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in the name of the Lord! Ethiopia shall then stretch out her hands unto God. In short, every place which is now barbarous, or merely civilized, shall be subjected to the full power of our Holy Faith. The Lord shall be King over all the earth. And how consolatory is it to the Christian Mind, to contemplate the results of the ultimate fulfilment of the prophecy, to the visiBLE church of christ! Then, behold how those Christians will love one another! What a healing of divisions! What meekness, and mutual forbearance, and tenderness toward one another! How will Formality, and Hypocrisy, and Self-righteousness then hide their heads ! When He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, according to the plenary intention of the prophetic word, He will guide the Church into all truth, dissipate all the mists of error, harmonize all discrepancies, subdue all prejudices, soften all hearts, and cause the unity of the Spirit to be kept in the bond of peace. Happy period 1 when the GENERAL experience of the Church shall prove the influence of that Spirit to be, what the Scriptures so expressly declare it, a renewing, illuminating, strengthening, comforting, and sanctifying grace—when zeal, and love, and holiness shall abound—when sin shall be men's greatest dread, a saving interest in Christ their highest aim, holiness to the Lord their unceasing pursuit, and His honour and glory their pleasure and delight—when God shall abolish for ever the idols, which the love of the world now sets up in men's Hearts, as well as the gods many and lords many of the Heathen; and shall exhibit, throughout the whole world, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all, who shall be KNowN as above all, and through all, and in them all.
Yet, in this universal prevalence of divine love, it is by no means necessary, I conceive, and probably will not be found to be the fact, that all Christians shall have the same views precisely on points not essential to salvation. The Church's earliest and best days will be renewed: Christians will continue stedfast in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship: the multitude which believe will be of one heart and of one soul; but difference of views on subordinate points may, as then, prevail, and will but serve to give exercise to the spirit of divine charity. Of that temper we rejoice to witness an increasing measure in the Church of Christ, in the present day; and we know no feature in the aspect of the present times more truly indicative of the approach of that blissful period.
Having thus endeavoured to shew some of the blessed results which shall attend the fulfilment of the prophecy, it remains to APPLY this great subject to ourselves, as Members of a Society, whose object it is to assist in bringing on the glory of the last days.
This I shall attempt to do, by a THREEFold ExHoRTATION relative to the fulfilment of the great promise contained in the Text—Look, in faith, for that fulfilment—PRAY for it—LABouk to promote it.
1. Look for the fulfilment of the promise. The Church is to expect what God has promised. And, though the Christian see not the gathering of the harvest into the garner, yet let it rejoice him to behold some fields white already unto the harvest, C
and some first-fruits already shewing themselves. David saw not the Temple built; but how did it gladden his heart to witness the preparations made for building—to view the stones, and the cedars, and the silver, and the gold, and all the offerings of the people, who offered willingly unto the Lord! Such joy must every real Christian feel, at the preparations now making, on all sides, for the coming of Messiah's Kingdom. Surely there is a cry in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord! make straight in the desert a highway for our God! For the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. (Is. xl. 3, 5.) Yes, His way is preparing. The signs of the times declare it. Labourers, from all parts of the Protestant World, are beginning to take a share in the noble work of evangelizing the whole earth. The prejudices of the Heathen are already giving way. The importance of Christian Knowledge begins to be duly appreciated by those, who, a short time since, were enveloped in all the darkness of Ignorance and Superstition. Christian Schools are established in the heart of countries hitherto wholly given to Idolatry. Christian Churches are built there; and, in various quarters, are occupied by large and attentive congregations. Christian Ministers are received with joy; and are hailed, in many places, in almost the Prophet's language— How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bring eth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that saith, Behold your God! (Is. lii. 7.) And does not IsrAEL itself, the obdurate and blinded Israel, present a less mournful aspect than heretofore? Yes! we cast our eyes here and there upon the valley of dry bones, and we discover a noise, and a shaking, which may intimate to us, that the time is approaching, when the breath shall come into them from above—when the word of the Lord shall be accomplished, I will put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live. (Ezek. xxxvii. 5–8.) Add to this the immense diffusion of the Word of God. The Holy Scriptures are translated into many languages, and scattered throughout many countries. The Angel of the Apocalypse seems to have already begun to wing his flight in the midst of heaven, having the Everlasting Gospel to preach to all nations. Surely these are circumstances, which warrant the Christian to expect, at the Lord's hand, a fulfilment of His promise. Is there not to be discerned a cloud, at least, in the heavens, portentous of the coming shower of mercy upon the earth, the promised outpouring of the Spirit of the Lord 2
2. But we must not only expect this event— we must PRAY for it.
When the Prophet sent his servant to look for the cloud which was to bring rain upon Israel's thirsty land, he was himself prostrate before God IN PRAYER; and it was, as he prayed, that the cloud, at first no bigger than a man's hand, overspread the whole heavens. So let the Christian pray, while he watches the signs of the times.
God has, it is true, promised this blessing; yet for all this He will be inquired of, to do it for us. He had promised a victory to Israel over Amalek; yet it was only while the hands of Moses were lifted up before the Lord, that Joshua prevailed against Amalek; and while our Missionary Warriors are fighting the battle of the Lord against a more deadly foe, in Heathen Lands, it becomes us to lift up our hands in prayer, for a victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Prayer is a mighty weapon. It obtained for Hezekiah, what the swords of his armed men could never have accomplished without it. The Prophet's message was remarkable—Thus saith the Lord, Whereas thou hast prayed unto me against Sennacherib—not because thou hast sent forth thine armies, and marshalled against him thy great men, and thy strong men, and thy chief captains, and thy mighty men; but, thus saith the Lord, Whereas thou hast prayed unto me against Sennacherib, therefore he shall not come into this city. (Is. xxxvii. 21, &c.)
Whatever be the help which we need against our great adversary, it shall not be withheld from the fervent, the united, the persevering prayers of the Church of Christ.
Would we usher in that glorious state which we have been speaking of as PRomis ED —let the Church PRAY, as Daniel did, BEcause it is promised. When he understood, by books, the number of years that God would accomplish in the destruction of Jerusalem, THEN he set his face unto the Lord his God, to seek it by prayer. So let the signs of our times, and all the favourable circumstances which intimate that the period of promised mercy is approaching, warm our hearts to more earnest and fervent prayer for its full accomplishment.