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Gospel, he adds, Many shall run to and fro, and knowie ledge shall be increased *.
11. These testimonies sufficiently prove what our Lord asserts, namely,—That his Gospel shall be preached to all nations ; so that all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God. How, or when, God may be pleased to fulfil his great deiigns, is a matter which we cannot determine. Wise and good men have been herein much mistaken in their conjectures, and, therefore, it is not for us to know the times, and the seasons, which the Father hath reserved in his own power.-A Messiah was, expected, and, by many, much desired; but the manner of his coming was so contrary to the general notions of the Jews, that when he came, they neither knew him, nor would they receive him! hence, though he came to his own, yet his own received him not, t but opposed him with all their power.
12. No wonder, then, that we should be ignorant of the time and manner, how or when the Almighty will bring about so great a revolution as that which the Scriptures fo largely speak of, and which has been the principal scope of this discourse. God hath faid it, and he will not fail to make it good. There were many Prophecies concerning the out-pouring of the Spirit; and yet we find they were but very little understood, not even by the Jews; no, nor even by the Disciples; nay, it seems as if Peter did not fully un
* Dan, xii. 4.
† John i. 11.
derstand the words which he uttered on the day of Pentecost, when he said, The promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call *. For when he was commanded to go to the house of Cornelius, he made many objections, as doubting whether he should go to . preach to any that were not Jews ; and hence, when he was better convinced, he acknowledged his error, . saying, that God had taught him not to call ang man common or unclean t. So short-sighted are the best of men till God teaches them better ;--therefore we must believe what God has said, though we cannot comprehend how it shall be done. Here, we walk by faith, and, by faith, we must receive the promises, seeing it is that which gives glory to God. There are but very few things which reason can comprehend, even in common life--much less the secret chains of his unsearchable providences. I have pointed out what appears the most probable from the living oracles; and farther than this we cannot go. The fall of Antichrift, the chaining of the Dragon, and Wars and Fightings ceasing, are happy forerunners, and seem to pave the way for the sweet message to be founded to the ends of the earth. The many late discoveries made by navigation, and the enlarging intercourse in distant nations, feem to open the way for spreading the balmy sound, even as far as the dire disease hath spread. .
13. Now what have we to do, but to pray for the accomplishment of this great event, and to use all the means in our power for propagating the blessed Gofpel-either by preaching, conversation, spreading use. ful books, or contributing to the preaching of the Gor. pel in dark ará distant parts. Several laudable attempts of this sort have been set on foot during these fifty years by past; and, one would hope, they are happy beginnings of good times, and will increase more and more.
14. Let us, who profess Religion, shew that we are not professors only, but that there is some reality in it, and that it is not a cunningly-devised fable, but the power of God to an endless life. In general, it seems as if people must be wrought upon more by their senses than their understandings ; hence abstract reasoning feldom answers the end in religion ; so that few will make the distinction between religion and such as profess the same. There may be a Judas, a Simon Magus, an Anannias and Saphira, yet what is all that to the purpose? The foundation standeth sure--and let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. Let all unite in crying out,
Let thy kingdom come, let thy will be done on earth as it is done in Heaven. Yes, gracious Lord,
To Thee let all the nations flow,
The general out-pouring of the Spirit.
JOEL ii. 28.
V TE commonly find the most awful threatenings
VV contrafted with sweet and encouraging promises. To give particular instances of this would be to quote a great part of the Old Testament, especially the Prophecies. This short Prophecy is a proof hereof : Can any threatenings be more dreadful, or more general, than the threatenings in this and the preceding Chapter?-In the former, an universal famine is spoken of, insomuch, that the labour of the husbandmen, and the vine-dressers, would utterly fail, and all ranks of people, flocks and herds, should feel the terrible effects thereof. The rivers are dried up; and the pastures of the wilderness are consumed by scorching heat. A dreadful army is likewise to invade them, exceedingly fierce, so that they shew no mercy; exceedingly strong and powerful, so that there is no resisting ; remarkably swift, so that there is no escaping them; and, consequently, no refuge, no remedy from
any quarter. Every thing proclaims ruin and defolation; such terrible vengeance is awakened to plead against rebellious worms, and vindicate the injured rights of the long provoked Majesty of Heaven.
Not only these earthly calamities, but the heavens cast a dismal, frowning aspect, in like manner ; as if heaven and earth were all combined against tranfgresfors. Hence it is said, The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble : the fun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining : The Lord sall utter his voice before his army; for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the Lord is great, and very ter. rible ; and who can abide it? * Thus, we see, he whets his glittering sword, and his right hand takes hold on vengeance, so that he may render recompence unto his adversaries.
But, to thew that still mercy is well mingled with justice, and that grace doth more than sin abound, he directs them into the way of confefling and forsaking sin, that they may obtain mercy. This he orders his servants to proclaim, in the most public manner, so that both priests and people may take a share in the general mourning; so will the Lord be jealous for his land, and he will pity his people t. Thus, we find, there is forgiveness with him, that he may be feared ; and not only feared, but supremely loved. Then the Lord breaks out with a chain of great and precious pro
mises; * Ver. 9. 10.
+ Ver. 18.