Obrazy na stronie

principally takes its rise. And, if these things be so, it gives us more abundant reason to hope that what is now seen in America, and especially in New-England, may prove the dawn of that glorious day; and the very uncommon and wonderful circumstances and events of this work, seem to me strongly to argue that God intends it as the beginning or forerunner of something vastly great.


The Danger of not acknowledging and encouraging, and espe

cially of deriding this Work.

I HAVE thus long insisted on this point, because, if these things are so, it greatly manifests how much it behoves us to encourage and promote this work, and how dangerous it will be to forbear so doing. It is very dangerous for God's professing people to lie still, and not to come to the help of the Lord, whenever he remarkably pours out his Spirit, to carry on the work of redemption in the application of it; but above all, when he comes forth to introduce that happy day of God's power and salvation, so often spoken of. That is especially the appointed season of the application of redemption; the appointed time of Christ's reign ; the reign of Satan as god of this world lasts till then; but afterwards will be the proper time of actual redemption, or new creation, as is evident by Isa. Ixv. 17, 18, &c. and Ixvi. 12. and Rev. xxi. 1. All the outpourings of the Spirit of God, before this, are as it were by way of anticipation. There was indeed a glorious season of the application of redemption in the first ages of the Christian church, which began at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost ; but that was not the proper time of ingathering. It was only as it were the feast of first fruits; the ingathering is at the end of the year, or in the last ages of the Christian church, as it is represented, Rev. xiv. 14–16. and will probably as much exceed what was in the first ages of the Christian church, though that filled the Roman empire, as that exceeded all that had been before, under the Old Testament, confined only to the land of Judea:

The great danger of not appearing openly to acknowledge, rejoice in, and promote that great work of God, in bringing in that glorious harvest, is represented in Zech. xiv. 16, 17, 18, 19. “ And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left, of all the nations which came against Jerusalem, shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of Hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem, to worship the King, the Lord of Hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain ; there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles." It is evident by all the context, that the glorious day of the church of God in the latter ages of the world, is the time spoken of. The feast of tabernacles here seems to signify that glorious spiritual feast which God shall then make for his church, the same that is spoken of, Isa. xxv. 6. and the great spiritual rejoicings of God's people at that time. There were three great feasts in Israel, at which all the males were appointed to go up to Jerusalem : the feast of the passover, and the feast of the first-fruits or the feast of Pentecost; and the feast of ingathering, at the end of the year, or the feast of tabernacles. In the first of these, viz. the feast of the passover, was represented the purchase of redemption by Jesus Christ ; for the Paschal lamb was slain at the time of that feast. The other two that followed it were to represent the two great seasons of the application of the purchased redemption. In the former of them, viz. the feast of the first fruits, which was called the feast of Pentecost, was represented that time of the outpouring of the Spirit in the first ages of the Christian church, for the bringing in the first-fruits of Christ's redemption, which began at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. The other, which was the feast of ingathering, at the end of the year-which the children of Israel were appointed to keep on occasion of their gathering in their corn and their wine, and all the fruit of their land, and was called the feast of tabernacles-represented the other more joyful and glorious season of the application of Christ's redemption, which is to be in the latter days. Then will be the great day of ingathering of the elect, the proper and appointed time of gathering in God's fruits, when the angel of the covenant shall thrust in his sickle, and gather the harvest of the earth; and the clusters of the vine of the earth shall also be gathered. This was upon many accounts the greatest feast of the three. There were much greater tokens of rejoicings in this feast than any other. The people then dwelt in booths of green boughs, and were commanded to take boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook, and to rejoice before the Lord their God. This represents the flourishing, beautiful, pleasant state of the church, rejoicing in God's grace and love, and triumphing over all her enemies. The tabernacle of God was first set up among the children of Israel, at the time of the feast of taber. nacles : but, in that glorious time of the Christian church,

God will above all other times set up his tabernacle amongst men, Rev. xxi. 3. “And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, 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.

The world is supposed to have been created about the time of year wherein the feast of tabernacles was appointed ; so, in that glorious time, God will create a new heaven and a new earth. The temple of Solomon was dedicated at the time of the feast of tabernacles, when God descended in a pillar of cloud, and dwelt in the temple ; so, at this happy time, the temple of God shall be gloriously built up in the world, and God shall in a wonderful manner come down from heaven to dwell with his church. Christ is supposed to have been born at the feast of tabernacles; so, at the commencement of that glorious day, Christ shall be born; then, above all other times, shall “the woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, that is in travail, and pained to be delivered, bring forth her son to rule all nations," Rev. xii. The feast of tabernacles was the last feast that Israel had in the whole year, before the face of the earth was destroyed by the winter; presently after the rejoicings of that feast were past, a tempestuous season began, Acts xxvii. 9. “ Sailing was now dangerous, because the feast was now already past. So this great feast of the Christian church will be the last feast she shall have on earth; soon after it is past, this lower world will be destroyed. At the feast of tabernacles, Israel left their houses to dwell in booths or green tents; which signifies the great weanedness of God's people from the world, as pilgrims and strangers on the earth, and their great joy therein. Israel were prepared for the feast of tabernacles by the feast of trumpets, and the day of atonement, both in the same month; so, way shall be made for the joy of the church of God, in its glorious state on earth, by the extraordinary preaching of the gospel, deep repentance and humiliation for past sins, and for the great and long.continued deadness and carnality of the visible church. Christ, at the great feast of tabernacles, stood in Jerusalem, and cried, saying, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink : He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living waters:" signifying the extraordinary freedom and riches of divine grace towards sinners at that day, and the extraordinary measures of the Holy Spirit that shall be then given : agreeable to Rev. xxi. 6. and xxii. 17.

