We are journeying unto the place, of which the Lord said, I will give it you: come thou with us, and we will do thee good, for the Lord hath spoken good concerning Israel.





IF the prophetic parts of the oracles of God, form what may be stiled "a sacred Calen­dar;" or, "an Almanac of Prophecy," it is with the greatest propriety, that the Watchmen of Zion are disposed, now and then, to [...]ult this sacred calendar, in view of determining the watch of the night, and, of consequence, how long before the arrival of the long-wished-for promised day. From premises which the sacred scriptures afford, calculations may, with a good degree of precision, be made, respecting the time of the accomplishment of the prophecies which relate to the future prosperity of the Zion of God. The redemption of the church of God from the bondage of Papal Babylon, as well as from the general dominion of the Powers of Darkness, is a glorious and animating subject of prophecy. The Lord hath spoken, and the decree sh [...]ll be fulfilled.—If, [...]n ancient time, the people of God believed what the Lord had spoken respecting the redemption of his people; if, from the sacred calendar, they discovered the time of the promised redemption—prayed for, and actually saw the fulfilment of the ob­ject of their hopes, in temporal and in spiritu­al deliverances; what forbids that, in this day [Page iv]of general captivity, the prophets of the Lord should look with the same faith and prayer for the fulfilment of those promises which respect the spiritual deliverance of the Christian Church, both from the bondage of Babylon, and from the thraldom of Satan?—And more especially, as we evidently see marks of the divine progress in this work, in his present judgments among the nations of the earth, and particularly on mystical Babylon; which all allow, are but a little to precede the glorious redemption and prosperity of the Church in the Millennial-day.—"One circumstance, saith Dr. Hallifax,* ought not to be passed by unnoticed—namely, the menaces of certain vengeance to be hereafter inflicted on the enemies of the true religion, intimated by the destruction of the body of the fourth beast; and subsequent to that the promise of the universal establish­ment of the reign of Christ, when the stone cut out of the mountain without hands, shall strike and break to pieces the image on its sect; and become a great mountain, and fill the whole earth. This part of the prophecies is yet unfulfilled; nor is it for us to ascertain [Page v]the manner in which so important a revolu­tion, in the religious world, will be effected: The use intended by the observation here is, from the symptoms of decline which are now discernible in the system of the Papal pow­er, to point out to you the presumption that a­rises in favor of the truth of the prophetical de­nunciations, and from the concussions which have already shook the tottering throne of superstition, to learn to expect, in God's good time, its full and final demolition."

And if this celebrated Author, in his day, thought there was ground to use the following language, in view of prophecies already ful­filled, and events then existing, with how much nore reason may we confidently adopt it now, and say, that, "under the auspices of such a guide we may hope to advance, securely, in our projected work; and to have the plea­sure of those, who, after long travelling in a dreary night, perceive, at last, the darkness to diminish, and the reddening streaks of the morning, betokening to them, that the day is at hand?"—

The object in publishing Dr. Bellamy's dis­course is to establish the doctrine of the Millen­nium as to matter of fact: and by publishing President Edwards's "Humble Attempt to [Page vi]promote explicit Agreement and visible U­nion in Prayer;" it is hoped attention will be excited to the use of those means which God hath ordained to be used in view of a gracious fulfilment of every promise made to his Church and to his People. Thus saith the Lord, I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them.

The design of the third and last discourse is to support the objects of the two former, by an appeal to existing facts, to the demonstration of present events. By these it appears, that what Dr. Hallifax termed "the reddening streaks of the morning," have become entitled to the stile of the dawn, if not to the morning of the day.—How does our faith grow—our confidence increase, and our joyful hearts ex­ult at the sight, or rather at the sound of the stately steppings of our God in the present re­volutions of his providence, fulfilling the pur­poses of his great decree!—From what we ob­serve to have, already, taken place, may we not confidently anticipate all that is to come?—The testimony of Jesus, saith the angel to St. John, is a spirit of prophecy.—If, in a spirit of pro­phecy, the Great Head of the Church hath spo­ken of things to come, to strengthen the faith, and to cheer the hope of his followers, it can­not [Page vii]be denied, but our time and talents are well employed, whilst, in study, with meekness and prayer, we labor to understand and to pos­sess the blessings he hath so graciously prepared, and so abundantly promised to his Church.

If, in the day in which President Edwards lived, it was thought time for the Zion of God to go into labor, in view of the approach of the time of promised redemption to Israel, with how much more courage and confidence may the Church of God now proceed in the ardu­ous, yet noble and interesting work?

The arguments which his invaluable tract suggests for explicit Agreement and visible U­nion of God's People in extraordinary Prayer, for the Revival of Religion, and the Advance­ment of Christ's Kingdom on Earth, pursuant to Scripture-promises and Prophecies, concern­ing the LAST TIME, are as applicable to the state of the Church, and of the world, now, as they were then, and the encouragement, from present circumstances, much more animating.

If any individual Christian, any society of Christian People, or any Minister, or associa­tion of Ministers, should be so far impressed with the propriety of a present compliance with what President Edwards labored to bring about in his day, as to desire that measures should [Page viii]be taken for the accomplishment of the object of his work, and express a willingness to aid in laying a foundation for a general and united exertion in prayer throughout all the Christian Churches in our land; the Editor pledges his whole heart in aid to any such proposal, and would think himself highly favored by any com­munications, from any quarter, on the sublime and animating subject.

That the Great Head of the Church would graciously take this humble attempt to the ho­nor of his name, and for the interests of his Zion, under his holy protection, and prosper, and do his own blessed will in all things which it strives to accomplish, is the fervent prayer of one, who knows no higher object of present or future ambition, than to approve himself, and to be approved of his Lord and Master, as an industrious h [...]wer of wood, and drawer of wa­ter for the church of God.



PART I. A Discourse by Reverend the Dr. Bellamy, founded on Revelation XX. 1, 2, 3. And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit, &c.
  • PAGE. 9. The Scriptures, by their Promises and Prophecies of good Things to come, are well calculated to keep alive the Faith of God's People in the Day of Trial.
  • PAGE. 21. A Summary of Promises respecting the Increase of the Re­deemer's Kingdom.
  • PAGE. 23. When shall these Things be?
  • PAGE. 25. From the Faithfulness of God we have no Cause to doubt the Fulfilment of his gracious Promises to his People.
  • PAGE. 34. Human Mistakes, a [...] to Time, no Bar in the Way of the final Event.
  • PAGE. 36. Because Christ once stiled his People a little Flock, it is no Sign they will always appear so.
  • PAGE. 42. Seventeen Thousand may be saved to one Soul finally lost.
  • PAGE. 44. God knows best when to bring these Things to pass.
  • PAGE. 45. A Veteran in the Service of God, animating the Followers of the Lamb.
  • PAGE. 48. Christ loves to have his Ministers and People faithful.
  • PAGE. 49. As David gathered Materials for the Temple, to be built in Solomon's Day, so we are to do our Endeavor to favor the great Building of God.
PART II. A Treatise by the late learned and highly esteemed President Edwards, entitled, "An Humble Attempt to promote explicit A­greement and visible Union of God's People in extraordinary Pray­er. for the Revival of Religion, and the Advancement of Christ's Kingdom on Earth, pursuant to Scripture-promises and Prophe­cies concerning the last Time"—founded on Zechariah viii. 20, 21, 22. Thus saith the Lord of Hos [...]s, It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities:— And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of Hosts: [Page]I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of Hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord.
  • PAGE. 63. Text is opened, and Union in Prayer recommended.
  • PAGE. 81. An Account of the Concert for Prayer.
  • PAGE. 90. A Memorial from Scotland.
Motives to a Compliance with what is proposed in the Memo­rial.
  • PAGE. 97. The Latter-Day Glory not yet accomplished.
  • PAGE. 115. The great Glory of the latter Day.
  • PAGE. 122. The Holy Spirit the Sum of Christ's Purchase.
  • PAGE. 127. The latter Day, eminently the Day of Salvation.
  • PAGE. 130. How the Creation travaileth in Pain for that Day.
  • PAGE. 136. Scripture Precepts, Encouragements and Examples of Pray­er for Christ's Kingdom.
  • PAGE. 156. Dispensations of Providence at this Day, present with many Motives to Prayer for it.
  • PAGE. 171. The Beauty and good Tendency of uniting in such Prayer.
  • PAGE. 176. The particular and great Encouragement in the Word of God to express Agreement in Prayer.
Objections answered.
  • PAGE. 179. No Superstition in the Case.
  • PAGE. 185. The Concert not whimsical.
  • PAGE. 198. The Concert not Pharisaical.
  • PAGE. 201. The slaying of the Witnesses considered.
  • PAGE. 237. The Fall of Antichrist approaching.
  • PAGE. 241. The Time not known beforehand.
  • PAGE. 246. The Time not at a very great Distance.
  • PAGE. 266. His Fall will be gradual.
  • PAGE. 276. Good reason to hope that that Work of God's Spirit will soon begin, which will, in its Progress, overthrow Anti­christ and Satan's Kingdom on Earth.
  • PAGE. Ibid. The sixth Vial probably now in fulfilling.
  • PAGE. 296. Antichrist's Ruin speedily follows it.
  • PAGE. 304. However if otherwise, yet our Prayer will not be in vain.
  • PAGE. 305. Such an Agreement in Prayer no new Thing.
  • PAGE. 305. Such an Agreement in Prayer no new Thing. The Duty of agreeing to pray no new Duty. The like practised in 1712, with the wonderful Consequence.
  • PAGE. 311. The Conclusion.
PART III. A Discourse by the Reverend Mr. Austin, entitled—The Down­fall of MYSTICAL BABYLON; or, a Key to the Providence of God in the political Operations of 1793-4—founded on Revelation xviii. 20. Rejoice over her thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on [...]er.
  • [Page]PAGE. 328. All Holy Beings are called upon to rejoice in the Calamities which God brings on his and their Enemies.
  • PAGE. 330. Plan of the Discourse.
  • PAGE. 331. Prophetic Figures point us to Papal Rome, as the Object of the divine Decree.
  • PAGE. 336. A Parallel run between ancient Heathenish, and modern An­ti-christian Rome.
  • PAGE. 337. Sketch of the awful Persecutions of Papal Rome, in a note.
  • PAGE. 344. The two Witnesses.
  • PAGE. 350. The present is the Time of the slaying of the Witnesses, and affords a [...]y to the Cause of the present Dearth of Reli­ligion in ma [...]y Parts of the Christian Church.
  • PAGE. 361. The Prophecies of Daniel, of St. Paul, and of St. John re­specting Babylon brought to a Point.
  • PAGE. 365. Of the Rise, Continuance, and probable Destruction of this anti-christian Power.
  • PAGE. 371. Causes of this Disaster.
  • PAGE. 375. Means by which it shall be brought about.
  • PAGE. 388. The little Stone smiting the Image, and becoming itself a great Mountain.
  • PAGE. 393. Two great Revolutions to usher in the Latter-Day Glory; outward and political—inward and spiritual.
  • PAGE. 395. The foundation of universal Joy in the Prospect.
  • PAGE. 401. [...]e Time of the Falling of the Stars of Heaven is come.
  • PAGE. 403. [...]he Doctrine of the Millennium is true.
  • PAGE. 405. Duty of Ministers and Churches.
  • PAGE. 408. The Protestant Dragon.
  • PAGE. 413. The Her [...] of America on his War to demolish the Usurpa­tions of Protestant, Papal and Pagan Rome.
  • PAGE. 415. The Eagle and her [...]tation.
  • PAGE. 416. The Dragon of D [...]ons, and his efforts against the Church of God.
  • PAGE. 417. Address to an In [...].
  • PAGE. 421. — to Men of understanding.
  • [Page] PAGE. 421. Address to the Ambitious. — to the Miser. — to the Man of Business.
  • PAGE. 422. — to the Stupid and Obstinate. — to the Elevated and Polite. Hopes from the Example and Influence of the Fair.
  • PAGE. 423. The Fair Penitent led by a Guardian Angel to the Throne of Grace.

ERRATUM—Page 344, line 5, after the word supposed, add, have prophesied in sackcloth.


[First published at Boston in 1758.]


And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years. And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled.

IN a great variety of respects the Bible is the most remarkable book in the world. In it we have God's moral character clearly ex­hibited to view, by a history of his conduct, as moral governor of the world, from the be­ginning; and the nature of fallen man paint­ed to the life, by a history of their behavi­our for four thousand years. In it we have opened the glorious and astonishing method that has been entered upon to disappoint all [Page 10]Satan's designs, by the interposition of the Son of God; and are informed of his birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension and exalt­ation, and of the glorious designs he has in view. And the whole is so contrived as to be admirably suited to all the circumstances and needs of a good man, that, as it was de­signed to be the good man's book, in a pe­culiar sense, so it is perfectly suited to his case. It is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thorough­ly furnished to all good works.

That sincere concern for the cause of truth and virtue, for the honor of God and inte­rest of true religion, which is peculiar to a good man, whose character it is to love Christ above father and mother, wife and children, houses and lands, yea, better than his own life, must naturally subject him to a peculiar kind of solicitude; even as a child, of a truly filial spirit, is pained when it goes ill with his father's family, to whose interest he is closely attached, and has a whole sys­tem of inward sensations that a stranger in­termeddles not with. The Bible, the good man's book, is, therefore, wisely adapted to ease the good man's pained heart, and af­ford [Page 11]consolation in this interesting and most important point, as it gives the strongest as­surances that the cause of virtue shall finally prevail.

How insupportable must the grief of the pious Jews have been, sitting on the sides of the rivers of Babylon? There we sat down, say they, yea, we wept when we remembered Zion. And on the willows they hung their harps, nor could any thing divert their minds. If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning! If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth! —How insupportable, I say, must their grief have been, while their glorious holy tem­ple, and their holy city, the place of all their sacred solemnities, were lying desolate, and God's people in captivity, had it not been for that promise, so often repeated, that af­ter seventy years God would visit them, and cause them to return to their own land. God knew before-hand the anguish which would be apt to fill their hearts, the sinking discour­agements, and all the train of dark and gloo­my thoughts they would be incident to, and before-hand provided a remedy. Yea, no sooner had he denounced their doom in the xxxixth chapter of Isaiah, but immediately [Page 12]in the next chapter, and for ten or twenty chapters together, does he provide for their support. Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people; speak comfortably to Jerusalem, &c. &c.

So, how insupportable would have been the grief of the church of Christ, through the long, dark, cruel reign of mystical Baby­lon, while they beheld error and wickedness universally prevail, Satan getting his will in almost every thing, and, to appearance, no signs of better times, but all things wearing a dreadful aspect before their eyes:—How great their grief? How sinking their discou­ragements? How almost insuperable their temptations to apostatize, and forsake a cause that heaven seemed to forsake, had not the day of deliverance been expressly foretold, and the glory that should follow opened to view by the spirit of prophesy? But in a firm belief that the cause they were engaged in, and for which they spilt their blood, would finally prevail, and prevail in this world, where they then beheld Satan reigning and triumphing; I say, in a firm belief of this, the whole army fo martyrs could march on to battle courageously, willing to sacrifice their lives in the cause, not doubting of final victory, although they themselves must fall in the field.

[Page 13] Indeed, were the salvation of his own soul the only thing the good man had in view, he would naturally be quite easy upon a full assurance that this was secured. So, had Moses cared for nothing but the welfare of himself and of his posterity, he might have been satisfied, while the whole [...] [...]egation of Israel were destroyed, if he might becaome a great nation, and that without any solici­tude for the honor of the great name of the God of Israel; yea, although the idolatrous nations round about were fully established in the belief of the divinity of their idols, and brought to look upon the God of the Hebrews with ever so great contempt by the means. But, attached as he was to the ho­nor of the God of Israel, nothing could give him satisfaction, but a prospect that that would be secure. The welfare of himself and of his family was of no importance in his esteem, compared with this. See Exod. xxxii.

It must, therefore, be remembered, that, as the Son of God lest his father's bosom, and the realms of light and glory, and ex­pired on the cross in the utmost visible con­tempt, that he might spoil principalities and powers, bruise the serpent's head, destroy the works of the Devil, so his true disciples have [Page 14]imbibed a measure of the same spirit, and, as volunteers enlisted under his banner, have the same thing in view; they long for the destruction of Satan's kingdom, and these petitions are the genuine language of their hearts; ‘Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in hea­ven’ Nor can the salvation of their own souls, although ever so safely secured, satisfy their minds, without a clear view and fair prospect of Christ's final victory over all his enemies: ‘But if our great GENERAL, who has sacrificed his life in the cause, may but at last obtain a complete victory, notwith­standing all the present dark appearances, this is enough," says the Christian Soldier; I am willing to risque all in his service, and die in the battle too. But if Satan were always to carry the day, Oh, who could live under the thought!’

This having been the temper of good men, more or less, even from the early ages of the world, and through all successive genera­tions to this day, they have evidently want­ed a peculiar support, which the rest of man­kind stood in no need of, to carry them [Page 15]comfortably through such a long scene of darkness; wickedness prevailing, God dis­honored, Satan triumping, the world pe­rishing, the true church of God more gene­rally in sackcloth. And accordingly the fi­nal victory of the cause of truth and virtue was intimated in the very first promise made to fallen man; and, from time to time, God repeated this comfortable prediction to his church and people; and finally made it the chief subject of the last book of holy Scrip­ture he ordered to be wrote for the use of his church.

Now let us take a brief view of the whole series of these divine predictions, from the beginning of the world, even down to this in our text, contained in one of the last chap­ters in the Bible, that we may see what full evidence there is of this truth, and so what abundant cause for consolation to all the people of God.

1. Immediately after the fall, when the serpent, even the Old Serpent the Devil, had just seduced mankind to revolt from God; and had, to all appearance, laid this whole world in perpetual ruin, even in the depths of this midnight darkness, a ray of light [Page 16]shone down from heaven—The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head. As if God had said, ‘I see the scheme that Satan has laid to ruin the world, and establish his impious, malicious cause: I see it, and am determined to defeat it. The feebler woman he has over-matched, but her al­mighty seed shall conquer him, and as ef­fectually subdue him, and prevent all fu­ture mischief by him, as a serpent is sub­dued and incapacitated for further mis­chief when his head is crushed to pieces, under the indignant heel of one determin­ed on his death.’ This was a complete doom, indeed, denounced against Satan, at the head of the kingdom of darkness. And it fully implied, that the cause of light, truth and righteousness, should finally obtain a complete victory.

2. After this gracious and glorious pro­mise had been the chief foundation of all the hopes of God's people for two thousand years, God was pleased to point out the par­ticular family from whence this mighty de­liverer should spring, and to intimate what a universal blessing he should be to all the nations of the earth. And in thy SEED shall ALL the families of the earth be blessed, said [Page 17]God to Abraham; which again plainly supposed, that the cause of truth and right­eousness, notwithstanding the dark state the world then was in, all sinking fast into idol­atry, and would for many ages be in, buried in heathenish darkness, should yet, in due time, universally prevail over the whole earth. For in thy SEED shall ALL the fami­lies of the earth be blessed. This same pro­mise was repeated again and again to Abra­ham, and afterwards to Isaac and to Jacob.

3. Hitherto God had supported his peo­ples' hopes chiefly with promises, with verbal predictions; but from the days of Moses to the days of Solomon king of Israel, to assist his peoples' faith, God did, besides repeated promises of the same thing, by a great variety of wonderful works, shadow forth the glorious day; and, at the same time, shew that he had sufficient wisdom and power to accomplish the greatest de­signs. That his people might be convinced that he could easily bring to pass, for the good of his church, whatsoever seemed good in his sight.

Israel, in the Egyptian bondage, were a designed type of a fallen world, under the dominion and tyranny of Satan; nor was [Page 18]Pharaoh more loth to let Israel go, than Satan is to have his subjects desert him, and his kingdom go to ruin; but notwithstand­ing all the seeming impossibilities in the way of Israel's deliverance, infinite wisdom knew how to accomplish the divine designs. God could even cause a member of Pharaoh's family to educate one to be an instrument of this designed deliverance. And, in due time, behold all the armies of Israel march forth from the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; and Pharaoh, and his chariots, and all his host, lie buried in the Red Sea! So easily can God bring forth his people, even out of the anti-christian kingdom, which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt; and, if he pleases, raise up the instruments of this glorious work, even in the court of Rome.

And when the name of the true God was almost forgotten through all the earth, and the Devil worshipped in his room, in idols of various names, through all the nations, God knew how to make his name known, and to cause his fame to spread abroad, and fill the whole earth with his glory, by won­ders wrought in the land of Ham; by des­cending on Mount Sinai; by leading the [Page 19]armies of Israel forty years in the wilder­ness, in a pillar of cloud by day, and of fire by night, giving them bread from heaven and water out of the flinty rock; dividing Jordan; delivering up one and thirty idol­atrous kings to the sword of Joshua; raising up judges, one after another, in a miraculous manner, to deliver his people, until the days of David and Solomon, types of Christ.—Of David who, Messiah-like, subdued the enemies of Israel all around; of Solomon, who built the Holy Temple, and filled Jeru­salem with riches and glory.—He who hath done all these things, can easily accomplish all the designs of his heart, preserve his church, raise up deliverance, break to pieces the kingdoms of the earth for her sake, make truth victorious, and set up the New-Jeru­salem in all her spiritual glory, build up his church as a glorious Holy Temple, and set the Son of David upon the Throne; by whose hands Satan, and all the powers of darkness, shall be subdued, chained, sealed up in the bottomless pit, as much afraid, and as much unable, to attempt any mischief, as the subdued nations around Israel were in the very height of David's power.

But when shall the Son of David reign, [Page 20]and the church have rest? When shall the cause of truth and righteousness thus prevail? Perhaps the very time was designed to be shadowed forth in the law of Moses, in the institution of their holy days. The seventh day, said God, who always had this glorious season of rest in view—"The seventh day shall be a Sabbath of Rest, the seventh month shall be full of holy day, the seventh year shall be a year of rest."—So, perhaps, after six thou­sand years are spent in labour and sorrow by the church of God, the seven thousandth shall be a season of spiritual rest and joy, an holy sabbath to the Lord.—And as God the Creator was six days in forming a confused chaos into a beautiful world, and rested the seventh; so God the Redeemer, after six thousand years labour in the work of the new creation, may rest on the seventh, and then proclaim a general liberty to an enslav­ed world, and grant a general pardon to a guilty race; as in the year of jubilee, among the Jews, every enslaved Jew was set at li­berty, and the debts of all the indebted were cancelled.

4. These things, thus shadowed forth in types, were also expresly declared by the mouths of the ancient prophets, from the [Page 21]days of David and forward, to the end of that dispensation; and the same things are hinted here and there in the New-Testa­ment, and largely opened to view in the Revelation of St. John. So that both the Old and New Testaments join to raise in us, who live in these ages, the highest assurance that it is God's design to give his Son the Heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. For all kings shall bow down before him and all na­tions shall serve him. And the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it. They shall beat their swords into plough-shears and their spears into pruning-hooks, and learn war no more. For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. A nation shall be born in a day. All thy people shall be righteous. They shall all know the Lord, from the least to the great­est. And holiness to the Lord shall be written on every thing. Kings shall become nursing fathers, and queens nursing mothers; and there shall be nothing to hurt or offend. The inhabitants shall [...]et [so much as] say I am sick. And this kingdom shall fill the whole [Page 22]earth. And all nations and languages shall serve him. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High God; and the Jews shall be called in, and the fulness of the Gentiles. For the Gospel shall be preached to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people. And Satan shall be bound, and Christ shall reign on earth a thousand years. * And as surely as the Jews were delivered out of the Babylonish captivity, and Babylon itself destroyed, even so surely shall all these things be accomplished in their time; and mysti­cal [Page 23]Babylon shall sink as a millstone into the sea, and shall be found no more at all.

5. But when shall these things be? I an­swer, in the first place, it is plain, as yet they have not been; these great things have not been accomplished. They were not accom­plished when the Jews were brought out of their Babylonish captivity; for, from thence to the coming of Christ, they never were in so flourishing a state as they had been before. They were not accomplished in the aposto­lic age; for St. John, when most, if not all, of the other apostles were dead, spake of these things, in the Revelation, as yet to come to pass. They were not accomplished in the three first centuries, for that was al­most one continued scene of blood. They were not accomplished in the days of Con­stantine the Great; for it is since then that the Man of Sin has been revealed. Nor are they accomplished to this day; for Satan is still walking to and fro through the earth, and going up and down therein: Babylon is not fallen; the Jews are not called, nor is the fulness of the Gentiles come in, but the greatest part of the earth, to this day, sit in heathenish darkness.

[Page 24] When then shall they be accomplished? Not till the holy city has been trodden under foot forty and two months. Not till the wit­nesses have prophesied a thousand two hundred and threescore days, cloathed in sackcloth. And not till the woman has been in the wil­derness a time, and times, and half a time. Now a time, and times, and half a time, i. e. three years and a half is equal to forty-two months, which is equal to one thousand two hundred and sixty days, which doubtless means one thousand two hundred and sixty years, a day for a year; as the event has proved, was the case in the prophecy of Daniel, who declared it to be seventy weeks, from the going forth of the commandment to build Jerusalem to the death of Christ; for it proved to be four hundred and nine­ty years, which is seven times seventy, a day for a year. Dan. ix. 24.

So that there is no difficulty in determin­ing the downfall of Antichrist, but what a­rises from the uncertainty we are at when to date the beginning of his rise and reign.— The Bishops of Rome were some hundred years rising gradually from the honest cha­racter of a scripture-bishop to the grand title of UNIVERSAL POPE, which was obtained, [Page 25]A. D. six hundred and six. And it was a long time from this before they got to the height of their grandeur, and the Pope was constituted a TEMPORAL PRINCE, which was not till A. D. seven hundred and fifty-six.* And perhaps he may fall as gradual­ly as he rose. And as now he has been fal­ling two hundred and forty years, even ever since the beginning of the REFORMATION, so we may rationally expect he will conti­nue to fall till BABYLON sinks AS A MILL­STONE INTO THE SEA. And then the moun­tains and the hills shall break forth into sing­ing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. And all the hosts of heaven, as loud as thunder, shall say, Hallelujah! For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

And thus we have taken a brief view of the scripture-evidence, that the cause of truth and righteousness will finally become gloriously victorious.

6. Nor is there the least reason to doubt the accomplishment of these things; for God2 [Page 26]in all times past has been faithful to his word, and is evidently sufficiently engaged in this affair—knows how, and can easily accomplish it, and it will be much to the honor of his great name to do it.

God has been faithful to his promises to his church from the beginning of the world. To all human appearance, it was a very un­likely thing that the Hebrews, enslaved in Egypt, under Pharaoh, a very powerful monarch, and sunk down into idolatry, and very low-spirited, should arise and go forth with all their flocks and herds, and march through the wilderness, and conquer the se­ven nations of Canaan, and possess their land. And so it was, to all human appear­ance, equally unlikely, that the Jews in Ba­bylon should ever return to their own land. —But God had promised in both cases, and God performed. And an event more sur­prising than either of these, yea, the most [...]onishing that could have happened, has also come to pass, just as God had said.— [...] promised SEED ha [...] been born, and the [...]er [...]e [...], has bru [...]sed hi heel; and methinks n [...]or only God's faithfulness but even [...]he nature of the case i [...]self, should lead us [...] shall [...]or [...] h [...]s heel.

[Page 27] For after God has appeared to be so in­finitely engaged to destroy the works of the Devil, as to give his only begotten Son, it can surely never once be imagined that he wants sufficient resolution to carry him thro' what yet remains to be done.

And he who could send Pharaoh's daugh­ter to take up Moses, when an infant, out of his basket of bulrushes, and educate him in Pharaoh's court, that he might be skilled in all the arts of government; and when he had spent forty years in this situation banish him into the land of Midian, that in the so­litary life of a shepherd for another forty years, he might attain to the meekest man on earth, that he might, by both, be tho­roughly qualified for the work designed him; and he, who could take David from feed­ing his father's sheep, and, after a course of trials, so exceeding necessary to prepare frail man for high honors and great useful­ness, exalt him to the throne of Israel, so thoroughly furnished to head their armies and subdue their foes, advance their exter­nal grandeur, and put great honor upon their religion; and he, who could take Da­niel, one of the Jewish captives in Babylon, and raise him to such high honor and great [Page 28]authority, to be a father to his people thro' their seventy ye [...] captivity, and by his means, perhaps, influence Cyrus so gene­rously to release them, and assist them in their return:* and finally, he, who could take a number of poor illiterate fishermen, and the persecuting Saul, and by them lay the foundation of the Christian church, in spite of the united opposition of earth and hell; and after their death cause the Chris­tian church to live through, yea, at last to triumph over the ten bloody persecutions, and even conquer the Roman empire; and that which is still more wonderful, to subsist to this day, notwithstanding all the subtle and cruel methods which have, for so many hundred years, been taken by Antichrist to [Page 29]extirpate Christianity out of the world; I say, he who could do these things, cannot be at a loss for means, or want power to ef­fect the glorious things foretold, which yet remain to be accomplished.

And what if mankind are ever so estrang­ed from God? And what if they are ever so averse to a reconciliation? And what if Satan reigns in the courts of princes, in the councils of the clergy, as well as in the cot­tages of the poor? And what if even the whole world in a manner lies in wickedness? So that a g [...]eral conflagration might ra­ther be exp [...]cted, as it is so eminently de­served —are these things any bar in the way?

What if mankind have abused divine grace from the beginning of the world? What if they have murdered his prophets, his Son, and his apostles? What if they have resist­ed and grieved the Holy Spirit, and pervert­ed the doctrines, and gone counter to the precepts of his holy word? Yea, what if it appears that mankind are really on Satan's side? And this, after all the kind methods God has taken to reclaim a guilty world, so that even the best man on earth, or the kind­est angel in heaven might be discouraged, totally and finally discouraged, and think it [Page 30]never worth while to take any more pains with such a perverse race, but that it were more suitable to the rules of good govern­ment to resign them to destruction!—Are any, or all these things together, a sufficient bar to the accomplishment of God's designs, whose goodness is absolutely infinite? Can they be so, after the Son of God has been offered as a sacrifice of atonement, to secure the honour of the divine government, and open a way for the honourable exercise of his grace?—What! after the Messiah has been exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance and remission of sins?— And after all power and authority in hea­ven and earth is given into his hands, on purpose to destroy the kingdom of Satan, and bring every nation, kindred and tongue, to bow the knee to God! Yea, when the in­finitely wise Governor of the world has be­fore determined to permit the wickedness of mankind to come out and stand in so glaring a light, and to suffer Satan so long to practise and prosper, to this very purpose, that his power, wisdom and grace, might be the more effectually and the more glori­ously displayed, in the accomplishment of all his glorious designs?

[Page 31] Instead of being discouraged, from a view of the past, or the present state of the world, as without the light of divine revelation we should naturally have been, methinks now, viewing all things in the light of holy scrip­ture, it must be perfectly rational to con­clude, that all these things are only prepa­ratory, as an introduction to the glorious day: even, as all the cruel bondage of Israel in Egypt, and all the haughty conduct of Pharaoh, were but preparatory as an intro­duction to the glorious event that God had then in his eye. And what unspeakable ho­nour will redound to God most High, if after all the vile conduct of this apostate world, and notwithstanding all their ill-de­sert; and after all the subtle methods Satan has taken to make his kingdom strong; I say, what unspeakable honour will redound to God most High, if, after all this, he should accomplish his glorious designs? And when things have been ripening these five or six thousand years, and are now so nearly every way prepared for God, to get himself a great name in the total destruction of Satan's king­dom, can we once imagine, that God will let the opportunity ilip? Or rather, ought [Page 32]we not firmly to believe, that when every thing is quite ripe, then God will arise, make bare his arm, and fill the whole world with his glory?

Especially, considering that, as things stand, the honour of all his glorious perfections lies at stake; for ever since the Almigh­ty gave out the word, that the SEED of the woman should bruise the serpent's head, even from that very day, that Old Serpent, with all his subtilty, has employed his whole power to defeat the divine designs, main­tain his kingdom in the world, and escape the dreadful blow. He stirred up Cain to kill his brother, and never ceased till the whole earth was filled with violence, which brought on the general deluge; and after the flood, he was industrious to divert man­kind from the knowledge and worship of the true God, and to establish idolatry and the worship of the Devil, in all the kingdoms of the earth; and since Christianity ap­peared, he has turned himself into every shape to defeat the gracious designs of the gospel, and has prevailed and reigned above a thousand years, at the head of the grand antichristian apostacy; and should the Al­mighty [Page 33]suffer him to go on and prosper, and finally prevail, what would become of his own great name? and how great would be their triumph in the infernal regions, to think that in spite of God and of his Son, from the beginning to the end of the world, they have held out in a constant war, kept the field, and at last come off victorious?— Wherefore, as when God repeats the won­derful works which he had done for Israel in the days of old, in the xxth chapter of Ezekiel, he constantly says, I wrought for mine own great name. So here, in this case, will he do it again, and that in the most eminent manner; as it is written, The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this.

So that, in a word, if almighty power and infinite wisdom, at the head of the universe, infinitely engaged, are a sufficient match for the guilty, impotent powers of darkness, then we may depend upon it, Satan will meet with an overthrow, as notable as did Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea;— and as proud Babylon, once the mistress of kingdoms, is now no more, so mystical Ba­bylon shall sink as a millstone in the sea, and rise no more for ever. And,

[Page 34] 7. Whatever mistakes the Jewish Rabbies might fall into, in their interpretation of Da­niel's seventy weeks, and in their attempts to fix the precise time of the Messiah's com­ing; and whatever mistaken notions any of them had about the nature of his kingdom, as though it was to be of this world, and he to appear in all earthly grandeur; and al­though his coming, to some, might seem to be so long delayed, that they began to give up all hopes of it, and to contrive some other meaning to all the ancient prophecies, or even to call in question the inspiration of the prophets; yet neither the mistakes of some, nor the infidelity of others, at all al­tered the case. Days, and months, and years hastened along, and one revolution among the kingdoms of the earth followed upon another, till the fulness of time was come, till all things were ripe, and then, behold, the Messiah was born. Even so it shall be now.

Whatever mistakes Christian Divines may fall into, in their interpretation of six hundred and sixty-six, the number of the beast; or in their endeavours to fix the pre­cise time when the one thousand two hun­dred and sixty years of Antichrist's reign [Page 35]shall begin and end; or whatever wrong notions some have had, or may have about the nature of the Millennium, as though Christ was to reign personally on earth; and if some, mean while, begin to think, that all things will go on as they have done, and to conclude, that the expectation of these glo­rious days, which has prevailed in the Chris­tian Church from the beginning, is merely a groundless fancy: Yet none of these things will at all alter the case. Days, and months, and years will hasten along, and one revo­lution, among the kingdoms of the earth, follow upon another, until the fulness of time is come—till all things are ripe for the event; and then the ministers of Christ will accomplish in reality, what St. John saw in his visions:—I saw an angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue and people. And then shall it come to pass that the veil of ignorance, which hath so long spread over all nations, shall be destroyed; and knowledge shall so greatly increase, that it shall be [...] though the light of the moon were as the light of the sun, and [...]e light of the sun sevenfold; until the knowledge of [Page 36]the Lord cover the earth as the waters do the sea; and then there shall be nothing to hurt or offend in all God's holy mountain; for babylon shall fall, Satan be bound, and Christ will reign, and truth and righteous­ness universally prevail a thousand years.


1. When, therefore, our Saviour, in the days of his flesh, denominated his followers a little flock, from the smallness of their num­ber, he had no design to teach us that this would always be the case; for although it was very true, that his flock was at that time a little flock, yet the day was coming, when that little leaven should leaven the whole lump, and the stone cut out without hands should be­come a great mountain, and fill the whole earth. So, although it was a saying very ap­plicable, not only to our Saviour's day, but to most other periods of the church, that many are called, and few are chosen; yet it does not hence follow, that this will be the case, when a nation shall be born in a day, and all the people shall be righteous.—And although it has commonly been so, that of the MANY who have sought to enter in at [Page 37]the strait gate, but FEW have been able, and the GENERALITY have, from age to age, gone in the broad way, which leads down to destruction; yet it shall be quite otherwise, when Satan is bound, that he may deceive the nations no more; and when all shall know the Lord, from the least to the greatest, when the kingdom, and the greatness of the king­dom, under the whole heavens, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High. For it is very plain, that these, and such like expressions used by our Saviour, which were applicable to the then times, and to most other periods, when the number of true con­verts hath been comparatively very small, were never designed to be applicable to that glorious period yet to come, which is to be the grand harvest time, when the Jews, who are, to this day, for that very purpose, no doubt, by divine Providence, preserved a distinct people, and the fulness of the Gentiles shall come in. Nor can it be right to interpret such expressions in such a sense, as to render them inconsistent with what the scriptures so plainly teach shall be the case in the lat­ter days: Therefore,

2. Notwithstanding hitherto but few have [Page 38]been saved, there is no evidence but that yet the greater part of mankind may be saved. Nothing can be argued against this from such expressions as have been just mentioned, for the reason already suggested. Nor can any thing be argued from any other passages of scripture; for the scripture no where teaches, that the greatest part of the whole human race will finally perish. I am sensible, many seem to take this for granted, and they are greatly strengthened in this belief from a view of the awful state mankind have been in from the beginning of the world to this day. But if we should even grant, that hi­therto not one in ten thousand have been saved, yet it may come to pass, (there may be time enough for it, and men enough yet born;) I say, it may yet come to pass, that by far the greatest part of mankind may be saved.

For as the scriptures constantly teach that. in these glorious days, universal peace shall prevail, and instead of war the nations shall employ their time in useful labour, shall beat their swords into plow shares, and their spears into pruning hooks; so it will naturally come to pass, that mankind, who are now in vast [Page 39]multitudes destroyed in the wars from one generation to another, will be greatly in­creased in numbers, and plentifully provid­ed for. Only remove wars, famines, and all those desolating judgments, which the sins of mankind have, from age to age, brought down on a guilty world, and let that uni­versal peace and prosperity take place, which indeed will naturally result from the sincere practice of pure Christianity, and mankind will naturally increase and spread, and fill all the earth. And while every one im­proves his time well, and is diligent in his calling, according to the rules of our holy religion, and all luxury, intemperance and extravagance are banished from the nations of the earth, it is certain that this globe will be able to sustain with food and raiment a number of inhabitants, immensely greater than ever yet dwelt on it at a time. And now if all these shall know the Lord from the least to the greatest, as the scripture asserts, so that the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the earth as the waters cover the sea, for a thou­sand years together, it may easily, yea, it will naturally come to pass, that there will be more saved in these thousand years, than ever before dwelt upon the face of the earth from the foundation of the world.

[Page 40] Some indeed understand the thousand years in the Revelation, agreeable to other prophetical numbers in that book, a day for a year; so the time, and times, and half a time, i. e. three years and an half, and the forty two months, and the one thousand two hundred and sixty days are no doubt to be reckoned; and if the dark period is to be reckoned by this rule, it should seem that the light period should likewise; for other­wise the dark period, which in that book is represented to be the shortest, will indeed be the longest—the one thousand two hundred and sixty days longer than the thousand years; and if the thousand years is reckon­ed a day for a year, as the scripture-year con­tains three hundred and sixty days, so the one thousand years will amount to three hun­dred and sixty thousand years; in which there might be millions saved to one that has been lost. But not to insist upon this, if this glorious period is to last only a thousand years literally, there may be many more sav­ed than lost.

If it be granted, that it is difficult to com­pute with any exactness in such a case as this, yet it is easy to make such a computa­tion as may satisfy us in the point before us; [Page 41]for in Egypt the Hebrews doubled at the rate of about once in fourteen years; in New-England the inhabitants double in less than twenty-five years; it will be moderate, therefore, to suppose mankind, in the Mil­lennium, when all the earth is full of peace and prosperity, will double every fifty years. But at this rate, there will be time enough in a thousand years to double twenty times, which would produce such a multitude of people, as that although we should suppose all who live before the Millennium begins to be lost, yet if all these should be saved, there would be above seventeen thousand saved to one that would be lost; as may ap­pear from the table below.4

[Page 42] 3. The periods past, that have been so dark, ought to be considered as introduc­tory to this bright and glorious scene, and in various respects as preparatory thereto.

An apostate race, who had joined with the fallen angels in a course of rebellion a­gainst the Governor of the Universe, might justly have been forsaken of God, and giv­en up to a state of perfect darkness and wo, from generation to generation, entirely un­der [Page 43]the power of the Prince of Darkness.— What has happened in dark ages past, may help us a little to realize what might justly always have been the woful state of a fallen world. We have had a specimen of the dreadful nature and tendency of Satan's go­vernment in all the idolatry, wickedness and wo which have filled the world; and we have seen a little what is in the heart of fal­len man, who have slain the Lord's pro­phets, crucified his Son, and shed the blood of thousands, yea, of millions of his servants. And what has happened may help us to realize a little what must have been the state of a fallen world, if grace had never interposed. At the same time it hath ap­peared, after the best contrived experiments have been sufficiently tried, that it is not in the heart of fallen man to repent, nor can he be brought to it by any external means whatsoever, whereby the absolute necessity of the interposition of supernatural grace hath been set in the most glaring light. And now, if after all, God should effectually in­terpose, destroy the influence of Satan, scat­ter the darkness which fills the world, re­cover mankind to God, and cause truth and righteousness at last to prevail, it would ap­pear [Page 44]to be altogether of God, of his own mere self-moving goodness and sovereign grace. And after so long and sore a bon­dage mankind will be the more sensible of the greatness of the deliverance. Nor can it ever be said by a proud and haugh [...], [...]orld, ‘We did not need [...] [...]uences of divine grace to bring us right;’ whereas all other methods had been sufficiently tried, and tri­ed in vain. But God may justly say, ‘What could have been done more to reclaim mankind that I have not done? And to what purpose would it have been to have taken one step further? I tried them e­nough—there was no hope—their heart was a heart of stone; therefore, behold I, even I, will take away the heart of stone, and give an heart of flesh; and an apostate world shall be ashamed and confounded, and shall never open their mouth when I shall do all these things for them.’

We are apt to wonder why these glorious days should be so long delayed, if God, in­deed, intends such mercy to men; but God, infinitely wise, knows what is best—knows how to conduct the affairs of the universe— knows when is the fittest time to introduce this glorious sta [...]e of things—knows when [Page 45]matters will be all ripened, and every thing in the moral world prepared, so that this glorious day may be ushered in to the best advantage, in a manner most suited to honor God and his Son, to humble a haughty world, and to disappoint Satan most griev­ously, after all his wily schemes, great suc­cess, and high expectations; I say, God knows when this will be; and this is the very time he has fixed upon for this glorious work.

4. It therefore becomes all the followers of Christ, in their several spheres, under firm belief of these things, to be of good courage, and exert themselves to the utmost, in the use of all proper means, to suppress error and vice of every kind, and promote the cause of truth and righteousness in the world, and so be workers together with God.

If one stood at the head of this glorious army, which has been in the wars above these five thousand years, and has lived thro' many a dreadful campaign, and were allow­ed to make a speech to these veteran troops upon this glorious theme, he might lift up his voice, and say— ‘Hail, noble heroes! Brave followers of the Lamb! Your Ge­neral has sacrificed his life in this glorious [Page 46]cause, and spoiled principalities and pow­ers on the cross, and now he lives and reigns! He reigns on high, with all power in heaven and earth in his hands! Your predecessors, the prophets, apostles and martyrs, with undaunted courage, have marched into the field of battle, and con­quered dying, and now reign in heaven! Behold, ye are risen up in their room, are engaged in the same cause, and the time of the last general battle draws on, when a glorious victory is to be won. And al­though many a valiant soldier may be slain in the field, yet the army shall drive all before them at last; and Satan being con­quered, and all the powers of darkness driven out of the field, and confined to the bottomless pit, ye shall reign with Christ a thousand years—reign in love and peace, while truth and righteousness ride triumph­ant throug'r the earth; wherefore lay aside every weight, and, with your hearts whol­ly intent on this grand affair, gird up your loins, and with all the spiritual weapons of faith, prayer, meditation, watchfulness, &c. with redoubled zeal and courage, fall on your spiritual enemies: Slay every lust that you lurks within, as knowing your domes­tic [Page 47]foes are the most dangerous; and with gentleness, meekness and wisdom, by your holy conduct, your pious examples, your kind instructions, your friendly admoni­tions, spread the favour of divine know­ledge all around you, as ye are scattered here and there through a benighted world, labouring to win souls to Christ, to induce the deluded followers of Satan to desert his camp, and enlist as volunteers under your prince MESSIAH. And if the pow­ers of darkness should rally all their for­ces, and a general battle, through all the Christian world, come on, O love not your lives to the death! Sacrifice every earthly comfort in the glorious cause! Sing the triumphs of your victorious General, in prisons and a [...] [...]e stake and die courage­ously, fir [...]y believing the cause of truth and righteousness will finally prevail.’

Surely it is infinitely unbecoming the fol­lowers of him who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, to turn aside to earthly pur­suits, or to sink down in unmanly discou­ragements, or to give way to sloth and effe­minacy, when there is so much to be done, and the glorious day is coming on. How should those who handle the pen of the wri­ter, [Page 48]exert themselves to explain and vindi­cate divine truths, and paint the Christian Religion in all its native glories! How should the pulpit be animated, from Sabbath to Sabbath, with sermons full of knowledge and light, full of spirit and life, full of zeal for God and love to men, and tender pity to infatuated sinners! Christ loves to have his ministers faithful, whether the wicked will hear or not.—And let pious parents be unwearied in their prayers for, and instruc­tions of their children, and never faint un­der any discouragements; as knowing, that Christ is exalted to give repentance and re­mission of sins, and can do it for whom he will. Bring your children and friends, with all their spiritual diseases, and lay them at his feet; as once they did their sick, when this kind Saviour dwelt upon earth.—Let pious persons of every age, and in every ca­pacity, awake from sleep, and arise from the dead, and live and act worthy their glorious character and high expectations; and in their several stations exert themselves to the utmost to promote the Redeemer's glorious cause.—Let this age do their share, as Da­vid, although the temple was not to be built in his day, yet exerted himself to lay up [Page 49]materials for that magnificent edifice, on which his heart was intently set; as know­ing that, in his son's day, it would be set up in all its glory.—So let us rise up, and with the greatest alacrity, contribute our utmost towards this building, this living temple, this temple all made of lively stones, of stones alive, in which God is to dwell, and which will infinitely exceed in glory the Temple of Solomon, that was built of dead timber and lifeless stones.—And let this be our daily prayer, an answer to which we may be assured of, whatever other requests are denied us, Our Father which art in Hea­ven, &c.—for thine is the kingdom, the pow­er, and the glory, for ever. AMEN.



