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ceed to the end of the world, and what they will come to at last, and how then all things shall be to God. Nothing else but the Scriptures has any pretence for showing any manner of regular scheme or drift in those revolutions which God orders from age to age. Nothing else pretends to show what God would effect by the things which he has done, and is doing, and will do ; what he seeks and intends by them. Nothing else pretends to show, with any distinctness or certainty, how the world began at first, or to tell us the original of things. Nothing but the Scriptures sets forth how God governed the world from the beginning of the generations of men upon the earth, in an orderly history; and nothing else sets before us how he will govern it to the end by an orderly prophecy of future events; agreeable to the challenge which God makes to the gods, and prophets, and teachers of the Heathen, in Isa. xli. 22, 23: “Let them bring them forth, and show us what shall happen: let them show the former things what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods."
Reason shows that it is fit and requisite, that the intelligent and rational beings of the world should know something of God's scheme and design in his works; for they doubtless are the beings that are principally concerned. The Thing that is God's great design in his works, is doubtless something concerning his reasonable creatures, rather than brute beasts and lifeless things. The revolutions by which God's great design is brought to pass, are doubtless revolutions chiefly among them, and which concern their state, and not the state of things without life or reason. And therefore surely it is requisite that they should know something of it; especially seeing that reason teaches that God has given his rational creatures reason and a capacity of seeing God in his works; for this end, that they may see God's glory in them, and give him the glory of them. But how can they see God's glory in his works, if they do not know what God's design in them is, and what he aims at by what he is doing in the world?
And further, it is fit that mankind should be informed something of God's design in the government of the world, because they are made capable of actively falling in with that design, and promoting of it, and acting herein as his friends and subjects; it is therefore reasonable to suppose, that God has given mankind some revelation to inform them of this ; but there is nothing else that does it but the Bible. In the Bible this is done. Hence we may learn an account of the first original of things, and an orderly account of the scheme of God's works from the first beginning, through those ages that are beyond the reach of all other histories. Here we are told what God aims at in the whole, what is the great end, how he has contrived the grand design he drives at, and the great things he would accomplish by all. Here we have a most rational, excellent account of this matter, worthy of God, and exceedingly showing forth the glory of his perfections, his majesty, his wisdom, his glorious holiness, and grace and love, and his exaltation above all, showing how he is the first and the last.
Here we are shown the connection of the various parts of the work of providence, and how all harmonizes, and is connected together in a regular, beautiful, and glorious frame.- In the Bible we have an account of the whole scheme of providence, from the beginning of the world to the end of it, either in history or prophecy, and are told what will become of things at last; how they will be finished off by a great day of judgment, and will issue in the subduing of God's enemies, and in the salvation and glory of his church, and setting up of ihe everlasting kingdom of his Son.
How rational, worthy, and excellent a revelation is this! And how excellent a book is the Bible, which contains so much beyond all other books in the world! And what characters are here of its being indeed a divine book! A book that the great Jehovah has given to mankind for their instruction, without which we should be left in miserable darkness and consusion.
VI. From what has been said, we may see the glorious majesty and power of God in this affair of redemption : especially is God glorious in his power. His glorious power appears in upholding his church for so long a time, and carrying on this work; upholding it oftentimes when it was but as a little spark of fire, or as smoking flax, in which the fire was almost gone out, and the powers of earth and hell were combined to destroy it. Yet God has never suffered them to quench it, and finally will bring forth judgment unto victory. God glorifies his strength in his church's weakness; in causing his people, who are like a number of little infants, finally to triumph over all earth and hell; so that they shall tread on the lion and adder ; the young lion and dragon shall they trample under foot. The glorious power of God appears in conquering his many and mighty enemies by that person who was once an infant in a manger, and appeared as a poor, weak, despised man. He conquers them, and triumphs over them in their own weapon, the cross.
The glorious majesty of God appears in conquering all those mighty enemies of the church one age after another ; in conquering Satan, that proud and strong spirit, and all his bellish host; in bringing him down under foot, long after he had vaunted himself as god of this world, and when he did his utmost to support himself in his kingdom
God's power gloriously appears in conquering Satan when exalted in that strongest and most potent Heathen kingdom that ever he had, the Roman empire. Christ, our Michael, has overcoine him, and the devil was cast out, and there was found no more place for him in heaven; but he was cast out unto the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Again, his power gloriously appears in conquering him in that kingdom wherein his pride, and subtlety, and cruelty, above all appears, viz., the kingdom of Antichrist. It gloriously appears in conquering him in that greatest and strongest combination and opposition of the devil and his adherents against Christ and his church, just before the fall of Antichrist, wherein his visible kingdom has a fatal blow given it, on which a universal downfall of it follows all over the world.
