Page images

less expense of time and labor, perhaps a hundred times less, than that with which men now correspond.

This will also greatly facilitate the spreading useful knowledge, and all kinds of intelligence which may be a benefit to mankind, to all parts of the world, and render books very cheap and easy to be obtained by all. There will then be no need of translations into other languages, and numerous new impressions, in order to have the most useful books read by all. Many hundreds of thousands of copies may be cast off by one impression, and spread over all the earth. And the Bible, one of which, at least, every person will have, by printing such a vast number of them at one impression may be afforded much cheaper than it can be now, even though it should be supposed that no improvement will be made in the art of printing and making paper, which cannot be reasonably supposed; but the contrary is much more probable, viz., that both these will then be performed in a better manner, and with much less labor and expense, than they are now executed. None can doubt of this who consider what improvements have been made in these arts since they were first invented.

This universality of language will tend to cement the world of mankind so as to make them one in a higher degree, and to greater advantage, than otherwise could be. This will absorb the distinctions that are now kept up between nations speaking different languages, and promote a general, free communication. It is observed when there was but one language in the world, that the people were one. (Gen. xi. 6.) And this will greatly facilitate their united exertions to effect whatever may be for the public good.

[ocr errors]

Therefore, since there will be so many and great advantages in having one universal language, understood and used by all mankind, and it will answer so many good purposes, when men shall be disposed to make a right improvement of it, and since it may be so easily effected when men shall be united in piety and benevolence, and wisdom shall reign among them, there is reason to think that God will so order things in his providence, and so influence and turn the hearts of mankind, as in the most agreeable manner to introduce the best language, to be adopted and used by all in that day, in which great and peculiar favor and blessings will be granted to the world, far beyond those which had been given in preceding ages. And this is agreeable to the Scripture, which speaks of that day as distinguished and remarkable for the union and happiness of mankind, when they shall have one heart and one way; and this seems to be expressly pre

dicted. When speaking of that time it is said, "Then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent." (Zeph. iii. 9.) These words have been understood in another sense; but the most natural and consistent meaning seems to be, that the people shall not then have a mixed language, speaking with different tongues, which would naturally separate them into different parties, and render them barbarians to each other in their worship; but God will so order things at that time that one language shall be introduced and spoken by all, and which shall be more perfect, elegant, and pure, free from those defects, inconsistencies, and that jargon which before attended all or most languages, that they may all, even all mankind, call upon the name of the Lord with one voice, and in one language, to serve him with one consent; by which they shall be united in worship and divine service, not only in heart, but in lip, as mankind never were before.

4. The church of Christ will then be formed and regulated, according to his laws and institutions, in the most beautiful and pleasing order.

This is implied in what has been said, but is worthy of a more particular attention. There will then be but one universal catholic church, comprehending all the inhabitants of the world, formed into numerous particular societies and con gregations, as shall be most convenient, to attend on public worship and the institutions of Christ. There will be no schisms in the church then; Christians will not be divided into various sects and denominations, but there will be a beautiful and happy union in sentiment respecting the doctrines, worship, and institutions of Christ, and all will be of one heart and one way, and serve Christ with one consent. The ordinances of baptism and the Lord's supper, and all the institutions of Christ, will be attended in due order, with solemnity and decency, and, being accompanied with divine efficacy, will have their proper and saving effect. All the children will be members of the church, having the initiating seal applied to them, and being solemnly devoted to Christ in baptism; and they will be faithfully brought up for him, and early discover their love to Christ not only in words, but by obeying him and attending upon all his institutions. The discipline which Christ has instituted will be faithfully prac tised so far as there shall be any occasion; and Christians, by watching over each other in love, and exhorting and admonishing one another, will prevent, or immediately heal, all offences. In those respects, and in others not here mentioned, and perhaps not thought of, the church of Christ will then be

the best regulated, most beautiful and happy society that ever existed, or can be formed on earth. "When the Lord shall build up Zion, the church, he shall appear in his glory." Then what is predicted in the sixtieth chapter of Isaiah, and many other prophecies of the same event, shall be fulfilled. God says to his church, "Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, the joy of many generations. I will make the place of my feet glorious. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God!"

5. Then Christianity will appear in its true beauty and excellence, and the nature and genuine effects of it will be more manifest than ever before, and the truth and amiableness of it be exhibited in a clear and striking light."

Christianity has, hitherto, been generally abused and perverted by those who have enjoyed the gospel, and but little of the genuine spirit and power of it has appeared among those who have been called Christians. They have, the most of them, disobeyed the laws of Christ, and misrepresented and perverted the doctrines and institutions of the gospel to accommodate it to the gratification of their selfishness, pride, and worldly spirit, and have hated and persecuted one another unto death. They have divided into innumerable sects and parties, and have not been agreed in the doctrines and institutions of the gospel, but have embraced various and contrary opinions concerning them, and contended about them with wrath and bitterness. And the greatest part of the Christian world have been as openly vicious as the heathen nations, if not more so. And as the name of God was blasphemed among the Gentiles by the wicked lives of the Jews, (Rom. ii. 24,) so

It has been a question whether in the millennium, when the church shall be thus universal, and be brought to such a well-regulated, holy, and happy state, there will be any need of civil rulers to preside and govern in temporal matters. It is said that every thing which will be necessary of this kind will be regulated and ordered by particular churches, and civil officers will not be needed, and will have nothing to do.

