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period of just exception to this remark. The spiritual eye looks back upon past generations, as over a wide waste of troubled waters, which have never been at rest, but continually lifting up their waves on high, and their voice against Him that made them! But is this state of things alway to continue? Is the counsel of Jehovah to be frustrated everlastingly? "My purpose shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure,” replies the Lord.
And how is this to be effected? Will the prevailing divinity of our day lead to this conclusion ? Examine it, and try. According to that faith this earth is to be burned up, and put out of the records of creation, when Christ comes to judgment: the wicked shall be turned into hell, and the righteous shall be carried away with Christ into heaven, and God, as if ashamed of his defeat, will exterminate the scene of it from amidst his handy works, that it shall no more be remembered nor come into mind! And what becomes of his unchangeable purpose, and of his counsel, which, every really sound theologian will readily acknowledge, must stand though all other things fade and fail ? According to that faith, the counsel of God is overthrown, and his purpose proclaimed in man's creation, has come to nought, and Satan, a creature of time, has gained one everlasting triumph over the Ancient of days !
But is this possible? Reader, you must confess that it is not; and therefore that some other consummation must be designed beside that which has been supposed. Neither are we long in discovering it. It has formed the burden of inspired song: it has awoke the harp of Judah : it has embodied the visions of seers, and filled with gladness the hearts of holy men of God, who spake as they were moved by the Spirit of Christ that was in them, and testified to these things; That “in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished ;” 1 for then shall be the restitution of all things, which sin and Satan have marred; then shall be “the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory,” when He shall cast Satan out of his inheritance, when the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the saints of the Most High : when they shall reign with Christ as a second Adam in the image of God over all the earth, Gen. i. 26, when God's creation purpose shall be more gloriously established, having triumphed over the permitted opposition of six thousand years.
But what are we to understand by the restitution of all things ? Of the face of this planet before Adam's fall we may form some idea from consider
I Rov. x. 7.
ing its present condition, and comparing it with what God himself at that time testified concerning it. “And God saw every thing that He had made, and behold it was very good.” What therefore we find of evil in the existing state of things was not found there : what is not, strictly speaking,
very good” had there no place. All unhealthiness of seasons or of climate must therefore be exempted: all those causes of divers diseases and of sundry kinds of death, which have been was. ting our species continually, must have been wanting. The earth's produce also, and therefore its surface, must have been different, as is proclaimed in the curse of Adam's broken covenant. No thorns or thistles (by which I understand a part for the whole, that is, no ncxious weeds) would deform the beauty or neutralize the goodness of earth's spontaneous productions ; “ for God made every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew,” and behold every thing was very good. The change which then was wrought was the direct punishment of rebellion : that, as obedient man was really governor for God in this earth, so he should have “the creature” willingly submissive to his rule; and the earth, which was to be subdued by his labour, was not the earth as it now is, but that “ for which the Lord our God cared : the eyes of the Lord our God were always upon it.” Deut. xi. 12.
But with disobedient man how changed! Not only did the fish of the sea, and the fowl of the air, and the cattle, and the creeping thing turn their back upon him and flee away from his presence; but oftimes has “the evil beast” risen against him, who had been his rightful lord, and thus reminded him of his own doings against God.
The restitution of all things, therefore, in this earth, we understand to mean, that almighty act whereby every thing, which has been cursed for the sin of man, shall be restored to at least its primitive state of perfection and blessing, though, we conceive, to a higher degree ; ? and shall thus harmonize with that moral renovation, which shall then be introduced among the children of men, when all things that offend and they that do iniquity shall be put out, that the reign of righteousness and peace under Christ and his saints may commence in glory.
Well may we adopt the invocation of the man of God, who, anticipating that day of redemption, calls upon all creation to participate in the joys of that glad jubilee. “ Sing, O ye heavens, for the Lord hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest and every tree therein; for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel." Isaiah xliv. 23.
| Isaiah lxv. 17.
The redemption of Jacob, and the glorifying of God in the restoration of Israel is so bound up
with this blessed restitution, that the mind of the prophet cannot separate the things which God hath joined together; and viewing with prophetic assurance the grace which shall be brought to Israel and Judah in that day, he calls upon the world to rejoice and to be exceeding glad; for, to the world this grace shall prove
as life from the dead."