« PreviousContinue »
and strong sword, shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan, that crooked serpent, and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.”
Concerning this overthrow of Satan's visible kingdom on earth, I would, 1. Show wherein this overthrow of Satan's visible kingdom will chiefly consist ; 2. The extent and universality of this overthrow.
1. I would show wherein this overthrow of Satan's king, dom will chiefly consist. I shall mention the particular things in which it will consist, without pretending to determine in what order they shall come to pass, or which shall be accomplished first, or whether they shall be accomplished together.
(1) Heresies, and infidelity, and superstition, among those who have been brought up under the light of the gospel, will then be abolished. Then there will be an end of Socinianism, and Arianism, and Quakerism, and Arminianism ; and Deism, which is now so bold and confident in infidelity, shall then be crushed, and driven away, and vanish to nothing; and all shall agree in the same great and important doctrines of the gospel ; agreeable to that in Zech. xiv. 9. “ And the Lord shall be king over all the earth : In that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one." Then shall be abolished all superstitious ways of worship, and all shall agree in worshipping God in his own ways : Jer. xxxii. 39. “ And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them.”
(2) The kingdom of Antichrist shall be utterly overthrown. His kingdom and dominion has been much brought down already by the vial poured out on his throne in the Reformation ; but then it shall be utterly destroyed. Then shall be proclaimed, « Babylon is fallen, is fallen.” When the seventh angel sounds, the time, times and half, shall be out, “ and the time shall be no longer.” Then shall be accomplished concerning Antichrist the things which are written in the 18th chapter of Revelation, of the spiritual Babylon, that great city Rome, or the idolatrous Roman government, that has for so many ages been the great enemy of the Christian church, first under Heathenism, then under Pope
ry: That proud city, which lifted herself up to heaven, and above God himself in her pride and haughtiness; that cruel, bloody city, shall come down to the ground. Then shall that be fulfilled, Isa. xxvi. 5. “ For he bringeth down them that dwell on high, the lofty city he layeth it low, he layeth it low, even to the ground, he bringeth it even to the dust. She shall be thrown down with violence, like a great millstone cast into the sea, and shall be found no more at all, and shall become an habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” Now shall she be stripped of all her glory, and riches, and ornaments, and shall be cast out as an abominable branch, and shall be troden down as the mire of the streets. All her policy and craft, in which she so abounded, shall not save her. And God shall make his people, who have been so persecuted by her, to come and put their foot on the neck of Antichrist, and he shall be their footstool. All the strength and wisdom of this great whore shall fail her, and there shall be none to help her. The kings of the earth, who before gave their power and strength to the beast, shall now hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire, Rev. xvii. 16.
(3) That other great kingdom which Satan has set up in opposition to the Christian church, viz. his Mahometan kingdom, shall be utterly overthrown. The locusts and horsemen, in the 9th of Revelation, have their appointed and limited time set them there, and the false prophet shall be taken and destroyed. And then, though Mahometanism has been so vastly propagated in the world, and is upheld by such a great empire, this smoke which has ascended out of the bottomless pit, shall be utterly scattered before the light of that glorious day, and the Mahometan empire shall fall at the sound of the great trumpet which shall then be blown.
(4) Jewish infidelity shall then be overthrown. However obstinate they have been now for above 1700 years in their rejection of Christ, and instances of the conversion of any of that nation have been so very rare ever since the destruction of Jerusalem, but they have against the plain teachings of
their own prophets, continued to approve of the cruelty of their forefathers in crucifying Christ : Yet when this day comes, the thick vail that blinds their eyes shall be removed, 2 Cor. ii. 16; and divine grace shall melt and renew their hard hearts, “ And they shall look on him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness as one that is in bitterness for his first born,” Zech. xii. 10, &c. And then shall the house of Israel be saved : The Jews, in all their dispersions shall cast away their old infidelity, and shall wonderfully have their hearts changed, and abhor themselves for their past unbelief and obstinacy ; and shall flow together to the blessed Jesus, penitently, humbly, and joyfully owning him as their glorious King, and only Saviour, and shall with all their hearts, as with one heart and voice, declare his praises unto other nations.
