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sume that heaven will be the place of their stated residence, and that they will probably make the tour of the universe, to explore all the wondertul works of God. The earth, however, will be given to them for some special purpose. Who can tell what delightful sensations will thrill through their hearts whenever they shall revisit this their former abode, the scene of all their trials, and the theatre of redeeming love? And will it not redound much to the honour of Jesus Christ, thus completely and forever to rescue this world out of the hands of Satan and wicked men, and to give it as an eternal possession to the righteous?
Such I conceive to be the plan of Christ's kingdom as represented in scripture. And surely it will effectually secure his honour. The reign of Satan is momentary compared with the eternal reign of Jesus Christ. We need not, then, give to the thousand years of which prophecy speaks, a construction for which the scriptures afford no precedent. They do indeed put a day for a year; but never put a year for 365 years. The interpretation, therefore, of Dr. Nott is, I think unwarranted and conjectural.
I think, that Dr. Nott has mistaken the idea intended to be conveyed by the similitude used in the several similar passages quoted in page 285. The idea that I take from it is this, that as a garment after having been worn out is thrown aside, so the heavens and earth, after having fulfilled their purposes, shall be dissolved, burnt up, and changed. Were it true, that the sun is burning out his splendours, and the earth decaying, agreeably to Dr. Nott's idea, what a miserable, dark, gloomy abode would this world be, long before the expiration of that vast period of which he speaks? For if less than 6000 years have made such great alterations, what immense alterations would be produced before those ages heaped on ages expired? Long, long before the expiration of that extended period, would this earth become unfit to be an abode for the saints, and a theatre on which Jesus Christ may display the glory of his reign, his special love to mankind, and his triumph over Satan. What! shall Satan hold his dominion while the sun shines in its brightest splendour, and the earth retains its vigour and beauty; and Jesus Christ hold his, when the sun has lost its glory, and the earth is worn out with age, decayed, and unfit for use?
I think it probable, that God is preparing the world for its final conflagration. Those internal fires which have for ages been consuming its bowels, will one day burst forth, and, inwrapping its whole frame in one universal flame, will reduce it to ashes.
Still, I believe that, during the glorious reign of Jesus Christ, in the last days, on the earth, this system will assume a corresponding aspect, and nature put on the appearance of youth. Earthquakes will not then convulse the globe; famine and pestilence will not depopulate cities and countries: these scourges in the hand of a righteous God to punish the crimes of nations, will not then be needed. Mankind, remarkable for their piety as they are now for their wickedness, will see their heavenly parent manifesting his approbation and delight in all his ways. The seasons coming in regular order; temperate and salubrious atmospheres; the heavens never wrapt in angry and destructive storms; the rain descending in seasonable and copious showers; the burning rays of the sun tempered; the fields clothed with herbs, and grass and grain; the flocks sporting on the hills; the wilderness blossoming as the rose, and deserts converted into fruitful fields: this earth, the abode of man, will assume an appearance which it never had since the fall, and be arrayed with a glory resembling that in which it shone when it came fresh from the creator's hand. Such changes appear highly probable, when we consider the universal prevalence of piety, the immense population, and the great extent of human life, which, we are assured in prophecy, will take place in the latter days.
I conclude my discussions, involuntarily thus extended, with a remark upon a sentiment advanced by philosophers, and adopted by Dr. Nott. Having discovered, that the planets converge, they have inferred that the solar system will, in some future period, rush into confusion and ruin. This conclusion I conceive to be unphilosophical. It may do as an embellishment in a poem; but it suits not the sober reasoning of a philosophical essay. It looks like a mighty superstructure raised upon the sand. What! bebecause the planets converge, must we conclude that their inhabitants have fallen into sin, and that, on this account, they and their abodes will be destroyed? Dreadful conclusion!
The earth, we know, approaches the sun for six months in the year, till it arrives at its nearest point of approximation; and then recedes for six months, till it reaches its greatest distance, after which it again returns. Now, why may we not suppose that a law similar to that which governs the revolutions of the earth around the sun, regulates the movements of the planets in relation to the general system; and that, in consequence of it, they converge, during a certain period, and then during an equal period diverge? Revelation no where teaches us that the solar system shall be destroyed. It does indeed teach, that this earth
shall be wrapt in flames. But shall we hence infer the ruin of the other planets, together with that of the sun and moon? I cherish the idea that this world alone has dared to rise in rebellion against God; and why should we admit the supposition, that the other planets, the abodes of innocent beings, will share in the destruction of this earth intended as a punishment of its rebellious inhabitants? Cannot this planet be consigned to the flames without doing injury to the system of which it forms a part? May it not occupy its place, maintain its influence, and perform its revolutions around the sun, while it trembles to its centre and blazes from every part, as well as when partial earthquakes shake it, and Vesuvius or Etna throws forth liquid rocks and a fiery stream? Or if, while suffering the vengeance of God, it must flee before his face, and wander like a comet through the heavens, cannot he who rides in the whirlwind, direct its course, and uphold the system in order, till he restore the earth to its place, purged by his flames and renewed by his power?
