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The Lord Jesus Christ, by his Spirit, having dictated to his holy and beloved prophet the whole series of grand events, which were to happen from the time these prophecies were penned, to the complete establishment of Christ's kingdom on earth, and even to the end of time, directs Daniel to close his sacred records, which would remain obscure, and but partially understood, “till the time of the end,” till the events predicted should be actually happening in view of the world. Then many will be running to and fro through the earth, and knowledge will be increased. And as these times will be full of trouble, such as the world at no former period ever witnessed; and also times of increased light and knowledge; both will conspire to purify the souls of good men, who shall have understanding in the times. “Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried, and the wise shall understand; but the wicked shall do wickedly, and shall not understand;” they shall be given up to blindness and obstinacy of heart, because they will persist in their wickedness, against all the light and evidence, which shall sur. round them, and they shall have nothing to support them under the trials, which shall befal them in that awful period.

Such I conceive to be the meaning of the text. In fixing it, I have consulted the best helps within my reach. I have been thus particular in bringing into view and explaining the prophecies, immediately connected with the text, for the purpose

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of ascertaining, as far as practicable, the time, when we are to expect the events, which it predicts. If our interpretation be correct, the events, which are to fulfil this prophecy, are near at hand, or they may be even now passing in view of the present generation. In the sequel of this discourse therefore I propose,

I. To exhibit evidence to shew, that the prophecy in the text has not yet received its ultimate and highest accomplishment, but is probably fulfilling by the events of the present time.

II. To shew what effects we are to expect will follow these events.

III. To apply the subject.

I. I am to exhibit evidence to shew, that the prophecy in the text has not yet received its ultimate and highest accomplishment, but is probably fulfilling by the events of the present time.

Some prophecies, says Lord Bacon, “are not ful. filled punctually, at once, but have a springing and germinant accomplishment throughout many ages, though the height, or fulness of them, may refer to some one age.”* Precisely of this character, I conceive, is the prophecy now under consideration. To the period, when the Christian religion was first in

• Advancement of Learning. Book ii. in English.

troduced and propagated in the world, the words of this prophecy may be literally applied, “Many ran to and fro through the earth, and knowledge was increased.”

And “many were purified and made white, and tried,” by cruel persecutions. “The wicked" then “did wickedly, and none of the wicked understood” the signs of the times; "but the wise did understand.”

Wonderful was the revolution effected in the world by the introduction of the Christian religion. The preparations made for this event, by the proyidence of God, corresponded with its magnitude. The Roman empire embraced almost the whole world, and its inhabitants universally spoke the Greek or Roman language. These were the languages of their courts, of their laws, of their priests and learned men, of their worship, and of their books generally. These circumstances, it is easy to conceive, were adapted wonderfully to facilitate the spread of the Gospel. The Jews, in consequence of their frequent captivities, were dispersed extensively among the surrounding nations; and, having carried with them a knowledge of the true God, prepared the way for the conversion of those nations. The Hebrew Scriptures had been translated into the Greek language, and were thus prepared to be dispersed and read in due time among that extensive portion of the heathen nations, to which this language was vernacular. * About this time also the proselytes of the gate, as they were called, were greatly multiplied. These were persons from various parts of the world, who had renounced heathenism, acknowledged and worshipped the true God, but had not fully embraced Judaism; * and thus, freed from the prejudices of both, were prepared to receive the new religion, which Christ came to establish. The first Gentile converts to Christianity were chiefly of this class of people. We may add, as another remarkable event preparatory to the spread of the Gospel, that previously to the advent of our Savior, philosophy and the arts were cultivated to a great extent, and advanced to a high d«gree of perfection. Thus the minds of men were refined and prepared to examine the evidence on which Christianity claimed to be believed; and, through the power of the Holy Ghost, to embrace, defend, and propagate its sublime and heavenly doctrines. The heathen nations inoreover had become tired of their religion, and of their idol gods; they had ceased to consult their oracles, and to respect their priests, and sighed for a change.†

* Sce Note A.

These preparations being made by the providence of God, the expected Messiah made his appearance, and set up his kingdom in the world. His disciples, at first few in number and of no reputation or influence among men, soon increased to a multitude. Within less than forty years after the death of Christ,

* See Jennings' Jewish Antiquities, vol, i. p. 131.

† Millar's Hist. of Christianity, vol. i. p. 255.

his gospel was preached, and by great numbers embraced, in all the celebrated cities and countries, and even in the remote provinces and villages, of Asia, Europe, and Africa, comprising the whole of the then known world. The Sun of Righteousness darted his genial beams in every direction over the earth. The heralds of the Savior, sent forth, “their sound into all the earth, and their words unto the end of the world.”* Before the generation, who were cotemporary with our Lord, had "passed away,f the Gospel was preached throughout the world, (i. e. through all the Roman empire, among gentiles as well as Jews,t) for a witness unto all nations.”

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Clement, a fellow laborer with the apostles, asserts, s that “St. Paul taught the whole world righteousness, having preached both in the east and in the west, and travelled to the utmost bounds of the west.”. It is believed by many, that he preached the gospel even in Britain. According to Justin Martyr,|| “there was no nation, no sort of men, whether Greeks or barbarians, no country, however rude or unpolished, where prayers and thanksgivings were not presented to the Father and Creator of all things, through the name of the crucified Jesus.” Lanctantius says, “the Christian law is entertained from the rising of the sun, to the going down of the same, where every sex, age, nation, and country, does

• Rom. x. 18. † Matt. xxiv. 14. 34. Guise. $ Ep. ad Cor. 1 c. v. # Dial. eum Trypho, p. 341. f De Justitia, lib. 5. c. 13. p. m. 433.

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