« הקודםהמשך »
O! how heart-sustaining and refreshing is it to anticipate, with the eye of faith, that illustrious moral Summer, when the hurricane shall have swept over, and purified the atmosphere, and the Sun of Righteousness have arisen upon the world, with healing in his wings! Yes; the anticipation of such a period is exceedingly encouraging : and accordingly, the church is continually reminded of it in the prophets; that her faith fail not, nor her heart be cast down, amidst immediate desolations. Thus, in the fortieth chapter of Isaiah, God directs his ministers in these beautiful terms: " Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned : for she hath received of the LORD's hand double for all her sins.” So again in the thirty-fifth chapter of the same book it is written : “ The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing ; the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon ; they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God.” And with the declaration of these glad tidings the teachers of the people of God were commissioned to solace and establish them :
Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not; behold, your God will come
with vengeance, even God with a recompense ; he will come and save you.” |
In prosecuting this delightful theme, it may be proper, in the first place, to prove, that such a state of things as that which is designated the MILLENNIUM will actually be realized. We have repeated intimations in Scripture of a kingdom which the Lord is establishing upon earth ; for example, in the seventy-second Psalm; where the Holy Spirit, speaking of CHRIST,--for the expressions are infinitely too august to be applied only to Solomon-asserts, “ in his days shall the righteous flourish, and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. He shall have dominion from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth. They that dwell in the wilderness shall kneel before him ; and his enemies shall lick the dust. Yea, all kings shall fall before him; all nations shall serve him.”
To the same purpose it is predicted in Daniel ; after the prophet had been speaking of the four great monarchies that should successively arise in the earth ; namely, the Babylonian, the Persian, the Grecian, and the Roman,“ In the days of these kings (that is, during the continuance of some of them) shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to another people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and stand for ever.” ? For the establishment of this same supremacy has the Church been ever praying, in the words “ thy kingdom come;" and when it shall be established, then shall be accomplished that other glorious prediction : “ The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever.” i
I See also Isaiah lxii, 11. 12.
2 Daniel ii. 4
Immediately previous to this wished-for con summation, Satan shall have been bound; for while he continued at large, such a state of things was almost unattainable. But then, the angel shall have descended from heaven, “having the key of the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand,'' and shall have “ laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.'
Then will commence that delightful period, so long the desire of all nations, when the sighs and groans and birth-pangs of creation shall issue in a glorious deliverance: when all the baleful brood of error shall be banished into that ignorance and darkness from which they emanated : when over the whole earth there shall be one LORD, and his name one : when Zion shall have all her petitions granted, and all her wrongs redressed: and shall awake and put on her beautiful garments, and shine in the plenitude of her glory. 1. It shall be a period of great PEACE.
The warfare of the Church shall have been accom
1 Rev. xi, 15.
2 Rev. xx. 1-3.
plished. God shall have given her rest from all her enemies round about, and have healed the stroke of her wound. A time of refreshing shall have come from the presence of the Lord : and Jerusalem shall be a quiet habitation, “ where the wicked shall cease from troubling, and the weary be at rest." And Jehovah shall extend peace to his children, like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles, like a flowing stream; and great shall be the peace
of his children. And then shall they sing this song-“ How hath the oppressor ceased! The golden city ceased! The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers. The whole earth is at rest and is quiet; they break forth into singing."
Satan being then no longer loose, to instigate the evil passions of men, and those passions themselves being completely subjugated and sanctified by the spirit of grace,
they will beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks : nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any
more.” All too shall have complete peace with God : who then, indeed, shall have “reconciled the world unto himself by Jesus Christ;" and they shall be filled with that peace which passeth understanding. They shall live in perfect peace and amity with each other. Persons of the most dissimilar natural tastes and dispositions shall coalesce and dwell together with as perfect harmony and concord, as the different animals did in the ark. " The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf, and the young lion, and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play upon the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all God's holy mountain.” 1
2. It shall be a period of great light. The volume of prophecy shall then be more fully unrolled. The hand of the Lord, by the evolution of events, shall have greatly withdrawn the veil now suspended over the future. He will « destroy the covering cast over the face of all people, and the veil that is spread over many nations.” ? The meaning of Scripture on many topics, now uncertain, shall then be declared by the more ample communication of the Spirit of truth. Besides, in consequence of the greater clearness of intellect, resulting from the departure of prejudice and vice, persons shall understand the sacred text far more fully than they do at present. They shall then be more spiritual, and he that is spiritual judgeth all
1 Isaiah xi. 6–8. It seems no enthusiastic supposition, that this prophecy shall receive, in some measure, even a literal verification. It is a remarkable fact, that according as man becomes civilized, the inferior creatures become gentle. The fall of our species was followed by the ferocity of the brute creation ; why may not our recovery be attended by an opposite influence? It will probably affect, more or less, all nature. See Rom. viii. 16-23.
2 Isaiah xxv. 7.