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blessed and most certain mystery. We believe on the testimony of revelation; we shall by-and-by see face to face, and know as we are known.

There does appear to the author considerable evidence that the Lord of glory will so dwell on earth as to be visible in his glory, in a manner, however, and to an extent, that we cannot adequately realize or comprehend. This is a subject of that intense holiness, and there is such danger of rash familiarity, that it requires us to enter deeply into the direction given to Moses, "Draw not nigh hither, put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.'' The reasons on which it is supposed that this visible glory may at times be manifested to men are the positive promises, “The Lord God shall [283] give unto him the throne of his father David,” (Luke i. 32.) “Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.

This is my rest for ever, here will I dwell.” Psalm cxxxii. So Jerusalem is called "the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell, in the midst of the children of Israel, for ever.” Ezek. xliii. 7. The expressions are such as to imply bodily and visible pre

Our Lord himself calls Jerusalem the city of the great King, Matt. v. 35, and speaks of a personal abode in a glory yet to come. John i. 51.

There was a visible glory in his former dwelling in Israel. Exod. xxv. 8; Lev. xvi. 2. “That which was made," however, thus "glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth; for if that which was done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.” 2 Cor. iii. 10. The heavenly things themselves must far exceed the mere patterns of good things to come.

See Heb. viii. ix. x. There are also but two appearances or comings of our Lord; the first, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself; and the second, for the salvation of his people and the judgment of the world. We have no reason, in the account of the final act of judgment, Rev. xx. 11, to lead us to think that he will be so absent after his præ-millennial coming, as to come a third time to our earth. But, О that we may regard this subject with such sacred awe as well as holy joy, that we may be kept at the remotest distance from all trifling and lightness of spirit. The Lord, our God and Saviour, though he wears our form, is infinitely glorious in holiness and majesty: and surely there is enough, both in the Old and New Testament, to check all rash and presumptuous views of near approaches to [284] his presence and glory, and all unholy and irreverent remarks

The earliest fathers held that a literal resurrection preceded the Millennium; the later fathers, Origen, Jerome, and Augus

VOL. II.-66

upon it.

tine, interpreted the passages, Rev. xx. 4, spiritually. The following account given by Lardner, an anti-millenarian, will shew briefly the view of the fathers. He first quotes Jerome's Comment on Isaiah as follows: “If we understand the Revelation literally, we must judaize; if spiritually or figuratively, as it is written, we shall seem to contradict many of the ancients, particularly Latins, Tertullian, Victorinus, Lactantius; and Greeks likewise, especially Irenæus, Bishop of Lyons, against whom Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria, [this Dionysius threw out doubts against the Revelation, as not being the writing of the Apostle John] a man of uncommon eloquence, wrote a curious piece, deriding the fable of a thousand years, and the terrestrial Jerusalem, adorned with gold and precious stones; rebuilding the temple, bloody sacrifices, sabbatical rest, circumcision, marriages, [he here adds other descriptions of a carnal millennium] and servitude of the nations; and after this, wars, armies, triumphs, and slaughters of conquered enemies, and the death of the sinner a hundred years old. Him, Appollinarius answered, in two volumes, whom not only the men of his own sect, but most of our own people likewise, follow in this point. So that it is no hard matter to prove what a multitude of persons I am like to displease.

It is striking to observe from one so averse to the doctrine as Jerome, such acknowledgments of its extensive prevalence in the fourth century. Lardner [285] goes on to state, “It must be owned, that the orthodox millenarians do speak of 1000 years' reign of Christ before the general resurrection, which good men, having been raised from the dead, should spend on this earth, when there shall be an extraordinary plenty of the fruits of the earth; when also they shall feast upon them; when Jerusalem shall be rebuilt; when likewise there will be marriages, and bringing forth of children; but that they received marriage, and fruits of marriage, to belong to any of the RAISED SAINTS, does not appear to me a clear point. Origen, and some others, speak as if this was the ex pectation of the millenarians, even such as were orthodox, as it seems of some of them, which Origen therefore mentions, with great concern of mind, being apprehensive that such an opinion, if known by the heathens, might be a great reproach upon the Christian religion. And St. Jerome immediately after the words just cited from him, insinuates the same thing of the orthodox millenarians of his time, for which reason he reminds them of the saying of our Lord and Saviour. Matt. xxii. 29, 30. Jerome writes to the same purpose, in another place, of his commentaries upon the same prophet; but Irenæus and Lactantius, who were millenarians, do not express

themselves in that manner; what they say is, that at the time of the first resurrection, there will be found some good men living upon the earth, and that of them, in the space of a thousand years, shall be born a numerous race, a godly seed over whom likewise the raised saints are to reign, and by whom they are to be served."

