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LECTURE I.

TESTIMONY FROM MOSES AND THE

PROPHETS.

Mat. 3: 2.

"The kingdom of heaven is at hand."

IT must be admitted that there never was, and never can' be, another subject so unspeakably interesting to all, as that of the "kingdom of heaven at hand," introduced by John in this passage. And as the subject was so full of lively interest to Christ and John, who always made it their theme, and their great and prevailing motive to repentance, whenever and wherever they preached "the gospel of the kingdom," it is also of the utmost importance now, that it should be well understood by all to whom this same Gospel is preached. Those who shall well understand the nature of this kingdom, and give due and seasonable attention to it, may immediately obtain all its blessedness and glory for eternity; while others, by a perversion and neglect of it, are every moment in danger of being for ever destroyed by it, which shall be made manifest to the universe when the Son of man shall finally "come, with his mighty angels" of the kingdom, "in flaming fire," to destroy his enemies "with an everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord. (2 Thess. 1: 8,9.) As upon all other important subjects, there is at diversity of prevailing sentiment on this, not only in regard

to the kingdom's being "at hand," but in regard to what Christ and John really meant by the kingdom itself. Without limits, and without occasion now, even to state the variety of these opinions, it may be said at once, that there is one sentiment concerning it, which is quite prevalent, and which supposes that Christ and John, in preaching" the kingdom at hand," as a motive for immediate repentance, meant neither more nor less than the kingdom of the Gospel dispensation, or christian church, which was then so near at hand,” that it did actually come within about forty years after, and in the fullest manner, in the passing away of the Jewish dispensation at the destruction of Jerusalem.

Against the sentiment that the church, or present dispensation, was the kingdom at hand, preached by John and our Saviour, I have been led to dissent, after having long held the sentiment as correct. The principal reasons for this change of my view on the subject, is a most clear and pungent conviction, after carefully searching out the whole matter, with the Bible as its own expositor, that the sentiment is contrary to the spirit and letter of the Bible, and that it does exceedingly "make void the law," or word of God, in destroying its power to awaken, convert and sanctify the souls of men, and that the present long continued depression of Zion, in her gross idolatrous conformity to this world, has resulted mostly, if not altogether, from such an understanding of the "Gospel of the kingdom." It will be seen, on reflection, that there is no awakening motive to repentance in the mere sentiment that the "Jewish dispensation" is passed away, and another dispensation come. Long experience tells us that sinners are rather quieted by it, while the spiritually minded, who live by faith of invisible things, must aspire after something

infinitely more important as a treasure of their own, on which to set their hearts, than the momentary concerns of any earthly dispensation, for their "kingdom of heaven at hand."

THE DOCTRINE

To be maintained in this, and other discourses, is, that "the kingdom of heaven—at hand," as preached by Christ and John, was and is, the "everlasting kingdom"-" of God," composed, as every kingdom is, of the king himself, and all the subjects of this kingdom-that this kingdom "at hand" it yet to come- -that it will come with Christ, the Great King, to judgment, together with the resurrection, and all the events of that great day-that it is now specially at hand, as appears by the prophetic signs of it at present fulfilling; and that all the prophets and apostles on these subjects, were designed to be understood as preaching the same "kingdom at hand."

As the whole of this doctrine cannot be discussed in a single discourse, and as many have supposed that the prophets of the Old Testament were always silent about the sudden coming of this great event, and that this consideration is an argument that Christ and John, in preaching the kingdom at hand, meant only that the christian church. or Gospel dispensation was then "at hand"-The subject may now be discussed under the following

PROPOSITION, VIZ.

To hear the prophets of the Old Testament themselves on this doctrine, and to show from the letter and apparent spirit of their writings, that they did severally, most distinctly and impressively, foretel the same coming of the great day, or kingdom at hand, as that so foretold by

Christ and John, though we consider it the everlasting kingdom of God, yet future and “at hand."

Passages from the Old Testament prophets will be examined, as they stand in order, very briefly, and with but a brief notice, to make room for a greater number in a single discourse, which only can be devoted to proof from those prophets.

1. THE PROPHET MOSES.

Deut. 18:18, 19. "I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto me, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him."

That Moses is here foretelling, the second and final coming of Christ, as well as his first, is positively affirmed by the Apostle Peter when preaching, really after Christ's first coming and return to heaven, saying, "And he [the Lord] shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you. Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." (Acts, 3: 21.) Here, Peter, foretelling Christ's coming again from "the heavens," asserts that "all the holy prophets since the world began" have foretold the same. And in his very next expression, to make his meaning more clear, he refers to Moses, the first prophet, who foretold these great things of Christ's coming again, and quotes this very passage from Moses, almost verbatim, saying, "For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you, of your

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