with a probability of a temporary increase of those difficultes, may yet lift up his head full of expectation and hope. His Saviour is “King of kings, and Lord of lords. He must

“ reign till he [147] has put all enemies under his feet.” 1 Cor. xv. 25. The agitations of the present time should only lead him to those views and feelings which David so beautifully expresses in the 46th Psalm, God is our refuge, and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Whatever may be the precise and exact meaning of the promises, the general result is clear; the full triumph of Christ over all his enemies. How rich are the promises! - The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea," Isaiah xi. 9; "the kingdom and dominion, and greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him," Daniel vii. 14; Satan shall be « bound for a thousand years," and the saints be “priests of God and of Christ, and reign with him a thousand years," Rev. xx. Our hopes cannot but be raised by these and multitudes of similar promises, to a far happier scene than this lower world has ever yet witnessed-a scene which must now be fast approaching.

In what aspect, then, shall we regard those blessed exertions which are now making by religious societies, and which fill the heart with hope and joy ? Let us mark first the extent and success of those exertions.

Unquestionably we live in a remarkable day of the church of Christ. There is a peculiar shaking of the nations and larger efforts are making by faithful Christians to diffuse the gospel, and the word of God has been circulated to a greater extent, than in any former era of Christianity.

The success in modern missionary exertions has been indeed supposed by some to be inadequate to [148] the means used, and to the expectations reasonably excited by them; and it has been thought that the cause of this has been the neglect of the Jews as the great medium for the conversion of the world. But is not the supposed fact itself really unfounded? Looking at the miraculous gifts and at the fervent piety of the primitive church, and especially looking at the large outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we need not be surprised that the gospel spread then as it did. National conversions, however, did not then take place in a few years. The Christian church was, during the whole of the first three centuries, more or less persecuted and despised, and consisted of individual churches. A person at first sight may be apt to suppose, that, when the apostle wrote the epistles to the Romans and Corinthians, the whole of Rome and Corinth were Christians: but it need not be proved that this was far indeed from being the case. Though it is freely allowed that the gospel then spread with a rapidity unexampled in any age since; yet we apprehend that the reason for this, in subordination to the divine wisdom, must be looked for, not in the neglect of employing men of any particular nation, but in the sins of Christians; in their lukewarmness and coldness; in the want of a missionary spirit in the church at large; and especially in the want of a general and enlarged spirit of prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Ghost; in the small extent to which the doctrine of Christ crucified has been preached; and in the defect of a spirit of union and love among real Christians.

Passing by Roman Catholic Missions, as not needing here distinct consideration, it may justly be said that the success which has been already [149] given to efforts to spread the gospel, is larger than some seem to think; especially when we consider the few instruments employed, the short space of time in which they have laboured, and the difficulties which they have had to encounter, before they could simply and fully declare to the heathen, in their own tongue, the unsearchable riches of Christ. Eph. iii. 8. It was long in general after the formation of their societies, before the missionaries went forth to their work, and long after they landed, before they could preach to the natives. There are even now very few European or American or Native missionaries preaching fully to the heathen in their native tongues; probably the number but a few years since fell short of the seventy disciples whom our Lord sent forth, and foreigners could not, from the very necessity of the case, speak with the ease and fluency of a native; many of them spoke with that broken and foreign accent, and those hesitating expressions, which necessarily greatly hindered the power of their statements.

And notwithstanding all difficulties, the gospel has spread, and is spreading, more extensively every year: thousands and tens of thousands are converts and communicants; and all

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these things are doubtless preparing the way for the church's full glory. Look at the effects of the labours of Swartz and others. They began in great discouragement; and now there are, as the result of those labours, upwards of twenty thousand native Protestant Christians in South India. Look at the state of the colony of Sierra Leone, where the author witnessed the negroes in the greatest degradation, as naked savages and miserable idolators, and of whom a competent and unexceptionable [150] witness, a few years afterwards, said, that their spirit and conduct were such that he was persuaded there was not to be seen upon earth a community of equal size so truly exemplary. Look at thousands of Christian negroes in the West Indies, blessed by the gospel, imparted in modern times through the labours of the various Protestant Missionaries. Look again at the South Sea Islands, emerging from the lowest barbarism and idolatry to piety and civilization, through the persevering efforts of Christian Missionaries in our own day. Every where, in proportion as the gospel of Christ has been fully and faithfully preached, it has been the power of God to the salvation of the heathen.

The promise then still abides faithful. My wordthat goeth forth of my mouth-shall not return unto me void: Isaiah lv. 11; and the extent to which that word is going forth, concurs with the cheering light of prophecy to strengthen our hopes, that however dark the clouds now, and however severe the storm that we previously expect, may bę, the dawn of the millennial day of glory cannot be far distant.

