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ON THE ADVENT AND KINGDOM OF CHRIST,
AND THE EVENTS CONNECTED THEREWITH.
The Advent of Messiah.
It happens in regard to some of the one scripture, which clearly and dimore important subjects of prophecy, rectly speaks of the believer as en(at least it has been my own case,) tering into his glory, or partaking of that we have not so much to learn as
the promise, at death. to unlearn. The traditions of men Neither do I mean to assert, that have rendered void the Word of God; christians generally deny the advent, and therefore it may be useful, if I resurrection, &c. Distinct admissions previously endeavour to shew, in res- of it may be found in most writers; pect to one important doctrine, how and a deferring also of what they much at variance the sentiments of call the complete reward and glory, many christians are with the mind until the period of the resurrection. of the Spirit.
What I mean to insist on is, that I advert to the second Advent of christians, in their ordinary exposithe Lord Jesus with his saints ; tions and discourse, make these truths which, instead of occupying the place subordinate, and the intermediate assigned to it by the New Testament, prospect of death pre-eminent ; has been superseded by an unscriptu- whereas the Scriptures make the adral mode of calling upon sinners to vent and resurrection principal fearepent because death is at hand; and tures, and death is only mentioned exhorting believers with a promise incidentally. of entering into their glory immedi- But to the proof : let us begin ately after their decease.
with St. Paul. In 1 Corinthians xv, If the reader will suspend his he labours to shew, that, if there be judgment, until I have gone through no resurrection hereafter, our faith is the whole series of essays which I am vain. But what force would there be now bringing before him, he will find, in such an argument as this, if the that I do most unreservedly entertain believer entered into his reward at the opinion, that the souls ofbelievers death? What need should we have, in do, immediately after death, enjoy a such case, to trouble our heads about blessed and a conscious rest; and a future resurrection ? Alas !
Alas! it is that they do visibly behold the Lord: wonderful to think how little practibut this is not the great promise of cal influence this doctrine really has the Scriptures;—this is not the glory with the majority of professors ! The which the New Testament holds up thought of it does not give them one to believers : that glory (whether it atom more of power, nor supply one refer to their throne, their crown, additional motive, to mortify their their inheritance, their degree, or
sinful lusts. their incorruptible body) is invariably Let us take another passage. I have deferred by the apostles until the preferred that in Corinthians, just coming of the Lord. I know not of considered, because it is plain and ex
plicit.* The object of the Apostle 'norant, brethren, concerning them was to “ shew them the mystery” of · which are asleep, that ye sorrow the resurrection; and therefore I must ' not even as others, which have no suppose he expounds it in as plain hope. For if we believe that Jeand literal a manner as possible. sus died and rose again, even And we may hope for equal distinct- them also which sleep in Jesus will ness in the fourth chapter of the Epis- God bring with him.”—Then he goes tle to the Thessalonians ; for here he on to assure them, that the promises expressly instructs the disciples in are not for those only, who shall be regard to the state of those, who alive at the coming of the Lord, but are dead in Christ; declaring, that for the departed saints as well,he would not have them ignorant that, when the Lord shall descend concerning them, and thus sorrow from heaven, the dead in Christ shall for their departure, as those persons
rise first. sorrow, who never hope to see their The same thing is stated in the same dead again. Does he then comfort way by the other apostles. St. James them with the assurance, that they encourages not those to whom he are now in glory ? Does he even writes with the hope of their reward say any thing about the living being at death; but exhorts them to be presently with their departed friends patient until the coming of the Lord.a in heaven ? Not a word of the kind! St. Peter also tells his people, “when though surely this were the very the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye opportunity for such consolation, shall receive a crown of glory, that were it God's will, that the hearts fadeth not away.”b So St. John; of his people should be fixed on this we know that, when he shall aptruth. He gives them to understand pear, we shall be like him.”ct that they shall see their friends again These things are consistent, and here, in this world ; he reminds them to be expected, if the great recomthat the resurrection of Jesus is the
pense were generally believed to be pledge of theirs ; and that when the deferred till the second appearing of Lord comes, he will bring them with Jesus Christ; and if it were the him.—“ I would not have you ig- prize chiefly held up to view.