The glorious power of God appears in thus conquering the devil, and bringing him under foot, time after time, after long time given him to strengthen himself to his utmost, as he was once overthrown in his Heathen Roman empire, after he had been making himself strong in those parts of the world, ever since the building of Babel. It appears also in overthrowing his kingdom more fatally and universally all over the world, after he had again another opportunity given him to strengthen himself to his utmost for many ages, by setting up those two great kingdoms of Antichrist and Mahoinet, and to establish his interest in the Heathen world. We have seen how these kingdoms of God's enemies, that, before God appears, look strong, as though it was impossible to overthrow them; yet, time after time, when God appears, they seem to melt away, as the fat of lambs before the fire, and are driven away as the chaff before the whirlwind, or the smoke out of the chimney.
Those mighty kingdoms of Antichrist and Mahomet, which have made such a figure for so many ages together, and have trampled the world under foot, when God comes to appear, will vanish away like a shadow, and will as it were disappear of themselves, and come to nothing, as the darkness in a room VOL. I.
does, when the light is brought in. What are God's enemies in his hands? How is their greatest strength weakness when he rises up! And how weak will they all appear together at the day of judgment! Thus we may apply those words in the song of Moses, Exod. xv. 6, “Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power; thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.” And how great doth the majesty of God appear in overturning the world from time to time, to accomplish his designs, and at last in causing the earth and heavens to flee away, for the advancement of the glory of his kingdom!
VII. From what has been said, we may see the glorious wisdom of God. It shows the wisdom of God in creating the world, in that he has created it for such an excellent use, to accomplish in it so glorious a work. And it shows the wisdom of Divine Providence, that he brings such great good out of such great evil, in making the fall and ruin of mankind, which in itself in so sorrowful and deplorable, an occasion of accomplishing such a glorious work as this work of redemption, and of erecting such a glorious building, whose top should reach unto heaven, and of bringing his elect to a state of such unspeakable happiness. And how glorious doth the wisdom of God appear in that long course and series of great changes in the world, in bringing such order out of confusion, in so frustrating the devil, and so wonderfully turning all his most subtle machinations to his own glory, and the glory of his Son Jesus Christ! And in causing the greatest works of Satan, those in which he has most vaunted himself, to be wholly turned into occasions of so much the more glorious triumph of his Son Jesus Christ ? And how wonderful is the wisdom of God, in bringing all such manifold and various changes and overturnings in the world to such a glorious period at last, and in so directing all the wheels of providence by his skilful hand, that every one of them conspires, as the manifold wheels of a most curious machine, at last to strike out such an excellent issue, such a manifestation of the divine glory, such happiness to his people, and such a glorious and everlasting kingdom to his Son!
VIII. From what has been said, we may see the stability of God's mercy and faithfulness to his people; how he never forsakes his inheritance, and remembers his covenant to them through all generations. Now we may see what reason there was for the words of the text, “ The moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool; but my righteousness shall endure forever and ever, and my salvation from generation to generation." And now we may see abundant reason for that name of God which he reveals to Moses, Exod. . 14: “ And God said unto Moses, I am that I am ;" i.e., I am the same that I was when I entered into covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and ever shall be the same; I shall keep covenant forever: I am self-sufficient, all-sufficient, and immutable.
And now we may see the truth of that, Psal. xxxvi. 5, 6, “ Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep." And if we consider what has been said, we need not wonder that the Psalmist, in the 136th Psalm, so often repeats this, For his mercy endureth forever ; as if he were in an ecstasy at the consideration of the perpetuity of God's mercy to his church, and delighted to think of it, and knew not how but continually to express it. Let us with like pleasure and joy celebrate the everlasting duration of God's mercy and faithfulness to his church and people, and let us be comforted by it under the present dark circumstances of the church of God, and all the uproar and confusions that are in the world, and all the threatenings of the
church's enemies. And let us take encouragement earnestly to pray for those glorious things which God has promised to accomplish for his church,
IX. Hence we may learn how happy a society the church of Christ is. For all this great work is for them. Christ undertook it for their sakes, and for their sakes he carries it on, from the fall of man to the end of the world; it is because he has loved them with an everlasting love. For their sakes he overturns states and kingdoms. For their sakes he shakes heaven and earth. He gives men for them, and people for their life. Since they have been precious in God's sight, they have been honorable ; and therefore he first gives the blood of his own Son to them, and then, for their sakes, gives the blood of all their enemies, many thousands and millions, all nations that stand in their way, as a sacrifice to their good.
