« AnteriorContinua »
Christ. It would also frustrate all that Christ did and suffered while on earth ; yea, it would frustrate the incarnation of Christ itself, and all the great things done in preparation for bis incarnation ; for all these things were for that end, that those might be saved who should come to Christ. Therefore, you may be sure Christ will not be backward in saving those who come to him, and trust in him ; for he has no desire to frustrate himself in his own work; it cost him too dear for that. Neither will God the Father refuse you ; for he has no desire to frustrate himself in all that he did for so many hundreds and thousands of years, to prepare the way for the salyation of sinners by Christ. Come, therefore, hearken to the sweet and earnest calls of Christ to your soul.
Do as he invites, and as he commands you, Matth. xi. 28, 29, 30. Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me ; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
In discoursing on this subject, we have already shown how the work of redemption was carried on through the two first of the three periods into which we divided the whole space of time from the fall to the end of the world ; and sve are now come to
The third and last period, beginning with Christ's resurrection, and reaching to the end of the world ; and would now
l show how this work was also carried on through this period from this
PROPOSITION, That the space of time from the end of Christ's humiliation to the end of the world, is all taken up in bringing about the great effect or success of Christ's purchase.
Not but that there were great effects and glorious success of Christ's purchase of redemption before, even from the beginning of the generations of men. But all that success of Christ's redemption which was before, was only preparatory, and was by way of anticipation, as some few fruits are gathered before the harvest. There was no more success before Christ came than God saw needful to prepare the
for his coming. The proper time of the success or effect of Christ's purchase of redemption is after the purchase has been made, as the proper time for the world to enjoy the light of the sun is the day time, after the sun is risen, though we may have some small matter of it reflected from the moon and planets before. And even the success of Christ's redemption while he himself was on earth, was very small in comparison of what it was after the conclusion of his humiliation,
But Christ, having finished that greatest and most difficult of all works, the work of the purchase of redemption, now is come the time for obtaining the end of it, the glorious effect
of it. This is the next work he goes about. Having gone through the whole course of his sufferings and humiliation, there is an end to all things of that nature : He is never to suffer any more.
But now is the time for him to obtain the joy that was set before him. Having made his soul an offering for sin, now is the time for him to see his seed, and to have a portion divided to him with the great, and to divide the spoil with the strong.
One design of Christ in what he did in his humiliation, was to lay a foundation for the overthrow of Satan's kingdom ; and now is come the time to effect it, as Christ, a little before his crucifixion, said, John xii. 31. “ Now is the judgment of this world ; now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” Another design was, to gather together in one all things in Christ. Now is come the time for this also : John xii. 32. “ And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me;" which is agreeable to Jacob's prophecy of Christ, that when “ Shiloh should come, to him should the gathering of the people be," Gen. xlix. 10. Another design is the salvation of the elect. Now when his sufferings are finished, and his humiliation is perfected, the time is come for that also : Heb, v. 8, 9.“ Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered: And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” Another design was, to accomplish by these things great glory to the persons of the Trinity. Now also is come the time for that: John xvii. 1. “ Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee.” Another design was the glory of the saints. Now is the time also for this : John xvii. 2. “ As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” And all the dispensations of God's provi: dence henceforward, even to the final consummation of all things, are to give Christ his reward, and fulfil his end in what he did and suffered upon earth, and to fulfil the joy that was set before him.
BEFORE I enter on the consideration of any particular things accomplished in this period, I would briefly observe some things in general concerning it; and particularly how the times of this period are represented in scripture.
I. The times of this period, for the most part, are those which in the Old Testament are called the latter days. We often, in the prophets of the Old Testament, read of such and such things that should come to pass in the latter days, and sometimes in the last days. Now these expressions of the prophets are most commonly to be understood of the times of the period that we are now upon. They are called the latter days, and the last days ; because this is the last period of the series of God's providences on earth, the last period of that great work of providence, the work of redemption ; which is as it were the sum of God's works of providence, the time wherein the church is under the last dispensation of the covenant of grace that ever it will be under on earth.
II. The whole time of this period is sometimes in scripture called the end of the word as, 1 Cor. x. 11. « Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples : And they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” And the Apostle, Heb. ix. 26, in this expression of the end of the world, means the whole of the gospel day, from the birth of Christ to the finishing of the day of Judgment : « But now once, in the end of the world, hath he appeared, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” This
may well be called the end of the world ; for this whole time is taken up in bringing things to their great end and issue, that great issue that God had been preparing the way for, in all the great dispensations of providence, from the first fall of man to this time. Before, things were in a kind of preparatory state ; but now they are in a finishing state. IC is the winding up of things which is all this while accomplishing. An end is now brought to the former carnal state of things, which by degrees vanishes, and a spiritual state begins
space of time
to be established, and to be established more and more. First; an end is brought to the former state of the church, which may be called its worldly state, the state wherein it was subject to carnal ordinances, and the rudiments of the world : And then an end is brought to the Jewish state, in the destruction of their city and country : And then, after that, an end is brought to the old Heathen empire in Constantine's time; which is another and further degree of the winding up and finishing of the wotld : And the next step is the finishing of Satan's visible kingdom in the world, upon the fall of Antichrist, and the calling of the Jews : Änd last will come the destruction of the outward frame of the world itself, at the conclusion of the day of judgment. But the world is all this while as it were a finishing, though it comes to an end by several steps and degrees. Heaven and earth began to shake, in order to a dissolution, according to the prophecy of Haggai, before Christ came, that so only those things that cannot be shaken may remain, i. ė. that those things that are to come to an end may come to an end, and that only those things may remain which are to remain to all eternity.
So, in the first place, the carnal ordinances of the Jewish worship came to an end, to make way for the establishment of that spiritual worship, the worship of the heart, which is to endure to all eternity': John iv. 21. « Jesus saith unto the woman, Believe me, the hour cometh when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father." Ver. 23. “ But the hour cometh, and now is, when the trưe worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: For the Father seeketh such to worship him." This is orie instance of the temporary world's coming to an end, and the eternal world's beginning. And then after that, the outward temple and the outward city Jerusalem, came to an end; to give place to the setting up of the spiritual temple and the spiritual city, which are to last to eternity ; which is another instance of removing those things which are ready to vanish away, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. And then, after that, the old Heathen empire comes to an end, to make way for the empire of Christ, which shall last to all