It is threatened (Zech. xiv.) that those who at that time shall not come to keep this feast, i.e. that shall not acknowledge God's glorious works, praise his name, and rejoice with his people—but who should stand at a distance, as unbelieving and disaffected

upon them shall be no rain ; they shall have no


share in the shower of divine blessing that shall then descend on the earth, the spiritual rain spoken of, Isa xliv. 3. but God would give them over to hardness of heart and blindness of mind. The curse is denounced against such, in a manner still more awful, ver. 12. “And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord shall smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem : Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth." Here also, in all probability, is intended a spiritual judgment, or a plague and curse from God upon the soul, rather than upon the body; that such persons, who at that time shall oppose God's people in his work, shall in an extraordinary manner be given over to a state of spiritual death and ruin, that they shall remarkably appear dead while alive, and shall be as walking rotten corpses while they go about amongst men. The great danger of not joining with God's people at that glorious day is also represented, Isa. Ix. 12. “For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish ; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.

Most of the great temporal deliverances wrought for Israel of old, were typical of the great spiritual works of God for the salvation of souls, and the deliverance and prosperity of his church, in gospel days; and especially they represented that greatest of all deliverances of God's church in the latter days, which is above all others the proper season of actual redemption of men's souls. But it may be observed, that if any appeared to oppose God's work in those great temporal de liverances; or if there were any of his professing people, who on such occasions lay still, stood at a distance, or did not arise and acknowledge God in his work, and appear to promote it; it was what in a remarkable manner incensed God's anger, and brought his curse upon such persons.—When God wrought that great work of bringing the children of Israel out of Egypt, (which was a type of God's delivering his church out of the spiritual Egypt at the time of the fall of Antichrist, as is evident by Rev. xi. 8. and xv. 3.) how highly did he resent it, when the Amalekites appeared as opposers in that affair ? and how dreadfully did he curse them for it? Exod. xvii. 14–16. “And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua ; for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi. For he said, Because the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.” And accordingly we find that God remembered it a long time after, 1 Sam. xv. 3. And how highly did God resent it in the Moabites and Ammonites, that they did mot lend a helping hand, and encourage and promote the

affair? Deut. xxiii. 3, 4. “An Amorite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation, shall they not enter into the congregation of the Lord for ever. Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt." And how were the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh threatened, if they did not go and help their brethren in their wars against the Canaanites? Num. xxxii. 20—23. " And Moses said unto them, if ye will do this thing, if ye will go armed before the Lord to war, and will go all of you armed over Jordan before the Lord, until he hath driven out his enemies from before him, and the land be subdued before the Lord, then afterward ye shall return, and be guiltless before the Lord and before Israel ; and this land shall be your possession before the Lord. But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out."

That was a glorious work which God wrought for Israel, when he delivered them from the Canaanites, by the hand of Deborah and Barak. Almost every thing about it shewed a remarkable hand of God. It was a prophetess, one immediately inspired by God, that called the people to the battle, and conducted them in the whole affair.

The people seem to have been miraculously animated and encouraged in the matter, when they willingly offered themselves, and gathered together to the battle; they jeoparded their lives in the high places of the field, without being pressed or hired, when one would have thought they should have but little courage for such an undertaking. For what could a number of poor, weak, defenceless slaves do, without a shield or spear to be seen among forty thousand of them, to go against a great prince with his mighty host and nine hundred chariots of iron ? And the success wonderfully shewed the hand of God; which makes Deborah exultingly to say, Judges v. 31. “O my soul,

“ thou hast trodden down strength !" Christ with his heavenly host was engaged in that battle; and therefore it is said, ver. 20, “ They fought from heaven, the stars in their courses fought against Sisera.” The work of God therefore in this victory and deliverance which Christ and his host wrought for Israel. was a type of what he will accomplish for his church in that great last conflict of the church with her open enemies, that shall introduce the church's latter-day glory; as appears by Rev. xvi. 16. (speaking of that great battle,) “ And he gathered them together into a place, called in the Hebrew tongue, Arma. geddon, i. e. the mountain of Megiddo ; alluding as is supposed by expositors, to the place where the battle was fought with the host of Sisera, Judges v. 19. “The kings came and fought the kings of Canaan, in Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo." Which can signify nothing else than that this VOL. IV



« PoprzedniaDalej »