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(1) That the dispensation is so much greater and more úniversal, and so more like the day of judgment, which respects the whole world.
(2) On account of the great spiritual résurrection there will be of the church of God accompanying it, more resemo bling the general resurrection, at the end of the world than
This spiritual resurrection, is the resurrection spoken of as attended with judgment, Rev. xx. 4.
(3) Because of the terrible judgments and fearful destruction which shall now be executed on God's enemies. There will doubtless at the introducing of this dispensation be'a visible and awful hand of God' against blasphemers, Deists, and obstinate heretics, and other enemies of Christ, terribly destroying them, with remarkable tokens of wrath and ven geance ; and especially will this dispensation be attended with terrible judgments on Antichrist; and the eruel persecutors who belong to the church of Rome, shall in a most awful manner be destroyed, which is compared to a casting of Antichrist into the burning flame, Dan. vii, 11, and to casting him alive into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone; Rev. xix. 20.
Then shall this cruel persecuting church suffer those judg ments from God, which shall be far more dreadful than her cruelest persecutions of the saints, agreeable to Rev. xvii. 6, 7. The judgments which God shall execute on the enemies of the church, are so great, that they are compared to God's sending great hailstones from heaven upon them, every one of the weight of a talent, as it is said on the pouring out of the seventh vial, Rev. xvi. 21. “ And there fell upon inen a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent : And men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail ; for the plague thereof was exceeding great." And now shall be that treading of the wine press spoken of, Rev. xiv. 19, 20.
(4) This shall put an end to the church's suffering state, and shall be attended with their glorious and joyful praises. The church's afflicted state is long, being continued, excepting some short intermissions, from the resurrection of Christ to this time. But now shall a final end be put to her suffering
state. Indeed after this near the end of the world, the church shall be greatly threatened; but it is said, it shall be but for a httle season, Rev. xx.3: For as the times of the church's rest are büt short, before the long day of her afflictions are at an end; so whatever affliction she may suffer after this, it will Þe very short; but otherwise the day of the church's affliction ánd persecution shall now come to a fidal end. The scripturés, in many places, speak of this time as the end of the suffering state of the church. So Isa. li. 72. God says to his éhurch with respect to this time, “ Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fürý, thou shalt no more drink it again. Then shall that be próclafined to the churehi Isä: xl 1, 2.. 6.Comfort ye, comfort ye my people saith your God. Speak je comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry' unto her that ker warfare' is accomplishedy that her iniquity iš pardoñed: For she liath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins. Also that in Isa. liv. 8, 9, belongs to this time. And so that in Isai 1x. 20. a. The Lord shall be thiné everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.” And so Zeph. iii. 15. “ The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine énemy: The King of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of théé : Thou shalt not see evil any more."
The time which had been before this, had been the church's sowing time, wherein she sowed in tears and in blood; but now is her harvest; wherein she will come again rejoicing, bringing her sheaves with her. Now the time of the travail of the woman clothed with the sun is at an end: Now she hath brought forth her son ; for this glorious setting up of the kingdom of Christ through the world, is what the church had Been in travail for, with suck terrible pangs, for so many ages ; Isa. xxvi. 17. « Like as a woman with child that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O Lord." See Isa. lx. 20, and Ixi. 10, 11. And now the church shall forget her sorrows, since a man child is born into the world: Now succeed her joyful praise and triumph. Her praises shall then: go up to God from all parts of the earth; as Isa. xlii. 10, 11, VOL. II.
12. And praise shall not only fill the carth, but also heaven. The church on earth, and the church in heaven, shall both gloriously rejoice and praise God, as with one heart, on that occasion. Without doubt it will be a time of very distinguished joy and praise among the holy prophets and apostles, and the other saints in heaven : Rev. xviü. 20: “ Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets, for God hath avenged you' on her.” See how universal these praises will be in Isa. xliv. 23: “ Sing, Oye heavens; for the Lord hath done it : Shout ye lower parts of the earth : Break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel." See what joyful praises are sung to God on this occasion by the universal church in heaven and earth, in the beginning of the 19th chapter of Revelation.
