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the Word they crucified Him. The fourth church is the Christian, which the Lord established by the evangelists and the apostles: this church has had two epochs, one extending from the time of the Lord till the council of Nice, and the the other from that council to the present time; this latter however, in its progress, was divided into three branches, the Greek, the Roman-Catholic, and the Reformed; nevertheless all these three are called Christian. Moreover, within every general church there have been several particular churches, which, notwithstanding their separation from the general, have still retained its name, as is the case with the different heresies in the Christian Church.
761. That the last time of the Christian Church is the very night, in which former churches have set, is plain from the Lord's prediction concerning this night in the evangelists and in Daniel; in the evangelists from these circumstances " That they should see the abomination of desolation, and that there should be great affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the world, neither shall be ; and that unless those days should be shortened no flesh could be saved;" and lastly, “that the sun shall be darkened, the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven,” Matt. xxiv. 15, 21, 22, 29. In other passages in the evangelists that time is also called night; as in Luke: “In that night there shall be two in one bed, the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left," chap. xvii. 34 ; and in John: “I must work the works of Him thut sent Me while it is day ; the night cometh when no man can work," chap. ix. 4. Since all light departs at midnight, and the Lord is the True Light, John 1. 4, chap. viii. 12, chap. xii. 35, 36, 46; therefore He said to His disciples, when He ascended into heaven, “Lo! I am with you alway, even unto the consummation of the age,” Matt. xxviii. 20; and then He departs from them to a new church. That this last time of the church is the very night in which former churches have set, is plain also from this passage in Daniel : “ In the end, upon the bird of abominations, shall be desolation, even until the consummation and decision, it shall drop upon the devastation," chap. ix. 27 : that this prophecy relates to the end of the Christian Church, is very plain from the Lord's own words, Matt. xxiv. 18; the same too is evident from this passage in Daniel relating to the fourth kingdom, or the fourth church, represented by the image which Nebuchadnezzar saw :“And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of man, but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay," chap. ii. 43: the seed of man is the truth of the Word. It is further evident from this passage relative to the fourth church represented by the fourth beast ascending out of the sea : “I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrible and dreadful, it shall devour the whole earth, and tread it down and break it in pieces," chap. vii. 7, 23; which expressions mean, 'that every truth of tke church should be brought to a consummation, and then there will be night, because the truth of the church is light. Many similar things are predicted of this church in the Revelation, especially in the sixteenth chapter, where it speaks of the vials of the anger of God poured out upon the earth, signifying the falsities which should then overflow and destroy the church. There are also several passages in the prophets to the same purpose; as for example, "Shall not the day of Jehovah be darkness and not light, even very dark, and no brightness in il.?" Amos v. 20, Zeph. i. 15; and again, “ In that day if one look unto the land, behold darkness and sorrow, and the light is darkened in the ruins thereof,” Isaiah v. 30, chap. viii. 22: the day of Jehovah is the day of the Lord's advent.
762. That there should have been four churches on this earth since the creation of the world, is agreeable to divine
order, which requires that there should be a beginning and its end, before a new beginning arises. Hence every day begins with morning, advances to mid-day, and closeth in night, and after that begins afresh; every year too commences from the spring, advances in its progress through summer to autumn, and then closeth in winter, and after that enters on a new beginning: it is to produce these effects that the sun riseth in the east, thence proceeds through the south to the west, and setteth in the north, after which he riseth again. Similar to this is the case with churches; the first of them, which was the most ancient, was as the morning, the spring, and the east; the second or the ancient, was as mid-day, the summer, and the south; the third was as the evening, the autumn, and the west ; and the fourth as the night, the winter, and the north. From these progressions according to order, the wise ancients drew their conclusions of the four ages of the world, the first of which they called golden, the second silver, the third copper, and the fourth iron, by which metals also the churches themselves were represented in the image seen by Nebuchad
But moreover in the Lord's sight the church appears as one man, and this grand man must needs
pass through his different ages like the individuals of which he is composed, advancing from infancy to youth, through youth to manhood, and at length to old age, and then, when he dies, he rises again : the Lord saith, “ Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone, but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit,” John xii. 24.
763. It is according to order, that in all cases, both general and particular, the first should proceed to its ultimate, for such a process gives birth and existence to all kinds of variety, and by varieties to all quality, for qualities are produced and perfected by the differences in relation to what is more or less opposite. Who cannot see, for instance, that truth receives its quality from the existence of
the false, and in like manner good from the existence of evil, just as light receives its quality from the existence of dark ness, and as heat from the existence of cold? What would become of colour, supposing white alone to exist without black? Must not the quality of intermediate colours, on such a supposition, necessarily be very imperfect? So again what are the perceptions of sense without some kind of relation ? and what is relation but as respecting opposites ? Is not ocular vision darkened by looking on white alone, and rendered clear and lively by looking on a colour that inwardly takes some tint of blackness, as is the case with green? Is not the ear deafened by the continual action of one tone upon its organs, and excited by modulation varied according to the different relations of harmonious and discordant notes ? What is beauty without relation to ugliness ? hence it is a common practice with painters, when they would exhibit a beautiful figure to the greatest advantage, to place a deformed one beside it. What are pleasure and prosperity without relation to what is unpleasant and unprosperous ? How hurtful is it to the mind to be constantly brooding over one idea, without admitting a variety of such as have some opposite quality! The case is similar with the spiritual principles of the church, whose opposites have relation to the evil and the false ; not that the evil and the false are from the Lord, but from man, who being endowed with free-will, may direct it either to good or evil purposes; and this comparatively as in the case of darkness and cold, which come not from the sun, but are a cons
onsequence of the earth's circumvolutions, which cause it successively to withdraw its face and turn it away from the sun; and yet without such circumvolutions of the earth there would neither be day nor year, nor consequently could either animate or inanimate creatures exist upon it. I have been informed, that those churches, which are in different goods and truths, if only their goods have relation to love to the Lord, and their
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truths to faith in Him, are like so many precious jewels in king's crown. IV. THAT AFTER This Night, MORNING SUCCEeds, COMING OF
764. Since the successive states of the church, both in general and in particular, are described in the Word by the four seasons of the year, spring, summer, autumn, and winter, and by the four times of the day, morning, mid-day, evening, and night, and as it is now night with the present church in Christendom, it follows, that the morning is at hand, in other words, the dawn or beginning of a new church. That the successive states of the church are described in the Word by the four states of the light of the day, is evident from these
06 Until EVENING AND MORNING, two thousand three hundred, then shall the sanctuary be made righteous: the vision of the EVENING AND MORNING is truth,” Dan. viii. 14 to 26 : “ He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The. MORNING cometh, and also the night," Isaiah
The end is come; the MORNING is come unto thee, 0 thou that dwellest in the land ; behold, the Day it is come, the morning it is gone forth,” Ezek. vii. 6, 7, 10: " Jehovah is in the midst thereof, MORNING by MORNING doth He bring Flis judgments to light, He faileth not,” Zeph. iii. 5 : “God is in the midst of her, God shall help her when the morning appeareth,” Psalm xlvi. 6: “I wait for Jehovah, my soul doth wait for the Lord, until the MORNINGWATCH, I wait for the mornING-WATCH, for with the Lord is plenteous redemption, and He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquilies,” Psalm cxxx. 5 to 8: in these passages the last time of the church is meant by evening and night, and its first time or commencement by morning. The Lord Himself also is called the morning in the following passages : “The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to