BY JONATHAN EDWARDS, A. M. Minister of the Gospel at Northampton.


Printed at Boston, in New-England, 1747. Reprinted at North­ampton, in Old England, 1789.

ELIZABETH TOWN: Printed by SHEPARD KOLLOCK, Printer and Bookseller. 1794.



IF any enquire why the ensuing work is republished, I would beg leave to lay be­fore them the following intelligence:

At an association of the ministers and mes­sengers of the Baptist churches in the counties of Northampton, Leicester, &c. held at Not­tingham, in the year 1784, a resolution was formed to establish, through the association, a meeting of prayer for the GENERAL revival and spread of religion. This was to be ob­served the first Monday evening in every ca­lendar month, by all the churches. It still continues.—In 1786, another Baptist associa­tion, commonly called the Midland, held that year at Aulcester, in the county of Warwick, entered into the same resolution. Many other churches, particularly in Yorkshire, have a­dopted, and now follow the above practice.— [Page liv]We have the pleasure also to find, that several Paedo-Baptist churches statedly meet on those evenings, for the same purpose.

The re-publication of the following work, is with the avowed design of promoting the above agreement and practice. Those concerned in its first institution, never intended it should be confined to any peculiar connection, or parti­cular denomination. Rather they ardently wished it might become general among the real friends of truth and holiness. The advocates of error are indefatigable in their endeavours to overthrow the distinguishing and interesting doctrines of Christianity; those doctrines which are the grounds of our hope, and sources of our joy. Surely it becomes the followers of Christ, to use every effort, in order to strength­en the things which remain.

By re-publishing the following work, I do not consider myself as becoming answerable for every sentiment it contains. An author and an editor are very distinct characters. Should any entertain different views respecting some of the prophecies in the inspired page, from those that are here advanced, yet such may, and I hope will, approve of the general design.

In the present imperfect stale, we may rea­sonably expect a diversity of sentiments upon religious matters. Each ought to think for [Page lv]himself; and every one has a right, on proper occasions, to shew his opinion. Yet all should remember, that there are but two parties in the world, each engaged in opposite causes; the cause of God and of Satan; of holiness and of sin; of heaven and hell. The advance­ment of the one, and the down fall of the other, must appear exceedingly desirable to every real friend of God and man. If such, in some re­spects entertain different sentiments, and prac­tise distinguishing modes of worship, surely they may unite in the above business. O for thousands upon thousands, divided into small bands in their respective cities, towns, villa­ges and neighbourhood, all met at the same time, and in pursuit of one end, offering up their united prayers, like so many ascending clouds of incense before the Most High! May he shower down blessings on all the scattered tribes of Zion! Grace, great grace be with all them that love the Lord Jesus Christ in sinceri­ty! AMEN!



THE ruin of Satan's miserable kingdom, and the advancement of the universal and happy reign of Christ on the earth, were included and hinted in the sentence denoun­ced on the serpent, that the seed of the wo­man should bruise his head. What was a terrible threatening to Satan, in the surprized ears of our first guilty parents, implied a joy­ful prophecy, to keep them from despair, and enliven their hopes for themselves and their descendants, of obtaining by this seed of her's an eternal triumph over him who had so sad­ly foiled them. And it is likely, their hopes and faith immediately arose, laid hold on the reviving prophecy, earnestly desired its hap­py accomplishment, and transmitted it to their posterity.

But though this prophecy was at first only delivered in the form of a threatening to Sa­tan; it was afterwards directly given in the form of a promise to Abraham, though still in general terms, that in his seed should all [Page lviii]the nations of the earth be blessed. Yet this general promise was more clearly by de­grees explained in the following ages, to mean a Divine King, no other than the Son of God assuming human nature of the seed of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David; that should be born of a virgin in Bethlehem of Judah; and at first despised, abused, rejected, and put to death; but should rise to im­mortal life, ascend to heaven, and thence extend his blessed kingdom over all nations; not by outward force, but inward overcom­ing influence, by his word and spirit, mak­ing them his [...]illing people in the day of his power; and reigning in glorious light and holiness, and love and peace for ever; and the advancement of this universal and hap­py reign has been the earnest desire and prayer of the saints in all ages to the present day.

But how great the honour and how lively the encouragement given in scripture to those their prayers; by representing them as of­fered by Christ himself with the fragrant in­cense of his own merits and intercession, on the golden altar before the throne, and ascend­ing together in one grateful perfume to God! And how cheering to every saint is that pro­mise [Page lix]of his—From the rising of the sun, even to the going down of the same, my name shall be great among the Gentiles, and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering! How pleasing to God and the heavenly hosts to see, as the sun goes round the globe, this grateful incense rising from every part on high! and the more ex­tensive and incessant are these prayers, as­cending from the circle of the earth, the more does this blessed promise go into its desired fulfilment, and the holy God is more pleased and glorified.

To promote the increase, concurrency, and constancy of these acceptable prayers, is the great intention both of the pious me­morial of our reverend and dear brethren in Scotland, and of the worthy author of this exciting essay. And this design we cannot but recommend to all who desire the coming of this blissful kingdom in its pro­mised extent and glory, in this wretched world.

As to the author's ingenious observations on the prophecies, we entirely leave them to the reader's judgment: with only observ­ing, though it is the apprehension of many learned men, that there is to be a very ge­neral [Page lx]slaughter of the witnesses of Christ about the time of their finishing their testi­mony to the pure worship and truths of the gospel, about three or four years before the seventh angel sounds his trumpet for the ru­in of Antichrist;—yet we cannot see that this is any just objection against our joint and earnest prayers for the glorious age suc­ceeding, or for the hastening of it.

For if such a terrible time is coming in Europe, which we in depending America are likely to share in; the more need we have of joining in earnest and constant prayers for extraordinary suffering graces for ourselves and others. And that such a time is coming on the members of Christ, is no more an objection against their prayers for the hastening of the following glory, than it was before the incarnation of him their head, that his most bitter sufferings were to precede the spreading of this joyous kingdom among the nations. And the nearer the day approaches, the more need we have to be awakened to continual watch­fulness and prayer.

May God pour out on all his people a­bundantly, the spirit of grace and supplica­tion, and prepare them for the amazing [Page lxi]changes hastening on the earth, both for previous trials and for following glories!

Ministers in Boston.
  • Joseph Sewall,
  • Thomas Prince,
  • John Webb,
  • Thomas Foxcroft,
  • Joshua Gee.

An HUMBLE ATTEMPT to promote an explicit AGREE­MENT and visible UNION of God's People through the World, in EXTRAORDINARY PRAYER, for the REVI­VAL of RELIGION, and the Advancement of CHRIST'S KINGDOM on Earth, pursuant to Scripture-Promises and Prophecies concerning the LAST TIME.

OCCASIONED By a late Memorial published by a Number of Ministers in Scot­land, and sent over to America, giving an Account of a certain Concert for Prayer, which has already been come into by many Ministers and others in Great Britain and some other Parts, and in which they desire the general Concurrence of their Christian Brethren every where.

CONTAINING A Copy of the said Memorial, with a more particular View of the Affair it relates to: a Variety of Arguments and Persuasives to comply with the Motion therein made, for united and extraor­dinary Prayer; and Answers to some Objections.

TOGETHER WITH Seasonable Considerations on the Aspects of Providence in many late wonderful Dispensations, and the present State of Things in the Church and moral World; pointing out the Fulfilling of the Scriptures, and the Voice of God to his People, in these Events.

BY JONATHAN EDWARDS, A. M. Minister of the Gospel in Northampton, N. E.


PART I. The text opened, and an account given of the af­fair proposed in the memorial from Scotland.

ZECHARIAH viii. 20, 21, 22.

Thus saith the Lord of Hosts—It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities; and the inhabitants of one city shall go unto another, say­ing —Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of Hosts. I will go also. Yea, many peo­ple and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of Hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord.

IN this chapter we have a prophecy of a fu­ture glorious advancement of the church of God; wherein it is evident, something further is intended than ever was fulfilled to the nation of the Jews under the Old Tes­tament. For here are plain prophecies of such things as never were fulfilled before the coming of the Messiah; partic [...] [...]ly what is said in the two last verses in the chapter, of many people and strong nations worship­ping and seeking the true God, and of so great an accession of Gentile nations to the church of God, that by far the greater part of the visible worshippers of God should consist of this new accession, so that they should be to the other as ten to one—a certain number [Page 64]for an uncertain. There never happened any thing, from the time of the prophet Ze­chariah to the coming of Christ, to answer this prophecy; and it can have no fulfilment but either in the calling of the Gentiles, in and after the days of the apostles, or in the future glorious enlargement of the church of God in the latter ages of the world, so often foretold by the prophets of the Old Testament, and by the prophet Zechariah in particular, in the latter part of his pro­phecy. It is most probable, that what the spirit of God has chief respect to, is that last and greatest enlargement and most glorious advancement of the church of God on earth, in the benefits of which especially the Jewish nation were to have a share, and a very e­minent and distinguishing share. There is a great agreement between what is here said and other prophecies, that must manifestly have respect to the church's latter-day-glory; as that in Isaiah lx. 2, 3, 4. The Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen up­on thee; and the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Last up thine eyes round about, and see; all they gather themselves together, they come to thee. That whole chapter, beyond all dis­pute, [Page 65]has respect to the most glorious state of the church of God on earth. So chap. lxvi. 8. Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? Shall a nation be born at once?—verse 10. Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her.— verse 12. I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flow­ing stream.—Mich. iv. at the beginning: but in the last day it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountain, and it shall be exalted above the hills, and people shall flow unto it; and many nations shall come and say, come, and let us go up unto the moun­tain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plow­shares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.—See also, Isaiah ii. at the beginning. There has been nothing yet brought to pass in any mea­sure to answer these prophecies. And as the prophecy in my text and the following verse does agree with them, so there is rea­son [Page 66]to think it has a respect to the same times. And indeed there is a remarkable a­greement in the description given through­out the chapter, with the representations made of those times elsewhere in the pro­phets, as may be seen by comparing ver. 3. with Isaiah lx. 14.—ver. 4. with Isaiah lxv. 20, 22. and xxxiii. 24.—ver. 6, 7, 8. with Ezek. xxxvii. 2, 11, 12, 21.—ver. 7. with Isaiah xliii. 5, 6. and xlix. 12. and lix. 19. —ver. 12, 13. with Hosea ii. 21, 22. and Ezek. xxxiv. 22—29.—ver. 8, 12, 13. with Ezek. xxxvi. 28—30.—ver. 13. with Zeph. iii. 20. and Isaiah xix. 24.—ver. 19. with Isaiah lxi. 3. and Jer. xxxi. 12, 13, 14.

So that however the prophet, in some things that are said in this chapter, may have respect to future smiles of heaven on the na­tion of the Jews, lately returned from the Babylonish captivity, and resettled in the land of Canaan, in a great increase of their numbers and wealth, and th [...] return of more captives from Chaldea and other countries, &c. yet the spirit of God has doubtless re­spect to things far greater than these, and of which these were but saint resemblances.— We find it common in the prophecies of the Old Testament, that when the prophets are [Page 67]speaking of the favours and blessings of God on the Jews, attending or following their return from the Babylonish captivity, the spirit of God takes occasion from thence to speak of the incomparably greater blessings on the church, that shall attend and follow her deliverance from the spiritual or mysti­cal Babylon, of which those were a type; and is, as it were, led away to speak almost wholly of these latter, and vastly greater things, so as to seem to forget the former.

And whereas the prophet, in this chap­ter, speaks of God's bringing his people a­gain from the east and west to Jerusalem, (ver. 7, 8.) And multitudes of all nations taking hold of the skirts of the Jews; so far as we may suppose that this means literally that nation of the posterity of Jacob, it can­not have chief respect to any return of the Jews from Babylon and other countries in those ancient times before Christ, for no such things as are here spoken of, attended any such return; but it must have respect to the great calling and gathering of the Jews in­to the fold of Christ, and their being receiv­ed to the blessings of his kingdom, after the fall of Antichrist, or the destruction of mys­tical Babylon.

[Page 68] In the text we have an account how this future glorious advancement of the church of God should be brought on, or introduc­ed, viz. By great multitudes in different towns and countries taking up a joint resolution, and coming into an express and visible a­greement, that they will, by united and ex­traordinary prayer, seek to God that he would come and manifest himself, and grant the tokens and fruits of his gracious pre­sence.—Particularly we may observe,

1. The duty with the attendance on which the glorious event foretold shall be brought on, viz. The duty of prayer.—Prayer, some suppose, is here to be taken synechdochical­ly, for the whole of the worship of God— prayer being a principal part of the worship of the church of God in the days of the gos­pel, when sacrifices are abolished; and so, that this is to be understood only as a pro­phecy of a great revival of religion, and of the true worship of God among his visible people, the accession of others to the church, and turning of multitudes from idolatry to the worship of the true God. But it appears to me reasonable, to suppose, that something more special is intended, with regard to the duty of prayer; considering that prayer is [Page 69]here expressly and repeatedly mentioned; and also considering how parallel this place is with many other prophecies, that speak of an extraordinary spirit of prayer, as pre­ceding and introducing that glorious day of revival of religion, and advancement of the church's peace and prosperity, so often fore­told, (which I shall have occasion to men­tion hereafter) and particularly the agree­ableness of what is here said, with what is said afterwards by the same prophet, of the pouring out of a spirit of grace and supplica­tions, as that with which this great revival of religion shall begin, chap. xii. 10.

2. The good, that shall be sought by prayer; which is God himself.—It is said once and again, They shall go to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of Hosts. This is the good they ask for and seek by prayer, The Lord of Hosts himself.—To seek God, as the expression may, perhaps, be sometimes used in scripture, may signify no more than seeking the favour or mercy of God. And if it be taken so here, praying before the Lord, and seeking the Lord of Hosts, must be look­ed upon as synonymous expressions. And it must be confessed to be a common thing in scripture, to signify the same thing re­peatedly, [Page 70]by various expressions of the same import, for the greater emphasis.—But cer­tainly that expression of seeking the Lord, is very commonly used to signify something more than merely, in general, to seek some mercy of God: It implies that God himself is the great good desired and sought after; that the blessings pursued are God's gracious presence, the blessed manifestations of him, union and intercourse with him; or, in short, God's manifestations and communications of himself by his Holy Spirit. Thus the psalmist desired God, thirsted after him, and sought him. O God, thou art my God; ea [...]ly will I seek thee. My flesh longeth for thee, in a dry and thristy land, were no water is, to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.—My soul followeth hard after thee.—Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire be­sides thee. The psalmist earnestly pursued after God, his soul thirsted after him, he stretched forth his hands unto him, &c. And therefore it is in scripture the peculiar cha­racter of the saints, that they are those that seek God. This is the generation of them that seek him. Your heart shall live that seek God. And in many other places. If the expres­sion [Page 71]in the text be understood agreeably to this sense, then by seeking the Lord of Hosts, we must understand a seeking that God, who had withdrawn, or as it were hid himself, for a long time, would return to his church, and grant the tokens and fruits of his gra­cious presence, and those blessed communi­cations of his spirit to his people, and to mankind on the earth, which he had often promised, and which his church had long waited for.

And it seems reasonable to understand the phrase, seeking the Lord of Hosts, in this sense here, and not as merely signifying the same thing with praying to God; not only because the expression is repeatedly added to praying before the Lord, in the text, as signifying something more; but also because the phrase, taken in this sense, is exactly a­greeable to other parallel prophetic repre­sentations. Thus God's people's seeking, by earnest prayer, the promised restoration of the church of God, after the Babylonish captivity, and the great apostacy that occa­sioned it. is called their seeking God, and searching for him; and God's granting this promised revival and restoration is called his being found of them. For thus saith the Lord, [Page 72]that after seventy years be accomplished at Ba­bylon, I will visit you, and perform my good word towards you, in causing you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expect­ed end. Then shall ye go and call upon me, and I will hearken unto you; and ye shall seek me and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart; and I will be found of you, saith the Lord, and I will turn away your captivity. And the prophets, from time to time, represent God, in a low and afflict­ed state of his church, as being withdrawn, and hiding himself. Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Savi­our. I hid me, and was wroth. And they represent God's people, while his church is in such a state, before God delivers and re­stores the same, as seeking him, looking for him, searching and waiting for him, and cal­ling after him. I will go and return unto my place, 'till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. And when God, in an­swer to their prayers and succeeding their endeavors, delivers, restores, and advances his church, according to his promise, then [Page 73]he is said to answer, and come, and say, here am I, and to shew himself; and they are said to find him, and see him plainly. Then shalt thou cry, and he shall say, HERE I AM. But Israel shall be saved in the Lord, with an everlasting salvation. I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain. The Lord will wipe away the tears from off all faces, and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off the earth. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God, we have waited for him, and he will save us: This is the Lord, we have waited for him; we will be glad, and rejoice in his salvation. We have waited for thee: The desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee. With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early. For when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. There­fore my people shall know my name; therefore they shall know in that day, that I am he that doth speak: behold, IT IS I. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that pub­lisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion—Thy [Page 74]God reigneth! Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice, together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.

3. We may observe who they are, that shall be united in thus seeking the Lord of Hosts; the inhabitants of many cities, and of many countries, yea, many people and strong nations; great multitudes in different parts of the world shall conspire in this business. From the representation made in the pro­phecy, it appears rational to suppose, that it will be fulfilled something after this man­ner —First, that there shall be given much of a spirit of prayer to God's people, in many places, disposing them to come into an ex­press agreement, unitedly to pray to God in an extraordinary manner, that he would ap­pear for the help of his church, and in mer­cy to mankind, and pour out his Spirit, re­vive his work, and advance his spiritual kingdom in the world, as he has promised; and that this disposition to such prayer, and union in it, will gradually spread more and more, and increase to greater degrees; with which at length will gradually be introdu­ced a revival of religion, and a disposition to greater engagedness in the worship and ser­vice [Page 75]of God, amongst his professing people; that this being observed will be the means of awakening others, making them sensible of the wants of their souls, and exciting in them a great concern for their spiritual and ever [...]asting good, and putting them upon earnestly crying to God for spiritual mer­cies, and disposing them to join with God's people in that extraordinary seeking and serving of God, which they shall see them engaged in; and that in this manner reli­gion shall be propagated, until the awakening reaches those that are in the highest stations, and until whole nations be awakened, and there be at length an accession of many of the chief nations of the world to the church of God. Thus after the inhabitants of many cities of Israel, or of God's professing peo­ple, have taken up, and pursued a joint re­solution, to go and pray before the Lord, and seek the Lord of Hosts, others shall be drawn to worship and serve him with them; till at length many people and strong na­tions shall join themselves to them; and there shall, in process of time, be a vast ac­cession to the church, so that it shall be ten times as large as it was before; yea, at length all nations shall be converted unto God.— [Page 76]Thus ten men shall take hold, out of all lan­guages of the nations, of the skirt of him that is a Jew, (in the sense of the Apostle) saying, ‘We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’ And thus that shall be fulfilled, O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.

4. We may observe the mode of their u­nion in this duty. It is a visible union, an union by explicit agreement, a joint resolu­tion declared by one to another, come into by being first proposed by some, and readi­ly and expressly fallen in with by others.— The inhabitants of one city shall apply them­selves to the inhabitants of another, saying, let us go, &c. Those to whom the m [...]tion is made, shall comply with it, the proposal shall take with many, it shall be a prevailing, spreading thing; one shall follow another's example, one and another shall say, I will go also. Some suppose, that those words— I will go also—are to be taken as the words of him that makes the proposal; as much as to say, I do not propose that to you, which I am not willing to do myself, I desire you to go, and I am ready to go with you. But this is to suppose no more to be expressed in these latter words, than was expressed be­fore [Page 77]in the proposal itself; for these words, let us go, signify as much, as that I am wil­ling to go, and desire you to go with me. It seems to me much more natural, to under­stand these latter words as importing the consent of those to whom the proposal is made, or the reply of one and another that falls in it. This is much more agreeable to the plain design of the text, which is to re­present the concurrence of great numbers in this affair, and more agreeable to the repre­sentation made in the next verse, of one fol­lowing another, many taking hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew. And though if the words are thus understood, we must sup­pose an ellipsis in the text, something un­derstood that is not expressed, as if it had been said—Those of other cities shall say— I will go also;—yet this is not difficult to be supposed, such ellipsis are very common in scripture. We have one exactly parallel with it in Jer. iii. 22. Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings: behold, we come unto thee, for thou art the Lord our God, i. e. the backsliding children shall say—"Behold we come unto thee," &c. And in Cant. iv. Let my beloved come [...]to his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.— [Page 78]I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse, i. e. her beloved shall say—"I am come into my garden." We have the like throughout that song. So Psal. l. 6, 7. The heavens shall declare his righteousness, for God is judge himself. Hear, O my people, and I will speak, i. e. the Judge shall say—"Hear, O my peo­ple," &c. The psalms and prophets abound with such figures of speech.

5. We may observe the manner of prayer agreed on, or the manner in which they agree, to engage in and perform the duty. Let us go speedily to pray; or as it in the margin, let us go continually. The words literally translated are, let us go in going. Such an ingemination or doubling of words, is very common in the Hebrew language, when it is intended that a thing shall be very strong­ly expressed; it generally implies the super­lative degree of a thing; as the holy of ho­lies signifies the most holy; but it common­ly denotes, not only the utmost degree of a thing, but also the utmost certainty; as when God said to Abraham, in multiplying, I will multiply thy seed. It implies both that God would certainly multiply his seed, and also multiply it exceedingly. So when God said to Adam, in the day that thou eatest thereof, in [Page 79]dying thou shalt die (as the words are in the original) it implies, both that he should surely die, and also that he should die most terribly, should utterly perish, and be destroyed to the utmost degree. Yea, sometimes it seems to imply something else still; and, in short, as this ingemination of words in the He­brew, in general, denotes the strength of ex­pression, so it is used to signify almost all those things that are wont to be signified by the various forms of strong speech in other lan­guages: sometimes it signifies the utmost degree of a thing; sometimes certainty; sometimes peremptoriness and terribleness of a threatening, or the greatness and posi­tiveness of a promise, the strictness of a com­mand, and the earnestness of a request.— When God says to Adam, dying thou shalt die, it is equivalent to such strong expressi­ons in English, as, thou shalt die indeed, or, thou shalt die with a witness. So when it is said in the text, let us go in going, and pray before the Lord, the strength of the ex­pression represents the earnestness of those that make the proposal, their great engaged­ness in the affair; and with respect to the duty proposed, it may be understood to sig­nify that they should be speedy, fervent, and [Page 80]constant in it; or, in one ward, that it should be thoroughly performed.

6. We may learn from the tenor of this prophecy, together with the context, that this union in such prayer is foretold as a be­coming and happy thing, and that which would be acceptable to God, and attended with glorious success.

From the whole we may infer, that it is a very suitable thing, and well pleasing to God, for many people, in different parts of the world, by express agreement, to come into a visible union, in extraordinary, spee­dy fervent, and constant prayer, for those great effusions of the Holy Spirit, which shall bring on that advancement of Christ's church and kingdom, that God has so often promised shall be in the latter ages of the world.

And so from hence I would infer the duty of God's people, with regard to the memo­rial lately sent over into America, from Scot­land, by a number of ministers there, pro­posing a method for such an union as has been spoken of, in extraordinary prayer for this great mercy.

And it being the special design of this discourse, to persuade such as are friends to [Page 81]the interests of Christ's kingdom, to a com­pliance with the proposal and request made in that memorial, I shall first give a short historical account of the affair it relates to, from letters, papers, and pamphlets, that have come over from Scotland; to which I shall annex the memorial itself; and then I shall offer some arguments and motives; tending to induce the friends of religion to fall in with what is proposed; and lastly, make answer to some objections that may possibly be made against it.

As to the first of these things, viz. an his­torical account of the concert, which the memorial relates to, the following observa­tions may give a sufficient view of that af­fair.

In October. A. D. 1744, a number of mi­nisters in Scotland, taking into consideration the state of God's church, and of the world of mankind, judged that the providence of God, at such a day, did loudly call such as were concerned for the welfare of Zion, to united extraordinary applications to the God of all grace, suitably acknowledging Him as the fountain of all the spiritual be­nefits and blessings of his church, and ear­nestly [Page 82]praying to him, that he would appear in his glory, and favour Zion, and manifest his compassion to the world of mankind, by an abundant effusion of his Holy Spirit on all the churches, and the whole habitable earth, to revive true religion in all parts of Christendom, and to deliver all nations from their great and manifold spiritual calamities and miseries, and bless them with the un­speakable benefits of the kingdom of our glorious Redeemer, and fill the whole earth with his glory. And consulting one another on the subject, they looked on themselves, for their own part, obliged to engage in this duty; and, as far as in them lay, to persuade others to the same; and to endeavour to find out, and fix on some method, that should most effectually tend to promote, and up­hold such extraordinary application to heav­en among God's people. And after seek­ing to God by prayer for direction, they de­termined on the following method, as what they would conform to in their own prac­tice, and propose to be practised by others, for the two years next following, viz. To set apart some time on Saturday evening, and Sabbath morning, every week, for the purpose aforesaid, as other duties would al­low [Page 83]to every one respectively; and more so­lemnly, the first Tuesday of each quarter, (beginning with the first Tuesday of Novem­ber, then next ensuing) either the whole day, or part of the day, as persons find them­selves disposed, or think their circumstances will allow; the time to be spent either in private praying societies, or in public meet­ings, or alone in secret, as shall be found most practicable, or judged most conveni­ent, by such as are willing, in some way or other, to join in this affair; but not that any should make any promises, or be looked up­on as under strict bonds in any respect, con­stantly and without fail to observe every one of these days, whatever their circumstances should be, or however other duties and ne­cessary affairs might interfere; or that per­sons should look upon themselves bound with regard to these days in any wise as tho' the time were holy, or the setting them a part for religious purposes were established by sacred authority; but yet, as a proper guard against negligence and unsteadiness, and a prudent preservative, from yielding to a disposition, which persons might be li­able to, through the prevalence of indolence [Page 84]and listlessness, to excuse themselves on trivial occasions, it was proposed, that those who unite in this affair should resolve with them­selves, that if, by urgent business, or other­wise, they are hindered from joining with others, on the very day agreed on, yet they would not wholly neglect bearing their part in the duty proposed, but would take the first convenient day following, for that pur­pose.

The reason why Saturday evening and Lord's-day morning were judged most con­venient for the weekly seasons, was, that these times being so near the time of dis­pensing gospel ordinances through the Chris­tian world, which are the great means, in the use of which God is wont to grant his Spirit to mankind, and the principal means that the Spirit of God makes use of to carry on his work of grace, it may be well suppos­ed, that the minds of Christians, in general, will, at these seasons, be especially disengag­ed from secular affairs, and disposed to pious meditations and the duties of devotion, and more naturally led to seek communications of the Holy Spirit, and success of the means of grace. And as to the quarterly times, it was thought helpful to memory, that they [Page 85]should be on one or other of the first days of each quarter; Tuesday was preferred to Monday, because in some places people might have public prayers and sermon on the stated day, which might not be so con­venient on Monday, as on some day at a greater distance from the Sabbath.

It was reckoned a chief use of such an a­greement and method as this, that it would be a good expedient for the maintaining and keeping up, amongst the people of God, that great Christian duty of prayerfulness for the coming of Christ's kingdom, in general, which Christ has directed his followers to be so much in, that it may not be out of mind, and in a great measure sunk. Things, that we are too little inclined to, through sloth, carnali­ty, or a fulness of our own worldly and private concerns, and that are to be attend­ed at some seasons or other, but have no spe­cial seasons stated for them, are apt to be forgotten, or put off from time to time, and, as it were, adjourned without day; and so, if not wholly neglected, yet too little attend­ed. But when we fix certain seasons, which we resolve, unless extraordinarily hindered, to devote to the duty, it tends to prevent [Page 86]forgetfulness, and a settled negligence of it. The certain returns of the season will natur­ally refresh the memory, will tend to put us in mind of the precept of Christ, and the ob­ligations that lie on all his followers, to a­bound in such a duty, and renewedly en­gage us to the consideration of the import­ance, necessity and unspeakable value of the mercy sought; and so, by frequent renova­tion, to keep alive the consideration, and sense of these things at all times. Thus the first promoters of this agreement judged that it would be subservient to more abundant prayerfulness for effusions of the Holy Spir­it at all times through the year, both in se­cret and social worship; particularly as to this last, in congregations, families, and o­ther praying societies. And then they also judged, that such an agreed union would tend to animate and encourage God's peo­ple in the duty proposed; and that particu­lar persons and societies, knowing that great multitudes of their fellow-Christians, in so many distant places, were, at the same time, (as a token of the union of their hearts with them in this affair) by agreement, engaged in the same holy exercise, would naturally be enlivened in the duty by such a consider­ation.

[Page 87] It was not thought best to propose at first a longer time for the continuance of this pre­cise method than two years; it being consi­dered, that it is not possible, before any trial, so well to judge of the expedience of a par­ticular method and certain circumstances of the managing and ordering such an affair, as after some time of experience. And it was not known, but that, after long consi­deration, and some trial, it might be thought best to alter some circumstance; or whether others that had not yet been consulted, might not propose a better method. The time first agreed on, though but short, was thought sufficient to give opportunity for judgment and experience, and for such as were dis­posed to union in an affair of such a nature, in distant places, mutually to communicate their sentiments on the subject.

The way, which those that first projected and came into this agreement, thought best for the giving notice of it and proposing it to others, was not by any thing published from the press, but by personal conversation with such as they could conveniently have immediate access to, and by private corres­pondence with others at a distance. At first it was intended, that some formal paper pro­posing [Page 88]posing the matter, should be sent about for proper amendments and improvements, and then concurrence; but on more mature de­liberation, it was considered how this might give a handle to objections, (which they tho't it best, to the utmost, to avoid in the infan­cy of the affair) and how practicable it was, without any such formality, to spread the substance of the proposal by private letters, together with a request to their correspond­ents, mutually to communicate their tho'ts. Therefore this was fixed on, as the method that was preferable at the beginning. Ac­cordingly, they proposed and endeavoured to promote the affair in this way, and with such success, that great numbers in Scotland and England fell in with the proposal, and some in North America. As to Scotland, it was complied with by numbers, in the four chief towns, Ed [...]burgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Dundee, and many country towns and congregations in various parts of the land. One of the ministers, that was pri­marily concerned in this affair, in a letter to [...]ne of his correspondents, speaks of an ex­p [...]icit declaration of the concurrence of the praying societies in Edinburgh, which they had [...]ade in a letter. The number of the [Page 89]praying societies in that city is very consi­derable. Mr. Robe, of Kilsyth, (in a letter to Mr. Prince, of Boston, dated November 3, 1743.) says—There were then above thirty societies of young people there, newly erected, some of which consisted of upwards of thir­ty members.—As to Glasgow, this union was unanimously agreed to by about forty-five praying societies there, as an eminent minis­ter in that city informs, in a letter.

The two years, first agreed on, ended last November. A little before this time expir­ed, a number of ministers in Scotland agreed on a memorial, to be printed and sent abroad to their brethren in various parts, proposing to them, and requesting of them, to join with them in the continuance of this method of united prayer, and in endeavours to pro­mote it. Copies of which memorial have lately been sent over into New-England, to the number of near five hundred, directed to be distributed in almost every county in this province of the Massachusetts-Bay, and also in several parts of Connecticut, New-Hampshire, Rhode-Island, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Carolina, and Georgia. The most, I sup­pose, [Page 90]of these were sent to one of the con­gregational ministers in Boston, with a let­ter subscribed by twelve ministers in Scot­land, about the affair; many of them to an­other of the said ministers of Boston, and some to a minister in Connecticut. It being short, I shall here insert a copy of it at length —It is as follows:

A MEMORIAL from several Ministers in Scot­land, to their Brethren in different places, for continuing a CONCERT for PRAYER, first entered into in the Year 1744.

WHEREAS it was the chief scope of this concert, to promote more a­bundant application to a duty that is per­petually binding, prayer that our Lord's king­dom may come, joined with praises; and it contained some circumstantial expedients, apprehended to be very subservient to that design, relating to stated times for such ex­ercises, so far as this would not interfere with other duties; particularly a part of Satur­day evening and Sabbath morning, every week; and more solemnly of some one of the first days of each of the four great divi­sions of the year, that is, of each quarter; as the first Tuesday, or first convenient day af­ter; [Page 91] * and the concert, as to this circum­stance, was extended only to two years; it being intended that, before these expired, persons engaged in the concert should reci­procally communicate their sentiments and inclinations, as to the prolonging of the time, with or without alteration, as to the circum­stance mentioned; and it was intended by the first promoters, that others at a distance should propose such circumstantial amend­ments or improvements, as they should find proper; it is hereby earnestly intreated, that such would communicate their senti­ments accordingly, now that the time first proposed is near expiring.

2. To induce those already engaged to adhere, and others to accede to this con­cert, it seems of importance to observe, that declarations of concurrence, the communi­cating and spreading of which are so evi­dently useful, are to be understood in such a latitude, as to keep at the greatest distance from entangling mens' minds: not as bind­ing men to set apart any stated days from secular affairs, or even to fix on any part of [Page 92]such and such precise days, whether it be convenient or not; nor as absolute promises in any respect, but as friendly, harmonious resolutions, with liberty to alter circumstan­ces as shall be found expedient. On account of all which latitude, and that the circum­stantial part extends only to a few years, it is apprehended, the concert cannot be liable to the objections against periodical religious times of human appointment.

3. It is also humbly offered to the consi­deration of ministers, and others furnished with gifts for the most public instructions, whether it might not be of great use, by the blessing of God, if short and nervous scrip­ture persuasives and directions to the duty in view, were composed and published, (either by particular authors, or several joining to­gether, which last way might sometimes have peculiar advantages) and that, from time to time, without too great intervals, the better to keep alive on mens' minds a just sense of the obligations to a duty so important in it­self, and in which many may be in danger to faint and turn remiss, without such re­peated incitements; and whether it would not also be of great use, if ministers would be pleased to preach frequently on the im­portance [Page 93]and necessity of prayer for the com­ing of our Lord's kingdom, particularly near the quarterly days, or on these days them­selves, where there is public worship at that time.

4. They who have found it incumbent on them to publish this Memorial at this time, having peculiar advantages for spreading it, do intreat that the desire of concurrence and assistance, contained in it, may, by no means, be understood as restricted to any particular denomination or party, or to those who are of such or such opinions about any former instances of remarkable religious concern; but to be extended to all who shall vouch­safe any attention to this paper, and have at heart the interest of vital christianity, and the power of godliness; and who, however differing about other things, are convinced of the importance of fervent prayer, to pro­mote that common interest, and of scripture persuasives to promote such prayer.

5. As the first printed account of this con­cert was not a proposal of it, as a thing then to begin, but a narration of it, as a design already set on soot, which had been brought about with much harmony, by means of pri­vate letters, so the farther countinuance, and, [Page 94]it is hoped, the farther spreading of it seems in a promising way of being promoted by the same means, as importunate desires of the renewing the concert have been trans­mitted already from a very distant corner a­broad, where the regard to it has of late in­creased; but, notwithstanding of what may be done by private letters, it is humbly ex­pected, that a memorial spread in this man­ner may, by God's blessing, farther promote the good ends in view, as it may be usefully referred to in letters, and may reach where they will not.

6. Whereas in a valuable letter, from the corner just now mentioned, as a place where regard to the concert has lately increased, it is proposed, that it should be continued for seven years, or at least for a much longer time than what was specified in the first a­greement; those concerned in this memo­rial, who would wish rather to receive and spread directions and proposals on this head, than to be the first authors of any, appre­hend no inconvenience, for their part, in a­greeing to the seven years, with the latitude above described, which reserves liberty to make such circumstantial alterations, as may be hereafter found expedient; on the con­trary, [Page 95]it seems of importance, that the la­bour of spreading a concert, which has al­ready extended to so distant parts, and may, it is hoped, extend farther, may not need to be renewed sooner, at least much sooner, as it is uncertain but that may endanger the dropping of it, and it seems probable, there will be less zeal in spreading of it, if the time proposed for its continuance be too incon­siderable. Mean time, declarations of con­currence for a less number of years may greatly promote the good ends in view, tho' it seems very expedient, that it should ex­ceed what was first agreed on, seeing it is found on trial, that that time, instead of be­ing too long, was much too short.

7. If persons who formerly agreed to this concert, should now discontinue it, would it not look too like that fainting in prayer, a­gainst which we are so expressly warned in scripture? And would not this be the more unsuitable at this time, in any within the British dominions, when they have the u­nited calls of such public chastisements and deliverances, to more concern than ever a­bout public reformation, and consequently about that which is the source of all tho­rough reformation, the regenerating and [Page 96]sanctifying influence of the almighty Spirit of God?

The meaning is the first Tuesdays of February, May, August and November, or the first convenient days after these.

The minister in Boston afore-mentioned, (to whom most of the copies of this memo­rial were sent) who, I suppose, has had later and more full intelligence than I have had, says, concerning the proposal, in a letter— ‘The motion seems to come from above, and to be wonderfully spreading in Scot­land, England, Wales, Ireland and North America.’


PART II. Motives to a Compliance with what is propo­sed in the Memorial.

I NOW proceed to the second thing in­tended in this discourse, viz. to offer to consideration some things, which may tend to induce the people of God to comply with the proposal and request made to them in the Memorial.

And I desire that the following things may be c [...]sidered.

1. It is evident, from the scripture, that there is yet remaining a great advancement of the interest of religion, and the kingdom of Christ, in this world, by an abundant out­pouring of the Spirit of God, far greater and more extensive than ever yet has been. It is certain, that many things, which are spoken concerning a glorious time of the church's enlargement and prosperity, in the latter days, have never yet been fulfilled. There has never yet been any propagation and pre­vailing of religion, in any wise, of that ex­tent and universality, which the prophecies [Page 98]represent. It is often foretold and signified, in a great variety of strong expressions, that there should a time come, when all nations, through the whole habitable world, should embrace the true religion, and be brought into the church of God. It was often pro­mised to the patriarchs, that in their seed all the nations, or, (as it is sometimes expressed) all the families of the earth should be blessed. Agreeably to this, it is said of the Messiah, That all nations shall serve him, and men shall be blessed in him, and all nations shall call him blessed. And it is said, that all nations shall flow unto the mountain of the house of the Lord. And, that all nations shall be gathered unto the name of the Lord to Jerusalem, and shall walk no more after the imagination of their evil heart. So it is said, that all flesh shall come and worship before the Lord. And that all flesh should see the glory of God together. And that all flesh should come to him that hears prayer. Christ compares the kingdom of heav­en, in this world, to leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. It is natural and reason­able to suppose, that the whole world should finally be given to Christ, as one whose right it is to reign, as the proper heir of him who [Page 99]is originally the king of all nations, and the possessor of heaven and earth; and the scrip­ture teaches us, that God the Father had con­stituted his Son, as God-Man, and in his kingdom of grace, or mediatorial kingdom, to be the heir of the world, that he might in this kingdom have the heathen for his inheri­tance, and the utmost ends of the earth for his possession. Thus Abraham is said to be the heir of the world, not in himself, but in his seed, which is Christ. And how was this to be fulfilled to Abraham, but by God's fulfill­ing that great promise. that in his seed all the nations of the ear [...] should be blessed? For that promise is what the apostle is speaking of; which shews, that God has appointed Christ to be the heir of the world in his king­dom of grace, and to possess and reign over all nations, through the propagation of his gospel, and the power of his Spirit commu­nicating the blessings of it. God had ap­pointed him to this universal dominion by a most solemn oath: I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righte­ousness, and shall not return, that unto me e­very knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Though this solemn oath of God the Father is to be understood in so comprehensive a [Page 100]sense, as to extend to what shall be accom­plished at the day of judgment, yet it is evi­dent by the foregoing and following verses, that the thing most directly intended, is what shall be fulfilled by the spreading of the gos­pel of his salvation, and power of the Spirit of grace, bringing all the ends of the earth to look to him that they may be saved, and come to him for righteousness and strength that, in him they might be justified, and might glory. God has suffered many earthly princes to ex­tend their conquests over a great part of the face of the earth, and to possess a dominion of a vast extent, and one monarchy to con­quer and succeed another, the latter being still the greater; it is reasonable to suppose that a much greater glory in this respect should be reserved for Christ, God's own son and rightful heir, who has purchased the do­minion by so great and hard a service; it is reasonable to suppose, that his dominion should be far the largest, and his conquests vastly the greatest and most extensive. And thus the scriptures represent the matter, in Nebuchadnezzar's vision, and the prophet's interpretation, Dan. ii. There the four great monarchies of the earth, one succeeding an­other, are represented by the great image of [Page 101]gold, silver, brass, iron and clay; but at last a stone, cut out of the mountains without hands, smites the image upon his feet, which breaks the iron, clay, brass, silver and gold in pieces, that all becomes as the chaff of the summer threshing floors, and the wind carries them away, that no place is found for them; but the stone waxes great, becomes a great mountain, and FILLS THE WHOLE EARTH; signifying the kingdom which the Lord God of heav­en should set up in the world, last of all, which should break in pieces and consume all other kingdoms. Surely this represen­tation leads us to suppose, that this last king­dom shall be of vastly greater extent than any of the preceding. The like represen­tation is made in the viith chapter of Daniel; there the four monarchies are represented by four great beasts that arose successively, one conquering and subduing another; the fourth and last of these is said to be dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly, and to have great iron teeth, and to devour and break in pieces, and stamp the residue with his feet; yea, it is said, verse 23, that the kingdom represented by this beast shall devour the whole earth; but last of all, one like the Son of Man appears, coming to the Ancient of [Page 102]Days, and being brought near before him, and receiving of him a dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, THAT ALL PEOPLE, NATIONS AND LANGUAGES should serve him. This last circumstance, of the vast extent and univer­sality of his dominion, is manifestly spoken of as one thing greatly distinguishing this holy kingdom from all the preceding mo­narchies; although of one of the former it was said, that it should devour the whole earth, yet we are naturally led, both by the much greater emphasis and strength of the expres­sions, as well as by the whole connexion and tenor of the prophecy, to understand the u­niversality here expressed in a much more ex­tensive and absolute sense; and terms used in the interpretation of this vision are such, that scarcely any can be devised more strong, to signify an absolute universality of dominion over the inhabitants of the face of the earth; ver. 27. And the kingdom, and dominion, and GREATNESS OF THE KINGDOMUNDER THE WHOLE HEAVEN, shall be given to the peo­ple of the most high God. Agreeably to this, the gospel is represented as preached unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every na­tion, and [...]ongue, and kindred, and people. The universality of the prevalance of true reli­gion [Page 103]in the latter days, is sometimes expres­sed by its reaching to the utmost ends of the earth. To all the ends of the earth, and of the world. All the ends of the earth with those that are far off upon the sea. From the ri­sing of the sun to the going down of the same. The outgoings of the morning and of the even­ing. It seems that all the most strong ex­pressions, that were in use among the Jews to signify the habitable world in its utmost extent, are made use of to signify the extent of the church of God in the latter days, and in many places a variety of these expressions are used, and there is an accumulation of them, expressed with great force.

It would be unreasonable to say, these are only bold figures, used after the manner of the eastern nations, to express the great ex­tent of the Christian church, at and after the days of Constantine; to say so, would be in effect to say, that it would have been impos­sible for God, if he had desired it, plainly to have foretold any thing that should abso­lutely have extended to all nations of the earth. I question whether it be possible to find out a more strong expression, to signi­fy an absolute universality of the knowledge of the true religion through the habitable [Page 104]world, than that in Isai. xi. 9. The earth shall be sull of the knowledge of the Lord, AS THE WATERS COVER THE SEAS. Which is as much as to say, as there is no place in the vast ocean where there is not water, so there shall be no part of the world of mankind where there is not the knowledge of the Lord; as there is no part of the wide bed or cavity possessed by the sea, but what is covered with water, so there shall be no part of the habitable world, that shall not be co­vered by the light of the gospel, and pos­sessed by the true religion. Waters are of­ten in prophecy put for nations and multi­tudes of people; so the waters of the main ocean seem sometimes to be put for the in­habitants of the earth in general; as in Eze­kiel's vision of the waters of the sanctuary which flowed from the sanctuary, and ran east, till they came to the ocean, and were at first a small stream, but continually en­creased till they became a great river; and when they came to the sea, the water even of the vast ocean was healed, representing the conversion of the world to the true reli­gion in the latter days.—It seems evident, that the time will come, when there will not be one nation remaining i [...] he world, which [Page 105]shall not embrace the true religion, in that God has expressly revealed, that no one such nation shall be left standing on the earth; The nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.—God has declared that hea­then idolatry and all the worship of false gods shall be wholly abolished, in the most universal manner, so that it shall be continu­ed in no place under the heavens, or upon the face of the earth; the gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens. They are vanity, and the work of errors, in the time of their visitation they shall perish. This must be understood as what shall be brought to pass while this earth and these heavens remain, i. e. before the end of the world. Agreeable to this is that in Isaiah. Sing, O barren, and thou that didst not bear;—for more are the children of the deso­late than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord. Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thy habitation; spare not; lengthen thy cords, strengthen thy stakes. For thy maker is thy husband; the Lord of Hosts is his name; and [Page 106]thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; THE GOD OF THE WHOLE EARTH SHALL HE BE CALLED.

