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are now every where to be seen, to excite painful grief and sorrow; and the character of Christians will then be much more beautiful and excellent than that of real Christians is now, as they will abound so much more in all holy exercise and practice, and their present enjoyment and future happiness in heaven will be more evident and realized by each one, which will give pleasure and joy to every one, in the amiable character and happiness of others, even beyond all our present conceptions. " There shall be no more a pricking brier unto the church, (or particular Christians,) nor any grieving thorn of all that are round about them.” (Eze. xxviii. 24.) But all will live in pleasing harmony and friendship, and every one will consider himself as surrounded with amiable friends, though he may have no particular connection or acquaintance with them, and all he will see or meet as he passes in the public streets, or elsewhere, will give him a peculiar pleasure, as he will have good reason to consider them to be friends to Christ and to him, and as possessing the peculiarly amiable character of Christians; and this pleasure will be mutual between those who have no particular knowledge of each other. But this enjoyment and pleasure will rise much higher between those who are particularly acquainted with each other's character, exercises, and circumstances; and especially those who are in a more near connection with each other, and whose circumstances and opportunities lead them to form and cultivate a peculiar intimacy and friendship.
But it is not to be supposed that we are now able to give a proper and full description, or to form an adequate idea of the happiness, joy, and glory of that day; but all that is attempted, and our most enlarged and pleasing conceptions, fall much short of the truth, which cannot be fully known till that happy time shall come. They who now have the best and highest taste for divine truth, and the greatest religious enjoyment, who abound most in Christian love, and have the most experience of the happiness of Christian friendship, and attend most to the Bible, and study the predictions of that day, will doubtless have the clearest view of it, and most agreeable to the truth, and the highest satisfaction and pleasure in the prospect of it.
There are many other things and circumstances which will take place in that day, which are implied in what has now been observed, or may be inferred from it and from the Scripture, by which the advantages, happiness and glory of the millennium will be promoted; some of which will be mentioned in the following particulars :
1. All outward, worldly circumstances will then be agreeable
and prosperous, and there will be for all a sufficiency and fulness of every thing needed for the body, and for the comfort and convenience of every one.
This may be inferred from many passages of Scripture, which refer to that day; among which are the following: “ Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us.” (Ps. Ixvii. 6.) “ Then shall be give the rain of thy seed, that thou shalt sow the ground withal, and bread of the increase of the earth, and it shall be fat and plenteous. In that day shall thy cattle feed in large pastures. The oxen, likewise, and the young asses that ear the ground, shall eat clear provender, which hath been winnowed with the shovel and with the fan. And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat; for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them.” (Isa. xxx. 23, 24; xxxüi. 24; Lxv. 21-23. Eze. xxxiv. 23–27.) They shall sit every man under his vine, and under his fig-tree, and none shall make him afraid." (Mic. iv. 4.) “ The seed shall be prosperous, the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things.” (Zech. viii. 12.)
This plenty and fulness of the things of this life and worldly prosperity, by which all will be in easy, comfortable circum. stances as to outward conveniences and temporal enjoyments, will be owing to the following things :
1. To the kindness and peculiar blessing of God in his providence. When all the inhabitants of the world shall be. come eminently pious, and devote all they have or can enjoy in this world to God, to the reigning Savior, he will smile upon men in his providence, and bless them in the city and in the field, in the fruit of the ground, in the increase of their herds, and of their flocks, in their basket and in their store, as he promised he would bless the children of Israel, if they would be obedient to him. (Deut. xxviii. 1-8.) There will be no more unsuitable seasons or calamitous events to prevent or destroy the fruits of the earth; but every circumstance with regard to rains and the shining of the sun, heat, and cold, will be so ordered as to render the earth fertile, and succeed the labor of man in cultivating it, and there will be nothing to devour and destroy the fruit of the field.
2. To the great degree of benevolence, virtue, and wisdom which all will then have and exercise with respect to the affairs of this world, there will then be no war to impoverish, lay waste, and destroy. This has been a vast expense and scourge to mankind in all ages, by which poverty and distress have been spread among all nations; and the fruits of the earth, produced and stored by the hard labor of man, have been devoured, and worse than lost. Then there will be no unrighteous persons, who shall be disposed to invade the rights and property of others, or deprive them of what justly belongs to them; but every one shall securely sit under his own vine and fig-tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. Then there will be no lawsuits, which now, in civilized nations, are so vexatious and very expensive of time and money. Then, by the temperance in all things which will be practised, and the prudent and wise care of the body, and by the smiles of Heaven, there will be no expensive, distressing, desolating pestilence and sickness, but general health will be enjoyed, by which much expense of time and money will be prevented.
