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years have not been of a very marked character, and answering so precisely to the foregoing description, that were the Lord on this very day to be revealed, all men must assuredly confess, that the several circumstances prophesied of, as immediately preceding his advent, have been fulfilled before their eyes.
Again, Rev. xiv. represents the angel flying into the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell upon the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people. When the event takes place, which is signified by this symbol, the day of the Lord's judgment is actually at hand, for the angel cries unto all men, "Fear God, and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come."-See p. 233. In conformity with this Scripture, our Lord himself speaks in Matt. xxiv. 14. "The gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come." This Scripture in no wise intimates, that all the nations shall be converted by the time of Messiah's coming, for the gospel is only sent to them for a testimony; and Luke xviii. shews, that when the advent takes place, the gospel will have effected but little towards their conversion; for it is there written, in a context which treats of the second
advent, "nevertheless, when the Son of Man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" Matt. x. 23, affords a further explanation of this point, and demonstrates, that the work of carrying the gospel to all nations, shall by no means be completed at the time of Messiah's advent-"Verily I say unto you, ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of Man be come." This last mentioned passage occurs in the instructions which the Lord gave to his twelve apostles, when in the days of his flesh he first appointed and sent them forth; and which was a type or figure of what should be done after his resurrection. It is very manifest that these words have reference to after times, for the whole context, from v. 16 to the end, contains instructions to the Lord's servants for their conduct and guidance under persecutions, when they should be delivered up to councils, and scourged in synagogues, and should be brought before governors and kings for Christ's sake, aud for a testimony against them, and the Gentiles: and when the brother should deliver up the brother unto death, and the father, the child. These things never took place until after the Lord Jesus had risen from the dead, and his apostles went forth as He commanded, to preach the everlasting gospel; which fact alone is sufficient to establish the assertion, that in the verse
referred to, (Matt. x. 23.) the time intended is that which immediately precedes the second advent.
Again—the Apostle Paul, in his letter to Timothy, describes the condition of the outward Church in the last days; and he exhibits a melancholy portrait of the times in which we live. The testimony of Peter is much to the same effect; but he adds a peculiar feature which corresponds with Luke xviii. 8. to which reference has already been made. Peter says, 2 Peter iii. 3. there shall come in the last days
Ascoffers, walking after their own lusts, saying, where is the promise of his coming, for, since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation?" In conformity with this Scripture, the Church is now found more peculiarly blind to this blessed truth of the Lord's glorious advent, than it has ever been at any former period. The most spiritually-minded men, amidst the signs and wonders which surround them, expect nothing more than a general amendment in the condition of civil society, through the universal spread of the gospel amongst all nations; and through the effects, which, under the Lord's blessing, may arise from the education and instruction of persons in every class of life. This is their Millennium-and they are apt for the most part to treat all those Scriptures, which de
clare in plain terms the personal coming and reign of the Lord Jesus upon earth, with his risen saints, as if they were merely figurative expressions; signifying the advancement and progress of the gospel, and the worldly honour and approbation with which ministers and pastors, and other distinguished Christians shall be greeted, in those days of increased light and know ledge, which their scheme anticipates. In short, the personal appearance of Messiah in the clouds of heaven, with power and with great glory, as HE hath said; coming to bind Satan, to establish a visible › kingdom, and reign upon earth; to rule therein open glory, with his glorified saints; is an event of which it may safely be affirmed, there are not many now dwelling upon earth, who consider it as a possible circumstance. Indeed, as to Messiah's personal advent in any way, they think it very far off, and that it is to be expected at some remote and indefinite period, and at the end of what they call the Millen nium.
Again-Let us learn a parable of the fig-tree, which is the peculiar and acknowledged symbol of the Jewish Church and nation. When the Lord Jesus drew nigh unto Jerusalem, on the occasion of his going thither to attend the last passover, he pronounced upon the barren fig-tree, the curse which is
recorded in two of the gospels. Matthew stamps an additional importance upon the circumstance by the expression, σʊa, a certain fig-tree; and unquestionably the curse had a typical reference to the Jews. For as soon as the gospel dispensation was fully established, by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, salvation was no longer of the Jews; spiritual fruit could no longer be gathered from the Jewish Church; from that time, Christians became children of the promise, being made heirs of salvation by faith in the crucified Saviour, whom the Jew still denies; indeed, when he confesses to that name, he is no longer a Jew, but a Christian. Now, as in reference to the signs of the second advent, our Lord uses the type of the fig-tree, which by the tenderness of her branch, and the putting forth of her leaves, shews the summer to be nigh; observing that, in like manner, the signs which he enumerated, should announce the advent to be at hand; so, he seems by this use of a type, which has so peculiar a reference to the Jewish nation, to convey an intimation, that some unusual movement amongst the Jews, was to be expected immediately before the advent; and thus it is found at this day as a striking feature of the times, that in every part of the globe, the Jews, in direct opposition to all their former habits, are now willing to inquire concerning Jesus of Nazareth, and to read