For we are not left in doubt as to the aspect in which all this is to be viewed. In the 14th of Revelation, we have a prediction of three angels going forth with distinct voices. The first angel flies win the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountain of waters." The second angel declares the fall [151] of Babylon, and the third angel the wrath of God on all who worship the beast and his image. Here we see predicted the diffusion of the gospel. Dr. Cressener, in some discussions on this part of the chapter, endeavoured to shew that the time of the patience of the saints is the fiercest persecution of the true church by the beast. It may however relate to the approach of the season of reward; as that is the great scope of the chapter. Amidst a severe conflict, there is a rising triumph of the truth, from the proclamation of the first angel to the treading of the vintage. In the course of these events—is the coming of the Son of man on the cloud, and the reaping of the harvest, or the gathering of God's saints (Mark iv. 26—29. Matt. xiii. 24—30; xxiv. 31. John iv. 35—38,) and then the treading of the vintage, or the punishment of his enemies, Rev. xix. and Isa. Ixiii. 1-6. The past history of the church, and the continued exertions of religious societies, shew that at least the first angel, with his warning voice, commencing probably at the Reformation, has already taken his flight: the other angels follow, and soon the Son of man appears in the clouds to establish his glorious kingdom, Dan. vii. 13, 14.

Mr. Cuninghame, on Rev. xiv. 14, observes, “It is plain that the vision does not belong to the first moment of the advent: for that is described by the one like the Son of Man coming in the clouds (Dan. vii. 13; Matt. xxiv. 30,); here on the contrary, John sees him sitting on a cloud, which implies not the action of coming, but that he is already present.” On this he makes this just reflection, "The moment of our Lord's first approach is, in this fourteenth chapter, as every where else, sedulously concealed [152] from us. How unspeakably awful and awakening is this thought!”

We must contemplate and meditate upon the future glory of the church, as revealed in the prophetic pages of scripture. The study of this, though yet unfulfilled, is not to be neglected; for it is connected with important practical duties. “Daniel understood by books the number of the years whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet,” (Dan. ix. 2,) and he began to seek the Lord by prayer and supplication with fusting. The first Christians, warned by the prophetical intimations of our Lord, fled from Jerusalem, and escaped the tremendous visitations which came upon its inhabitants; and so there are still duties arising from the expected fulfilment of future prophecies. “Behold, I come quickly! Blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” Rev. xxii. 7.

We cannot indeed fix any precise time as to when future events are to happen. There are several important periods named in scripture, and especially the great era of 1260 prophetic days or years, and these will be noticed afterwards; yet we cannot certainly tell, till events make it more clear, when that era commenced. The whole chain of prophecy manifestly leads us to expect that we are on the verge of remarkable events. Even if it be admitted that the 1260 years have not closed (as many think that they did in 1792), and will not come to an end for some years, they must obviously be has. tening to their close. But a short period can then elapse before the coming of Christ for the general establishment of Christ's kingdom. Daniel intimates two further brief periods of thirty and forty-five years; [153] and then says, "Blessed is he that waiteth and cometh to the thousand three hundred and fiveand-thirty days.” Dan. xii. 12. The servants of Christ then may well lift up their heads, enlarge the preparatory work, and anticipate, first indeed, intervening trials and awakening judgments on his enemies, and then happier and more prosperous times than the church has ever yet enjoyed. There is enough of clear prediction to animate us to the moss strenuous and self-denying exertions for the conversion of Jew and Gentile, the one cause of our Lord and Saviour Christ.

The subject of judgments connected with the coming of Christ will be distinctly considered, afterwards. In that time of judgment, however, many passages lead us to expect a great ingathering to the church of Christ. Rev. vii. 9, 14; Isaiah xxvi. 9. And the preparation for this by the Religious Societies of the present day is unspeakably important.

But do not the most wise and judicious Christians differ much in their view of these things? It must indeed be confessed that it is so. Yet in practical results there is a great agreement. Though real Christians differ, in some respects, about the order in which the latter-day glory of the church shall be brought on, and, in some particulars, as to the means by which it shall be accomplished, there is no difference on practical points. There is no question but that the preaching of the Gospel, whether by the diffusion of the Holy Scriptures, or the faithful ministry of devoted Missionaries, is a great and divinely appointed duty. There is no doubt but that more earnest prayer for the larger outpouring of the Holy Ghost is an imperative obligation. There is no [154] obscurity in the truth that it is our duty to seek the conversion of the whole world, whether Jewish or Gentile. There is one general expectation, by all who believe God's word, of preceding trials and of the full triumph of our Lord Christ, however they may differ as to the way in which God will bring it to pass. The duty is plain and admitted by each intelligent Christian; the encouragements are great and felt by all; and all difficulties in the way of establishing Christ's kingdom, however to be removed, shall all ultimately be surmounted. Isa. xl. 4.

That great event, the future coming of Christ, predicted in the scriptures, has an all-important bearing on the hopes of the church; yet the precise nature and the time of his coming, and its influence on the conversion of nations, and the blessedness of our earth, are yet involved in the obscurity of unfulfilled prophecy. Let' not this, however, be any impedi

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