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And therefore, when Christ reveals the future great efents of providence relating to his church and people, and this affair of redemption to the end of the world, to his disciple John, he often reveals himself under this character. So Rev. i. 8. “ I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." So again, verse 10, 11. “I heard behind me a great voice as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.” Alpha and Omega, are the names of the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, as A and Z are of ours ; and therefore it signifies the same as his being the first and the last, and the beginning and the ending
Thus God is called in the beginning of this book of Revelation, before the course of the prophecy begins ; and so again he is called at the end of it, after the course of events is gone through, and the final issue of things is seen : As Rev. xxi. 6. « And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.” And so chap. xxii. 12, 13. 66 And behold, I come quickly ; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha, and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last:""
We have seen how this is true in the course of what I have laid before you upon this subject. We have seen how things were from God in the beginning ; on what design God began the course of his providence in the beginning of the generations of men upon the earth ; and we have seen how it is God that has all along carried things on agreeable to the same designs without ever failing ; and how at last the conclusion and final issue of things are to God ; and so we have seen how all things are of him, and through him, and to him ; and therefore may well now. cry out with the apostle, Rom. xi. 33. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out !” And verse 36. “ For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things ; to whom be glory for ever. Amen."
We have seen how other things came to an end one after another ; how states, and kingdoms, and empires, one after another, fell and came to nothing, even the greatest and strongest of them ; we have seen how the world has been often overturned, and will be more remarkably overturned than ever it has been yet ; we have seen how the world comes to an end, how it was first destroyed by water, and how at last it shall be utterly destroyed by fire.: But yet God remains the same through all ages. He was before the beginning of this course of things, and he will be after the end of them ; agreeably to Psal. cii. 25, 26.......Thus God is he that is, and that was, and that is to come,
We have seen, in a variety of instances, how all other gods perish; we have seen how the ancient gods of the Heathen, in . the nations about Canaan, and throughout the Roman empire, are all destroyed, and their worship long since overthrown; we haye heard how Antichrist, who has called himself a god on earth, and how Mahomet, who claims religious honors, and how all the gods of the Heathen through the world, will come to an end ; and hoy Satan, the great dragon, that old serpent, who has set up himself as god of this world, will be cast into the lake of fire, there to suffer his complete punishment : But Jehovah remains, and his kingdom is an everlast, ing kingdom, and of his dominion there is no end. We have seen what mighty changes there have been in the world ; but God is unchangeable, " the same yesterday, to day and for
We began at the head of the stream of divine providence, and have followed and traced it through its various windings and turnings, till we are come to the end of it, and we see where it issues. As it began in God, so it ends in God..... God is the infinite ocean into which it empties itself.i...Providence is like a mighty wheel, whose circumference is so high that it is dreadful, with the glory of the God of Israel above upon it; as it is represented in Ezekiel's vision. We have seen the revolution of this wheel, and how, as it was from God, so its return has been to God again. All the
events of divine providence are like the links of a chain ; the first link is from God, and the last is to him.
III. We may see by what has been said, how Christ in all things has the preeminence. For this great work of redemption is all his work : He is the great Redeemer, and there. fore the work of redemption, being as it were the sum of God's works.of providence, this. shews the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, as being aboye all, and through all, and in all. That God intended the world for his Son's use in the affair of redemption, is one reason that is to be given why he created the world by him, which seems to be intimated by the apostle în Eph. iii. 9..... 12. What has been said, shows how all the purposes of God are purposed in Christ, and how he is before all and above all, and all things consist by him, and are gorerned by him, and are for him, Colos. i. 15, 16, 17, 18. We see by what has been said, how God makes him his first born, higher than the kings of the earth, and sets his throne above their thrones ; how God has always upheld his kingdom, when the kingdoms of others have come to an end; how that appears at last above all, however greatly opposed for so many ages; how finally all other kingdoms fell, and his kingdom is the last kingdom, and is a kingdom that never gives place to any other.
