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and thorough investigation, being by no means prevented by a contrary preconceived opinion, nor by the many popular and heretofore uncontradicted public reports to the contrary. And though good men may have sometimes originated, or propagated, those unfounded or exaggerated reports, it is certainly no more strange than the story of the “ five black crows,” before its being traced back to the mere “something as black as a crow.” And why should it be strange, if these flattering Jewish reports have become extremely exaggerated in so long passing the rounds, without being traced back, or publicly called in question ?
And to conclude, let it not be said, that the positions and proofs generally, now offered, are opposed to the many laudable efforts for the spiritual and everlasting good of the long-neglected and unbelieving Jews. Far from it. But let it rather be understood, that as we are united with our English and other brethren on the subject of Christ's second coming and kingdom at hand, though they advocate a speedy removal of the Jews to Palestine; so are we most heartily united with them also, and with others of the same faith, in our desires and labors for the conversion of the unbelieving Jews, as a preparation for their glorious return to a “heavenly Jerusalem,” with all others of the redeemed, at the anticipated now speedy coming of our Lord in glory, to receive to himself all that are his, both Jews and Gentiles, without distinction, at the making up of his jewels. Let us not then be divided in our professed joint labors for a speedy literal return of the whole scattered nation of God's believing or true Israel, both Jew and Gentile, to their "own land,” which is a “better country," and even a “heavenly Jerusalem,” for their literal “ everlasting possession,” and their own literal “ inheritance forever.” And let us do with our might, or with our strength united, what our hands find to do in the great work; “For this I say unto you, brethren; the time is short ;" for “ in a little while, he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” “ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus." " Come quickly.”
A DISSERTATION ON
BY JOSIAH LITCH.
It is with deep emotion, friends and brethren, I stand before you at this time and on this interesting occasion. The purposes of our meeting are so novel, the objects to be accomplished so grand and vast, and the theme to be discussed and contemplated so glorious, as to inspire the heart with the most sublime and ennobling views and feelings. For we meet from various and distant places, on an occasion such as our own country, if not the world, has never before looked upon. We meet to contemplate our blessed Savior's glorious advent near. We meet to comfort one another with these words, and to exhort one another, and so much the more as we see the day approaching.
The objects to be accomplished by the convocation of this conference, are not to assail others who do not see with us on this momentous subject; not to contend with each other on points of minor importance connected with the doctrine we hold, and on which we do not all see alike as yet; for we have one rallying point on which we are all agreed, viz: That the glorious kingdom and personal appearance and reign of our Savior is at hand, near, even at the door: on this ground we meet and unite. On all other points we think and let think, and hold each one alone responsible for his own sentiments. Nor yet do we meet thinking to hasten or retard the glorious day when Christ shall reign universally; for we are well assured that God, in his time, will show who is THE BLESSED AND ONLY POTENTATE, THE KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. But we meet with the hope
1. Of deepening in our own minds the habitual conviction of the near approach of the day of God, and the importance of constant preparation for the event.
2. We hope to do something toward awakening the world generally, but especially the church, to turn their attention to this subject, examine the evidence which now is before the public, and which is every day developing itself, of the kingdom of heaven at hand.
3. We meet for the purpose of attempting to embody a series of arguments relative to this subject, and of presenting them to the public for their consideration and instruction.
4. And, finally, we meet to drink more into the spirit, to strengthen the bond of union among ourselves, and to devise ways and means for the more rapid spread of this, to us, soul-cheering doctrine of the kingdom near.
Those who have called and will be active in the support of the present con. ference, make no pretension to worldly honors, wealth or fame ; but consider it their highest glory and greatest joy, Mary-like, to sit at Jesus' feet and learn of him who is meek and lowly in heart ; for well assured they are, that if they do but rightly understand the kingdom of God, they will, like good house-holders, be able out of God's treasury of truth to bring forth things new and old, and minister to each one a portion in due season.
As it has fallen to the lot of your speaker to address you on the present occasion, your attention is invited to the consideration of the following subject.
2 CHRONICLES VI. 16–18.
Now, therefore, O Lord God of Israel, keep with thy servant David, my father, that which thou hast promised him, saying, There shall not fail thee à man in my sight to sit upon the throne of Israel; yet so that thy children take heed to their way to walk in my law, as thou hast walked before me.
