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our Saviour taught his disciples to cherish high expectations from the divine mercy and faithfulness, in their ordinary approaches to throne of grace. Whatsoever things ye desire when ye pray, be lieve that ye shall receive them, and ye shall have them.
In recommending a strong and lively faith, I do not mean to encourage that species of confidence which has no foundation in the divine promise. This is not faith, but fancy, .or the mere workinge of the imagination. Those who, many ages since, engaged in what were called the holy wars, desirous of driving out the Turks from Jerusalem, were not wanting of confidence; but the promise of God was not the ground on which it rested. It was not faith, therefore, but presumption. It was not thus with Israel, in going up against the Canaanites ; por is it thus with those who labour to extend the spiritual kingdom of Christ. The promise of God is here fully engaged. He hath sworn by himself, the word is gone out of his mouth in righteousness, and shall not returi. Many passages might be produced in proof that before the end of time, the kingdom of the Messiah shall be universal. I shall select a few: * The stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.—I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him.-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. Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like a little leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till the WHOLE was leavened.-The seventh angel sounded, and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever. These are the true sayings of God. Surely they afford ground for a strong and lively faith in every effort to disseminate the gospel.
God has not only dealt largely in promises, but has given us abundance of examples of their fulfilment. A large part of scrip
ture prophecy has already been converted into history. Unto us a child is actually born ; unto us a child is given ; the government is upon his shoulder; his name is called Wonderful, Councellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. But the same authority which foretold this, has added, Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end. There is also a peculiar pledge given for its fulfilment: The zeal of the Lord of Hosts, it is declared, shall perform this! Zeal is a fervid affection of the mind, that prompts us to pursue an object with earnestness and perseverance, and to encounter every difficulty that may stand in the way of its accomplishment. From such a spirit, even in men much is to be expected. Yet what is the zeal of creatures ? Always feeble, often misguided, disproportionate, or declining. But conceive of it as possessing the heart of the omnipotent God. What an overwhelming thought! The establishment of Christ's kingdom deeply interests bim: his thoughts are upon all his plans include it ; and all that is going on in the world, from generation to generation, is made to subserve it. We draw some encouragement from the zeal of creatures in God's
When his servants take pleasure in the stones of Zion, and favour the dust thereof, we consider it a hopeful symptom that the Lord is about to arise and have mercy upon it. The importunity and liberality of Christians, the diligence of ministers, and the cries of the souls from under the altar, for the fall of Babylon, may have each their influence : but the zeal of the Lord of Hosts surpasses all. Here is solid rock, for faith to rest upon. Unbelievers
every attempt to turn sinners from the errors of their way ; and even believers, while viewing things through sensible mediums, may discover insurmountable difficul. ties. The people will not believe us, nor bearken to our voice : the prejudices of men are almost insuperable in our native coun. try; and if we go abroad they are worse: these casts, this voluptuousness; this savage ferocity, this treachery of character.... How can we hope to overcome such obstacles as these ? But all this is only a repetition of the objections of the unbelieving Israelites : The people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are great, and walled up to heaven: und moreover we saw the children Vel. VII.
of Anak there! If we can believe .... all things are possible to him that believeth.
Past instances of mercy furnished the church with matter of prayer : Awake, awake, put on strength, O arın of the Lord! Awake as in the ancient days, in the generations of old! Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon? And why should we not apply the past operations of grace to a similar purpose ? That arm has not grown weary which subdued Jewish malignity in the days of pentecost, and overturned Heathen idolatry by the doctrine of the cross.
