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CCXII. THE CHANGE TO BE WROUGHT BY THE

GOSPIL IN THE LATTER DAY. Isai. xi. 6-9. And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the

Leopard shail lie down with the kid; and the calf, and the young lion, and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and

the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down togethere and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

THE happiness and prosperity of kingdoms depends much on the wisdom and equity of those who govern. Yet the best of rulers cannot always. secure their people either from the turbulence of faction, or from the assaults of foreign enemies. Thus it is with the kingdom of Christ on earth. He, the Lord and governor of all, is endowed with every qualification for the discharge of his regal office, a and executes that office with consummate equity and wisdom:" yet, through the infirmities of his subjects, and the malice of his adversaries, his kingdom is far from enjoying the full advantages of his administration. There will, however, be a time, when his dominion shall be extended over all the earth, and perfect peace shall reign throughout all his empire,

The prophecy on which this observation is grounded, will naturally lead us to shew I. The change that shall be wrought on men in the latter

day Men in their intercourse with each other too much resemble the brute creation

[It is indeed humiliating to compare man with venomous and ferocious beasts: but there is scarcely any beast, however savage, to which God himself has not compared us. Nor is it by figurative representations only, but by plain and express declarations, that God has marked the evil dispositions of our fallen nature. And if we either look around us or

a Ver. 1-4.

b Ver. 5.

e He likens us to foxes, Song ii. 15.; serpents and vipers, Matt. iii. 7. and xxiii. 33.; wolves, Matt x. 16; wild asses, Jer. ii. 24.; wild boars, Ps. lxxx. 13.; wild bulls, Isai. li. 20, &c. d Rom. i. 29–31. 2 Tim. iii. 2-4.

within

us, we shall see that his descriptions are by no means exaggerated. Let any one observe the proud and envious, the wrathful and malicious, the selfish and covetous workings of the heart, and he shall soon perceive that, if man were unrestrained by human laws, he would prey upon his fellow-man with as much ferocity as the beasts themselves.] But in the latter day universal harmony shall prevail

[Then this beautiful description shall be fully realized. Men shall dwell together as the beasts in the ark, none attempting to hurt or destroy another: or rather, they shall dwell together as the beasts in Paradise; none having so much as a disposition to hurt; but all filled with gentleness and love.

This event is foretold in other passages of holy writ;€ and it shall surely be accomplished at the appointed season: “ The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”]

To confirm our expectation of this universal change, let us consider II. The means by which ii shall be effected

It is beyond the power of any human efforts to accomplish it

[However civilization may have changed the manners of men, it is but too evident that their hearts are the same as ever. In proof of this we need only appeal to the bloody wars which nations wage with each other; to the duels which are fought on account of the most trifling injuries or insults; and to the execrable traffic in slaves, which to the disgrace of the Christian name, yea, to the disgrace of humanity itself, is carried on amongst us, in spite of all the efforts that have been made for its abolition. If further proof were necessary, we may all find it very abundantly in the various circles in which we move: for there is scarcely a society, or even a single family, in which feuds, dissensions, quarrels, do not frequently arise: yea, the very relatives most interested in cultivating love and harmony, are often most at variance. Does not this shew how untamed we are, notwithstanding the restraints of wholsome laws, and the instructions given us in the word of God?]

But the gospel of Christ, when universally received, shuli soon effict it

Men continue like wild beasts, because they know not the Lord.” The knowledge of Christ, and of his salvation, would produce a wonderful change on their spirit and conduct. Behold, what it wrought as soon as ever the gospel was preached! Thousands of blood-thirsty murderers were transformed into the most lovely and loving of the human race.s And, wherever it is received, its tendency is the same. It renews all after the same image;h brings all into the same family;i unites all in the same interests;k and forms all into one mystical body: how then can it fail of producing harmony and love? This knowledge shall at a future period be universally diffused;m and these effects shall as universally result from it."] Let us LEARN from this subject 1. The nature of true conversion

e Isai. Ixv. 25.

fl Sam. ii. 12.

