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pure affection, and bring forth the fruits of the spirit,” through Jesus Christ our Lord !
The particular subject, to which I devoted my two preceding discourses, I selected, because it has excited so general an enquiry (perhaps I should rather say, curiosity) in the present day, and I thought it might be advisable, once for all, to put you in possession of your own minister's sentiments upon it; and because also there are so many extravagant notions afloat, with relation to it,-notions so likely to be detrimental to a sound faith and a sober piety,—I was desirous to check them if they should at all prevail among you, and to guard you against them, if they should not yet have found an entrance into your minds. .
The chief use which I should recommend you to make of the doctrine of the Millennium is, to let it remind you of your duty to do all that you can, according to your several means, to promote the kingdom of Christ. Look for a moment at the contrast between the glorious vision which the doctrine puts before us, and the sad realities that at present exist. Observe how very far we are from any similarity to that which is expected to be the millennial state ; how large a portion of mankind are yet “sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death,” never having seen one beam of “ that true light,” the “ Sun of Righteousness ;'
and what multitudes, inhabitants of the kingdoms which are nominally become “ the kingdoms of the Lord, and of his Christ,” do in truth no more acknowledge him for their king, than the very heathens who have never heard his name. Such, therefore, being the dreary prospect, in whatever direction we turn our eyes, those of us who are thankful for having been ourselves brought to the knowledge of the gospel, should zealously do our part towards advancing its cause, whether at home or abroad, by such opportunities as are afforded us. We should never fail to make it one subject of our prayers, that God's “
that God's “ kingdom may come, ” that “ his way may be known upon earth,” the “ saving health" of his gospel nations ;” more especially should we pray for the good estate (the spiritual welfare) of the universal church, that all who profess and call themselves christians, may be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life.” But over and above our prayers, we should add our endeavours to obtain that for which we pray. We should first examine our own pretensions to be “ heirs of the kingdom of heaven;" whether we are indeed willing and faithful subjects of Him, who is King of kings, and Lord of lords,” whether we are “meet to be partakers of the in
heritance of the saints in light, and delivered from the power of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son.” Alas! for us who talk about the kingdom of Christ, and expect its advancement and final triumph, as if it were a matter of interest to ourselves, without examining, whether after all we shall be ourselves found to belong to it! Did the mere inscription on the cross, “ Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews,” avail to the salvation of that unhappy race? And although we have, as it were, this title written on our foreheads, and on our hands, yet what avails this outward acknowledgment of allegiance, if in our hearts we say, “we will not have him to reign over us?”
Let us look to ourselves, first then, my brethren, and never rest satisfied until we discover that “the kingdom of God” is not only among us, around us, come nigh unto us, “ but within
” that “Christ rules in our hearts by faith,” and that we do truly serve, honour, and adore him as our heavenly king. In the second place, who is there among you, that cannot do something, if he has the cause of the gospel at heart, to promote its success in his own family, and among his own acquaintance and neighbours ? Can you not “teach it dilgently to your children,” press it earnestly upon those with whom you associate, and recommend it strongly to all who know you, by the attractive example of a holy life? And lastly, even while you sit at home, and encounter no danger of foreign pilgrimage, may you not assist in causing it to be “ told abroad among the heathen, that the Lord is King, and how that he shall judge the folk righteously, and govern the nations that are upon the earth.” May you not help to fulfil that last command of our blessed Lord, to his apostles, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature?” Yes! you may, in a most effectual way, in the only way that is open to the generality of mankind, by contributing to the expense of missionary undertakings; turning “your wordly things" to the best account, by communicating to your fellow creatures, through their means, the spiritual and eternal things of Christ's gospel.
In these several ways, you may each and all of you extend the kingdom of our blessed Redeemer, according to your respective abilities, and an increase of desire to do this, is the principal effect which I should wish to see result from your consideration of the doctrine of the Millennium. I do not wish to excite in you a probably groundless, certainly an unprofitable expectation of living to see the commencement of
that period ; nor would I foster in your minds, the notion that you will rise from your graves, at no distant period, and meet your Lord in the flesh at Jerusalem. For opinions such as these I find no warrant in the scriptures, and I trust that if you “ die in the Lord,” your spirits will experience such “joy and felicity after they are delivered from the burden of the flesh,” that they would not wish to be re-united to it before the time when we expect our perfect consummation and bliss, both in body and soul, not in the brief and earthly millennial state, but in God's eternal and heavenly glory.
To that happy, that dreadful time (happy beyond all thought to the true believer, unutterably dreadful to the lost sinner,) I would have you continually look forward, or if to any earlier period, to that hour which must soon arrive, and which is no less important to us than the day of judgment, the hour when we shall quit this state of trial, and yield up our souls into the hands of our Creator, to await, in joy or terror, the final issue of our wise or foolish lives. It is to no remote period that I now point; uncertain indeed, but all the uncertainty lies within a very narrow space. .
Death, my brethren, derives all its importance from that which is to follow after it; therefore