« AnteriorContinuar »
Rev. xx, 4. AND THEY LIVED AND REIGNED WITH CHRIST
A THOUSAND YEARS.
11. DURING the Millennium, Christians will make much higher attainments in grace, than before. From the beginning of the world, two things have been peculiarly grievous to the pious heart; one, that the righteous have been so few; the other, that these few have been so imperfect. Of all the saints in the Bible, there is scarcely any, of whom there is not also some sin recorded; some sin, to deface the fair page of history, and proclaim to succeeding generations, Let him, that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall. And how often have saints, in later ages, pierced through their own souls, by departing from their covenant God. How often has Christ been wounded in the house of his friends. What multitudes have run well for a time, but afterwards left their first love; become lukewarm, indifferent, cold in spiritual matters, and almost forgetful of their Creator, Redeemer, and Judge. But, my brethren, it shall not be forever thus. The time is coming, when the robes of salvation, with which Christians are clothed and adorned, will shine forth with more beauty, than ever has been seen in mortals. We have seen that, during the Millennium, Christians will greatly excel in knowledge. There is rea15*
son to believe, that they will be still more distinguished by holiness. In that day, there shall be upon the bells of the horses, Holiness to the Lord.' The spirits of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, will live in those, who shall reign with Christ during the Millennium; as the spirit of Elias lived in the Baptist. Millennial Christians will have the hearts of martyrs, though they will not be called to suffer martyrdom; they will manifest such a zeal for God, that it will seem as though all the old martyrs had risen from the dead ; had risen from the dead, more zealous than ever. It is not to be supposed, that Christians will be entirely free from sin, even in the happiest part of that happy period. But Millennials will not be such imperfect, mourning, melancholy Christians, as their predecessors. So far from it, they will be as kings and priests, reigning and offering incense, before God.
12. In the Millennium, people will enjoy much better health, than before. How numerous, how various, how dreadful, are the diseases, which have disheartened, afflicted and tormented mankind for so many ages. We can scarcely find such an object as a person of adult years, who does not know, by sad experience, what it is to be sick. You will scarcely find, I do not say a city, you will scarcely find a village, where all the inhabitants are in health for a single hour. How many are languishing and drooping for a great part of their lives. Notwithstanding the astonishing improvements, which have been made in the science of anatomy, and the art of healing; the arts of luxury and vice, the horrid arts of producing fevers, consumptions, and almost all kinds of disease, have advanced with a progress nearly or quite equal, and haps even superior. It is probable, there is as great a proportion of sickness among mankind now, as there was in the days of Vesalius, Galen or Hippocrates; of David, Moses, or Abraham. But in the days of the Millennium, sickness will be greatly diminished, or wholly unknown. No disease will be then produced by intemperance, nor imprudence, the two causes, that have produced more sickness than perhaps all others. The art of healing and preventing diseases will no doubt be greatly improved.
And not only so, but it is probable, that after a course of ages, the very constitution of man will be improved and renovated, by the practice of virtue, the skill of man, and the blessing of God; as it has been impaired by the practice of vice, and the judgments of heaven. The Sun of Righteousness shall rise with healing in his wings. And the prediction of Isaiah, evidently referring to the Millennium, will be fulfilled: And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick.
13. During the Millennium, there is reason to believe, that people will live much longer, than men have lived since the days of Moses. The causes, that prevent diseases and promote health, will tend to prolong life. If the human constitution is to be improved, this also will tend to lengthen out the days of man. As it was probably owing to the curse of God, as well as to natural causes, that the life of man was shortened; so it is probable, that by the blessing of God, as well as by natural causes, the life of man will be lengthened. What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. The fear of the Lord prolongeth days, but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.
14. In the Millennium, Christians will be much more numerous, than before. Hitherto the flock of Christ has been a little flock; his people have been but a remnant. In but a small part of the inhabited world, has the true religion been known; and comparatively but few in that small part have been found in the strait and narrow way. Many besides Elijah have felt, that they were almost alone in their pilgrimage. My brethren, it will not be always thus. The time is approaching, when the proportion of saints and sinners will be reversed; and of all the nations and tribes and families of the earth, a remnant only shall be left to Satan. And that time will be only introductory to the Millennium; it will be only the twilight of the glorious day. For when all shall know and serve the Lord, not even a remnant shall be left to the expelled and imprisoned adversary. There is also reason to believe, that the population of the world will be
vastly increased. How rapidly will population advance, when very few, probably, if any, shall die in infancy, childhood, or youth; particularly when God shall bestow the special blessing, by which he has promised to distinguish his people, when they shall return unto him. I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth. And again, In multiplying, I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore. But how can the earth support such amazing numbers? An answer to this question will be attempted in the next proposition.
15. During the Millennium, the fruits of the earth will be much more abundant, than before. A much greater portion of the earth's surface will probably then be cultivated, than at any time before. It is supposed, that about a million acres of land remain uncultivated in the ancient and populous island of Great Britain. What vast tracts then must we suppose are lying waste, in other countries of much greater extent; especially in those, that are comparatively new and thinly inhabited. There is reason to believe, that the whole habitable earth will be cultivated with much more care than China has received, and with ten times the skill. Rulers and subjects, philosophers, chemists and cultivators, seem to be uniting their efforts in various countries, for the advancement of agriculture. May we not expect, from these considerations, that the time will come, when the fruits of the earth will be increased a hundred fold? But to the Christian, there are other reasons to justify the expectation of an increase greater still. Ever since the fall of man, the earth has been under a curse. The ground was a second time cursed for the murderous conduct of Cain. And since the days of Adam and Cain, how often has the earth been cursed, in one part and another, for the wickedness of man. So that now the earth may be considered as lying under an accumulation of curses, like mountains piled upon mountains. It will be far otherwise in the Millennium. Then no doubt the curse will be almost or altogether removed; and the earth, by the abundant blessing of God, converted into one vast Eden, will bring forth by handfuls. In the bold language of Scripture, There shall
be a handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains, and the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon. What then shall we think of it, when such fruitfulness is represented as being upon the top of the mountains, the most unproductive parts of the earth? Thus, except one small spot, which, according to the prediction of Isaiah, is to remain under a tremendous and perpetual curse, for the controversy of Zion; perhaps to show succeeding generations how much the Lord abhors the haters of Zion; the rest of the earth will probably be so cultivated, and so blessed, that its productions will be increased a thousand fold.
16. During the Millennium, Christians will be much better united, than before. The flock of Christ has not only been a little flock, but the members of this little flock have often been grievously divided among themselves. As early as the days of the apostles, they began to divide into different sects, and to arrange themselves under different leaders. One was of Paul, another of Apollos, another of Cephas, and another, with perhaps an equal degree of sectarian spirit, professed to be more particularly of Christ. And since the days of the apostles, the denominations of Christians have been exceedingly multiplied, and even the members of the same sect have had very different opinions concerning important doctrines and practices. These divisions have been the cause of coldness, disaffection, wrath, strife, bitterness, slander, persecution, and almost every evil work. Some have been so affected with these things, as almost to despair of union among the members of Christ's body, in the present world. To such, it may be said, O ye of little faith, wherefore do ye doubt? Are we not assured, that the meek shall inherit the earth, and delight themselves in the abundance of peace? Yes, my brethren, there will be abundance of peace, all kinds of peace. They will enjoy peace of conscience, peace with God, and peace among themselves. Ephraim shall not envy Judah, nor Judah vex Ephraim. Differences in opinion will be constantly diminishing. As they become more and more united in sentiment, their practices will become more and more similar. We may therefore with confidence anticipate the time, not only