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was a shadow of good things to come. priests, and private individuals, of that We have seen that it was typical, and economy, were spiritual characters. They that one of its grand designs was to pre- were not only ceremonially holy, but pare for the introduction of the gospel. were partakers of that real holiness withEvery part of the Jewish dispensation out which no man could see the Lord, may be considered as emblematical of But, on account of the days of ignorance the christian economy. It is thus viewed in which they lived, and the hardness of by the apostle, in his Epistle to the He- their hearts, there were many things then brews, consequently it obscurely inti- permitted which would not now be tolemated, but did not clearly reveal the gos- rated. The gospel is pre-eminently spipel. Now, in opposition to those types ritual in its design-in its tendency-in and figures, how clear is the revelation its influence. There is no such thing of the gospel? How clearly does it re- under the present economy as relative veal the designs of God's mercy to the sanctification. This was a striking chachildren of men ! It unfolds the most racter of the Old Testament dispensation. glorious discoveries of Divine love. It The Jews as a nation, were a holy nation. shews that each person in the Deity is Their very land was called holy. In the one in essence, and harmonious in the holy of holies, the Deity peculiarly reaccomplishment of the salvation of sinful vealed himself; and even the utensils of
In the gospel, we behold the Son the sanctuary were holy. All this was of God laying aside the glory he had relative holiness ; but there is no ground with the Father before the foundations of for it now. God does not stand in a the world were laid. We behold him local relation to any country, neither taking upon him our nature, that in the “in this mountain,” are we particularly nature that sinned he might suffer the called to worship him. He is spiritual, curse that was due to sin. We behold and requires to be worshipped in spirit him fulfilling the whole law, that we and in truth. To promote holiness, and may have his perfect righteousnes im- to suppress unrighteousness, is the direct puted unto us. We see the Saviour dying and general design of every part of the on the cross, that, by his sufferings and gospel. The worship of the Jews was death, he might make an atonement for national, as well as private and individual. sin. We see him rising from the dead, They had a national altar. They had and ascending to heaven to carry on there one ritual. They had only one place of the work that he commenced on earth. meeting for the whole nation, and there We see him the living Head of his people three times in the course of a year, all to supply all their necessities and require- men of a proper age were required to ments. Finally, we behold him coming attend. One sacrifice was offered up in to judge the world ; to assign both to his the name and at the expence of the whole friends and to his foes the portion pre- nation. To their devout attendance upon pared for them. Then, having completed this ceremony, were attached many prithe whole work of redemption, he sur- vileges of a temporal nature. It is not renders
up the kingdom to the Father's so under the gospel dispensation. Athands, that He may be all in all. What tendance upon a place of worship, and can be clearer, what can be more glo- gifts devoted to the service of God, are rious than this manifestation? Here is not otherwise acceptable to him than as disclosed to us the only way of obtaining they are accompanied by a corresponding the approbation of God—the only way disposition of heart, and as they tend to of pardon and acceptance, viz. through promote our own spiritual advantage, the blood of Jesus, " whom God hath set All the privileges of the gospel are spiforth to be a propitiation for our sins," ritual. They may promote our temporal and who alone is “the way, the truth, comfort, but this is an incidental not a and the life.”
direct design. Its blessings are all spi2ndly. In the spirituality of its nature. ritual. They consist in a renewal of the We have seen the Old Testament econ- heart—in the forgiveness of sin-in the omy inculcating the most sublime and
enjoyment of peace. They give a victory holy principles. Proceeding as it did over the present world, and everlasting from a God of infinite holiness, it is im- happiness in the world to come. These possible that it could inculcate any prin- blessings the christian enjoys in proporciples but those that were holy. Accord- tion to the extent of his faith; not in ingly, many of the kings, prophets, Jerusalem only, not in the public courts
of the Lord merely, but at any time or wonders by the power of the Spirit of in any place the christian may hold com- God, from Jerusalem round about to munion with God. Every christian is a Illyricum, I have fully preached the priest to God. He has boldness to enter gospel of Christ.” Within a very few into the presence of the Most High, years from the death of our Lord, through the blood of Jesus. He has numerous churches were formed in every freedom of access to the throne of Christ, part, and in the most conspicuous cities and has grace to help in every time of of the then known world. In the beginneed. It is the privilege of every child ning of the fourth century the vast Roman of God to be able to say (though they empire was filled with the gospel of are not at all times able to do it), "Truly Christ, without the assistance of temporal our fellowship is with the Father, and aid. No sword was drawn in the cause ; with his Son Jesus Christ.” What did no army took the field, At length, in our Lord say? “He that is least in the the person of Constantine the Great, kingdom of God (he that is least in the christianity ascended the imperial throne. christian dispensation) is greater than This, indeed, was far from being advanJohn the Baptist;" and, consequently, tageous to its pure propagation, but it all the prophets that preceded him. He abundantly proves, that under the influis much better acquainted with the spi- ence of Christ, at that early period of the rituality of our religion, than any of the dispensation, it made progress. And, prophets were. We see this,
notwithstanding the long ages of dark3rdly. In the universality of its design. ness and corruption, through which it -The dispensation by Moses was de- has passed, it still continues, it still signed to be of limited extent. The wins its way. Though it may be opfamily of Jacob only constituted the posed by many impediments, yet it shall family of God. The religion of the increase through every part of the habitJews was confined to one nation. It
able globe. · For from the rising of the pointed indeed with great perspicuity to sun unto the going down of the same, the future triumph of the gospel, but in my name shall be great among the Genitself it was not designed, nor adapted to tiles; and in every place incense shall carry that plan into execution. The be offered unto my name, and a pure gospel, on the contrary, is in its nature offering : for my name shall be great adapted, and is designed to be of uni- among the heathen, saith the Lord of versal extent. The sacred commission hosts." So universal in its design of the Lord is, “Go and teach all na- is the dispensation of the gospel, that tions ;” “ Go ye forth into all the world, the whole world shall be evangeand preach the gospel to every creature.
