Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

EDITOR'S PREFACE.

xxi

glory and honor. He who was crucified on Calvary, shall then reign on Zion. He who was despised and rejected, shall then be honored and esteemed. He who was mocked, and scourged, and spurned, and buffeted, shall be hailed and honored, and adored by a world which he has redeemed. And here, beneath skies once darkened above his cross, but then illumined with the splendors of his throne, they shall,

"Bring forth the royal diadem,

And crown him Lord of all."

To-day Christ sits enthroned, but it is not upon the throne of his own eternal kingdom. An exile from his rightful, bloodbought realm, he sits at the right hand of the throne of God, from henceforth expecting until his enemies be made his footstool. He, like the nobleman, has gone “into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return,” and by and by he shall come again and reckon with his servants, and destroy his foes who hated him, and said," We will not have this man to reign over us." Luke xix. 11-15. But he is not without honor or authority. As Pharaoh said to Joseph in Egypt: “Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou," so God hath "highly exalted Him, and given him a name which is above every name." And as of old they cried before Joseph, "Bow the knee," and made him ruler over all the land, so the great antitype of Joseph, having passed through his years of suffering and of shame, is set on high, and before him every knee shall bow and every tongue confess, to the glory of God the Father. Presiding over the destinies of the world, and carrying forward the work of human redemption, the resources of the universe are at his command. All power in heaven and earth is given into his hands, and, no matter whose decree opposes, he bids his servants go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature, and win the rebels back to their allegiance to him.

But when "This Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations: then shall the end come." Matt. xxiv. 14. He, who to-day, as the great High Priest and Mediator, holds in his hands the reins of power and government, shall, when his work of grace is accomplished, deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father; and the dispensation of grace having ended, the work of judgment shall begin. 1 Cor. xv. 24. His enemies shall

then be made his footstool, and he, having authority to execute judgment, shall tread down all his foes. The kingdoms of this world shall first become "our Lord's," and then, subjected by Almighty power, they shall become his Christ's, and he shall reign forever and ever." Rev. xi. 15. "The Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever: and of his kingdom there shall be no end." Luke i. 32. One like the Son of Man shall come in the clouds of heaven to the Ancient of Days, and shall be brought near before him, and there shall be given him a kingdom and dominion and glory, that all people, nations and languages may serve him. Dan. vii: 14. "And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all." 1 Cor. xv. 28.

"But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the Day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, . . . and they shall not escape." And as it is not for us to "know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power," it will appear evident that the Church should live in constant watchfulness, neither uttering rash alarms on the one hand, nor saying "Peace and safety" on the other, but standing in constant vigilance, with girded loins and burning lamps, waiting for the coming of the King. And if at times we grow weary of this long delay, we are yet to remember that the Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Our estimates of times and seasons partake of our own frailty and imperfection. That which God pronounces near at hand might yet seem far off to finite mortals. An eagle's estimate of distance is very different from a snail's; and periods which to us seem vast and almost illimitable, are but the dust of rolling ages in the sight of Him of whom it is written: "A thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night." "One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." Gazing through the pure ether which surrounds the heights of prophetic inspiration, the annointed eye of faith beholds at

EDITOR'S PREFACE.

xxiii

hand, events that, to the dim-eyed dwellers among the fogs and mists of worldliness and doubt, seem very far away. And the eagle glance that leaps from height to height along the distant landscape, may some times take no note of intervening vales, which must be entered by slow descents, and trodden with worn and weary feet. In a single sentence the prophet Isaiah connected "The acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God." Only the slightest pause divides between those grand events; yet at the very point when our Saviour had read of “the acceptable year of the Lord," he "closed the book... and sat down." Isa. lxi. 2. Luke iv. 19. He knew when to close the Book;-he knew that between that acceptable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God, a whole dispensation intervened: unfortunately we do not always know just where to close the Book, and sit down. It seems, notwithstanding these considerations, clearly demonstrable that we are living in the closing period of this world's history. Long ago was it written, "The night is far spent, the day is at hand;" and again, Knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed." The apostles spoke of the times in which they lived as "these last days" wherein God had spoken unto men by his Son, who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you." The time when the Spirit of God was poured out as upon the day of Pentecost is definitely described as "in the last days," and the Scriptures, as a whole, coincide with these representations. But we may be sure that we could not reach "the last days" in the world's history, until we had passed the middle period of its course. On a journey of six thousand miles we do not reach the last miles until we have passed the middle milestone. Standing in the earlier portion of such a journey, we might call the whole of the latter half of the pilgrimage the last portion of it, but on arriving at the middle of the course we should still look forward and speak of the last part of it as that which immediately preceded the journey's end. The last miles of the journey, cannot include any portion of the first half of a journey, but they may include all, they must include a part of the latter half, and they must include the last mile of the course. So when the apostles spoke of living themselves "in the last days," they clearly indicated that the middle portion of the