The intemperance, excess, extravagance, and waste in food and raiment, and the use of the things of life which were before practised, will be discarded and cease in that day. By these, a great part of the productions of the earth which are for the comfort and convenience of man are now wasted and worse than lost, as they are, in innumerable instances, the cause of debility of body, sickness, and death. But every thing of this kind will be used with great prudence and economy, and in that way, measure, and degree which will best answer the ends of food, drink, and clothing, and all other furniture, so as to be most comfortable, decent, and convenient, and in the best manner furnish persons for their proper business and duty. Nothing will be sought or used to gratify pride, inordinate, sensual appetite or lust; so that there will be no waste of the things of life; nothing will be lost.
And at that time, the art of husbandry will be greatly advanced, and men will have skill to cultivate and manure the earth in a much better and more easy way than ever before; so that the same land will then produce much more than it does now, twenty, thirty, sixty, and perhaps a hundred fold more; and that which is now esteemed barren, and not capable of producing any thing by cultivation, will then yield much more for the sustenance of man and beast than that which is most productive now; so that a very little spot will then produce more of the necessaries and comforts of life than large tracts of land do now; and in this way, the curse which has hitherto been upon the ground for the rebellion of man will be in a great measure removed.
There will also, doubtless, be great improvement and advances made in all those mechanic arts, by which the earth will be subdued and cultivated, and all the necessary and convenient articles of life, such as all utensils, clothing, buildings, etc., will be formed and made in a better manner, and with much less labor than they now are. There may be inventions and arts of this kind which are beyond our present conception. And if they could be now known by any one, and he could tell what they will be, they would be thought by most to be utterly incredible and impossible, as those inventions and arts, which are now known and familiar to us, would have appeared to those who lived before they were found out and took place.
It is not impossible, but very probable, that ways will yet be found out by men to cut rocks and stones into any shape they please, and to remove them from place to place with as little labor as that with which they now cut and remove the softest and lightest wood, in order to build houses, fences, bridges, paving roads, etc.; and those huge rocks and stones, which now appear to be useless, and even a nuisance, may then be found to be made and reserved, by Him who is infinitely wise and good, for great usefulness and important purposes. Perhaps there is good reason not to doubt of this. And can he doubt of it who considers what inventions and arts have taken place in latter ages, which are as much an advance beyond what was known or thought of in ages before as such an art would be beyond what is now known and practised? The art by which they removed great stones, and raised them to a vast height, by which they built the pyramids in Egypt, and that by which huge stones were cut and put into the temple of Jerusalem, is now lost, and it cannot be conceived how this was done. This art may be revived in
. the millennium; and there may be other inventions and arts to us inconceivably greater and more useful than that. Then, in a literal sense, the valleys shall be filled, and the mountains and hills shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth, to render travelling more convenient and easy, and the earth more productive and fertile.
When all these things are considered which have now been suggested, and others which will naturally occur to them who attend to this subject, it will appear evident that in the days of the millennium there will be a fulness and plenty of all the necessaries and conveniences of life to render all much more easy and comfortable in their worldly circumstances and enjoyments than ever before, and with much less labor and toil, and that it will not be then necessary for any men or women to spend all or the greatest part of their time in labor in order to procure a living, and enjoy all the comforts and desirable conveniences of life. It will not be necessary for each one to labor more than two or three hours in a day, and not more than will conduce to the health and vigor of the body; and the rest of their time they will be disposed to spend in reading and conversation, and in all those exercises which are necessary and proper in order to improve their minds and make progress in knowledge, especially in the knowledge of divinity, and in studying the Scriptures, and in private and social and public worship, and attending on public instruction, etc. When the earth shall be all subdued and prepared in the best manner for cultivation, and houses and enclosures and other necessary and conveni-. ent buildings shall be erected and completely finished, consisting of the most durable materials, the labor will not be hard, and will require but a small portion of their time, in order to supply every one with all the necessaries and conveniences of life; and the rest of their time will not be spent in dissipation or idleness, but in business more entertaining and important, which has been now mentioned.
And there will be then such benevolence and fervent charity in every heart, that if any one shall be reduced to a state of want by some casualty, or by inability to provide for himself, he will have all the relief and assistance that he could desire, and there will be such a mutual care and assistance of each other, that all worldly things will be in a great degree and in the best manner common, so as not to be withheld from any who may want them; and they will take great delight in ministering to others and serving them, whenever and in whatever ways there shall be opportunity to do it.
2. In that day, mankind will greatly multiply and increase in number till the earth shall be filled with them.
When God first made mankind, he said to them, “ Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish (or fill) the earth, and subdue it.” (Gen. i. 28.) And he renewed this command to Noah and his sons, after the flood, and in them to mankind in general. “ And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” (Gen. ix. 1.) This command has never yet been obeyed by mankind; they have yet done but little, compared with what they ought to have done, in subduing and filling the earth. Instead of this, they have spent great part of their time and strength in subduing and destroying each other, and in that impiety, intemperance, folly,' and wickedness, which have