lised. This design has occupied an Accordingly we find his apostles went honourable place in the purposes of forth, “the Lord working with them.” the Divine Mind; from the beginning of They preached repentance and remission the world. It has been the subject of of sins to all nations, beginning at Jeru- prophecy by all prophets and apostles ; salem. Hence the gospel is called, and it is one of the grand designs of “ Glad tidings of great joy,” which was divine love to the children of men-a to be preached to all people. It is called, design which the Almighty will never “ The grace of God which must appear lose sight of, through the lapse of time. to all men. The Mosaic dispensation All the earth shall be filled with the was expressly founded on the plan of glory of the Lord.
We see it, excluding those that were not the chil- 4thly. In the perpetuity of its duration. dren of Israel. On the contrary, by the -The very scheme of the Mosaic ecogospel none are excluded, but those that nomy proves that it was only one part exclude themselves by unbelief and dis- of a grand whole that it was adapted obedience. All are invited-all are ex- only to the circumstances of one nation horted—all are commanded to accept the —that it was devised merely for tempomercy of the gospel and receive its pro- rary continuance.
Innumerable pasmised blessings. The gospel makes no sages might be selected in which the distinction of nation; true, it began at prophets explicitly state the abolition of Jerusalem ; but was it confined there? l
it, the introduction of the gospel, and It was quickly received by men of other the increase and perpetuity of the Renations in distant parts.
The apostle deemer's kingdom. This, indeed, is the tells us, “Through mighty Signs and grand glory of the gospel," Of the in
crease of the Redeemer's kingdom, there Contemplate with the eye of faith this shall be no end.” Whatever may be the predicted period, when the full principles dismal forebodings of those who can see of the gospel shall be fully realized. Then little else in the gospel, but a testimony shall all tyranny and oppression be baagainst the nations, still these are the nished, the laws of order be restored, and cheering promises of divine truth. "The mercy and benevolence everywhere presaints of the Most High shall possess the vail. As the direct consequence of this kingdom for ever, and ever, and EVER.” there shall be universal and uninterrupted
“I saw in the night visions (says peace throughout the world. Daniel) and, behold, one like the Son of sword shall be beat into a plow share; man came with the clouds of heaven, and and the spear into a pruning hook, nacame to the Ancient of days, and they tion shall not lift up sword against brought him near before him. And nation, neither shall they learn war any there was given him dominion, and glory,
O what a glorious period will and a kingdom, that all people, nations, this be when the martial sword shall no and languages, should serve him: his longer be found—when jealousy shall dominion is an everlasting dominion, no more have place on the earth-when which shall not pass away, and his king- jarring interests shall no longer exist, and dom that which shall not be destroyed.” the ambition of the great shall cease! “ And the kingdom and dominion, and When families and neighbours, and towns the greatness of the kingdom under the and cities, and kingdoms and nations, whole heaven, shall be given to the throughout the whole earth, shall be at people of the saints of the Most High, peace with themselves, and at peace with whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, each other, and equal joy, equal harmony and all nations shall serve and obey him.” shall be diffused throughout the world.
This is the glorious design of the Perhaps it is not too much to say that christian dispensation.
enmity shall be destroyed throughout the Here let us pause a moment. Let us brute creation. There can be no doubt, contemplate the glorious period which that before the fall, all the animal tribes yet remains, when the gracious purposes were at peace among themselves. But of the gospel shall be fully accomplished man rebelled against God, and the anion earth.
