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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 may 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!
OLNEY, May 4th, 1789.
PREFACE BY THE AMERICAN EDITORS.
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 at, in the sentence denounced on the serpent, that the seed of the woman shall bruise his head. What was a terrible threatening to Satan, in the surprised 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 hers an eternal triumph over him who had so sadly foiled them. And it is likely, that their hope 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 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 willing people in the day of his power; and reigning in glorious light and holiness, 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, "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 all 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 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 slaughter of the witnesses of CHRIST, when about 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 bave 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 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 supplications, and prepare them for the amazing changes hastening on the earth, both for previous trials and for following glories.*
Boston, New-England, January 12, 1784.
*This preface was signed by Joseph Sewell, THOMAS PRINCE, JOHN WEBF, THOMAS FOXCROFT, and JOSHua Gee.
HUMBLE ATTEMPT, &c.
ZECH. 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.
THE TEXT OPENED, AND AN ACCOUNT GIVEN OF THE AFFAIR PROPOSED IN THE MEMORIAL FROM SCOTLAND.
In this chapter we have a prophecy of a future glorious advancement of the church of God; wherein it is evident that something further is intended than ever were fulfilled to the Jewish nation under the Old Testament. For here are plain prophecies of such things as never were fulfilled before the coming of the Messiah: Particularly, 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 should consist of this new accession, so that they should be to the other as ten to one.-A certain number 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 chiefly 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, a very eminent and distinguished 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 Isai. Ix. 2—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. Lift up thine eyes round about and see; all they gather themselves together, they come to thee." That whole chapter, beyond all dispute, has respect to the most glorious state of the church of God on earth. So chap. Ixvi. 8. "Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? Shall a nation be born at once?" ver. 10. "Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her." ver. 12. “I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream.". -Mich. iv. 1, &c. "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 Isai. 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, agrees with them, so there is reason to think it has a respect to the same times. And indeed there is a remarkable agreement in the description given throughout the chapter,