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witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come."
What end should come ? Evidently the end of the
Jewish age, verse 3. which took place about forty
years after our Lord delivered this discourse. Dur-
ing this period the gospel was preached among all
nations, Mark 13:10. or throughout the Roman em-
pire, which was then called the whole world, Luke
2:1. See Matth. 28 : 19, 20. Col. 1:6, 23. Rom.
1:8. and 10: 18. Judea was then a province of the
Roman empire. That the apostles preached the gos-
pel throughout the Roman empire, and were hated of
all nations, no one disputes. We have then found in
this discourse, the all nations to be gathered before
Christ seated on his mediatorial throne. It is obvi-
ous, that whoever contends for a literal gathering
together of all nations before him, ought also to con-
tend, that every individual of the same all nations
heard the gospel, and that every individual of them
hated the apostles for Christ's name sake. But how
in this case could they have had any converts to
their doctrine? And no separation could have taken
place, for all the nations would have been goats.
The gathering together of all nations before him,
need not be extended to more than such as heard the
gospel, and professed it, some of whom did, but others
did not bring forth its proper fruits. This limited
view, we think, is favored by the scope of our Lord's
discourse. For example, it was not the whole world,
or all nations, but the kingdom of heaven, or Christ's
professed disciples, who are likened unto the virgins,
verse 1. Nor was it to all nations, but to his own
seroants, Christ delivered his goods, verse 14. See
also chap. 24: 42–46. And the replies made to the
king by both goats and sheep, proceed on the ground
that they were both professors of his name. But it
is not absolutely necessary to confine the sense of
his phrase ; for, since Christ sat down on his glori-

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ous throne, he has been judging the nations of the world in righteousness, and such of them as would not serve him, he has broken in pieces like a potter's vessel. But let us inquire,

1st. Were there any false professors in the kingdom of heaven when our Lord came at the end of the age. This needs no proof, for it is notorious, and universally admitted. There were foolish virgins, and servants who had not improved their talents. See also chap. 24: 10-12. And see the epistles, for complaints made of professors by the apostles. When Christ came to reckon with his servants he found some faithful and watchful, but others saying, my Lord delayeth his coming, counting him an hard master, smiting their fellow servants, and eating and drinking with the drunken. When he ascended to God's right hand, he was like a man travelling into a far country to receive unto himself a kingdom. See Luke 19 : 12-27. At the end of the age, he returned, having received his kingdom, and called his servants to an account of their conduct during his ab

Before he went away, he commanded all to be faithful and watchful till his return. But such was the state in which he found the kingdom of heaven when he returned. The whole slumbered and slept. Many were found neither looking for, nor prepared for his coming. He had forewarned them of the consequences, and this third division of chap. 25. sets forth the rewards and punishments which he then awarded to them. That much is said in the New Testament, to excite their hopes and fears relative to our Lord's coming at the end of the Jewish dispensation, no one, we think, will question. But where do we find what our Lord promised or threated, fulfilled, but in this very discourse, and which goes to show that the view I have given of it is substantially correct?

sence.

2d. Did a separation take place at the end of the Jewish age, between true and false professors in the kingdom of heaven, or, between the goats and sheep? Nothing can be more certain. This separation is described under other figures, such as a separation between chaff and wheat, Matth. 3:12. Tares and wheat; and good and bad fishes; Matth. 13:30– 48. See also Matth. 8:11, 12. 10: 23. and 16: 27, 28. Christ's fan purged his floor. The net then was drawn to shore, and the good and bad fishes separated. The tares were gathered to be burned, and the wheat into the garner. Indeed, none but such as endured to the end were saved; Matth. 24 : 13. What is said about separating them as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats, is in allusion to the business of a shepherd, and to Christ who is called the good shepherd, and his true disciples, sheep. His placing the sheep on the right hand, and the goats on the left, is probably in reference to judicial trials, as may be seen above in a quotation from Jabn. The rule of judgment was, offices of kindness performed or not performed towards Christ's disciples. The similarily of the language used, chap. 24 : 45, 46. and chap. 25: 34–41. deserves the reader's notice. In the first it is 6 blessed is that servant whom his Lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing.” And in the last" ye blessed of my father inherit the kingdom.” Compare 2 Tim. 1:15—18. And Rom. 16:3, 4. as actual examples of such kind offices performed.

3d. What everlasting punishment and eternal life did those persons go away into after this separation ? 1st. What everlasting punishment did the goats go away into ? The same as the everlasting fire, verse 41. which in the one verse is expressed figuratively, and in the other plainly. This everlasting fire was prepared for the devil and his angels, or the Jews, the opposers of Christianity. To them was the Gos

come

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pel first preached; by them it was first rejected, and for them this punishment is said to have been prepared. But observe, it is not, like the kingdom for the righteous, said to have been prepared from the foundation of the world. What then was the everlasting fire or punishment prepared for the Jews the avowed enemies of Christ and his Gospel, for these false professors are said to go away into the same or similar punishment; I answer, the kingdom of God was taken from them. And I shall show on 2 Thess. 2. that they have been punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord in his worship and service. Blindness of mind, hardness of heart, and dreadful temporal judgments have come on the Jews for ncarly eighteen hundred years. In the Jewish use of the term everlasting it may well be called an everlasting fire or punishment. It is then agreeable to fact, that those of the kingdom of heaven not found watchful and faithful, or bringing forth the fruits of the Gospel, did go away into, or have suffered a similar punishment. Where are now the seven churches of Asia ? Indeed where is any church throughout what was then called the Roman empire? Their

candlestick is removed out of its place. Those nations, have been given up to blindness of mind and hardness of heart very similar to the Jews, and that they have suffered severe temporal judgments none will deny. The most inveterate superstitions prévail among them. The nations who would not submit to him, or who have corrupted his religion after being favored with it, have suffered similar punishment, and it has been of such long continuance, that it may well be called everlasting. Christians who enjoy the gospel, tacitly allow, both Jews and heathen to be in a miserable condition, by their attempts to convert them to the faith of Christ. But after all the time, and labor, and money spent to effect this,

the situation of those nations is not much more hopeful than that of the Jews. If there be any blessedness in believing the gospel, and being governed by the laws of Jesus, then there is misery in unbelief, superstition, and wickedness; and both on a national and individual scale, the nation or individual in such a condition cannot but be miserable.

2d. But what life eternal did the righteous, or the sheep, go away into ? As the everlasting punishment, verse 46. is the same as the everlasting fire, verse 41. so is the life eternal, verse 46. the same as the kingdom said to be prepared from the foundation of the world. What kingdom, then, was this? What kingdom could it be, but that which was taken from the Jews, and given to the Gentiles, called often the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God in the New Testament, and the kingdom likened unto the ten virgins, verse 1. The kingdom which Jesus went away to receive for himself when he ascended to the father, and on the throne of which he is represented as sitting, and calling his servants to an account when he returned. This kingdom is called the everlasting kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, and does not consist in meat and drink, but in righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. That such a kingdom, or life eternal, was expected, is evident, for our Lord said, Luke 21:31, 32. “When ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily 1 say unto you, this generation shall not pass away till all be fulfilled.” And verse 23. “When these things begin to come to pass, then look

up
and lift

up your heads, for your redemption draweth near.” This kingdom, or life eternal, might be said to be prepared for them from the foundation of the world, for it was included in the promise of Christ from the beginning.

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