The prophecies of the New Testament do no less evidently shew, that a time will come when the gospel shall universally prevail, and the kingdom of Christ be extended over the whole habitable earth, in the most pro­per sense. Christ says, I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. It is fit, that when the Son of God becomes man, he should have dominion over all mankind: it is fit, that since he became an inhabitant of the earth, and shed his blood on the earth, he should possess the whole earth: it is fit, seeing here he became a ser­vant, and was subject to men, and was ar­raigned before them, and judged, condemn­ed and executed by them, and suffered ig­nominy and death in a most public manner, before Jews and Gentiles, being lifted up to view on the cross upon an hill, near that populous city Jerusalem, at a most public time, when there were many hundred thou­sand spectators, from all parts, that he should be rewarded with an universal dominion over mankind; and it is here declared he shall be. The apostle, in the with of [...] ­mans, [Page 107]teaches us to look on that great out­pouring of the Spirit and in-gathering of souls into Christ's kingdom, that was in those days, first of the Jews, and then of the Gen­tiles, to be but as the first-fruits of the in­tended harvest, both with regard to Jews and Gentiles; and to look on the in-gather­ing of those first fruits as a sign that all the remainder both of Jews and Gentiles shall in due time be gathered in. For if the first-fruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And in that context, the apostle speaks of the FULNESS of both Jews and Gentiles, as what shall hereafter be brought in, as distinct from that in-gathering from among both, which was in those primitive ages of Chris­tianity; we read of the fulness of the Jews, and of the fulness of the Gentiles; and the apostle teaches us to look upon that infideli­ty and darkness, which first prevailed over all Gentile nations, before Christ came, and then over the Jews after Christ came, as what was wisely permitted of God, as a prepara­tion for the manifestation of the glory of God's mercy, in due time, on the whole world, constituted of Jews and Gentiles. God hath concluded them all in unbelief, [Page 108]that he might have mercy upon all. These things plainly shew, that the time is coming when the whole world of mankind shall be brought into the church of Christ; and not only a part of the Jews, and a part of the Gentile world, as the first-fruits, as it was in the first ages of the Christian church; but the fulness of both, the whole lump, all the nation of the Jews, and all the world of Gentiles.

In the last great conflict between the church of Christ and her enemies, before the commencement of the glorious time of the church's peace and rest, the kings of the earth, and the whole world, are represented as gathered together, and then the seventh angel pours out his vial into the air, which limits that kingdom that Satan has, as god of this world, in its utmost extent;—and that kingdom is represented as utterly over­thrown. In another description of that great battle, Christ is represented as riding forth, having on his head many crowns, and on his vesture and on his thigh a name writ­ten, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. Which we may well suppose signifies, that he is now going to that conquest, whereby he shall set up a kingdom, in which he shall be [Page 109]king of kings, in a far more extensive man­ner than either the Babylonish, Persian, Gre­cian, or Roman monarchs were. And an angel appears standing in the sun, that over­looks the whole world, calling on all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, to come and eat the flesh of kings, &c. And in consequence of the great victory Christ gains at that time, an angel comes down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit, and a great ch [...]in in his hand, and lays hold on the devil, and binds him, and casts him in­to the bottomless pit, and shuts him up, and sets a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more. Satan's being dispos­sessed of that highest monarchy on earth, the Roman empire, and cast out, in the time of Constantine, is represented by his being cast down from heaven to the earth; but now there is something far beyond that; he is cast out of the earth, and is shut up in hell, and confined to that alone, so that he has no place left him in this world of man­kind, high or low.

Now will any be so unreasonable as to say, that all these things do not signify more than that one third part of the world should be brought into the church of Christ, beyond [Page 110]which it cannot be pretended that the Chris­tian religion has ever yet reached, in its great­est extent? Those countries, which belong­ed to the Roman empire, that were brought to the profession of Christianity, after the reign of Constantine, are but a small part of what the habitable world now is; as to ex­tent of ground, they altogether bear, I sup­pose, no greater proportion to it, than the land of Canaan did to the Roman empire. —And our Redeemer, in his kingdom of grace, has hitherto possessed but a little part of the world, in its most flourishing state, since arts are arisen to their greatest height, and a very great part of the world is but lately discovered, and much remains undis­covered to this day.

These things make it very evident, that the main fulfilment of those prophecies that speak of the glorious advancement of Christ's kingdom on earth, is still to come.

And as there has been nothing as yet, with regard to the flourishing of religion, and the advancement of Christ's kingdom, of such extent as to answer the prophecies, so nei­ther has there been any thing of that dura­tion that is foretold. The prophecies speak of Jerusalem's being made the joy of the whole [Page 111]earth, and also the joy of many generations. That God's people should long enjoy the work of their hands. That they should reign with Christ a thousand years; by which we must at least understand a very long time. But it would be endless to mention all the pla­ces, which signify that the time of the church's great peace and prosperity should be of long continuance: almost all the prophecies that speak of her latter-day glory, imply it; and it is implied in very many of them, that when once this day of the church's advancement and peace is begun, it shall never end, till the world ends; or, at least, that there shall be no more a return of her troubles and ad­versity for any considerable continuance; that then the days of her mourning shall be ended; that her tribulations should then be as the waters of Noah unto God; that as he has so o [...] that the waters of Noah should no more pass over the earth, so he will swear that he will no more be wroth with his people, or re­buke them; that God's people should no more walk after the imagination of their evil heart; that God would hide himself no more from the house of Israel, because he has poured out his Spirit upon them; that their sun should no more go down, nor the moon withdraw it self; [Page 112]that the light should not be clear and dark; (i. e. there should be no more an interchange of light and darkness, as used to be) but that it should be all one continued day; not day and night, (for so the words are in the ori­ginal in Zech. xiv. 7.) alternately, but it shall come to pass, that at evening-time (i. e. at the time that night and darkness used to be) it shall be light; and that the nations should beat their swords into plow-shares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; and that nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor learn war any more; but that there should be abun­dance of peace so long as the moon endureth. And innumerable things of this nature are declared.

But the church of Christ has never yet enjoyed a state of peace and prosperity for any long time; on the contrary, the times of her rest, and of the flourishing state of reli­gion, have ever been very short. Hitherto the church may say, Return, for thy servants sake, the tribes of thine inheritance; the peo­ple of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while. The quietness that the church of God enjoyed after the beginning of Constantine's reign was very short; the peace the empire enjoyed, in freedom from war, was not more [Page 113]than twenty years; no longer nor greater than it had enjoyed under some of the hea­then emperors. After this the empire was rent in pieces by intestine wars, and wasted almost every where by the invasions and in­cursions of barbarous nations, and the Chris­tian world was soon all in contention and confusion, by heresies and divisions in mat­ters of religion. And the church of Christ has never as yet bee [...] for any long time, free from persecution, [...]pecially when truth has prevailed, and true religion flourished. It is manifest, that hitherto the people of God have been kept under, and Zion has been in a low afflicted state, and her enemies have had the chief sway.

And another thing that makes it exceed­ing manifest, that that day of the church's greatest advancement on earth, which is fore­told in scripture, has never yet come, is that, it is so plainly and expressly revealed that this day should succeed the last of the four monarchies, even the Roman, in its last state, wherein it is divided into ten kingdoms, and after the destruction of Antichrist, signified by the little horn, whose reign is contempo­rary with the reign of the ten kings. These [Page 114]things are very plain in the second and se­venth chapters of Daniel, and also in the Re­velation of St. John. And it is also plain by the ninth chapter of Romans, that it shall be after the national conversion of the Jews, which shall be as life from the dead to the Gentiles, and the fulness of both Jews and Gentiles should be come in, and all the nation of the Jews, and all other nations, shall ob­tain mercy, and there shall be that general in-gathering of the harvest of the whole earth, of which all that had been converted before, either of Jews or Gentiles, were but the first fruits. And many other evidences of this point might be mentioned, which for brevi­ty's sake I omit.

And thus it is meet, that the last kingdom which shall take place on earth, should be the kingdom of God's own Son and heir, whose right it is to rule and reign; and that whatever revolutions and confusions there may be in the world, for a long time, the cause of truth, the righteous cause, should finally prevail, and God's holy people should at last inherit the earth, and reign on earth; and that the world should continue in tu­mults, and great revolutions, following one another, from age to age, the world being, [Page 115]as it were, in travail, till truth and holiness are brought forth; that all things should be shaken, till that comes which is true and right, and agreeable to the mind of God, which cannot be shaken; and that the wis­dom of the ruler of the world should be ma­nifested in the bringing all things ultimately to so good an issue. The world is made for the Son of God; his kingdom is the end of all changes that come to pass in the state of the world of mankind; all are only to pre­pare the way for this; it is fit therefore that the last kingdom on earth should be his.— It is wisely and mercifully ordered of God that it should be so, on this account, as well as many others, viz. that the church of God, under all preceding changes, should have this consideration to encourage her, and maintain her hope, and animate her faith and prayers, from generation to generation, that God has promised, her cause should finally be main­tained and prevail in this world.

Let it now be considered,

2. The future promised advancement of the kingdom of Christ is an event unspeak­ably happy and glorious. The scriptures speak of that time, as a time wherein God and his Son Jesus Christ will be most emi­nently [Page 116]glorified on earth; a time, wherein God, who till then had dwelt between the cherubims, and concealed himself in the ho­ly of holies, in the secret of his tabernacle, behind the veil, in the thick darkness, should openly shine forth, and all flesh should see his glory, and God's people in general have as great a privilege as the high priest alone had once a year, or as Moses had in the mount; a time, wherein the temple of God in heaven should be opened, and there should be seen the ark of his testament; a time, where­in both God will be greatly glorified, and his saints made unspeakably happy in the view of his glory; a time, wherein God's people should not only once see the light of God's glory, as Moses, or see it once a year with the high priest, but should dwell and walk continually in it, [...]nd it should be their constant daily light, instead of the light of the sun, which light should be so much more glorious than the light of the sun or moon, that the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of Hosts should reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, before his ancients gloriously.

It is represented as a time of vast increase of knowledge and understanding, especially [Page 117]in divine things; a time, wherein God would destroy the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil spread over all nations; wherein the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun seven-fold. And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the heart of the rash shall understand knowledge. And they shall no more teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, because they shall all know him from the least to the greatest. A time of general holiness. Thy people shall be all righteous. A time of great prevailing of eminent holiness, when little children should, in spiritual attainments, be as though they were a hundred years old. Wherein he that is feeble among God's peo­ple should be as David. A time wherein ho­liness should be, as it were, inscribed on eve­thing, on all mens' common business and em­ployments, and the common utensils of life, all shall be dedicated to God, and improved to holy purposes. Her merchandize and hire shall be holiness to the Lord. In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the Lord's house shall be like the bowls before the altar; yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall [Page 118]be holiness unto the Lord of Hosts. A time wherein religion and true Christianity shall, in every respect, be uppermost in the world; wherein God will cause his church to arise and shake herself from the dust, and put on her beautiful garments, and sit down on a throne; and the poor shall be raised from the dust, and the beggar from the dunghill, and shall be set among princes, and made to inherit the throne of God's glory. A time wherein vital piety shall take possession of thrones and palaces, and those that are in most exalted stations shall be eminent in holiness. And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers. Thou shalt suck the breasts of kings. The daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift, the rich among the people shall en­treat thy favour. A time of wonderful union, and the most universal peace, love and sweet harmony, wherein the nations shall beat their swords into plow-shares, &c. and God will cause wars to cease to the ends of the earth, and break the bow, and cut the spear in sunder, and burn the chariot in the fire; and the mountains shall bring forth peace to God's people, and the little hills by righteousness; wherein the wolf should dwell with the lamb, &c. and wherein God's people shall dwell in a peaceable habita­tion, [Page 119]and in sure dwellings, and quiet resting pla­ces. A time wherein all heresies, and false doc­trines shall be exploded, and the church of God shall not be rent with a variety of jar­ring opinions. The Lord shall be king over all the earth; in that day there shall be one Lord and his name one. And all supersti­tious ways of worship shall be abolished, and all agree in worshipping God in his own ap­pointed way, and agreeable to the purity of his institutions. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them and their children after them. A time wherein the whole earth shall be united as one holy city, one heavenly fa­mily, men of all nations shall as it were dwell together, and sweetly correspond one with another as brethren and children of the same father; as the prophecies often speak of all God's people at that time as the children of God, and brethren one to an­other, all appointing over them one head, gathered to one house of God, to worship the king, the Lord of Hosts.—A time where­in this whole great society shall appear in glorious beauty, in genuine amiable christi­anity, and excellent order, as a city compact together, the perfection of beauty, and eter­nal [Page 120]excellency, shining with a reflection of the glory of Jehovah risen upon it, which shall be attractive and ravishing to all kings and nations, and it shall appear as a bride adorned for her husband.—A time of great temporal prosperity; of great health. The inhabitant shall not say, I am sick. As the days of a tree, are the days of my people. A time wherein the earth shall be abundantly fruitful. A time wherein the world shall be delivered from that multitude of sore ca­lamities that before had prevailed, and there shall be an universal blessing of God upon mankind, in soul and body, and in all their concerns, and all manner of tokens of God's presence and favour, and God shall rejoice over them, as the bridegroom rejoiceth over his bride, and the mountains shall as it were drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk. A time of great and universal joy throughout the earth, when from the utmost ends of the earth shall be heard songs, even glo­ry to the righteous, and God's people shall with joy draw water out of the well of salva­tion, and God shall prepare in his holy moun­tain, a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined, which feast is repre­sented, [Page 121]as the marriage supper of the Lamb. Yea, the scriptures represent it not only as a time of universal joy on earth, but extraor­dinary joy in heaven, among the angels and saints, the holy apostles and prophets there. Yea, the scriptures represent it as a time of extraordinary rejoicing with Christ himself, the glorious head, in whom all things in heaven and earth shall then be gathered to­gether in one. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save; he will re­joice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with singing. And the very fields, trees and mountains shall then, as it were, rejoice, and break forth into sing­ing. Ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.— Sing, O 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.

Such being the state of things in this fu­ture promised glorious day of the church's prosperity, surely it is worth praying for. [Page 122]Nor is there any one thing whatsoever, if we viewed things aright, which a regard to the glory of God, a concern for the king­dom and honour of our Redeemer, a love to his people, pity to perishing sinners, love to our fellow-creatures in general, compas­sion to mankind under its various and sore calamities and miseries, a desire of their tem­poral and spritual prosperity, love to our country, our neighbours and friends, yea, and to our own souls, would dispose us to be so much in prayer for, as for the dawn­ing of this happy day, and the accomplish­ment of that glorious event.

It may be worthy to be considered,

3. How much Christ prayed and labour­ed and suffered, in order to the glory and happiness of that day.

The sum of the blessings Christ sought, by what he did and suffered in the work of re­demption, was the Holy Spirit. So is the affair of our redemption constituted; the Father provides and gives the Redeemer, and the price of redemption is offered to him, and he grants the benefit purchased; the Son is the redeemer who gives the price, and also is the price offered; and the Holy Spirit is the grand blessing obtained by the [Page 123]price offered, and bestowed on the redeemed. The Holy Spirit, in his in-dwelling, his in­fluences and fruits, is the sum of all grace, holiness, comfort and joy; or in one word, of all the spiritual good Christ purchased for men in this world; and is also the sum of all perfection, glory and eternal joy, that he purchased for them in another world. The Holy Spirit is that great benefit, which is the subject-matter of the promises, both of the eternal covenant of redemption, and also of the covenant of grace; the grand subject of the promises of the Old Testament, in the prophecies of the blessings of the Mes­siah's kingdom; and the chief subject of the promises of the New Testament; and par­ticularly of the covenant of grace delivered by Jesus Christ [...] his disciples, as his last will and testament, in the xiv. xv. and xvi. chapters of John; the grand legacy that he bequeathed to them, in that his last and dy­ing discourse with them. Therefore the Ho­ly Spirit is so often called the spirit of pro­mise, and emphatically, the promise, the pro­mise of the Father, &c. This being the great blessing Christ purchased by his labours and sufferings on earth, it was the blessing he received of the Father, when he ascended [Page 124]into heaven, and entered into the holy of holies with his own blood, to communicate to those that he had redeemed. It is expe­dient for you, that I go away; for if I go not away, the comforter will not come; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. Being by the right hand of God exalted, and having re­ceived of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear. This is the sum of those gifts, which Christ received for men, even for the rebellious, at his ascension. This is the sum of the benefits Christ obtains for men by his intercession. I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter, that he may abide with you for ever—even the spirit of truth. Herein consists Christ's communica­tive fulness, even in his being full of the Spirit, and so full of grace and truth, that we might of this fulness receive, and grace for grace. He is anointed with the Holy Ghost; and this is the ointment that goes down from the head to the members. God gives the Spirit not by m [...]a [...] unto him, that every one that is his might receive according to the measure of the gift of Christ. This, there­fore, was the great blessing he prayed for in that wonderful prayer, that he uttered for [Page 125]his disciples, and all his future church, the evening before he died. The blessing he pray­ed for to the Father, in behalf of his disciples, was the same he had insisted on in his preced­ing discourse with them; and this, doubtless, was the blessing he prayed for when, as our High Priest, he offered up strong crying and tears, with his blood. The same that he shed his blood for, he also shed tears for, and poured out prayers for.

But the time that we have been speaking of, is the chief time of the bestowment of this blessing—the main season of the success of all that Christ did and suffered in the work of our redemption. Before this the Spirit of God is given but very sparingly, and but few are saved; but then it will be far other­wise; wickedness shall be rare then, as vir­tue and piety had been before; and, un­doubtedly, by far the greatest number of them that ever receive the benefits of Christ's redemption, from the beginning of the world to the end of it, will receive it in that [...]. The number of the inhabitants of the earth will, doubtless, then be vastly multiplied, and the number of redeemed ones much more. If we should suppose that glorious day to last no more than (literally) a thou­sand [Page 126]years, and that at the beginning of that thousand years the world of mankind should be but just as numerous as it is now, and that the number should be doubled, during that time of great health and peace, and the universal blessing of heaven, once only in an hundred years, the number at the end of the thousand years would be more than a thou­sand times greater than it is now; and if it should be doubled once in fifty years, (which probably the number of inhabitants of New-England has ordinarily been, in about half that time) then at the end of the thousand years, there would be more than a million inhabitants on the face of the earth, where there is one now. And there is reason to think, that through the greater part of this period, at least, the number of saints will, in their increase, bear a proportion to the in­crease of the number of inhabitants. And it must be considered, that if the number of mankind at the beginning of this period be no more than equal to the present number, yet we may doubtless conclude, that the number of true saints will be immensely greater, when instead of the few true and thorough Christians now in some few coun­tries, every nation on the [...]ce of the whole [Page 127]earth shall be converted to Christianity, and every country shall be full of true Christians, so that the successive multiplication of true saints through the thousand years, will begin with that vast advantage, beyond the multi­plication of mankind; where the latter is be­gun from units, the other, doubtless, will be­gin with hundreds, if not thousands. How much greater then will be the number of true converts, that will be brought to a par­ticipation of the benefits of Christ's redemp­tion, during that period, than in all other times put together? I think, the foregoing things considered, we shall be very mode­rate in our conjectures, if we say, it is pro­bable that there will be an hundred thou­sand times more, that will actually be re­deemed to God by Christ's blood, during that period of the church's prosperity that we have been speaking of, than ever had been before, from the beginning of the world to that time.

That time is represented in scripture, as the proper appointed season of Christ's sal­vation; eminently the elect season, the ac­cepted time and day of salvation, the year of Christ's redeemed. This period is spoken of as the proper time of the dominion of the [Page 128]Redeemer, and reign of his redeeming love, in the second and seventh chapters of Da­niel, and many other places; the proper time of his harvest, or in-gathering of his fruits from this fallen world; the appointed day of his triumph over Satan, the great destroy­er, and the appointed day of his marriage with his elect spouse. The time given to the Sun of Righteousness to rule, as the day is the time God has appointed for the natural sun to bear rule; therefore the bringing on of this time is called Christ's coming in his king­dom, wherein he will rent the heavens and come down, and the Sun of Righteousness shall a­rise.

The comparatively little saving good [...]here is in the world, as the fruit of Christ's re­demption, before that time, is, as it were, granted by way of anticipation; as we anti­cipate something of the sun's light by re­flection before the day-time, the proper time of the sun's rule; and as the first-fruits are gathered before the harvest: Then more es­pecially will be the fulfilment of those great promises, made by God the Father to the Son, for his pouring out his soul unto death; then shall h [...] [...]e his seed, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand; then shall [Page 129]he see of the travail of his soul, and be satis­fied, and shall justify many by his knowledge; then will God divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; then shall Christ, in an eminent man­ner, obtain his chosen spouse, that he loved and died for, that he might sanctisy and cleanse her, with the washing of water, by the word, and present her to himself, a glorious church. He will obtain the joy that was set before him, for which he endured the cross, and despised the shame, chiefly in the events and conse­quences of that day: That day, as was ob­served before, is often represented as emi­nently the time of the rejoicing of the bride­groom. The fore-knowledge and consider­ation of it was what supported him, and that which his soul exulted in, at a time when his soul had been troubled at the view of his approaching sufferings; as may be seen in John xii. 23, 24, 27, 31, 32.

Now, therefore, if it be so, that this is what Jesus Christ, our great Redeemer and the Head of the Church, did so much desire, and set his heart upon, from all eternity, and which he did and suffered so much for, of­fering up strong crying and tears, and his [Page 130]precious blood, to obtain it; surely his dis­ciples and members should also earnestly seek it, and be much and earnest in prayer for it.

Let it be considered,

4. The whole creation is, as it were, ear­nestly waiting for that day, and constantly groaning and travailing in pain to bring forth the felicity and glory of it. For that day is above all other times, excepting the day of judgment, the day of the manifesta­tion of the sons of God, and of their glori­ous liberty; and, therefore, that elegant re­presentation the apostle makes of the earnest expectation and travail of the creation, in Rom. viii. 19—22 is applicable to the glo­rious event of this day. The earnest expec­tation of the creature waiteth for the mani­festation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope. Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.— The visible world has now, for many ages, [Page 131]been subjected to sin, and made, as it were, a servant to it, through the abusive improve­ment that man, who has the dominion over the creatures, puts the creatures to. Thus the sun is a sort of servant to all manner of wickedness, as its light, and other beneficial influences are abused by men, and made sub­servient to their lusts and sinful purposes. So of the rain, and fruits of the earth, and the brute animals, and all other parts of the visible creation; they all serve mens' cor­ruption, and obey their sinful will; and God doth, in a sort, subject them to it, for he con­tinues his influence and power to make them to be obedient, according to the same law of nature, whereby they yield to mens' com­mand when used to good purposes. It is by the immediate influence of God upon things, acting upon them, according to those con­stant methods which we call the laws of na­ture, that they are ever obedient to mens' will, or that we can use them at all. This influence God continues to make them obe­dient to mens' will though wicked; which is a sure sign that the present state of things is not lasting, it is confusion, and God would not suffer it to be, but that he designs, in a little time, to put an end to it, when it shall [Page 132]no more be so. Seeing it is to be but a lit­tle while, God chuses rather to subject the creature to man's wickedness, than to dis­turb and interrupt the course of nature ac­cording to its stated laws; but it is, as it were, a force upon the creature; for the crea­ture is abused in it, perverted to far meaner purposes than those for which the author of its nature made it, and to which he adapted it. The creature, therefore, is, as it were, unwillingly subject, and would not be sub­ject, but that it is but for a short time, and it, as it were, hopes for an alteration. It is a bondage the creature is subject to, from which it was partly delivered when Christ came, and the gospel was promulgated in the world, and will be more fully delivered at the commencement of the glorious day we are speaking of, and perfectly at the day of judgment. This agrees with the context, for the apostle was speaking of the present fuffering state of the church. The reason why the church in this world is in a suffer­ing state, is, that the world is subjected to the sin and corruption of mankind. By va­nity, in scripture, is very commonly meant sin and wickedness, and also by corruption, as might be shewn in many places would my intended brevity allow.

[Page 133] Though the creature is thus subject to va­nity, yet it does not rest in this subjection, but is constantly acting and exerting itself, in or­der to that glorious liberty that God has ap­pointed at the time we are speaking of, and, as it were, reaching forth towards it. All the changes that are brought to pass in the world, from age to age, are ordered by in­finite wisdom, in one respect or other, to prepare the way for that glorious issue of things, that shall be when truth and [...]ighte­ousness shall finally prevail, and he, whose right it is, shall take the kingdom. All the creatures, in all their operations and mo­tions, continually tend to this; as in a clock, all the motions of the whole system of wheels and movements, tend to the striking of the hammer at the appointed time. All the re­volutions and restless motions of the sun and and other heavenly bodies, from day to day, from year to year, and from age to age, are continually tending thither; as all the many turnings of the wheels of a chariot, in a jour­ney, tend to the appointed journey's end.— The mighty struggles and conflicts of na­tions, and shakings of kingdoms, and those vast successive changes that are brought to pass, in [Page 134]the kingdoms and empires of the world, from one age to another, are, as it were, travail-pangs of the creation, in order to bring forth this glorious event. And the scriptures re­present the last struggles and changes that shall immediately precede this event, as be­ing the greatest of all—as the last pangs of a woman in travail are the most violent.

The creature thus earnestly expecting this glorious manifestation and liberty of the children of God, and travailing in pain in order to it, therefore the scriptures, by a like figure, do very often represent, that when this shall be accomplished, the whole inani­mate creation shall greatly rejoice: That the heavens shall sing, the earth be glad, the mountains break forth into singing, the hills be joyful together, the trees clap their hands, the lower parts of the earth shout, the sea roar and the fulness thereof, and the floods clap their hands.

All the intelligent elect creation, all God's holy creatures in heaven and earth, are tru­ly and properly waiting for, and earnestly expecting that event. It is abundantly re­presented in scripture as the spirit and cha­racter of all true saints, that they set their hearts upon, love, long, wait and pray for [Page 135]the promised glory of that day; they are spoken of as those that prefer Jerusalem to their chief joy; that take pleasure in the stones of Zion, and favour the dust thereof; that wait for the consolation of Israel. It is the language of the church of God, and the breathing of the soul of every true saint, that we have in Psal. xiv. 7. O that the sal­vation of Israel were come out of Zion! when the Lord bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad. Agreeably to this was the spirit of old Jacob, which he expressed when he was dying, in faith in the great promise made to him and Isaac and Abraham, that in their seed all the families of the earth should be blessed. I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord. The same is represented as the spi­rit of his true children, or the family of Ja­cob. I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth himself from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.—They that love Christ's appear­ing, is a name that the apostle gives to true christians.

The glorious inhabitants of the heavenly world, the saints and angels there, that re­joic [...] when one sinner repents, are earnestly waiting, in an assured and joyful depend­ance [Page 136]on God's promises of that conversion of the world, and marriage of the Lamb, which shall be when that glorious day comes; and therefore they are represented as all with one accord rejoicing and praising God with such mighty exultation and tri­umph, when it is accomlished, in Rom. xix.

5. The word of God is full of precepts, encouragements and examples, tending to excite and induce the people of God to be much in prayer for this mercy.

The spirit of God is the chief of the bles­sings that are the subject-matter of christian prayer; for it is the sum of all spiritual bles­sings; which are those that we need infinite­ly more than others; and are those wherein our true and eternal happiness consists.— That which is the sum of the blessings that Christ purchased, is the sum of the blessings that Christians have to pray for; but that, as was observed before, is the Holy Spirit; and therefore when the disciples came to Christ, and desired him to teach them to pray, Luke xi. he accordingly gave them particular directions for the performance of this duty;—the conclusion of his whole dis­course, in the 13th verse, plainly shews that the Holy Spirit is the sum of the blessings [Page 137]that are the subject-matter of that prayer about which he had instructed them. If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? From which words of Christ we may also observe, that there is no bles­sing that we have so great encouragement to pray for, as the Spirit of God; the words imply, that our heavenly Father is especially ready to bestow his Holy Spirit on them that ask him. Of the more excellent na­ture any benefit is, which we stand in need of, the more ready God is to bestow it in answer to prayer. The infinite goodness of God's nature is the more gratified, and the grand design and aim of the contrivance and work of our redemption, is the more answered, and Jesus Christ the Redeemer has the greater success in his undertaking and labours; and those desires that are ex­pressed in prayer for the most excellent blessings are the most excellent desires, and consequently such as God most approves of, and is most ready to gratify.

The scriptures do not only direct and en­courage us in general to pray for the Holy Spirit above all things else, but it is the ex­pressly [Page 138]pressly revealed will of God, that his church should be very much in prayer for that glo­rious out-pouring of the Spirit that is to be in the latter days, and the things that shall be accomplished by it. God speaking of that blessed event, Ezek. xxxvi. under the figure of cleansing the house of Israel from all their iniquities, planting and building their waste and ruined places, and making them to become like the garden of Eden, and filling them with men like a flock, like the holy flock, the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; wherein he, doubtless, has respect to the same glorious restoration and advancement of his church that is spoken of in the next chapter, and in all the following chapters to the end of the book, he says, ver. 37. Thus saith the Lord, I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them. Which, doubt­less, implies, that it is the will of God that extraordinary prayerfulness in his people for this mercy should precede the bestow­ment of it.

I know of no place in the Bible, where so strong an expression is made use of to signi­fy importunity in prayer, as is used in Isai. lxii. 6, 7. where the people of God are call­ed upon to be importunate for this mercy: [Page 139] Ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence, and give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. How strong is the phrase? And how loud is this call to the church of God, to be fervent and incessant in their cries to him for this great mercy? How wonderful are the words to be used, concerning the manner in which such worms of the dust should address the high and lofty One that inhabits eterni­ty? And what encouragement is here, to approach the mercy-seat with the greatest freedom, boldness, earnestness, constancy, and full assurance of faith, to seek of God this greatest thing that can be sought in christian prayer?

It is a just observation of a certain emi­nent minister of the church of Scotland, in a discourse of his, on social prayer, in which, speaking of pleading for the success of the gospel, as required by the Lord's prayer, he says, ‘That notwithstanding of its being so compendious, yet the one half of it, that is, three petitions in six, and these the first prescribed, do all relate to this great case; so that to put up any one of these petiti­ons apart, or all of them together, is upon the matter, to pray that the dispensation [Page 140]of the gospel may be blessed with divine power.’ That glorious day we are speak­ing of is the proper and appointed time, a­bove all others, for the bringing to pass the things requested in each of these petitions; as the prophecies every where represent that as the time, which God has especially ap­pointed for the hallowing or glorifying his own great name in this world, causing his glory to be revealed, that all flesh may see it together, causing it openly to be manifested in the sight of the heathen, filling the whole world with the light of his glory to such a degree, that the moon shall be confounded and the sun ashamed before that brighter glory; the appointed time for the glorifying and mag­nifying the name of Jesus Christ, causing every knee to bow, and every tongue to confess to him. This is the proper time of God's kingdom's coming, or of Christ's coming in his kingdom: that is the very time foretold in the iid of Daniel, when the Lord God of hea­ven shall set up a kingdom, in the latter times of the last monarchy, when it is divided in­to ten kingdoms; and that is the very time foretold in the viith of Daniel, when there should be given to One like to the Son of Man, dominion, glory, and a kingdom, that all peo­ple, [Page 141]nations, and languages, should serve him; and the kingdom and dominion, and the great­ness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the most high God, after the destruction of the little horn, that should continue for a time, times, and the dividing of time. And that is the time wherein God's will shall be done on earth, as it is done in heaven; when heaven shall, as it were, be bowed, and come down to the earth, as God's people shall be all righ­teous, and holiness to the Lord shall be written on the bells of the horses, &c. So that the three first petitions of the Lord's prayer are, in effect, no other than requests for the bringing on this glorious day.—And as the Lord's prayer begins with asking for this, in the three first petitions, so it concludes with it, in these words, For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever. Amen. Which words imply a request, that God would take to himself his great power, and reign, and manifest his power and glory in the world. Thus Christ teaches us, that it becomes his disciples to seek this above all other things, and make it the first and the last in their prayers, and that every petition should be put up in a subordination to the [Page 142]advancement of God's kingdom and glory in the world.

Besides what has been observed of the Lord's prayer, if we look through the whole Bible, and observe all the examples of prayer that we find there recorded, we shall not find so many prayers for any other mercy, as for the deliverance, restoration, and prosperity of the church, and the advancement of God's glory and kingdom of grace in the world. If we well consider the prayers that we find recorded in the book of Psalms, I believe we shall see reason to think, that a very great, if not the greater part of them, are prayers uttered, either in the name of Christ, or in the name of the church, for such a mercy; and undoubtedly, the greatest part of that book of Psalms, is made up of prayers for this mercy, prophecies of it, and pro­phetical praises for it.

The prophets, in their prophecies of the restoration and advancement of the church, very often speak of it as what shall be done in answer to the prayers of God's people. Isai: xxv. 9.—xxvi. 9, 12, 13, 16, 17. to the end. Chap. xxxiii. 2. Psal. cii. 13—22. Jer. iii. 21. Isai. lxv. 24.—xli. 17. Hos. v. 15. with vi. 1, 2, 3. and xiv. 2. to the [Page 143]end.—Zech. x. 6.—xii. x. and xiii. 9. Isai. lv. 6. with ver. 12, 13. Jer. xxxiii. 3. The prophecies of future glorious times of the church, are often introduced with a prayer of the church for her deliverance and ad­vancement, prophetically uttered, as in Isai. li. 9, &c. Chap. lxiii. 11. to the end, and lxiv. throughout.

In order to Christ's being mystically born into the world, in the advancement and flou­rishing of true religion, and great increase of the number of true converts who are spo­ken of as having Christ formed in them, the scriptures represent it as requisite, that the church should first be in travail, crying, and pained to be delivered. And one thing that we have good reason to understand by it, is her exercising strong desires, and wrestling and agonizing with God in prayer for this event; because we find such figures of speech used in this sense elsewhere. My little chil­dren, of whom I travail in birth again, until Christ be formed in you. Lord, in trouble have they visited thee; they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them. Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and cryeth out in her pangs, so have we been in thy sight, O [Page 144]Lord. And certainly it is fit, that the church of God should be in travail for that, which (as I before observed) the whole creation tra­vails in pain for.

The scriptures do not only abundantly manifest it to be the duty of God's peo­ple to be much in prayer for this great mer­cy, but they also abound with manifold consi­derations to encourage them in it, and ani­mate them with hopes of success. There is, perhaps, no one thing that so much of the Bible is taken up in the promises of, in or­der to encourage the faith, hope, and pray­ers of the saints as this, which at once af­fords to God's people the clearest evidences that it is their duty to be much in prayer for this mercy, (for, undoubtedly, that which God does abundantly make the subject of his promises, God's people should abundant­ly make the subject of their prayers) and also affords them the strongest assurances that their prayers shall be successful. With what considence may we go before God, and pray for that, of which we have so many exceed­ing precious and glorious promises to plead? The very first promise of God to fallen man, even that it shall bruise thy head, is a pro­mise which is to have its chief fulfilment at [Page 145]that day; and the whole Bible concludes with a promise of the glory of that day, and a prayer for its fulfilment. He that testifieth these things, saith—Surely, I come quickly— Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

The scripture gives us great reason to think, that when once there comes to appear much of a spirit of prayer in the church of God for this mercy, then it will soon be ac­complished. It is evidently with reference to this mercy, that God makes that promise, When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I, the Lord, will hear them; I, the God of Is­rael, will not forsake them; I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the vallies; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water; I will plant in the wilderness the [...]dar, the shittah-tree, and the myrtle, and the oil-tree; I will set in the desart the fir-tree, the pine, and the box-tree together. Spiritual waters and rivers are explained by the apostle John, to be the Holy Spirit. It is now a time of scarcity of these spiritual waters; there are, as it were, none: If God's people, in this time of great drought, were but made duly [Page 146]sensible of this calamity, and their own emp­tiness and necessity, and brought earnestly to thirst and cry for needed supplies, God would, doubtless, soon fulfil this blessed promise.— We have another promise much like this, in Psal. cii. 16, 17. When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory; he will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not de­spise their prayer. And remarkable are the words that follow in the next verse: This shall be written for the generation to come; and the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord. Which seems to signify, that this promise shall be left on record to en­courage some future generation of God's people to pray and cry earnestly for this mercy, to whom he would fulfil the promise, and thereby give them, and great multitudes of others, that should be converted through their prayers, occasion to praise his name. Who knows but that the generation here spoken of, may be this present generation? One thing mentioned in the character of that future generation, is certainly true concern­ing the present, viz. That it is destitute; the church of God is in very low, sorrowful and needy circumstances; and if the next thing, there supposed, were also verified in us, viz. [Page 147]That we were made sensible of our great ca­lamity, and brought to cry earnestly to God for help, I am persuaded that the third would be also verified, viz. That our prayers would be turned into joyful praises, for God's gra­cious answers of our prayers. It is spoken of as a sign and evidence, that the time to favour Zion is come, when God's servants are brought, by their prayerfulness for her restoration, in an eminent manner, to shew that they favour her stones and dust. Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion; for the time to favour her, yea, the set time is come; for thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof.

God has respect to the prayers of his saints in all his government of the world, as we may observe by the representation made, Re­velations viii. at the beginning. There we read of seven angels standing before the throne of God, and receiving of him seven trumpets, at the sounding of which great and mighty changes were to be brought to pass in the world, through many successive ages. But when these angels had received their trumpets, they must stand still, and all must be in silence, not one of them must be allowed to sound, until the prayers of the [Page 148]saints are attended to. The angel of the co­venant, as a glorious High Priest, comes and stands at the altar, with much incense, to of­fer with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar, before the throne; and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascends up with acceptance be­fore God, out of the angel's hand; and then the angels prepare themselves to sound.—And God, in the events of every trumpet, remembers those prayers, as appears at last, by the great and glorious things he accom­plishes for his church, in the issue of all, in answer to these prayers, in the event of the last trumpet, which brings the glory of the latter days, when these prayers shall be turn­ed into joyful praises. Rev. xi. 15, 16, 17. And the seventh angel sounded, and there were great voices in heaven, saying—The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. And the four-and-twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come, because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and [Page 149]hast reigned. Since it is thus, that it is the pleasure of God so to honor his people, as to carry on all the designs of his kingdom in this way, viz. by the prayers of his saints; this gives us great reason to think, that whenever the time comes that God gives an extraordinary spirit of prayer for the pro­mised advancement of his kingdom on earth, (which is God's great aim in all preceding providences, and which is the main thing that the spirit of prayer in the saints aims at) then the fulfilling this event is nigh.

God, in wonderful grace, is pleased to represent himself, as it were, at the command of his people, with regard to mercies of this nature, so as to be ready to bestow them whenever they shall earnestly pray for them. Thus saith the Lord, the holy O [...] of Israel, and his maker, Ask of me of things to come, concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands, command ye me. What God is speaking of in this context, is the restoration of his church; not only a restoration from temporal calamity, and an outward captivi­ty by Cyrus; but also a spiritual restoration and advancement, by God's commanding the heavens to drop down from above, and the skies to pour down righteousness, and cau­sing [Page 150]the earth to open and bring forth salvation, and righteousness to spring up together. God would have his people ask of him, or en­quire of him by earnest prayer, to do this for them; and manifests himself as being at the command of earnest prayers for such a mercy: and a reason why God is so rea­dy to hear such prayers, is couched in the words, viz. Because it is prayer for his own church, his chosen and beloved people, his sons and daughters, and the work of his hands; and he cannot deny any thing that is asked for their comfort and prosperity.

God speaks of himself as standing ready to be gracious to his church, and to appear for its restoration, and only waiting for such an opportunity to bestow this mercy, when he shall hear the cries of his people for it, that he may bestow it in answer to their prayers. Therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious to thee; and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: For the Lord is a God of judgment; blessed are all they that wait for him. For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem.—Thou shalt weep no more; he will be very gracious unto thee, at the voice of thy cry:—when he shall hear it, he shall answer thee.[Page 151]The words imply as much as that when God once sees his people much engaged in pray­ing for this mercy, it shall be no longer de­layed. Christ desires to hear the voice of his spouse, that is in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs; in a low and obscure state, driven into secret corners: he only waits for this, in order to put an end to her state of affliction, and cause the day to break, and the shadows to flee away. If he once heard her voice in earnest prayer, he would come swifty over the mountains of separation between him and her, as a roe, or young hart. When his church is in a low state, and oppressed by her enemies, and cries to him, he will swiftly fly to her relief, as birds fly at the cry of their young. Yea, when that glorious day comes, that I am speaking of, before they call, he will answer them, and while they are yet speaking, he will hear; and, in answer to their prayers, he will make the wolf and the lamb feed together, &c. When the spouse prays for the effusion of the Holy Spirit, and the coming of Christ, by granting the tokens of his spiritual pre­sence in the church, saying, Awake, O north wind, and come, thou south, blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out; [Page 152]let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits; there seems to be an immediate answer to her prayer, in the next words, in abundant communications of the Spirit, and bestowment of spiritual blessings; I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse; I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honey-comb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk. Eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O be­loved.

Scripture instances and examples of suc­cess in prayer, give great encouragement to pray for this mercy. Most of the remark­able deliverances and restorations of the church of God, that we have account of in the scriptures, were in answer to prayer. So was the redemption of the church of God from the Egyptian bondage. The great restoration of the church in the latter day, is spoken of as resembled by this; as in Isai. lxiv. 1—4. xi. 11, 15, 16. xliii. 2, 3, 16—19. li. 10, 11, 15. lxiii. 11, 12, 13. Zech. x. 10, 11. Hos. ii. 14, 15. It was in answer to prayer, that the sun stood still over Gibeon, and the moon in the valley of Ajalon, and God's people obtained that great victory over their enemies: in which [Page 153]wonderful miracle, God seemed to have some respect to a future more glorious event to be accomplished for the christian church, in the day of her victory over her enemies, in the latter days; even that event foretold, Isai. xl. 20. Thy sun shall no more go down, neither shall thy moon withdraw itself. It was in answer to prayer, that God delivered his church from the mighty host of the As­syrians, in Hezekiah's time; which dispen­sation is abundantly made use of, as a type of the great things God will do for the chri­stian church in the latter days, in the pro­phecies of Isaiah. The restoration of the church of God from the Babylonish captivity, as abundantly appears both by scripture-prophecies and histories, was in answer to extraordinary prayer; see Jer. xxix. 10—14. and l. 4, 5. Dan. ix. throughout. Ezra viii. 21, &c. Neh. i. 4. to the end.—iv. 4, 5. and chap. ix. throughout. This restora­tion of the Jewish church, after the destruc­tion of Babylon, is evidently a type of the glorious restoration of the christian church, after the destruction of the kingdom of Anti­christ; which, as all know, is abundantly spoken of in the revelation of St. John, as the anti-type of Babylon. Sampson, out of [Page 154]weakness, received strength to pull down Dagon's temple, through prayer. So the people of God, in the latter days, will, out of weakness, be made strong, and will become the instruments of pulling down the king­dom of Satan, by prayer.

The Spirit of God was poured out upon Christ himself, in answer to prayer. Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and pray­ing, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove, upon him; and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son, in Thee I am well pleased. The Spirit descendes on the church of Christ, the same way, in this re­spect, that it descended on the head of the church. The greatest effusion of the Spir­it that ever yet has been, even that which was in the primitive times of the christian church, which began in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, was in answer to ex­traordinary prayer. When the disciples were gathered together to their Lord, a lit­tle before his ascension, he commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me, i. e. the pro­mise [Page 155]of the Holy Ghost; Acts. i. 4. What they had their hearts upon was the restora­tion of the kingdom of Israel: Lord, say they, wilt thou, at this time, restore again the kingdom to Israel, ver. 6. And according to Christ's direction, after his ascension, they returned to Jerusalem, and continued in u­nited fervent prayer and supplication. It seems they spent their time in it from day to day, without ceasing; until the spirit came down in a wonderful manner upon them, and that work was begun which never ceas­ed, until the world was turned upside down, and all the chief nations of it were convert­ed to christianity; and that glorious deli­verance and advancement of the christian church, that was in the days of Constantine the Great, followed the extraordinary cries of the church to God, as the matter is repre­sented, Rev. vi. at the opening of the fifth seal. The church, in her suffering state, is represented crying with a loud voice, How long, Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge, and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And the opening of the next seal brings on that mighty revolution, in the days of Constantine, compared to those great changes that shall be at the end of the world.

[Page 156] As there is so great and manifold reason from the word of God, to think that if a spirit of earnest prayer for that great effusi­on of the Spirit of God which I am speak­ing of, prevailed in the christian church, the mercy would be soon granted: so those that are engaged in such prayer might well expect the first benefit. God will come to those that are seeking him and waiting for him; Isai. xxv. 9. and xxxvi. 8. When Christ came in the flesh, he was first reveal­ed to them who were waiting for the conso­lation of Israel, and looking for redemption in Jerusalem. And in that great out-pour­ing of the Spirit that was in the days of the apostles, which was attended with such glo­rious effects among the Jews and Gentiles, the Spirit came down first on those that were engaged in united earnest prayer for it.—A special blessing is promised to them that love and pray for the prosperity of the church of God. Pray for the peace of Je­rusalem. They shall prosper, that love thee.

7. We are presented with many motives in the dispensations of Divine Providence, at this day, to excite us to be much in pray­er for this mercy.

