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which we now by faith anticipate those glories, and of the heavenly conversation to which our hopes tend. In these varied views, then, the promises of the Old Testament have a most important application to us Christians.



[59] The second coming of Christ to be the Saviour of the world has ever been the hope of the church. A Saviour to come was its hope for 4000 years before he personally appeared on earth; and after he had lived and died “and put away sin by the sacrifice of himself,” (Heb. ix. 26,) a similar hope of his return was set before the church, as its great subject of expectation, in that explicit declaration of the angels, recorded Acts i. 11, “this same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” This was the great hope of the primitive church, and it is gratifying to see that this hope is revived in our day, especially when we remember the promise, that "unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”

Heb. ix. 28. The last words of our Saviour and the last prayer of his church recorded in the scriptures, bear directly on this point, che which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so come, Lord Jesus.” Rev. xxii. 20. Our blessed Master here seems, [60] before he leaves us, to turn and look back once more with infinite tenderness on his church, conflicting here below, in order to give to his people the parting assurance to support and encourage them amid every trial and difficulty, Surely I come quickly; and the church, then, turning as it ever should, a gracious promise into a fervent prayer, re-echoes the sound, Amen, Even so come, Lord Jesus.

The whole history of the church of Christ had been testified in the preceding book of the Revelation. The sum of that testimony, however, was to declare, the varied trials through which his church should pass, the final overthrow of all the enemies of Christ, the full triumph of his kingdom at the last, the general judgment of all mankind; the everlasting misery of the wicked, and the complete and eternal happiness of his saints.

The coming of Christ has been viewed, either as it relates more generally to the manifestation of his secret Providence, by open judgment, or of his grace to individual Christians spiritually, or more particularly with reference to his personal and final coming to save his people and judge the world. It is this last which is eminently his appearing the second time without sin unto salvation. Heb. ix. 28.

The open manifestation of his secret Providence may be called indeed a providential coming, such as was his coming to destroy Jerusalem, * or such as is [61] his coming to an individual at the hour of death. There is also a spiritual coming, John xiv. 18, 23, to his people, largely enjoyed through the descent of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, and revivals of religion in any particular period, and daily experienced by the devout believer. The context of the passage, the mode of expression, or the circumstances of the writer will sufficently point these out, and distinguish them from his final coming.

Thus a person may be present by energy and invisible power. God is every where thus present. Our Lord Christ is thus always present with his church, (Matt. xxviii. 20.) and manifests this presence spiritually to his people. But this does not preclude him from having place and abode with reference to his human nature. The expressions used to denote the second coming imply our Lord Jesus Christ, in his human nature moving from one place to another. Our God uses no deceptive language, his word is the word of truth and simplicity, and he leads us to expect a personal visible appearance [62] of our Lord Christ, in such passages as Acts i. 11. Matt. xxiv. 29-31. John xiv. 2, 3. i Tim. vi. 13–16. with very many others, some of which will be subsequently noticed. The distinction between the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, to be visibly shewn by the blessed and only Potentate; and the invisible God dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen nor can see, is very explicitly stated by St. Paul. 1 Tim. iv. 12—16. The distinction between the visible coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the spiritual fellowship his people have with him now in his absence is also clearly displayed. I Cor. i. 7-9. They were waiting for his coming, but they had been already called into his fellowship.

* See note in the Author's Chief Concerns of Man, page 246. There are some expressions on the coming of Christ, which not only Anti-Millenarians, but Mede also, with others who take his views, have applied to the destruction of Jerusalem, such as John xxi. 22. James v. 7–9. Heb. x. 37.-(See Mede's Works, p. 704.) But let it be remembered that whatever might be the private opinion even of the apostles who expected a speedy establishment of Christ's kingdom in their own days (Acts i. 6,) and were left in ignorance of the real time of his return, the expressions of the Divine Spirit, while they are infallibly true, are also adapted to that largeness of view which marks the eternity of God, (2 Peter iii. 8.) comprehends the whole of his Dispensations, and suits his revealed word to the wants of his Church in every age. In this view the passages in Jaines and Hebrews may refer only to this second coming; the term repcuold, James v. 7, 8, signifying personal presence. Some have supposed, Matt. x. 23, to refer to the destruction of Jerusalem, but it seems rather an illustration of the general principle, that if one place reject the gospel, it must be preached in another. They were not to be cast down and disappointed if all Israel were not converted, and a large part of the nation rejected the gospel, but to go on preaching it elsewhere. All Israel should not be thus complete till Christ come again : ou jen TENSCHTE you shall not complete or finish the conversion of Israel till our Lord's return. Thus there was a real help to the great duty of waiting for Christ's coming, a gracious guard against despondency, light on the future purposes of God, and a clear guide to duty. Events also have corresponded to ihis view.

The event to which the New Testament mainly refers is his future personal coming. An event unspeakably terrible to his enemies and infinitely desirable to his people; they are described as “looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” Titus ii. 13.

The references to this event in the epistles to the Thessalonians are very frequent,* and the practical uses made of it are very diversified. It seems from the expression of St. Paul to the Corinthians, ye come behind in no gift, waiting for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ; 1 Cor. i. 7. as if waiting for this coming was the posture of mind in which it was peculiarly desirable that the Christian should ever be found.