We see, that whatever changes, there are, and however highly Christ's enemies exalt themselves, that yet finally all his enemies become his footstool, and he reigns in uncontroled power and immense glory : In the end his people are all perfectly saved and made happy, and his enemies all become
his footstool. And thus God gives the world to his Son for bis inheritance.
IV. Hence we may see what a consistent thing divine providence is. The consideration of what has been said, may greatly serve to show us the consistency, order, and beauty, of God's works of providence. If we behold the events of providence in any other view than that in which it has been set before us, it will all look like confusion, like a number of jumbled events coming to pass without any order or method, like the tossing of the waves of the sea ; things will look as though one confused revolution came to pass after another, merely by blind chance, without any regular or certain end.
But if we consider the events of providence in the light in which they have been set before us under this doctrine, in which the scriptures set them before us, they appear far from being jumbled and confused, an orderly series of events, all wisely ordered and directed in excellent harmony and consistence, tending all to one end. The wheels of providence are not turned round by blind chance, but they are full of eyes round about, as Ezekiel represents, and they are guided by the Spirit of God: Where the Spirit goes, they go : And all God's works of providence through all ages meet in one at last, as so many lines meeting in one centre. .
It is with God's work of providence, as it is with his work of creation ; it is but one work. The events of providence are not so many distinct, independent works of providence, but they are rather so many different parts of one work of providence : It is all one work, one regular scheme. God's works of providence are not disunited and jumbled, without connexión or dependence, but are all united, just as the several parts of one building: There are many stones, many pieces of timber, but all are so joined, and fitly framed together, that they make but one building : They have all but one foundation, and are united at last in one top stone.
God's providence may not unfitly be compared to a large and long river, having innumerable branches, beginning in different regions, and at a great distance one from another, and all conspirîng to one common issue. After their very diverse and contrary courses which they held for a while, yet they all gather more and more together, the nearer they come to their common end, and all at length discharge themselves at one mouth into the same ocean. The different streams of this river are apt to appear like mere jumble and confusion to us, because of the limitedness of our sight, whereby we cannot see from one branch to another, and cannot see the whole at once, so to as see how all are united in one. A man who sees 'but one or two streams at a time, cannot tell what their course tends to. Their course seems very crooked, and different
streams seem to run for a while different and contrary ways: And if we view things at a distancet there seem to be innumerable obstacles and impediments in the way to hinder their ever uniting and coming to the ocean, as rocks and mountains. and the like ; but yet if we trace them, they all unite at last, and all come to the same issue, disgorging themselves in one into the same great ocean. Not one of all the streams fail of coming hither at last.
V. From the whole that has been said, we may strongly argue, that the scriptures are the word of God, because they alone inform us what God is about, or what he aims at in these works which he is doing in the world. God doubtless is pursuing some design, and carrying on some scheme, in the various changes and revolutions which from age to age come to pass in the world. It is most reasonable to suppose, that there is some certain great design to which Providence subordinates all the great successive changes in the affairs of the world which God has made. It is reasonable to suppose that all revolutions from the beginning of the world to the end of it, are but the various parts of the same scheme, all conspiring to bring to pass that great event which the great Creator and Governor of the world has ultimately in view ; and that the scheme will not be finished, nor the design fully accomplished, and the great and ultimate event fully brought to pass till the end of the world, and the last revolution is brought about.
Now there is nothing else that informs us what this scheme and design of God in his works is, but only the holy scriptures. Nothing else pretends to set in view the whole series of God's works of providence from beginning to end, and to inform us how all things were from God at first, and for what end they are, and how they were ordered from the beginning, and how they will proceed to the end of the world, and what they will come to at last, and how then all things shall be to God. Nothing else but the scriptures has any pretence for showing any manner of regular scheme or drift in those rev. olutions which God orders from age to age. Nothing else pretends to show what God would by the things which he