There is much in Providence to shew us [Page 157]our need of it, and put us on desiring it.— The great outward calamities, in which the world is involved, and particularly the bloo­dy war that embroils and wastes the nations of Christendom, and in which our nation has so great a share, may well make all that believe God's word, and love mankind, ear­nestly long and pray for that day, when the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the na­tions shall beat their swords into plow-shares, &c. But especially do the spiritual calami­ties, and miseries of the present time, shew our great need of that blessed effusion of God's Spirit; there having been, for so long a time, so great a with-holding of the Spirit, from the greater part of the Christian world, and such dismal consequences of it, in the great decay of vital piety, and the exceed­ing prevalence of infidelity, heresy, and all manner of vice and wickedness; and espe­cially in our land and nation; of which a most affecting account has lately been pub­lished in a pamphlet, printed in London, and re-printed in Scotland, entitled, Britain's Remembrancer; by which it seems that lux­ury, and wickedness of almost every kind, is well nigh come to the utmost extremity in the nation; and if vice should continue to [Page 158]prevail and increase for one generation more, as it has the generation past, it looks as tho' the nation could hardly continue in being, but must sink under the weight of its own corruption and wickedness. And the state of things in the other parts of the British do­minions, besides England, is very deplora­ble. The church of Scotland has very much lost her glory, greatly departing from her ancient purity, and excellent order; and has of late been bleeding with great and mani­fold wounds, occasioned by their divisions and hot contentions. And there are fre­quent complaints from thence, by those that lament the corruptions of that land, of fin and wickedness, of innumerable kinds, a­bounding and prevailing of late, among all ranks and sorts of men there. And how la­mentable is the moral and religious state of these American colonies? Of New-England in particular! How much is that kind of re­ligion, that was professed and much experi­enced and practised, in the first, and appa­rently the best times in New-England, grown and growing out of credit? What fierce and violent contentions have been of late among ministers and people, about things of a re­ligious nature? How much is the gospel-ministry [Page 159]grown into contempt? and the work of the ministry, in many respects, laid under uncommon difficulties, and even in danger of linking amongst us?. How many of our congregations and churches rending in pie­ces? Church-discipline weakened, and ordi­nances less and less regarded. What wild and extravagant notions, gross delusions of the devil, and strange practices have prevail­ed, and do still prevail, in many places, un­der a pretext of extraordinary purity, spirit­uality, liberty, and zeal against formality, usurpation, and conformity to the world? How strong and deeply rooted and general are the prejudices that prevail against vital religion, and the power of godliness, and al­most every thing that appertains to it, or tends to it? How apparently are the hearts of people, every where, uncommonly shut up against all means and endeavours to a­waken sinners and revive religion? Vice and immorality, of all kinds, withal increas­ing and unusually prevailing?—May not an attentive view and consideration of such a state of things well influence the people that favour the dust of Zion, to earnestness in their cries to God for a general out-pouring of his Spirit, which only can be an effectual remedy for these evils?

[Page 160] Besides the things that have been men­tioned, the fresh attempts made by the Anti­christian powers against the Protestant inte­rest, in their late endeavours to restore a Popish government in Great Britain, the chief bulwark of the Protestant cause; as also the persecution lately revived against the Protestants in France, may well give oc­casion to the people of God, to renewed and extraordinary earnestness in their prayers to him, for the fulfilment of the promised down­fall of Antichrist, and that liberty and glory of his church that shall follow.

As there is much in the present state of things to shew us our great need of this mer­cy, and to cause us to desire it; so there is very much to convince us, that God alone can bestow it, and shew us our entire and ab­solute dependence on him for it. The in­sufficiency of human abilities to bring to pass any such happy change in the world as is foretold, or to afford any remedy to man­kind, from such miseries as have been men­tioned, does now remarkably appear. Those observations of the apostle, 1 Cor. i. The world by wisdom knows not God, and God makes foolish the wisdom of this world, never were verified to such a degree as they are [Page 161]now. Great discoveries have been made in the arts and sciences, and never was human learning carried to such a height, as in the present age; and yet never did the cause of religion and virtue run so low, in nations professing the true religion. Never was an age wherein so many learned and elaborate treatises have been written, in proof of the truth and divinity of the Christian religion; yet never were there so many infidels among those that were brought up under the light of the gospel. It is an age, as is supposed, of great light, freedom of thought, and dis­covery of truth in matters of religion, and detection of the weakness and bigotry of our ancestors, and of the solly and absurdity of the notions of those that were accounted e­minent divines in former generations; which notions, it is imagined, did destroy the very foundations of virtue and religion, and ener­vate all precepts of morality, and, in effect, annual all difference between virtue and vice; and yet vice and wickedness did never so prevail, like an overflowing deluge. It is an age wherein those mean and stingy principles as they are called, of our forefathers, which, as is supposed, deformed religion, and led [Page 162]to unworthy thoughts of God, are very much discarded, and grown out of credit, and sup­posed more free, noble and generous tho'ts of the nature of religion, and of the Christi­an scheme are entertained; but yet never was an age, wherein religion in general was so much despised and trampled on, and Je­sus Christ and God Almighty so blasphem­ed and treated with open daring contempt.

The exceeding weakness of mankind, and their insufficiency in themselves for the bring­ing to pass any thing great and good in the world, with regard to its moral and spiritu­al state, remarkably appears in many things that have attended and followed the extra­ordinary religious commotion, that has late­ly been in many parts of Great Britain and America. The infirmity of the human na­ture has been manifested, in a very affecting manner, in the various passions that men have been the subjects of, and innumerable ways that they have been moved, as a reed shaken with the wind, on occasion of the changes and incidents, both public and pri­vate, of such a state of things. How many errors and extremes are we liable to? How quickly over-topped, blinded, misled, and confounded? And how easily does Satan [Page 163]make fools of men, if confident in their own wisdom and strength, and left to themselves? Many, in the late wonderful season, were ready to admire and trust in men, as if all depended on such and such instruments, at least did ascribe to much to their skill and zeal, because God was pleased to improve them a little while to do extraordinary things; but what great things does the skill and zeal of instruments do now, when the Spirit of God is withdrawn?

As the present state of things may well excite earnest desires, after the promised ge­neral revival and advancement of true reli­gion, and serve to shew ou [...] dependence on God for it, so there are ma [...]y things in Pro­vidence, of late, that tend to encourage us in prayer for such a mercy. That infideli­ty, heresy and vice do so prevail, and that corruption and wickedness are risen to such an extreme height, is that which is exceed­ing deplorable; but yet, I think, considering God's promises to his church and the ordi­nary method of his dispensations, hope may justly be gathered from it, that the present state of things will not last long, but that a happy change is nigh. We know, that God never will desert the cause of truth and ho­liness, [Page 164]nor suffer the gates of hell to prevail against the church; and that it has usually been so from the beginning of the world, that the state of the church has appeared most dark, just before some remarkable de­liverance and advancement. Many a time may Israel say—Had not the Lord been on our s [...]de, then our enemies would have swallowed us up quick—The waters had overwhelmed us. The church's extremity has often been God's opportunity for the magnifying his power, mercy and faithfulness towards her. The interest of vital piety has long been in gene­ral decaying, and error and wickedness pre­vailing; it looks as though the disease were now come to a crisis, and that things can­not long remain in such a state, but that a change may be expected in one respect or other. And not only God's manner of deal­ing with his church in former ages, and many things in the promises and prophecies of his word, but also several things appertaining to present and late aspects of Divine Provi­dence, seem to give reason to hope that the change will be such, as to magnify God's free grace and sovereign mercy, and not his revenging justice and wrath. There are cer­tain times, that are days of vengeance, ap­pointed [Page 165]for the more special displays of God's justice and indignation; and God has also his days of mercy, accepted times, chosen seasons, wherein it is his pleasure to shew mercy, and nothing shall hinder it; they are times appointed for the magnifying of the Redeemer and his merits, and the triumphs of his grace, wherein his grace shall triumph over mens' unworthiness in its greatest height. And if we consider God's late dealings with our nation and this land, it appears to me that there is much to make us think that this day is such a day; particularly God's preserving and delivering the nation, when in so great danger of ruin by the late rebel­lion, and his preserving New-England, and the other British colonies in America, in so remarkable a manner, from the great arma­ment from France, prepared and sent against us the last year; and the almost miraculous success given to us against our enemies at Cape-Breton the year before, disappointing their renewed preparations and [...] against these colonies, this present year 1747, by delivering up the strength of their fleet into the hands of the English, as they were in their way hither. And also in protecting 07 us, from time to time, from armies by land, [Page 166]that have come against us from Canada since the beginning of the present war with France. Besides many strange instances of protection of particular forts and settlements, shewing a manifest interposition of the hand of hea­ven, to the observation of some of our ene­mies, and even of the savages. And added to these, the late unexpected restoring of the greater part of our many captives in Canada, by those that held them prisoners there. It appears to me, that God has gone much out of his usual way, in his exercises of mercy, patience and long-suffering in these instances. God's patience was very wonder­ful of old, towards the ten tribes, and the people of Judah and Jerusalem, and after­wards to the Jews in Christ's and the apos­tles times; but it seems to me, all things con­sidered, not equal to his patience and mercy to us. God does not only forbear to destroy us, notwithstanding all [...] provocations and their aggravations, which it would be endless to recount; but he has, in the fore-mention­ed instances, wrought great things for us, wherein his hand has been most visible, and his arm made bare; especially those two in­stances in America, God's succeeding us a­gainst Cape-Breton, and confounding the ar­mada [Page 167]from France the last year; dispensa­tions of Providence which, if considered in all their circumstances, were so wonderful, and apparently manifesting an extraordina­ry divine interposition; that they come, per­haps, the nearest to a parallel with God's wonderful works of old, in Moses's, Joshua's, and Hezekiah's time, of any that have been in these latter ages of the world. And it is to my present purpose to observe, that God was pleased to do great things for us in both these instances, in answer to extraordinary prayer. Such remarkable appearances of a spirit of prayer, on any particular public oc­casion, have not been in the land, at any time within my observation and memory, as an occasion of the affair of Cape-Breton.— And it is worthy to be noted and remember­ed, that God sent that great storm on the fleet of our enemies the last year, that final­ly dispersed, and utterly confounded them, and caused them wholly to give over their de­signs against us, the very night after our day of public fasting and prayer, for our protec­tion and their confusion.

Thus, although it be a day of great apos­tacy and provocation, yet it is apparently a day of the wonderful works of God; wonders [Page 168]of power and mercy, which may well lead us to think on those two places of scripture, Psal. cxix. 126. It is time for thee, Lord, to work, for they have made void thy law.— And Psal. lxxv. 1. That thy name is near, thy wonderous works declare.—God appears, as it were, loth to destroy us, or deal with us according to our iniquities, as great and aggravated as they are, and shews that mer­cy pleases him. As corrupt a time as it is, it is plain, by experience, that it is a time wherein God may be found, and stands rea­dy to shew mercy in answer to prayer. He that has done such great things, and has so wonderfully and speedily answered prayer for temporal mercies, will much more give the Holy Spirit if we ask him. He marvel­lously preserves us, and waits to be gracious to us, as though he chose to make us monu­ments of his grace, and not his vengeance, and waits only to have us open our mouths wide, that he may fill them.

The late remarkable religious awaken­ings, that have been in many parts of the Christian world, are another thing that may justly encourage us in prayer for the pro­mised glorious and universal out-pouring of [Page 169]the Spirit of God. ‘In or about the year 1732 or 1733, God was pleased to pour out his Spirit on the people of Saltzburg, in Germany, who were living under Pop­ish darkness, in a most uncommon man­ner; so that above twenty thousand of them, merely by reading the Bible, which they made a shift to get in their own lan­guage, were determined to throw off Pop­ery, and embrace the reformed Religion; yea, and to become so very zealous for the truth and gospel of Jesus Christ, as to be willing to suffer the loss of all things in the world, and actually to forsake their houses, lands, goods and relations, that they might enjoy the pure preaching of the gospel;—with great earnestness, and tears in their eyes, beseeching Protestant ministers to preach to them, in different places where they came, when banished from their own country.’—In the year 1734 and 1735, there appeared a very great and general awakening in the county of Hampshire, in the province of the Massa­chusetts-Bay, in New-England, and also in many parts of Connecticut. Since this, there [Page 170]has been a far more extensive awakening of many thousands in England, Wales, and Scot­land, and almost all the British provinces in North America. There has also been some­thing remarkable of the same kind in some places of the United Netherlands; and about two years ago, a very great awakening and reformation of many of the Indians in the Jerseys and Pennsylvania, even among such as never embraced Christianity before; and within these two years, a great awakening in Virginia and Maryland. Notwithstand­ing the great diversity of opinions about the issue of some of these awakenings, yet I know of none that have denied that there have been great awakenings of late, in these times and places, and that multitudes have been brought to more than common concern for their salvation, and for a time were made more than ordinarily afraid of sin, and bro't to reform their former vicious courses, and take much pains for their salvation. If I should be of the opinion of those that think these awakenings and strivings of God's Spi­rit have been generally not well improved, and so, as to most, have not issued well, but have ended in enthusiasm and delusion, yet, [Page 171]that the Spirit of God has been of late so wonderfully awakening and striving with such multitudes, in so many different parts of the world, and even to this day, in one place or other, continues to awaken men, is what I should take great encouragement from, that God was about to do something more glorious, and would, before he finishes, bring things to a greater ripeness, and not finally suffer this work of his to be frustrat­ed and rendered abortive by Satan's crafty management; and that these unusual com­motions are the forerunners of something ex­ceedingly glorious approaching; as the wind, earthquake and fire, at Mount Sinai, were forerunners of that voice, wherein God was, in a more eminent manner; although they also were caused by a divine power, as it is represented, that these things were caused by the Lord passing by. 1 Kings xix. 11, 12.

8. How condecent, how beautiful, and of good tendency would it be, for multitudes of Christians, in various parts of the world, by explicit agreement, to unite [...] such pray­er as is proposed to us.

Union is one of the most amiable things that p [...]rtains to human society; yea, it is [Page 172]one of the most beautiful and happy things on earth, which indeed makes earth most like heaven. God has made of one blood all nations of men, to dwell on all the face of the earth; hereby teaching us this moral lesson, that it becomes mankind all to be u­nited as one family. And this is agreeable to the nature that God has given men, dis­posing them to society; and the circum­stances God has placed them in, so many ways obliging and necessitating them to it. A civil union, or an harmonious agreement among men, in the management of their se­cular concerns, is amiable; but much more a pious union, and sweet agreement in the great business for which man was created, and had powers given him beyond the brutes; even the business of religion, the life and soul of which is love. Union is spoken of in scripture as the peculiar beauty of the church of Christ, Cant. vi. 9. My dove, my undefiled is but one, she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her; the daughters saw her and blessed her, yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her. Psal. cxxii. 5. Jerusalem is build­ed as a city that is compact together. Eph. iv. [Page 173]3—6. Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one spirit; even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God, and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Ver. 16. The whole body fitly framed togeth­er and compacted, by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body, unto the edisying itself in love.

As it is the glory of the church of Christ, that she, in all her members, however dis­persed, is thus one, one holy society, one city, one family, one body; so it is very de­sirable, that this union should be manifested, and become visible; and so, that her distant members should act as one, in those things that concern the common interest of the whole body, and in those duties and exer­cises wherein they have to do with their common lord and head, as seeking of him the common prosperity. It becomes all the members of a particular family, who are strictly united, and have in so many respects one common interest, to unite in prayer to God for the things they need; it becomes a [Page 174]nation, in days of prayer, appointed by na­tional authority, at certain seasons, visibly to unite in prayer for those public mercies that concern the interest of the whole na­tion; so it becomes the church of Christ, which is one holy nation, a peculiar people, one heavenly family, more strictly united, in many respects, and having infinitely great­er interests that are common to the whole, than any other society; I say, it especially becomes this society, visibly to unite, and expressly to agree together in prayer to God for the common prosperity; and above all, that common prosperity and advancement that is so unspeakably great and glorious, which God has so abundantly promised to fulfil in the latter days.

It is becoming of Christians, with whose character a narrow selfish spirit, above all others, disagrees, to be much in prayer for that public mercy, wherein consists the wel­fare and happiness of the whole body of Christ, of which they are members, and the greatest good of mankind. And union or agreement in prayer is especially becoming, when Christians pray for that mercy, which above all other things concerns them unit­edly, [Page 175]and tends to the relief, prosperity and glory of the whole body, as well as of each individual member.

Such an union in prayer for the general out-pouring of the Spirit of God, would not only be beautiful, but profitable too. It would tend very much to promote union and charity between distant members of the church of Christ, to promote public spirit, love to the church of God, and concern for the interest of Zion, as well as be an amiable exercise and manifestation of such a spirit.—Union in religious duties, especially in the duty of prayer, in praying one with and for another, and jointly for their common wel­fare, above almost all other things, tends to promote mutual affection and endearment. And if ministers and people should, by par­ticular agreement and joint resolution, set themselves, in a solemn and extraordinary manner, from time to time, to pray for the revival of religion in the world, it would na­turally tend more to awaken in them [...] ­cern about things of this nature, and more of a desire after such a mercy; it would en­gage them to more attention to such an af­fair make them more inquisitive about it, more ready to use endeavours to promote [Page 176]that which they, with so many others, spend so much time in praying for, and more rea­dy to rejoice and praise God when they see or hear of any thing of that nature or ten­dency; and in a particular manner, would it naturally tend to engage ministers (the business of whose life it is, to seek the wel­fare of the church of Christ, and the advance­ment of his kingdom) to greater diligence and earnestness in their work; and it would have a tendency to the spiritual profit and advantage of each particular person. For persons to be thus engaged in extraordinary praying for the revival and flourishing of re­ligion in the world, will naturally lead each one to reflect on himself, and consider how religion flourishes in his own heart, and how far his example contributes to the thing that he is praying for.

9. There is great and particular encour­agement given in the word of God, to ex­press union and agreement in prayer. Da­niel, when he had a great thing to request of God, viz. That God, by his Holy Spirit, would miraculously reveal to him a great secret, which none of the wise men, astrolo­gers, magicians, or sooth-say [...] of Babylon could find out, he goes to [...], Mi­shael [Page 177]and Azariah, his companions, and they agree together, that they will unitedly desire mercies of the God of heaven, concerning this secret; and their joint request was soon granted; and God put great honor upon them, above all the wise men of Babylon, to the filling their mouths with praise, and to the admiration and astonishment of Ne­buchadnezzar; insomuch, that that great and haughty monarch, as we are told, fell upon his face and worshipped Daniel, and owned that his God was of a truth a God of gods, and greatly promoted Daniel and his pray­ing companions in the province of Babylon. Esther, when she had a yet more important request to make, for the saving of the church of God, and whole nation of the Jews, dis­persed through the empire of Persia, when on the brink of ruin, sends to all the Jews in the city Shushan, to pray and fast with her and her maidens; and their united pray­ers prevail, so that the event was wonderful; instead of the intended destruction of the Jews, the Jews enemies are destroyed every where, and they are defended, honored and promoted, and their sorrow and distress is turned into great gladness, feasting, triumph, and mutual joyful congratulations.

[Page 178] The encouragement to explicit agreement in prayer is great from such instances as these; but it is yet greater from those won­derful words of our blessed Redeemer. Mat. xviii. 19. I say unto you, that if any two of you shall agree on earth touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. Christ is pleas­ed to give this great encouragement to the union of his followers in this excellent and holy exercise of seeking and serving God; an holy union and communion of his people being that which he greatly desires and de­lights in, that which he came into the world to bring to pass, that which he especially prayed for with his dying breath, John xvii. that which he died for, and which was one chief end of the whole affair of our redemp­tion by him. Eph. i. In whom we have re­demption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace, where­in he hath abounded towards us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good plea­sure, which he hath proposed in himself; that in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him.



I COME now, as was proposed, in the third place, to answer and obviate some objec­tions, which some may be ready to make a­gainst the thing that has been proposed to us.

Object. 1. Some may be ready to say, That for Christians, in such a manner to set apart certain seasons, every week, and every quar­ter, to be religiously observed and kept for the purposes proposed, from year to year, would be, in effect, to establish certain peri­odical times of human invention and ap­pointment, to be kept holy to God, and so to do the very thing, that has ever been ob­jected against, by a very great part of the most eminent Christians and Divines among Protestants, as what men have no right to do, it being for them to add to God's insti­tutions, and introduce their own inventions and establishments into the stated worship of God, and lay unwarrantable bonds on mens' consciences, and do what naturally tends to superstition.

Ans. To this I would say, There can be no justice in such an objection against this [Page 180]proposal, as made to us in the soremention­ed memorial. Indeed, that caution and pru­dence appears in the projection itself, and in the manner in which it is proposed to us, that there is not so much as any colour for the objection. The proposal is such, and so well guarded, that there seems to be no room for the weakest Christian that well observes it, so to mistake it, as to understand those things to be implied in it, that have, indeed, been objected against, by many eminent Christians and Divines among Protestanis, as entangling mens' consciences, and adding to divine institutions, &c.—Here is no pre­tence of establishing any thing by authority; no appearance of any claim of power in the proposers, or right to have any regard paid to their determinations or proposals, by vir­tue of any deference due to them, in any re­spect, any more than to every individual person of those that they apply themselves to. So far from that, that they expressly mention that which they have thought of, as what they would propose to the thoughts of others, for their amendments and im­provements, declaring that they chuse rather to receive and spread the directions and pro­posals of others, than to be the first authors [Page 181]of any.—No times, not sanctified by God's own institution, are proposed to be observed more than others, under any notion of such times being, in any respect, more holy, or more honorable, or worthy of any preference, or distinguishing regard; either as being sanc­tified, or made honorable, by authority, or by any great events of Divine Providence, or any relation to any holy persons or things; but only as circumstantially convenient, help­ful to memory, especially free from worldly business, near to the times of the administra­tion of public ordinances, &c. None at­tempts to lay any bonds on others, with re­spect to this matter, or to desire that they should lay any bonds on themselves, or look on themselves as under any obligations, ei­ther by power or promise; or so much as come into any absolute determination in their own minds, to set apart any stated days from secular affairs, or even to fix on any part of such days, without liberty to alter cir­cumstances, as shall be found expedient, and also liberty left to a future alteration of judg­ment, as to expediency, on further trial and consideration. All that is proposed is, that such as fall in with what is proposed in their judgments and inclinations, while they do [Page 182]so, shall strengthen, assist and encourage their brethren that are of the same mind, by visi­bly consenting and joining with them in the affair. Is here any thing like making laws in matters of conscience and religion, or ad­ding mens' institutions to God's, or any shew of imposition, or superstitious esteeming and preferring one day above another, or any possible ground of entanglement of any one's conscience?

For men to go about by law to establish and limit circumstances of worship, not esta­blished or limited by any law of God, such as precise time, place, and order, may be in many respects of dangerous tendency. But surely it cannot be unlawful or improper for Christians to come into some agreement with regard to these circumstances, for it is impos­sible to carry on any social worship without it. There is no institution of scripture re­quiring any people to meet together to wor­ship God in such a spot of ground, or at such an hour of the day; but yet these must be determined by agreement, or else there will be no social worship, in any place, or any hour. So we are not determined by in­stitution, what the precise order of the dif­ferent part [...] of worship shall be, what shall [Page 183]precede, and what shall follow; whether praying or singing shall be first, and what shall be next, and what shall conclude; but yet some order must be agreed on by the congregation that unite in worship, otherwise they cannot jointly carry on divine worship, in any way or method at all. If a congre­gation of Christians do agree to begin their public worship with prayer, and next to sing, and then to attend on the preaching of the word, and to conclude with prayer; and do by consent carry on their worship in this or­der from year to year, though this order is not appointed in scripture, none will call this superstition. And if a great number of congregations, through a whole land, or more lands than one do, by common consent, keep the same method of public worship, none will pretend to find fault with it. But yet for any to go about to bind all to such a me­thod, would be usurpation and imposition. And if such a precise order should be regard­ed as sacred, as though no other could be acceptable to God, this would be superstition. —If a particular number of Christians shall agree, that besides the stated public worship of the sabbath, they will, when their circum­stances allow, meet together to carry on [Page 184]some religous exercises on a sabbath-day night, for their mutual edification; or if se­veral societies agree to meet together in dif­ferent places at that time, this is no super­stition, though there be no institution for it. If people in different congregations volun­tarily agree to take turns to meet together in the house of God, to worship him and hear a public lecture, once a month, or once in six weeks; it is not unlawful, though there be no institution for it; but yet to do this as a thing sacred, indispensible, and bind­ing on mens' consciences, would be super­stition. If Christians of several neighbour­ing congregations, instead of a lecture, agree on some special occasion to keep a circular fast, each congregation taking its turn in a certain time and order, fixed on by consent; or instead of keeping fast by turns, on diffe­rent days, one on one week, and one on an­other, they should all agree to keep a fast on the same day, and to do this either once or frequently, according as they shall judge their own circumstances, or the dispensations of the Divine Providence, or the importance of the mercy they seek, do require; neither is there any more superstition in this than the other.

[Page 185] Object. 2. Some may be ready to say, there seems to be something whimsical in its being insisted on that God's people, in different places, should put up their prayers for this mercy at the same time, as though their prayers would be more forcible on that ac­count, and as if God would not be so like­ly to hear prayers offered up by many, tho [...]ey happened not to pray at the same time, as he would if he heard them all at the same moment.

Ans. To this I would say, If such an ob­jection be made, it must be through misun­derstanding. It is not signified or implied in any thing said in the proposal, of in any arguments made use of to enforce it that [...] have seen, that the prayers of a great [...] ­ber, in different places, will be more forci­ble, merely because of that circumstance, of their being put up at the same time. It is, indeed, supposed, that it will be very expedi­ent, that certain times for united prayer should be agreed on; which it may be with­out implying the thing supposed in the ob­jection, on the following accounts.

1. This seems to be a proper expedient for the promoting and maintaining an uni­on [Page 186]among Christians of distant places, in extraordinary prayer for such a mercy. It appears, from what was before observed, that there ought to be extraordinary prayers a­mong Christians for this mercy; and that it is sit, that God's people should agree and unite in it. Though there be no reason to suppose that prayers will be more prevalent, merely from that circumstance, that differ­ent persons pray exactly at the same time; yet there will be more reason to hope, that prayers for such mercy will be prevalent, when God's people are very much in prayer for it, and when many of them are united in it. If therefore agreeing on certain times for united and extraordinary prayer, be a like­ly means to promote an union of many in ex­traordinary prayer, then there is more reason to hope that there will be prevalent prayer for such a mercy, for certain times for extra­ordinary prayer being agreed on. But, that agreement on certain times for united ex­traordinary prayer, is a likely and proper means to promote and maintain such pray­er, I [...]hink will be easily evident to any one that considers the matter. If there should be only a loose agreement or consent to it as a duty, or a thing sit and proper that Ch [...] ­tians [Page 187]should be much in prayer for the re­vival of religion, and much more in it than they used to be, without agreeing on parti­cular times, how liable would such a lax a­greement be to be soon forgotten, and that extraordinary prayerfulness, which [...] fixed to no certain times, to be totally neglected? To be sure, distant parts of the church of Christ could have no confidence in one an­other, that this would not be the case. If these ministers in Scotland, instead of the proposal they have made, or any other mi­nisters or Christians in any part of the Chris­tian world, had sent abroad only a general proposal, that God's people should, for the time to come, be much more in prayer for the advancement of Christ's kingdom, than had been common among Christians here­tofore; and they should hear their proposal was generally allowed to be good, and that ministers and people, in one place and an­other, that had occasion to speak their minds upon it, owned that it was a very proper thing, that Christians should pray more for this mercy than they generally used to do; could they, from this only, have, in any measure, the like grounds of dependence, that God's people, in various parts of the [Page 188]Christian world, would, indeed, hencefor­ward act unitedly, in maintaining extraor­dinary prayer for this mercy, as if they should not only hear that the duty in general was approved of, but also that particular times were a [...]ually fixed on for the purpose, and an agreement and joint resolution was come into, that they would, unless extraordinari­ly hindered, set apart such particular seasons to be spent in this duty, from time to time, maintaining this practice for a certain num­ber of year?

2. For God's people, in distant places, to agree on certain times for extraordinary pray­er, wherein they will unitedly put up their requests to God, is a means fit and proper to be used, in order to the visibility of their union in such prayer. Union among God's people in prayer is truly beautiful, as has been before observed and shewn; it is beau­tiful in the eyes of Christ, and it is justly beautiful and amiable in the eyes of Chris­tians. And if so, then it must needs be de­sirable to Christians that such union should be visible. If it would be a lovely sight in the eyes of the church of Christ, and much to their comfort, to behold various and dif­ferent [Page 189]parts of the church united in extraor­dinary prayer for the general out-pouring of the Spirit, then it must be desirable to them that such an union should be visible, that they may behold it; for if it be not vi­sible, it cannot be beheld. But [...]reement and union in a multitude in their worship becomes visible, by an agreement in some external visible circumstances. Worship it­self becomes visible worship, by something external and visible belonging to the wor­ship, and no other way; therefore union and agreement of many in worship becomes vi­sible no other way, but by union and agree­ment in the external and visible acts and cir­cumstances of the worship. Such union and agreement becomes visible, particularly by an agreement in those two visible circum­stances, time and place. When a number of Christians live near together, and their number and situation is convenient, and they have a desire visibly to unite in any acts of worship, they are wont to make their union and agreement visible by an union in both these circumstances. But when a much great­er number of Christians, dwelling in distant places, so that they cannot unite by worship­ping in the same place, yet desire a visible [Page 190]union in some extraordinary worship, they are wont to make their union and agree­ment visible, by agreeing only in the former of those circumstances, viz. that of time; as is common in the appointment of public fasts and [...]anksgivings; the same day is ap­pointed, for the performance of that extra­ordinary worship, by all those Christians, in different places, that it is intended should be united therein, as a visible note of their uni­on. This the common light and sense of God's people leads Christians to in all coun­tries. And the wisdom of God seems to dic­tate the same thing, in appointing that his people, through the world, in all ages, in their stated and ordinary public worship, e­very week, should manifest this union and communion one with another, in their wor­ship, as one holy society, and great congre­gation of worshippers, and servants of God, by offering up their worship on the same day, for the greater glory of their common Lord, and the greater edification and com­fort of the whole body.

If any yet find fault with the proposal of certain times to be agreed on by God's peo­ple in different places, in the manner set forth in the memorial, I would ask whether [Page 191]they object against any such thing, as a visi­ble agreement of God's people, in different parts of the world, in extraordinary prayer, for the comming of Christ's kingdom? Whe­ther such a thing, being visible, would not be much for the public honor of Gods name? And whether it would not tend to Christians assistance, quickening and encouragement in the duty united in, by mutual example, and also to their mutual comfort, by a manifest­ation of that union which is amiable to Christ and Christians, and to promote a Christian union among professing Christians in gene­ral? And whether we have not reason to think, from the word of God, that before that great revival of religion foretold is ac­complished, there will be a visible union of the people of God, in various parts of the world, in extraordinary prayer, for this mer­cy? If these things are allowed, I would then ask further, whether any method can be thought of or devised, whereby an express agreement, and visible union of God's peo­ple, in different parts of the world, can be come into, and maintained, but this, or some other equivalent to it? If there be any ex­press agreement about any extraordinary [Page 192]prayer at all, it must first be proposed by some, and others must fall in, in the manner as is represented in my text. And if extra­ordinary prayer be agreed on and maintain­ed by many in different places, visibly one to another, then it must be agreed in some respect, and with regard to some circumstan­ces, what extraordinary prayer shall be kept up; and it must be seen and heard of, from one to another, what extraordinary prayer is kept up. But how shall this be, when no times are agreed upon, and it is never known nor heard, by those in different parts, nor is in any respect visible to them, when, or how often, those in one town or country, and an­other do attend this extraordinary prayer? The consequence must necessarily be, that it can never be known how far, or in what re­spect others join with them in extraordina­ry prayer, or whether they do it at all; and not so much as one circumstance of extra­ordinary prayer will be visible; and indeed nothing will be visible about it. So that I think any body that well considers the mat­ter, will see, that he who determines to op­pose such a method as is proposed to us in the memorial, and all others equivalent to [Page 193]it is, in effect, determined to oppose there ever being any such thing at all, as an agreed and visibly united extraordinary prayer, in the church of God, for a general out-pour­ing of the Spirit.

3. Though it would not be reasonable to suppose, that merely such a circumstance of prayer, as many people's praying at the same time will directly have any influence or pre­valence with God, to cause him to be the more ready to hear prayer; yet such a cir­cumstance may reasonably be supposed to have influence on the minds of men; as the consideration of it may tend to encourage and assist those in praying, that are united in prayer. Will any deny, that it has any reasonable tendency to encourage, animate, or in any respect to help the mind of a Chris­tian in serving God in any duty of religion, to join with a Christian congregation, and to see an assembly of his dear brethren around him, at the same time engaged with him in the same duty? And supposing one in this assembly of saints is blind, and sees no one there, but has by other means ground of satisfaction that there is present at that [Page 194]time a multitude of God's people, that are united with him in the same service, will any deny, that his supposing this, and being satisfied of it, can have any reasonable influ­ence upon his mind, to excite and encour­age him, or in any respect to assist him in his worship? The encouragement or help that one that joins with an assembly in wor­shipping God, has in his worship, by others being united with him, is not merely by any thing that he immediately perceives by sight, or any other of the external senses (for uni­on in worship is not a thing objected to the external senses;) but by the notice or know­ledge the mind has of that union, or the sa­tisfaction the understanding has that others, at that time, have their minds engaged with him in the same service; which may be when those unitedly engaged are at a distance one from another, as well as when they are pre­sent. If one be present in a worshipping as­sembly, and is not blind, and sees others pre­sent, and sees their external behaviour, their union and engagedness with him in worship is what he does not see, and what he sees encourages and assists him in his worship, only as; he takes it as an evidence of that union and concurrence in his worship, that [Page 195]is out of his sight. And persons may have evidence of this concerning persons that are absent, that may give him as much satisfac­tion of their union with him, as if they were present. And therefore the consideration of others being at the same time engaged with him in worship, that are absent, may as reasonably animate and encourage him in his worship as if they were present.

There is no wisdom in finding fault with human nature, as God has made it. Things that exist now, at this present time, are, in themselves, no more weighty or important, than like things, and of equal reality, that existed in time past, or are to exist in time to come; yet it is evident, that the consider­ation of things being present (at least in most cases) does especially affect human nature. As for instance, if a man should be certainly informed, that his dear child, at a distance, was now under some extreme suffering, or that an absent most dear friend was at this time thinking of him, and in the exercise of great affection towards him, or in the per­formance of some great deed of friendship; or if a pious parent should know that now his child was in the act of some enormous wickedness; or that, on the contrary, he was [Page 196]now in some eminent exercise of grace, and in the performance of an extraordinary deed of virtue and piety; would not those things be more affecting to the human nature, for be­ing considered as things that are in existence at the present time, than if considered as at some distance of time, either past or future? Hundreds of other instances might be men­tioned wherein it is no less plain, that the consideration of the present existence of things gives them advantage to affect the minds of men. Yea, it is undoubtedly so with things in general, that take any hold at all of our affections, and towards which we are not indifferent. And if the mind of a particular child of God is disposed to be affected by the consideration of the religion of other saints, and with their union and con­currence with him in any particular duty or act of religion, I can see no reason why the human mind should not be more moved by the object of its affection, when considered as present, as well in this case, as in any o­ther case; yea, I think, we may on good grounds determine there is none.

Nor may we look upon it as an instance of the peculiar weakness of the human na­ture, [Page 197]that men are more affected with things that are considered as present, than those that are distant; but it seems to be a thing com­mon to finite minds, and so to all created in­telligent beings. Thus, the angels in heaven have peculiar joy, on occasion of the con­version of a sinner, when recent, beyond what they have in that which has been long past. If any therefore shall call it silly and whimsical in any, to value and regard such a circumstance, in things of religion, as their existing at the present time, so as to be the more affected wit [...] them for that, they must call the host of angels in heaven a parcel of silly and whimsical beings.

I remember, the Spectator (whom none will call a whimsical author) somewhere speaking of different ways of dear friends mutually expressing their affection, and maintaining a kind of intercourse, in absence one from an­other, mentions such an instance as this, with much approbation, viz. That two friends, that were greatly endeared one to another, when about to part, and to be for a consi­derable time necessarily absent, that they might have the comfort of the enjoyment of daily mutual expressions of friendship, in their absence, agreed that they would, eve­ry [Page 198]day, precisely at such an hour, retire from all company and business, to pray for one another. Which agreement they so valued, and so strictly observed, that when the hour came, scarce any thing would hinder them. And rather than miss this opportunity, they would suddenly break off conversation, and abruptly leave the company they were engag­ed with.—If this be a desirable way of inter­course of particular friends, is it not a desir­able and amiable way of maintaining inter­course and fellowship between brethren in Christ Jesus, and the various members of the holy family of God, in different parts of the world, to come into an agreement, that they will set apart certain times, which they will spend with one accord, in extraordinary prayer to their heavenly Father, for the ad­vancement of the kingdom, and the glory of their common dear Lord and Saviour, and for each other's prosperity and happiness, and the greatest good of all their fellow-creatures through the world?

Object. 3. Some perhaps may object, That it looks too much like Pharisaism, when per­sons engage in any such extraordinary reli­gious exercises, beyond what is appointed by express institution, for them thus design­edly [Page 199]to make it manifest abroad in the world, and so openly to distinguish themselves from others.

Ans. 1. All openly engaging in extraordi­nary exercises of religion, not expressly en­joined by institution, is not Pharisaism, nor has ever been so reputed in the Christian church. As when a particular church or congregation of Christians agree together to keep a day of fasting and prayer, on some special occasion; or when public days of fasting and thanksgiving are kept, through­out a Christian province or country; and though it be ordinarily the manner for the civil magistrate to lead, in the setting apart such days, yet that alters not the case; if it be Pharisaism in the society openly to agree in such extraordinary exercises of religion, it is not less Pharisaism for the heads of the society leading in the affair. And if that were now the case with the Christian church, that once was, for about three hundred years together, that the civil magistrate was not of the society of Christians, nor concerned himself in their affairs; yet this would not render it the less suitable for Christians, on proper occasions, jointly, and visibly one to another, to engage in such extraordinary ex­ercises [Page 200]of religion, and to keep days of fast­ing and thanksgiving by agreement.

Ans. 2. As to the latter part of the objec­tion, there can be no room for it in this case. It cannot be objected against what is propos­ed in the memorial, that if persons should comply with it, it would look like affecting singularity, and open distinction from others of God's professing people, in extraordinary religion, such as was in the Pharisees of old; because it is evident, the very design of the memorial, is not to promote singularity and distinction, but as much as possible to avoid and prevent it. The end of the memorial is not to confine and limit the thing propo­sed, that it may be practised only by a few, in distinction from the generality; but on the contrary to extend it, and make it as gene­ral among professing Christians as possible. Some had complied with the extraordinary duty proposed, and therein had been distin­guished from others, for two years, before the memorial was published; and they were more distinguished than they desired, and therefore send abroad this memorial, that the practice might be more spread, and be­come more general, that they might be less distinguished. What they evidently seek, is [Page 201]to bring to pass as general a compliance as possible of Christians of all denominations, ‘intreating, that the desire of concurrence and assistance, contained in the memorial, may by no means be understood, as restric­ting to any particular denomination or party, or those who are of such or such opinions about any former instances of re­markable religious concern; but to be ex­tended to all, who shall vouchsafe any at­tention to the proposal, and have at heart the interest of vital Christianity, and the power of godliness; and who, however dif­fering about other things, are convinced of the importance of fervent prayer, to promote that common interest, and of scripture persuasives, to promote such prayer.’

Object. 4. Another objection, that is very likely to arise in the minds of many against such extraordinary prayer as is proposed for the speedy coming of Christ's kingdom, is that we have no reason to expect it, until there first come a time of most extreme calamity to the church of God, and prevalence of her anti-christian enemies against her; even that which is represented, Rev. xi. by the slaying [Page 202]of th [...] witnesses; but have reason to deter­mine the contrary.

Ans. It is an opinion that seems pretty much to have obtained, that before the ful­filment of the promises relating to the church's latter-day glory, there must come a most ter­rible time, a time of extreme suffering, and dreadful persecution of the church of Christ, wherein Satan and Antichrist are to obtain their greatest victory over her, and she is to be bro't lower than eve [...] by her enemies. Which opinion has chiefly risen from the manner of interpreting and applying the fore-men­tioned prophecy of the slaying of the wit­nesses. This opinion, with such persons as retain it, must needs be a great restraint and hindrance, with regard to such an affair as is proposed to us in the memorial. If per­sons expect no other, than that the more the glorious times of Christ's kingdom are hastened, the sooner will come this dreadful time, wherein the generality of God's peo­ple must suffer so extremely, and the church of Christ be almost extinguished, and blotted out from under heaven; how can it be o­therwise, than a great damp to their hope, courage and activity, in praying for and reaching after the speedy introduction of [Page 203]those glorious promised times? As long as this opinion is retained, it will undoubtedly ever have this unhappy influence on the minds of those that wish well to Zion, and favor her stones and dust. It will tend to damp, deaden, and keep down life, hope, and joyful expectation in prayer; and even in great measure, to prevent all earnest, ani­mated and encouraged prayer, in God's peo­ple, for this mercy, at any time before it is actually fulfilled. For they that proceed on this hypothesis in their prayers, must, at the same time that they pray for this glorious day, naturally conclude within themselves, that they shall never live to see on the earth any dawning of it, but only to see the dis­mal time that shall precede it, in which the far greater part of God's people, that shall live until then, shall die under the extreme cruelties of their persecutors. And the more they expect that God will answer their pray­ers, by speedy bringing on the promised glorious day, the more must they withal ex­pect themselves to have a share in those dreadful things, that nature shrinks at the thoughts of, and also expect to see things that a renewed nature shrinks at and dreads; even the prevailing of God's enemies, and [Page 204]the almost total extinguishing the true reli­gion in the world. And on this hypothesis, these discouragements are like to attend the prayers of God's people, until that dismal time be actually come; and when that is come, those that had been prophesying and praying in sackcloth, shall generally be slain; and after that time is over, then the glorious day shall immediately commence. So that this notion tends to discourage and hinder all earnest prayer in the church of God for that glorious coming of Christ's kingdom, until it be actually come; and that is to hin­der its ever being at all.

It being so, this opinion being of such hurtful tendency, certainly it is a thousand pities it should prevail and be retained, if truly there be no good ground for it.

Therefore in answer to this objection, I would, with all humility and modesty, ex­amine the foundation of that opinion, of such a dreadful time of victory of Antichrist over the church, yet to be expected: and particularly shall endeavour to shew that the staying of the witnesses, foretold, Rev. xi. 7—10. is not an event that remains yet to be fulfilled.—To this end, I would [...]pose the following things to consideration.

[Page 205] 1. The time wherein the witnesses he dead in the streets of the great city, doubtless, sig­nifies the time wherein the true church of Christ is lowest of all, most of all prevailed against by Antichrist, and nearest to an ut­ter extinction; the time wherein there is left the least visibility of the church of Christ yet subsisting in the world, least remains of any thing appertaining to true religion, whence a revival of it can be expected, and wherein all means of it are most abolished, and the state of the church is, in all respects, furthest from any thing whence any hopes of its ever flourishing again might arise. For before this the witnesses prophesy in sackcloth. but now they are dead; before this they were kept low indeed, yet there was life, and pow­er to bring plagues on their enemies, and so much of true religion lest, as to be a contin­ual eye-sore and torment to them; but now their enemies rejoice and feast, and have a general public triumph, as having obtained a full victory over them, and having entire­ly extirpated them, and being completely delivered from them, and all that might give them any fear of being troubled with them any more. This time, wherever it be fixed, doubtless, it the time, not only wherein fewest [Page 206]professors of the true religion are left in the world, but a time wherein the truth shall be farthest out of sight, and out of reach, and most forgotten; wherein there are left few­est beams of light, or traces of truth, fewest means of information, and opportunities of coming to the knowledge of the truth; and so a time of the most barbarous ignorance, most destitute of all history, reliques, monu­ments and memory of things appertaining to true religion, or things, the knowledge of which hath any tendency to bring truth a­gain to light, and most destitute of learning, study and enquiry.

Now, if we consider the present state of mankind, it is credible that a time will yet come in the world, that in these respects ex­ceeds all times that were before the Refor­mation? And that such a time will come before the fall of Antichrist, unless we set that at a much greater distance, than the farth­est that any yet have supposed? It is next to impossible, that such a change should be brought about in so short a time—it cannot be without a miracle. In order to it, not only must the Popish nations so prevail, as utterly to extirpate the Protestant religion through the earth, but must do many other [Page 207]things, far more impossible for them to effect, in order to cover the world with so gross and confirmed a darkness, and to bury all light and truth in so deep an oblivion, and so far out of all means and hopes of a revi­val. And not only must a vast change be made in the Protestant world, but the Popish nations must be strangely metamorphosed, and they themselves must be terribly perse­cuted by some other power, in order to bring them to such a change; nor would perse­cution without extirpation be sufficient for it. If there should be another universal de­luge, it might be sufficient to bring things in the world to such a pass, provided a few ig­norant barbarous persons only were pre­served in an ark; and it would require some catastrophe, not much short of this, to ef­fect it.

2. In the Reformation, that was in the days of Luther, Calvin, and others their contemporaries, the threatened destruction of Antichrist, that dreadful enemy that had long oppressed and worn out the saints, was begun; nor was it a small beginning, but Antichrist hath fallen, at least, halfway to [...]e ground, from that height of power and [Page 208]grandeur, that he was in before. Then be­gan the vials of God's wrath to be poured out on the throne of the beast, to the great shaking of its foundations, and diminution of its extent; so that the Pope lost near half of his former dominions, and as to degree of authority and influence over what is left, he is not possessed of what he had before. God now at length, in answer to the long contin­ued cries of his people, awaked as one out of sleep, and began to deliver his church from her exceeding low state, the she had continued in for many ages, under the great oppression of this grand enemy, and to re­store her from her exile and bondage in the spiritual Babylon and Egypt. And it is not agreeable to the analogy of God's dispensa­tions, that after this, God should desert his people, and hide himself from them, even more than before, and leave them more than ever in the hands of their enemy, and all this advantage of the church against An­tichrist should be entirely given up and lost, and the power and tyranny of Antichrist be more confirmed, and the church brought more under, and more entirely subdued than ever before, and further from all help and means to recover. This is not God's way [Page 209]of dealing with his people, or with their e­nemies; his work of salvation is perfect— when he has begun such a work he will car­ry it on—when he once causes the day of deliverance to dawn to his people, after such a long night of dismal darkness, he will not extinguish the light, and cause them to re­turn again to midnight darkness—when he has begun to enkindle the blessed fire, he will not quench the smoaking flax, until he had brought forth judgment unto victory. When once the church, after her long la­bour and sore travail, has brought forth her man-child, and wrought some deliverance, her enemies shall never be able to destroy this child, though an infant, but it shall as­cend up to heaven, and be set on high out of their reach.