And if we consider that the glory of God in the scheme of redemption will not be fully displayed, nor the happiness of the church completed, till that event takes place, we may easily conceive how desirable that event is.

[63] The church of England teaches her members, in the Funeral Service, to pray that God would shortly accomplish the number of his elect, and hasten the coming of his kingdom," and this leads us to one blessed result of Christ's coming. The church is a corporate body—that is, it is one body, and will not be completed till all the members of that body are gathered together. Nor will each individual member of that church be fully glorified till his own body is raised in glory and re-united to his spirit along with the whole church. The admission of the spirits of the just at death into paradise, is a joyful and desirable event; but we leave many beloved members of the church on earth, and the whole body of the church is also incomplete till the resurrection.

Admission into paradise at death is then only a step onward to a yet more desirable event—the coming of the Lord, when the whole church

* Did the reader ever notice that each chapter of the first epistle closes with such a reference?

will be assembled, the bodies of the saints raised in glory, and all his people will ever be with the Lord. Death is gain to a believer, (Phil. i. 21.) it is among his privileges; but it is the resurrection at the coming of Christ that completes his happiness with that of the church of Christ at large.

The great points of controversy among Christians are not ' with reference to the actual and personal coming of Christall who believe the Bible, believe that he will thus come, for ever to bless his servants and punish his enemies. The question is rather when this second coming shall take place* -previously [64] to the Millennium, or subsequently to it; or, as some believe, without any Millennium yet to come on earth. The Author after lengthened consideration of the subject, believes that our Lord will come before the Millennium;t but he desires to view the subject more in the practical application than in minute anticipated declaration of future events. Though there may, through our ignorance, be difficulties that have not yet been cleared up; there is no difficulty at all in the general truth, and in its practical application.

On the second coming of Christ, the scriptures speak both fully and distinctly.

Of this coming the Apostle says, (1 Thess. iv. 16, 17.) “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we be ever with the Lord.” Our Lord himself tells us the Son of man shall come in his glory and all his holy angels with him, and then shall he sit on the throne of his glory, and before him shall be gathered all nations." Matt. xxv. 31.

The world in general mock at this, and say, “where is the promise of his coming, for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. The apostle calls such, scoffers, walking in their own lusts, and ignorant of God's former dealings in the destruction of the world by the deluge, and says, “the day of the Lord will come as [65] a thief in the night, in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt

* Mr. Faber's view of a spiritual instead of a personal advent before the Millennium, is well met by Mr. Cuninghame in his critical examination of Mr. Fa. ber's Work, p. 118, &c. See also Mr. Cuninghame's answer to the Edinburgh Theological Magazine, and his reply to Dr. Wardlaw, and also his premilennial advent. At least, let one of the ablest advocates of the premillennial personal advent be heard, before the doctrine be condemned, lest unconsciously men be found fighting against the truth.

+ See his work on "Preparedness for the day of Christ.”

with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein shall be burnt up." He then adds the practical improvement of such immensely important events, saying, “Seeing that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hastening unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent beat, nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless, and account that the long-suffering of the Lord is salvation.” 2 Peter iii. 3—14. It is very affecting to consider that even professing servants of Christ, it is foretold shall say, My Lord delayeth his coming. Luke xii. 45. May we be kept from so great a snare of the enemy!

It is evident that this event is one of stupendous, overwhelming, and incalculable importance, and, one which the scripture ever, by its statements, leads us to consider as near at hand, and for which we ought to be prepared. It is considered to be before the Millennium, because (1) there seems no adequate reason why the word coming (repoussa) signifying personal presence, (1 Cor. xvi. 17; 2 Cor. vii. 6, 7; Phil. i. 26,) should not mean personal presence in the various passages where it refers to our Lord's coming; (as Matt. xxiv. 3, 27, 37, 38, 39; 1 Cor. xv. 23; 1 Thess. ii. 19; iii. 13; v. 23; 2 Thess. ii. 1, 8; 2 Peter i. 16; 1 John ii. 28. (2) The man of sin, it is generally admitted, shall be destroyed before the [66] Millennium, and that is satted (Dan. vii. 11–13; 2 Thess. ii. 8,) to be at the coming (Tepovoix) of the Lord, a coming previously described in terms that identify it with his personal coming, (1 Thess. and 2 Thess. ii. 1.)* (3.) The numerous expressions of the surprise with which this coming will take the world, as a snare and as a thief, its comparison with the deluge and the destruction of Sodom, and the directions to be ever looking for it, and the ground on which that direction is given, our ignorance of the day and hour when he comes, seem inconsistent with the idea of any certain intervening period of 1000 years. (4.) The express assertion of our Lord during the pouring out of the sixth vial, (which has been almost generally referred to the decay of the Turkish empire,) Behold, I come as a thief-connected as it is with all those passages which

* The word Trapovoia is applied, 2 Thess. ii. 9, to the coming of Antichrist, and this may lead us justly to expect a personal, visible Antichrist heading the last apostacy, as well as that spiritual Antichrist which has so long been openly developed in Popery.

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