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All the great
complete salvation wrought out by Christ, and through him offered to you. Come, therefore, accept of it, and be saved.
2. For Christ to reject one that thus comes to him, would be to frustrate all those great things which God brought to pass from the fall of man to the incarnation of Christ. It would also frustrate all that Christ did and suffered while on earth; yea, it would frustrate the incarnation itself. things done were for that end, that those might be saved who should come to Christ. Therefore you may be sure Christ will not be backward in saving those who come to him, and trust in him : for he has no desire to frustrate himself in his own work. Neither will God the Father refuse you; for he has no desire to frustrate himself in all that he did for so many hun. dreds and thousands of years, to prepare the way for the salvation of sinners by Christ. Come, therefore, hearken to the sweet and earnest calls of Christ to your soul. Do as he invites and as he commands you, Matt. xi. 28–30. “Come unto me, all
ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
From Christ's Resurrection to the End of the World.
In discoursing on this subject, we have already shown how the work of redemption was carried on through the two first of the THREE PERIODS into which we divided the whole space of time from the fall to the end of the world. We are now come to the third and last period, beginning with Christ's resurrec
and would show, that the space of time from the end of Christ's humiliation to the end of the world is all taken up in bringing about the great effect or success of Christ's purchase:
Scriptural Representations of this Period.
Not but that there were great effects and glorious success of Christ's purchase of redemption before, even from the beginning of the generations of men. But all that success which was before was only preparatory, by way of anticipation, as VOL. III.
some few fruits are gathered before the harvest.
There was no more success before Christ came, than God saw needful to prepare the way for his coming. The proper time of the success or effect of Christ's redemption is after the purchase has been made, as the proper time for the world to enjoy the light of the sun is the day-time, after the sun is risen, though we may have some small matter of it reflected from the moon and planets before. And even the success of Christ's redemption while he himself was on earth, was very small in comparison of what it was after.
But, Christ having finished that greatest and most difficult of all works, now is come the time for obtaining the end, the glorious effect of it. Having gone through the whole course of his sufferings and humiliation, Christ is never to suffer any more. But now is the time for him to obtain the joy that was set before him. Having made his soul an offering for sin, now is the time for him to see his seed, to have a portion with the great, and to divide the spoil with the strong.
One design of Christ in what he did in his humiliation, was to lay a foundation for the overthrow of Satan's kingdom; and now is come the time to effect it, as Christ, a little before his crucifixion, said, John xii. 31. “Now is the judgment of this world ; now shall the prince of this world be cast out.”' Another design was to gather together in one all things in Christ. Now is come the time for this also : John xii. 32. * And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me;" which is agreeable to Jacob's prophecy of Christ, that “when Shiloh should come, to him should the gathering of the people be,” Gen. xlix. 10. Another design is the salvation of the elect. Now when his sufferings are finished, and his humiliation perfected, the time is come for that also : Heb. v. 8, 9. “Though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered : and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” Another design was, to accomplish by these things great glory to the persons of the Trinity. John xvii. 1. “Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee.” Another design was the glory of the saints. John xvii. 11. “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” And all the dispensations of God's providence henceforward, even to the final consummation of all things, are to give Christ his reward, and fulfil his end in what he did and suffered upon earth, and to fulfil the joy that was set before him.
BEFORE I enter on the consideration of any particular things accomplished in this period, I would briefly observe how the times of this period are represented in scripture.
I. The times of this period, for the most part, are in the Old Testament called the latter days. We oftcn, in the
prophets of the Old Testament, read of things that should come to pass in the latter days, and sometimes in the last days, evidently referring to gospel times. They are called the latter days, and the last days : because this is the last period of the series of God's providences on earth, the last period of the great work of redemption ; which is as it were the sum of God's works of providence ; the last dispensation of the covenant of grace on earth.
II. The whole time of this period is sometimes in scripture called the end of the world, 1 Cor. x. 11. “ Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples : and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” And the apostle, (Heb. ix. 26.) in this expression of the end of the world, means the whole of the gospel-day, from the birth of Christ to the day of judgment : “ But now once in the end of the world, hath he appeared, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” This space of time may well be called the end of the world ; for this whole time is taken up in bringing things to their great end and issue. Before, things were in a kind of preparatory state ; but now they are in a finishing state. An end is now brought to the former carnal state of things, which by degrees vanishes, and a spiritual state begins to be established more and more. Particularly, an end is brought to the former state of the church, which may be called its worldly state, in which it was subject to carnal ordinances, and the rudiments of the world. Then an end is brought to the Jewish commonwealth, in the destruction of their city and country. After that, an end is brought to the old Heathen empire in Constantine's time. The next step is the finishing of Satan's visible kingdom in the world, upon the fall of Antichrist, and the calling of the Jews. And last will come the destruction of the outward frame of the world itself, at the conclusion of the day of judgment. Heaven and earth began to shake, in order to a dissolution, according to the prophecy of Haggai, before Christ came, that so only those things which cannot
be shaken may remain, i. e. that those things which are to come to an end may terminate, and that only those things may remain which are to remain eternally.