The destruction that God often foretold and threatened to ancient Babylon (which is often referred to in the Revelation, as a great type of the anti-christian church) was gradually accomplished, and fulfilled by va­rious steps, at a great distance of time one from another; it was begun in the conquest of Cyrus, and was further accomplished by Darius, about eighteen years after, by a yet [Page 210]greater destruction, wherein it was brought much nearer to utter desolation; but it was about two hundred and twenty-three years after this, before the ruin of it was perfect­ed, and the prophecies against it fully ac­complished, in its being made an utter and perpetual desolation, without any human in­habitant, becoming the dwelling-place for owls, dragons, and other doleful creatures. But yet when God had once begun to de­stroy her, he went on until he finished, and never suffered her any more to recover and establish her former empire. So the resti­tution of the Jewish church, after the Baby­lonish captivity, was gradual, by various steps; there were several times of return of the Jews from captivity, and several distinct decrees of the Persian emperors, for the re­storing and rebuilding Jerusalem, and re­establishing the Jewish church and state; and it was done in turbulent times, there were great interruptions and checks, and violent oppositions, and times wherein the enemy did much prevail: But yet, when God had once begun the work he also made an end; he never suffered the enemies of the Jews to bring Jerusalem to such a state of desolation as it had been in before, [...]ntil [Page 211]the promised restoration was complete. A­gain, the deliverance of God's church from the oppression of Antiochus Epiphanes, (a­nother known type of Antichrist) was gra­dual; they were first assisted in a small de­gree, by the Maccabees, and afterwards the promised deliverance was completed, in the recovery of Jerusalem, the restoration of the temple, the miserable end of Antiochus, and the consequent more full deliverance of the whole land. But after God once began to appear for the help of his church in that in­stance, after it seemed dead and past all hope, he never suffered Antiochus to prevail a­gainst his people, to that degree, again; though the utmost strength of this great mo­narch was used, from time to time, in order to it, and his vast empire was engaged against an handful that opposed them: God never forsook the work of his own hands; when he had begun to deliver his people, he also made an end. And so Haman, that proud and inveterate enemy of the Jews, that tho't to extirpate the whole nation, who also was probably another type of Antichrist, when he began to fall before Esther and Mordecai, never stayed, until his ruin, and the church's deliverance was complete. Haman's wife [Page 212]speaks of it, as an argument of his approach­ing inevitable full destruction, that he had begun to fall, Esth. vi. 15.

3. If it should be so, that anti-christian tyranny and darkness should hereafter so prevail against the Protestant church, and the true religion, and every thing appertain­ing to it, as to bring things to the pass fore-mentioned, this would hardly so properly answer the prophecy of slaying the two wit­nesses; for, doubtless, one reason why they are called two witnesses is, that the number of the remaining witnesses for the truth was, though sufficient, yet very small. Which was remarkably the case, in the dark times of Popery; but since the Reformation the num­ber of those appearing on the side of true religion, has been far from being so small. —The visible church of Christ has been vastly large, in comparison of what it was before; the number of Protestants has some­times been thought nearly equal to that of the Papists; and, doubtless, the number of true saints has been far greater than before.

4. It seems to be signified in prophecy, that after the Reformation, Antichrist should never prevail against the church of Christ any more, as he had done before. I cannot [Page 213]but think, that whoever reads and well con­siders what the learned Mr. Lowman has written on the five first vials, Rev. xvi. in his late Exposition on the Revelation, must think it to be very manifest, that what is said, verse 10, of the pouring out of the fifth vial on the throne of the beast, (for so it is in the original) is a prophecy of the Reforma­tion. Then the vial of God's wrath was poured out on the throne of the beast, i. e. according to the language of scripture, on his authority and dominion, greatly to weak­en and diminish it, both in extent and de­gree. But when this is represented in the prophecy, then it is added, and his kingdom was full of darkness, and they gnawed their tongues for pain. If we consider what is com­monly intended by such like phrases in the scripture, I think we shall be naturally, and, as it were, necessarily led to understand those words thus: Their policy, by which here­tofore they have prevailed, shall now fail them; their authority shall be weakened, and their dominion greatly diminished, and all their craft and subtilty shall not avail them to maintain and support the throne of the beast, or even again to extend his autho­rity so far as it had been before extended, [Page 214]and to recover what it lost; but all their cra [...]ty devices to this end shall be attended with vexatious tormenting disappointment; they that have the management of the af­fairs of the beast's kingdom, shall hencefor­ward grope as in the dark, and stumble, and be confounded in their purposes, plots and enterprizes; formerly their policy was great­ly successful, was as a light to guide them to their ends, but now their kingdom shall be full of darkness, and their wisdom shall fail them in all their devices to subdue, and again to bring under the church of God.— The scripture takes notice of the great po­licy and subtilty of the powers that support this kingdom, Dan. vii. 8. And, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man. So it is said of Antiochus Epiphanes, that great type of Antichrist, Dan. viii. 23. A king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. Ver. 25. And thro' his policy also, shall he cause craft to prosper in his hand. This understanding and poli­cy is the light of this kingdom, as true wis­dom is the light of the spiritual Jerusalem. And, therefore, when the light fails, then may the kingdom of this spiritual Egypt be said to be full of darkness. God hencefor­ward [Page 215]will defend his people from these my­stical Egyptians, as he defended Israel of old from Pharaoh and his host, when pur­suing after them, by placing a cloud and darkness in their way, and so not suffering them to come nigh. So he will protect his church from the men of that city that is spi­ritually called Sodom, as Lot's house, where­in were the angels, was desended from the men of Sodom, by their being smitten with darkness or blindness, so that they wearied themselves to find the door; and as God defended the city in which was Elisha the prophet, and witness of the Lord, from the Syrians, when they compassed it about with horses and chariots, and a great host to ap­prehend him, by smiting them with blind­ness. The scripture teaches us, that God is wont in this way to defend his church and people from their crafty and powerful ene­mies, Job v. 11, &c. To set up on high those that be low, that those which mourn may be exalted to safety: He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot per­form their enterprize: He taketh the wise in their own crastiness, and the counsel of the forward is carried headlong: They meet with darkness in the day-time, and grope in the [Page 216]noon-day as in the night; but he saveth the poor from the sword, from their mouth, and from the hand of the mighty. Psal. xxxv. 4.6. Let them be confounded and put to shame, that seek after my soul; let them be turned back, and brought to confusion. that devise my hurt —Let their way be dark and slippery.

Upon the account of such defence of God's Protestant church, and disappointment and confusion of all the subtle devices, deep­laid schemes, and furious attempts of their anti-christian enemies, to bring them under, and root them out, and their seeing them still maintaining their ground, and subsisting in an independency on them in spi [...]e of all that they do, it makes them as it were gnash their teeth, [...]nd bite their tongues for mere rage and vexation; agreeable to Psal. cxii. 9, 10. His righteousness endureth for ever, his horn shall be exalted with honour: The wicked shall see it and be grieved, and gnash with his teeth and melt away: The desire of the wicked shall perish.

Hitherto this prophecy has been very sig­nally fulfilled; since the Reformation, the kingdom of Antichrist has been remarkably filled with darkness in this respect. Innu­merable [Page 217]have been the crafty devices, and great attempts of the church of Rome, where­in they have exerted their utmost policy and power, to recover their lost dominions, and again to subjugate the Protestant nations, and subdue the northern heresy, as they call it. They have wearied themselves in these endeavours for more than two hundred years past; but have hitherto been disappointed, and have often been strangely confounded. When their matters seemed to be brought to a ripeness, and they triumphed as though their point was gained, their joy and triumph has suddenly turned into vexation and tor­ment. How many have been their politic and powerful attempts against the Protestant interest in our nation in particular? And how wonderfully has God disappointed them from time to time! And as God has hitherto so remarkably fulfilled his word in defending his Protestant church from Antichrist, so I think we have ground to trust in him, that he will defend it to the end.

5, The hypothesis of those who suppose the slaying of the witnesses is a thing that yet remains to be fulfilled, makes the pro­phecies of the Revelation to be inconsistent [Page 218]one with another. According to their hy­pothesis, that battle, Rev. xi. 7. wherein the beast makes war with the witnesses, and o­vercomes them, and kills them, is the last and greatest conflict between Antichrist and the church of Christ, which is to precede the utter overthrow of the anti-christian king­dom. And they must suppose so, for they suppose, that immediately after the suffer­ings the church shall endure in that war, she shall arise, and, as it were, ascend into hea­ven; i. e. as they interpret it, the church shall be directly advanced to her latter-day rest, prosperity and glory. And consequent­ly, this conflict must be the same with that great battle between Antichrist and the Church, that is described, chap. xvi. 13. to the end, and more largely, chap. xix. 11. to the end. For that which is described in these places, is most evidently and indisputably the greatest and last battle or conflict that shall be between the church and her anti­christian enemies, on which the utter down­fall of Antichrist, and the church's advance­ment to her latter-day glory, shall be imme­diately consequent. And so the earthquake that attends the resurrection of the witnes­ses, chap. xi. 13. must be the same with that [Page 219]great earthquake that is described, chap. xvi. 18. And the falling of the tenth part of the city must be the same with that terrible and utter destruction of Antichrist's kingdom, chap. xvi. 17. to the end.

But these things cannot be. The battle. chap. xi. 7. cannot be the same with that last and great battle between the Church and Antichrist, described, chap xvi. and xix.— For the things that are said of one and the other, and their issue, are in no wise consist­ent. In that battle, chap. xi. the church of God conflicts with her enemies in sorrow, sackcloth, and blood; but in the other the matter is represented exceedingly otherwise —the church goes forth to fight with Anti­christ, not in sackcloth and blood, but cloath­ed in white raiment, Christ himself before them, as their captain, going forth in great pomp and magnificence, upon a white horse, and on his head many crowns, and on his ves­ture, and on his thigh; a name written, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS; and the saints who follow so glorious a leader to this great battle, follow him on white horses, cloathed in fine linen, white and clean, in garments of strength, joy, glory and tri­umph; in the same kind of raiment, that the [Page 220]saints appear in, when they are represented as triumphing with Christ, with palms in their hands, chap. vii. 9. And the issue of the latter of these conflicts, is quite the re­verse of the former. In the battle, chap. xi. 7. The beast makes war with the witnesses, and OVERCOMES THEM, AND KILLS THEM; the same is foretold, Dan. vii. 21. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them.—And Rev. xii. 7. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them. But in the issue of that last and great battle, which the church shall have with her anti-christian e­nemies, the church shall OVERCOME THEM, AND KILL THEM, Rev. xvii. 14. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them; for he is Lord of Lords, and King of Kings; and they that are with him, are called, and chosen, and faithful, compar­ed with chapter xix. 16, and following vers­es, and chapter xvi. 16, 17. In the conflict that the beast shall have with the witnesses, the beast kills them, and their dead bodies lie unburied; as though they were to be meat for the beasts of the earth, and fowls of hea­ven; but in that last battle, it is represented that Christ and his church shall slay their e­nemies, [Page 221]and give their dead bodies to be meat for the fowls of heaven, chap. xix. 17. to the end. There is no manner of appearance, in the descriptions which are given of that last great battle, of any advantages gained in it, by the enemies of the church, before they themselves are overcome, but all appearance of the con­trary. Be sure the descriptions in the xvi. and xix. chapters of the Revelation will, by no means, allow of such an advantage, as the overcoming God's people, and slaying them, and their lying dead for some time, and un­buried, that their dead bodies may be for their enemies to abuse, and trample on, and make sport with. In chap. xvi. we read of their being gathered together against the church, a mighty host, into the place called Armageddon, and then the first thing we hear of, is the pouring out the seve [...]h vial of God's wrath, and a voice saying—It is done. And so in the xix. chap. we have an account of the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, being gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And then the next thing we hear of is, that the beast is taken, and with him the false prophet; and that these are both cast alive into the lake of fire; and [Page 222]that the remnant of their vast army are slain, and all the fowls filled with their flesh. The issue of the conflict of the beast with the wit­nesses, is the triumph of the church's ene­mies over God's people, looking on them as entirely vanquished, and their interest ut­terly ruined, past all possibility of recovery: They that dwell on the earth shall see the dead bodies of the saints lying in the streets of the great city, and shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and send gifts one to another.— But the issue of that great and last battle is quite the reverse; it is the church's triumph over her enemies, as being utterly and for over destroyed.

Here, if any one shall say, that the ascen­sion of the witnesses into heaven in the sight of their enemies, may, as has more general­ly been supposed, signify the church's last victory and triumph over her anti-christian enemies, and final deliverance from them, and yet the battle between Antichrist and the witnesses, spoken of, Rev. xi. 7. where­in the witnesses are slain, may not be the same with that last and greatest battle be­tween Antichrist and the church, chap. xvi. and xix. which immediately precedes and issues in the church's final victory and deli­verance; [Page 223]there may be two great battles, soon following one another, though both are not mentioned in the same place; one a con­flict, wherein Antichrist prevails against the witnesses, and overcomes them, and kills them, and another that great battle describ­ed, chap. xvi. and xix. after the witnesses resurrection, before their ascension into hea­ven, wherein they shall prevail and over­come their enemies, and kill them: I say, if any one shall say thus, they will say that which the prophecies give no reason, nor allow any room to suppose. That last battle between the Church and Antichrist, wherein Christ and his people obtain a complete vic­tory, is evidently one of the greatest and most remarkable events foretold in all the Apoca­lypse; and there is no one thing, unless it be the consummation of all things, in the two last chapters, that is described in so so­lemn and august a manner. And the de­scription shews that it is an event which, with its circumstances, must take up much time. There is vast preparation made for it by the church's enemies; the devils, in or­der to stir men up, and gather them togeth­er, to this battle of that great day of God Al­mighly, go forth unto the kings of the earth, [Page 224]and of the whole world, to propagate various kinds of delusions, far and wide, all over the world; which, undoubtedly, must take up many years time, chap xvi. 13, 14. And then great preparation is made in the church of God, to make opposition, chap. xix. 11 —17. Now can any reasonably suppose, that in what is represented, chap. xi. of a great conflict between Antichrist and God's people, wherein the latter are overcome and slain, and lie dead three days (or three years) and a half, and their enemies triumphing o­ver them, but God's people rising again from the dead in the midst of this triumph of their enemies, and ascending into heaven, while the enemies stand astonished and amazed spectators—that the manner of the descrip­tion leaves fair room for us to suppose, that after this resurrection of God's people, they continue long before they ascend, to encoun­ter with Antichrist in a new conflict, where­in their enemies, after long time to prepare, should engage with them with vastly great­er preparations, strength and violence than before, and should wage war with the migh­tiest army that ever was gathered against the church, and in the greatest battle that ever was fought.

[Page 225] And besides, the witnesses ascending into heaven in the sight of their enemies, spoken of chap. xi. cannot be the same with the church's gaining a glorious ascendant over her enemies, in her sinal victory over Anti­christ, spoken of chap. xvi. and xix. because the descriptions of the events that attend the one and the other do by no means answer each other. For, observe, it is said, that when the witnesses arose, and stood on their feet, and ascended into heaven, the same hour there was a great earthquake; but this does not seem to answer to what is described, chap. xvi. 18. And there were voices, and thunders. and lightnings, and there was a great earth­quake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. —It is said, that at the same time of the first earthquake, chap. xi. 13. The tenth part of the city fell; but how far does this fall short of what is described, as attending the great earthquake? chap. xv. 19, 20. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell; and great Babylon came into remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath; and every island fled away, and the [Page 226]mountains were not found. It is said of the earthquake, chap. xi. And in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand; but how far is this from answering the slaughter de­scribed, chap. xix. 17, &c. Which is repre­sented as a general slaughter of the kings, captains, mighty men, horses, and armies of the earth, and of the whole world; so that all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, as far as the sun shines, are filled with the flesh of the dead carcases, it being the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great, (compare chap. xvi. 14.) who can think, that this great slaughter, that is thus represented, should, in chap. xi. be only cal­led a slaying of seven thousand men?

If we read this very eleventh chapter thro', we shall see that the falling of the tenth part of the city, and the witnesses rising and as­cending into heaven, are entirely distinct from the final destruction of Antichrist, and that advancement of the church to her lat­ter-day glory, that is consequent upon it.— The judgments here spoken of, as executed on God's enemies, are under another woe, and the benefits, bestowed on the church, a [...] under another trumpet. For immediately after the account of the rising and ascend­ing [Page 227]of the witnesses, and the tenth part of the city's falling, and the slaying of the seven thousand men, and the affrighting of the rest, and their giving glory to the God of heaven, follow these words in the 14th and 15th verses, The second woe is past, and behold the third woe cometh quickly. And the seventh angel sounded, and there were great voices in heaven, saying—The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and e­ver. And in the following verses, we have an account of the praises sung to God on this occasion. And then in that last verse, we have a brief hint of that same earthquake, and the great hail, and those thunders, and lightnings, and voices, that we have an ac­count of in the latter part of chap. xvi. So that the earthquake mentioned in the last verse of chap. xi. is that great earthquake that attends the last great conflict of the church and her enemies, and not that men­tioned ver. 13.

The three woes are the woes of God on Antichrist and his subjects; and the third and last of them evidently signifies the ter­rible judgments of God on Antichrist, by which Gods wrath upon him shall be ful­filled [Page 228]in his utter destruction; but the cala­mities on Antichrist, spoken of as attending the rising and ascending of the witnesses, such as the falling of the tenth part of the city, and slaying seven thousand men, do not be­long to this last woe, and therefore do not signify the final destruction of Antichrist; for the words of verse 14. will by no means allow of such a supposition; for there, imme­diately after giving an account of these ca­lamities, it is added—The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly; making a most plain and express distinction between these calamities that had already been mentioned, and especially these that were just then mentioned in the very last words, and the calamities that belong to the third woe, that yet remain to be mentioned; for by being passed, the prophet is to be un­derstood no otherwise than passed in the de­claration and representation—it was not past in any other respect; it is as much as to say, Thus an account has been given of the ca­lamities upon Antichrist that belong to the second woe; now I proceed to give an ac­count of those dispensations of Providence [...] belong to the third and last woe, which [...] prove Antichrist's final destruction, end [Page 229]in the kingdoms of this world becoming the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ.

What was fulfilled in the Reformation, well answers the representation made con­cerning the witnesses, Rev xi. 11.12. Of the spirit of life from God entering into them, and their standing on their feet, and ascending up to heaven, in the sight of their enemies. A lit­tle before the Reformation, the state of the church of God, and of true religion was low­est of all, and nearest to utter extinction.— Antichrist had, after great and long strug­gles, prevailed against the Waldenses, Albi­genses, and Bohemians. The war with the Albigenses seems especially to be intended by the war of the beast with the witnesses, spoken of verse 7. These were witnesses to the truth that were the most numerous and considerable, and those that most tormented the church of Rome. And the war that was maintained against them, was, by far, the greatest that ever Antichrist had against any of the professors of the truth, before the Re­formation, and was properly the war of the beast; it was the Pope that proclaimed the war, and that raised the soldiers by his emis­saries and priests, preaching the cross, ga­thering innumerable multitudes of pilgrims [Page 230]from all parts of Christendom, and raising one croisade after another, which were con­ducted and managed by the Pope's legates; and it was the Pope that paid the soldiers with pardons, indulgences, promises of Pa­radise, and such like trumpery. When An­tichrist had gradually prevailed against these witnesses, with much difficulty, and long continued violent struggling, and after in­numerable vexatious disasters and disap­pointments, the church of God, in the time of Luther, and other reformers, on a sud­den, in a wonderful manner, revives, when such an event was least expected, (to the sur­prize and amazement of their anti-christian enemies) and appears in such strength, that the reformed are able to stand on their own legs, and to withstand all the power and rage of the church of Rome. Presently af­ter this revival, the people of God are set on high, having the civil magistrate in many countries on their side, and henceforward have the power of many potent princes en­gaged for their protection. And this, in sight of their enemies, and greatly to their grief and vexation; who, though they, from time to time, exert their utmost, never are able to prevail against them, to bring them [Page 231]under any more, as they had done in for­mer wars. Oftentimes, in scripture, God's church's dwelling in safety, out of the reach of their enemies, is represented by their dwel­ling on high, or being set on high; as Psal. lix. 1. lxix. 29. xci. 14. cvii. 41. Prov. xxix. 25. Isai. xx xiii. 16. The children of Israel, in their deliverance out of Egypt, from their cruel task-masters, who would fain have brought them into bondage again, were said to be carried on eagle's wings, which is lofty in its flight, flies away towards hea­ven, so that the Egyptians could not come at them; and they were protected by the cloud that went with them, as the witnesses are said to be caught up to heaven in a cloud. Compare this with Isai. iv. 5. And the Lord will create upon every dwelling-place of Mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for upon all the glory shall be a de­fence.

I shall not pretend to explain the mystery of the three days and a half of the witnesses lying dead, or to determine the precise du­ration signified by that mystical representa­tion. Possibly no particular measure of time may be intended by it, and yet it may not [Page 232]be without significancy.* As no particular number of persons is intended by the two wit­nesses, but, in general, it intends a small num­ber, and yet a sufficient number; and as small as might be, and yet be sufficient; as less than two witnesses was not sufficient, so, perhaps, no particular duration of that low state that the church was in before the Reformation, may be intended by three days and an half, but, in general, it may be hereby signified, that this time of the triumphing of the wick­ed, and extremity of God's church, should be but short. Possibly three days and an half may be mentioned, because that is the utmost space of time that a dead body can be ordi­narily supposed to lie without putrefaction, signifying that at this time the church should be brought to the very brink of utter ruin, and yet should be preserved, and revive a­gain. And half a day may be mentioned to [Page 233]signify the particular care of Providence in exactly determining this time of his church's extremity. And probably there may be some reference to the three times (or three years) and an half of the witnesses prophesying in sackcloth: the more apparently to shew the disproportion between the time of the church's welfare, and the time of her enemies victory and triumph; the time of the church's af­fliction and conflict may be long, and in the issue she may be overcome; but the time of this victory shall be but short, in comparison with the other, but as a day to a year; she may, as it were, be killed, and lie dead, un­til she comes to the very brink of utter and hopeless ruin, but yet God will not suffer her to see corruption; but at that very time, when her enemies expected that she should putrify, she shall rise, and be set on high, out of their reach, greatly to their astonishment.

The grand objection against all this is, that it is said, that the witnesses should pro­phesy twelve hundred and sixty days cloathed in sackcloth; and when they have finished their testimony, the beast should make war against them, and kill them, &c. and that it seems ma­nifest, that after this, they are no longer in [Page 234]sackcloth, for henceforward they are in an exalted state in heaven; and that, therefore, seeing the time of their wearing sackcloth is twelve hundred and fifty days, which is the time of the continuance of Antichrist; hence their being slain and rising again, must be at the conclusion of this period, and so at the end of Antichrist's reign.

In answer to which I would say, that we can justly infer no more from this prophecy than this, viz. That the twelve hundred and sixty days is the proper time of the church's trouble and bondage, or being cloathed in sackcloth, because it is the appointed time of the reign of Antichrist. But this does not hinder but that God, out of his great com­passion to his church, should, in some respect, shorten the days, and grant that she should, in some measure, anticipate the appointed great deliverance that should be at the end of those days; as he has, in fact, done in the Resormation, whereby the church has had a great degree of restoration granted, from the darkness and power of Antichrist, before her proper time of restoration, which is at the end of the twelve hundred and sixty days. Thus the church of Christ, through the ten­der mercies of her Father and Redeemer, in [Page 235]some respects, anticipates her deliverance from her sorrows and sackcloth; as many parts of the church are hereby brought from under the dominion of the anti-christian pow­ers, into a state of power and liberty, though, in other respects, the church may be said to continue in sackcloth, and in the wilderness, until the end of the days; many parts of it still remaining under grievous persecution.

What we rende [...]. When they shall have fi­nished their testimony, Mr. Lowman, from Mr. Daubuz, renders, While they shall perform their testimony; and obse [...]es, that the original may mean the time of their testimony, as well as the end of it.

I might here observe, that we have other instances of God's shortening the days of his church's captivity and bondage, either at the beginning or end, very parallel with what has been now supposed in the case of the wit­nesses. Thus the proper time of the bondage of the posterity of Abraham in Egypt, was four hundred years, Gen. xv. 13. But yet God in mercy deferred the beginning of their bondage, whereby the time was much short­ened at the beginning. So the time where­in i [...] was foretold, that the whole land of Is­rael [Page 236]should be a desolation and an astonishment, and the land should enjoy her sabbaths, by the Babylonish captivity, was seventy years, Jer. xxv. 11, 12. and these seventy years are dat­ed in 2d Chro. xxxvi. 20, 21. from Zede­kiah's captivity; and yet, from that captivi­ty to Cyrus's decree, was but fifty-two years; though it was indeed seventy years before the more full restoration of the Jewish church and slate by Darius's decree, Ezra vi. So the proper time of the oppression and bondage of the Jewish church under Antiochus Epi­phanes, wherein both the sanctuary and host should be trodden under foot by him, was two thousand three hundred days, Dan. viii. 13, 14. The time from Antiochus's taking Je­rusalem, and polluting the sanctuary, to An­tiochus's death, seems to have been about so long; but God shortened the days, by grant­ing remarkable help to his people by means of the Maccabees, before that time; yea, the temple and sanctuary were reslored, and the altar rebuilt and dedicated before that time.

Upon the whole, I think there appears to be no reason from the prophecy concerning the two witnesses, Rev. xi. to expect any such general and terrible destruction of the church of Christ, before the utter downfal of [Page 237]Antichrist, as some have supposed, but good reason to determine the contrary. It is true, there is abundant evidence in scripture, that there is yet remaining a mighty conflict be­tween the church and her enemies, the most violent struggle of Satan and his adherents, in opposition to true religion, and the most general commotion that ever was in the world, since the foundation of it to that time; and many particular Christians, and some parts of the church of Christ, may suffer hard things in this conflict; but, in the general, Satan and Antichrist shall not get the vic­tory, nor greatly prevail, but, on the con­trary, be entirely conquered, and utterly o­verthrown, in this great battle. So that I hope this prophecy of the slaying of the wit­nesses will not stand in the way of a com­pliance with the proposal made to us in the memorial, as a prevalent objection and dis­couragement.

Object. 5. A late very learned and ingeni­ous Expositor of the Revelation, viz. Mr. Lowman, sets the fall of Antichrist, and con­sequently the coming of Christ's kingdom, at a great distance, supposing that the twelve hundred and sixty years of Antichrist's reign did not begin till the year seven hundred [Page 238]and fifty-fix; and consequently, that it will not end until after the year two thousand, more than two hundred and fifty years hence, and this opinion he confirms by a great va­riety of arguments.

Ans. 1. If this objection be allowed to be valid, and that which ought to determine persons in an affair of this nature, and those things concerning God's people praying for this glorious event, be also allowed to be true, which before were shewn to be the will of God abundantly revealed in his word, then the following things must be supposed, viz. That it is the will of God that his peo­ple be much in prayer for this event, and particularly that it is God's revealed will and purpose, that, a little before the accom­plishment of it, his people be earnestly seek­ing and waiting, and importunately and in­cessantly crying to God for it; but yet that it was God's design, that before this time comes of extraordinary prayer and impor­tunity of his church, for the bringing on this glorious event, his church should have it giv­en them to understand precisely when the appointed time should be, and that accord­ingly he has now actually brought the fixed time to light by means of Mr. Lowman.— [Page 239]But is it reasonable to suppose, that this should be God's manner of dealing with his church, first to make known to them the precise time which he has unalterably sixed for the shew­ing this mercy to Zion, and then make it the duty of his church, in an extraordinary manner, to be, by prayer, enquiring of him concerning it, and saying—How long, Lord! and waiting for it, day and night, crying to him, with exceeding importunity, that he would bring it on, that he would come quick­ly, that he would hide himself no longer, but would arise and have mercy upon Zion, and awake as one out of sleep, openly ma­nisest himself, and make bare his holy arm for the salvation of his people? That they that make mention of the Lord should not keep silence, nor give him any rest, until he establish and make Jerusalem a praise on the earth? And that the church should then say to Christ, Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart on the mountain of spices?

It may be many ways for the comfort and benesit of God's church in her afflicted state, to know that the reign of Antichrist is to be no more than one thousand two hundred and sixty years; and some things in general [Page 240]may be argued concerning the approach of it, when it is near; as the Jews could argue the approach of Christ's first coming, from Daniel's prophecy of the seventy weeks, though they knew not precisely when that seventy weeks would end. But it is not rea­sonable to expect that God should make known to us beforehand, the precise time of Christ's coming in his kingdom. The dis­ciples desired to know this, and manifested their desire to their Lord, but he told them plainly, that it was not for them to know the times and seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power, Acts i. 6, 7. and there is no reason to think that it is any more for us than for them, or for Christ's disciples in these days, any more than for his apostles in those days. God makes it the duty of his church to be importunately praying for it, and praying that it may come speedily; and not only to be praying for it, but to be seek­ing for it, in the use of proper means, en­deavouring that religion may now revive e­very where, and Satan's kingdom be over­thrown; and always to be waiting for it, be­ing in a constant preparation for it, as ser­vants that wait for the coming of their lord, or virgins for the coming of the bridegroom, [Page 241]not knowing at what hour he will come.— But God's making known beforehand the precise time of his coming, does not well consist with these things.

It is the revealed will of God, that he should be enquired of by his people, by ex­traordinary prayer, concerning this great mercy, to do it for them, before it be fulfill­ed. And if any suppose, that it is now found out precisely when the time is to be, and (the time being at a considerable distance) that now is not a proper season to begin this extraordinary prayer, I would, on this sup­position, ask—When we shall begin? How long before the fixed and known time of the bestowment of this mercy comes, shall we begin to cry earnestly to God that this mer­cy n [...] come, and that Christ would make haste and be like a roe, &c. For us to de­lay, supposing that we know the time to be sar off, is not agreeable to the language of God's people in my text—Come, let us go SPEEDILY, and pray before the Lord, and seek the Lord of Hosts.

Ans. 2. I acknowledge that Mr. Lowman's Exposition of the Revelation is, on many ac­counts, excellently written, giving great light [Page 242]into some parts of that prophecy, and an in­stance of the fulsillment of that prediction, Dan. xii. 4. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased; and especially in his Interpretation of the Five First Vials, (which he supposeth already poured out) ex­ceedingly satisfying. But yet the opinion of Mr. Lowman, with regard to the particular time of the beginning and end of the time, times, and an half of Antichrist's reign, and of all others that pretend to six the time, is the least to be regarded, because it is clearly revealed, and expressly declared by God, that that matter shall be sealed up and hid, and not known until the time of the end of this time, times, and an half. Daniel, in the last chapter of his prophecy, gives us an ac­count, how the angel told him of a future time of great trouble and affliction to the church of God, and then said to him, ver. 4. But thou, O Daniel, SHUT UP THE WORDS, AND SEAL THE BOOK, EVEN TO THE TIME OF THE END. And then the prophet pro­ceeds to give an account of a vision that he had of one earneslly enquiring of the angel of the Lord how long it would be to the end of this remarkable and wonderful time of the church's trouble, saying. How long shall [Page 243] [...]t be to the end of these wonders? ver. 5, 6. The answer was, that it should be for a time, times, and an half, and that when so long a time was past, then this wonderful affliction and scattering of the holy people should be finished, ver. 7. But then Daniel tells us, in the next verse, that he heard, but he under­stood not, and said, O, my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? He did not under­stand that general and mystical answer, that those things should have an end at the end of a time, times, and an half; he did not know by it, when this period would have an end; and therefore he enquires more parti­cularly what the time of the end was. But the angel replies, ver. 9. Go thy way, Daniel, the words are closed and sealed up, until the time of the end. I do not know what could have been more express. The angel gently rebukes this over inquisitiveness of Daniel, very much as Christ did a like inquisitiveness of the disciples concerning the same matter, when he said to them—It is not for you to know the times and seasons, that the Father hath put in his own power.—I think there can be no doubt but that this space, of a time, times, and an half of the church's great trou­ble, about the end of which Daniel enquires, [Page 244]is the same with that time, times, and half, that is spoken of, chap. vii. 25. and Rev. xii. 14. as the time of Antichrist's reign, and the church's [...] [...]n the wilderness, and not merely the time of the church's troubles by Antiochus Epiphanes. But we see, when Daniel has a mind to know particularly when this time would come to an end, he is bid to go away, and rest contented in igno­rance of this matter; for, says the man cloath­ed in linen, THE WORDS ARE CLOSED UP, AND SEALED, UNTIL THE TIME OF THE END. That is, very plainly, the matter that you enquire about, when the end of this time, and times, and half shall come, shall not be known, but be kept a great secret, until the time of the end actually comes, and all attempts to find it out before that shall be in vain. And therefore when a particular divine ap­pears, that thinks he has found it out, and has unsealed this matter, and made it ma­nifest with very manifold and abundant e­vidence, we may well think he is mistaken, and doubt whether those supposed eviden­ces are truly solid ones, and such as are in­deed sufficient to make that matter manifest, which God has declared should be kept hid, and not made manifest before it is accom­plished. [Page 245]Mr. Lowman's own words in his preface, p. 24, 25. are here worthy to be re­peated: ‘It will (says he) ever be a point of wisdom, not to be over busy, or over confident in any thing, especially in fix­ing periods of time, or determining sea­sons, which it may be are not to be deter­mined, it may be are not fit to be known. It is a maxim, of greater wisdom than is usually thought, Seek not to know what should not be revealed. Such are many future events. The precise time of our Sa­viour's coming to judgment, was not re­vealed, because not fit to be revealed.— The uncertainty of his appearance was of greater service to preserve a care of reli­gion, than the revelation of it would have been; for the uncertainty itself gives many useful exhortations—Watch, for ye know not what hour the Son of Man cometh. Sup­pose then some of the events described in this prophecy should be of doubtful ap­plication; suppose the precise time of the downfall of the beast, the slaying and re­surrection of the witnesses, and the begin­ning of the thousand years happy state of the church, should not be so determined, but it would admit of different calcula­tions; [Page 246]may it not be wise, and therefore fit, it should be so? The certainty of those events in a proper time, though that time should not be precisely determined, will answer the greater ends of useful instruc­tion. And if the revelation should go no farther than this, it would yet be a revela­tion, of great benefit and advantage, as the certainty of the day of judgment in its pro­per time surely is, though of that day and hour knoweth no man.’

Ans. 3. Though it is not for us to know the precise time of the fall of Antichrist, yet I humbly conceive that we have no reason to suppose the event principally intended, in the prophecies, of Antichrist's destruction, to be at so great a distance, as Mr. Lowman places it, but have reason to think it to be much nearer. Not that I would set up my­self as a person of equal judgment with Mr. Lowman in matters of this nature. As he differs from most others of the most approv­ed expositors of the Apocalypse, in this mat­ter, so I hope it will not appear vanity and presumption in me, to differ from this par­ticular expositor, and to agree with the great­er number. And since his opinion stands so much in the, way of that great and import­ant [Page 247]affair, to promote which is the very end of this whole discourse, I hope it will not look as though I affected to appear consi­derably among the interpreters of prophecy, and as a person of skill in these mysterious matters, that I offer some reasons against Mr. Lowman's opinions. It is surely a great pity, that it should be received as a thing clear and abundantly confirmed, that the glorious day of Antichrist's fall is at so great a dis­tance, (so directly tending to damp and dis­courage all earnest prayers for, or endea­vours after its speedy accomplishment) un­less there be good and plain ground for it. I would therefore offer some things to consi­deration, which, I think, may justly make us look upon the opinion of this learned in­terpreter, of this happy event's being at so great a distance, not so certain and indubi­table, as to hinder our praying and hoping for its being fulfilled much sooner.

The period of Antichrist's reign, as this author has sixed it, seems to be the main point insisted on in his Exposition of the Re­velation, which he supposes a great many things in the scheme of prophecies deliver­ed in that book do concur to establish. And, indeed, it is so, with respect to the scheme [Page 248]of interpretation of these prophecies, which he goes into, and finds it requisite to main­tain, in order to confirm this point. But there are several things in that scheme, that appear to me justly liable to exception.

Whereas it is represented, Rev. xvii. 10, 11. that there are seven different successive heads of the beast; that five were past, and another was to come, and to continue a short space, that might, on some accounts, be reckoned a seventh; and that Antichrist was to follow next after this, as the eighth; but yet the foregoing not being properly one of the heads of the beast, he was properly the seventh. Mr. Lowman does not think with others, that by the seventh that was to continue a short space, which would not be properly one of the heads of the beast, is meant Constantine, and the other Christian emperors; (for he thinks they are reckoned as properly belonging to the sixth head of the beast) but that hereby is intended the government that Rome was subject to un­der the Gothic princes, and the exarchate of Ravenna, after the imperial form of go­vernment in Rome ceased in Augustulus, until the Pope was invested with his tempo­ral dominion, called St. Peter's Patrimony, [Page 249]by Pi [...]i [...] king of France, in the year seven hundred and fifty-six. And he supposes, that that wounding of one of the heads of the beast with a sword of death, that we read of, chap. xiii. 3 and 14. was not fulfilled in the destruction of the heathen empire, and the giving the imperial power unto Christians, but in the destruction of the imperial form of government, by the sword of the Goths, in the time of Augustulus. But it seems to me to be very unlikely, that the Spirit of God should reckon Constantime and the Christian emperors as proper members, and belonging to one of the heads, of that mon­strous wild and cruel beast, that is compar­ed to a leopard and a bear, and a devouring lion, and that had a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and that rules by the power and authority of the dragon, or the devil;* which beast is represented in this 17th chapter, as full of names of blas­phemy, and of a bloody colour, denoting his exceeding cruelty in perfecuting the Chris­tian church. For Constantine, instead of [Page 250]this was a member of the Christian church, and set by God in the most eminent station in his church, and was honoured above all other princes that ever had been in the world. as the great protector of his church, and her deliverer from the persecuting power of that cruel scarlet-coloured beast. Mr. Lowman himself styles him a Christian Prince, and Pro­tector of the Christian Religion. God is very careful not to reckon his own people among the Gentiles, the visible subjects of Satan, Num. xxiii. 9. The people shall not be reckoned among the nations. God will not enroll them with them; if they happen to be among them, he will be careful to set a mark upon them, as a note of distinction, Rev. vii. 3, &c. when God is reckoning up his own people, he leaves out those that have been noted for idolatry. As among the tribes that were sealed, Rev. viii. those idolatrous tribes of Ephraim and Dan are left out, and in the genealogy of Christ, Matth. i. those princes that were chiefly noted for idolatry, are left out. Much more would God be careful not to reckon his own people, especially such Christian princes as have been the most e­minent instruments of overthrowing idola­try, amongst idolaters, and as members and [Page 251]heads of that kingdom that is noted in scrip­ture as the most notorious and infamous of all, for abominable idolatry, and opposition and cruelty to the true worshippers of God. And especially not to reckon them as pro­perly belonging to one of those seven heads of this monarchy, of which very heads it is particularly noted that they had on them the names of BLASPHEMY, which Mr. Low­man himself supposes to signify idolatry. It was therefore worthy of God, agreeable to his manner, and what might well be expect­ed, that when he was reckoning up the se­veral successive heads of this beast, and Con­stantine and his successors came in the way, and there was occasion to mention them, to set a mark, or note of distinction on them, signifying that they did not properly belong to the beast, nor were to be reckoned as be­longing to the heads, and therefore are to be skipped over in the reckoning, and Anti­christ, though the eighth head of the Roman empire, is to be reckoned the seventh head of the beast. This appears to me abundant­ly the most just and natural interpretation of Rev. xvii. 10, 11. It is reasonable to sup­pose, that God would take care to make such a note in this prophetical description [Page 252]of this dreadful beast, and not, by any means to reckon Constantine as belonging properly to him.—If we reckon Constantine as a mem­ber of this beast having seven heads and ten horns, described chap. xvii. and as properly one of his heads, then he was also properly a member of the great red dragon with se­ven heads and ten horns that warred with the woman, chap. xii. For the seven heads and ten borns of that dragon, are plainly the same with the seven heads and ten horns of the beast. So that this makes Constantine a visible member of the devil; for we are told expressly of that dragon, ver 9. that he was that old serpent, called the Devil and Sa­tan. And to suppose that Constantine is reckoned as belonging to one of the heads of that dragon, is to make these prophecies inconsistent with themselves. For herein this 12th chapter, we have represented a war be­tween the dragon and the woman cloathed with the sun; which woman, as all agree, is the church; but Constantine, as all do also agree, belonged to the woman, was a mem­ber of the Christian church, and was on that side in the war against the dragon; yea, was the main instrument of that great victory that was obtained over the dragon there spo­ken [Page 253]of, ver. 9—12. What an inconsistency therefore is it, to suppose that he was at the same time a member and head of that very dragon, which fought with the woman, and yet which Constantine himself fought with, overcame, and gloriously triumphed over! It is not therefore to be wondered at, that God was careful to distinguish Constantine from the proper heads of the beast; it would have been a wonder if he had not. God seems to have been careful to distinguish him, not only in his word, but in his providence, by so ordering it that this Christian emperor should be removed from Rome, the city that God had given up to be the seat of the pow­er of the beast, and of its heads, and that he should have the seat of his empire else­where.

Constantine was made the instrument of giving a mortal wound to the heathen Roman empire, and giving it a mortal wound in its head, viz. the heathen emperors that were then reigning, Maxentius and Licinius.— But more eminently was this glorious change in the empire owing to the power of God's word, the prevalence of the glorious gospel, by which Constantine himself was convert­ed, and so became the instrument of the o­verthrow [Page 254]of the heathen empire in the east and west. The change that was then bro't to pass, is represented as the destruction of the heathen empire, or the old heathen world, and therefore seems to be compared to that dissolution of heaven and earth that shall be at the day of judgment, Rev. vi. 12. to the end. And therefore well might the heathen empire, under the head which was then reign­ing, be represented as wounded to death, chap. xiii. 3. It is much more likely, that the wound the beast had by a sword, in his head, spoken of ver. 14. was the wound that the heathen empire had in its head, by that sword which we read of, chap. i. 16. and xix. 15. that proceeds out of the mouth of Christ, than the wound that was given to the Christian empire and emperor by the sword of the heathen Goths. It is most likely that this deadly wound was by that sword with which Michael made war with him, and o­vercame him, and cast him to the earth, chap. xii. 9. and that the deadly wound which was given him, was given him at that very time. It is most likely, that the sword that gave him this deadly wound, after which he strangely revived as though he rose from the dead, was the same sword with that which is spoken of, [Page 255]as what shall at last utterly destroy him, so that he shall never rise more, chap. xix. 15, 19, 20, 21. This wounding of the head of the beast by the destruction of the heathen em­pire, and conversion of the emperor to the Christian truth, was a glorious event indeed of Divine Providence, worthy to be so much spoken of in prophecy. It is natural to sup­pose, that the mortal wounding of the head of that savage cruel beast, that is represent­ed as constantly at war with the woman, and persecuting the church of Christ, should be some relief to the Christian church; but, on the contrary, that wounding to death, that Mr. Lowman speaks of, was the victory of the enemies of the Christian church over her, and the wound received from them.

It is said of that head of the empire that shall be next after the sixth head, and next before Antichrist, and that is not reckoned as properly one of the number of the heads of the beast, that when it comes, it shall con­tinue a short space, chap. xvii. 10. By which we may understand, at least, that it shall be one of the shortest, in its continuance, of the successive heads. But the government seat­ed at Ravenna, in the hands of the Goths, or of the deputies of the Greek emperors, [Page 256](which Mr. Lowman supposes to be meant by the head) continued, as Mr. Lowman himself takes notice, very near three hundred years. And if so, its continuance was one of the longest of the heads mentioned.

And besides, if the government that Rome was under, from the time that Augustulus abdicated, to the time when the Pope was confirmed in his temporal dominion, was meant by the seventh head that was to be between the imperial head and the papal, there would doubtless have been two differ­ent heads mentioned, instead of one, between the Emperor and the Pope, viz. First, the Gothic princes, which reigned near an hun­dred years. Secondly, the Exarchs of Ra­venna, which governed for about one hun­dred and eighty-five years. The Gothic kingdom was much more properly a distinct government from the Imperial, than the Ex­archate of Ravenna; for during the Exar­chate, Rome was under the government of the emperor, as much as it was in Constan­tine's time.

In Rev. xvii. 12. it is said, the ten horns are ten kings, which are to receive power as kings one hour with the beast, or (as Mr. Low­man says, it ought to have been translated) [Page 257] the same hour, or point of time with the beast. This will not allow the time when Antichrist first receives power as king, to be so late as Mr. Lowman supposes. This division of the empire into many kingdoms, denoted by the number ten, was about the year four hun­dred and fifty-six, after Gensericus had tak­en the city of Rome; but Mr. Lowman pla­ces the beginning of the reign of Antichrist in the year seven hundred and fifty-six, which is three hundred years later. I know, such an expression as in one hour, or the same hour, may allow some latitude, but surely not such a latitude as this. This is a much longer time, than it was from the time of the vision to Constantine: much longer than the space of all the first six seals, longer than it was from Christ's ascension to Constantine, and near as long as the time of all the reigns of the heathen emperors put together, from Augustus Caefar to Constantine. An hour is every where, in the other places in this book of Revelation, used to signify a very short time, as may be seen in places cited in the margin.* And the expression, the same [Page 258]hour, every where else in the Bible, intends near the same point of time. The phrase one hour is used several times in the next chapter, speaking of the downsall of Anti­christ: and each time, evidently signisies a very short space of time. And there is no reason why we should not understand the same phrase in the same sense, when it is used here concerning the rise of Antichrist.

