« הקודםהמשך »
And it is worthy to be noted that America was discovered about the time of the reformation, or but little before; which reformation was the first thing that God did towards the glorious renovation of the world, after it had sunk into the depths of darkness and ruin under the great Antichristian apostasy. So that as soon as this new world is (as it were) created, and stands forth in view, God presently goes about doing some great thing to make way for the introduction of the church's latter day glory, that is to have its first seat in, and is to take its rise from that new world.
It is agreeable to God's manner of working, when he accomplishes any glorious work in the world, to introduce a new and more excellent state of his church, to begin his work where his church had not been till then, and where was no foundation already laid, that the power of God might be the more conspicuous; that the work might appear to be entirely God's, and be more manifestly a creation out of nothing; agreeable to Hos. i. 10. "And it shall come to pass that in the place where it was said unto them, ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, ye are the sons of the living God." When God is about to turn the earth into a paradise, he does not begin his work where there is some good growth already, but in a wilderness, where nothing grows, and nothing is to be seen but dry sand and barren rocks; that the light may shine out of darkness, and the world be replenished from emptiness, and the earth watered by springs from a droughty desert; agreeable to many prophecies of scripture, as Isa. xxxii. 15. "Until the Spirit be poured from on high, and the wilderness become a fruitful field;" and chap. xviii. 19. "I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water; I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah-tree, and the myrtle and oil-tree; I will set in the desert the fir-tree, and the pine, and the box-tree together" and chap. xliii. 20. "I will give waters in the wil
derness, and rivers in the desert to give drink to my people, my chosen." And many other parallel scriptures might be mentioned.
I observed before, that when God is about to do some great work for his church, his manner is to begin at the lower end; so when he is about to renew the whole habitable earth, it is probable that he will begin in this utmost, meanest, youngest, and weakest part of it, where the church of God has been planted last of all; and so the first shall be last, and the last first; and that will be fulfilled in an eminent manner in Isa. xxiv. 19. "From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous."
There are several things that seem to me to argue, that when the Sun of Righteousness, the sun of the new heavens and new earth, comes to rise, and comes forth as the bridegroom" of his church, "rejoicing as a strong man to run his race, having his going forth from the end of heaven, and his circuit to the end of it, that nothing may be hid from the light and heat of it;"* that the sun shall rise in the west, contrary to the course of this world, or the course of things in the old heavens and earth. The course of God's providences shall in that day be so wonderfully altered in many respects, that God will, as it were, change the course of nature, in answer to the prayers of his church; as God changed the course of nature, and caused the sun to go from the west to the east, when Hezekiah was healed, and God promised to do such great things for his church, to deliver it out of the hand of the king of Assyria, by that mighty slaughter by the angel, which is often used by the prophet Isaiah, as a type of the glorious deliverance of the church from her enemies in the latter days: the resurrection of He
* It is evident that the Holy Spirit, in those expressions in Psalm xix. 4, 5, 6., has respect to something else besides the natural sun; and that an eye is had to the Sun of Righteousness, that by his light converts the soul, makes wise the simple, enlightens the eyes, and rejoices the heart; and by his preached gospel enlightens and warms the world of mankind; by the psalmist's own application, in v. 7., and the apostle's application of v. 4. in
Rom. x. 18.
zekiah, the king and captain of the church, (as he is called, 2 Kings xx. 5.) as it were, from the dead, is given as an earnest of the church's resurrection and salvation, Isaiah xxxviii. 6., and is a type of the resurrection of Christ. At the same time there is a resurrection of the sun, or coming back and rising again from the west, whither it had gone down; which is also a type of the Sun of Righteousness. The sun was brought back ten degrees, which probably brought it to the meredian. The Sun of Righteousness has long been going down from east to west, and probably when the time comes of the church's deliverance from her enemies, so often typified by the Assyrians, the light will rise in the west, till it shines through the world, like the sun in its meridian brightness.
The same seems also to be represented by the course of the waters of the sanctuary, Ezek. xlvii., which was from west to east, which waters undoubtedly represent the Holy Spirit, in the progress of his saving influences, in the latter ages of the world; for it is manifest that the whole of those last chapters of Ezekiel, are concerning the glorious state of the church that shall then be.
The danger of not acknowledging, and encouraging, and especially of deriding, this work.
I HAVE thus long insisted on this point, because if these things are so, it greatly manifests how much it behooves us to encourage and promote this work, and how dangerous it will be to forbear to do so.
It is very dangerous for God's professing people to lie still, and not to come to the help of the Lord, whenever he remarkably pours out his Spirit, to carry on the work of redemption in the application of it; but above all, when he comes forth in that last and greatest outpouring of his Spirit, to introduce that happy day of God's power and salvation, so often spoken of. That is especially the appointed season of the application of the redemption of Christ; it is the proper time of the kingdom of heaven upon earth, the appointed time of Christ's reign; the reign of Satan as god of this world lasts till then this is the proper time of actual redemption, or new creation, as is evident by Isa. Ixv. 17, 18., and lxvi. 12., and Rev. xxi. 1. All the outpourings of the Spirit of God that are before this are, as it were, by way of anticipation.
There was indeed a glorious season of the application of redemption, in the first ages of the Christian church, that began at Jerusalem on the day of pentecost; but that was not the proper time of ingathering; it was only, as it were, the feast of the first fruits; the ingathering is at the end of the year, or in the last ages of the Christian church, as is represented, Rev. xiv. 14, 15, 16., and will probably as much exceed what was in the first ages of the Christian church, though that filled the Roman empire, as that exceeded all
that had been before, under the Old Testament, confined only to the land of Judea.
The great danger of not appearing openly to acknowledge, rejoice in, and promote that great work of God, in bringing in that glorious harvest, is represented in Zech. xiv. 16, 17, 18, 19. "And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which come up against Jerusalem, shall even go up, from year to year, to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be that whoso will not come up, of all the families of the earth, unto Jerusalem, to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain, there shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles." It is evident by all the context, that the glorious day of the church of God in the latter ages of the world, is the time spoken of. The feast of tabernacles here seems to signify that glorious spiritual feast, which God shall then make for his church, the same that is spoken of Isa. xxv. 6., and the great spiritual rejoicings of God's people at that time. There were three great feasts in Israel, at which all the males were appointed to go up to Jerusalem : the feast of the passover; and the feast of the first fruits, or the feast of pentecost; and the feast of ingathering, at the end of the year, or the feast of tabernacles. In the first of these, viz. the feast of the passover, was represented the purchase of redemption by Jesus Christ, the paschal lamb, that was slain at the time of that feast. The other two that followed it, were to represent the two great seasons of the application of the purchased redemption in the former of them, viz. the feast of the first fruits, which was called the feast of pentecost, was represented that time of the outpouring of the Spirit that was in the first ages of the Christian