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- Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
These passages also coincide with the apostle's remarks, in the first chapter of his epistle to the Hebrews, where he says ;
“ And thou Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands.
“ They shall perish, but thou remainest: and they shall wax old as doth a garment;
“ And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up and they shall be changed; but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.”
We shall proceed to take notice of one more passage of scripture on this subject, that is, Paul's observations on the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, found recorded in his first epistle to the Corinthians, and the 15th chapter.
“Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you, that there is no resurrection of the dead;
“But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen.
“ And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your fath is also vain,"
“ But now is Christ risen from the dead and became the first fruits of them that slept.”
Then the apostle proceeds to confirm his declaration by a few weighty arguments, and then proceeds to show the excel. lency, glory, and importance of this change; and in illustration of these points he informs us, " There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars, for one star differeth from another star in glory.
" So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption :
“It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory : It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power :
“It is sown a natural body, it is raised in a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body."
“ Now this I say, brethren that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
“Behold I shew you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed,
“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye at the last trump, for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
“For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”
We shall now spend a few thoughts in contemplating on the
continuance of the chain of evidence we have collected, from the prophets and apostles, on the last pointof doctrine contained in our text, or to speak in the language of our text, “Whom the heavens must receive till the restitution of all things."
Remark first-In comparing these passages together, we find they generally centre in two important points, viz. God's wonderful displays of justice and judgment, as well as mercy and grace, in order to bring about this great event, “the restitution of all things.”
Remark second-We find by critically comparing these passages together, the order of that tremendous day is clearly pointed out to us, so far as it is necessary for us to know.
Thirdly-- We learn from the above quoted passages, that after a long period of time, in which the church of Christ shall enjoy the highest state of prosperity in both spiritual and natural things, satan shall be loosed out of prison, and shall go out into the world, and once more deceive the nations of the earth; and gather them together Gog and Magog to battle; the number thereof shall be as the sand of the sea,and they shall go up on the breadth of the earth, and shall compass the camp of the saints, and the beloved city, in order to make their last and general effort against the church, with all their hellish rage, and malice, in order to destroy them from the face of the earth. Then - there shall be a time of trouble such as there never was, since there was a nation.” Which I think the destruction of Jerusalem, and the nation of the Jews will bear but a faint resemblance. And John informs us, that "fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them ; and at this pe riod, the earth will be fully ripe for the general judgment. And in this hour of trouble, the prayer of the church will centre in one point, and in one voice, Come Lord Jesus, come quickly.” And Paul informs us that “ Christ shall be revealed from heaven in flaming fire." And again says Paul, “ The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air." And the same apostle tells us, that we shall not all sleep but we shall be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump.”
And John informs us, he “saw a great white throne, and him that sat on the throne, from whose presence the heavens and the earth Aed away,” &c.
Then the apostle informs us, that he “ saw the dead, small and great, stand before God,” &c. Then the apostle proceeds to inform us, that those whose names were not found written in the book of life were cast into the lake of fire."
This seems to be the exact order of things exhibited by the apostles, and prophets, respecting the great events which will transpire before the new heavens and the new earth shall be created.
And in the 21st chapter of the revelations and the seven first verses, which immediately follow the description of the general judgment, and awful state of the wicked, then the apostle proceeds to give us the clear description of “the restitution of all things," or in other words the new heaven and the new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness, but does not give us the least intimation, that those characters which had their portion in the lake of fire, had, or should have any right in the holy city, or in the new heavens, and the new earth, but absolutely de. clares to the reverse: For these are the express words of the apostle,
“And I saw a new hearen and a new earth; for the first heaven and the 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 greet noise 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 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.
" And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said to me, Write; for these words are true and faithful.
“ And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end ; I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
“He that overcometh shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be my Son.
* But the fearful and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerors, and idolators, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death."
Therefore it appears that the apostle is clear and express on the point, that “the fearful and unbelieving," &c. are excluded from any right or inheritance in the new heavens and the new earth ; neither hath the apostle given us the least intimation, that the state of the wicked is limited to a shorter period than that of the righteous.
And it is evident, I think, if we candidly and cautiously weigh these conclusions, and the last quoted texts with the declaration of our Lord, recorded in Matthew 25, that they perfectly agree, for saith our Lord, “ When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his kingdom, and before him shall be gathered all nations, and he shall se rate them, one from another, as a shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats, and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats, on the left.
“ Then shall the king say unto them on his right hand, come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdoin prepared for you,” &c. “ For I was an hungered and ye gave me meat, I was thirsty an! ye gave me drink, a stranger and ye took me in.
“Then shall he say unto them on the left hand, depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was an hungered and ye gave me po meat, I was thirsty and ye gave me no drink, &c.
" And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.
" Therefore, seeing all these things must be dissolved, what manner of persons ought we to be in all manner of holy conversation and godliness, that we may be found in Christ at his coming without spot and blameless; having our lamps trimmed and burning;" and our virgin souls fully prepared to enter into the marriage supper of the Lamb. For nothing short of this divine union with Christ, our living head, can support us in that “tremendous day when the heavens above us shall be on fire, and the elements beneath us shall melt with fervent heat, and they that believe, and sleep in the dust, shall awake and shine as the brightness of the firmament."
What tongue can describe, or what pencil can paint, or what pen can pourtray either the horror of the wicked, or the joys of the righteous. All scenes may be exaggerated, by the pen of the learned, and the tongue of the orator, but this day, which is emphatically called the Great Duy, and the day of God Almighty; must remain indescribable until the awful period shall arrive. But, says Doct. Watts,
** That awful day will surely come,
Again says the same divine, in describing this tremendous
“ What shall the wretch the singer do,
Who once defy'd the Lord;
And sink beneath his Word.
“ Trumpets of angry fire shall roll,
To blast the rebel worm,
In one eternal storm."
The apostle John informs, it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.—And says the poet,
66 The holy triumphs of my soul,
Shall death itself out-brave,
And fly beyond the grave.
In Heaven's unmeasur'd space,
In pleasure and in praise.
“ Millions of years my wand'ring eyes,
Shall o'er thy beauties rove,
The glories of thy love.
“Sweet Jesus, ev'ry smile of thine,
Shall fresh endearment bring,
From all thy glories spring."
What remains, is a few words of address to preachers, and people. As it has fallen to my lot to address this concourse of people, with a large number of preachers from different parts of the United States, on the sublime subject of religion, pone sure can be so momentous; no affairs of state, in the legislative department, can equal the concerns we are now engaged in ; in reality it is no less than the declarative glory of God, and the eternal salvation of souls. The nations yet, unboru