Now then, O Lord God of Israel, let thy word be verified, which thou hast spoken unto thy servant David.
But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!
A VERY cursory examination of this text, will show that Solomon, in this clause of his dedicatory prayer, refers directly to the promise of God to David, of an everlasting successor to his throne. That both David and Solomon understood more to be implied in that promise than merely a regular succession of temporal kings, is also very evident, from the manner in which both speak, whenever they touch the theme; and, also, from the writings of other inspired penmen. What they did understand and teach on this subject, it will be the object of this discourse to show. In doing this I shall show
I. That God did promise to David an everlasting successor upon his throne.
II. That this promised successor was Christ.
III. The character of Christ, the heir and successor of David.
IV. This being, according to God's promise, will in very deed dwell with men on the earth.
V. The manner and objects of his advent and abode among men on the earth.
I. GOD DID PROMISE TO DAVID AN EVERLASTING SUCCESSOR UPON HIS THRONE.
It will not be necessary on the present occasion to multiply texts in support of the propositions laid down, although appropriate ones might be found to any reasonable number; but as the truth of a proposition does not depend on the
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number, but on the explicitness of the texts produced, I shall confine myself to a few of the most clear and striking under each head. Those who may wish to pursue the subject farther, can do so at their leisure.
1. The first text I shall present in support of this proposition, is 2 Sam. vii. 12–16: “And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.
“He shall build a house for my name; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
“I will be his father and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the stripes of the children of men :
“But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.
"And thy house and thy kingdom shall be established forever before thee: thy throne shall be established forever."
That David understood this covenant to extend to an everlasting state, appears evident from his reply, verse 19: "Thou has spoken also of thy servant's house for a great while to come. And is this the manner of man, O Lord God?” As much as to say, all human and temporal thrones will have an end; but this is to endure forever: it is not to fail or end; hence, it is superhuman, and in an everlasting state. Again, the continued succession through time was conditional, but the everlasting succession was sure, and in no wise depended on the faithfulness or unfaithfulness of David's children.
2. Another text of the same import must suffice on this point. Psalm lxxxix. 20: “I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him.” Verses 27— 37: "Also I will make him my first-born, higher than the kings of the earth. My mercy will I keep for him forevermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. HIS SEED ALSO WILL I MAKE TO ENDURE FOR EVER, AND HIS THRONE AS THE DAYS OF HEAVEN. If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; if they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; then will I visit their transgression with a rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless, my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that has gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. HIS SEED SHALL ENDURE FOREVER, and his throne
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as the sun before me. It shall be established forever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah.”
If the above promises are to be confined to a temporal state, they have utterly failed: for hundreds of years have passed by since David has had a son on his throne in Israel. Nor can any temporal revival of the house of Israel answer to the promise, however long it may continue; for no temporal period can endure forever. But the promise is yet sure: For
II. THIS PROMISED SUCCESSOR IS JEsus Christ. Matt. i. 1, affords ample testimony as to the heirship of Jesus Christ to David : “ The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” This text settles the first question, whether Christ is truly the seed of David. But is he also the seed who is everlastingly to sit upon David's throne ?
Luke i. 32, 33: “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest : and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” The question is here settled, that Christ is the promised son and successor of David, and is everlastingly to inherit his throne. There is to be no end to the duration of his kingdom. If an end can be found, where there is NO END, then it may be proved that the reign of Christ on David's throne will terminate; and not before. But is Christ the very seed which God sware to David should sit on his throne forever? “Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up CHRIST to sit on his throne.”* The way is now open to notice
III. THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST, THE HEIR AND SUCCESSOR OF David.
1. HE IS A MAN, POSSESSED OF A SOUL AND BODY. Of the truth of this proposition, I presume, no farther evidence will be demanded than has already been given. For if he is the son of David, “according to the flesh," then is he a man, and possessed of all the attributes of man. But he is not only " David's son, the son of man,” but he is also
2. The Son of God. I do not now speak, however, of his divine nature, but of his human. Nor am I about to enter into a long and labored argument on this point; but with one single quotation from the word of God, and an appended remark, I will leave it. "The angel answered and said unto
* Acts ii. 30.