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there is a clear distinction between a blessedness to be given in the manifestation of the sons of God, and another blessing in the deliverance of the creation at large from the bondage of corruption. Respecting the final abode of the saints, we have no reason to think that it will be confined, more than the angelic abode has been, to one region of God's creation. The idea of a spirit locally confined is unscriptural, (Ezek. i. 20.) and the saints will be glorified spirits then. The angels dwell in heaven (Matt. xviii. 10. Mark xii. 25.) and yet are ministering spirits also on earth. Heb. xii. 14. And so the glorified saints may have their blessedness both in the new heavens (2 Cor. v. 1. Col. i. 5.) and the new earth. Rev. xxi. 1. Their heaven is where Christ is. John xvii. 24. There are indeed but two leading distinct classes of men in the coming kingdom of Christ. (1.) The glorified saints, or the heavenly Jerusalem, and (2.) the Jewish and other nations, the Jewish having a superiority over the nations of the earth at large. But the holiness, blessedness and glory of the risen saints is far beyond that of the Jewish or any other nation on the earth. Rev. xx. 4; xxi. 24.* O how large and full [330] are all those glowing promises, which bespangle the firmament of scripture as the stars do the heavens, of the latter-day glory of our Lord's kingdom on earth; the animating hopes set before us in such Psalms as the Ixvii. lxxii. xcvi. to c., when knowledge, peace, holiness, and universal happiness shall bless the whole world. The rich treasures with which the latter chapters of Isaiah are loaded, and the glories which are testified of through the sacred writings, have here ample space for their largest meaning. The whole world will indeed be blessed when under the happy dominion of our Lord and his glorified saints.

Christian reader! let us thirst after this glory. Christian reader! let us count every thing besides as loss—that we may win Christ and be found in him.

What motives are here set before us, for the greatest exertions in doing good! The future glory is eminently connected with labours for Christ, (Dan. xii. 3; Luke xix. 16—19; 2 Cor. x. 6.)-oh what full scope there is in this kingdom for the largest rewards, and what an exciting object for hope and exertion! What motives also for patient endurance of sufferings in this present life! So intimately are sufferings and this glory joined together, that some have thought the Millennial

* It is surprising to see how many still speak against the pre-millennial advent, as if hostile to the Dispensation of the Spirit and the priesthood of Christ. See the author's answer to the first objection in the note in his Occasional Works, p. 574. And see Cox's Christ our High Priest, in answer to the second objection.

Kingdom was only for sufferers, (Rom. viii. 18; Acts xiv. 22; 2 Tim. ii. 12; Rev. vii. 14; xx. 4); but be it for all (Rev. xi. 18.) the sufferers are those most eminently marked by the divine Spirit as the heirs of this bliss. May we ever be ready, then, to rejoice in the cross. Matt. v. 11, 12.

When we look at these glories, no wonder that the work of salvation is to be wrought out "with fear and [331] trembling:" (Phil. ii. 12.) no wonder that the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence and the violent take it by force,” (Matt. xi. 12.) and every man that really would secure it presseth into it. Luke xvi. 16. It is a prize worth all the ardour of the race that is set before us, (Heb. xiii.) and all the struggle of fighting the good fight of faith: (1 Tim. vi. 12.) it is worth parting with the eye, the hand, or the foot, (Matt. xviii. 8, 9.) or even life itself, (Luke xiv. 26; Rev. xii. 11,) rather than forfeit our lot at the end of the days, (Dan. xii. 13,) in the heavenly kingdom and inheritance. The Lord inspire all our hearts with a noble ardour and thirst after this, as our best aim, our proper rest, our eternal riches, glory, and blessedness; so that for the sake of this we may willingly go through every previous sacrifice!

On the review of all these things, may our hearts be led to offer up with fervency of desire, that prayer, “Remember me, O Lord, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people; O visit me with thy salvation; that I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance." Psalm cvi. 4, 5.

CHAPTER XIX.

PRACTICAL REFLECTIONS.

[332] One design of the Author in the preceding remarks, has been to excite A DUE ATTENTION TO PROPHECY.

An exclusive and speculative regard to it leads to a dangerous shutting out of primary and important duties, and to controversies and divisions; but the subject of prophecy makes so large a portion of scripture, that no one can slight it, without disobeying the plain direction of searching the scriptures. There have, indeed, been so many opposing interpretations, and so much self-confident and controversial statement of prophetic views, that Christians are really in danger of contemning that which God requires them to take heed to, (2 Peter i. 19.) neglecting that, on the reading, hearing and keeping of which he has pronounced a blessing. Rev. i. 3. We gain a real help to spirituality by the study of the prophecies of this book. To teach otherwise, Bengelius calls sa spurious and unblest attempt at spiritual refinement.'

Only let us attend to it in the spirit of prayer, humility, forbearance, practical application, patient research, and waiting; suspending our judgment in doubtful matters, and being open to conviction, and we shall find the study of prophecy very quickening to [333] our souls, cheering to our spirits, and animating us to the diligent discharge of all our duties. We shall keep as well as read the things written. Rev. i. 3.

The PRACTICAL APPLICATION of prophecy is a point of very vital importance. When our Lord and the apostles interpreted the prophecies, they joined with them the immediate use and practical application to the hearers. Has not this been too much neglected? In our eagerness to establish what we have considered the true view, have we not sometimes lost sight of the important personal benefit of the prophecy? Prophecy, in all its parts, is full of the most holy and varied practical instruction.