[Conversion does not consist in embracing any tenets, however scriptural, or important. The knowledge of Christ is indeed, as has been before observed, the means of converting us; but conversion itself consists in a thorough change in all our tempers, dispositions and conduct, and in a renewal of our souls after the divine image. The lion must become a lamb: we must “ become as little children, if ever we would enter into the kingdom of heaven."}] 2. The excellency of the gospel

[In vain is the moral fitness of things insisted on; yea, in vain are the terrors of hell displayed, for the conversion of men: nothing but the knowledge of Christ crucified can ever operate on the soul of man, so as to produce in it a radical and universal change. But, where Christ is known aright, there the whole man will assume a new character: and in proportion as his glory is seen by us, we shall be transformed into his image. 9 Let not the gospel then be despised as fanatical, or be defamed as licentious; but let it be revered and embraced with our whole hearts.] 3. The blessedness of those who know the Lord

[It is to be lamented that the knowledge of Christ does not produce in these days the full effects that were visible in the apostles. But the fault is in us, and not in the gospel. Nevertheless there are many, who, even in this age of vice and infidelity, are monuments of the power and grace of Christ; and who, from having been as despiteful towards each other as Jews and Gentiles, are living in the sweetest communion with each other, and with their God. Happy they, whose views are thus rectified, whose passions are thus subdued, and whose lives are thus regulated by the gospel of Christ! They have indeed a paradise below; and shall soon enjoy uninterrupted harmony in heaven.']

8 Acts iv. 32.
i

Eph. ii, 19. 2 Cor. vi. 18.
II Cor. xii. 20, 21, 25, 27.
n Isai. ii. 4. and Tit. ii. ll, 12.
D Matt. xviii. 3.

h Eph. iv. 22–24.
k Eph. iv. 4, 5.
m Hab. ii. 14.
o 2 Cor. v. 17.
9 2 Cor, iii. 18.

rl John i. 3. and iv. 16, 17.

CCXIII. THE SUCCESS OF THE GOSPEL.

Ps. Ixxii. 16. There shall be an handful of corn in the earth

ироп the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake, like Lebanon: and they of the city'shall flourish like grass of the earth.

IN many parts of scripture the typical sense is more manifest than the literal. It is so in the Psalm before us -This Psalm is a description of the reign of Solomon, who was the first of the “ kings” that was also a “ king's son”—The extent, duration, and happiness of his government are predicted by David his Father—But a greater than Solomon is here-There can be no doubt but that the glory of the Messiah's kingdom is here described The extent of that is unbounded, and the blesseduess of it is eternal---The words of the text, according to their literal meaning, declare the fruitfulness of the land, and the increase of population in the days of Solomon But they typically represent the spread of the gospel under the Christian dispensation, and the multitudes of converts that shall become the subjects of Messiah's kingdom-They Naturally lead us to consider I. The representation here given of the preached gospel The gospel is compared to seed cast upon the earth

[This is a frequent comparison in the scriptures; nor can any other be more just-The seed is that from which the whole harvest springs—Weeds will grow of themselves, but corn requires culture; nor can any harvest be expected but in consequence of a patient and laborious attention to the duties of husbandry_Thus it is also with the gospel-That is the seed from which alone any fruit will arise to God-Men will bring forth all manner of evil fruits without any instruction or advice ---But never will they abound in fruits of righteousness unless, the seed of divine truth be first sown in their hearts-]

The place whereon this seed is cast is like “ the tor's of mountains

[Vallies are fruitful; but mountains, and especially the mountain-tops are barren—They rarely have any soil; nor, if they had, would they be proper situations for the sowing of corn_Were any corn to spring up upon them, the storms and tempests would destroy it long before it could arrive at maturity_Such is the world at large, and the heart of every individual in it, barren in itself, and exposed to storms of passion and floods of temptation-And most discouraging is the prospect of that labourer who goes forth to sow his corn on such a soil

Muieover the mountain-tops were the places where the idols of the heathen deities were worshipped. Thus were they the seat of all superstition and idolatry—What a view does this give us of the place where the gospel seed is sown! Yet, alas! it is but too just a representation both of the world, and of the heart of man-Superstition and idolatry abound in every place and every heart—What seed then can be expected ever to flourish in so foul a soil? ]

Nor is there more than a mere handful” of corn sown there

[If the seed were multiplied in proportion to the badness of the soil, there might still be some little hope of <a harvest

But of what use is a mere handful of corn when cast on a surface of such vast extent? —What hope could there be that the whole world should be evangelized by twelve poor fishermen?-Even at this time, how wide the field, and how few the labourers!—Myriads of our fellow-creatures never so much as hear the name of Christ; and of those who do, there are, alas! too many who never have the whole counsel of God declared unto them-]

But notwithstanding these discouragements we shall not despair of the success of the gospel, if we consider II. The blessing which God has promiecd to it

The prophecy before us declares that the increase of this seed shall be 1. Strong

[The woods of “ Lebanon” were proverbially grandWaving their lofty heads, they seemed to defy the storms and tempests—Such was to be the fruit that should spring from the gospel seed-Weak as corn is to withstand a storm, that which was to grow upon the mountain-tops should be firm as the

a In reference to this custom, the prophet Isaiah, foreteiling the triumph of the gospel over all fals religions, says

" The moun. tain of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the moun. tains."

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