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these especially are the times wherein God declares his firm decree that his Son shall reign on his holy hill of Zion: and therefore those that at such a time do not kiss the Son, as he then manifests himself, and appears in the glory of his majesty and grace, expose themselves to perish from the way, and to be dashed in pieces with a rod of iron.
As such a time is a time wherein God eminently sets his King on his holy hill of Zion, so it is a time wherein he remarkably fulfills that in Isa. xxviii. 16. “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a tried stone, a precicus corner-stone, a sure foundation." Which the two apostles, Peter and Paul (1 Pet. ii. 6, 7, 8, and Rom. ix. 33) join with that prophecy, Isa. viii14, 15. "And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling, and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and many among them shall stumble and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and taken." As signifying that both are fulfilled together. Yea, both are joined together by the prophet Isaiah himself; as you may see in the context of that forementioned, Isa. xxviii. 16. In v. 13. preceding it is said, "But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little and there a little, that they might go and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken." And accordingly it always is so, that when Christ is in a peculiar and eminent manner manifested and magnified, by a glorious work of God in his church, as a foundation and a sanctuary for some, he is remarkably a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, a gin and a snare to others. They that continue long to stumble, and be offended and ensnared in their minds, at such a great and glorious work of Christ, in God's account, stumble at Christ and are offended in him; for the work is that by which he makes Christ manifest, and shows his glory, and by which he makes the Stone that the builders refused, to become the head of the corner.
This shows how dangerous it is to continue always stumbling at such a work, for ever doubting of it, and forbearing fully to acknowledge it, and give God the glory of it: such persons are in danger to go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken, and to have Christ a stone of stumbling to them, that shall be an occasion of their ruin ; while he is to others a sanctuary, and a sure foundation.
The prophet Isaiah, Isa. xxix. 14. speaks of God's proceeding to do a marvelous work and a wonder, which should stumble and confound the wisdom of the wise and prudent; which the apostle, in Acts xiii. 31. applies to the glorious work of salvation wrought in those days by the redemption of Christ, and that glorious outpouring of the Spirit to apply it that followed; the prophet in the context of that place in Isa. xxix. speaking of the same thing, and of the prophets and rulers and seers, those wise and prudent whose eyes God has closed, says to them, v. 9. Stay yourselves and wonder. In the original it is, be ye slow and wonder. I leave it to others to consider whether it be natural to interpret it thus, "Wonder at this marvelous work; let it be a strange thing, a great mystery that you know not what to make of, and that you are very slow and backward to acknowledge, long delaying to come to a determination concerning it." And what persons are in danger of, that wonder, and are thus slow to acknowledge God in such a work, we learn by that of the apostle in that forementioned Acts xiii. 41. "Behold, ye despisers, and wonder and perish; for I work a work in your days, a work in which you shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you."
The church of Christ is called upon greatly to rejoice, when at any time Christ remarkably appears, coming to his church, to carry on the work of salvation, to enlarge his own kingdom, and to deliver poor souls out of the pit wherein there is no water, in Zech. ix. 9, 10, 11. "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion, shout O daughter of Jerusalem; behold thy · King cometh unto thee; he is just and having salvation, his
dominion shall be from sea to sea as for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant, I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water." Christ was pleased to give a notable typical, or symbolical representation of such a great event as is spoken of in that prophecy in his solemn entry into the literal Jerusalem, which was a type of the church or daughter of Zion, there spoken of; probably intending it as a figure and prelude of that great actual fufillment of this prophecy, that was to be after his ascension, by the pouring out of the Spirit in the days of the apostles, and that more full accomplishment that should be in the latter ages of the Christian church. We have an account, that when Christ made this his solemn entry into Jerusalem, and the whole multitude of the disciples were rejoicing and praising God, with loud voices, for all the mighty works that they had seen, the Pharisees from among the multitude said to Christ, Master, rebuke thy disciples; but we are told, Luke xix. 39, 40. Christ “answered and said unto them, I tell you, that if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out." Signifying that if Christ's professing disciples should be unaffected on. such an occasion, and should not appear openly to acknowledge and rejoice in the glory of God therein appearing, it would inanifest such fearful hardness of heart, so exceeding that of the stones, that the very stones would condemn them. Should not this make those consider, who have held their peace so long, since Christ has come to our Zion, having salvation, and so wonderfully manifested his glory in this mighty work of his Spirit, and so many of his disciples have been rejoicing and praising God with loud voices?
It must be acknowledged that so great and wonderful a work of God's Spirit, is a work wherein God's hand is remarkably lifted up, and wherein he displays his majestý, and shows great favor and mercy to sinners, in the glorious opportunity he gives them; and by which he makes our -land to become much more of a land of uprightness; therefore that place, Isa. xxvi. 10, 11, shows the great danger of
not seeing God's hand, and acknowledging his glory and majesty in such a work: "Let favor be showed to the wicked, yet he will not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord. Lord, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see; but they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at the people; yea, the fire of thine enemies shall de vour them."
The latter-day glory is probably to begin in America.
It is not unlikely that this work of God's Spirit, that is so extraordinary and wonderful, is the dawning, or at least a prelude, of that glorious work of God, so often foretold in scripture, which in progress and issue of it, shall renew the world of mankind. If we consider how long since, the things foretold, as what should precede this great event, have been accomplished; and how long this event has been expected by the church of God, and thought to be nigh by the most eminent men of God in the church; and withal consider what the state of things now is, and has for a considerable time been, in the church of God, and world of mankind, we cannot reasonably think otherwise, than that the beginning of this great work of God must be near. And there are many things that make it probable that this work will begin in America. It is signified that it shall begin in some very remote part of the world, that the rest of the world have no communication with but by navigation, in Isa. Ix. 9. "Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring my sons from far." It is exceeding manifest that this chapter is a prophecy of the prosperity of the church, in its most glorious state on earth, in the latter days: and I can
not think that any thing else can be intended but America by the isles that are far off, from whence the first-born sons of that glorious day shall be brought. Indeed, by the isles, in prophecies of gospel times, is very often meant Europe : It is so in prophecies of that great spreading of the gospel that should be soon after Christ's time, because it was far separated from that part of the world where the church of God had till then been, by the sea. But this prophecy cannot have respect to the conversion of Europe, in the time of that great work of God, in the primitive ages of the Christian church; for it was not fulfilled then the isles and ships of Tarshish, thus understood, did not wait for God first; that glorious work did not begin in Europe, but in Jerusalem, and had for a considerable time, been very wonderfully carried on in Asia, before it reached Europe. And as it is not that work of God that is chiefly intended in this chapter, but that more glorious work that should be in the letter ages of the Christian church, therefore some other part of the world is here intended by the isles, that should be as Europe then was, far separated from that part of the world where the church had before been, by the sea, and with which it can have no communication but by the ships of Tarshish. And what is chiefly intended is not the British isles, nor any isles near the other continent: for they are spoken of as at a great distance from that part of the world where the church had till then been. This prophecy, therefore, seems plainly to point out America, as the first fruits of that glorious day.
God has made as it were two worlds here below, the old and the new (according to the names they are now called by) two great habitable continents, far separated one from the other; the latter is but newly discovered, it was formerly wholly unknown, from age to age, and is as it were now but newly created: It has been, till of late, wholly the possession of Satan, the church of God having never been in it, as it has been in the other continent, from the beginning of the world. This new world is probably now discovered, that the new