It must be remembered that Mede, in various parts of his works, complains heavily of Jerome's perversion [286] and misstatement of the writings of others. He tells Dr. Twisse “how wrongfully the ancient Chiliasts, and Lactantius by name, are charged to hold that the saints which rise from the dead shall marry and get children; whereas he expressly affirms it only of those who shall be alive in the body, when Christ comes, nor did any of the rest of the fathers, Justin, Irenæus, Melito, think otherwise. From Jerome's not mentioning JusTIN Martyr, he supposes that he was afraid of his antiquity and authority.”*

The doctrine of a near personal advent of Christ may be traced throughout all ages. The idea of a spiritual millennium, which has not yet begun, before our Lord's return, is sometimes called the old [287] way, the old paths, but is it not an entire novelty of modern times? I believe an uncommenced spiritual advent to be the real novelty. Has it any plea of general antiquity whatever to urge in its behalf? I believe not. Bishop Hall, in his list of varied opinions on this subject, gives no intimation of it. I have not been able to trace it higher than Dr. Whitby, who speaks of it as a “new hypothe


* See Mede's Works, 812, 836. Mr. Mede and Dr. Homes have given us an extract from the works of Gelasius, of Cyzicus, who flourished about 476, and gave a history of the Acts of the Nicene Council. As this has been much quoted, it is right to observe, that'Dupin throws discredit on various points in this history, as does Weisman, vol. 1. p. 416, 485. But it has been inserted in Binnius; the Louvre, and other editions of the Councils, and it bears on the face of it marks of that cautious scriptural statement, which is the result of conflicting minds stating a truth on which they differ. The extract is taken from certain forms of Ecclesiastical doctrine, according to which all teachers in the church were to frame their discourses; and if it were a genuine account, it would be remarkable as proving the general opinion of the church to 325, the date of that council; but it may safely be received as Gelasius' view of the subject. The extract is as follows:- The world was made imperfect (ulspotepos) because of foreknowledge, (for God foresaw that man would sin) therefore we expect a new heaven and a new earth, according to the holy scriptures, when shall shine forth the appearance and kingdom of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. And then, as Daniel says, the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and there shall be a pure earth, holy, a land of the living, and not of the dead, which David foreseeing by the eye of faith, cries out, (Psalm xxvii. 13,) I believe to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living; a land of the meek and humble. For blessed, says Christ, (Matt. v. 5.) are the meek, for they shall possess the earth. And the prophet says, (Isaiah xxvi. 6.)“the feet of the meek and the humble shall tread

upon it."

sis," at the beginning of the eighteenth century.* Vitringa, [288] writing soon after Whitby, though in a far superior spirit, and tremblingly sensitive of the danger of putting off the hope of our Lord's coming, adopted his sentiments of the spiritual millennium. He ably maintained the truth, that the millennium was yet to come, giving the names of F. Lambertus, C. Gallus, A Conrad Mantuanus, C. Pannonius, J. Brocar

