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wards in the preaching of the gospel) will draw all men unto me."d]
The godly in all ages having looked forward with earnestness to this event, let us consider
II. The consequences of it to the church
A glorious day will that be for the church of God! The metaphor being changed,
The prophet calls the church "the rest," or restingplace, of the Deity
[For five hundred years after God had gathered to himself his people out of Egypt, he dwelt, by the symbols of his presence, in a moveable tent. But after David had brought up the ark to Mount Zion, and Solomon had erected a temple there for the residence of the Deity, that place was eminently called "the rest," or resting-place of God. But that residence was a mere emblem or shadow of one infinitely dearer to God, namely, the hearts of his people. It is in the church, even in the hearts of his contrite ones, that God delights to dwell: it is there alone that he can rest; it is there alone that he can find any satisfaction.]
This rest of his will be rendered exceeding "glorious" by the conversion of the Gentile world: for then
1. The glory of God will be most eminently displayed [When God revealed himself in the temple of Solomon, he filled it with a glory, which far surpassed all the beauty of the structure, or of the furniture with which it was supplied. But how infinitely brighter a display of his glory will he give to the church, when he shall bring into it myriads of the most abandoned sinners! How will his power and mercy, his truth and faithfulness shine forth with united splendor, and fill every soul with wonder and amazement! Then will he indeed "glorify the house of his glory," and "make the place of his feet glorious." Then will the church become "an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations."]
2. The felicity of all the saints will be exceedingly increased
[If it be a joy to the very angels in heaven to behold the conversion of one sinner, what will it be to the saints of God to see all in every place flying to Christ, in unnumbered multitudes, like a cloud, and flocking to him, with rapidity, like doves to their windows? What acclamations and hosannas
d John xii. 32. fisai. lxvi. 1, 2.
e Ps. cxxxii. 13, 14. 2 Chron. vi. 41. ☛ Isai. lx. 5, 7, 9, 13, 15.
will burst forth in every place, the chorus continually swelling, till the whole earth resounds with the praises of its God! What power will then accompany the ministry of the word! What " an unction of the Holy One" will rest on all that hear it! Surely every ordinance will then be as "the house of God, and as the very gate of heaven."i]
We may SEE from hence
1. What improvement we should make of the preached gospel
[The preaching of the gospel is, in fact, the raising of this standard before the eyes of men: it is the setting forth of Christ crucified, and the calling of men to enlist under his banners. What then have we to do, but to flock around him; to give up our names to him, that they may be inscribed on his list; and to gird ourselves for the combat at his command? Let us then vie with each other in zeal for his service: and let us willingly "endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ," that, being more than conquerors, we may receive a crown of righteousness at the hands of our righteous Judge.*]
i Gen. xxviii. 17.
2. The blessedness of those who improve it aright
[Whoever complies with the invitations of the gospel, and unites himself to the army of saints, the church of God, he instantly becomes a distinguished favourite of heaven; his heart is the temple of the Deity; he is God's residence, he is God's rest: and more glorious is he, than if all earthly dignities were centered in him; more happy, than a combination of all earthly comforts could make him. Let us then aspire after "the good of God's chosen, that we may rejoice in the gladness of his nation, and glory with his inheritance.""]
CLV. THE TIME AND ENDS OF CHRIST'S ADVENT.
Dan. ix. 24. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
IT has pleased God on many occasions to manifest his regard to prayer; and to give such speedy and gracious answers to it as should encourage all his people to pour out their hearts before him-Daniel, having understood
by books that the seventy years captivity in Babylon were drawing to a close, set himself by fasting and prayer to implore mercy for himself and his captive nation: and God instantly sent an angel to testify the acceptance of his prayers, and to reveal to him the period fixed for that far greater deliverance, which should in due time be effected by the Messiah-" Seventy weeks," according to the prophetic language, mean seventy weeks of years, that is, four hundred and ninety years, a day for a yearCommentators are not agreed respecting the precise year from which the numeration of them begins: but according to any calculation the Messiah must have long since come into the world; and the Jews are inexcusable in rejecting so decisive a testimony-The ends of the Messiah's advent are here set forth in a rich variety of expression: they may be reduced to three,
I. To reconcile God and man
The legal dispensation made no effectual provision for this end
[There were sacrifices and various other services appointed for the removal of guilt: and the person who complied with the ordinances prescribed was considered as absolved from his sin-But in the nature of things "it was not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sin"-Indeed the annual repetition of the same offerings on the great day of atonement shewed, that the transgressions, which had been before atoned for, were not fully and finally forgiven: these repeated sacrifices were so many "remembrances of sins,” intended to lead the minds of men to that greater sacrifice, which alone could "make them perfect as pertaining to the conscience," or procure for them a complete and "eternal redemption."]
