Images de page

addition, or substraction, without overturning the whole design-And even when the great events had been accomplished, on the principles of the objection, their testimony and influence would have been greatly weakened, because justly exposed to the charge of having been performed with design, and for the express purpose of supporting the peculiar dogmas of a particular sect, by thus fulfilling the thing foretold.

It shall then be our present business to take a view, first of the declarations of Christ himself in corroboration of the ancient prophecies of the Old Testament, and then proceed to the belief and instructions of his apostles, and their immediate successors, who, as the world advanced towards the appointed time, gave themselves more liberty on this subject, especially after the great proofs the world had met with in favor of revelation,-by the destruction of Jerusalem-the dispersion of the Jews, and the various persecutions of the christian church. At the same time it will be necessary to keep in view the necessity there was to answer the end of these prophetic declarations, that while the faith of the true believer drew from them a divine consolation amidst all his sufferings, under the certainty of the final issue being thus revealed to him, yet they should be as a sealed book to those who obeyed not the gospel of Jesus Christ. And, until towards the end of the Roman government, they were to answer no farther present purpose to the church of Christ,

[ocr errors]

than to assure the professors beforehand, of their present sufferings and future glory; being persuaded that those who should hold out to the end, should come off more than conquerors through him who hath loved them, and given himself for them. That on the issue they should receive a glorious reward, which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it ever entered into the heart of man to conceive of.



IN the course of Christ's ministry on earth, Matthew records several strong expressions of our Lord, predictive of this blessed event; he very early introduces our Lord, teaching his disciples to pray, saying, our Father who art in the Heavens, &c. Here we are taught the essential parts of prayer, in the manner in which we should address the throne of Omnipotence.-After acknowledging, in deep humiliation, the Being, who emphatically is in the heavens-the relative connection we bear to His glorious majesty, our Creator and our God; and his actual existence and presence in the mansions on high, which He calls the Heavens in the plural number, our Lord having told us that in his Father's house, or in the whole space of existence, there were many mansions; I say after this introduction, the next petition in order and importance is, "thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is done in Heaven." By this we are expressly taught, that the kingdom of God or the Father that was to come, was the kingdom of Christ, that he was to set up on earth, for it was that kingdom, which was to cause "the will of God to be done on Earth, even as it is done in Heaven," or that mansion of glory where God, in a very special


manner, manifested his presence. The God the Father had come among the seraphim af cherubim of glory and all the happy spirits the Heavens from the beginning; this therefore cou, verd not be the subject of the petition; but it is clear shewn to be the promised kingdom of Christ on th earth, at his second coming in glory, which is th great object of all the divine scriptures from Genes to the Revelation.

The subsequent petitions all relate to our state c this earth, till we come to the last petition, in whic we pray to be delivered from the power of the Evek One, viz. the Prince of the Power of the air, why worketh in the children of disobedience; and th reason assigned is; for thine, (that is God the Father, is the just and lawful power and government of the kingdom that Christ was to establish on earth at his second coming in his own glory and the glory of the father, together with power and glory forever and ever or throughout all the ages yet to come.

When most men read of heaven, they are too apt to consider it as some state immediately above our heads, as a state wherein all sensible and visible objects are done away,-as a place of which no conception can be had.-A very sensible writer, paraphrases the iii. 3. Matth. "Repent ye, for the kingdom of the Heavens is at hand," in this manner, repent ye, or attain to new sentiments and dispositions of mind, for the kingdom of the Heavens approacheth, or is at hand, that is a kingdom of righteousness,



ath and happiness, such as takes place and is esblished in the Heavens." It is a little extraordinary that our translators should in so many instances have translated the Greek word ouranion, in the singular amber, though it is so plainly plural, without asning any reason for it.-It is therefore clear, as the st quoted author observes, "that the kingdom of de Heavens, which is elsewhere called the kingdom of God, means simply and plainly, a kingdom (on earth) of such order, and rule, and regulation, and bliss, and glory, as is established and prevails in the Heavens.-No such kingdom has yet appeared on earth, and therefore we must still look and long after and earnestly and habitually pray for it, with earnest. ness and great desire."

Our Lord again refers to this kingdom in those words addressed to the unbelieving Pharisees; " and I say unto you that many shall come from the east and from the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of Heaven." Again more expressly; "for the son of man shall come in the glory of his father, with his angels, and then he shall reward every man according to his works." When the disciples had been on the mount of transfiguration, and returning from thence, finding that Elias, who had appeared to them on the mount, did not accom pany them down, naturally asked, why the scribes said that Elias must first come? Christ took this opportunity, in answering their question, to discover to them the double meaning of the prophecy”—and


« PrécédentContinuer »