* The Editor of the Record has disparaged the importance of the second advent, on the ground that St. Paul, when writing to the Corinthians, determined to know nothing but Jesus Christ, and him crucified ; leaving us to infer, that the mere circumstance of the crucifixion, and the doctrine of the atonement, were all which he resolved to bring forward among them. It is not a little remarkable, tìat in this very Epistle he praises these same Corinthians, “because they came behind in no gift, waiting for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ ;'' (chap. i, 7 ;)—he upraids them for not remembering, “that the saints shall judge the world;" (chap. vi, 1, 2 ;)—and one whole chapter of it (one of the longest in the Testament, chap. xv,) is devoted to an exposition of the order and nature of the resurrection ; concerning which he says, that if the dead are not to rise, then are they perished! (0, 18.) These passages prove beyond a reasonable question, that much more is involved in the preaching of a crucified Saviour, than the one single fact of the death of Jesus : were we to keep to this only, we must exclude regeneration, sanctification, election, the judgement, and many other topics, which (like the advent, and resurrection, and reign of the saints) though intimately connected with the atonement, may, nevertheless, be distinguished from it,
† The personal retrospect and expectation of the two apostles, constituting, in some measure, their experience in the immediate prospect of death, has been handed down for us by the Holy Ghost.
“I am now ready to be offered, anıl the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I shall in that case not only find it speaks of himself and them :-“ For laid down in the New Testament as our conversation is in heaven, from a doctrine of the apostles; but we whence also we look for the Saviour, shall perceive the primitive church the Lord Jesus Christ.”g In one in general to be affected with this passage, already in part quoted, the view of the subject; and either Apostle so decidedly makes loving the speaking, or spoken of, as looking appearing of Christ a mark of grace, eagerly forward to such an event. that he seems in a measure to limit There will be other marks of grace the reward of righteousness to those discernible; but this mark, at a time only, who partake of this desire ; “A when I presume their hopes to have crown (saith he) which the Lord been bound up in the doctrine of his shall give me at that day: and not second appearance, and not in the to me only; but to all them that love rest entered into immediately after his appearing.”h A text in the Epistle death,—this mark, I say, would then to the Hebrews appears to make the be an essential one; the want of it same distinction and limitation : would imply the grossest ignorance Christ was once offered to bear the of the prevailing tenets of the church; sins of many; and unto them that or the grossest unbelief of those look for him shall he appear the sewhich were perceived. This feature, cond time without sin unto salvahowever, pre-eminently marks the tion.”i character of the scripture saints, as I
St. Paul says:
a Jas. v, 7.
cl Jolin iii, 2.
We have much more to the same shall evince by a few passages from purport in the Epistles, especially in the Epistles of St. Paul.
those of St. Paul, without insisting In Romans, the earnest expectation on numerous passages in the Gospels. of the new creature is said to be Whether the Apostle speaks of him.
waiting for the manifestation of the self, of his followers, or of both tosons of God-groaning within itself gether, he still keeps holding forth and waiting for the redemption of the to their view the end of this present body.”d In Corinthians, we dispensation; and he treats of it as have seen, he thanks God, " that though, in regard to the church, a they came behind in no gift; waiting succeeding generation might not be for the coming of our Lord Jesus recognised. Is it to himself he reChrist;"e and of the Thessalonians fers ?-His words are : I know
" that they turned from whom I have believed, and am peridols to serve the living and the true suaded that he is able to keep that God, and to wait for his Son from which I have committed unto him heaven.”f To the Philippians he thus against that day.m Is it them he
have kept the faith : henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me AT THAT DAY.” (2 Tim. iv, 6—8.) St. Peter, when admonished by the Lord, " that he must shortly put off his fleshly tabernacle, thinks it proper to write an Epistle to the faithful, the whole burden of which is, to confirm them in the expectation, that these present heavens and earth shall be dissolved, as those in the days of Noah were, and again be succeeded by new heavens and a new earth ;--that he had followed no cunningly devised fable, when he made known to them the power and coming of the Lord ; but had had a visible specimen of it, when he beheld the transfiguration on the mount;--and that apostate men would arise in the last days, treating the promise of his coming with scoff. (See the Second Epistle of Peter passim.) He finally confirms all by the testimony of St. Paul, who, (he says,) in all his Epistles, makes mention of these things, d Rom. viii, 19, 23. e 1 Cor. i, 7. f1 Thess. i, 9, 10. 8 Chapter iii, 20,
h 2 Tim, iv. 8. i Heb. ix, 28.