Nothing is more certainly foretold than this national con. version of the Jews is in the 11th chapter of Romans. And there are also many passages of the Old Testament which cannot be interpreted in any other sense, which I cannot now stand to mention. Besides the prophecies of the calling of the Jews, we have a remarkable seal of the fulfilment of this great event in providence, by a thing which is a kind of continual miracle, viz. their being preserved a distinct nation in such a dispersed condition for above 1600
years. The world affords nothing else like it. There is undoubtedly a remarkable hand of providence in it. When they shall be called, then shall that ancient people, that were alone God's people for so long a time, be God's people again, never to be rejected more : They shall then be gathered into one fold together with the Gentiles ; and so also shall the remains of the ten tribes, wherever they be, and though they have been rejected much longer than the Jews, be brought in with their brethren the Jews. The prophecies of Hosea especially seem to hold this forth, that in the future glorious times of the church, both Judah and Ephraim, or Judah and the ten tribes, shall be brought in together, and shall be united as one people, as they formerly were under David and Solomon ; as
Hos. i. 11 ; and so in the last chapter of Hosea, and other parts of his prophecy.
Though we do not know the time in which this conversion of the nation of Israel will come to pass ; yet thus much we may determine by scripture, that it will be before the glory of the Gentile part of the church shall be fully accomplished; because it is said, that their coming in shall be life from the dead to the Gentiles, Rom. xi. 12, 15.
(5) Then shall also Satan's Heathenish kingdom be overthrown. Gross Heathenism now possesses a great part of the earth, and there are supposed to be more Heathens now in the world, than of all other professions taken together, Jews, Mahometans, or Christians. But then the Heathen nations shall be enlightened with the glorious gospel. There will be a wonderful spirit of pity towards them, and zeal for their instruction and conversion put into multitudes, and many shall go forth and carry the gospel unto them, and then shall the joyful sound be heard among them, and the Sun of righteousness shall then arise with his glorious light shining on those many vast regions of the earth that have been covered with Heathenish darkness for many thousand years, many of them doubtless ever since the times of Moses and Abraham, and have lain thus long in a miserable condition, under the cruel tyranny of the devil, who has all this while blinded and befooled them, and domineered over them, and made a prey of them from generation to generation. Now the glad tidings of the gospel shall sound there, and they shall be brought out of darkness into marvellous light.
It is promised, that Heathenism shall thus be destroyed in many places. God has said, That the gods that have not made these heavens and this earth, shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens, Jer. x. 1l, and that he will utterly abolish idols, Isa. ii. 18.... Then shall the many nations of Africa, the nations of negroes, and other Heathens who chiefly fill that quarter of the world, who now seem to be in a state but little above the beasts, and in many respects much below them, be enlightened with glorious light, and delivered from all their darkness, and shall become a civil,
Christian, understanding, and holy people. Then shall the vast continent of America, which now in so great a part of it is covered with barbarous ignorance and cruelty, be every where covered with glorious gospel light and Christian love ; and instead of worshipping the devil, as now they do, they shall serve God and praises shall be sung every where to the Lord Jesus Christ, the blessed Saviour of the world. So may we expect it will be in that great and populous part of the world, the East Indies, which are now mostly inhabited by the worshippers of the devil ; and so throughout that vast country Great Tartary : And then the kingdom of Christ will be established in those continents which have been more lately discovered towards the north and south poles, where now men differ very little from the wild beasts, excepting that they worship the devil, and beasts do not. The same will be the case with respect to those countries which have never yet been discovered. Thus will be gloriously fulfilled that in Isa. xxxv. 1. “ The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them : And the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose." See also ver. 6. 7.
2. Having thusshown wherein this overthrow of Satan's king. dom will consist, I come now to the other thing to be observed concerning it, viz. its universal extent. The visible kin Satan shall be overthrown, and the kingdom of Christ set upon the ruins of it, every where throughout the whole habitable globe. Now shall the promise made to Abraham be fulfilled, that « In him and in his seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed;" and Christ now shall become the desire of all nations, agreeable to Hag. ii. 7. Now the kingdom of Christ shall in the most strict and literal sense be extended to all nations, and the whole earth. There are many passages of scripture that can be understood in no other sense. What can be more universal than that in Isa. xi. 9. « For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” As much as to say, As there is no part of the channel or cavity of the sea any where, but what is covered with water ; so there shall be no part of the world of mankind but what shall be corered with the knowledge of God. So it is foretold in Isa. xlv.