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pressions, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on EARTH as in heaven." If we lay aside the prepossessions of education, shall we refuse to admit that our Lord here bounds our view to this scene of earth? In heaven, that is, in the other regions of the universe of God, his will is already done: but here we are surrounded with a scene of rebellion, anarchy, and sorrow. Does he then teach us to pray for a translation from this unquiet land to another and distant orb? He puts no such request within our lips: he directs us to pray for the establishment of his kingdom, and this kingdom appears to belong exclusively to this material earth. Thy will be done in earth, as in heaven.' Is not the inference twofold, first, that the earth is the theatre of his kingdom; and secondly, that conformity to his will is the absolute enjoyment of heaven? and that no loftier supplication can be associated with our thoughts, than that the hallowed sceptre should be replaced in human hands, even in the hand of the mighty Antitype, 'the second Adam, the Lord from heaven.""

"I ask then the Christian reader, if it be not our duty to call away our minds from human opinions; from the influence even of great names; from popular belief, however ancient; from theories, however venerable; from the prescriptive applause of centuries; from the vague and indistinct ritual of education; and to take our firm, courageous, and patient stand upon the plain, grammatical, unwarped text of Scripture, the clear and lucid decisions of Eternal Wisdom and Truth."

"That wondrous volume, the charter of human hope, the anchor of human faith, affords instruction definite, and expectations precise. Jesus Christ is linked to our world by ties less fragile than those which human theology has framed. Surely he will cOME AGAIN, and exhibit those ties in all their beauty and in all their strength."*

IV. The Jewish nation occupies a very distinguished feature in the history of the world; and it is no slight argument in favour of the literal interpretation of unfulfilled prophecy, that while that nation presents an unmanageable difficulty to others, it forms one of our strongholds. Some interpreters seem scarcely aware of the inconsistency they incur, by allowing a literal interpretation of the prophecies respecting the restoration of the Jews, while they refuse to admit a similarly literal interpretation of the prophecies, respecting the reappearance and reign of the King of the Jews; though they are interwoven in the same contexts, by the inspiring Spirit of truth.

Mr.

* Prospects of the Christian Church, by the Hon. and Rev. G. T. Noel, pp. 24-27.

Townsend says: "Of the unfulfilled prophecies of God, the most splendid, the most numerous, and apparently the most easy of execution, are those which relate to the Jews. They will again plant the vine and the olive upon their native hills, and reap their harvests in the valleys of their fathers." Then, after expressing some doubtfulness, as to the mode by which they shall be borne back to Palestine, he calls "their own, unoccupied, uncultivated, unregarded land, the central spot on earth, where the metropolitical Church of God may be most. suitably established." In illustration of this, he appends a note, from Mr. King's remarks upon Palestine, considered as the centre of the millennial empire of Christ upon earth; which he truly says, are highly worthy of notice. "How capable this country is of a more universal intercourse than any other, with all parts of the earth, is most remarkable, and deserves well to be considered, when we read of the numerous prophecies which speak of its future splendour and greatness; when its people shall at length be gathered from all parts of the earth unto which they are scattered, and restored to their own land. There is no region in the world, to which an access

from all parts is so open. By means of the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, there is an easy approach from all parts of Europe, from a great part of Africa, and from America. By means of the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, and the well known roads from thence, there is an approach from Africa, from the East Indies, and from the Isles. And lastly, by means of the Caspian, the Lake or Sea of Bayhall, and the near communication of many great rivers, the approach is facilitated from all the northern parts of Tartary. In short, if a skilful geographer were to sit down to devise the fittest spot on the globe for UNIVERSAL EMPIRE, or, rather a spot where all the great intercourses of human life should universally centre, and from whence, the extended effects of universal benevolence, and good will, should flow to all parts of the earth; and where universal and united homage should be paid, with one consent, to the Most High, he would not find another so suited, in all circumstances, as that which is, with emphasis, called the Holy Land. These observations, perhaps, may not deserve great weight, but they ought not to be wholly neglected; especially when it is considered how many passages of Scripture there are, which plainly declare that the time shall at length come when Zion shall be the joy of the whole

earth."'*

But these numerous passages of Scripture, declare as plainly,

* Townsend's Arrangement-Introduction, pp. lxviii. lxix.

that when Zion shall be the joy of the whole earth, the Lord himself on the throne of David, in Jerusalem, shall be the joy, and light, and glory of Zion. Now, if the portions of passages which apply to the nation and the land, be thus admitted to the favour of a literal interpretation by these respectable and sober-minded commentators; upon what principle of consistency, or canon of analogy, is it, that a similar interpretation is denied to the interwoven portions of the same passages, which apply to THE KING?