But when it is considered that the church of Christ is not a worldly society, and has no concern with temporal matters and the concerns of the world, considered merely as such, or any further than they are included in obedience to the laws of Christ, and that there will be need of regulations and laws or orders with respect to the temporal concerns of mankind, it will appear proper and convenient, if not necessary, that there should be wise men chosen and appointed to superintend and direct in worldly affairs, whose business it shall be to consult the temporal interest of men, and dictate those regulations from time to time which shall promote the public good, and the temporal interest of individuals.

the name of Christ has been blasphemed by infidels and others, through the various kinds of wickedness of those who have been called Christians, "by reason of whom, the way of truth has been evil spoken of." (2 Pet. ii. 2.) But few in the Christian world, in comparison with the rest, have honored Christ by entering into the true meaning and spirit of the gospel, loving it and living agreeably to it, and those few have been generally hidden and overlooked by the multitude of merely nominal Christians; and genuine Christianity is not to be found in the faith and lives of those in general who assume the name of Christians, but in the Bible only, since the most who profess to know Christ, by their doctrines and works do deny him.


But in the millennium the scene will be changed, and Christianity will be understood and acted out in the true spirit and power of it, and have its genuine effect in the lives and conduct of all; and when it comes to be thus reduced to practice by all, it will appear from fact and experience to have a divine stamp, and that the gospel is indeed the wisdom of God and the power of God, forming all who cordially embrace it to a truly amiable and excellent character, and is suited to make men happy in this world and that which is to come. all the disgrace and reproach which has come upon Christ, his true followers, and upon Christianity, by the wickedness and enmity of men and the abuse of the gospel, shall be wiped off. This is foretold in the following words: "Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee, and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out, and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth." (Zeph. iii. 19, 20.) After the various schemes of false religion and infidelity have been tried by men and the evil nature and bad effects of them discovered, real Christianity, as it is stated in divine revelation, when it shall be understood by all and appear in universal practice, will shine with peculiar lustre and glory; and the beauty and excellence of it, and the happiness it produces, will be more apparent and affecting, and be more admired by the contrast, than if no such delusion and false religion had taken place. This is represented in the last words of David the prophet: "And he shall be as the light of the morning when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain." (2 Sam. xxiii. 4.) When the sun rises in a clear morning, after a dark, stormy night, and the tender grass springs up fresh and lively, it is much more pleasant and refreshing than if it had not been preceded by such a night.

6. The time of the millennium will be, in a peculiar and eminent sense and degree, the day of salvation, in which the Bible and all the doctrines, commands, and institutions contained in it, will have their proper and designed issue and effect; and that which precedes that day is preparatory to it, and suited in the best manner to introduce it and render it eminently the gospel day.

The Spirit of God will then be poured out in his glorious fulness, and fill the world with holiness and salvation, as floods upon the dry ground. All the preceding influences of the Holy Spirit, in converting and saving men, are but the first fruits which precede the harvest which will take place in that latter day. This was typified in the Mosaic institutions. The most remarkable festivals were the passover, the feast of the first fruits, and the feast of tabernacles, upon which all the males in Israel were commanded to attend at Jerusalem. The passover typified the death of Christ, and he was crucified at the time of that feast. The feast of the first fruits, or pentecost, as it is called in the New Testament, typified the first fruits of the death of Christ in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and the conversion of men when the gospel was first preached, which took place at the time of this feast. (Acts ii. 1.) The feast of tabernacles, which was "the feast of ingathering, which was in the end of the year," (Ex. xxxiv. 22,) was a type of the millennium, which will be in the latter end of the world, when the great and chief ingathering of souls to Christ and his church shall take place. This is the time when Christ will see the fruit of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied. To this day most of the prophecies of Christ, and 'salvation, and of the good things which were coming to the church, have their principal reference, and they will have their chief fulfilment then. This is the day which our Lord said Abraham saw with gladness and joy. "Your father Abraham rejoiced (or leaped forward) to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad." (John viii. 56.) He saw the day of Christ in the promise made to him, that in his seed all nations should be blessed; which will be accomplished in the millennium, and not before. This is the day of Christ, the day of his great success and glory. This is the gospel day, in comparison with which all that precedes it is night and darkness.

Then the chief end of divine revelation will be answered. It has been given with a chief reference to that time, and it will then be the means of producing unspeakably greater good than in all ages before. It will then be no longer misunderstood, and perverted and abused, to support error and wickedness, but be universally prized more than all riches, and

« PreviousContinue »