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PREFACE.

That the kingdom of heaven shall be established upon the earth, is a truth so interwoven with the other great truths revealed in the Scriptures, that it hardly appears possible to overlook, much less possible to deny it. It is, moreover, so connected with one grand purpose of God, as proclaimed in man's creation, that, should it fail of taking place, I scruple not to assert, that "the thing formed” triumphs over “ Him that formed it;" that the wisdom of the only wise God bows before the devices of a fallen spirit; that the counsel of Jehovah comes to nought; and it can be no longer truly said, that He doeth as seemeth Him good among the inhabitants of the earth ; for in this portion of his vast dominions his royalty is cast down; and over this one world God ceases to be God! Be not alarmed, reader, at such a conclusion, but examine the merits of this question, and then decide whether or no that conclusion be unsound.

The Lord admits us to his pre-creation counsels by what He taught Moses concerning them; and when we read the first chapter of Genesis, we are placed as bye-standers during those ope

rations of the godhead. In that favoured position what do we hear? “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness ; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” Gen. i. 26. Here was the predeterminate counsel and good pleasure of God concerning man and this earth upon which he was created. He was to bear God's image, and in that, as his vicegerent, to subdue the earth, and to have dominion over it, and over all the subordinate creation. But scarcely was this divine purpose carried out, when it was as suddenly overthrown; and that, which before was plain and readily understood, became a mystery, and a mystery, moreover, which continued to deepen as our eventful history advanced. With man's increasing numbers, the successful opposition against the counsel of God increased, and with our growing years, the original high purpose of Jehovah was seemingly more and more trampled under foot. Neither can we find any

" A partial check may have been occasionally given to the increasing rebellion of man, whenever God appeared for the institution of his church in the earth : as in the case of the transactions at Mount Sinai, and after that in Judea, and again at the first coming of the Lord, and the consequent preaching of the Gospel in the world. But the same principles of ungodliness still existed, and after a season found their way into, and corrupted the church.

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