At present the design of the mal creation rebelled against man. But gospel is but very imperfectly, very par- this shall be altered ; for we read that in tially realized. We see some individuals the future progress of the gospel, the (a goodly number, indeed, when collected time shall come when “ The wolf shall together) living under the partial influ- dwell with the lamb, and the leopard ence of the gospel. These individuals shall lie down with the kid ; and the are, it is true, the very lights of the calf, and the young lion, and the fatling world, but we see ignorance and misery together, and a little child shall lead every where prevailing. And when we them. And the cow and the bear shall look at the design, and the absolutely feed, their young ones shall lie down togepromised effect of the gospel, we find that and the lion, (the cruel, the noble, the golden age of which heathen poets the ferocious lion,) shall eat straw like the sung, is not a fiction of the imagination. And the sucking child, (the tender Hebrew poets sang of it long before, and infant,) shall put his hand on the hole of inspired writers speak of it as a blessing the asp, and the weaned child shall put promised to the world. The purposes his hand upon the cockatrice’-den. They of the Mosaic, and the revelation of the shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy Christian economy most amply hold out mountain ; for, (observe the reason,) the the period to our admiring view, when earth shall be full of the knowledge of the earth shall regain the paradisial state the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. When the comforts of life shall be in.. I am not very anxious to interpret this creased—when the evil shall almost be
passage literally, let that be distinctly entirely abolished-when the nations of understood, but still I cannot willingly the earth shall be pure, which in one give up the delightful hope so beautifully word, comprehends every blessing that expressed by Cowper : can be received on earth. They sang of the period when the gospel shall have “ The lion, the leopard, and the bear, full effect upon every individual through
Graze with the fearless flocks : all bask at noon
Together, or all gambol in the shade out every part of the habitable globe.
of the same grove, and drink one common stream,
Antipathies are none. No foe to man
of faith and of earnest expectation, and Lurks in the serpent now; the mother sees, And smiles to see, her infant's playful hand
with regard to the facts the following Stretched forth to dally with the crested worm, questions may be asked. To stroke his azure neck, or to receive
When will this consummation of the The lambent homage of his arrowy tongue. All creatures worship man, and all mankind christian economy take place ? when will One Lord, one Father.”
this glory of the latter day commence ? There are two circumstances, in them- I pretend not to be wise above what is selves exceedingly important and desira- written. The general reply that has ble, which shall mark this period. One been given to this question, both by the is that the watchmen of Zion, the minis. Jewish and the christian church, is, that ters of Christ, shall then see eye to eye. the latter day's glory will be the seventh The other is, that they who believe, that millenary of the world, consequently is to say, all the inhabitants of the earth this period will commence within two shall be held in one holy principle of ac- hundred years of this time. tion. They shall be one, as the Father It may be enquired, will Jesus descend and the Son are one. This unity our from heaven, and personally reign during blessed Redeemer himself prayed for, be- this period ? Such has been the opinion fore he left the world to go to his Father. of a great many commentators in times His
prayer shall be found realized in the past, and such is the opinion of many glory of the latter day. It is true, that persons at the present day. If it should those who believe in the essential doc- be so, we shall be able to say, “ Even so trines of Christianity now, only differ Father, for so it seemed good in thy in some unimportant circumstances, but sight!” I read, however, of two advents then every disorder will be rectified. only of the Messiah, one that is past, when Paul's entreaty will then be realized, he came to put away sin by the sacrifice “ Now I beseech you, brethren, by the of himself; the other when he shall come name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye to judge the world. I believe, however, all speak the same thing, and that there in the spiritual reign of Christ, and that be no divisions among you; but that ye when Christ takes to himself his great be perfectly joined together in the same power, Satan shall never again be loosed mind and in the same judgment.” into the world, but shall be bound with Happy period of the gospel dispensation, a chain, and have no more dominion when the spiritual reign of the Messiah upon earth; for I read, that when the shall be triumphant! when there shall seventh angel sounded, there were great be one Lord, and his name one! when voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms all the millions of his subjects shall have of this world are become the kingdoms one desire, one design, and be of one of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he heart, and of one mind, as certainly as shall reign for ever and ever. the Father and Son are one ! At that It may be enquired, shall this be effected blessed period shall every inhabitant of by human instrumentality, or is a miraculous the world believe, and know, and expe- interposition necessary ? I see no necesrience that Christ Jesus is the Son of sity for a miraculous interposition, but I God, the real Messiah, the Saviour of can only reply, that whether it is produsinners!