The leading benefit designed by the sacred writers in bringing forward prophetic truth seems, however, to be this: by exciting our hopes and our fears, to lead us to fly to Christ, without delay, for an interest in his great salvation. The broad letters on the sign-post of prophecy every where are “Fly to Jesus;" the hand stretched out every where directs to Jesus. Observe how St. Peter, after explaining the prophetic meaning of various passages in the Psalms, (Acts ii. 14—36,) by the stimulating hope of the remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, (ii. 38.), and by the fear of perishing with an untoward generation, (ii. 40); calls them at once to "repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” Observe how St. Paul, in pleading with the Jews at Antioch, in Pisidia, after explaining the voices of the prophets, (Acts xiii. 23—37.) comes to a practical exhortation, by holding out all the blessings of "forgiveness and justification to the believers in Jesus, (verses 38, 39.), and all the terror of perishing to the unbeliever. (verses 40, 41.)

[334] The great practical lessons of the book of Revelation are intermingled with every part. The exhortation to fidelity, patience, obedience, watchfulness and circumspection, receiving Christ and waiting for him, are everywhere interspersed with prophecy.

Oh what a vanity it is to have our minds filled with the images of prophecy, and to be able to explain every varied interpretation of human writers; and yet to have our hearts alienated from God, and estranged from the Saviour, and to be without his Spirit! How awful would it be for a man to be able to discuss prophecy with vast skill, and shew its fulfilment with great talents, (1 Cor. xiii. 2.) and yet, as to real conversion, be far off from God, and perish at the last with infidels and unbelievers! May God preserve the writer and reader from such fatal delusions! It is not without its most valuable instruction, that our Lord represents numbers as thus deceived at the time when he comes again: “Many shall say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name have cast out devils, and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matt. vii. 22, 23. He also precedes this instruction by shewing the character of those who shall share his kingdom. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.' verse 21.

One of the peculiarities of the last days being “a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof,” 2 Tim. iii. 5, how needful it is to BE WATCHFUL ON THIS POINT! The present state of the church may be compared to those nuts which have a husk, and a [335] shell, and are hanging on the trees. The visible church is but a small part of the world; and when you look at that church, the larger part of it is only a husk, and when

you have taken off the husk, and come to the professors of religion, there is still an outside shell, covering the interior part: all those exterior parts, the tree, the husk, and the shell, are indeed needful for the growth and protection of the interior kernel, which otherwise would be devoured by the fowls of the air and the beasts of the field, and also for its becoming mature and fit for the Master's use; but by-and-bye the exterior things will be laid aside, and only the interior be regarded and preserved. Do not be deceived by the profession you make, by your contiguity to and connection with the reality; by your usefulness and necessity to its preservation: the separating and dividing time is coming. “Who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap.” Mal. iii. 2.

How important is HEAVENLY WISDOM in this study! The scriptures particularly mention this. Hosea, in the close of his prophecies, says, “Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them?” Hosea xiv. 9. Daniel, in the close of his prophecies, asserts, “None of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.” Dan. xii. 10. David closes one of his Psalms with a similar declaration, “Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord.” Ps. cvii. 43. May we pray much, then, for heavenly wisdom, to guard us from error, and lead us into the truth. This history of the church has shewn, that we are peculiarly exposed to the temptation of precipitate (336) interpretation of the varied symbols and figures of God's word, which as Bacon observes, have a twofold use, “folding up and keeping of things under a veil, and enlightening and laying open of obscurities.” God thus conceals his purposes from the wicked, and illustrates them to the wise. Hosea' xiv. 9.

How valuable also is PATIENT STUDY! There must be a labour of mind, to get a clear understanding of prophecy. “In his law doth he meditate day and night. » Psalm i. 2. The Prophets speak, in a forcible figure, of eating God's word; "thy words were found, and I did eat them.” Jer. xv. 16. The direction, with the roll of the book, to Ezekiel was, "open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee.” Ezekiel ii. 8. “Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then I did eat it, and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.” Ezekiel iji. 3. So St. John is told to take the book and eat it up." Rev. x. 9. The prayer of our Liturgy, "Grant that we may read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,' adopts the same idea. It implies the continued and thoughtful meditation on the word of prophecy, till it fill and embue our whole minds, assimilating them to itself, as food digested is assimilated to the flesh. Prophecies which seem very obscure at first, will often clear up in patient meditation, just

you come out of the full light of day into a dark room, you can at first distinguish nothing, but if you wait a little, tilí your sight is inured to the gloom, you will begin to discern things that were quite invisible before.

The view of the subject taken in this work, will, we trust, serve to CAUTION us against speculative [337] anticipations of future events, as if we could unfold the purposes of Jehovah. Let us guard against what St. Peter mentions, (2 Peter i. 20,) any private interpretation of prophecy, apart from the analogy of scripture, which is one harmonious whole, and in its varied parts the work of one Divine mind, the Holy Spirit of our God. Prophecy will, therefore, ever be the best commentary on prophecy, till the event make it plain. As Bishop Horsley explains it, no prophecy of scripture is of self-interpretation; the sense is to be sought in the events of the world and in the harmony of the prophetic writings at large, rather than in the bare terms of any single prediction. Scripture prophecy takes large

as when

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