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rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love : he will joy over thee with singing." And the very fields, trees, and mountains shall then as it were rejoice, and break forth into singing ; (Isai. Iv. 12.) “Ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace ; the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” (Isai. xliv. 23.) - Sing, I 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."
Such being the state of things in this future promised glorious day of the church's prosperity, surely it is worth praying for. Nor is there any one thing whatsoever, if we viewed things aright, for which a regard to the glory of God, a concern for the kingdom and honour of our Redeemer, a love to his people, pity to perishing sinners- love to our fellow-creatures in general, compassion to mankind under their various and sore calamities and miseries, a desire of their temporal and spiritual prosperity, love to our country, our neigh. bours and friends, yea, and to our own souls-would dispose us to be so much in prayer, as for the dawning of this happy day, and the accomplishment of this glorious event.
le accomplisher as for the
How much Christ prayed and laboured and suffered, in order to
the Glory and Happiness of that Day.
The sum of the blessings Christ sought, by what he did and suffered in the work of redemption, was the Holy Spirit. Thus is the affair of our redemption constituted; the Father provides and gives the Redeemer, and the price of redemption is offered to him, and he grants the benefit purchased; the Son is the Redeemer who gives the price, and also is the price offered ; and the Holy Spirit is the grand blessing obtained by the price offered and bestowed on the redeemed. The Holy Spirit, in his indwelling presence, his influences and fruits, is the sum of all grace, holiness, comfort and joy; or in one word, of all the spiritual good Christ purchased for men in this world: and is also the sum of all perfection, glory and eternal joy, that he purchased for them in another world. The Holy Spirit is the subject matter of the promises, both of the eternal covenant of redemption, and also of the covenant of grace. This is the grand subject of the promises of the Old Testament, so often recorded in the prophecies of Messiah's kingdom ; and the chief subject of the promises of the New Testament; and
particularly of the covenant of grace delivered by Jesus Christ to his disciples, as his last will and testament, in the xiv. xv. and xvi. chapters of John ; the grand legacy that he bequeathed to them, in his last and dying discourse with them. Therefore the Holy Spirit is so often called the spirit of promise and emphatically, the promise, the promise of the Father, &c.* .
This being the great blessing Christ purchased by his labours and sufferings on earth, it was that which he received of the Father when he ascended into heaven, and entered into the holy of holies with his own blood, that he might communicate it to those whom he had redeemed. John xvi. 7. “It is expedient for you, that I go away ; for if I go not away, the comforter will not come; but if I depart, I will send him unto you." Acts ii. 33. “Being by the right hand of God exalted, and haring received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear.”—This is the sum of those gifts, which Christ received for men, even for the rebellious, at his ascension ; and of the benefits Christ obtains for men by his intercession ; John xiv, 16, 17. “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the spirit of truth.” Herein consists Christ's communicative fulness, even in his being full of the spirit; and so full of grace and truth, that we might of this fulness receive, and grace for grace. He is anointed with the Holy Ghost, and this is the ointment that goes down from the head to the members. “ God gives the spirit not by measure unto him, that every member might receive according to the measure of the gift of Christ." This therefore was the great blessing he prayed for in that wonderful prayer which he uttered for his disciples and all his future church, the evening before he died, John xvii. The blessing he prayed for to the Father, in behalf of his disciples, was the same he had insisted on in his preceding discourse with them; and this, doubtless, was the blessing he prayed for, when as our High Priest he offered up strong crying and tears, with his blood, Heb. v. 61, 7. As for this he shed his blood, for this he also shed tears, and poured out prayers.
But of all the time we have been speaking of, this is the chief season for the bestowment of this blessing; the main sea. son of success to all that Christ did and suffered in the work of our redemption. Before this, the Spirit of God is given but very sparingly, and but few are saved ; but then it will be far otherwise; wickedness shall be rare then, as virtue and piety had been before : and undoubtedly by far the greatest number of them that ever receive the benefits of Christ's redemp.
* Luke xxiv, 49. Acts i. 4. and ii. 33. 39. Gal. m. 14. Eph. i, 13, and iii. 6.
tion, from the beginning of the world to the end of it, will receive it in that time.*
This time is represented in scripture, as the proper appointed season of Christ's salvation; eminently the elect season, the accepted time, and day of salvation.t “The year of Christ's redeemed,” Isai. Ixiii. 1. - This period is spoken of as the proper time of the Redeemer's dominion, and the reign of his redeem. ing love, in the iid and viith chapters of Daniel, and many other places; the proper time of his harvest, or ingathering of his fruits from this fallen world ; the appointed day of his triumph over Satan, the great destroyer; and the appointed day of his marriage with his elect spouse, (Rev. xix. 7.) The time given to the Sun of Righteousness to rule, as the day is the time God has appointed for the natural sun to bear rule. Therefore the bringing on of this time is called “Christ's coming in his kingdom;" wherein “ he will rend the heavens and come down, and the Sun of Righteousness shall arise,” (Mal. iv. 2. and Isai. Ix. 1.)