In the first place, the carnal ordinances of the Jewish worship came to an end, in order to make way for the establishment of that spiritual worship, which is to endure to all eternity; John iv. 21. “ Jesus saith unto the woman, Believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerasalem, worship the Father.” Verse 23. “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth : for the Father seeketh such to worship him." This is one instance of the temporary world coming to an end, and the eternal world beginning. And then the outward temple and the city Jerusalem came to an end, to give place to the setting up of the spiritual temple and city, which are to last for ever. Another instance of removing those things which are ready to vanish away, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain, is the bringing to an end the old Heathen empire, to make way for the empire of Christ, which shall last to all eternity. After that, upon the fall of Antichrist, an end is put to Satan's visible kingdom on earth, to establish Christ's kingdom, which is an eternal kingdom; as the prophet Daniel says, chap. vii. 27. “ And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him ;” which is another instance of the ending of the temporary world, and the beginning of the eternal one. And then, lastly, the very frame of this corruptible world shall come to an end, to make way for the church to dwell in another dwelling-place, which shall last to eternity.
Because the world is thus coming to an end by various steps and degrees, the apostle perhaps uses this expression, that (not the end but) the ends of the world are come on us; as though the world has several endings one after another. The gospel dispensation is a finishing state; it is all spent in finishing things off which before had been preparing, or abolishing things which before had stood. It is all spent as it were in summing things up, and bringing them to their issues, and their proper fulfilment. Now all the old types are fulfilled, and the predictions of all the prophets from the beginning of the world shall be accomplished in this period.
III. That state of things which is attained in the events of this period is called a new heaven and a new earth : Isa. Ixv. 17, 18. "For behold, I create new heavens, and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be you glad and rejoice forever in that which I create: for behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy."' And chap. Ixvi. 22. “For as the new heavens and the new earth which I make, shall remain before me; so shall your seed and your name remain.” See also chap. li. 16. As the former state of things, or the old world, by one step after another, is through this period coming to an end : so the new state of things, or the new world which is a spiritual world, is beginning and setting up. In consequence of each of these finishings of the old state of things, there is the beginning of a new and eternal state. So that which accompanied the destruction of the literal Jerusalem, was an establishing of the spiritual. So with tespect to the destruction of the old Heathen empire, and all
the other endings of the old state of things; till at length the very outward frame of the world itself shall come to an end; and the church shall dwell in heaven, which will be a new habitation. Then shall the utmost be accomplished that is meant by the new heavens and the new earth. (See Rev. xxi. 1.)
The end of God's creating the world, was to prepare a kingdom for his Son, (for he is appointed heir of the world,) which should remain to all eternity. So far as the kingdom of Christ is set up in the world, so far is the world brought to its end, and the eternal state of things set up--so far are all the great changes and revolutions in the world brought to their everlasting issue, and all things come to their ultimate period so far are the waters of the long channel of divine providence, which has so many branches, and so many windings, emptied into their proper ocean, which they have been seeking from the beginning of their course, and so are come to their rest
. So far as Christ's kingdom is established in the world, so far are things wound up and settled in their everlasting state, and a period put to the course of things in this changeable world ; so far are the first heavens and the first earth come to an end, and the new heavens and the new earth, the everlasting heavens and earth, established in their room. This leads me to observe,
IV. That the state of things which is attained by the ovents of this period, is what is so often called the kingdom of heaven, or the kingdom of God. We very often read in the New Testament of the kingdom of heaven. John the Baptist preached, that the kingdom of heaven was at hand ; and so did Christ and his disciples after him ; referring to something that the Jews in those days expected, and called by that name. They seem to have taken their expectation and the name chiefly from the prophecy of Daniel in Nebuchadnezzar's dream, Dan. ii. 44. "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom;" together with chap. vii. 13, 14.
Now this kingdom of heaven is that evangelical state of things in the church, and in the world, wherein consists the success of Christ's redemption in this period. There had been often great kingdoms set up before, as the Babylonish, the Persian, the Grecian, and the Roman monarchies. But Christ came to set up the last, which is not an earthly kingdom, but an heavenly, John xviii. 36. “ My kingdom is not of this world." This is the kingdom of which Christ speaks, Luke xxii. 29. “My Father hath appointed to me a kingdom.” This kingdom began soon after Christ's resurrection, and is accomplished in various steps from that time to the end of the world. Sometimes by the kingdom of heaven, is meant not only that spiritual state of