Mr. Lowman greatly insists upon it, that what is spoken as continuing one thousand two hundred and sixty days, is not so much and spiritual authority or ecclesiastical pow­er of the Pope, over the nations of Christen­dom, as his temporal government and domi­nion in that individual city of Rome, and therefore to determine when these one thou­sand two hundred and sixty days or years began, and when they will end, we must con­sider when the Pope first received this his temporal power over the city of Rome, and the neighbouring regions, called St. Peter's Patrimony. But I can see no good reason for this. Indeed it is strange, if it be so.—God has been pleased in these revelations [Page 259]and prophecies, which he has given for the benefit of his church in general, to speak much concerning an anti-christian power that should arise, that should persecute the saints, and scatter the power of the holy peo­ple, and be an occasion of great affliction to the church of Christ; and in these revela­tions, in both Old Testament and New, has declared, and often repeated it, that his do­minion shall continue so long, and no longer; and for the comfort of his church in general, Christ hath-sworn with great solemnity, that the continuance of this persecuting power shall be limited, Dan. xii. 7. Now it would be strange if, in all this, the thing principal­ly intended is not that dominion of this an­ti-christian power which chiefly concerns the church of Christ in general, but merely his temporal dominion over one movince in I­taly, called St. Peter's Patrimony. Doubt­less, that dominion of Antichrist, which the prophecies insist upon and describe, is the dominion whose duration and limits those prophecies declare. But the dominion of Antichrist which the prophecies insist upon and describe, is not any dominion over a particular province in Italy, but the domi­nion by which he succeeds the four great [Page 260] monarchies of the world, Dan. vii. The do­minion by which he succeeds the dragon in his power, throne and great authority, Rev. xiii. 2. The dominion in which he has pow­er given him over all kindreds, tongues and nations, ver. 7. The dominion by which the great whore sits on many waters, chap. xvii. 1. which the angel explains to be peo­ples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues, ver. 15. and the dominion in which he reigns over the ten kings, into which the Roman empire is divided, Rev. xiii. 1. and xviii. 3.12, 13. The beast that had ten horns, is not the city of Rome, and the neighbouring re­gion, but the Roman empire; they are the horns or the kings, not of the city, but of the empire. If we consider what is express­ed in the passages themselves, which speak of the three years and an half of Antichrist, they will lead us to understand something very diverse from the duration of his tem­poral dominion over St. Peter's Patrimony. In Dan vii. 25. the time, times, and half of the little horn, is expressly the continvance of time, wherein it shall be given to him to change times and laws, and wear out the saints of the Most High; and in chap. xii. 7. it is spoken of as the time of his scattering the [Page 261]power of the holy people; in Rev. xi. 2. the forty and two months is spoken of as the time of Antichrist's treading under foot the court of the temple and the holy city; i. e. the external and visible Christian church abroad in the world, or the nations of Christendom. In ver. 3. the one thousand two hundred and sixty days of Antichrist are spoken of as the time of the witnesses prophesying in sackcloth; and in chap. xii. 6. and 14. the time of the woman's being in the wilderness, which was through the great power that Antichrist had over the Christian world, and not his small temporal dominion in Italy.

It is true, some regard is had in the pro­phecies to the city of Rome, the city built on seven hills; which being the fountain of all rule and authority in the Roman monar­chy, and the capital city in the empire, from whence the whole empire was denominated, and the place where the head of the empire usually resided, was properly made use of by the angel, Rev. xvii. 9, 18. to shew what empire Antichrist should rule over, and what city he should usually reside in. And this is all that can be meant by the words of the angel; and not that those streets and walls, and the very ground, were such main and [Page 262]essential things in what the prophecy intend­ed by the beast; that when Antichrist's do­minion ceases in that place, then the beast ceases. For, if so, then it will sollow, that the beast had his head wounded to death a second time, and ceased to be, when the Popes resided at Avignon in France, for the best part of a century; when not only the Popes did not reside in Rome, nor in any part of St. Peter's Patrimony, nor any part of Italy, but some of them were neither Ro­mans nor Italians. Though the angel says of the great whore, Rev. xvii. 18. The wo­man which thou sawest, is the great city which reigns over the kings of the earth; yet by the city, in this case, is not meant so much what was contained within those Roman walls, as the Roman empire, as is evident by chap. xi. 8. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which is spiritually call­ed Sodom and Egypt. Here, by that great city, neither Mr. Lowman himself, nor, I suppose, any other Protestant interpreter, understands the city of Rome, strictly speaking, but the Roman monarchy.

And though it be true, as Mr. Lowman observes, the Pope's ecclesiastical monarchy, and power and influence through Christen­dom, [Page 263]was greatly established and advanced by Pepin's making him a temporal prince over the Exarchate of Ravenna; yet, I would ask, whether the Pope's power and influence in the world, and his ability to disturb the quiet of the nations of Christendom, and (as it is expressed in Daniel) to change times and laws, and to carry his own designs, in the various countries and kingdoms of Eu­rope, was not greater before Pepin, than it is now, and has been for a long time? And yet Mr. Lowman supposes that now is properly the time of Antichrist's reign, that the one thousand two hundred and sixty years of his reign continues, and will continue for about two hundred and seventy years longer; tho' his power be now so small, and has been de­clining ever since the reformation [...]nd still declines continually.

One thing that Mr. Lowman supposes con­firms his opinion of so late a beginning of the one thousand two hundred and sixty years of the reign of the beast, is the order of the several periods of this prophecy, and the man­ner of their succeeding one another.

As to his particular scheme of the seven periods, so divided and limited, and so ob­viously ranked in such order, and following [Page 264]one another in such direct and continual suc­cession, and each ending in a state of peace, safety and happiness to the church of God, it seems to me to be more ingenious than solid, and that many things might be said to demonstrate it not to be founded in the truth of things, and the real design of the divine author of this prophecy. But now to enter into a particular and full examination of it, would be to lengthen out this discourse far beyond its proper limits. I would only ob­serve, (which directly concerns my present purpose) that to make out this scheme, Mr. Lowman supposes that the fifth and sixth trumpets, that bring on the two first woes, and the whole ninth chapter of the Revela­tion, altogether respects the Saracens. But it appears to me not very credible, that the Saracens should have so much said of them in this prophecy, as to have a whole chap­ter taken up about them, and not a word in the prophecy be said about the Turks, who immediately succeeded them* in the same [Page 265]religion, and proceeding on the same prin­ciples, and were so much more considerable, and brought vastly greater calamities on the Christian world, and have set up and long maintained one of the greatest, strongest and most extraordinary empires that ever the world saw, and have been the most terrible scourge to Christendom, that ever Divine Providence made use of, and one of the great­est of all God's plagues on the world of man­kind.

Mr. Lowman, in pursuance of his scheme, also supposes, (which is yet more incredible) this period of the trumpets ends in a state of safety, peace and happiness to the church of God; so that, on that occasion, there are great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ. And yet he supposes, that it issues in setting up the kingdom of Anti­christ; and that about that very time, when these heavenly voices so joyfully proclaim­ed this, the beast was enthroned, and the time, times and half, or one thousand two [Page 266]hundred and sixty days of his reign began, which is spoken of every where, as the time of the church's greatest darkness and trou­ble, the time wherein the little horn should wear out the saints of the Most High. The time appointed for his scattering the power of the holy people. The time of the woman's be­ing in the wilderness. The time of treading under foot the court of the temple. And the time of the witnesses prophesying in sackcloth.

However, I do not deny that the time when Mr. Lowman supposes the reign of the beast began, even the time when Pepin confirm­ed to the Pope his temporal dominions in Italy, was a time of the great increase and advancement of the power of Antichrist in the world, and a notable epoch. And if I may be allowed humbly to offer what ap­pears to me to be the truth with relation to the rise and fall of Antichrist, it is this—As the power of Antichrist, and the corruption of the apostate church, rose not at once, but by several notable steps and degrees, so it will in the like manner fall [...] and that divers steps and seasons of destruction to the spirit­ual Babylon, and revival and advancement of the true c [...]rch, are prophesied of under one. Though it be true, that there is some [Page 267]particular event, that prevails above all o­thers in the intention of the prophecy, some remarkable season of the destruction of the church of Rome, and the papal power and corruption, and advancement of true reli­gion, that the prophecies have a principal respect to.

It was certainly thus with regard to the prophecies of the destruction of old Baby­lon, and the church's deliverance from cap­tivity and oppression by that city and king­dom, which is abundantly alluded to in these prophecies of the Revelation, as a noted type of the oppression of the church of Christ by the church of Rome, calling the latter so often by the name of Babylon, and the church of Christ Jerusalem. The captivity of the Jews by the Babylonians was not perfected at once, but was brought on by several not­able steps. So neither was the restoration of the Jewish church, after the captivity, per­fected at once. It was several times fore­told, that the duration of the captivity should be seventy years; and also, that after seven­ty years were accomplished, God would de­stroy Babylon. But this period had mani­festly several different beginnings, and seve­ral endings. Thus from Jehoiakim's capti­vity [Page 268]to Cyrus's decree, for the return of the Jews, and the rebuilding of Jerusalem, was seventy years. And from Zedekiah's capti­vity to Darius's decree seventy years. And from the last carrying away of all, to the fi­nishing and dedication of the temple, was also seventy years. So also the prophecies of Babylon's destruction were fulfilled by se­veral steps. These prophecies feem to have a principal respect to that destruction that was accomplished by Cyrus, at the end of the first seventy years fore-mentioned; but there were other things in the very same prophecies, that were not fulfilled until the fourth year of Darius, when what remained of Babylon was subjected to another dread­ful destruction, which, in a great measure, completed its desolation, which was at the end of the second seventy years, and at the same time that the restoration of the Jews was perfected by the decree of Darius.*— But yet, there were many other things con­tained in the fame prophecies of Babylon's destruction, rendering it thenceforward per­fectly and perpetually desolate, and the haunt [Page 269]of serpents and wild beasts, that were not fulfilled until more than two hundred years after, in the time of Seleucus king of Syria.* So also it was with respect to the prophe­cies of the destruction of Tyre, in the xxvith, xxviith and xxviiith chapters of Ezek. from which many of the expressions used in the Re­velation, concerning the destruction of the kingdom of Antichrist, are taken, and which is evidently made use of in scripture as a type of the latter. These prophecies of the de­struction of Tyre were fulfilled by various steps. Many things were fulfilled in the de­struction of the old city by Nebuchadnez­zar, and yet other parts of the same pro­phecies were fulfilled by Alexander, which was about two hundred and forty years af­terwards. And yet both these desolations are prophesied of under one.

And thus it seems to me very probable, that it will prove, with respect to the pro­phecies of the destruction of mystical Baby­lon. It is, I think, pretty manifest by the prophecies, that this anti-christian hierarchy and apostate church will at last be so de­stroyed, that there shall be no remainders of [Page 270]it left, and shall have as perfect a desolation, before God has done with her, as old Baby­lon had; there shall be no such thing as Pope or church of Rome in the world.* It seems also pretty manifest, that after that event that is chiefly intended in the prophecies of Antichrist's destruction, there will be some re­mains of the Romish church. This appears by that most particular and large descrip­tion of that destruction, Rev. xviii. There it seems to be implied, not only that many shall yet remain of the church of Rome, that shall bewail her overthrow, of her people and clergy, but that there should be some princes among them, Kings of the earth, that have committed fornication, and lived delici­ously with her. And it is exceeding improba­ble in itself, that every Papist, in each quar­ter of the world, should be destroyed, or cease from the world, at one blow. And as long as so considerable a number remains, as may be gathered from the prophecy, they will doubtless have an hierarchy, and there will be one among them that will bear the name of a Pope, although the church of Rome shall be mainly destroyed, and the interest of Popery shall be sunk very low in the world, [Page 271]so that there will yet remain such a thing as a papal church and hierarchy in the world, to be wholly extirpated at another period,* sometime after that great overthrow princi­pally insisted on in the prophecies. And this second destruction of Antichrist, or ra­ther extirpation of his remains, together with the complete extirpation of all remains of mahometanism, heathenism and heresy thro' the world, and the finishing stroke towards the overthrow of Satan's visible kingdom on earth, and so the beginning of the Millen­nium, or spiritual rest of the world, may, for ought I know, be about the time Mr. Low­man speaks of; agreeable to the opinion of the ancient Jews, and many Christian di­vines that have followed them, that the world would stand six thousand years, and then, the seventh thousand years should be the world's rest or sabbath. The ruin of the Popish interest is but a small part of what is requisite, in order to introduce and settle such a state of things, as the world is repre­sented as being in, in that Millennium that is described, Rev. xx. wherein Satan's visi­ble kingdom is every where totally extir­pated, [Page 272]and a perfect end put to all heresie [...], delusions, and false religions whatsoever, through the whole earth, and Satan hence­forward deceives the nations no more, and has no place any where but in hell. This is the sabbatism of the world, when all shall be in a holy rest; when the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and there shall be nothing to hurt or offend, and there shall be abundance of peace, and the earth shall be full of the know­ledge of the Lord as the waters cover the seas, and God's people shall dwell in quiet resting-places. There is not the least rea­son to think, that all this will be brought to pass as it were at one stroke, or that from the present lamentable state of things, there should be brought about and completed the destruction of the church of Rome, the en­tire extirpation of all infidelity, heresies su­perstitions and schisms, through all Christ­endom, and the conversion of all the Jews, and the full enlightening and conversion of all Mahometan and heathen nations, thro' the whole earth, on every side of the globe, and from the north to the south pole, and the full settlement of all in the pure Chris­tian faith and order, all as it were in the is­sue of one battle, and by means of the vic­tory [Page 273]of the church in one great conflict with her enemies. This would contradict many things in scripture, which represent this great event to be brought to pass by a gradual pro­gress of religion; as leaven that gradually spreads, until it has diffused itself, through the whole lump, and a plant of mustard, which from a very small seed, gradually be­comes a great tree. And like seed which a man casts upon the ground, that springs and grows up, night and day; and first brings forth the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear. And especially would this contra­dict the prophetical representation in Ezek. xlvii. where the progress of religion is repre­sented by the gradual increase of the waters of the fanctuary; being first a small spring issuing out from under the threshold of the temple, and then after they had run a thousand cubits, being up to the ankles; and at the end of another thousand cubits, up to the knees; and at the end of another thousand, up to the loins; and afterwards a great riv­er, that could not be passed over; and being finally brought into the sea, and healing the waters even of the vast ocean. If the Spirit of God should be immediately poured out, [Page 274]and that work of God's power and grace should now begin, which, in its progress and issue, should complete this glorious effect; there must be an amazing and unparalleled progress of the work and manifestation of divine power to bring so much to pass, by the year two thousand. Would it not be a great thing, to be accomplished in one half century, that religion, in the power and pu­rity of it, should so prevail, as to gain the conquest over all those many things that stand in opposition to it among Protestants, and gain the upper hand through the Pro­testant world? And if in another, it should go on so to prevail, as to get the victory o­ver all the opposition and strength of the kingdom of Antichrist, so as to gain the as­cendancy in that which is now the Popish world? And if in a third half century, it should prevail and subdue the greater part of the Mahometan world, and bring in the Jewish nation, in all their dispersions? And when in the next whole century, the whole heathen world should be enlightened and converted to the Christian saith, throughout all parts of Africa, Asia, America and Terra Australis, and be thoroughly settled in Chris­tian saith and order, without any remainders [Page 275]of their old delusions and superstitions, and this attended with an utter extirpation of the remnant of the church of Rome, and all the relicts of mahometanism, heresy, schism and enthusiasm, and a suppression of all remains of open vice and immorality, and every sort of visible enemy to true religion, through the whole earth, and bring to an end all the un­happy commotions, tumults, and calamities occasioned by such great changes, and all things be so adjusted and settled through the world, that the world henceforward should enjoy an holy rest or sabbatism.

I have thus distinguished what belongs to a bringing of the world from its present state, to the happy state of the Millennium, the better to give a view of the greatness of the work; and not, that I pretend so much as to conjecture, that things will be accom­plished just in this order. The whole work is not the less great and wonderful, to be ac­complished in such a space of time, in what­ever order the different parts of it succeed each other. They that think that what has been mentioned would not be swift progress, yea, amazingly swift, do not consider how great the work is, and the vast and innumer­able obstacles that are in the way. It was [Page 276]a wonderful thing, when the Christian reli­gion, after Christ's ascension, so prevailed, as to get the ascendancy in the Roman empire in about three hundred years, but that was nothing to this.

Ans. 4. There are, as I apprehend, good reasons to hope, that that work of God's Spirit will begin in a little time, which in the progress of it will overthrow the kingdom of Antichrist, and, in its issue, destroy Satan's visible kingdom on earth.

The prophecy of the sixth Vial, Rev. xvi. 12—16. if we take it in its connection with the other Vials, and consider those provi­dential events, by which the preceding Vials have manifestly been fulfilled, I humbly con­ceive, affords just ground for such a hope.

It is very plain, from this whole chapter, as also the preceding and following, that all these seven Vials are Vials of God's wrath on Antichrist; one is not poured out on the Jews, another on the Turks, another on Pagans. another on the church of Rome; but they all signify God's successive judgments or plagues on the beast and his kingdom, which is in this chapter and almost every where in this book, called GREAT BABYLON. And therefore undoubtedly, when it is said, The [Page 277]sixth angel poured out his Vial on the river Euphrates, and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. By the river Euphrates is meant something some way appertaining to this mystical Babylon, as that river that ran thro' Chaldea, called Euphrates, was something appertaining to the literal Babylon. And it is very manifest, that here is in the pro­phecy of this Vial an allusion to that by which the way was prepared for the destruc­tion of Babylon by Cyrus, which was by turn­ing the channel of the river Euphrates, which ran through the midst of the city, whereby the way of the kings of the east, the princes of Media and Persia, was prepared to come in under the walls of the city, at each end, where the waters used to run, and destroy it; as they did that night wherein Daniel in­terpreted the hand-writing on the wall, a­gainst Belshazzar, Dan. v. 30. The prophe­cies of Babylon's destruction do, from time to time, take notice of this way of destroy­ing her, by drying up the waters of the riv­er Euphrates, to prepare the way for her enemies, Isai. xliv. 27, 28. T [...]at saith to the deep—Be dry—and I will dry up thy rivers; that saith of Cyrus—He is my servant, and [Page 278]shall perform all my pleasure. Jer. li. 31, 32. One post shall run to meet another, to shew the king of Babylon that his city is taken at one end, and that the passages are stopped, and the reeds they have burnt with fire, and the men of war are affrighted. And ver. 36. I will dry up her sea, and make her springs dry.— The Medes and Persians, the people that de­stroyed Babylon, dwelt to the eastward of Babylon, and are spoken of as coming from the east to her destruction, Isai. xlvi. 11. Calling a ravenous bird from the EAST, the man that executeth my counsel, from a far country. And the princes that joined with this ravenous bird from the east, in this affair of destroying Babylon, are called kings, Jer. li. 11. The Lord hath raised up the spirit of the KINGS of the Medes; for his device is a­gainst Babylon to destroy it. Ver. 28. Pre­pare against her the nations, with the KINGS of the Medes, the captains thereof, and the rulers thereof.—The drying the channel of the river Euphrates, to prepare the way for these kings and captains of the east, to enter into that city, under its high walls, was the last thing done by the besiegers of Babylon, before her actual destruction; as this sixth Vial is the last Vial of God's wrath but one, [Page 279]on the mystical Babylon, and the effect of it, the drying up the channel of the river Eu­phrates, is the last thing done against it, be­fore its actual destruction by the seventh Vial, and opens the way for those that fight in a spiritual war against it, speedily to bring on its ruin.

Hence I think it may, without dispute, be determined, that by the river Euphrates in the prophecy of this Vial, is meant some­thing appertaining or relating to the mysti­cal Babylon, or the anti-christian church and kingdom, that serves that, or is a benefit to it, in a way answerable to that in which the river Euphrates served old Babylon, and the removal of which will in like manner pre­pare the way for her enemies to destroy her. And therefore what we have to do in the first place, in order to find out what is in­tended by the river Euphrates, in this pro­phecy, is to consider how the literal Eu­phrates served old Babylon. And it may be noted that Euphrates was of remarkable be­nefit to that great city in two respects; it served the city as a supply—it was let thro' the midst of the city by an artificial canal, and ran through the midst of the palace of the king of Babylon; that part of his pa­lace [Page 280]called the Old Palace, standing on one side, and the other part called the New Pa­lace, on the other; with communications from one part to another, above the waters, by a bridge, and under the waters, by a vault­ed or arched passage, that the city, and es­pecially the palace, might have the conve­nience of its waters, and be plentifully sup­plied with water. And another way that the waters of Euphrates served Babylon, was as an impediment and obstacle in the way of its enemies, to hinder their access to it to destroy it; for there was a vast moat round the city, without the walls, of prodigious width and depth, filled with the water of the river, to hinder the access of her besieg­ers; and at each end of the city, the river served instead of walls. And therefore when Cyrus had dried up the river, the moat was emptied, and the channel of the river un­der the walls left dry, and so his way was prepared.

And therefore it is natural to suppose, that by drying up the waters of the river Euphrates, in the prophecy of the destruc­tion of the new Babylon, to prepare the way of her enemies, is meant the drying up her incomes and supplies, and the removal of [Page 281]those things that hitherto have been the chief obstacles in the way of those that, in this book, are represented as at war with her, and seeking her destruction, (spoken of Rev. xix. 11. to the end, and chap. xii. 7.) that have hindered their progress and success, or that have been the chief impediments in the way of the Protestant religion. The first thing is the drying the streams of the wealth of the new Babylon, the temporal supplies, revenues, and vast incomes of the Romish church, and the riches of the Popish domi­nions. Waters in scripture language very often signify provision and supplies, both temporal and spiritual, as in Prov. ix. 17. Isai. xxxiii. 16.—xliii. 20.—lv. 1. and lviii. 11. Jer. ii. 13 and 18.—xvii. 8 and 13. and in other places innumerable. The tempor­al supplies of a people are very often in scrip­ture called waters, as Isai. v. 13. Therefore my people is gone into captivity, and their ho­nourable men are famished, and their multi­tude dried up with thirst, i. e. deprived of the supports and supplies of life. And the drying up the waters of a city or kingdom, is often used in scripture prophecy, for the depriving them of their wealth, as the scrip­ture [Page 282]explains itself, Hos. xiii. 15. His springs shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up: He shall spoil the treasure of all pleasant vessels. Isai. xv. 6, 7. The waters of Nim­rim shall be desolate, for the hay is withered, the grass faileth, there is no green thing.— Therefore the abundance they have gotten, and that which they have laid up, shall they carry away to the brook of the willows. By the brook of the willows there seems to be a re­ference to the waters of Assyria or Chaldea, whose streams abounded with willows. So that the carrying away the treasures of Moab, and adding of them to the treasures of As­syria, is here represented by the figure of turning away the waters of Nimrim from the country of Moab, and adding them to the waters of Assyria, as the prophecy explains itself. Yea, even in the prophecies of the destruction of Babylon itself, the depriving her of her treasures, seems to be one thing intended by the drying up of her waters.— This seems manifest by the words of the pro­phecy in Jer. l. 37, 38. A sword is upon her treasures, and they shall be robbed; a drought is upon her waters, and they shall be dried up. Compared with chap. li. 15. O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in trea­sures; [Page 283]with ver. 36. I will dry up her sea, and make her springs dry. The wealth, re­venues, and vast incomes of the church of Rome, are the waters by which that Baby­lon has been nourished and supported; these are the waters which the Popish clergy and members of the Romish hierarchy thirst af­ter, and are continually drinking down, with insatiable appetite; and they are waters that have been flowing into that spiritual city like a great river; ecclesiastical persons possessing a very great part of the Popish dominions; as this Babylon is represented as vastly rich, in the prophecy of the Apocalypse, especially in the 17th and 18th chapters. These are especially the waters that supply the palace of the king of this new Babylon, viz. the Pope, as the river Euphrates ran through the midst of the palace of the king of old Babylon. The revenues of the Pope have been like waters of a great river, coming in­to his palace, from innumerable fountains, and by innumerable branches and lesser streams, coming from many various and dis­tant countries.

This prophecy represents to us two cities very contrary the one to the other—viz. New Babylon and the New Jerusalem, and [Page 284]a river running through the midst of each. —The New Jerusalem, which signifies the church of Christ, especially in her best estate, is described as having a river running thro' the midst of it, Rev. xxii. 1, 2. This river, as might easily be made most evident, by comparing this with abundance of other scriptures, undoubtedly signifies the divine supplies, and rich and abundant spiritual in­comes and provision of that holy city. Mr. Lowman, in his late Exposition, says, ‘It represents a constant provision for the com­fortable and happy life of all the inhabi­tants of this city of God.’ And in his notes on the same place, observes as follows: ‘Water, (says he), as necessary to the sup­port of life, and as it contributes in great cities, especially in hot eastern countries, to the ornament of the place, and delight of the inhabitants, is a very proper repre­sentation of the enjoyment of all things, both for the support and pleasure of life.’ As the river that runs through the new Je­rusalem, the church of Christ, that refreshes that holy spiritual society, signifies their spi­ritual supplies, to satisfy their spiritual thirst, so the river that runs through the new Ba­bylon, the anti-christian church, that wick­ed [Page 285]carnal society, signifies, according to the opposite character of the city, her worldly, carnal supplies, to satisfy their carnal de­sires and thirstings.

This new Jerusalem is called in this book the Paradise of God, and therefore is repre­sented as having the tree of life growing in it. And it being described, as though a riv­er ran through the midst of it, there seems to be some allusion to the ancient paradise in Eden, of which we are told that there ran a river through the midst of it to water it; i. e. to supply the plants of it with nourish­ment. And this river was this very same ri­ver Euphrates, that afterwards ran through Babylon. And in one and the other, it re­presented the divers supplies of two opposite cities; in Eden, it represented the spiritual supplies and wealth of the true Christian church, in her sp [...]al advancement and glory, and seems to be so made use of, Rev. xxii. 1, 2. In the other it represented the outward carnal supplies of the false anti­christian church, in her worldly pomp and vain glory, chap. xvi. 12.

When the waters, that supply this mysti­cal Babylon, come to be dried up in this sense, it will prepare the way for the ene­mies [Page 286]of anti-christian corruption, that seek her overthrow. The wealth of the church of Rome, and of the powers that support it, is very much its defence. After the streams of her revenues and riches are dried up, or very greatly diminished, her walls will be as it were broken down, and she will become weak and defenceless, and exposed to easy ruin.

When Joab had taken that part of the city of Rabbah, that was called the City of Waters, whence the city had its supply of water, the fountains of the brook Jabbok being probably there, and which was also called the royal city, probably because there the king had his palace and gardens, on the account of its peculiar pleasantness; I say, when he had taken this, the conquest of the rest of the city was easy; his message to Da­vid implies, that the city now might be tak­en at pleasure, 2 Sam. xii. 27, 28. It is pos­sible th [...] by the pouring out of the sixth Vial to dry up the river of the mystical Ba­bylon, there might be something like the taking the City of Waters in Rabbah; some one of the chief of the Popish powers, that has been the main strength and support of the Popish cause, or from whence that church [Page 287]has its chief supplies, may be destroyed, or converted, or greatly reduced. But this e­vents must determine.

In the prophecies of Egypt's destruction, it is signified, that when their rivers and wa­ters should be dried up, in that sense, that the streams of their temporal supplies should be averted from them, their defence would be gone, Isai. xix. 4, &c. The Egyptians will I give over into the hand of a cruel lord, and the waters shall fail from the sea, and the river shall be wasted and dried up, and the brooks of DEFENCE shall be emptied and dried up, and the reeds and flags shall wither—Every thing sown by the brooks shall wither: The fishers also shall mourn—

Those whose way was prepared to come in and destroy Babylon, by the drying up the river of Euphrates, were the army that was at war with Babylon, Cyrus the king, and his host, that sought her overthrow; so there seems to be all reason to suppose, that those whose way will be prepared to come in and destroy mystical Babylon, by drying up the mystical Euphrates, are that king and army that are, in this book of Revelation, represented as at war with Antichrist. And what king and army that is, we may see in [Page 288]chap. xii. 7. and xix. 11. to the end—Mi­chael the king of angels, and his angels; he whose name is called the Word of God, and that has on his vesture, and on his thigh, a name written, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords; and the heavenly armies that follow him, cloathed in fine linen, white and clean. Cyrus, the chief of the kings of the east, that destroyed Babylon, and redeemed God's church from thence, and restored Jerusalem, seems, in that particular affair, very mani­festly to be spoken of as a type of Christ: God calls him his shepherd, to perform his pleasure, to say to Jerusalem—Thou shalt be built, and to the temple—Thy foundation shall be laid. God calls him his Messiah. Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, (in the origin­al to his Messiah) to Cyrus. He is spoken of as one that God had raised up in righteous­ness, that he might build his city, and freely redeem his captives, or let them go without price or reward. He is said to be one whom God had loved; in like manner as the Mes­siah is said to be God's elect, in whom his soul delighteth. As by Babylon, in the Revela­tion, is meant that anti-christian society that is typisied by old Babylon; so by the kings of the east, that should destroy this and [Page 289]christian church, must be meant those ene­mies of it that were typisied by Cyrus, and other chieftians of the east, that destroyed old Babylon; viz. Christ, who was born, lived, died, and rose in the east, together with those spiritual princes that follow him, the princi­palities and powers in heavenly places, and those ministers and saints that are kings and priests, and shall reign on earth; especially those leaders and heads of God's people—those Christian ministers and magistrates, that shall be distinguished as public blessings to his church, and chief instruments of the overthrow of Antichrist.

As the river Euphrates served the city of Babylon as a supply, so it also was before observed, it served as an impediment or ob­stacle to hinder the access of its enemies; as there was a vast moat round the city, filled with the water of the river, which was lest empty when Euphrates was dried up. And therefore we may suppose, that another thing meant by the effect of the sixth Vial, is the removal of those things which hitherto have been the chief obstacles in the way of the progress of the true religion, and the victory of the church of Christ over-her enemies; [Page 290]which have been the corrupt doctrines and practices that have prevailed in Protestant countries, and the doubts and dissiculties that attend many doctrines of the true reli­gion, and the many divisions and conten­tions that subsist among Protestants. The removal of those would wonderfully prepare the way for Christ and his armies, to go for­ward and prevail against their enemies, in a glorious propagation of true religion. So that this Vial, which is to prepare the way for Christ and his people, seems to have re­spect to that remarkable preparing the way for Christ, by levelling mountains, exalting valleys, drying up rivers, and removing stum­bling-blocks, which is often spoken of in the prophecies, as what shall next precede the church's latter-day glory, as Isai. xlii. 13, &c. The Lord shall go forth as a mighty man; he shall stir up jealousy as a man of war; he shall prevail against his enemies.—I will make waste mountains and hills, and dryup all their herbs; and I will make the rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools; and I will bring the blind by a way that they know not, and I will lend them in paths that they have not known; I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight: these things will I do [Page 291]unto them, and not forsake them. Chap. xl. 3, 4, 5. Prepare ye the way of the Lord; make straight in the desart an high-way for our God: every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and rough places plain; and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it to­gether. Chap. xi. 15, 16. And the Lord shall destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea, and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams thereof, and make men go over dry shod; and there shall be an high-way for the remnant of his people which shall be left, from Assyria, like as it was to Israel, in the day that he came out of the land of Egypt. Chap. lvii. 14. Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling-block out of the way of my people. And chap. lxii. 10. Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the high-way; ga­ther out the stones; lift up a standard for the people. Zech. x. 10, 11, 12. I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon; and place shall not be found for them. And [Page 292]he shall pass through the sea with affliction, and shall smite the waves of the sea; and all the deeps of the river shall day up; and the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the sceptre of Egypt shall depart away: And I will strengthen them in the Lord, and they shell walk up and down in his name, saith the Lord. And it is worthy to be remarked, that as Cyrus's destroying Babylon, and letting go God's captives from thence, and restoring Jerusalem, is certainly typical of Christ's de­stroying mystical Babylon, and delivering his people from her tyranny, and gloriously building up the spiritual Jerusalem in the latter days; so God's preparing Cyrus's way, by drying up the river Euphrates, is spoken of in terms like those that are used in those prophecies that have been mentioned, to sig­nify the preparing Christ's way, when he shall come to accomplish the latter event. Thus God says concerning Cyrus, Isai. xlv. 2. I will go before thee, and MAKE CROOKED PLACES STRAIGHT. And ver. 13. I will direct, or make straight (as it is in the margin) all his ways. This is like chap. xl. 2, 4. Pre­pare ye the way of the Lord; make straight in the desar! an high-way for our God.—The crooked things shall be made straight. Chap. [Page 293]xlii. 16. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight.

If any should object against understanding the river Euphrates, in Rev. xvi. 12. as sig­nifying what has been supposed, that when mention is made of the river Euphrates, in another place in this prophecy, it is mani­festly not so to be understood, viz. in chap. ix. 14. Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet—Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates: and that there is no reason to understand the river Euphrates in the vision of the sixth Vial, as signifying something diverse from what is meant by the same river in the vision of the sixth trumpet.

I answer, That there appears to me to be good reason for a diverse understanding of the river Euphrates in these two different places; the diversity of the scence of the vi­sion, and of the kind of representation, in those two divers parts of this prophecy, na­turally leads to it, and requires it. It is in this book as in the Old Testament; when the river Euphrates is spoken of in the Old Testament, both in the histories and prophe­cies, it is mentioned, with respect to the two­fold relation of that river, viz. 1st, with re­gard [Page 294]to its relation to Babylon. And as it was related to that, it was something belong­ing to that city, as its defence and supply, as has been represented. Thus the river Eu­phrates is spoken of in many places that have been already observed, and others that might be mentioned. 2dly. This river is spoken of with regard to its relation to the land of Israel, God's visible people; and as it was re­lated to that, it was its eastern boundary. It is so spoken of, Gen. xv. 18. Exod. xxiii. 31. Deut. i. 7. and xi. 24. Josh. i. 4.2 Sam. viii. 3.1 Chron. xviii. 3.1 King iv. 21. Ezra iv. 20. Agreeable to this diverse re­spect or relation of this river, under which it is mentioned in the Old Testament, so must we understand it differently in different parts of the prophecy of this book of Reve­lation, according as the nature and subject of the vision requires. In the xvth chapter, where the prophecy is about Babylon, and the vision is of God's plagues on Babylon, preparing the way for her destruction, there, when the river Euphrates is mentioned, we are naturally and necessarily led to consider it as something belonging to Babylon, ap­pertaining to the mystical Babylon, as Eu­phrates did to old Babylon. But we cannot [Page 295]understand it so in the ixth chapter, for there the prophecy is not about Babylon. To men­tion Euphrates there, as something belong­ing to Babylon, would have been improper; for the nature of the vision, and prophetical representation, did not lead to it, nor allow it. John had had no vision of Babylon; that kind of representation had not been made to him; there is not a word said about Ba­bylon till we come to the second part of this prophecy, after John had the vision of the second book, and Christ had said to him— Thou must prophecy again before peoples, and nations, and kings, chap. xi. The scene of the vision, in the former part of the prophe­cy, had been more especially the land of Is­rael, and the vision is concerning two sorts of persons there, viz. those of the tribes of Israel that had the seal of God in their fore­heads, and those wicked apostate Israelites that had not this mark. Compare chap. vii. 3—8. and chap. ix. 4. The vision in this ixth chapter, is of God's jndgments on those of the tribes of Israel, or in the land of Israel, which had not the seal of God in their fore­heads; and therefore when mention is made, ver. 14. of a judgment coming on them from the river Euphrates, this river is here spoken [Page 296]of in the former respect, viz. with regard to its relation to the land of Israel, as its east­ern border; and thereby we must understand that God would bring some terrible calami­ty on Christendom from its eastern border, as he did when the Turks were let loose up­on Christendom.

If these things that have been spoken of, are intended in the prophecy of the sixth Vial, it affords, as I conceive, great reason to hope that the beginning of that glorious work of God's Spirit, which, in the progress and issue of it, will overthrow Antichrist, and introduce the glory of the latter days, is not very far off.

Mr. Lowman has, I think, put it beyond all reasonable doubt, that the fifth Vial was poured out in the time of the Reformation. It also appears satisfyingly, by his late Expo­sition, that take one Vial with another, it has not been two hundred years from the begin­ning of one Vial to the beginning of ano­ther, but about one hundred and eighty years. But it is now two hundred and twen­ty years since the fifth Vial began to be poured, and it is a long time since the main effects of it have been sinished. And there­fore if the sixth Vial has not already began [Page 297]to be poured out, it may well be speedily expected.

But with regard to the first thing that I have supposed to be signified by the effect of this Vial, viz. The drying up the fountains and streams of the wealth and temporal in­comes and supplies of the antichristian church and territories, I would propose it to consi­deration, whether [...] no many things that have come to pass within these twenty years past, may not be looked upon as pro­bable beginnings of a fulfilment of this pro­phecy; particularly what the kings of Spain and Portugal did some years since, when dis­pleased with the Pope, forbidding any thence­forward going to Rome for investitures, &c. thereby cutting off two great streams of the Pope's wealth, from so great and rich a part of the Popish world; and its becoming so frequent a thing of late for Popish princes, in their wars, to make bold with the trea­sure of the church, and to tax the clergy within their dominions, as well as laity; or which is equivalent, to oblige them to con­tribute great sums, under the name of a free gift; and also the late peeling and impove­rishing the Pope's temporal dominions in [Page 298]Italy, by the armies of the Austrians, Nea­politans and Spaniards, passing and repassing through them, and living so much at discre­tion in them, of which the Pope has so loud­ly complained, and in vain; receiving no­thing but menaces, when he has objected a­gainst giving liberty for the like passage for the future. These things make it hopeful that the time is coming when the princes of Europe, the ten horns, shall hate the whore, and make her desolate and naked, and eat her flesh, as Rev. xvii. 16. which will prepare the way for what next follows, her being burnt with fire; even as the sixth Vial poured out, to consume the supplies of Antichrist, and strip him naked of his wealth, and, as it were, to pick his flesh off from his bones, will make way for what next follows, the seventh Vial, that will consume Antichrist, by the sierce­ness of God's wrath.

These things duly considered, I imagine, afford us ground to suppose, not only that the effect of this sixth Vial is already begun, but that some progress is already made in it, and that this Vial is now running apace. And when it shall be finished, there is all rea­son to suppose that the destruction of Anti­christ will very speedily follow, and that the [Page 299]two last Vials will succeed one another more closely than the other Vials. When once the river Euphrates was dried up, and Cy­rus's way was prepared, he delayed not, but immediately entered into the city to destroy it. Nor is it God's manner, when once his way is prepared, to delay to deliver his church, and shew mercy to Zion. When once impediments are removed, Christ will no longer remain at a distance, but will be like a roe or a young hart, coming swiftly to the help of his people. When that cry is made, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, &c. The high and lofty One that inha­bits eternity, is represented as very near to re­vive the spirit of the contrite, and deliver his people with whom he had been wroth. When that cry is made, Isai. xl. Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desart an high-way for our God; every valley shall be exalted, &c. God tells his church, that her warfare is accomplished, and the time to comfort her is come, and that the glory of the Lord n [...] shall be revealed, and all flesh see it together. And agreeably to these things, Christ, on the pouring out the sixth Vial, says, Behold I come. The sixth Vial is the forerunner of the seventh or last, to prepare [Page 300]its way. The angel that pours out this Vial is the harbinger of Christ, and when the har­binger is come, the king is at hand. John the Baptist, that was Christ's harbinger, who came to level mountains and fill up vallies, proclaimed, The kingdom of heaven is at hand; and when he had prepared Christ's way, then the Lord suddenly came into his temple, even the messenger of the covenant. Mal. iii. 1.

It is true, that we do not know how long this Vial may continue running, and so Christ's way preparing, before it is fully prepared; but yet if there be reason to think the effect of this Vial is begun, or is near, then there is reason also to think that the beginning of that great work of God's Spirit, in reviving of religion, which, before it is finished, will issue in Antichrist's ruin, is not far off. For it is pretty manifest, that the beginning of this work will accompany the sixth Vial; for the gathering together of the armies on both sides, on the side of Christ and Anti­christ, to that great battle that shall issue in the overthrow of the latter, will be under this Vial; (compare Rev. xvi. 12, 13, 14. with chap. xix. 11. to the end.) And it is plain, that Christ's manifesting himself, and wonderfully appearing after long hiding him­self, [Page 301]to plead his own and his people's cause, and riding forth against his enemies in a glo­rious manner, and his people's following him in pure linen, or the practice of righte­ousness and pure religion, will be the thing that will give the alarm to Antichrist, and cause him to gather that vast host to make the utmost opposition. But this alarm and gathering together is represented as being under the sixth Vial; so that it will be a great revival, and mighty progress of true religion under the sixth Vial, eminently threatening the speedy and utter overthrow of Satan's kingdom on earth, that will so mightily rouse the old serpent; to exert him­self with such exceeding violence, in that greatest conflict and struggle that ever he had with Christ and the church, since the world stood.*

All the seven Vials bring terrible judg­ments upon Antichrist; but there seems to be something distinguishing of the three last, the fifth, sixth and seventh, viz. That they [Page 302]more directly tend to the overthrow of his kingdom, and accordingly each of them is attended with a great reviving of religion. The fifth Vial was attended with such a re­vival and reformation, that greatly weaken­ed and diminished the throne or kingdom of the beast, and went far towards its ruin. It seems as though the sixth Vial should be much more so, for it is the distinguishing note of this Vial, that it is the preparatory Vial, which more than any other Vial pre­pares the way for Christ's coming to destroy the kingdom of Antichrist, and to set up his own kingdom in the world. A great out­pouring of the Spirit accompanied that dis­pensation which was preparatory to Christ's coming in his public ministry, in the days of his flesh; so, much more, will a great out­pouring of the Spirit accompany the dis­pensation that will be preparatory to Christ's coming in his kingdom.

And besides those things which belong to the preparation of Christ's way, which are so often represented by levelling mountains, drying up rivers, &c. viz. The unravelling intricacies, and removing difficulties attend­ing Christian doctrines, the distinguishing between true religion and its false appear­ances, [Page 303]the detecting and exploding errors and corrupt principles, and the reforming the wicked lives of professors, which have been the chief stumbling-blocks and obsta­cles that have hitherto hindered the progress of true religion; I say, these things, which seem to belong to this preparatory Vial, are the proper work of the Spirit of God, pro­moting and advancing divine light and true piety, and can be the effect of nothing else.

Agreeably to what has been supposed, that an extraordinary out-pouring of the Spirit of God is to accompany this sixth Vial; so the beginning of a work of extraordinary a­wakening has already attended the probable beginning of this Vial; and has been con­tinued in one place or other, for many years past; although it has been, in some places, mingled with much enthusiasm, after the manner of things in their first beginnings, unripe, and mixed with much crudity. But it is to be hoped, a far more pure, exten­sive and glorious revival of religion is not far off, which will more properly be the be­ginning of that work, which, in its issue, shall overthrow the kingdom of Antichrist, and of Satan through the world. But God will be enquired of for this, by the house of Is­rael to do it for them.

[Page 304] Ans. 5. If, notwithstanding all that I have said, it be still judged that there is sufficient reason to determine that the ruin of Anti­christ is at a very great distance, and if all that I have said, as arguing that there is rea­son to hope the beginning of that glorious revival of religion, which, in its continuance and progress, will destroy the kingdom of Antichrist, is not very far off, be judged to be of no force; yet it will not follow, that our complying with what is proposed to us in the late memorial from Scotland, will be in vain, or not followed with such spiritual blessings, as will richly recompence the pains of such extraordinary prayer for the Holy Spirit, and the revival of religion. If God does not grant that greatest of all effusions of his Spirit, so soon as we desire, yet we shall have the satisfaction of a consciousness of our having employed ourselves in a man­ner that is certainly agreeable to Christ's will and frequent commands, in being much in prayer for this mercy, and much more in it than has heretofore been common with Christians; and there will be all reason to hope, that we shall receive some blesse [...] [...] ­ken of his acceptance. If the fall of mysti­cal Babylon, and the work of God's Spirit [Page 305]that shall bring it to pass, be at several hun­dred years distance, yet it follows not that there will be no happy revivals of religion before that time, which shall be richly worth the most diligent, earnest and constant pray­ing for.

I would say something to one objection more, and then hasten to a conclusion of this discourse.

Object. 6. Some may be ready to object, that what is proposed in this memorial is a new thing, such as never was put in practice in the church of God before.

Ans. 1. If there be something circumstan­tially new in it, this cannot be a sufficient objection. The duty of prayer is no new duty; for many of God's people expressly to agree, as touching something they shall ask in prayer, is no new thing; for God's people to agree on circumstances of time and place for united prayer, according to their own discretion, is no new thing; for many, in different places, to agree to offer up ex­traordinary prayers to God, at the same time, as a token of their union, is no new thing, but has been commonly practised in the ap­pointment of days of fasting and prayer for [Page 306]special mercies. And if the people of God should engage in the duty of prayer, for the coming of Christ's kingdom, in a new man­ner, in that respect, that they resolve they will not be so negligent of this duty, as has been common with professors of religion heretofore, but will be more frequent and fervent in it; this would be such a new thing as ought to be, and would be only to reform a former negligence. And for the people of God, in various parts of the world, visibly, and by express agreement, to unite for this extraordinary prayer, is no more than their duty, and no more than what it is foretold the people of God should actual­ly do, before the time comes of the church's promised glory on earth. And if this be a duty, then it is a duty to come into some method to render this practicable; but it is not practicable (as was shewn before) but by this method, or some other equivalent.