* The Chapters of Durham are misty and unsatisfactory, but approach Dr. Whitby's view. It was soon adopted by more scriptural authors, as Vitringa, Edwards, Hopkins of America, Lowman, and a large body of modern divines, and so came to be the too generally received sentiment of the present day. Many of the early fathers adopted the lengthened chronology of the Septuagint. Thus Lactantius, at the end of the third century, thought he was only 200 years from the end of the sixth millenary, and he expected that after Antichrist had arisen, our Lord would return, and his saints be raised to the glory of reigning with him, at the close of the sixth millenary. The great majority of the early fathers believed in a speedy future personal return and reign of our Lord Christ. After the Emperor Constantine had favoured Christianity, the predictions of its triumph and the reign of the saints seemed to some to have commenced at that time. Reproach began to be cast by Eusebius on former Millenarian views. The elevation of the Pope at Rome made it also very inconvenient to apply the prophecies of Revelation to Rome as Babylon. After this the views of millennium become very diversified. Augustine's views were peculiar, and are given in his City of God, lib. 20. They are indeterminate, obscure, and unsatisfactory. Many who thought that the thousand years commenced at the time of Christ, expected that they would terminate at the end of the first thousand years after his coming. When nothing confirmed this at that period, it was thought that a definite number was put for an indefinite, and that the millennium had not terminated. Another class considered that they commenced with Cogstantine, and terminated at the capture of Constantinople by the Turks; applying to them the statement respect. ing Gog and Magog rising up at the close of the Millennium. The Papal writers naturally fostered these views, and sanctioned saint-worship by them. See Trent Session xxv. The Reformers in general, as far as my researches have gone, deprecate Millenarianism, and the Anabaptists tended to strengthen their objectiuns to it; but they appear to have generally concurred in a past Millennium, and in the near approach of judgment. The non-conformists, such as Baxter, and the pious Episcopalians, such as Bishop Hall, held or favoured this view.

It was, in some respects, a clearing away of error, to acknowledge that a Millennium was yet to come; but in other respects it was a more serious injury, when men were led to view the whole as a merely spiritual coming and kingdom of Christ, yet to take place, and to extend over a lengthened period. Thus a barrier of 1000 years was raised before the real coming of our Lord. It became impossible for men to be waiting for his coming, and so they were thrown off farther than ever from the blessed hope of our Lord's speedy return, which had been in a great measure consistent with all previous views.

I have not yet discovered the idea of a spiritual Millennium uncommenced before Dr. Whitby's "new hypothesis." There have been from age to age those who have held the personal coming of Christ before the Millennium, and in most ages there have been carnal views of a mere earthly Millennium; but where is the voice of the church, as to a spiritual Millennium uncommenced, and to last 1000 years, before his real coming? The views of the Reformers, who speak“plainly of the near approach of Christ's personal coming and kingdom, though they thought that millenarianism was a heresy, were less prejudicial in one respect to the truth, than the modern views, as they brought Christians to the right posture of mind, waiting for the coming of Christ. But it is manifest that the present generally received modern view is far from being the old way.


It is no

dus, A. Leoninus, Laune, Mede, and Cotter, as supporting it. One very material objection to the mere modern theory of a spiritual millennium, yet to take place before our Lord's coming, is, that this view, more than any other that the church has ever held, tends to bring all Christians to that awful and most dangerous state of mind to the evil servant, My Lord delayeth his coming. But is there not too great a dread of things that may be NEW

If they be really contained in the word of God, they are still the way to stand in, and the old paths. Jer. vi. 16. Observe how our [289]. Lord makes it the very mark of every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, that he is like unto a man who is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old. Provided, then, that we forsake not, but bring the old as well as the new out OF OUR TREASURE, the Bible, (let both cautions be attended to,) we may be, and are, instructed scribes unto the kingdom of heaven. proof of Christian wisdom, or maturity of knowledge, to have remained stationary for many years in our views of the truth, without either growth or enlargement. Searching the scriptures implies an increasing acquaintance with divine truth; and we are charged not only to beware, lest we fall from our steadfastness, but also to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ; and both are connected together.

The account of the judgment, in the 25th of Matthew, has been considered as conclusive against a premillennial advent, and the first resurrection. The observations already made on this chapter, may shew that there is no ground for such a conclusion. The grouping together of events, distant in the eye of man, only confirms the deep wisdom of that earnest caution of the apostle, (2 Peter iii. 8,) the neglect of which must lead to constant error.

The chief end, in these varied parables of our Lord, is to place in close and strong contrast the different results, and those final and everlasting, of faith and unbelief, of wickedness and righteousness. Details, then, are introduced only so far as they bear on this end. Thus, in the first parable, of the servant waiting for his Lord, (Matt. xxiv. 42--51,) ministers are taught the importance of giving out their Master's [290] food, to the church his family, in due season, on account of the uncertain time of their Lord's return. In the next, of the ten virgins, (Matt. xxv. 1-13,) the church at large, in its successive generations, is taught ever to be in a state of similar expectation of that event. In the third-of the talents, (Matt. xxv. 14—30)-its delay for some time, and the account to be given by every member of the church, living or dead, for the use, meanwhile of their talents and spiritual pri

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