« VorigeDoorgaan »
pared against that time of trouble of which the prophets speak as about to overtake the adversary : a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation to that same time :"-" an earthquake such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great."
It will be seen by an examination of prophecy, that the judgments of the latter day, as well upon the mystic Babylon, as upon them that know not God, and believe not the gospel of Jesus Christ, are ordained to take place at the same season with the Second Coming of Messiah, with the restoration of Judah to his own land, and with the final deliverance of the Church from the bondage of sin and Satan. It is the opinion of many, that these promises of restoration and deliverance have respect only to spiritual things; that under the gospel dispensation, the Church is already delivered spiritually from sin and Satan; that no further deliverance is now to be expected; and that the several prophecies referred to in support of the opinion here advanced, signify no more than the gathering in of the Jews into the Christian Church, and the gradual extension of that Church over the face of the whole earth, under å state of Church Government, and discipline not unlike that of Apostolic times. It is intended to
combat this opinion, and to shew that times far more abundantly glorious await the Church upon earth, times in which there shall be fulness of joy and pleasures at the Lord's right hand, to endure for evermore, even unto hidden ages. To prove and to illustrate this, not argument, but Scripture will be adduced.
Of the Jews we are told, that "when Moses (the Old Testament Scripture) is read, the veil is on their heart, so that they discern not Jesus of whom Moses spake; but when their heart shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away; and at that time shall Judah and Ephraim be joined together into one stick, and shall become one in the Lord's hand." Nor is God the God of the Jews only, but of the Gentiles also, whom he shall likewise gather with his ancient people. "Then shall there be one fold, and one shepherd." It is from hence deduced that the Jew will be gathered into the millennial Church as a Jew, and the Gentiles as Gentiles, and there shall they be made one, the Jew as the elder brother obtaining the pre-eminence.
Throughout the Scriptures, and especially in the Book of Psalms, a testimony of these things is to be found more or less direct. A kingdom is spoken of, which shall be set up on the earth by the Lord, not
by man, to endure throughout all generations, wherein his people shall receive their inheritance, and be set up in judgment. And they shall reign with Messiah in that kingdom, he giving them to sit with him in his throne; even as he is set down with his Father in his throne.
That the beginning of the judgments which shall usher in these great and important changes, has already been manifested before the present generation of men, will be insisted upon by reference to the signs of the present times: and if so, it behoves us, according to the Lord's command, to "watch and pray lest we enter into temptation.'
It may be said by many that these are speculative opinions; but let it be recollected there is a plain declaration, that He will come in an hour when we think not. These things are not the less true, because the attention of men is but little awakened to regard them; neither are they the more distant because men perceive not their approach. The time and manner of these things, whether at hand or afar off, and under any consideration of them, are of no slight interest to all of us but if indeed "the coming of the Lord draweth nigh;" if "the judge standeth before the door," the importance of them is increased ten
fold to all the present dwellers on the earth. To ourselves personally the subject is most momentous. "Behold I come as a thief," says the Apostle, speaking in his Master's name. "Behold he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him, and all the kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him." "But who shall abide the day of his coming, and who shall stand when he appeareth!"
Scripture proof that Messiah will reign visibly upon earth-from the Psalms.
It is proposed now to inquire, what the Scriptures in point of fact do reveal to us, regarding the personal coming of Messiah to establish his kingdom upon the earth in the latter day. It seems a general opinion, that at His second coming the heavens and earth shall pass away for ever, the whole race of man become extinct, and both quick and dead be brought immediately before the Great Judge to receive their final doom; and that all the wicked shall then go into everlasting punishment, and the righteous into life eternal. That this statement is not consonant with Scripture, a cursory examination would abundantly testify but as the investigation before us makes it necessary to enter more largely into the subject, it may be desirable to examine, at the outset, some of thosc parts of Holy Writ which have immediate reference to it; for unless it should appear from thence that Messiah's second coming is manifestly of such a kind as has been suggested, our inquiry would