Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

man's invention. For how is it else that the man of sin shall be consumed by the Spirit of Christ's mouth, and destroyed by the brightness of his coming, 2. Thess. ii. 8. but by the outpouring of his. Spirit with his word preached, and by the bright and convincing appearances of the Redeemer in the glory of gospel-light? Then is it that Christ shall increase, and his kingdom be enlarged, when the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea,” according to the prophecy of Habakkuk, Hab. ii. 14.

2. This increase takes in the Lord's furnishing his church with many “ burning and shining lights, able ministers of the New Testament," to be eminent instruments of displaying lis glory in the world. When he is signally to increase his kingdom, he will rise up and qualify ministers for the work ; who shall be men of large hearts, fluent tongues, and public spirits ; shining holiness and piety ; undaunted courage and zeal for God; inspired with a burning love to Christ and the souls of men ; inclined to prefer the good of Jerusalem to their chiefest joy; and willing to run all hazards by sea and land; to venture all that is dear to them in the world, their reputation, life, and all the comforts of it, for Jesus Christ; and cheerfully content to spend and to Be spent for the increase of his kingdom and

glory, and the gathering of souls to him. And particularly, it is a pledge and forerunner of this happy increase, when the Lord sends down his Spirit upon students and expectants of the ministry ; graciously touches their hearts, and works an inward change upon their souls ; animates them with sincere principles and ends, and gives them such impressions of the weight of the pastoral office and the charge of souls, that they will not run thereto unsent, nor have an active hand in thrusting themselves into it, or do any thing to beget prejudices, to mar their success ; but will wait patiently upon the Lord, till he shall open the door, and clear their call to enter into his vineyard.

3. It imports the increase of the number of Christ's subjeets and followers. “ As the king's honour is in the multitude of his people," Prov. xiv. 28. so Christ is glorified in the multitude of his subjects. Thus shall Christ's kingdoma and glory increase in the latter days, when the kingdoms of the earth shall become the king. doms of the Lord; then the Jews themselves sball gather to Christ's standard lifted up in the gospel, together with the fulness of the Gentiles; they shall fly to it in clouds, like doves to their windows, according to these promises, Isaiah ii. 2. Micah iv. 1, 2. Isa, Ix. 8. Rev. ii. 15.. Rom. xi. 25, 26. Plalm cii. 15, 16, 22. Now,

what is it that will bring about this glorious increase, but the ministration of the Spirit with the gospel ? It is this that opens a great and cffectual door, I. Cor. xvi. 9. a door of utterance in ministers mouths, and a door of entrance in hearers' hearts. Then ministers' spirits shall be enlarged, and their tongues loosed in preaching; and hearers' appetites will be sharpened, and their hearts melted in kearing. When the Lord comes with his Spirit, and gives testimony to the word of his grace, then the arrows of the word shall pierce the conscience ; the wounded shall cry, what shall we do to be saved? And multitudes shall fall under Zion's King, Psalm xiv. 5.

4. Then Christ's. kingdom doth increase, when truthi triumphs over error, and pure doc. trine and worship prevail against superstition and delusion. There are happy seasons when the Lord doth magnify his power in binding up the winds of heresy and false doctrine, and mak. ing pure scripture truths to be relished and preferred to the vain opinions and false reasonings of men.

Then he eauses Infidelity, Deism, So. einianism, Arianism, Popery, and Arminianism, to be rejected and abhorred: And makes men willing to subject their own reason to divine revelation, and to fall in with the plain truths of the word, and the gospel scheme of saving lost

sinners by the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and through his death and purchase only. Then he brings men to see their own natural impotency and inability to do any thing for their own recovery and happiness: so that, instead of ascribing their good actions and attainments to the good use of their own natural powers, they are willing to acknowledge God in every thing that is good in them, and to ascribe all to the praise and glory of his free grace, who, for Christ's sake works in them both to will and to do. O that Christ and his truth may thus increase in: the world!

5. This blessed increase of Christ's kingdom, includes the downfall of its enemies, and especially the overthrow of Mahomet and Antichrist, the ruin of Babylon, and the binding up of Satan, that grand enemy which excites all the rest.. This is foretold, Rev. 28. 2. Now when once that time comes, that Satan shall be restrained. and bound up from influencing rulers to persecute or oppress the church : from instigating seducers to propagate errors; and from exciting schismatical and seditious persons to sow dissension among the followers of Jesus; then the kingdom of Christ will greatly increase in the world.

6. It imports the increase of true piety and holiness among the subjects of Christ's king.

dom; when they shall study an universal con. formity to their holy Lord and Master, and, like him, make it their meat and drink to serve God, and do his will : When their minds and affections shall be greatly disengaged from the world, and the strain of their conversation shall be spiritual and heavenly: Their lives shall shine in holiness and good works; and their great study shall be to have their spirits and tempers, their walk and carriage, in all respects such as becomes the gospel of Christ : When they shall be just, righteous and true, in all their dealings, words, and actions; when they shall be meek and lowly, sober and temperate, patient and peaceable, loving and forgiving, harmless and inoffensive, in all the parts of their conversation ; and at the same time shall abhor and depart from all lying and dissembling, injustice and intemperance, pride and ambition, slandering and backbiting, malice and revenge, discord and strife, and whatever else is contrary to true godliness, and the pattern of the holy Jesus : then it is that Christ's kingdom shall greatly increase.

7. There is in it the increase of zeal and public-spiritedness for promoting true religion, and of christian courage and magnanimity in owning and avowing of Christ and his cause before the world. When Christians shall not

« AnteriorContinuar »