The world is asleep, immersed in the perishing things of this present passing life. The Church is meditating the conversion of the world, by means which never yet really and truly converted any one nation, or city; and which were never intended for more than the taking of a people out of the world.* The time is short. The danger is urgent. The Lord is at hand!

most gracious and merciful God! let thy effectual bless ing accompany every warning sounded by the watch-men: accomplish, O accomplish the number of thine elect, and hasten thy kingdom! Amen.

ST. JUDE'S, February, 1835.

*Acts xv. 14.

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.

*

It is remarked by Mr. Coleridge, that, "in arguing with infidels, or with the weak in faith, it is a part of religious prudence, no less than of religious morality, to avoid whatever looks like an evasion. To retain the literal sense, whenever the harmony of Scripture permits, and reason does not forbid, is ever the honester, and nine times in ten the more rational and pregnant interpretation. The contrary plan is an easy and approved way of getting rid of a difficulty; but, nine times in ten, a bad way of solving it. But, alas! there have been too many commentators, who are content not to understand a text themselves, if only they can make the reader believe that they do." It may perhaps be added, with truth, concerning other commentators, that they are content to continue ignorant of the true meaning themselves, if only they make the reader content to continue ignorant also.

The effect of this has been a practical violation of the commandment which says, "Thou shalt not diminish ought from the word which I command you." The Bible which such persons attend to, is much smaller than the Bible which God has given us; and a strange attempt to justify this mutilation of revealed things, is grounded upon the text, that, "secret things belong unto God."

There is no portion of the Scripture to which these observations more forcibly apply, than to unfulfilled prophecy. I rejoice to furnish my readers with an answer to them, in the words of Joseph Milner. "It is not for us to say, such and such parts of (Scripture) are unsuitable and useless, and would be better kept in silence. This is to affront the Holy Ghost. There are parts on which we cannot say much, because we know but little; and we may be easily wronged in strained interpretations, and entering into curious niceties of interpretation, for which we have no warrant. But those who say this, are often not so sensible of the wrongness of their own views in another respect-in their forbidding us to treat of such subjects at all. Why were they written, if they were not to be

* Aids to reflection, pp. 82-83. + Deut. iv. 2: Rev. xxii. 18, 19. Sermon on the Millennium.

read and expounded? I have no notion of being restrained from studying and preaching from any part of Scripture. It is the inheritance which the God of Grace hath given to his Church, and happy were it for us to make a serious use of it! Under the teaching of the Spirit of God, with humility, discretion, and prayer, it is the very comfort of life; and those who live by the faith of the Son of God, will find it their interest to attend to every part of Scripture; and the neglect and discouragement of Scripture study, is one of the worst symptoms of profaneness that we have among us."

On the subject of unfulfilled Prophecy, our exclusive appeal must manifestly be to the Word of God; and it is equally manifest, that without pains-taking and prayerful study of that word, we must ever continue incompetent judges of any proffered interpretation. One thing, however, seems plain; and, as a general observation, it will commend itself to those who have not yet given attention to particulars. It will scarcely be denied, that the Bible describes our Lord Jesus Christ as having come to this earth,* as having left this earth,† as surely to come again in like manner as he went away, and SO CONCLUDES, without any mention of his leaving the earth again. The Bible closes, leaving the Lord upon the earth! Whatever, therefore, is written or spoken, concerning his, or our, final departure from the earth, is purely gratuitous, in addition to the Bible.

In the Sermons contained in this little volume, nothing has been attempted in the way of elucidation of those more minute difficulties, or "curious niceties," which still perplex the students of prophecy. An outline of the subject only, plain and practical, is presented to the reader; and that, only so far as the preacher felt honestly convinced of having, and producing, Scriptural authority for what he advanced.

It is with unfeigned thankfulness he has (in this preface to a second edition) to record the fact, that many Christian Brethren, in various parts of the kingdom, have conveyed to him their affectionate acknowledgments of instruction and edification derived from the perusal of this work.

With sincere and earnest prayer that such instruction and edification may be multiplied abundantly: and in humble confidence that he who has graciously revealed himself as the Hearer and Answerer of prayer, will answer this to his own glory, in the increased preparation of many of his people for his appearing and his kingdom; the Author again commits the following pages to the press.

ST. JUDE's, August, 1835.

* John i. 14. + Mark xvi. 19. + Acts i. 11. Rev. xxii. 20.

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