For their sakes he made the world, and for their sakes he will destroy it: for their sakes he built heaven, and for their sakes he makes his angels ministering spirits. Therefore the apostle says, as he does 1 Cor. iij. 21, &c., “ All things are yours: whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours.” How blessed is this people who are redeemed from among men, and are the first fruits unto God, and to the Lamb; who have God in all ages for their protection and help! Deut. xxxiii. 29, “ Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! And thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee, and thou shalt tread upon their high places.”
Let who will prevail now, let the enemies of the church exalt themselves as much as they will, these are the people that shall finally prevail. The last kingdom shall finally be theirs; the kingdom shall finally be given into their bands, and shall not be left to other people. We have seen what a blessed issue things shall finally be brought to as to them, and what glory they shall arrive at, and remain in possession of, forever and ever, after all the kingdoms of the world are come to an end, and the earth is removed, and mountains are carried into the depth of the sea, or where the sea was, and this lower earth shall all be dissolved. O bappy people, and blessed society! Well may they spend an eternity in praises and hallelujahs to him who hath loved them from eternity, and will love them to eternity.
X. And, lastly, hence all wicked men, all that are in a Christless condition, may see their exceeding misery. You that are such, whoever you are, you are those who shall have no part or lot in this matter. You are never the better for any of those things of which you have heard : yea, your guilt is but so much the greater, and the misery you are exposed to so much the more dreadful. You are some of that sort, against whom God, in the progress of the work, exercises so much manifest wrath; some of those enemies who are liable to be made Christ's footstool, and to be ruled with a rod of iron, and to be dashed in pieces. You are some of the seed of the serpent, to bruise the head of which is one great design of all this work. Whatever glorious things God accomplishes for his church, if you continue in the state you are now in, they will not be glorious to you. The most glorious times of the church are always the most dismal times to the wicked and impenitent. This we are taught in Isa. Ixvi. 14. And so we find, wherever glorious things are foretold concerning the church, there terrible things are foretold concerning the wicked, its enemies. And so it ever has been in fact; in all remarkable deliverances wrought for the church, there has been also a remarkable execution of wrath on its enemies. So it was when God delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt ; at
the same time he remarkably poured out his wrath on Pharaoh and the Egyptians. So when he brought them into Canaan by Joshua, and gave them that good land, he remarkably executed wrath upon the Canaanites. So when they were delivered out of their Babylonish captivity, signal vengeance was inflicted on the Babylonians. So when the Gentiles were called, and the elect of God were saved by the preaching of the apostles, Jerusalem and the persecuting Jews were destroyed in a most awful manner. I might observe the same concerning the glory accomplished to the church in the days of Constantine, at the overthrow of Satan's visible kingdom in the downfall of Antichrist, and at the day of judgment. In all these instances, and especially in the last, there have been, or will be, exhibited most awful tokens of the divine wrath against the wicked. And to this class of men you belong.
You are indeed some of that sort that God will make use of in this affair ; but it will be for the glory of his justice, and not of his mercy. You are some of those enemies of God who are reserved for the triumph of Christ's glorious power in overcoming and punishing them. You are some of that sort that shall be consumed with this accursed world after the day of judgment, when Christ and his church shall triumphantly and gloriously ascend to heaven.
Therefore let all that are in a Christless condition amongst us seriously consider these things, and not be like the foolish people of the old world, who would not take warning, when Noah told them, that the Lord was about to bring a flood of waters upon the earth; or like the people of Sodom, who would not regard, when Lot told them, that God would destroy that city, and would not flee from the wrath to come, and so were consumed in that terrible destruction.
And now I would conclude my whole discourse on this subject, in words like those in the last of the Revelation: “ These sayings are faithful and true, and blessed is he that keepeth these sayings. Behold, Christ cometh quickly, and his reward is with him, to render to every man according as his work shall be. And he that is unjust, shall be unjust still; and he that is filthy, shall be filthy still; and he that is holy, shall be holy still. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city : for without, are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whatsoever loveth and maketh a lie. He that testifieth these things, saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen ; even so come, Lord Jesus.” .