The comparatively little saving good there is in the world, as the fruit of Christ's redemption, before that time, is as it were granted by way of anticipation, as we anticipate something of the sun's light by reflection before the proper time of the sun's rule; and as the first-fruits are gathered before the harvest. Then more especially will be the fulfilment of
* The number of the inhabitants of the earth will doubtless then be vastly multiplied, and the number of redeemed ones much more - If we should suppose that glorious day to last no more than literally a thousand y ars, and that at the beginning of that thousand years the world of mankind should be but just as nu. merous as it is now, and that the number should be doubled, during that time of great health and peace and the universal blessing of heaven, once only in an hun. dred years, the number at the end of the thousand years wuuld be more than a Thousand times greater than it is now; and if it should be doubled once in fifty years (which probably the number of the inhabitants of New-England has ordi narily been in about half that time) then at the end of the thousand years there would be more than a million inhabitants on the face of the earth, where there is one now. And there is reason to think that through the greater part of this period, at least, the number of saints will, in their increase, bear a proportion to the increase of the number of inhabitants. And it must be considered, that if the number of mankind at the beginning of this period be no more than equal to the present number, yet we may doubtless conclude, that the number of true saints will be immensely greater; when instead of the few true and thorough christians now in some few countries, every nation on the face of the whole earth shall be converted to christianity, and every country shall be full of true christians; so that the successive multiplication of true saints through the thousand years, will begin with that vast advantage, beyond the multiplication of mankind; where the latter is begun from units, the other doubtless will begin with hundreds, if not thousands. How much greater then will be the number of true converts, that will be brought to a participation of the benefits of Christ's redemption, during that period, than in all other times put together? I think, the foregoing things considered, we shall be very moderate in our conjectures, if we say it is probable that there will be an hundred thousand times more that will actually be redeemed to God by Christ's blood, during that period of the church's prosperity, than ever had been before, from the beginning of the world to that time.
f Isai. xlix. 8. and so on to ver. 23. and chap. Ixi. 2. taken with the context, in that and the preceding and following chapters. VOL, III.
those great promises, made by God the Father to the Son, for his pouring out his soul unto death ; (Isai. liii. 10–12.) then shall he see his seed; and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand;" then “shall he see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied, and shall justify many by his knowledge;" then will God divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;" then shall Christ in an eminent manner obtain his chosen spouse, that “he loved and died for, that he might sanctify and cleanse her, with the washing of wa. ter, by the word, and present her to himself, a glorious church,” He will obtain “ the joy that was set before him, for which he endured the cross, and despised the shame," chiefly in the events and consequences of that day : that day,as was observed before, which is often represented as eminently the time of the “rejoicing of the bridegroom." The foreknowledge and consideration of it was what supported him, and that in which his soul exulted, at a time when it had been troubled at the view of his approaching sufferings ; as may be seen in John xii. 23, 24, 27, 31, 32.
Now therefore, if this is what Jesus Christ, our great Redeemer and the head of the church, did so much desire, and set his heart upon from all eternity, and for which he did and suffered so much, offering up strong crying and tears, and his precious blood, to obtain it; surely his disciples and members should also earnestly seek it, and be much in prayer for it.
The whole Creation travails in Pain.
The whole creation is, as it were, earnestly waiting for that day, and constantly groaning and travailing in pain to bring forth the felicity and glory of it. For that day is above all other times, excepting the day of judgment, the day of the manifestation of the sons of God, and of their glorious liberty : And therefore, that elegant representation the apostle makes of the earnest expectation and travail of the creation in Rom. viii. 19-22. is applicable to the glorious event of this day; " the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope. Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now." The visible world has now for many ages been subject to sin, and made, as it were, a servant to it, through the abuse that
man, who has the dominion over the creatures, puts the crea. tures to. Thus the sun is a sort of servant to all manner of wickedness, as its light and other beneficial influences are abused by men, and made subservient to their lusts and sinful purposes. So of the rain, the fruits of the earth, the brute animals, and all other parts of the visible creation ; they all serve men's corruption, and obey their sinful will. And God doth in a sort subject them to it; for he continues his influence and power to make them obedient, according to the same law of nature whereby they yield to men's command when used to good purposes.
It is by the immediate influence of God upon things according to those constant methods which we call the laws of nature, that they are ever obedient to man's will, or that we can use them at all. This influence God continues in order to make them obedient to man's will, though wicked. This is a sure sign that the present state of things is not lasting : it is con. fusion; and God would not suffer it to be, but that he designs in a little time to put an end to it. Seeing it is to be but a little while, God chooses rather to subject the creature to man's wickedness, than to disturb and interrupt the course of nature according to its stated laws : but it is, as it were, a force upon the creature; for the creature is abused in it, perverted to far meaner purposes than those for which the author of its nature made and adapted it. The creature therefore is unwillingly subject, and but for a short time; and, as it were, hopes for an alteration. It is a bondage which the creature is subject to, from which it was partly delivered when Christ came, and when the gospel was promulgated in the world ; and will be more fully delivered at the commencement of the glorious day we are speaking of, and perfectly at the day of judgment. This agrees with the context ; for the apostle was speaking of the present suffering state of the church. The reason why the church in this world is in a suffering state, is, that the world is subject to the sin and corruption of mankind. By vanity and corruption in scripture, is very commonly meant sin, or wickedness; as might be shewn in very many places, would my intended brevity allow.
Though the creature is thus subject to vanity, yet does not it rest in this subjection, but is constantly acting and exerting itself, in order to that glorious liberty that God has appointed at the time we are speaking of, and, as it were, reaching forth towards it. All the changes brought to pass in the world from age to age, are ordered by infinite wisdom, in one respect or other to prepare the way for that glorious issue of things, when truth and righteousness shall finally prevail, and he whose right it is shall take the kingdom. All the creatures, in all their operations and motions, continually tend to this. As in