Ans. 2. As to this particular method, pro­posed to promote union in extraordinary prayer, viz. God's people, in various parts, setting apart fixed seasons, to return at cer­tain periods, wherein they agree to offer up their prayers at the same time, it is not so new as some may possibly imagine. This [Page 307]may appear by what follows, which is part of a paper, dispersed abroad in Great Bri­tain and Ireland, from London, in the year 1712, being the lat [...]er end of queen Anne's reign, and very extensively complied with, entitled, ‘A serious Call from the City to the Country, to join with them in setting apart some time, viz. from seven to eight, every Tuesday morning, for solemn seek­ing of God, each one in his closet, now in this so critical a juncture.’

Jonah i. 6. Call upon God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.—What follows is an extract from it.

You have formerly been called upon to the like duty, and have complied with it, and that not without success. It is now thought highly seasonable to renew the call. It is hoped that you will not be more backward, when it is so apparent that there is even greater need. It is scarce imagin­able how a prosessing people should stand in greater need of prayer, than we do at this day. You were formerly bespoke from that very pertinent text, Zech. viii. 21. [...] inhabitants of one city shall go to ano­ther, saying, Let us go speedily to pray be­fore the Lord, or, (as the marginal reading, [Page 308]more expressive of the original reading, is,) continually, from day to day, to entreat the face of the Lord. According to this ex­cellent pattern, we of this city, the metro­polis of our land, think ourselves obliged to call upon our brethren in Great Britain and Ireland, at a time when our hearts can­not but meditate terror, and our flesh trem­ble for fear of God, and are afraid of his righteous judgments; those past being for the most part forgotten, and the signs of the times foreboding evil to come, being by the generality little, if at all, regarded; we cannot therefore but renew our earnest request, that all who make conscience of praying for the peace of Jerusalem, who wish well to Zion, who would have us and our posterity a nation of British Protes­tants, and not of Popish bigots and French slaves, would give us (as far as real and not pretended necessity will give leave) a meeting at the throne of grace, at the hour mentioned, there to wrestle with God for the turning away his anger from us, for our deliverance from the hands of his and our enemies, for the turning the councils of all Ahitophels, at home and abroad, in­to foolishness, for mercy to the queen and [Page 309]kingdom, for a happy peace or successful war, so long as the matter shall continue undetermined; for securing the Protestant succession in the illustrious house of Ha­nover, (by good and evil wishes to which, the friends and enemies of our religion and civil rights, are so essentially distinguish­ed,) and especially for the influences of di­vine grace upon the rising generation, par­ticularly the seed of the righteous, that the offspring of our Christian heroes may ne­ver be the plague of our church and coun­try. And we desire that this solemn pray­er be begun the first Tuesday after sight, and continued at least the summer of this present year 1712. And we think, every modest, reasonable and just request, such as this, should not on any account be de­nied us, since we are not laying a burden on others, to which we will not most wil­lingly put our own shoulders; nay, indeed, count it much more a blessing than a bur­den. We hope this will not be esteemed, by serious Protestants, of any denomina­tion, a needless step; much less do we fear being censured by any such, as fanciful and melancholy, on account of such a pro­posal. We, with them, believe a provi­dence, [Page 310]know and acknowledge that our God is a God hearing prayer. Scripture recordeth, and our age is not barren of in­stances of God's working marvellous deli­verances for his people in answer to hum­ble, believing and importunate prayer, es­pecially when prayer and reformation go together, which is what we desire. Let this counsel be acceptable to us, in this day of the church's calamity, and our com­mon fears. Let us seek the Lord white he may be found, and call upon him while be is near. Let us humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. Let us go and pray unto our God, and he will hearken unto us. We shall seek him and find him, when we search for him with all our hearts. Pray for the peace of Jurusalem; they shall prosper that love her. And may Zion's friends and enemies both cry out with won­der, when they see the work of God—Be­hold they pray!—What hath God wrought! Verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth.

Postscript. It is desired and hoped, that if any are hindered from attending this work at the above-mentioned hour, they will nevertheless set apart an hour week­ly for it.

[Page 311] God speedily and wonderfully heard and answered those who were united in that ex­traordinary prayer, proposed in the above­mentioned paper, in suddenly scattering those black clouds which threatened the nation and the Protestant interest with ruin, at that time; in bringing about, in so remarkable a manner, that happy change in the state of affairs in the nation, which was after the queen's death, by the bringing in king George the First. just at the time when the enemies of the religion and liberties of the nation had ripened their designs to be put in spee­dy execution. And we see in the beginning of this extract, this which is proposed, is mentioned as being no new thing, but that God's people in Great Britain had former­ly been called upon to the like duty, and had complied, and that not without success. Such like concerts or agreements have seve­ral times been proposed in Scotland, before this which is now proposed to us, particu­larly there was a proposal published for this very practice, in the year 1732, and another in 1735; so that it appears that this objec­tion of novelty is built on a mistake.


And now, upon the whole, I desire every [Page 312]serious Christian, that may read this discourse, calmly and deliberately to consider whether he can excuse himself from complying with what has been proposed to us and requested of us, by those ministers of Christ in Scot­land, who are the authors of the late memo­rial. God has stirred up a part of his church, in a distant part of the world, to be in an extraordinary manner seeking and crying to him, that he would appear to favour Zion, as he has promised. And they are applying themselves to us, to join with them, and make that very proposal to us which is spoken of in my text, and in like manner and circum­stances. The members of one church, in one country, are coming to others, in other distant countries, saying Let us go speedily and constantly to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of Hosts. Will it not become us readily to say, I will go also? What these servants of Christ ask of us, is not silver or gold, or any of our outward substance, or that we would put ourselves to any cost, or do any thing that will be likely to expose us to any remarkable trouble, difficulty or suffering in our outward interest, but only that we would, help together with them, by our prayers to God, for the greatest mercy [Page 313]in the world, and that a mercy which as much concerns us as them, for the glory of their Lord and ours, for the great advancement of our common interest and happiness, and the happiness of our fellow-creatures through all nations; a mercy, which, at this day espe­cially, there is great need of; a mercy, which we, in this land, do stand in p [...]cular need of; a mercy, which the word of God re­quires us to make the subject-matter of our prayers, above all other mercies, and gives us more encouragement to pray earnestly and unitedly to him for, than any other mer­cy; and a mercy, which the providence of God towards the world of mankind, at this day, does loudly call the people of God to pray for. I think we cannot reasonably doubt but that these ministers have acted a part be­coming disciples of the great Messiah, and ministers of his kingdom, and have done the will of God, and according to his word, in setting forward such an affair at this day, and in proposing it to us; and therefore I desire it may be considered, whether we shall not really sin against God, in refusing to com­ply with their proposal and request, or in neglecting it, and turning it by, with but lit­tle [Page 314]notice and attention, therein disregard­ing that which is truly a call of God to us.

The ministers that make this proposal to us, are no separatists or schismatics, promo­ters of no public disorders, nor of any wild­ness or extravagance in matters of religion, but are quiet and peaceable members and ministers of the church of Scotland, that have lamented the late divisions and breach­es of that church. If any shall say, that they are under no advantage to judge of their character, but must take it on trust from o­thers, because they conceal their names; in answer to this, I would say, That I presume no sober person will say that he has any rea­son to suspect them, to be any other than gentlemen of honest intention. Besure there is no appearance of any thing else, but an upright design in their proposal, and that they have not mentioned their names, is an argument of it. It may well be presumed, from the manner of their expressing them­selves, in the memorial itself, they conceal­ed their names from that, which, perhaps, may be called an excess of modesty, chusing to be at the greatest distance from appear­ing to set forth themselves to the view of the world, as the heads of a great affair, and the [Page 315]first projectors and movers of something ex­traordinary, that they desire should become general, and that God's people, in various distant parts of the world, should agree in. And therefore, they are moreover careful to tell us, that they do not propose the af­fair, as now setting it on foot, but as a thing already set on foot, and do not tell us who first projected and moved it. The proposal is made to us in a very proper and prudent manner, with all appearance of Christian modesty and sincerity, and with a very pru­dent guard against and thing that looks like superstition, or whatsoever might entangle a tender conscience, and far from any appear­ance of a design to promote any particular party or denomination of Christians, in op­position to others, but with all appearance to the contrary, in their charitable request, that none would, by any means, conceive of any such thing to be in their view, and that all, of every denomination and opinion con­cerning the late religious commotions, would join with them, in seeking the common inte­rest of the kingdom of Christ; and, there­fore, I think, none can be in the way of their duty, in neglecting a proposal in itself excel­lent, and that which they have reason to [Page 316]think is made with upright intentions, mere­ly because the proposers modestly conceal their names. I do not see how any serious person, that has an ill opinion of late reli­gious stirs, can have any colour of reason to refuse a compliance with this proposal, on that account; the more disorders, extrava­gancies and delusions of the devil have late­ly prevailed, the more need have we to pray earnestly to God, for his Holy Spirit, to pro­mote true religion, in opposition to the grand deceiver, and all his works; and the more such prayer, as is proposed, is answered, the more effectually will all that is contrary to sober and pure religion be extirpated and exploded

One would think that every one who fa­vours the dust of Zion, when he hears that God is stirring up a considerable number of his ministers and people, to unite in extra­ordinary prayer, for the revival of religion and advancement of his kingdom, should greatly rejoice on this occasion. If we lay to heart the present calamities of the church of Christ, and long for that blessed altera­tion which God has promised, one would think it should be natural to rejoice at the appearance of something in so dark a day, [Page 317]which is so promising a token. Would not our friends that were lately in captivity in Canada, who earnestly longed for deliver­ance, have rejoiced to have heard of any thing that seemed to forebode the approach of their redemption? And particularly may we not suppose such of them as were religi­ous persons, would greatly have rejoiced to have understood that there was stirred up in God's people an extraordinary spirit of pray­er for their redemption? And I do not know why it would not be as natural for us to re­joice at the like hopeful token of the redemp­tion of Zion, if we made her interest our own, and preferred Jerusalem above our chief joy.

If we are indeed called of God to comply with the proposal now made to us, then let me beseech all that do sincerely love the in­terest of real Christianity, not withstanding any diversity of opinion, and former dis­putes, now to unite in this affair, with one heart and voice—and let us go speedily to pray before the Lord. There is no need that one should wait for another. If we can get others, that are our neighbours, to join with us, and so can conveniently spend the quar­terly seasons with praying societies, this is desirable; but if not, why should we wholly [Page 318]neglect the duty proposed? Why should not we perform it by ourselves, uniting in heart and practice, as far as we are able, with those who, in distant places, are engaged in that duty at that time?

If it be agreeable to the mind and will of God, that we should comply with the memo­rial, by praying for the coming of Christ's kingdom, in the manner therein proposed, then doubtless it is the duty of all to comply with the memorial, in that respect also, viz. in endeavouring, as far as in us lies, to pro­mote others joining in such prayer, and to render this union and agreement as exten­sive as may be. Private Christians may have many advantages and opportunities for this; but especially ministers, inasmuch as they not only are by office overseers of whole congregations of God's people, and their guides in matters of religion, but ordinarily have a far more extensive acquaintance and influence abroad, than private Christians in common have.

And I hope that such as are convinced it is their duty to comply with and encourage this de [...]gn, will remember we ought not on­ly to go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek his mercy, but also to go con­stantly. [Page 319]We should unite in our practice these two things, which our Saviour unites in his precept, praying and not fainting. If we should continue some years, and nothing remarkable in Providence should appear, as though God heard and answered, we should act very unbecoming believers, if we should therefore begin to be disheartened, and grow dull and slack, in our seeking of God so great a mercy. It is very apparent from the word of God, that God is wont often to try the faith and patience of his people, when cry­ing to him for some great and important mercy, by with-holding the mercy sought, for a season, and not only so, but at first to cause an increase of dark appearances, and yet, without fail, at last, to succeed those who continue instant in prayer with all persever­ance, and will not let God go except he bles­ses. It is now proposed that this extraordi­nary united prayer should continue for se­ven years, from November, 1746. Perhaps some that appear forward to engage, may begin to think the time long, before the se­ven years are out, and may account it a dull story, to go on, for so long a time, praying in this extraordinary method, while all yet continues dark and dead, without any dawn­ings [Page 320]of the wished-for light, or new promis­ing appearance in Providence of the ne [...]r approach of the desired mercy. But let it be considered, whether it will not be a poor business, if our faith and patience is so short­winded, that we cannot be willing to wait upon God one seven years, in a way of tak­ing this little pains, in seeking a mercy so infinitely vast. For my part, I sincerely wish and hope, that there may not be an end of extraodinary united prayer, among God's people, for the effusions of the blessed Spi­rit, when the seven years are ended, but that it will be continued, either in this method, or some other, by a new agreement, that will be entered into, with greater engaged­ness, and more abundant alacrity, than this is; and that extraordinary united prayer for such a mercy will be further propagated and extended, than it can be expected to be in one seven years. But yet, at the same time, I hope, God's people, that unite in this a­greement, will see some tokens for good, be­fore these seven years are out, that shall give them to see, that God has not said to the seed of Jacob—Seek ye me in vain; and shall serve greatly to animate and encou­rage them to go on in united prayers for the [Page 321]advancement of Christ's kingdom, with en­creasing fervency. But whatever our hopes may be in this respect, we must be content to be ignorant of the times and seasons, which the Father hath put in his own pow­er; and must be willing that God should answer prayer, and fulfil his own glorious promises, in his own time; remembering such instructions, counsels and promises of the word of God as these—Wait on the Lord, be of Good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the Lord. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but in the end it will speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come, it will not tarry. I will look unto the Lord, I will wait for the God of my salvat [...]; my God will hear me. God will wipe away tears from off all faces, and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth; for the Lord hath spoken it. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God! we have waited for him, and he will save us: This is JEHOVAH! we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation. Amen.




By DAVID AUSTIN, A.M. Minister of the First Presbyterian Church at Elizabeth Town.



AS the following discourse was delivered from short notes, it is hoped that any little difference in arrangement, or any addi­tional proofs or illustrations, now observed, will be readily excused by any who heard the discourse preached; especially, whilst it is re­membered, that in a printed discourse much higher authorities are expected, than what is necessary in the common course of parochial preaching.

For any sentiments observed to be omitted, the reader is referred to the tenor of the pre­ceding discourses; and if any should be ready to say, that proofs and illustrations are need­lessly multiplied, it may not be improper to answer, that on the subject of prophecy, as well as in respect to every other, the truth gains in proportion to the evidence by which it is attest­ed; and shines much brighter whilst supported by a cloud of approved witnesses, than whilst resting on the opinion of any single interpre­ter.



REVELATION xviii. 20.

Rejoice over her thou heaven, and ye holy a­postles and prophets, for God hath avenged you on her.

IN all the calamities which it pleases God to bring upon his enemies, or upon the enemies of his church, all holy beings have cause to rejoice. The ground of their joy, in such events, however awful to the suffer­ers, is founded in the reason and nature of things as well as in the express appointment and call of God.

The cause of God in heaven, and the cause of Christ and of his church on the earth are one and the same: and so far as either the former or the latter, or both unitedly, may be employed, in their usual methods of ex­ [...]tion, in counteracting, and in overturning [Page 328]the purposes of the Grand Adversary or of his instruments; in the same degree may the struggle be stiled a common cause, or a ge­neral war. The enemies of God are the e­nemies of his church, and they who seek the overthrow of the latter, would, if possible, dethrone the former. On this account, there­fore, it is, that all holy beings, whether in the heaven of heavens, on high, or whether in the heavens of the Christian church, (for so, in prophetic stile, the word sometimes signifies,) are called upon to rejoice at the calamities which God, in judgment for their sins, brings on his enemies, and on the ene­mies of his Zion.

All holy beings have cause to rejoice in the downfall of the wicked, as such a disas­ter, under the management of heaven, may tend to the upbuilding of the kingdom of Christ, and of the truth in the world. By such events victory is, renewedly, ascribed to God. The faith and hope of the pious are revived and confirmed.—That such effects, by such disasters upon the wicked, have been produced, the scriptures plainly teach. The dr [...]wning of the old world, and the destruc­tion of Pharaoh and his host are instances in point. In view of the latter, sang Moses [Page 329]and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake, saying—I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him. The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is his name.

Not only is the confidence of the righte­ous maintained by such displays of vindic­tive power, but the same events load, with increasing danger, the interests of Satan and of the wicked in general.

To revive the interests of truth and of grace—to support the cause of God in the bosoms of the righteous, and to accumulate the degrees of danger, apprehension and fi­nal destruction, on the part of the wicked, have no doubt been important, if not lead­ing objects to be accomplished, in all the denunciations and executions which, in all ages, have been, in a higher or less degree, emptied forth upon the wicked, from the vials of the divine indignation.

In pursuance of the same important ob­jects, a call is issued, on a mighty and solemn [Page 330]occasion, to all friends to God, and to his government to rejoice. Rejoice over her thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets, for God hath avenged you on her.

Unfolding this passage I propose to shew,

  • I. Who it is over whose destruction holy beings are called upon to rejoice.
  • II. The cause of this disaster.
  • III. Notice the means employed to bring this event to pass. And,
  • IV. Shew the foundation the event lays for universal joy; concluding with some re­flections from the whole.

And will a very gracious God so enlight­en the mind, both of the speaker and of the hearers, that truths may be opened, impres­sions made, and effects wrought answerable to the nature and import of so solemn and momentous a subject.—I am,

I. To shew who it is over whose destruc­tion, or downfall, all holy beings are called upon to rejoice.

For his knowledge we must repair to the first and second verses of the context. And after these things, saith the inspired apostle, I saw another angel come down from heaven, [Page 331]having great power, and the earth was light­ened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, BABYLON THE GREAT IS FALLEN, IS FALLEN.

It is very generally, if not unanimously, agreed by Protestant writers, that by Baby­lon, as used in this place, you are to under­stand the extensive, once triumphant, and persecuting power of anti-christian Papal Rome, stiled BABYLON, because there are so many appendages to this idolatrous power, which so nearly resemble, and so exactly answer the prophetic description of Baby­lon, of the Chaldees—the inveterate the pow­erful, and, for a season, the successful ene­my of the people of God, in ancient time.

Figures of speech, especially in the pro­phetic parts, are very frequent in the scrip­tures. Indeed, almost the whole of this book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass, is made up of figures. Sometimes, lest the figure should be unintelligible, the angel sent to commu­nicate the very interesting intelligence of this invaluable book, explains the figure.— And sometimes the prophetic herald gives a different view of the same object in differ­ent [Page 332]figures. Of this method we have an ex­ample in the subject before us.

Papal Rome, here stiled BABYLON THE GREAT, in the chapter preceding is called, because of her idolatrous practices, and be­cause of her forsaking her original faithful Lord and Husband—the GREAT WHORE: And that it might be known to be the same power, as is here described, the word Baby­lon is annexed or interwoven with the o­ther characters of this mystical harlot. This fact will be yet more clear if you listen to the testimony itself. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet-coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet-colour, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand, full of abomina­tions and silthiness of her fornication. And upon her forehead was a name written, MYS­TERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MO­THER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

In supporting the allusion, or in running the parallel between ancient heathenish and modern anti-christian Papal Babylon, you [Page 333]will permit, that I but touch upon the dif­ferent branches of similarity, leaving the more full illustration to be supplied by your own recollection and study.

As in the prophetic writings the words Jerusalem, Zion, the Temple of the living God, &c. are used to express the state of the church under the Jewish, so the same words are sometimes applied to express the state and character of the church under the Christian dispensation. On the other hand, as Sodom, Egypt and Babylon were names given to the enemies of God, and of his church, in ancient time, so, under the same names, their successors are set forth and de­scribed as to exist in later times.

All these dark shades of national charac­ter, and many more, did time allow, might be proved to be, with justice, applicable to this anti-christian power of Papal Rome.— To Sodom this power may be likened for her sin, and to Egypt for her darkness, ido­latry and oppression. And, without doubt, by the angel of God, in his address to St. John on the subject of the slaughter of the witnesses, these dark shades are applied to this tyrannical dominion. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, [Page 334]which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where, also, our Lord was crucified. On these words, saith an approved commentator*‘The place where this was done is stiled Sodom and Egypt, and the great city where our Lord was crucified; which, if literally understood, signifies Jerusalem, but if mystically understood, ROME, or the Roman empire.’—And no one, I may add, will suppose it is perverting the prophetic emblem, if it be applied, solely, to Rome; especially, if it be recollected, that as Jeru­salem was the head of the Jewish, so Rome professes to be the head of the Christian em­pire; and also, that the once crucifying of our Lord at Jerusalem, is but a faint emblem of the thousand crucifixions he has since un­dergone in the multiplied persecutions and tortures of the members of his mystical bo­dy; and, I may add, which he still under­goes in the daily offerings, the mystical ser­vices, the superstitious masses of the church of Rome.

Hear, also, to this point, the testimony of a late very respectable writer on the subject of prophecy. ‘As to the great city, men­tioned [Page 335]under the figurative names of So­dom and Egypt, and compared also to Je­salem, where our Lord was crucified, we shall find by following visions that Rome, with its empire, is meant. It is called So­dom, on account of the abominable crimes committed in it, Egypt, on account of abounding superstition and idolatry, and the cruel bon [...]ge in which it holds the people of God: And it is compared to Jerusalem, being said to be the city where our Lord was crucified; because while it pretended to be an holy city, it had killed the prophets and saints, and crucified Christ afresh in his members. Here it may be more especially observed, that as in the beginning of the chapter the temple is the emblem of the Christian church, that city, with its empire, in which the church is com­prehended, may very properly be compar­ed to Jerusalem, the city in which the Jew­ish temple stood: And as our Lord was crucified within the jurisdiction of the Ro­man empire, and by the Roman authori­ty, and the Papal empire has succeeded to the other, and claims an equal extent, there is a propriety in saying that our Lord was crucified in the great city Rome, consi­dered [Page 336]in connexion with the empire of which it is the capital.’

Having laid this foundation as to the use and application of prophetic figures, to which much might be added, were it necessary, the way is plain to proceed with my subject, in an attempt to shew, that by BABYLON THE GREAT, whose fall is predicted in the text, is meant the present anti-christian power of Papal Rome.

This fact will, at once, appear most pal­pably evident, if, with attention, you are pleased to follow me in a consideration of the several articles of analogy, between anci­ent and modern Babylon, designed to justify the prophetic allusion.

1. Did Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Ba­bylon, set up an image, and call upon the subjects of his empire to fall down and wor­ship it, so hath the Nebuchadnezzar of the Church of Rome, supported by the magi of his kingdom, set up, and continued to set up images innumerable, to which the ho­mage of bowing and kneeling is continually paid in churches, in many public places, and even on the common country roads, by the subjects of this mystical empire, as is well known to those who have passed through this idolatrous country.

[Page 337] 2. Did the decree of the king of Babylon enjoin homage to this image on pain of be­ing cast into the midst of a burning fiery fur­nace; so doth the church of Rome enjoin homage to her idols on pain of exclusion from her communion, with the tortures of the inquisition in this world, and the pains of purgatory and damnation in the next.*

3. Did Nebuchadnezzar actually inflict, or attempt to inflict, the pains of the fiery furnace on some who refused to bow down to his image; so hath the church of Rome actually inflicted, on thousands of innocent Protestants, refusing to partake in her idola­tries, all the tortures which imagination could invent.

Let the history of her persecutions, mas­sacres, slaughters and burnings testify to this fact.

[Page 338] 4. Was ancient Babylon the seat and source of idolatry in the Pagan; so is Rome in the Christian world.

[Page 339] Did her kings rule over many kingdoms and provinces; so this anti-christian idola­trous [Page 340]harlot is said to sit upon many waters; with whom the kings of the earth have commit­ted [Page 341]fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.

[Page 342] 5. Was ancient Babylon a scourge to the people of God, and did she bring them into [Page 343]a seventy years captivity? so this anti-chris­tian power hath been a scourge to the true worshippers of God in modern times, and hath had a great part of the Christian church [Page 344]in more than Egyptian bondage for twelve hundred years.

During this bondage it is that the TWO WITNESSES—the few faithful, who, in every age, have testified to the truth; (as some have supposed) but if so, there may be also an al­lusion, and perhaps a primary one, to the TWO OLIVE TREES of the prophet's vision, the anointed ones that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.

The olive tree afforded light from its fat­ness, and nourishment from its fruit. Un­derstanding, therefore, the purport of the TWO WITNESSES, as explained by the an­gel, to be the two OLIVE TREES, and the TWO CANDLESTICKS, standing before the God of the earth, I am rather inclined to think, that they have a more extensive, mys­tical, and important meaning than what they have been generally understood to imply. If the olive trees and candlesticks were an emblem of spiritual and divine communica­tions during their standing in the Jewish, what should hinder the same application whilst they stand in the Christian church?

As the gifts and graces shed down upon the ministers of our blessed Lord, and upon his churches, after his ascension, were sup­posed [Page 345]to have been typified or presigured by the anointing and common oil of the sanctuary; so the olive tree as giving light and heat, and, I may add, nourishment too, was found in the usage and appointment of heaven, no unbecoming representation or emblem of those spiritual communications which were then shed upon the true wor­shippers, and which will ever be continued as long as Christ is the vine, or true olive, and his people the needy branches.

May we not then suppose, that by these TWO OLIVE TREES and the TWO CANDLE­STICKS, standing before the God of the earth, is meant the sources of divine and spiritual supplies to his church, the medium of com­munication, or methods of outward and o­pen exhibition; or shall we say, that the em­blem may partake a little of each, and stand a lively figure of them all?

If you ask how this interpretation can con­sist with the epithet, with their being called witnesses, it may be answered, they are justly and literally so to be stiled. Are not the word of God preached, and his ordinances administered, by his faithful ministers, pro­perly to be stiled WITNESSES for God?— [Page 346]And if you choose to retain the number two, may we not say the spirit and the word, with their usual and outward methods of admini­stration, are signified; or say the word, and the ordinances of God in general, or the whole exhibition of the testimony of God, whether in things inward and spiritual, or in things outward and visible?

With this interpretation agrees well the idea of their prophesying in sackcloth; for no one can pretend, but the administration of the word and worship of God, in the Ro­mish church, is so beclouded by ignorance, stiled darkness; by superstition and error, and by the ministry of a corrupt priesthood, as to lay just foundation to say, that the wit­nesses, with this interpretation, are empha­tically prophesying in sackcloth.

With the same idea consists, very exactly, the term of time in which these witnesses are appointed to prophesy:—It is during the whole reign of Antichrist, the forty-two months, or twelve hundred and sixty years. And I will give, or appoint, unto my two wit­nesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and three score days, clothed in sack­cloth.

With the same interpretation agrees the [Page 347]declaration or exposition of the angel in the next verse. These are the TWO OLIVE TREES and the TWO CANDLESTICKS standing be­fore the God of the earth. And, in fact, there seems nothing in the chapter but what may, with as great apparent truth; be reconciled to this interpretation, as to any other; and there are some things in it which cannot, with ease, be interpreted as applicable to the witnesses, in any other sense, understood or explained.

And if any should be disposed to believe, that the present reigning persecuting infidel power, now waging war against all revealed religion, in France, is likely to be the death of these same witnesses, who, for a long time, have already been made to prophesy in sack­cloth, perhaps the opinion may find support from the declaration of the angel: And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit, shall make war against them, and shall over­come them, and kill them. If this interpre­tation be true, the mourning witnesses are now suffering death in those parts of mysti­cal Babylon, where the existing exterminat­ing power has prevailed.

Did time allow, and was the present a [Page 348]proper place in the order of my discourse, I might expound upon the whole chapter, and easily reconcile any expressions which, at first view, might appear intricate, or doubtful, to the spirit of this interpretation. Suffice it, for the present, to say, that with this in­terpretation agrees well the declaration made respecting the injury these witnesses are able to do their enemies. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies. And of no­thing short of the administration of Heaven can it be said: These have power to shut hea­ven, that it rain not in the days of their pro­phecy. And of nothing short of this can it be said—They have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues as often as they will. And very cor­respondent to the death of the witnesses, and to the lying of their dead bodies in the street of the great city, is the death, the broken and demolished state of external religion in those parts of Papal Rome, in which the present exterminating power hath prevail­ed. And equally correspondent is the decla­ration, that they of the people, and tongues, and nations; probably those nations and churches out of the communion of the church of Rome, [Page 349] shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and, by a more lively administration of the word and ordinances of God, shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.

And over the death of these witnesses it is, that the men of this world shall rejoice, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets torment­ed them that dwelt on the earth.

To the resurrection and final exaltation of these witnesses well applies the verses succeeding. And after three days and an half, the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet, and great fear fell upon them that saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven, saying unto them—Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies be­held them. During these events it is said—And the same hour was there an earthquake. May it not mean the earthquake now begun—the present convulsions amongst the na­tions, (for so in prophetic stile the word sig­nifies) which are to be succeeded by the op­ening of the temple of God in heaven. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen, in his temple, the ark of his testament; and there were lightnings, and voi­ces, [Page 350]and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail!

And to conclude the argument, we are always to remember, that no interpretation of this mystical passage can be allowed, which does not grant to the witnesses an existence, and a testimony during the whole term of the anti-christian dominion. And I will give, or appoint, unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. *

If the foregoing interpretation be true, have we not a ready answer to the question, "How is it that there is so great dearth of religion in our churches, in our land, and in the world at the present time?"—May we not answer—Is not the present the dark pe­riod, towards which our forefathers have been looking, and which they have been ex­pecting [Page 351]to take place, during the period of the slaying of the witnesses?—And if total darkness prevails where the witnesses lie slain, is it surprising that the darkening rays of the same chaotic scene should, in a higher or less degree, penetrate the regions of the truth all around?—Nay, my brethren, men, even in our enlightened day, and in some Pro­testant countries, are not wanting, who, with equal power, and equal opportunity, would not be far behind the example of the pre­sent executioners of this dark decree. And, under this idea, may we not call upon our ministers and churches, in every place, to arouse to action, to fan the flame of spiritual life and zeal, that the light of the truth may not be wholly put out?—In a word, that the bodies, the external signs and figures of these slaughtered witnesses, may not be put in their graves—agreeably to the declaration to this point. And they of the people, and kindred, and tongues, and nations, shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.

And what encouragement have we to this, whilst we contemplate the animating pro­mise of verse 11. And after three days and an half, the spirit of life from God entered in­to [Page 352]them, and they stood upon their feet, and great fear fell upon them which saw them.

And is it at all admirable, that since this anti-christian power hath had the strength of the secular arm in support of her tyran­ny, that some few of the chosen of God, faithful witnesses, who were once her glory, and that even the ordinances, the spirit and the word, the worship, and the whole sanc­tuary with them, should be made to prophe­sy in mourning; especially whilst you attend to the description of this apostate church, in her wilderness, forsaken state?

Alas! "how changed from what she was before! Her glorious robe of light, and all her ornaments of apostolic truth and purity are gone, and she appears dressed in the pomp and splendor of worldly grandeur!—And instead of depending on the wings of the civil powers to bear her up, with tender concern for her danger and weakness, she is now boldly mounted on their backs, and compels them to carry her which way so­ever she pleases! Behold a church riding an empire! She has cast off her fidelity to Christ, and played the harlot with a multitude of lovers, and therefore Christ has cast her off, and doomed her to destruction."*

[Page 353] I proceed, then, to execute what was pro­posed, in running the parallel between an­cient heathenish and modern anti-christian Babylon, and say,

6. Is the king of Babylon described as one who, in the days of his power, did shake kingdoms, so may his successors, in this mys­tical kingdom, the popes and their councils, be described as shaking the nations, king­doms, and provinces within the reach of their pretended thunders, to their very cen­the.

What wars, insurrections and assassina­tions hath this power stirred up! What hu­miliations from the kings and princes of the earth, as well as from their subjects, hath she demanded and obtained during the series of her ungodly reign!

7. Is Nebuchadnezzar described as one that made the world as a wilderness; so hath Rome made the world a wilderness by her bloody persecutions; but much more hath she made the Christian church a wilderness, by with-holding from it the spiritual nou­rishment of sound doctrine, the ministration of the word and the ordinances of God, in their purity, spirituality and power.

[Page 354] 8. Is this mighty king described as one that opened not the house of his prisoners; neither doth the church of Rome permit any one even to think of breaking from her com­munion, and of asserting the liberty of con­science, in matters of religion, on pain of threatened exclusion from her favors here, and from the favor of God hereafter.

9. Did ancient Babylon bring the riches of foreign countries to adorn and enrich her­self; so has Rome adorned herself, and lived deliciously upon the spoils which she hath drawn, by her mystical forceries, from the princes and subjects of foreign nations.

10. Was ancient Babylon taken by the drying up, or by diverting the waters of the river Euphrates; so shall Rome be taken by the drying up of the EUPHRATES, the power and the wealth, the riches; even the whole revenues of the Romish church.*

11. As ancient Babylon, by her towers and her walls, was so fortified as to fear no enemy; so hath mystical Babylon said—I sit a queen, and shall see no sorrow:—there­fore shall her plagues come in one day; death and mourning, and famine.

[Page 355] 12. As Babylon of old was taken ac­cording to the appointment of Heaven by Cyrus; so mystical Babylon shall be taken by means appointed of God;—for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.

13. As Babylon was destroyed by the Medes and Persians, who, in time past, had been subject to her, or in alliance with her; so shall mystical Babylon be destroyed by means, or through the instrumentality of the ten kings, or kingdoms, who, at first, agreed together to give their power and strength un­to her. And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire; for God hath put into their hearts to fulfil his will.

14. Was there rejoicing at the downfall of ancient Babylon, among the nations, by all who had been plagued by her pride and power; so at the downfall of mystical Ba­bylon, shall there be equal joy.

In respect to the people of God, when de­livered from the oppression of ancient Ba­bylon it is said: And it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrows, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve, [Page 356]that thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say—How hath the op­pressor ceased! The golden city ceased!—The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet; they break forth into singing: Yea, the fir-trees rejoice at thou art laid down, no seller has come up a­gainst us. Hell from beneath is moved for thee, to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee.

Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols; the worm is spread un­der thee, and the worms cover thee.

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Luci­fer! Son of the Morning, how art thou cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations!

They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee and consider thee, saying—Is this the man that made the earth to tremble? that did shake kingdoms? that made the world as a wilder­ness? and destroyed the cities thereof? that opened not the house of the prisoners?

For I will arise up against them saith the Lord of Hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name and remnant, the son and nephew saith the Lord. I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water; and I will [Page 357]sweep it with the besom of destruction saith the Lord of Hosts.

Having thus taken but a very brief sur­vey of the joyful, though awful expressions of exultation at the destruction of ancient Babylon, let us, for a moment, examine what there is, upon sacred record, to answer this emblem in respect to the downfall of mysti­cal Babylon—And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, hav­ing great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fal­len, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich thro' the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues: For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double un­to her double, according to her works: in the [Page 358]cup which she hath filled, fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burnt with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived, deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning. Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas! that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her: for no man buyeth their merchan­dise any more: The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyme wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, and cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.— [Page 359]And the fruits that thy soul lusteth after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. The merch­ants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off, for the fear of her torment weeping and wailing. And saying, Alas, alas! that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and so [...]rlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every ship-master, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as made by sea, stood afar off, and cried, when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying— What city is like unto this great city! And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weep­ing and wailing, saying, Alas, alas! that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour she is made desolate. Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and pro­phets; for God hath avenged you on her. And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great mil­stone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. And the voice of harpers, and musicians, [Page 360]and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a milstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; and the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by the sorceries were all nations deceived, And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were stain upon the earth.

‘And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia! Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments; for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. And again they said, Alle­luia! And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, and the four beasts, fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne saying, Amen; Alleluia!—And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his [Page 361]servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.’

Did time allow, I might follow several o­ther prophecies in their application to this same anti-christian church, and shew the e­vidence they all carry of a threatened over­throw; but I shall wave this for the present, expressing all necessary to be expressed in this place, in the words of an eminent Eng­lish writer on this subject.*

The prophecies of Daniel, St. Paul, and St. John, though singly of great weight, re­ceive additional force if brought near and illustrated by each other. Having already examined them separately, and apart, let us now consider them together, and collect the evidence that arises when they are taken in one view, and form an entire and perfect whole.

From the most cursory view of the three predictions it is evident, that the same scheme [Page 362]and constitution of things, the same events, persons and times, the origin, continuance and destruction of the same tyrannical pow­er, (which power, by Daniel, is noted by the appellation of the little horn, by St. Paul is denominated the man of sin, and by St. John is branded with the titles of the beast, and the false prophet:) are distinctly foretold in all.

If Daniel describes the kingdom in which the little horn was to arise, by such emblems as can belong to none but the Roman, the same emblems, to pre-figure the kingdom of the beast and the false prophet, are also em­ployed by St. John, from whom we farther learn, that his appropriated place of residence is the city of Rome.

If Daniel restrains the sovereignty of this Roman power to the European or western part of the empire, after it was divided into ten shares, the same restriction is intimated in one of the epistles of St. Paul, and is more explicitly declared by the beloved disciple in the Apocalypse. If Daniel represents the nature of this usurped dominion as different from any other, St. Paul and St. John in­struct us, that this diversity consists in its be­ing spiritual, not a civil dominion, which is [Page 363]therefore to be sought for, not in the Heath­en, but in Christian Rome. If the instances in which this spiritual dominion is exerted, according to Daniel, be chiefly these—aspir­ing to supreme and uncontroulable authori­ty over the inhabitants of the earth—affect­ing divine titles and honors—enjoining the worship of daemons and departed saints— prohibiting marriage—working false mira­cles— and persecuting and killing those who oppose its claims; the same particulars are related, and with new additions and expli­cations in the writings of St. Paul and St. John. If the duration of this ecclesiastical polity be limited by Daniel to a time, and times, and the dividing of time, the same dura­tion is expressed, and, in a variety of phrases, by St. John, by whom the reign of the beast is fixed to a time, and times, and half a time, or to three years and an half, or forty-two months, or twelve hundred and sixty days.

And lastly, if the demolition of this ex­traordinary polity be denounced by the pro­phet of the Old Testament, the same inte­resting event is promised by the two apos­tles of the New. Such a number of coinci­dencies, all so strange and unusual in their kinds, to be found in the compositions of [Page 364]three persons, living in different, and one in a very remote period, cannot fairly be a­scribed to any other cause than to the im­pulse of the self-same spirit, who taught them all things, which it was necessary should be communicated for the admonition of the church of Christ upon whom the ends of the world should come.

Now of the characters recorded in scrip­ture, as the undoubted marks of Antichrist, many, at least, have been shewn to belong, exclusively, to the tyranny now existing in Papal Rome. For, first of all, this power is certainly a Roman one: Secondly, it is confined to the limits of the Latin, or west­ern empire: Thirdly, it arose among the ten kingdoms into which that empire was parted by the northern barbarians: Fourthly, its throne or seat is in the city of Rome: Fifth­ly, it is a Christian power; and, sixthly, it is discriminated from all others, by being of the spiritual or ecclesiastic kind. These are cir­cumstances so plainly realized in that part of Christendom which is subject to the Ro­man Pontiff, that it is not possible, by any art or subtilty of our adversaries, they can be evaded or denied."*

[Page 365] After such testimony and volumes to the same effect which might be produced, if ne­cessary, you will not deem it harsh, uncha­ritable, or unfair, if I say, the object pointed at in these prophecies, must infallibly be the present tyrannical, though, blessed be God! the tottering church of Papal Rome. This is the haughty Babylon, and this is the wo­man arrayed in purple and scarlet-colour, and decked with gold and precious stones, and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand, full of abo­minations, and filthiness of her fornication. And this is the woman, upon whose forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS, and ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And this is the woman that was seen drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And this is the woman that is denominated by the great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

If, in this place, you think proper to ask any thing respecting the rise, continuance, and final destruction of this multi-formed [Page 366]devouring monster, I answer, briesly, that according to the present most approved cal­culations we are authorized to say, that the origin of this anti-christian power was gra­dual, though its actual continuance is seve­ral times plainly expressed by the prophets to be twelve hundred and sixty years.

"Sometime between A. D. 500, and the end of the reign of the Goths, which was A. D. 553, when Narses took Rome and their dominions in Italy from them, and began the exarchate of Ravenna, the reckoning of twelve hundred and sixty years must begin. But Antichrist cannot be supposed to start up into view at once, in a sudden manner, as he will not fall without many preparatory circumstances. He became, by degrees, dis­tinguishable, and doubtless his ruin will be brought on by several steps in Providence.

Therefore, if we begin at the earliest da [...], when we may suppose he first presented him­self to view, the end of the period will bring us to the first steps towards his fall; but if we begin at the latest time; twelve hundred and sixty years, will bring us to the complete ruin of his power.

The first open breach between the west­ern and eastern churches was, as we have [Page 367]said, about the year 500. To reckon twelve hundred and sixty years from that time brings us to A. D. 1760. And it is remarkable that from that very year, when the Jesuits had excited the resentments of the kings of Eu­rope, which finally brought on the dissolu­tion of that order, the power of the church of Rome has been very apparently declin­ing, and several plain steps have been taken by the providence of God toward her ut­ter destruction. Convents have been sup­pressed, and their revenues seized in king­doms where superstition had long reigned without controul.

The infernal Courts of Inquisition have received severe checks, by which they are likely to be soon annihilated, in countries most noted for Romish bigotry.

Liberty of conscience has been given to Protestants in nations which had long been devoted to the papacy.

Roman Catholic princes begin to with­hold from Rome the customary revenues. Even a late Pope, by his liberal writings, has lent his help to render Romish supersti­tion ridiculous. And appearances are still proceeding." *

[Page 368] If, on the ground of the calculation just now mentioned, we proceed, the conclusion obviously is, that the destruction of Babylon is very near at hand. If to 1760, the date of the commencement of her fall, be added fifty years, the term in which she is suppos­ed to be falling, the sum will be the period of her expected overthrow. And from ap­pearances, now before us, we have good ground to conclude, that, if the decree of Heaven goes on for sixteen years to come, until 1810, as it has for four years past, the denunciation for the destruction of Babylon will be fully accomplished.

As to times and seasons, it is not for us exactly to know; and whatever mistakes we make in our calculation of numbers, it does not however, at all alter the decree, or post­pone the effect.

Hear the testimony of an eminent divine on this subject.*

Whatever mistakes the Jewish Rabbies might fall into in their interpretation of Da­niel's seventy weeks, and in their attempts to fix the precise time of the Messiah's com­ing; [Page 369]and whatever mistaken notions any of them had about the nature of his kingdom, as though it was to be of this world, and he to appear in all earthly grandeur, and although his coming, to some, might seem to be so long delayed, that they began to give up all hopes of it, and to contrive some other meaning to the ancient pro­phecies, or even to call in question the in­spiration of the prophets; yet neither the mistakes of some, nor the infidelity of o­thers, at all, altered the case. Days, and months, and years hastened along, and one revolution, among the kingdoms of the earth, followed upon another, till the ful­ness of time was come, till all things were ripe, and then, behold, the Messiah was born! Even so it shall be now.

Whatever mistakes Christian Divines may fall into, in their interpretation of six hundred and sixty-six, the number of the beast, or in their endeavors to six the pro­cise time when the twelve hundred and sixty years of Antichrist's reign shall begin and end; or whatever wrong notions some may have had, or may have about the na­ture of the Millennium, as though Christ [Page 370]was to reign, personally, on earth; and if some, mean while, begin to think that all things will go on as they have done, and to conclude, that the expectation of these glori­ous days which has prevailed in the Chris­tian church, from the beginning, is merely a groundless fancy; yet none of these things will at all alter the case. Days, and months, and years, will hasten along, and one revo­lution, among the kingdoms of the earth, follow upon another, until the fulness of time is come; till all things are ripe for the event; and then the ministers of Christ will accomplish, in reality, what St. John saw in his visions: I saw an angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gos­pel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, [...]nd kindred, and tongue, and people. And then shall it come to pass, that the veil of ignorance which hath so long spread over all nations shall be destroyed, and knowledge shall so great­ly increase, that it shall be as though the light of the moon were as the light of the sun; and the light of the sun sevenfold, un­til the knowledge of the Lord cover the earth as the waters do the sea. And then there shall be nothing to hurt or offend in all God's [Page 371]holy mountain. For Babylon shall fall, Sa­tan be bound, and Christ will reign, and truth and righteousness universally prevail a thousand years.

Having, thus, considered who it is over whose destruction all holy beings are called to rejoice, and said something of the origin, continuance, and expected downfall of this power, I proceed,

II. To consider the cause of this awful dis­aster.

Rejoice over her thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.

If we confine our researches after the pro­curing cause of this disaster to the appenda­ges of Babylon, we shall find it in her own guilt.

Permit me to point out her guilt as hint­ed at in the chapter from which my text is taken.

1. Babylon is charged with the extent of her idolatry.

The kings of the earth have committed for­nication with her; that is, have been em­braced by her idolatrous communion—unit­ed with her in a general apostacy from God.

2. She is charged with a selfish, mercena­ry [Page 372]spirit in the concerns of her administra­tion. The merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. "By the merchants understand all such as trade in Babylon's wares; her pleasing and cos [...]ly wares of pardons, masses and indul­gencies, by which so many are enriched; as well as those who trade in images, and in all the costly trappings of their idolatrous wor­ship, and especially in the souls of men."

3. She is spoken of as contaminating and endangering those who [...]arried within her li­mits, exposing the people of God to be be­witched by her sorceries. And I heard an­other voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her s [...]ns, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

My brethren, doth not this solemn decree, for the separation of God's people from the sins and abominations of Babylon, preach to us in these United States, even to us, who inhabit this asylum of the distressed, to be­ware of the habits, customs, influence and inchanting prerogatives of those who are sleeing before the vengeance of an incensed God? Be not partakers of her sins, that ye re­ceive not of her plagues.