OBSERVATIONS ON THE SAVIOUR'S APPEARANCE IN THE WORLD, IN THE STATE OF INFANCY.
In the great mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh, perhaps there is no circumstance more striking, than the Antient of days manifested the babe of Bethlehem. In looking for the reasons why the Saviour must be born, we must inquire with sobri ety, and decide with modesty. And perhaps nothing more ought to be attempted on such a subject, than to show that there is an admirable propriety and beauty in the divine appointment, which we know has actually taken place.
Early after the fall, God threatened the serpent, that his head should be bruised by the seed of the woman. And Isaiah thus delivers his prophecy concerning the advent of the Messiah: "Unto us a child is born." In another place, "Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son." These prophecies being specific, must have a precise fulfilment. Christ's body must have been formed of the dust, as Adam's was, and he been a true and proper man. He might have been formed as Eve from a part of the human body; in which case he would have been flesh and blood. But as in either of these cases the scripture would not have been fulfilled, so neither in the first would the Saviour have been the woman's seed, nor one of that race for whom he appeared as a surety. We are not to suppose that the appointment of the woman's seed
to bruise the serpent's head, was arbitrary, and simply soverign. Perhaps there may hereafter appear more wisdom and beauty than we now see, in making the same channel that had brought death into the world, convey the life of the world also. Perhaps it was not possible for Christ to have suffered, unless he had partaken of flesh and blood in its lapsed state. If he had been made as Adam, innocent and free from the curse, it does not readily appear how he could have suffered. In order then that he might suffer for our salvation, he must take upon him flesh and blood, and not only so, but flesh and blood which by the fall of man had received a capacity for grief and sorrow. The scriptures evidently favour this idea. "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, (i. e. of pains and griefs,) he also himself likewise took part of the same." &c. Heb. ii. 14-18. Nor can we well discover how on any other plan, he could have brought the human race sufficiently near himself, to have imparted the benefits of his obedience and death. But when he became the seed of the woman, he took a nature on him at once innocent and possible, and established such a close union with the human race, as made it possible to transfuse his merits through the past and coming generations.
Christ was also born, and passed through a state of childhood, that he might obey the law in every point, and so bring in a perfect and universal righteousness. From the whole tenor of scripture it is evident, that obedience in behalf of sinners was necessary for their salvation. "Though he were a son, yet learned he obedience, and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation." If we form our opinion, of the nature of that obedience which Christ performed, from scripture declaration, from the nature of the divine law, and from the various relations which Jesus sustained while among men, we shall have good reason to believe that his obedience was unusual in kind as well as degree. To perform such an obedience would require him to pass through all the grades of life from infancy onward. The scriptures seem absolutely to require that obedience should be paid in kind. "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law." Nor is this less reasonable than it is certain. No one duty could be omitted more than another, the smallest being as sacred as the greatest. The law in all its requirements being equally reasonable and immutable, could pass nothing by. And when we notice the great variety of relations which Christ sustained, as a child, a friend, a protector and so a parent, a neighbour and a citizen, and that he thus virtually fulfilled all the duties
of life, of every kind, we discover a most weighty reason why he made his appearance in the world a son and an infant of days. The apostle very clearly intimates that this was one reason why Christ was born. "But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his son, made of a woman, made under the law, that he might redeem that were under the law." For this end was he born, that as he passed on he might fulfil every duty, from the first sensibilities of the filial obligation, to the full grown obedience of the man and neighbour. In so doing, he so sanctified the several stages of life, that from every point thereof there might be opened a door of admission into heaven. But it was further requisite that he should be born; that he might bear the whole curse that was due to sin. The curse pronounced for sin was wide, and, as to its objects, universal: and being once pronounced, became irrevocable. Now Jesus came to be made a curse for us. And although the curse which he endured was principally, and most severely felt when he hung upon the tree, yet it was not the less felt in its various degrees, in the different periods of his mortal life. The weariness, and griefs, and all the ills of life he felt. Among other things he took upon him the weakness and the pains of infancy. There is doubtless a degree of weakness which in paradise would have been attached to infancy. But far less extensive than at present. It is evident that by the fall a great change took place on the mother in parturition. “In sorrow shalt thou bring forth thy children." And it is fairly presumable that a proportionate change passed on her infant seed. To this, being a part of the curse, the Saviour must submit. He must not only drink the dregs of the cup of wrath; but also all the bitter ingredients which sin had mingled in the cup of life. And to this end Jesus passed through life, feeling all its natural evils, bearing our burdens, carrying our sorrows, and as he passed along, taking away the sins and curse of man. He was an infant, endured the particular curse that was due to that period of human life, and so sanctified the infantile state, that a way was opened up for them to come to eternal happiness.
PROPOSITION RESPECTING MISSIONARY SERMONS.
THE object of the missionary society is highly important; and to every christian believer it is, at least it ought to be, most highly interesting. Under this impression, as well as with a