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when all mankind shall be Christians, but when all Christians shall be of one and the same denomination.
17. In the Millennium, the souls of the martyrs of preceding ages will live and reign with Christ upon earth. And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. The question may arise, Will Christ reign on earth personally, or only spiritually; visibly, or invisibly? That his reign on earth during the Millennium will be spiritual, in the hearts of his people, and not personal or external, seems capable of satisfactory proof. We have already seen, that the resurrection of the martyrs and distinguished saints at the beginning of the Millennium, which is called the first resurrection, is to be merely spiritual, or a resurrection of souls, not of bodies. John did not see the bodies of them that were beheaded, but only their souls. As the first resurrection, therefore, is to be merely spiritual, and as the martyrs will be only spiritually raised to reign with Christ, it seems most rational to conclude, that the reign of Christ on earth will be merely spiritual. But what are we to understand by the saints reigning with Christ during the Millennium? No doubt it implies, that the hearts of the saints will be so completely conformed to the will of Christ, that they will cordially approve all his laws and dispensations, and exceedingly rejoice in them; that the saints will be eminently honoured and blessed; and that they will be workers together with Christ in the administration of his affairs, in a manner more striking and interesting, than in preceding ages.
18. In the Millennium, Zion will appear exceedingly beautiful and glorious. Zion has often been covered with a cloud, and the beauty of Israel cast down to the ground. Long has the church been travelling in the wilderness, clothed in sackcloth, with dust and ashes upon her head, and often with her garments rent. But behold, she is coming up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved, her almighty Maker, Friend and Husband. The time is coming, my brethren, when the church will look forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun; beautiful as Tirzah, and comely as Jerusalem. The King's
daughter shall then be all-glorious within, and appear allglorious without; her clothing shall be of wrought gold; she shall be brought to the King in raiment of needlework. He shall greatly desire her beauty, and exceedingly rejoice in her love.
19. During the Millennium, the earth will be filled with the glory of God. In one sense indeed, the earth is now filled with the glory of God. It contains numberless displays of his power, wisdom and goodness. But then, it will be filled with displays of his power, wisdom and goodness, much more rich, abundant and striking. The wickedness of mankind, and the curse of God, under which the world shall have been groaning for thousands of years, will then be removed. Seasons and climates, winds and waves, will probably exhibit a milder and more delightful aspect. The rich luxuriance of the fruits of the earth will exhale a more glorious cloud of incense to the God of nature. The beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, instead of devouring each other, will dwell peacefully together, and seem to unite in harmonious anthems of praise to the God of peace. But these will be faint glories, compared with others more illustrious, with which the earth will be filled during the Millennium. It will be filled with moral agents, perhaps a thousand times as many as its present inhabitants. These will be greatly distinguished above all preceding generations, for the powers of their minds, for their attainments in knowledge, in understanding, in prudence, in refinement, in every intellectual and social excellence; but especially for their zeal for the Lord of Hosts, for their glowing and rational devotion, for their fervent charity among themselves. And they will be distinguished for good works, no less than for zeal, charity and devotion. And the myriads of holy beings that shall then people the earth, will have eyes to see, and hearts to admire, the glory of God, in every dewdrop, in every opening bud, and more especially, in every singing, shouting, exulting Christian. Then may it, with most striking propriety, be said by Jehovah, This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise.
20. During the Millennium, Christians will be much happier, than before. Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, and her sin pardoned. How great, how unspeakable, will be the enjoyment of Christians, when pure and undefiled religion shall be so extensively, so universally triumphant ; when all the dark places of the earth shall be enlightened and cheered by an immortal Sun; when the persecutor's sword shall cease to reek with human blood; when the tongue of slander shall be silenced, and the land no longer mourn by reason of lying, and swearing, and stealing, and cheating, and wrath, and strife, and bitterness; when disease and pain shall scarcely be known upon earth; and when the whole world shall swarm with Christians, with Christians glowing with the spirit of the martyrs. Happy, thrice happy sons of Millennial glory, with what tender compassion will you look back upon us, who, though we have so much reason to be thankful for the light and privileges we enjoy, yet, compared with you, are still groping in the dark, and grovelling in the dust. Sing, O ye heavens; shout, ye lower parts of the earth; break forth into singing; for the Lord hath done it.
