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eternity ; which is another step of bringing the temporal world to an end, and of the beginning of the world to come, which is an eternal world. And after that, upon the fall of Antichrist, an end is put to Satan's visible kingdom on earth, to establish Christ's kingdom, which is an eternal kingdom ; as the prophet Daniel says, chap. vii. 27. “ And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him ; which is another instance of the ending of the temporary world, and the beginning of the eternal one. And then, lastly, the very frame of this corruptible world shall come to an end, to make way for the church to dwell in another dwelling place, which shall last to eternity ; which is the last instance of the same thing.
Because the world is thus coming to an end by various steps and degrees, the Apostle perhaps uses this expression, that the ends of the world are come on us ; not the end, but the ends, of the plural number, as though the world has several endings one after another.
The gospel dispensation is the last state of things in the world ; and this state is a finishing state : It is all spent in finishing things off which before had been preparing, or abolishing things which before had stood. It is all spent as it were in summing things up, and bringing them to their issues, and their proper
fulfilment. Now all the old types are fulfilled, and all the prophecies of all the prophets from the beginning of the world shall be accomplished in this period.
III. That state of things which is attained in the events of this period is called a new heaven and a new earth : Isa. Ixv. 17, 18. “ For behold, I create new heavens, and a new earth : and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be you glad and rejoice for ever in that which I .create : For behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.” And ch. Ixvi, 22. “ For as the new heavens and the new earth which I make, shall remain before me ; só shall
your seed and your name remain.". See also ch. li. 16. As the former state of things, or the old world, by one step Vol. II.
after another, is through this period coming to an end ; so the new state of things, or the new world, which is a spiritual world, is beginning and setting up.
The heaven and earth which are corruptible, are shaking, that the new heavens and new earth, which cannot be shaken, may be established and remain.
In consequence of each of these finishings of the old state of things, there is a new beginning of a new and eternal state of things. So was that which accompanied the destruction of Jerusalem, which was an establishing of the spiritual Jeru. salem, instead of the literal. So with respect to the destruction of the old Heathen empire, and all the other endings of the old state of things, till at length the very outward form of the old world itself shall come to an end ; and the church shall dwell in a world new to it, or to a great part of it, even heaven, which will be a new habitation ; and then shall the utmost be accomplished that is meant by the new heavens and the new earth. See Rev. xxi. 1.
The end of God's creating the world was to prepare a kingo dom for his Son, (for he is appointed heir of the world) and that he might have the possession of it, and a kingdom in its which should remain to all'eternity. So that, so far forth as the kingdom of Christ is set up in the world, 'so far is the world brought to its end, and the eternal state of things set up. So far are all the great changes and revolutions of the ages of the world brought to their everlasting issue, and all things come to their ultimate period. So far are the waters of the long channel of divine providence, which has so many branches, and so many windings and turnings, emptied out into their proper ocean, which they have been seeking from the beginning and head of their course, and so are come to their rest. So far as Christ's kingdom is established in the world, so far are things wound up and settled in their everlasting state, and a period put to the course of things in this changeable world ; so far are the first heavens and the first earth come to an end, and the new heavens and the new earth, the everlasting heavens and earth, established in their room.
This leads me to observe,
IV. That the state of things which is attained by the events of this period, is what is so often called the kingdom of heaven, or the kingdom of God. We very often read in the New Testament of the kingdom of heaven. John the Baptist preached, that the kingdom of heaven was at hand; and so did Christ, and his disciples after him ; referring to something that the Jews in those days expected, and very much talked of, which they called by thạt name. They seem to have taken their expectation and the name chiefly from that prophecy of Daniel in Nebuchadnezzar's dream, Dan. ii. 44. “ And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a king. dom ;" together with that in chap. vii. 13, 14.