This however was to be fully accomplished by the Lord Jesus
a Ezek. iv. 6. There is a remarkable coincidence between the 70 years at the end of which this temporal deliverance was to take place, and the 70 weeks of years when the great deliverer was to come. That space of time (490 years) includes ten Jubilees; at the last of which, not one nation only, but all the nations of the world should hear the sound of the gospel-trumpet, and be restored to their forfeited inheritance.
b The more approved calculations are those which are dated from the 7th, or from the 20th, and the latter by lunar years. e Heb. ix. 9-12. and x. 1-4.
["What the law could not do, God sent his own Son to effect" "the Messiah was to be cut off, but not for himself:"e by him divine Justice was to be satisfied, and the hand-writing that was against us, being nailed to his cross, was to be for ever cancelled: he was so to "finish transgression, and make an end of sin" that no further sacrifice for it should ever be necessary: by his one offering he was to perfect for ever them that are sanctifieds-All this has been done: through the blood of his cross reconciliation is made between God and man: God no more abhors the sinner, seeing that he is cleansed from sin in the Redeemer's blood, and is clothed in that spotless righteousness which Jesus has brought in: nor does the sinner any longer hate God, because he is enabled to behold him as his God and Father in Christ-Thus is the breach completely closed: thus is man restored to the favour and love of God: thus are all typical sacrifices abrogated and annulled: and thus are men delivered, no less from the love and practices of sin than from the curse and condemnation due to it-Sin is no more remembered on the part of God, nor any more practised on the part of man
A further end of the Messiah's mission was
II. To fulfil the scriptures
There were a great variety of types and prophecies which designated the Messiah's work and character
[The first promise, given immediately after the fall, represented him as "the seed of the woman who should bruise the serpent's head"-In process of time other prophecies declared the family from which he should spring, the time and place of his birth, the minutest circumstances of his life and death, together with his subsequent exaltation and glory: moreover the whole nature of his undertaking, the various offices he was to sustain, with all the effects of his mission, were exactly delineated-Besides these, there were also many figurative representations instituted of God for the purpose of exhibiting to the world, as in a shadow, those things which were afterwards to be realized and substantially effected-Our first parents were clothed by God himself with the skins of beasts, which they had before been directed to offer in sacrifice; that, in that type, they might see the only true way of atoning for their sin, or covering their shame from the eyes of God-The various ordinances that were appointed under the Mosaic dispensation, the paschal lamb, whose sprinkled blood averted
d Rom. viii. 3.
g Heb. x. 11-14.
k Dan. ix. 27.
e Dan. ix. 25.
I Tit. ii. 44.
f Col. ii. 14.
2 Cor. v. 21.
from the Israelites the sword of the destroying angel, while its flesh, eaten with bitter herbs, nourished their bodies: the daily and annual sacrifices, with all the sprinklings and other ceremonies; the habits and services of the priests, the form and furniture of the tabernacle, with many other things, which it would be tedious to enumerate, declared in ten thousand forms the work and offices of the promised Messiah-]
All of these Christ was in the exactest manner to fulfil
[Some parts of the inspired volume represented him as God, others as a man, yea, as แ a worm and no mán;" some as victorious, others as suffering; some as living for ever, others as dying; some as the priest, others as the sacrifice; some as á sanctuary, and others as a stumbling-block: all manner of opposites were to unite in him as lines in their centre, in order that, when he should appear, there should not exist a doubt in any unprejudiced mind, but that he was the person foretold; and that every thing respecting him had been fore-ordained in the divine counsels-Accordingly when he came, he shewed himself to be that very Messiah, who, like a seal, engraven with strokes infinitely diversified, corresponded exactly with the impression which had been given of it to the church two thousand years before-Thus did he "seal up the vision and prophecy," completing it in all its parts, and leaving no further occasion for such methods of instruction-]
There was yet one more thing contained in his commission, namely,
III. To pour out the Spirit
"The anointing of the most holy" is generally thought to import that Christ himself should receive the Spirit, but we apprehend that it imports also his communicating of the Spirit to his church
[Christ is certainly "the holy one and the just," to whom the character of "the most holy" eminently belongs-It is certain also that we was anointed with the Spirit from his very first designation to preach the glad tidings of salvation; and that he received a further unction when the Spirit descended upon him in a bodily shape like a dove-But these do not appear to be the seasons alluded to in the text: the unction there spoken of seems to follow the other ends of his mission; and consequently to relate to something which took place after his ascension to heaven-The Psalmist speaks of Christ after his ascension, and consequent inauguration, when he says, "Thou lovest righteousness and hatest wickedness; therefore