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extraordinary fertility of the earth in millennial times. And this shows the special favour of Jehovah towards the earth in these happy and blissful times, when grace shall reign, and “all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.”
(5) Again, in Zech. xiv. 17, 18, we have a most solemn prediction of these times, showing how God will exercise His regal government in the way of discipline, through the agency of these earthly meteoric laws, all of which are under His guidance, and at His sovereign disposal. And though, of course, God has ever had the same control of these elements, and all their laws are of His all-wise ordination, yet in the age to come their action will be more signally under His rule. Thus saith the Lord, “ And it shall be that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the king, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain,” &c. Thus it is evident that, while there will be a beautiful and world-wide fertility and productiveness in the coming age, yet the non-observance of the religious rites, particularly the observance of the Feast of Tabernacles, will be followed by the suspension of the rain and dew, and consequent sterility and barrenness, as a judgment for religious dereliction. But apart from this exceptional and providential discipline, this will be a world-wide millennial paradise: “THEN shall the earth yield her increase, and God, even our own God, shall bless us" (Psa. lxvii. 6). To this same age, we think, will belong the fulfilment of the sublime language of Psa. cxlv. The whole connection synchronizes with, and is descriptive of the age to come ; for never till then will all flesh bless His holy name for ever and ever.”
1 See “ Essay on Theism," p. 174, by Sir W. Thomson.
Through endless years His glory shall extend,
From shore to shore shall stretch His boundless sway;
See springs of life in thirsty deserts flow,
THE POPULATION AND COMMERCE OF THE AGE TO COME.
interesting questions which arise in our minds in considering the Millennial era. For it is certain that the population will be much greater in proportion, and equal, if not surpass, what it must have been in patriarchal times, when human longevity was prevalent. Nor does it concern us to ask the reason why in the age to come the life of man should be so much prolonged, but simply to accept it as given in the predictive record.
1.-AS TO LONGEVITY AND POPULATION. These are co-related to each other, and so may be considered together. In Isa. lxv. 22 we have one of the most direct predictions relative to the longevity which will then obtain: “For as the days of a tree are the days of My people, and Mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands." And by referring back to verse 20 it will be seen that this is the meaning of these words; “there shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die a hundred years old,” &c. 1
1 “The Coming Dispensation.” By Elpis, p.p. 376, 377; also “ Palestine Re-peopled,” p. 126. Rev. Jas. Neil, B.A.
These words show most plainly that there will be a remarkable longevity, and probably this will give rise. to a more rapid, and certainly a much greater population in that peaceful age, than now. And probably, also, this may be accounted for from the fact that there will be less of care, worry and solicitude than in this time. For Satan being bound, men will not be goaded on to sharp and selfish competitions in their commerce one with another, which wear the constitution, shortens life, and impair the whole domestic machinery. And a time of national and social peace, and of national and social prosperity is favourable to the increase of population, because it is favourable to the observance of the marriage rite, which is entered into without reluctance when the prospect of support and a comfortable home-life are before men. And this being the case in the age to come, there is every reason to believe that the population will rapidly and largely increase, as the prophetic Scriptures not obscurely foretell (see Hos. i. 10; Gen. xxxii. 11; Rom. ix. 27, 28). 1
In Zech. viii., ver. 4 and 5, also, we have references to this increased population; at least as far as the metropolis of that age is concerned: “Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be FULL OF BOYS AND GIRLS playing in the streets thereof.” And though this is only a solitary
1 See excellent article by Rev. O. K. Imbrie, D.D., in “Israel's Watchman,” August, 1884, p. 234.
and incidental reference, yet it is all the more valuable as it is incidental--or what we call incidental. But we must not forget that this predictive record is given by the Holy Ghost through the prophet, and that there is a Divine purpose of design in relation to the record; and that this little revelation of the social and domestic life of the coming age is intended to show us what are some of the results of the reign of peace and righteousness which will obtain in that day, when “the government shall be upon His shoulders," who is "the Father of eternity.” “I will increase them with men like a flock" (Ezek. xxxvi. 37).
And as like causes produce like results, in all places, other things being equal, there is no reason to suppose that this longevity and increase of population will be local and limited to the enlarged borders of the future land of promise, wide as its territory will then be. For as the Gentiles are to share in the peace and joy of the age to come, so they will participate in the social and national prosperity which will then prevail, because the whole earth will be under the same pacific rule and government, and there will be no invidious distinction between Jew and Gentile, though Israel will have the pre-eminence, for “ Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the earth with fruit." Yet we also read of the “Hosts of nations” in that auspicious age; which implies that the Gentiles too will be a vast population (Jer. iii. 19).
Besides, the original covenant made with Abraham incladed this among the blessings enumerated: “And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that