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general. The figurative promise, The earth shall be FULL, &c. as the waters cover the sea, implies not only universally-diffused, but copious, abundant, and abiding knowledge. There will probably be a growing depth in this divine knowledge, like the symbolical waters, which issued from the sanctuary, which after on thousand cubits reached to the aucles, and after another to the knees, and then to the loins, and then the water were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. Ezek. xlvii, 1–5.
Religious knowledge has from the beginning, though with many drawbacks in different periods of the Church, still on the whole, been advancing. The knowledge which Adam had of the great truths of revelation, and the divine glory thereby developed, was doubtless less than of Moses; of Moses than of David; of David that of spiritual Jews with all the prophets complete; and of the Prophets of the Old Testament, than of the Apostles of the New Testament. Hence while our Lord magnifies John the Baptist above all former prophets, he still says, He that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he: (Matt. xi, 11.) he has more religious knowledge, and greater spiritual advantages. He also tells his disciples-Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see; for I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them, and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. Luke x, 23, 24.
But in the latter-day glory of the Church, this light, and these advantages, shall greatly exceed anything yet enjoyed. It is predicted, that, the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations, shall be
Hestroyed. Isa. xxv, 7. The light of the moon shall be zs the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be seven-fold, as the light of seven days. Isa. xxx, 26. After describing the joy spread by the messengers of salvation preaching good tidings, it is said-they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion. Isa. lii, 8. The diffusion of this knowledge shall ALLEVIATE Much has already been said on this. (See chap. ii.) Let it be remembered, that all evil of every kind, we as sinners justly deserve; but all alleviation, and each removal of evil, we do not deserve. Persons have sometimes wondered, why an Almighty Father, full of wisdom and love, should create a wasp that stings, a serpent that poisons, and a tiger that devours. The wonder rather is, that every creature of God should not be armed with weapons, to annoy sinful beings like men, and that any creature should be permitted to serve him, or be a comfort and benefit to him. When we have rebelled against our Creator, every evil is merited, and all good is utterly unmerited. We deserve pain, and sickness, and suffering; we do not 1 deserve the skilful physician, the healing medicine, watchful attendants, and affectionate relatives; all this is from the free and gratuitous mercy of our Beneficent
O how wonderful will be the triumph of this mercy and forbearance over man's apostacy and rebellion, when creatures, and circumstances, and dispensations, now armed and in array against us, shall have their very nature and direction changed, and be made harmless and innocent, objects of delight, and means of benefit and happiness! Nor is this mere theory and imagination. Isaiah, in all the glow of eastern imagery,
but with all truth of divine revelation, exhibts this as the consequence of the universal diffusion of divine knowledge-The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf. and the young lion, and the fatling together; and a littl child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shal feed; their young ones shall lie down together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned chili shall put his hand on the cockatrice den. They shall no hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the water cover the sea. Isa. xi, 6-9. See also Isa. Ix, &c.
Christian reader, let us realize the blessings of that day of millenial glory which is before the church, its peace and tranquillity, its love and harmony, the glory which it brings to God in the highest, and the goodwill which it diffuses among men; and can we but strive, and labour, and pray for its accomplishment?
This divine knowledge shall also be INFLUENTIAL ΤΟ ALL PRACTICAL GOOD. It is not a merely speculative knowledge of truth, such as a man may have of a science, which never influences his temper, or regulates his moral conduct, which is promised in such passages as Isa. xi, 9, and Hab. ii, 14. Divine knowledge becomes a governing, leading, and holy principle; the spring of every thing good. St. Paul says of it, I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, so that I may win Christ and be found in him. Phil. iii, 8. He calls it the savour of the knowledge of Christ. 2 Cor. ii, 14. To the self-condemned sinner, who has in vain endeavoured to obtain relief by his own works, and
ho at length apprehends Christ, made sin for us, . . . eat we might be made the righteousness of God in him, 2 Cor. v, 21.) this knowledge is as life from the dead. Do the distressed, tempted, and burdened spirit, relieved by a view of Him who is touched with a feeling of our infirmities, it is a fragrant prefume, reviving the fainting heart; his name is as ointment poured forth. Sol. Song i, 3. To the advanced believer, to whom to live is Christ, and who is daily and hourly looking to him, amid labours of love in his cause, it is the one thing which he determines to know, (1 Cor. ii, 2.) and under the constraining influence of which he daily gives up himself, and lives, and labours, for him that died for our sins. 2 Cor. v, 14.
We may hope that this practical influence of divine knowledge shall be general. In that day of which it is said, The Lord shall be thine everlasting light, it shall be added, Thy people shall be all righteous. Isa. lx, 20, 21. The Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all nations. Isa. lxi, 11. And then, in the fullest sense, it may be said, The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to ALL men, teaching us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. Titus ii, 11, 12.
And all this influence of divine truth, has a most important bearing, as it respects eternity. The effects of the knowledge of the Lord thus diffused, are not confined to time. The kingdom of Christ is an everlasting kingdom. Other empires, however glorious, relate to a transient world; they soon pass away. But this only commences on earth, and the subjects of this kingdom live for ever with their king in the glory
above. Here they are prepared and made meet for enjoying perfect happiness for ever above. Death is to them the gate of life, and the translation to the glorious capital, the very presence-chamber, the beatific vision of Immanuel, the King of Glory. God our Saviour declares, This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. John xvii, 3. It is the same happiness in kind, that will be fully enjoyed hereafter; it is glory begun in the soul; it is the commencement of eternal life. Where this is, there is a meetness and preparation of mind for death, and judgment, and eternity. Death brings us to the actual sight, and the full joy, and glory of our oftenproved Helper and Saviour: the Judge is our advocate and our friend; and eternity is all a never-ending scene of boundless, and growing, and ineffable happiness.
One farther observation may be added respecting this divine knowledge, that THERE IS A SPECIAL PROMISE OF DIVINE TEACHING with reference to it. After the glowing description given of it in the 54th of Isaiah, of the enlargement of the church by the accession of Gentile converts, it is promised, (ver. 13.) and all thy children shall be taught of the Lord. An infallible interpreter applies this to divine teaching. John vi, 45. It is also the great and cheering promise which God has given in the new covenant-they shall all know me. Jer. xxxi, 34.
Surely then there is light, life, and glory reserved for the Church, that must far exceed all our hopes; there are mercies in store for mankind, which shall make this lower world as a garden which the Lord hath blessed. The promises of God have secured them to us, and the providence of God must therefore accomplish them.