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me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the LORD thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee.” 1
Such are the very glorious things yet to be realized on this fallen planet. Religion will not always be in a low and struggling condition. The church will not always be contemned and trodden down by the foot of persecution. The wild boar will not alway waste her vineyards. Surely there is an end, and her expectation shall not be cut off.? The era is rapidly approaching, when Zion shall arise from the dust, and lay aside her mourning, and put on her beautiful garments, and sit as a queen, and see no sorrow. The Branch of the Lord shall yet be beautiful and glorious, and this world, so long the habitation of cruelty, the principality of Satan, the abode of every unclean and every hateful spirit, the very suburb and counterpart of hell, shall realize scenes, which heaven itself shall contemplate with complacency.
scenes surpassing fable, and yet true,
1 Isaiah lx. 8, 9.
2 Proy, xxiii. 18.
The lambent homage of his arrowy tongue.
But, it may be said, "Alas! who shall live when God doeth this ?' What will these glorious scenes be to us, who shall not be on earth to see them ? And is it then so, Christian reader! that you cannot exult in the very anticipation of such a period, when God shall be glorified, Christ triumphant, and his people happy? Would not such a temper argue a state of mind
unlike indeed, that which should characterize a true believer? Abraham, the father of believers, rejoiced in the prospect of Christ's day. He saw it by faith, and was glad. Cannot you likewise see this by faith, and be glad? If you are a genuine Christian, you are a member of that heavenly community, in the welfare of which all the members rejoice, and by sympathy participate. For the whole body of Christ has but one heart. Admitting that you may not be personally present on earth, during the happy time referred to, yet you will be present in spirit, joying and beholding their happiness and order. Yea, and even now, the prospect of such a state of things should be fragrant to you, as breezes from some balmy shore, regaling the mariner at sea, long ere he reaches it. Yea, the blessedness that awaiteth the church should stimulate you to spread every sail of endeavour, and exert every breath of prayer, with the view of approximating to the longed-for delight. This is one great benefit of Christian hope: it annihilates intervals, and animates effort. Like the spies sent forward by the leader of Israel, it surveys the promised land, and plucks a specimen of its fruits, before the inheritance is conquered. “Rejoice in hope,” says the apostle. The province of hope considerably resembles that of faith. “ Now faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen." It anticipates what is promised, approximates what is distant, and substantiates what is invisible.
• By a lively hope of such a state of things,' says Mr. Howe, we should have the anticipated enjoyment of the felicity of those times : and have a great deal of reason, though it may be we are to suffer hard and grievous things in the mean while, to compose ourselves, and to enter upon that state of suffering very cheerfully; to wait patiently and pray earnestly, that of so great a harvest of spiritual blessings to come upon the world in future time, we may have some first-fruits in the mean time : as it is not unusual, when some very great and general shower is ready to fall, that some previous scattering drops light here and there as forerunners. 1
Let us then both labour and contribute strenuously, to hasten a consummation so devoutly to be wished. The Lord works by means. Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. And who will deny, that in exact proportion to the amount of exertion made in a spirit of simple dependence on the heavenly blessing, will be the amount of success ? We may now sow the seed, that shall wave its golden ears in the millennial harvest. “ Cast thy bread upon the waters, and it shall be found, even though after many days."
0! how it should grieve and sadden us, to see our species in its present condition, to see the whole world lying in the wicked one ? ? · Even within the pale of Christendom, what deplorable blindness and bigotry, what narrow-hearted prejudice and enmity, what freezing antinomian orthodoxy, what absolute deadness to vital religion, prevail ! 3 Yea, even within the region of the church, the sacred circle within a circle, what dimness and obliquity of spiritual vision, what sectarian and schismatical propensities, what deficiency in love to God and man, what weeds of error and heresy, what unmortified corruptions, and what roots of bitterness, deform
1 From Sermons on the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit,' by which the writer acknowledges himself to have been much instructed. z 'v TQ Trovnpa John v. 19.
the garden of the Lord. O! how should the contemplation of such things affect us! How, like Nehemiah's,' should our countenance be sad, when the spiritual Jerusalem, “the mother of us all,” ? lieth so desolate! How should we mourn and weep, "sigh and cry,” to behold on every side sin rampant, Satan paramount, Christ dishonoured, and man ruined !
Nothing can reverse this posture of affairs, but the pouring out of the blessed Spirit. Nothing can renew the world, but what renews an individual. No other agent is adequately powerful, penetrating, and diffusive. Were he vouchsafed, all the evils which at present oppress us, would speedily be abolished. Sin ;- for he is the Spirit of holiness and goodness. Error ;-for he is the Spirit of truth. Strife and contention;—for he is the dovelike Spirit of peace and harmony. Fear and perturbation;—for he is the Spirit of adoption and of a sound mind. Sadness; - for he is the Spirit of joy. Envy, hatred, and malice, and all uncharitableness; --for he is the Spirit of holiness, benevolence, and love. In brief, were he once to breathe powerfully on the world, the earth would be renewed, and the wilderness overspread with a moral loveliness.
What a call then is here for prayer ! Ah! here, we apprehend, is where we all are deficient. Here the cause, why the trophies of redemption are so
1 Nehem. ii. 1-3.
2 Gal. iv. 26.