This caution is supported by the annun­ciation [Page 373]of the angel of God. And there fol­lowed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture in­to the cup of his indignation: and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the pre­sence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.

4. The guilt of Babylon is spoken of as sending forth a cry: For her sins have reach­ed unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Either a cry of the persecuted and suffering church, or a cry for vengeance. And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimo­ny which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little [Page 374]season, until their fellow-servants also, and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

5. A remembrance of the persecuting spi­rit of this anti-christian power is spoken of as warranting a decree for vengeance from the Court of Heaven. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double, according to her work; in the cup which she hath filled, fill to her double.

It is probable this injunction or command is given to the ministers—to the ministering angels of God's judgments, in behalf of his church, and though it doth not call for the peaceful followers of the Lamb to wage a carnal warfare with this intolerant power, yet it doubtless authorises our prayers that her destruction may be speedy and inevit­able.

6. The last inherent cause of this awful calamity I shall mention, is found in the pride and haughtiness, luxury and voluptuousness of this self exalted anti-christian power.— How much she hath glorified herself and liv­ed deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her. For she saith in her heart—I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sor­row. Therefore shall her plagues come in one [Page 375]day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.

I am led to conclude this branch of my discourse, by adding, that the final cause of the destruction of Babylon is the sentence of God against her. This sentence is pronoun­ced by an angel from the court, from the tri­bunal of heaven. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen. And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great milstone, and cast it into the sea, saying. Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. If you ask the rea­son of this judicial sentence from the tribu­nal of heaven, it is said—For by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

Having pointed out who it is over whose destruction holy angels and men are called upon to rejoice, and considered the cause of this awful catastrophe, my subject leads,

III. To consider the means by which this event shall be brought about.

And what means, my audience, should you suppose might be adequate to such a task? [Page 376]to the task of overturning a power which hath subsisted more than twelve hundred years, supported by the kings of the earth, who drink of her cup, and delight in her sorce­ries —who have long since lent their aid for her support against the voice of reason—the demands of Heaven, and the cries of per­ishing thousands?—What power is equal to the task of accomplishing even the decree of Heaven against such might, such united force as Babylon is able to bring into the field? more especially, when you consider that for the terror of her enemies, and for the com­fort of her friends, this intolerant power pro­fesses to have in possession the keys of hea­ven and of hell?

Retreat you will be ready to say from such a task! Let no one be so presumptuous as to provoke her to anger, as to stir up her fury! —Many have been devoured by this levia­than, by this multi-formed, insatiable mon­ster; and God forbid that any more should be swallowed up, whilst they are able to make but a feeble, though honest attempt!

Our fears, my friends, are relieved whilst I read to you, from the inspiration of God, that the angel that pronounces the decree of destruction is commissioned from the Court [Page 377]of Heaven; has great power, and that the earth is lightened with his glory. And to support the executioner of the sentence it is added, for strong is the Lord God who judg­eth her.

As then the decree hath its origin in hea­ven, and the promulgation of it is by a mes­senger from Heaven, we are authorised to look to Heaven for MEANS to accomplish what its decree hath ordained.

Did it please the Lord of Hosts, in an­cient time, to promise deliverance to the He­brews in Egyptian bondage; and did he not graciously provide the means of deliverance? —Was it in after times threatened against this rebellious people that, for their hypo­crisy and sins, they should go into captivi­ty; and did not a righteous God provide the means to execute the sentence?—Hear the appointment of heaven to this task. O Assy­rian! the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation! I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire in the streets. Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his [Page 378]heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy, and out off nations not a few.

Wherefore it shall come to pass, that, when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon Mount Zion, and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assy­ria, and the glory of his high looks; for he saith, by the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom; for I am prudent: and I have removed the bounds of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man.

I cite this passage at length, not only that the sentiments under consideration may be supported, as to means of execution, appoint­ed by the decree of Heaven; but to teach that means may be appointed, and may e­ven execute the will of Heaven, and yet be themselves wholly ignorant of the God they are serving—be vastly sinful in what they do, and be, finally, sorely punished for the ungodly deed.

Again, did it please God to promise de­liverance to the captive Jews from Babylon; and did he not gird his man for the purpose? Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue na­tions before him; and I will loose the loins of [Page 379]kings, to open before him the two-leaved gates, and the gates shall not be shut: I will go be­fore thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and out in sunder the bars of iron. For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnam­ed thee though thou hast not known me. I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God besides me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me.

These examples of means provided for the accomplishment of mercies promised or for the execution of judgments denounced, in the wisdom of God, lay good foundation for as to proceed, and afford unerring di­rection to us in our enquries after the means or methods which God will provide and use, for the execution of the awful sentence of which our subject treats.

Babylon is fallen, is fallen! But by what means is she to be brought down?

The state of this anti-christian church is spoken of under several figures or emblems, all of which are to have their end in some method suited to the destruction of the ori­ginal figure.

If we ask after the destruction of this [Page 380]church under the figure of Babylon, we shall find the means pre-figured under the pour­ing out of the sixth vial—the vial which all present expositors allow to be now running.

And the sixth angel poured out his vial up­on the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.

I need not detain you here to say that the river Euphrates signifies the wealth, the re­venues, the strength and support of what­ever kind, by which Papal Babylon hath, in time past, been upheld:—And if you wish to know whether this river hath been, or is now drying up, you may be informed by asking those who can tell to what end the revenues of the church of Rome have late­ly come. You may ask where are her pri­vileges and prerogatives, her churches, her church-lands, her wonted revenues from princes and from subjects, especially, in re­spect to those parts of the empire on which the contents of this vial have already been poured?—You may ask, where is that faith, that implicit faith which was once put in her?—that domination which she maintain­ed over the consciences of men?—Where are her idols—her masses—her superstitions [Page 381]—her ministers?—As to her revenues, it will be answered, they have ceased;—as to faith, confidence and trust in this once re­puted fountain of truth and infallibility, it will be said, it is departed; her subjects have thrown off the mask, and refuse to be hood­winked any longer. As to her idols, so far as there was any value in them, they are now passing in coin; and as to her ministers, they are executed and dispersed. Even the col­lege of Sorbonne* is obliged to yield up her magi, and give them, to her foes, a prey.

If you ask why the drying up of the river Euphrates is spoken of, that the way of the kings of the east may be prepared? I answer, in a word, that as ancient Euphrates was dried up, that the way of her enemies, who came from the east, might be prepared, in their approach to her destruction; so this mystical river is dried up, that the city itself may become an easy prey.

On this passage hear the language of a ju­dicious divine.

"In the drying up of the river Euphrates, [Page 382]manifest allusion is had to the manner of old Babylon's destruction. The river Euphrates ran through old Babylon, and was a greater defence to it than its celebrated walls, which, for thickness and height, were the wonder of the world. Cyrus, "the leader of the Kings of the East," when he took Babylon, cut many ditches, and let the river Euphra­tes run out, and so he and his soldiers enter­ed the city, and took it. As the drying up of Euphrates, then, was an immediate fore­runner of the destruction of Babylon; in like manner, the drying up of Euphrates, signify it what it will, shall be the immediate fore­runner of the destruction of anti-christian Babylon, whenever it shall be. The Romish Euphrates being dried up, the Romish Ba­bylon will hasten, amain, towards its final ruin."

Whether the Euphrates of the Romish Babylon is not already so far dried up, as that the Kings of the East have made a breach upon her, let facts and daily intelligence de­termine.

What though you call the instruments of this successful attack upon Rome a lawless banditti—a race of infidels—men, who pro­fess to "know no God but Liberty, and no [Page 383]Gospel but their Constitution."—What then! are they not, in the hand of God, as well cho­sen instruments for the execution of threaten­ed vengeance upon mystical Babylon, as the heathenish kings of the east were, for the same design, upon Babylon of the Chaldees?

Those who look through the great plan, viewing the purposes of Heaven upon a broad scale, believe and know that Kings and Cap­tains, in all ages; nay, that even wicked men and devils, in the fullness of their rage, are yet under the divine controul; that the wrath of the whole, in the end, shall praise him, and the remainder he is able to restrain.

In running through with the destruction of Babylon, the prophet notices a movement of a very extraordinary nature; an exertion made to oppose the deluge which Almighty God is causing to overspread the anti-chris­tian world. But, alas! a feeble exertion, and, in the end, does but expedite the overthrow denounced.

And I saw three unclean spirits, like frogs, come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. The ap [...] proceeds to interpret the objects prese [...]d. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, [Page 384]which go forth unto the kings of the earth, and of the whole world, to gather them to the bat­tle of that great day of God Almighty.

"In the foregoing verses," saith the author just now cited, ‘an account was given of the subject upon which the sixth vial was pour­ed out, namely, upon the river Euphrates. Here we have an effect that followed there­upon; a warlike expedition, or gathering to battle. Where, note 1. The principal commanders, in this battle, the Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet.’

‘2. The instruments employed and made use of by them who are said to be, for their nature, spirits; for their quality, unclean; for their number, three; for their similitude and resemblance like frogs; namely, with respect to their corrupt origin, and their numbers—they swarm and croak in all places, and live both in the water and up­on the earth:—by all which, many inter­preters understand emissaries, missionaries, negociators, solicitors and legates, sent forth, and employed by Antichrist for the support and strengthening of him and his kingdom, by soliciting the kings of the earth to join together in battle against his enemies.’

[Page 385] We need no testimony to support the o­pinion that the nuncios, legates, bishops and monks of the church of Rome have been in­dustriously, and, speaking after the manner of men, but too successfully employed in ranging the present combination of kings a­gainst the progress of the divine decree.— But Babylon is fallen, is fallen in the coun­cils of heaven, and no popish emissaries shall prevail to parry the fatal blow. True, they have boasted their art and success in parry­ing the arguments, and the appeals of Pro­testants in time past, but they cannot parry the judgments of God.

And [...]e gathered them together into a place, called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.

‘He, that is Almighty God, by his per­missive providence, suffered the kings of the earth to hearken to Antichrist's mission­aries, and to assemble and gather together, as Jabin and Sisera gathered together a­gainst Israel to their own destruction: And whereas the place of their gathering to­gether and destruction is called ARMAGED­DON, that is so named from the event of the battle, signifying such a place where the enemies of the Lord shall be destroy­ed’

[Page 386] If any are disposed to enquire after this place of destruction, let them peruse the ac­counts of the many bloody battles which have been fought since resistance has been made to the purposes of heaven in the exist­ing decree, and anticipate the destruction yet to follow.—One hundred and fifty, if not two hundred thousand, are supposed to have perished in all the conflicts, battles, sieges, as­sasinations and executions which have tak­en place since the present vial has begun to run. Witness, especially, the late very seri­ous rencounters between the forces of France and the allied armies, in and about the Aus­trian Netherlands, as well as upon all their frontiers, and we may add also the massacres of internal commotion.—Must not such tor­rents of blood be placed to the account of the battle of the great day of God Almighty?

If this anti-christian power, for her apos­tacy from God, and for her idolatry, be fi­gured forth to us under the degrading and abominable idea of a prostitute, her destruc­tion is said to come from the hatred of the ten kings or kingdoms heretofore in her idolatrous communion.

And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; [Page 387]but receive power as kings one hour, or at the same time, with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.

But, in the day of God's wrath, whilst the sixth vial continues to deliver its mysterious, but avenging contents, the ten kings shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.

If it please God to set forth this anti­christian power under the denomination of a beast, his destruction, with his adherents, is threatened by an angel of God, not only as to this life, but as to the life to come.

And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast, and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is pour­ed out without mixture into the cup of his in­dignation: and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy an­gels, and in the presence of the Lamb.

If it please God to speak of this idolatrous and intolerant power under the character of the man of sin, whose coming is after the work­ing of Satan, with all power, and signs, and [Page 388]lying wonders: his destruction is denounced as being brought about by the vindictive jus­tice of God:—Whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.

If this power is represented as interwoven with the civil power of the fourth great king­dom of the world; if the civil and ecclesias­tical power of Rome forms the iron and the clay, well may its destruction be predicted by the rolling of the stone (cut out, not with human hands, but by the providence of God,) against the legs, or rather the feet and toes of this kingdom, which is founded of iron and clay—partly strong and partly weak— partly true and partly false: well, I say, may destruction come from the stone prepared of God with this design. Thou sawest, saith Daniel to Nebuchadnezzar, till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces: And the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

Can I better set before you the interpre­tation of this portion of prophecy, than in the words of Bishop Newton, supported by [Page 389]the celebrated Mr. Mede?* "As the fourth kingdom, or the Roman empire, was repre­sented in a twofold state; first, strong and flourishing, with legs of iron, and then weak­ened and divided, with feet and toes, part of iron and part of clay; so this fifth kingdom, or the kingdom of Christ, is described like­wise in two states, which Mr. Mede rightly distinguisheth by the names of regnum lapi­dis, the kingdom of the stone, and regnum montis, the kingdom of the mountain; the first, when the stone was cut out of the moun­tain without hands; the second, when it be­came itself a mountain, and filled the whole earth.

"The stone was cut out of the mountain with­out hands. The kingdom of Christ was first set up while the Roman empire was in its full strength, with legs of iron. The Roman empire was afterwards divided into ten les­ser kingdoms, the remains of which are sub­sisting at present. The image is still stand­ing upon his feet and toes of iron and clay. The kingdom of Christ is yet a stone of stum­bling, and a rock of offence. But the stone will, one day, smite the image upon the feet [Page 390]and toes, and destroy it utterly, and will it­self become a great mountain, and fill the whole earth: or, in other words, the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever.

"We have, therefore seen the kingdom of the stone, but we have not yet seen the KING­DOM OF THE MOUNTAIN. Some parts of this prophecy still remain to be fulfilled; but the exact completion of the other parts will not suffer us to doubt of the accomplishment of the rest also, in due season."

And what period of time, my brethren, hath ever looked so likely to be introducto­ry to the regnum montis, to the kingdom of the mountain, as the present? Is not the stone now rolling against the feet and toes of the mighty image? And when it shall have split in sunder the heterogeneous and unna­tural mixture, of which the empire of Rome is now composed; when the civil and eccle­siastical authority (which hath so long com­posed what, in the dignity and pride of an­ti-christian glory, hath been stiled THE HO­LY ROMAN EMPIRE,) shall be separated or dissolved, there will be good ground to be­lieve, that the empire of Jesus Christ—the regnum montis, will begin.

[Page 391] The rolling of the stone, then, and the in­crease of it to the size of a mountain, may justly be placed to the account of means or­dained of God for the destruction of mysti­cal Babylon—the empire of the church of Rome.

And if it may not be presuming too far, I would venture to assert, that appearances are not only now favoring the introduction of the REGNUM MONTIS, but that it has al­ready begun, and is considerably advanced in its progress. But,

How shall the little stone become a moun­tain, and how shall it destroy this mighty image, this anti-christian colossus, which hath stood so many a storm?

Must it not acquire a power—gain a mo­mentum equal to the task?

Must there not be some power applied be­side reason and argument; the force of which this power hath found means so long to with­stand? —Undoubtedly, you will say, there must be such a power—but where is it to be found, and from what quarter must it come?

Behold, my brethren, behold in the scenes now passing in the drama of Europe—an­other Assyrian and his host!—another ax in the hand of him that heweth therewith, and [Page 392]another saw in the hand of him that shaketh it!

In the same group behold another Cyrus, whose right hand the Lord hath holden to sub­due nations before him— before whom the Lord loosened the loins of kings, and opened before him the two-leaved gates. Before whom the Lord went to make crooked places straight; to break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:—Whom the Lord surnamed, and whom he girded with power, though the Assyrian knew him not.

If this language seem too mysterious to any, let them receive a familiar stile, and be­hold the regnum montis, the kingdom of the mountain, begun on the Fourth of July, 1776, when the birth of the MAN-CHILD— the hero of civil and religious liberty took place in these United States. Let them read the predictions of heaven respecting the in­crease of his dominion—that he was to rule all nations with a rod of iron; that is, bring them into complete and absolute subjection; and that the young hero might be equal to this mighty conquest, he is supported by an omnipotent arm; he is caught up unto God, and to his throne. Behold, then, this hero of America wielding the standard of civil [Page 393]and religious liberty over these United States! —Follow him, in his strides, across the Atlan­tic! —See him, with his spear already in the heart of the beast!—See tyranny, civil a [...] ecclesiastical, bleeding at every pore!—See the votaries of the tyrants; of the beasts; of the false prophets, and serpents of the earth, ranged in battle array, to withstand the pro­gress and dominion of him, who hath com­mission to break down the usurpations of ty­ranny —to let the prisoner out of the prison-house; and to set the vassal in bondage free from his chains—to level the mountains— to raise the valleys, and to prepare an high way for the Lord!

Against all opposition to the execution of this decree, the Lord, from the heavens, will laugh. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh, the Lord shall have them in derision. —Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. Be wise now, therefore, O ye kings, be instructed ye judges of the earth.

It seems no unnatural conclusion from an­cient prophecy, and from present appear­ances, that in order to usher in the domi­nion of our glorious Immanuel, as predic­ted [Page 394]to take place, and usually called the lat­ter-day-glory, TWO GREAT REVOLUTIONS are to take place; the first outward and po­litical; the second inward and spiritual.— The first is now taking place; its happy ef­fects we, in this country, already enjoy; and O that the Lord would graciously put it in­to the hearts of his ministers and churches, nay, of all now under the dominion of civil and religious liberty, to begin the second re­volution, that which is inward and spiritual, even the revolution of the heart. Come forth then, may we not pray, all ye votaries of truth! ye advocates for the spiritual empire of the LATTER DAY, come forth!—

Let the standard of truth and of duty, the standard of allegiance to God, through faith in his beloved Son, be set up! Let us preach, let us pray, let us fight, manfully, the war­fare of faith—not doubting, but in God's own time, the glorious things, of which the pro­phets have spoken, shall be fulfilled!

Behold the first revolution, (through the agency of the hero of America) in this coun­try, already begun, nay, already accomplish­ed!—why not then NOW begin the second?

What encouragement is there to proceed, whilst we see some of the last events taking [Page 395]place, under the sixth vial, which are to pre­cede the glory of the latter day, to be usher­ed in immediately on the pouring out of the seventh!

I have now gone through with a consider­ation of the means appointed of God for the overthrow of mystical Babylon. These means, I make no doubt, you will believe fully ade­quate to the execution of the decree. It now only remains that I consider,

Lastly, The foundation which the execu­tion of this decree lays for universal joy.

Rejoice over her thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.

If there was no other cause of rejoicing on this mighty occasion, but the invitation of heaven to the general concert, sufficient cause might be found for the emotion the event demands.

But we are not called to rejoice without sufficient light afforded, to guide us in this rational and Christian exercise.

1. There is cause of universal joy on this occasion, because by the destruction of mysti­cal Babylon, the great Michael of the church hath gained a very important victory over the principalities and powers of hell. The [Page 396]placing of one, bearing horns like a lamb, and speaking with the mouth of a dragon, in high­est authority in the church of Christ, is al­lowed, on all hands, to be a master-piece a­mong all the devices of Satan; the highest, the most crafty and successful effort which the wicked one hath ever played off against the interests of Christ in any age of the world.—Well then may the detection and over­throw of Satan, in this scheme of ruling the church, in the garb of an angel of light, de­mand the liveliest acclamations of general joy.

2. A participation in this general anthem of praise, at the downfall of Babylon, is de­manded, as matter of exultation on the part of the holy prophets, apostles and martyrs, whose blood she had formerly shed. Rejoice over her thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.

And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

3. There is cause of joy, at this event, on the part of the church, as in her advancings to her promised perfection and glory, she shall not be obstructed by the persecutions, massa­cres, inquisitions, tortures, and thunders of this apostate church of Rome.

[Page 397] 4. On the part of all who have received, and now maintain the testimony of God, as recorded in his holy word, there is cause of joy, that the fulfilment of the many prophe­cies respecting Antichrist, the man of sin, &c. are fulfilled, and thereby an accumulation of evidence is obtained of the authenticity of the scriptures, as being in deed and in truth the LIVELY ORACLES OF GOD.

5. There is cause of joy, in this solemn and affecting event, because it is one of the last things to take place, before it shall be proclaimed—The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever.

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ; for the accuser of our brethren is cast out, which accused them before God day and night.

This subject being a leading object, in this work, you will permit me to present, in a very brief manner, the several denunciations of wrath against mystical Babylon, and shew the acclamations of joy that immediately fol­low, on account of the important and inte­resting events which follow.

Is the anti-christian power of Rome set [Page 398]forth by the iron and clay of the great image? and is it to be dashed in pieces by the stone cut out without hands? immediately it is predicted, that the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

Is this intolerant power represented by the horn which came up among the ten horns;—by the horn which had eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things. I beheld, then, saith the prophet, because of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body de­stroyed, and given to the burning flame. I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of Man came in the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, and nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

Is this power spoken of as to rise, after the falling away, in the character of the MAN OF SIN—the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or worshipped; so that he as God, sitteth in the [Page 399]temple of God, shewing himself that he is God—it is the same whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the BRIGHTNESS OF HIS COMING.

And after the destruction of Babylon, as recorded in this ninteenth chapter, I heard, saith the apostle, a great voice of much peo­ple in heaven, saying, Alleluia: Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God: for true and righteous are his judgments; for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornica­tion; and hath avenged the blood of his ser­vants at her hand.

In the conclusion of the whole scene of distress, of which the ninteenth chapter of this book is a lively picture, the twentieth chapter begins with the introduction of the Millennial-day.

And I saw an angel come down from hea­ven, having the key of the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a THOU­SAND YEARS.

After such descriptions of success, and joy to follow, in favor of the church of Christ, after the downfall of Babylon, you will not [Page 400]wonder that the church should be called, nor that she should be disposed to rejoice at the overthrow.

I have now gone through with the doctri­nal part of my discourse: I have considered who it is, over whose destruction holy beings are called upon to rejoice—the cause of this disaster—the means employed to bring it a­bout, and the foundation it lays for univer­sal joy.

If, after such lengthy illustrations, any re­flexions might be admitted, may they not, briefly, in view of the objects of this work, be such as follow?

1. If the general scope of our subject is allowed to be consonant to the word of God, and be truly applicable to those objects to­wards which it has been directed; no one can be at a loss for a key to the providence of God in the national, civil, and ecclesiasti­cal convulsions which are now shaking, to the foundation, some of the most potent pow­ers in Europe.

Is not the day of the divine vengeance come?—Are not the vials of the divine in­dignation now pouring out?—Is not Baby­lon like a [...]illstone, sinking into the sea?— [...] not th [...] the time of the falling of the stars. [Page 401]—the dethroning, in church and state, of those who, by their iniquities and tyrannies, have out-run the compassion of their God? And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig-tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

Is not this the time of the rise of the beast from the bottomless pit, who shall make war against the witnesses, and shall overcome them, and kill them?

Is not the time now introducing, in which it shall be said by the angel—Thrust in thy sickle, and reap; for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe?

And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great wine-press of the wrath of God.

And have we not cause to fear, that after the finishing of the present sixth vial, which dries up the mystical Euphrates, the order will be issued to pour out the seventh into the air—as some suppose, upon all the sub­jects of the Prince of the Power of the Air, throughout the world? And the seventh an­gel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, [Page 402]from the throne, saying—It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.

And do we not begin to see the characters and proceedings opening to view, which ful­fil the prophetic declaration, immediately on the fall of Babylon?—And is become the ha­bitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hate­ful bird?

Is not the time now come, in which, from the many slaughters which are continually taking place, the scene may be supposed to be begun, in view of which saith St. John, And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.

To what height of distress the world may yet, in judgment for their disobedience to God, be allowed to come, God only knows; [Page 403]But in view of the awful, judicial prospect, well may we cry out, O Lord rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure! Cover us, O thou gracious and compassionate Redeemer, by the broad hand of thy protecting providence, until the indig­nation be over-past!

But from these solemn scenes we are all, but especially as many as have good hope in God, allowed to turn off our eye, whilst, on equally sure ground, we are called to con­template the blessedness which shall speedily follow.—To support your confidence on this subject, I need but refer you to the general annunciation of praise from the choirs of heaven, which our subject hath noted, as im­mediately to follow the destruction of the enemies of God, and of his people. We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come, because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reign­ed!

2. In view of our subject may we not re­flect, that, however the doctrine of the Mil­lennium—the doctrine of the thousand years of prosperity, promised to the church of Christ, may have been neglected, decried or misun­derstood, yet it is a doctrine plainly contain­ed, [Page 404]and solidly established in the word of God—and as such is entitled to the credit, the study and embrace of all who believe the scriptures to be the unchanging oracles of God.

3. If this doctrine be true, we justly con­clude, that those ministers of Christ, who, in the several ages of the church, have been pursuing and enquiring after the glorious Millennial-day, have not been pursuing a shadow, nor following a phantom.

4. If they are to be justified in their re­searches, and if, whilst under the clouds of antiquity, they rejoiced in view of the dis­tant, yet assuredly approaching scene, how much more may we be justified in such pur­suit, and in increasing joy, whilst the "red­dening streaks of the morning betoken to the weary traveller, that the day is at hand?"

5. If the great Michael of the church in­tends to usher in his glorious dominion by the previous accomplishing of TWO GREAT REVOLUTIONS—the first outward and poli­tical —the second inward and spiritual; and if he hath already advanced so far in the majesty of his power, as to have completed the first revolution in this country, through the instrumentality of the sons of men, how [Page 405]necessary and proper, that the second should now be undertaken, and carried on through the instrumentality of the sons of God?

Can we, who are ministers of Christ—can the churches of our Lord, throughout this our delightful land—can we unitedly or se­verally be willing to suffer, that the civil and military exertions of our country should con­tribute more to the prosperity of the Zion of God, than the sons of Zion themselves?— Can we be willing that, with the prowess and dignity of men, these should so worthily and valiantly have discharged the duties allotted them, whilst we, loitering upon our posts, refuse to hear the voice of our illustrious Leader, in his word and providence, com­manding us to imitate his example, and to press forward to exertion, to victory, and to renown?

For a moment let us cast our eye upon the vision of St. John respecting this mat­ter. And I saw heaven opened—that is the ordinances of heaven, or the scenes display­e [...] [...] the church of Christ, by the ministers and churches of Christ, which, in the lan­guage of prophecy, signify heaven; as a peo­ple of a contrary spirit and character are set forth by the earth, or nations of the earth: [Page 406] And behold a white horse, and he that sat up­on him was called Faithful and True; and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. And the armies which were in heaven, that is, in the church militant, and, it may be, tri­umphant, followed him upon white horses— emblems of valor, of victory, and of triumph —cloathed in fine linen, white and clean.—And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it should smite the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the wine-press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.*

If, my Christian Brethren, we profess to belong to the armies of the living God—to be in the train of the great Michael of the church, why not press on?—Why not keep close to our Leader, that we may be within the hearing of his orders—may imitate his example—may perform exploits before him —may prove ourselves worthy to hold rank in such an heavenly train?

But how, in what manner follow on, you [Page 407]may be ready to say?—Must we take arms?—Must we go to war?—Must we commence hostilities against the empires, the kings, the tyrants, the civil and ecclesiastical establish­ments of the world?—Yes, my brethren, this is our duty, and here is our employment: But always remember, with our valiant file­leader, that, in the accomplishment of this second revolution, the weapons of our war­fare are not carnal, but mighty, through God, to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought into the obedience of Christ.

Such, my brethren, are our weapons, and such is our warfare. Happy for the true ser­vants of Christ, that, as yet, they are not cal­led, in this present conflict, to engage in the bloody contests of ungodly men—not to wel­ter in the scenes of war, where the battle of the warrior is, [...] garments rolled in blood. It may be in the accomplishment of the first great political revolution, something like this may be necessary; but, in this land, at present, we have little to do, but with an ar­mour of truth, of righteousness, and of peace.

But if in the general conflict, it should [Page 408]happen that the once vanquished Lion—the political and, I may add too, the Protestant Dragon, should return to persecute the wo­man which brought forth the MAN-CHILD— the warrior of the world—the pionier of the church; we need not a spirit of prophecy to say, that the jaws of this insatiable leviathan shall again be broken, in a manner answer­able to the spirit—to the redoubled fury and reiterated strokes of those who, under God, at first gave the promised here of civil and religious liberty birth.

If any should ask on what authority we ground an allusion to the Protestant perse­cuting power under the idea or sigure of a dragon—I answer, That the chapter from whence this language is taken is of a very extensive and momentous signification.

It truly is enveloped in some degree of mystery, as it was undoubtedly designed to be, especially, under the characters of the woman—the eagle's wings—the wilderness— the man-child, and the dragon, who seeks to devour the struggler as soon as he shall be born.

But as a key to this chapter, I would hum­bly, and in the fear of God, presume to say, that, under the character of the woman and [Page 409]her sorrows, we have exhibited the state and strugglings of the true church of Christ, in every age of the world, in which she ha [...], or may be called to suffer, from the Chris [...] an aera until the consummation of all thing. That under the general sigure of the dragon we have exhibited the most considerable e­nemies and persecutors of the church of Christ in every age; Satan himself, that old serpent, the Devil, being the prime instru­ment, and first mover of the whole. That by the wilderness, we are to understand a state of spiritual dearth and barrenness, or those leaves, shades, and darkening boughs of su­perstition, which have been as the shades of a wilderness to hinder the spiritual growth; or, lastly, a wilderness in the literal and com­mon acceptation of the word. And, by the general figure of a MAN-CHILD, you are to understand the particular and several deli­ances, which the church of Christ, in any, and in every age of the world, hath enjoy­ed, from its first institution until the present moment. And, by the two wings of the great eagle, may we not understand the spe­cial providence and agency of Almighty God in these several very interesting events? [Page 410]In this sense, denoting the power of God in conquering the enemies of his people, and in securing them under the banner of his own protection—the phrase is used in Exo­dus xix. 4. Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on EAGLE'S WINGS, and brought you unto myself. And after a long course of protection afforded to the people of God, through the wilderness of Sinai, and their settlement in the promis­ed land, it is again said, Deut. xxxii. 9—12. For the Lord's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilder­ness: he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, bear­eth them on her wings; so the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.

Under the same idea of the divine agency and protection afforded, saith the Psalmist— Because thou hast been my help, therefore, in the shadow of thy wings, will I rejoice.

This foundation being laid as a key to the chapter, may we not proceed, and say, that the woman denotes the state of the church [Page 411]in its first institution? And there appeared a great wonder in heaven, a woman cloathed with the sun; it may be with the vestments of the sun of righteousness; and the moon under her feet; the earth and other sublu­nary things in their proper place; and upon her head a crown of twelve stars; guided and governed by the unadulterated doctrines of the twelve apostles. In this character, the church of Christ at first stood forth; but so soon was the truth beclouded—her privi­leges restrained, and her members persecut­ed, that she, struggling for civil and religi­ous liberty, is denominated as being with child, as travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. The character of a woman the church is supposed to take, as denoting her delicacy—her fruitfulness, and her need of protection.

But under the lashes of paganism and hea­thenish tyranny, she was obliged to groan out the ten persecutions, until, in the person of Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor, she brought forth her first-born, and lived, for a while, under the happy do­minion of civil and religious liberty.

And who would have thought that, in process of time, prosperity would have pro­duced [Page 412]such pride, dominion and tyranny in spiritual, and in earthly things; even in those who have but just now emerged from a suf­fering and persecuted state?

But, alas! behold the Pagan Dragon re­stored to life, in the papal, anti-christian im­age! And under this papal, persecuting pow­er behold the series of heathenish persecu­tion again renewed!

How did the woman again labor to be de­livered, and what were the effects of her la­bor, under papal tyranny, but the glorious reformation which took place in the sixteenth century, under the preaching of Wick liff. John Huss, and Jerom; and afterwards car­ried on by Luther, Calvin, and others?

And shall it, may it now be said, that the spirit of protestantism—the hero of deliver­ance from the thraldom of Popery, ever be­come so degenerated as, in the smallest de­gree, to act over the part of its Papal and Pagan predecessors? Let the persecutions of civil and ecclesiastical power, under Mary, James, Laud, and others, whilst they strug­gled for uncontrouled dominion in church and state, "in things civil and ecclesiasti­cal," answer to this point!

The sufferings of the Protestants, under [Page 413]this new formed intolerant power, do well answer to the character of the church—of the woman in her suffering and persecuted state.

But, behold! how soon does the persecut­ed woman receive an answer to her solemn appeals, and reiterated cries? See, on the wings of a bounteous providence, how she is wafted across the Atlantic, and settled in these peaceful American abodes!—Happy, that as the time of general redemption comes, her enemies are held in partial restraint.— Here she is pursued and persecuted only in outward and civil things; though what de­signs might have been formed against her religious freedom we cannot say.

In a word, behold the hero of civil and religious liberty born in these western climes! And see him already on his way back [...]o de­molish the proud and haughty establishments of civil and ecclesiastical tyranny, which have in these several forms, persecuted his mo­ther, whilst she labored to give him birth!

And is it too much to suppose, that, in his progress back, he will demolish all that is contrary to the spirit of the truth—to the intent and design of that power, under whose auspices he now proceeds, conquering and [Page 414]to conquer; whether such counterseits of truth be found in Protestant, in Papal, or in Pagan Rome? Especially, whilst you read, that this hero is to rule all nations with a rod of iron, and is caught up to God and to his throne?—If you request any further il­lustrations to authenticate this interpreta­tion, attend to the declaration, that when the Dragon, in his multi-formed character, was cast out, was conquered, disappointed, or dis­graced, he persecuted the woman that bro't forth the man-child. And thus, my audi­ence did the Pagan Dragon, in the person and persecutions of Julian the Apostate; and thus did the Papal Dragon, in all the perse­cutions, thunders, and councils, by which he hath vexed and destroyed the Protestants; and thus has the Protestant Dragon done, not only in heavy persecutions for conscience sake, but, especially, in the slood of troops, armies and fleets—Britons and Irish, Bruns­wickers and Waldeckers, Hessians and Ans­pachers, which this red dragon vomited forth for the destruction of the woman in the A­merican wilderness, during the late unpro­voked and cruel war; and thus is this Pro­testant Dragon, even now, but too ready to express of his persecuting temper, in open­ing [Page 415]upon these defenceless states the Alge­rine Corsairs—in committing depredations upon our commerce, and in letting loose, or in countenancing their savage allies, in mak­ing war upon our western frontiers. But we believe in God, our hope and confidence is in him, and to his protecting power and pro­vidence do we, therefore, humbly appeal.

You will not now doubt of the propriety of the allusion, just now hinted at, respecting ing the persecuting power of the Protestant Dragon—nor at all deny the propriety of our holding ourselves in lively and animat­ed readiness to break the jaws of this levia­than, as God may give us power, should he attempt again to break our peace.

And if any should be disposed to ask what has become of the eagle, on whose wings the persecuted woman was born into the Ame­rican wilderness, may it not be answered, that she hath taken her station upon the broad seal of the United States; and from thence has perched upon the pediment of the first government-house, dedicated to the dominion of civil and religious liberty, where she is still to be seen, an emblem of the pro­tection of Providence towards our present government, and towards this our happy land.

[Page 416] If any should be disposed, further, to ask whether the dragon of the regions below, even that old serpent called the Devil, and Satan, is to be seen in any other form than as animating the dragons—the combinations of civil and ecclesiastical power, in the many external injuries they have wrought against the church of God on the earth? I answer, yes, in every age of the church, whether her external state has been peaceful or trouble­some: The errors in doctrine—the breaches upon the purity of Christian practice—the scisms, divisions and discord in churches— the prejudice, hatred and malice which have, [...] times, prevailed in the church, have been, for the most part, but the ebullitions of Satan, the great dragon of dragons, who continually goeth about, as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour; and hapless state the church, too frequently, has been in, that even with­in her own bosom, the Devil himself should find so many willing instruments of his plea­sure, agents of his infernal craft. Look a­broad upon our churches, and behold the dearth of religion—the want of unity, ani­mation and zeal amongst both ministers and people; and pray, oh fervently pray, that when, as at the present time, the enemy shall [Page 417]come in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord, in his word, in his ministers and churches, may lift up a standard against him.

But returning to the important subject of the second great revolution, after which it is our duty constantly to labor, may we not add, in view of the example of our late po­litical struggle—

If, then, noble exertions for the first revo­lution have been made by our brethren, guid­ed by heaven in the field, and in the cabi­net; are not we now, as Christians, and as ministers, to be guided?—Is it not full time, that we should be led, by the zeal of their noble example, whilst we fight the battles of the Lord of Hosts, in our closets and in our families—in our churches and in our pul­pits?

Pursuing this object, let us reason the point, for a moment, with yonder infidel—Let us ask what more evidence he needs of the truth of the scriptures, than to see the events, long since predicted, daily fulfilling before his eyes?—Let us ask him to read a page or two in a late publication, on the subject of pro­phecy, as the testimony of Jesus.*

[Page 418] "Where are now those renounced cities, Nineveh, Baylon and Tyre, whose desola­tion was so often denounced by the prophets? —What is now the condition of Jerusalem and Judea?—Are they not trodden down of the Gentiles, and likely to be still trodden down, until the times that the Gentiles shall be fulfilled? How remarkably do the actions and state of the Turks, who have so long trodden them down, agree to what was pre­dicted to them? He shall come with horsemen, and many ships, and shall overflow and pass o­ver. He shall enter into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown. Do you not find it even so? And that he hath stretched out his hand over the land of E­gypt, with the Lybian at his steps, whilst the Arabians still escape out of his hand.

Hath not the state of Egypt, for many past ages, been just as was foretold? a base, and the hasest of kingdoms, without a ruler of her own, and wasted by strangers?

Observe the fourth kingdom of Daniel's vision broken into ten. Behold that won­derful power, diverse from the first, which hath arisen up among them, with a look more stout than his fellows, and a mouth speaking great things, even great words against the [Page 419]MOST HIGH: that power which weareth out the saints of the MOST HIGH, and changeth times and laws. Behold him casting down the truth to the ground; forbidding to mar­ry, and commanding to abstain from meats: Yea, behold him sitting in the temple, in the church of God, and shewing himself that he is God, whose coming is with signs and lying wonders. And remember that the seat of this horrid tyrannical power is that great city which standeth on seven mountains, and which, in the days of the prophecy, reigned over all the kings of the earth.—In fine,

"You see the church of God subsisting, at this day, in the world—the same church which, before Christ, was continued in the seed of Abraham, and which, at and after his coming, took that new form which Da­niel saw under the name of the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN; and hath ever since subsisted among the Gentiles. You know the preser­vation and final prevalence of this society, together with the hostile attempts, and final ruin of all her enemies, have been predicted by all the prophets from Moses to St. John.

"Now, when ye see this very church present in existence and enlargement, after all the at­tempts which have been made, in all man­ner [Page 420]of ways, and through a long succession of ages, for her destruction; and notwith­standing she has all the seeds of desolation in herself, has often been extremely feeble, and in the hand of her enemies, and at the point of death: When you see this, you be­hold an event, which, though perfectly cor­responding to hundreds of scripture-prophe­cies and promises, is yet UNPARALLELED IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. Suffer me to repeat, IT IS UNPARALLELED IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. The most un­likely event, when it was foretold, ever to have existed, and which indeed never could have existed, but by the marvellous provi­dence of God, defeating the influence of na­tural causes, that he might fulfil the designs of his mercy—that he might confirm the words of his servants, and perform the counsel of his messengers; and, at the same time, that he might frustrate the tokens of the liars, and make diviners mad, and close the mouth of infidels in perpetual silence.

"Thus is the spirit of prophecy the testi­mony of Jehovah to the sacred scriptures as his OWN ORACLES, and to Jesus as the Christ, and of consequence to the Christian Religion as DIVINE."

[Page 421] And where shall the ministers of Christ next turn their attention, in order success­fully to carry on the purposes of this second, this inward and spiritual revolution of the heart?

Unless the great Michael of the church should aid, our hopes of success would be lost; but so long as we have his promise— Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world—we are encouraged to go on.

Let us, then, make our addresses to men of understanding—to men of sound judg­ment, and rectitude of heart, and solicit the force of their interest and example.

Let us even attempt to touch the ambi­tion of the ambitious, by pointing them to the robes of distinction, and inconceivable marks of favor in the regions of glory, which await the man whom the king delights to honor.

Let us assail the castle of the miser, and tell him, that in the regions of glory are riv­ers of treasure, floods of salvation, a thousand sold more regaling to the appetites of the soul, than earthly substance can be to the body.

Let us guide the wandering views of the man of business, by setting before him the ne­cessity [Page 422]of seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, that all these things may be added.

May we not arouse the attention of the stupid, the obstinate, and sensual, by paint­ing to them, in lively colours, the danger to which they are exposed, as well as the base­ness of earthly and sensual gratifications, in comparison with those which are intellectual and heavenly?

May we not solicit the aid of the improv­ed, the elevated, and the polite, by assuring them that a field of improvement, prospects of elevation, and the most finished examples of heavenly grace, are all presented to their embrace, in the pursuit of the rewards pro­mised by our exalted king?

And, last of all, may we not, with high prospects of success, humbly suggest, that by the example and influence of the female world, even of the most delicate and refin­ed, much might be done to further the pur­poses of heaven?—If any of our fair audi­ence should say, "We have not yet learned the paths of piety ourselves: we are, alas! but too far from hope of setting good exam­ple to others, or of aiding the interests of virtue, by the feeble efforts of what, at best, [Page 423]can be only stiled the improvements of na­ture, destitute of the refinements of heaven­ly grace:"—Let us pray them to lend their hand to some guardian angel, who may lead them, perhaps, abroad to view the wondrous traces of wisdom, and of power, in all crea­tion's handy works; and when, from the o­racles of truth, they become farther convinc­ed of the being of a God—of his equitable, holy, just and good laws—of their own im­perfections of heart and life—of their final accountableness at the bar of an impartial judge; they may be willing to follow their heavenly guide into the retirements of secret devotion, and there unbosom the soul to God, imploring the pardon and ablution of sin, through the blood of the Lamb. What though a tear of contrition find its way, e­vincing the deep woundings of the heart, pursued by an upbraiding conscience, for time and talents misimproved—for neglect of God, the universal Creator—for neglect of the overtures of proffered mercy—for the grievings of the holy spirit of God, occa­sioned by the pride of the heart, refusing to bow to the sceptre of sovereign grace? What though, from causes like these, a tear of con­trition might fall, and the bosom heave in [Page 424]sighs of penitence and prayer? If pardon for the soul, and acceptance with God should be the happy fruit, and a life of unexampled piety the permanent effects—how interesting the change—how promising the prospect!

With support of numbers, and example of graces such as these, with what success might the advocates of truth plead the cause of heaven, and how soon might we expect that in the place of unbelief, stupor, insensibility and hardness of heart; we should discover the seeds of the happy wished-for revolution already to be sown, and the effects to appear in full and abundant sheaves of heavenly grace!

But—whither do I run, leading my au­dience —fathers and brethren, it may be, into paths less promising than those in which they have been accustomed, successfully to tread!—I pause, then; nay, I draw to a con­clusion by saying, in the words of a respected father in the church of God, on the subject of Ministerial Character and Duty,*—"It requires no small attention and labor to seek out fit and acceptable words, as the preacher expresses it, to stir, up the attention of the [Page 425]inconsiderate—to awaken, secure, and con­vince obstinate sinners—to unmask the co­vered hearts of hypocrites—to set right the erring, and encourage the fearful."

Notwithstanding this, may we not all, ani­mated by the prospects of promised aid, go forth manfully, to fight the battles of the Lord—to play the man for God, and for the cities of our God; knowing that in our faithful exertions the name of the Lord is honored, though Israel be not gathered.

Finally, my brethren, "Have we seen the scriptures sealed by past events; let it exalt our faith into a full assurance, that all the prophecies which remain, and especially those which speak of JESUS' FUTURE GLO­RY, shall receive, in due time, their perfect accomplishment.

"This GRAND AERA is approaching with a speed rapid as the flight of time. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. In this prospect, with what ardour should we pray—THY KINGDOM COME;"* and in the fervency of our united devotions, may we [Page 426]not add—thy will be done on earth, as it is done in heaven; for thine, gracious God! is the kingdom, and thine is the power, and thine shall be the glory, world without end. AMEN.


THE subscribing EDITOR to the AMERICAN PREACHER pre­sents his most affectionate, and Christian regards to all his Fathers and Brethren in the Ministry; and, especially, to those who have aided in contributing Materials for the Execution of the Plan of that Work thus far; and is happy in being able to assure them, that their Labors have been, to such a degree, acceptable to the found for Sale; and repeated applications are made to the Printer for further supplies. The Fourth Volume is now circu­lating, and promises fair to secure, and to increase the Reputation of this, generally, interesting Work.

As the present is a Day full of great Events, and a general at­tention to the dictates of Prophecy seems to be gone forth, it is proposed, that a Volume of Discourses, on the Subject of Prophe­cy, with particular application to Predictions now fulfilling, or yet to be fulfilled, shall be prepared, and issued, perhaps, at the close of the present Year.

Any of our Christian Brethren, who would contribute to the Execution of such a Plan, might be instrumental in reviving the Cause of Truth—in animating their Brethren, and of comforting the Church of God; and would receive the most grateful Acknow­ledgments from the Friends and Promoters of the proposed Vo­lume.

Shortly will be put to Press a Volume of Discourses, preached on occasion of the late Visitation of the City of Philadelphia by the Yellow Fever, entitled, "A Comment on the Providence of God, in the late Visitation of the City of Philadelphia, by the Yellow Fever: or, Instructive Lessons to the People of the United States, on the Subject of that solemn Event, comprised, in a Number of Discourses, preached by several Ministers of Christ, on that Oc­casion, who are willing to leave this Testimony as a Memorial of the tragical Scene which gave it Birth."

Any of our Christian Ministers, who are willing to aid in the furtherance of either of the foregoing Designs, may be assured that their Contributions will meet a most friendly welcome, and be du­ [...]y noticed in View of forwarding the Design for which they may be sent.

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