Now this kingdom of heaven is that evangelical state of things in his church, and in the world, wherein consists the success of Christ's redemption in this period. There had been often great kingdoms set up before, which were earthly kingdoms; as the Babylonish, the Persian, the Grecian, and the Roman monarchies. But Christ came to set up the last kingdom, which is not an earthly kingdom, but an heavenly, and so is the kingdom of heaven : John xviii. 36. '« My kingdom is not of this world.” This is the kingdom of which Christ speaks, Luke xxii. 29, “ My Father hath appointed to me a kingdom.” This kingdom began soon after Christ's resurrection, and was accomplished in various steps from that time to the end of the world. Sometimes by the kingdom of heaven, is meant that spiritual state of the church which began soon after Christ's resurrection ; sometimes that more perfect state of the church whịch shall obtain after the downfall of Antichrist; and sometimes that glorious and blessed state to which the church shall be received at the day of judgment : 1 Cor. xv. 50, the apostle, speaking of the resur
i . rection, says,
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that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.”
Under this head I would obserye several things particular, ly, for the clearer understanding of what the scripture says concerning this period.
1. The setting up of the kingdom of Christ is chiefly accomplished by four successive great events, each of which is
in scripture called Christ's coming in his kingdon. The whole success of Christ's redemption is comprehended in one word, viz. his setting up his kingdom. This is chiefly done by four great successive dispensations of providence ; and every one of them is represented in scripture as Christ's coming in his kingdom. The first is Christ's appearing in those wonderful dispensations of providence in the apostles days, in setting up his kingdom, and destroying the enemies of his kingdom, which ended in the destruction of Jerusalem. This is called Christ's coming in his kingdom, Matth. xvi. 28. “ Verily I say unto you, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death till they see the Son of man coming in his king. dom.” And so it is represented in Matth. xxiv. The sec ond is that which was accomplished in Constantine's time, in the destruction of the Heathen Roman empire. This is represented as Christ's coming, and is compared to his coming to judgment, in the 6th chapter of Revelation at the latter end. The third is that which is to be accomplished at the destruction of Antichrist. This also is represented as Christ's coming in his kingdom in the 7th chapter of Daniel, and in other places, as I may possibly show hereafter, when I come to speak of it. The fourth and last is his coming to the last judgment, which is the event principally signified in scripture by Christ's coming in his kingdom.
2. I would observe, that each of the three former of these is a lively image or type of the fourth and last, viz. Christ's coming to the final judgment, as the principal dispensations of providence before Christ's first coming, were types of that first coming........As Christ's last coming to judgment is accompanied with a resurrection of the dead, so is each of the three foregoing with a spiritual resurrection. That coming of Christ which ended in the destruction of Jerusalem, was preceded by a glorious spiritual resurrection of souls in the calling of the Gentiles, and bringing home such multitudes of souls to Christ by the preaching of the gospel. So Christ's coming in Constantine's time, was accompanied with a glorious spiritual resurrection of the greater part of the known world, in a restoration of it to a visible church state, from a
state of Heathenism. So Christ's coming at the destruction of Antichrist, will be attended with a spiritual resurrection of the church after it had been long as it were dead in the times of Antichrist. This is called the first resurrection in the 20th chapter of Revelation.
Again, as Christ in the last judgment will gloriously manifest himself, coming in the glory of his Father, so in each of the three foregoing events, Christ gloriously manifested himself in sending judgments upon his enemies, and in showing grace and favor to his church ; and as the last coming of Christ will be attended with a literal gathering together of the elect from the four winds of heaven, so were each of the preceding attended with a spiritual gathering in of the elect. As this gathering togetirer of the elect will be effected by God's angels, with a great sound of a trumpet, as in Matth. xxiv. 31 ; so were each of the preceding spiritual ingatherings effected by the trumpet of the gospel, sounded by the ministers of Christ. As there shall precede the last appearance of Christ, a time of great degeneracy and wickedness, so this has been, or will be, the case with each of the other appearances. Before each of them is a time of great opposition to the church : Before the first, by the Jews, in their persecutions that we read of in the New Testament; before the second, viz. in Constantine's time, by the Heathen, in several successive persecutions raised by the Roman emperors against the Christians ; before the third, by Antichrist; and before the last, by Gog and Magog, as described in the Revelation.
By each of these comings of Christ, God works a glorious deliverance for his church. Each of them is accompanied with a glorious advancement of the state of the church. The first, which ended in the destruction of Jerusalem, was attended with bringing the church into the glorious state of the gospel, a glorious state of the church very much prophesied of old, whereby the church was advanced into far more glorious circumstances than it was in before under the Jewish dispensation. The second, which was in Constantine’s time, was accompanied with an advancement of the church into a