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gate; take the spoils of death and hell, and let them hang before thee in thy temple as the remembrancers of thy might and majesty, and as thy pledge to the earth that thou wilt give it quietness and assurance for ever. Already this is done in the appointment of Jehovah. Already it is done, if either the fears of the pursued, or, the confidence of the pursuers, can influence and secure this consummation. Already it is done, if the partial accomplishment of the prediction may be taken as a pledge of its completion. We are not ignorant of the fact, that there are many who look on this deliverance of the world from the bondage of sin and death as a mere creature of the imagination. In their opinion, the generality of men are in no such thraldom; and if they were, of nothing are they more persuaded than of this doctrine, that no man is born in such a state. They, therefore, strongly contend, that the gift of such a freedom as that to which we have referred is altogether superseded by a dignity natural to man. A dignity natural to man! What is it? And where is it to be found? Shall we go into heathen countries in search of it? And what do we find there? What! why hundreds of millions of these dignified beings, wallowing in filth, rioting in cruelty and barbarism, mentally prostrated by the most degrading and appalling superstitions, and probably literally prostrate either before some huge and shapeless mass of timber or of stone, or before some contemptible bit of matter, an inch or two in length! And whether we look at man, in his natural state, as resident in heathen countries or in Christian, we find him a perfect compound of brute and devil. Surely a creature so deeply fallen is in need of a deliverer.. And, blessed be. God, it is part of the Saviour's glory to erect the prostrate mind of sinful man, to elevate his grovelling affections, to make his dispositions and tempers heavenly, to pardon his horrible iniquities, to beautify him with the garment of salvation, and to present him at last before the presence of the divine glory without either spot or wrinkle or any such thing. But
4. If the Glory of redeeming men as individuals was reserved to Christ, how much more that of forming them, as redeemed subjects, into a temple for the great Jehovah, the Lord God Almighty. This Glory was foretold under the type of the call of Joshua, the son of Josedech, to the honour of rebuilding the temple at Jerusalem, after the captivity in Babylon. For thus said the Spirit of Prophecy on that occasion, (see Zech. vi. 10-13) 6. Take of them of the captivity, even of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, which are come from Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah, the son of Zephaniah; then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua, the son of Josedech the High Priest; and speak unto him, saying, Behold the man whose name is the Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord: even he shall build the temple of the
Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne : and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” Now as Joshua, who was one of the chief of those Jews that returned from the Babylonish captivity, was chosen to the honourable employment of rebuilding the temple of the Lord at Jerusalem, he was in this constituted an eminent type of Him whose name is the Branch, even the Lord Jesus Christ, who, at the head of all those who have been redeemed from sin and death, is appointed to build them into a habitation of God through the Spirit. The temple at Jerusalem was a large and magnificent structure ; and was justly accounted one of the wonders of the world. But magnificent as it was, it was neither erected nor delighted in for its own sake; being too mean a habitation for the eternal God. Hence, when the Jews were priding themselves in that building, and were substituting its erection, and the presentation of costly sacrifices, in the place of moral worth, they were thus addressed : (Isaiah lxvi. 1, 2: “ Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool : where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord:”-intimating that any temple built on such a spot, and of such materials, is too insignificant a habitation for a being of such majesty and glory. And the very same doctrine is set forth in still plainer terms by St. Paul; who says, “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands.” (Acts xvii. 24.) The house, therefore, which Jesus Christ is to build to him is to consist of Believers, who, coming to Christ the living stone, are, as lively stones, to be built up a spiritual house or fabric, and a holy residence for the Being whose name is holy, and who dwells in the high and holy place. And as this temple is to reach into all lands, and to have as many of earth's inhabitants built into it as possible; Jesus Christ has sent his ministers, or master-builders, into all lands, to hew out of the quarry of nature as many of these lively stones as possible, and to put them into this sacred edifice. Blessed be God, this glorious structure is rising rapidly; and, in a little time, he shall bring forth the head-stone thereof, with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.”