journey had been passed; and when, standing at that point, they looked still farther on and warned us of the dangers to come "in the last days," they certainly gave us no reason to conclude that they were then in the opening period of this world's history. Hence all these vague ideas that the world is in its infancy, that we have but just entered upon the flow of ages which are to roll on without limit or interruption, is contrary to the plain revelation of the inspired Word.

What do men know of the world's infancy? As much as a cricket knows of the infancy of the oak under which it chirps. Who can tell what uncounted ages may have swept over this globe between the time when it was "without form and void," and the time when God said, "Let there be light," and prepared it for the abode of mankind. The world may be in its infancy, in respect to the divine purpose, but it will never reach its maturity until He who made it "very good" at first, shall come back to remove its curse and enshroud it with his blessing, and make it the abode of righteousness and peace and truth.

A terrible infancy this world has passed! For six thousand years it has been in rebellion against its Maker and its God. Here his name has been blasphemed, his law broken, his love despised, his grace spurned, his servants hated, his prophets stoned, and his Son slain. Here plains have shook with the tread of rushing armies, mountains have trembled with the thunder of battle, heaven has been pierced with cries of anguish, and earth has been slippery with human gore. From the time that the first man born of woman quenched his wrath in his brother's blood, this world has been the theatre of violence, oppression, injustice, iniquity, carnage, strife, jealousy, lust, pollution, idolatry, blasphemy, covetousness, and devilishness, so vast, so black, so terrible, that no eye but the eye of God could bear to contemplate the.scene. From those in this world who view a little of this seething hell of vice and woe and sin, the cry, "How long, O Lord?" goes up before the throne. And from Him who sitteth in the heavens and declares the end from the beginning, the answer comes, "Yet a little while, and He that shall come, will come, and will not tarry." The long-suffering of God is salvation; he bears with all that he may save some; "But the Day of the Lord will come," even the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men;" and then, when the reign of sin is past, we

EDITOR'S PREFACE.

XXV

may look for the days of joy and sunshine for the world, under the dominion of her rightful King.

There is another consideration which is not without weight. The statements of Scripture are in agreement with the facts of science and the nature of things; and until we enter that world where they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are equal with the angels, we may assume that like causes produce like effects, and that the laws which govern the human race in its present condition, would govern them in the millennial state. At present we have a general knowledge of the extent of our globe. There are no new continents to be discovered or explored, and geographical science informs us as to the extent of man's earthly habitation. We are also aware that the practice of religion, virtue, temperance and moderation, tend naturally to increase any population where these principles prevail. Now it is estimated that under such favorable circumstances, the population of any country will double itself in the space of about thirty-three years. Suppose then, for example, that at some period, say in the year A. D. 2,000, the fourteen hundred millions comprising the present population of this globe, will have increased to two thousand millions, and that then, the millennium will have dawned, with every condition favorable to the increase and longevity of the race; with no wars, famines, or pestilences to hurt or destroy the human family; with knowledge universally diffused, and the principles of piety, temperance, and pure religion every where regarded; with an utter absence of all these nameless vices and abominations which at present so largely deteriorate the physical vigor of the race;-certainly a virtuous, healthful, peaceful, pious, happy population, surrounded by all material blessings and comforts, could not fail to double itself once in thirty-three years, or three times in the course of a century.

But if we start with these undeniable premises, the simplest possible calculation will show us that long ere the close of the millennium, the population of this world will have entirely outgrown its habitation; and that long before a thousand years would have elapsed, to say nothing of the much vaster periods to which some men extend their millennial expectations, this globe would be covered by a solid mass of human beings, far more numerous than could obtain standing room upon its surface. Hence a theory which involves such consequences

« ForrigeFortsæt »