ced by one means or another, our duty Such IS THE GLORY OF THE Chris- is plain, and the ground of our hope is
It is emphatically most ample. We say, called the kingdom of heaven upon (1) Let this glorious hope brighten and earth. Heavenly in its origin, uniting animate our hearts. Does not the prosall men together with the spirits of the pect rejoice your heart? The period when just made perfect in heaven, and con- misery shall be chased from the earth stituting them one family, the family of shall be succeeded by a period of happiGod in Christ Jesus. They are in differ- ness. Contemplating the evils now existent degrees of maturity receiving vari- ing in the wide world, you are ready ous supplies of grace and blessedness, to despond, but look to the future to but all tending to promote perfect union, the predicted state of the world, and your and harmony, and joy in the heavenly hearts must be glad at the prospect of state in which the christian dispensation that period when the piety of men shall shall terminate.
be so universal, when his happiness My dear christian friends, the past is shall be so great, and his character so a matter of history, the future is a matter spiritual.
(2) Let this glorious hope excite us to means to fulfil the Saviour's commisfurther prayer. O, that God would listen! sion, “Go ye out into all the world, and O that we could be permitted to see the preach the gospel to every creature.” Our dawn of the glorious day. Let us pray duty is to endeavour to do all we can to for more of that Spirit which shall then accomplish God's work. Let us first seek pervade the world-more of that sym- to possess the character which correspathy and devotedness to God. Let us ponds with the economy in which we pray to feel more deeply the influence of live, and then let us, in our respective sin—the necessity of salvation—the value vocations, in the name and strength of of the gospel.
Let us be more deter- God, endeavour to effect the great design. mined to attempt to evangelize the world. The progress of divine truth is the Let us pray to God mercifully to pour grand instrument. This is the engine down a more abundant effusion of his which is "mighty through God to the Spirit upon ourselves. Let us pray for pulling down of the strong-holds of sin more active zeal to promote the Redeem- and Satan.” Many other engines may be er's cause over the face of all the earth. employed, so that there may not be an
(3) Let the prospect before us awaken individual in the church of Christ inactive our zeal, and stimulate our efforts for the and unoccupied. Let there be but a wilaccomplishment of this glorious end. Is it ling mind, and there is something for possible, that within one hundred and every individual to do. May God awaken seventy years of the present moment, us from our sinful sloth and indifference. this glorious day shall have arrived ? May each aspire to be useful in the Then, surely, there is work enough to church of the Redeemer! If God give occupy christians of all ages, and of all qua. us grace, we may do what we can, by our lifications. Christian zeal should possess prayers, by our personal exertions, by our a degree of that holiness that should make pecuniary contributions. Unless by our us blush at our present neutrality. All personal efforts we make the sincerity of worldly establishments of religion shall our prayers apparent, what are we but
All usurpation over the consci- hypocritical professors before God? And ences of men shall cease. The Jews must how can we call that effort, which is not be converted, and perhaps restored to made at the expence of self denial, or of their own land. Mahometans must em- some sacrifices ? brace the gospel, and receive the truth as Do you believe the representation that it is in Jesus. I can fancy I hear some has been made? Do you believe that the timid heart, who never prays for the suc- gospel dispensation will really consumcess of the gospel, who never gives his mate the purposes of God's grace to men money to one of our religious societies, on earth? Do you believe it is the design saying, “Ah, this is too much to be of God to diffuse throughout the world attempted-all this can never be accom- his sacred blessings, and that all manplished.” One thing is certain, that, kind are to be brought under one holy unless God effects a change in their influence ? I intreat you, then, this hearts, he will not work by them. But morning to act like men, to act like we verily believe that in God's own time Christians who are persuaded of these all this will be effected. God has de- truths. We have seen, from the fall of clared it in innumerable promises, and man, that God has but one cause. The when I can doubt whether the sun will question is not, will the designs of grace shine to morrow, I may doubt whether be accomplished ? we know they will; such a period as the latter day's glory Daniel has told us so, John has declared will arrive-but not till then. God has it. As God has fulfilled what he designed declared it shall come. His love is infi- by the patriarchal economy, and what he nitem his compassion is unbounded—his designed by the Mosaic economy, so he power is almighty ;-and cannot he per- will accomplish what he designs by the form it? He has engaged his word, and Christian economy. “For if that which his faithfulness is irreversible. The Holy was done away was glorious, much more Spirit of God is the great efficiency in that which remaineth is glorious.” Conthis work. Some persons imagine that sider who it was that died to procure a dreadful judgment—some terrible com- these glorious purposes of grace. Conmotion of the nations will precede sider, Christian, your own obligations to this day. This may be the case; but this mighty Redeemer. Think what he our duty is plain-we are to employ demands from you in return for what he