5. To him is reserved the Glory of renovating the system of nature, “ the heavens and the earth that are now," and of forming them into a suitable residence for this pure and perfect sanctuary to all eternity. For thus said the prophetic Spirit by Isaiah, (chap. Ixv. 17-25,) “Behold I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people : and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old ; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inbabit; they shall not plant, and another eat : for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them. And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the la mb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.” This prophecy will, perhaps, receive some additional light from the last three verses of the following chapter: For there the Spirit adds, “For as the new heavens, and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed” (addressing himself to his covenant-people) “and your name re ain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all fesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord. And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh."-Some understand the above prediction (for all are agreed that both passages refer to one and the same event) figuratively, supposing it to describe a period of the Christian dispensation, when the knowledge of the Lord shall so prevail in the earth as to produce the happiest effects in it. They suppose that this general diffusion of divine knowledge will contribute greatly to the improvement of all the political systems then in being, infusing into them the most enlightened, liberal, and holy principles. But, while it is thus to amend the political state of things then in being, it is to conduce much more to a change for the better in the church of God. No traces are then to be found of the existence of those accursed demons, bigotry and discord; nor of their first-born, party-spirit and party-zeal. Then Christians of different denominations are to see nothing in each other's creeds but true or probable opinions, and nothing in each other's persons but Christians and brethren. The signs of those times are to be perfect love to God, and unfeigned love to man; and the glory of the Lord is to be in every place for its beauty and defence. We cannot but confess, that if this prediction were to reach no higher a consummation than this, that we have stated, it is one devoutly to be wished by every human being. But we think the Spirit of Christ never in, VOL. VI.
tended the prophecy to be so limited. It is true, that it contains several expressions which seem to refer to some primary and partial accomplishment which is to take place during the present system of things. But then there are other expressions in the prophecy which never can be perfectly fulfilled but in the final renovation of the system. And what very much confirms us in this view of the subject is, the manner in which the Apostle Peter speaks of it. He represents the new heavens and the new earth as immediately succeeding the dissolution of those that now exist. Obşerve his words :. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat ? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (2 Pet. iij. 10-13.) And besides this, in the new heavens and the new earth righteousness alone shall dwell ; a thing not to be expected in any stage of the existence of the present heavens and earth. If, in addition to the foregoing arguments in support of a literal interpretation of this prophecy, we consult the Revelation to John, we shall find several other circumstances connected with the “new heavens and earth,” which never can be predicated of the present system of things. “I saw" (says John) “a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain : for the former things are passed away.” (Rev. xxi. 1-4.) In the "new heavens and earth,” of John, then, there will neither be tears, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain, nor death, nor, consequently, any more sin. And hence we say, that such a state of things cannot synchronize with the present heavens and earth, and therefore cannot be figuratively understood. For these reasons we look for the literal accomplishment of Peter's promise, and expect that the system which we now inhabit will be raised to a much better condition than that which it had even in the state of innocence. We cannot think that the paradisiacal earth had any parts which were uninhabitable by man through excessive heat and cold. Nor can we think that it had any parts in which man could not travel either for want of accommodation or security. Nor can we think that there were other parts prepared to open and ingulf him. Least of all can we suppose that there were any such things in that happy state as pestilential va pours and blighting elements. And if these things had no being in paradise, certainly they will have none in the "new heavens and the new earth.” In this blessed state there will be nothing to waste or impair the human constitution, but every thing to invigorate and perfect it ;-nothing to injure or offend the senses, but every thing to help and gratify them; nothing to allure and draw away the creature from God, but every thing to conduct him to creation's Lord and End. In short, creation, in this renovated state, shall be one vast mirror, present to every man, in which he shall behold the glory of the Lord, and, as he gazes, shall be changed into the same image, from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord. Should any ask how these things are to be effected, we readily and candidly reply, “We cannot tell.” It is quite enough for us to know, that to our Lord belongs that power by which he is able to subdue all things unto himself, and that his are the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen. We add, in the
6th and last place, That to him is reserved the Glory of closing the grand drama that has been acting on the theatre of the world for nearly six thousand years, and of conducting all the affairs of Creation, Providence, and Redemption to the holiest, the happiest, and the most triumphant termination. For he must reign until all rule, authority, and power, shall have been put down, and until all enemies have been put under his feet. All this the Spirit of Christ set forth by the ancient Prophets. David said, “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” (Ps. cx. 1.) And that they shall be made his footstool is fully determined. By Isaiah he has said, “I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely shall one say, In the Lord have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come, and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.” (Isa. xlv. 23–25.) But this (as we are inforined) will not take place until the day of judgment. For then “shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one shall give account of himself to God." (Rom. xiv. 10—12.) This judicial process will be immediately preceded by the fulfilment of that prophetic saying, “ He will swallow up death in victory, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces, and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off ali the earth, for the Lord hath spoken it.” (Isai. xxviii. 8.) And it will be as closely followed by the performance of Daniel's pre