I think I may add, there is reason to hope that the time when these things shall be accomplished cannot be far off. I have no desire to deal in uncertain conjectures. The prophecies were not designed to make us prophets, nor to gratify an idle curiosity. They contain enough, however, to strengthen our faith, and invigorate our zeal. If we carefully examine the scriptures, though we may not be able to fix times with any certainty, yet we may obtain satisfaction that the day is not very distant when the kingdom of Christ shall be universal. The New Testament writers in their times, made use of language which strongly indicates that time itself was far advanced. The coming of the Lord draweth nigh.--Behold the judge standeth at the door.--The end of all things is at hand. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly! These, and such like passages, I should think, cannot mean less than that in those days they had passed the me. ridian of time, and entered, as it were, into the afternoon of the world. And now, after a lapse of eighteen hundred years, what else can be expected, but that things are fast approaching to their final issue? But it is not merely on general grounds that the conclusion rests. The prophet Daniel, in his seventh chapter, describes the successive establishment and overthrow of four great governments, which should each, in its day, rule the great r part of the world. He also speaks of the last of these governments as issuing in ten branches, and describes another, which he calls a little horn, as rising from among them. The dominion of this last government was to continue until a time, times, and the dividing of time. After this the judgment should set, and
they should take away its dominion, to consume and to destroy it un the end. And then it immediately follows, 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. There are many things in the prophecies which are hard to be understood : but this seems to be very clear. There can be no doub of the four great governments being the Babylonian, the Persian the Grecian, and the Roman. Now these have each appeared upon the stage, and are gone into perdition. The division of the Roman empire into a number of lesser governments, such as continue in Europe to this day, and, among them, exercise a domioion over the rest of the world equal to what was formerly exercised by the Romans, is doubtless signified by the ten horns of the fourth beast. Nor can we be at a loss to know what that government is which is signified by a little horn, which rose up from among the ten horns, which speaketh great words against the Most High, and weareth out the saints of the Most High. We have seen its rise, felt its reign, and in part rejoiced in its overthrow, The period alluded to as the term of its existence, is manifestly the same as that which John, in the Revelation, calls forty and two months, or one thousand two hundred and sixty days during which the holy city should be trodden under foot, the witnesses prophesy in sackcloth, and the true church have her abode in the wilderness, in a manner resembling the state of things in Jerusalem in the times of Antiochus. More than a thousand of these prophetic days, or years, must have already elapsed. The period itself must be drawing towards a close : and when this is closed, there is an end to every species of Satanic government. That which follows is given to the Son of Man, and to the people of the saints of the Most High. The amount is, We are under the last form of the reign of darkness, and that form is fast dissolving. Surely, the day of the church's redemption draweth nigh!
And while these views afford a joyful prospect to the church Christ, there is nothing in them which can furnish any just ground of alarm to civil government. There is no reason to imagine that the church of Christ will ever become a political community, exercising dominion over others ; but that Christian principles will pervade and rule the governments of the earth. However God
may overrule the tumultuous revolutions of these times, to the making way for his kingdom, bis kingdom itself will be entirely different : the wind, the earthquake, and the fire may go before it, but the thing itself will be as a still small voice. It will not come with observation, or outward show. The banners that will be displayed will not be those of sedition and tumult, but of truth
It will be a renovation in the hearts of men ; a reyolution, in both rulers and subjects, from the slavery of sin to the love of both God and man: and this, as it must produce the establishment of peace and good order, cannot be an object of dread to any who are well disposed. It is not impossible that we may live to see things of which at present we have scarcely any, ception : but whether we do, or not, Jesus lives, and his kingdom must increase. And what, if while we are scaling the walls of the enemy, we should a few of us lose our lives? We must die in some way; and can we desire to die in a better cause ? Probably many of the Israelites who went up to possess the land with Joshua, perished in the attempt : Yet this was no objection to a perseverance in the cause. In carrying the glad tidings of eternal life to Jews and Gentiles, Stephen and James, with many others, fell sacrifices at an early period : yet no one was discouraged on this account, but rather stimulated to follow their example.
I close with a few words by way of reflection. It becomes us to inquire, each one seriously for himself, whether the little success which we have already experienced may not be owing to this
-There may be something about us, on account of which God does not delight in us? I mean no reflection upon any ; but let each one examine himself. • What is the secret spring of my zeal? Is the doctrine I preach truly evangelical? Let me not take this matter for granted ; but examine whether it quadrates with the scriptures. If half my time be taken up in beating off the rough edges of certain passages, to make them square with my principles, I am not in the gospel scheme. If one part of scripture requires to be passed over, lest I should appear inconsistent, I am not sound in the faith, in God's account; but have im. bibed some false system, instead of the gospel ; and, while this is