(5) This dispensation is above ali preceding ones like Christ's coming to judgment; in that it so puts an end to the , former state of the world, and introduces the everlasting kingdom of Christ. Now Satan's visible kingdom shall be overthrown, after it had stood ever since the building of BaBel ; and the old heavens and the old earth shall in a greater measure be passed away then than before, and the new heayens and new earth set up in a far more glorious manner than ever before.
Thus I have shown how the success of Christ's purchase has been carried on through the times. of the afflicted state of the Christian church, from Christ's resurrection, till Antichrist is fallen, and Satan's visible kingdom on earth is overthrown. Therefore I come now,
SECONDLY, To show how the success of redemption will Be carried on through that space wherein the Christian church shall for the most part be in a state of peace and prosperity.. And in order to this, I would,
1. Speak of the prosperous state of the church through the greater part of this period.
2. Of the great apostacy there shall be towards the close of it: How greatly then the church shall be threatened by her enemies for a short time.
I. I would-speak of the prosperous state of the church through the greater part of this period. And in doing this, I would, 1. Describe thiş prosperous state of the church ; 2. Say something of its duration.
1st. I would describe the prosperous state the church shall be in.
And, in the general, I would observe two things.
1. That this is most properly the time of the kingdom of heaven upon earth. Though the kingdom of heaven was in a degree set up soon after Christ's resurrection, and in a fur
her degree in the time of Constantine ; and though the Christian church in all ages of it is called the kingdom of heaver ; yet this time that we are upon, is the principal time of the kingdom of heaven upon earth, the time principally intended by the prophecies of Daniel, which'speak of the king: dom of heaven, whence the Jews took the name of the king: dom of heaven.
2. Now is the principal fulfilment of all the prophecies of the Old Testament which speak of the glorious times of the gospel which shall be in the latter days. Though there has . been a glorious fulfilment of those prophecies already, in the times of the apostles, and of Constantine ; yet the expressions are too high to suit any other time entirely, but that which is to succeed the fall of Antichrist. This is most properly the glorious day of the gospel. Other times are only forerunners and preparatories to this : Other times were the seed time, but this is the harvest. But more particularly,
(1) It will be a time of great light and knowledge. The present days are days of darkness, in comparison of those days. The light of that glorious time shall be so great, that it is represented as though there then should be no night, but only .day; no evening nor darkness. So Zech. xiv. 6,7. « And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear nor dark. But it shall be one day, which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night : But it shall come to pass, that at
evening time it shall be light." It is further represented, as though God would then give such light to his church, that it should so much exceed the glory of the light of the sun and moon, that they should be ashamed ; Isa, xxiv. 33.“ Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in Mpurit Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.*
There is a kind of vail now cast over the greater part of the world, which keeps them in darkness : But then this vail shall be destroyed : Isa. xxv. 7. 5. And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. And then all countries and nations, even those which are now most ignorant, shall be full of light and knowledge. Great knowledge shall prevail every where. It may be hoped, that then many of the Negroes and Indians will be divines, and that excellent books will be published in Africa, in Ethiopia, in Tartary, and other now the most barbarous countries ; and not only learned men, but others of more ordinary education, shall then be very knowing in religion : Isa. xxxii. 3, 4, “ The eyes of them that see, shall not be dim; and the ears of them that hear, shall hearken. The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge." Knowledge then shall be very universal among all sorts of persons; agreeable to Jer. xxxi. 34.“ And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord : For they shall all know me from the least of them unto the greatest of them."
There sliall then be a wonderful unravelling of the difficulties in the doctrines of religion, and clearing up of seeming inconsistencies : « So crooked things shall be made straight, and rough places shall be made plain, and darkness shall become light before God's people. Difficulties in scripture shall then be cleared up, and wonderful things shall be discovered in the word of God, which were never discovered be. fore. The great discovery of those things in religion which had been before kept hid, seems to be compared to removing the vail, and discovering the ark of the testimony to the people, which before used to be kept in the secret part of the