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Christ has made the ground and limit of his presence and blessing to the end of the world; and which is given also as the measure of this world's duration, seeing that when the gospel shall have been preached among all nations, as a witness to the people, then shall the end come. This, in short, is the “promise of the Father," which the disciples heard from Christ, the times and the seasons for fulfilling which the Father hath put in his own power, and which therefore it is not for man to know. “But,” added the departing Saviour, “ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
Here then is an exposition of his will, given by God himself; sustained and interpreted by innumerable promises, prophecies, and acts; and made so plain and prominent as to constitute the ground of the most implicit faith, and the motive to the most self-sacrificing effort. And hence we are informed, that they who listened to our Saviour's last annunciation of this promise of the Father,"—that these all“ continued with one accord in prayer and supplication with the women.”
Let it then be understood and felt, that it is the will of God that the heathen should be given unto Christ, and the uttermost parts of the earth as his possession. This, be it understood by all men, is not merely God's secret, sovereign, and absolute will; this is God's will, revealed and declared. This is not merely God's will, as that word implies God's willingness that this should be accomplished. It is God's desire. It is God's decree. It is God's decree, declared and ratified. It is God's decree, consummated by the actual establishment of his spiritual kingdom; by the incarnation of his only begotten Son; by the inauguration of Christ as King upon the holy hill of Zion; by his exaltation to the throne of heaven; by his endowment there with all power in heaven and on earth. This is that will of God which he has publicly attested to all past ages by
the extension of Christ's kingdom; by its preservation and propagation through sixty centuries; through people and realms of every tongue; against powers of earth and hell combined; through ages of persecution and seas of blood; gathering to itself, in its visible organization, through every successive generation, from among its enemies and its most determined, active assailants, millions of devoted—because convinced and converted-friends; and collecting together, in its invisible form, “the kingdom of heaven, the general assembly, the church of the firstborn, the heavenly Zion;" the millions of millions who, through faith and patience, and manifold tribulations, conflicts, and victories, shall have passed from earth to heaven, from time to eternity, from faith to vision, and from hope to the full fruition of unspeakable delight.
Lord, who, to set thy pardon's seal,
And thus, while I its truths discern,
GOD NOW ACCOMPLISHING HIS DECREE IN TWO SUPER
HUMAN FACTS. Let us dwell upon two of the marvellous facts to which we have alluded. Although superhuman in their character and cause, and most wonderful in their development, and of extraordinary force as proofs of the divinity of Christianity, they are greatly overlooked both by the friends and by the enemies of the gospel.
The first is, that the adherents of Christianity, at any one time, are composed exclusively of those who have been convinced,
converted, and made willing captives and loyal subjects of the Redeemer's kingdom during a single generation, and who will cease even to exist when another generation shall have come into existence. The Church of God is not self-perpetuating. It is not hereditary. It is not a caste. It is not a secret mystic order. It creates no monopoly. It is sustained by no appeals to pride, passion, interest, honour, or emolument. It recognizes no distinction in colour, in rank, in social and civil position, in wealth, education, or refinement, except so far as these pertain to the life that now is, and to those temporal distinctions which are ordained of God only for man's present advantage and progress, and, after serving their temporary purposes, perish and are forgotten. On all that is of the world, Christianity looks with anxious and sorrowful contemplation. On all the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life-on all its pomps and pageantry—on all its fashion and vain show -on all its diversities of rank and fortune, of wealth and poverty—on all this fashion