IV. WHAT DUTIES ARE THIS SUBJECT?
INCULCATED UPON US BY
Having considered when the Millennium will commence; how long will be its duration; and what will be the state of the world during its continuance; by far the most important inquiry, as respects ourselves, yet remains to be considered. It is this. What are these things to us? Are they designed as mere speculations to amuse curiosity? Or are they addressed to conscience, with a most solemn commission to engage our hearts and hands? This leads to the fourth general inquiry, What duties are inculcated by the subject of the Millennium ?
My Brethren, are we not called upon, with a voice from the Prophecies, loud and clear, to attend to the Signs of the Times? Do they not even now strongly indicate the preparing of the way for the latter-day glory? If it is important for the statesman to observe the signs of the
times in relation to the kingdoms of this world; how much more important must it be for those, who are waiting for the consolation of Israel, to consider the signs of the times, as they relate to the kingdom of heaven.
But the subject calls for something more than mere inquiries. The great end of knowledge is action. If this knowledge does not excite us to be up and doing for the advancement of Christ's kingdom, we may as well be without it. Nay, to us it will be worse than in vain; for to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. If the word and providence of God are unitedly proclaiming, Behold the Bridegroom cometh; surely we are bound to prepare for his reception, and to go out, and bring him on his way.
But, do you ask, what is to be done? What can we do for the promotion of an object so great, so glorious, and so desirable? I answer, much; there is much to be done, and there is much for us to do. The glorious Millennial period is to be introduced by means. God works by means. Not only do two petitions of our Lord's Prayer teach us to pray for this reign of the Saints every day; but we are required to act. The amazing events, that will usher in the Millennium, will be principally effected by human instrumentality. Behold the stupendous wheels of Divine Providence already in motion, the wheels within wheels, urged forward by the hand of Omnipotence, and rolling forward to the blessed consummation. Though the Spirit of God must move the wheels, yet he makes use of human agents at every turn. To assist in urging forward these wheels, we are not only allowed, but requir ed, to apply our hearts, our tongues, our counsels, our property, our influence, our prayers, our talents, our utmost exertions, our every effort, to the blessed work.
This subject addresses itself in particular to Ministers of the Gospel. Ye heralds of salvation, thank God and take courage. You are honoured with an agency in the work of salvation, and in introducing the Millennium, above men of any other profession, and probably above the Angels themselves. Then, cry aloud, and spare not. Prepare the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight. But this subject is also addressed to others, in every sta
tion in life; to all Christians, of every denomination; to Parents, to Teachers, to Magistrates, to the Affluent, to the Young. There is not one, who has not something to do, to bring on this glorious day. Some may imagine, that they have no time, no means, to engage in this work; that they have so much to do for themselves, their families, and fellow men, that they have no time to spare for this purpose. My dear brethren, Is the kingdom of Christ then nothing to you? Is death, judgment, eternity, nothing to you, to your family; nothing to your fellow men? Be not deceived. The Judge standeth at the door; and all the felicities of the upper world are depending are depending perhaps upon the exertions of a single day. But, blessed be God, we believe that Christians are alive and stirring in this great work. We believe that more has been done, for the last twenty-five years, to forward the Millennial glory, than has been done for many centuries before. We believe that more is now doing, than ever yet has been done. This is emphatically the Age of Bibles, of Missionaries, of Prayer, of Sabbath Schools, of Benevolent Institutions. Go on, then, ye Vicegerents of God upon earth; cease not; faint not; for verily ye shall in no wise lose your reward.
And now, my brethren, let us pause a moment, flect. We have been hearing of the happy times of the approaching Millennium. If such is to be the bliss and glory of the earthly Millennium, what is Heaven? Compared with the light of Heaven, even the meridian effulgence of the Millennial day will be as darkness. Compared with the glory of Heaven, the Millennium itself will have no glory, by reason of the glory, that so greatly excelleth. Dearly beloved, let us give all diligence, to make our calling and election sure, and let us most fervently and constantly strive to enter into that glorious and eternal rest, that remaineth to the people of God.