then he says :
speaks of ?—“He which hath begun appearing, t-an application of the a good work in you will perform it, subject, which, if it be not to be until the day of Jesus Christ.”n insisted on to its full extent, is Does he include himself with them ? nevertheless calculated to awaken
“ the dead shall be heart-scarchings. raised incorruptible and we shall be In regard to those passages which changed ;-we which are alive and remain, I shall, to avoid circumlocuremain, shall be caught up together tion, only quote them at length; so with them in the clouds to meet the heading them, asto pointout the pracLord in the air.”. The greatest and
tical use of them. most ordinary objects of religious
As a call-to repentance ; interest and expectation are also deferred for their completion unto this
Repent ye therefore, and be tiine. Is it grace ?--though given
converted, that your sins may be
blotted out, when the time of renow; still, as to its consummation,
it is to be brought unto us at the freshing shall come from the presence revelation of Jesus Christ.”p Is it
of the Lord, and he shall send Jesus
Christ, &c." Acts iii, 19, 20. rest ?-it is so when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with
to love Christ; his mighty angels.”? Is it salva
“If any man love not the Lord tion ?-it is“ as ready to be revealed Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema in the last time."r Finally, the Maran-atha ;” —which, being interSpirit and the Bride (the universal preted, is, “ Let him be accursed church and the Holy Ghost in them,]
our Lord cometh.” 1 Cor. xvi, 22. say, COME. And let him that heareth He which testifieth
to love one another; these things, saith Surely I come " And the Lord inake you to inquickly :' and one who was in the
crease and abound in love toward one Spirit responds—" Amen, even so, another, and toward all men, even come, Lord Jesus." Rev.xxii, 17, 20.
as we do toward you; to the end He I shall now, by way of shewing may stablish your hearts unblamethe practical tendency of the second able in holiness before God, even our Advent, and the consequent im- Father, at the coming of our Loril portance of this truth to every Jesus Christ with all his saints.” christian who desires edification, Thess. iii, 13. bring forward some of those testimonies, to which I adverted in my to the mortification of earthly lusts; former paper, when I pledged myself " When Christ, who is our life, to shew the use which the writers of shall appear, then shall ye the New Testament make of it. pear with him in glory: mortify
We have already seen that they therefore your members which are apply it, as the legitimate source of upon the earth; fornication, uncleanconsolation to those who mourn for ness, inordinate affection, evil conthe dead," that they may not sorrow, cupiscence, and covetousness which as those who have no hope” of seeing is idolatry;" &c. Col. iii, 4, 5. their friends return.s We have "The grace of God that bringeth likewise seen an apparent limitation salvation hath appeared to all men, of the reward to them that love his teaching us--that denying ungodli
m 2 Tim. i, 12. n Phil, i, 6. 01. Cor. xv, 52; 1 Thess. iv, 17. pl Pet, i, 13. I 2 Thess. i, 7. r1 Pet. i, 5, s 1 Thess. iv, 13—18. t 2 Tim. iv, 8; Heb. ix, 28,
ness and worldly lusts, we should I was hungry, and ye gave me meat ; live soberly, righteously, and godly, I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink ; in this present evil world ; looking I was a stranger, and ye took me in; for that blessed hope, [even] the glo- naked, and ye clothed me; I was rious appearing of the great God and sick, and ye visited me; I was in our Saviour, Jesus Christ,” Titus ii. prison, and ye came untome.” Matt. 11-13.
XXV, 31-36. to general Obebience & Holiness ;
to Watchfulness; For the Son of Man shall come
“ Watch therefore ; for ye know in the glory of his Father, with his
not what hour your Lord doth come. angels; and then he shall reward
But know this, that if the good man every man according to his works."
of the house had known in what Matt. xvi, 27.
watch the thief would come, he And now, little children, abide
would have watched, and would not in him, that, when He shall appear have suffered his house to be broken we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before hin at his coming.”
up. Therefore, be ye also ready;
for in such an hour as ye think not 1 John ii, 28. " We know that when he shall ap- xxiv, 42, 44.
the Son of Man cometh.” Matt. pear we shall be like him ; for we
Watch therefore : for ye know shall see him as He is.
And every neither the day nor the hour whereman that hath this hope in him, pu- in the Son of man cometh.” Matt. rifieth himself even as He is pure.”
XXV, 13. Ibid. iii, 2, 3. Behold, I come quickly : and my and your lights burning, and ye
“Let your loins be girded about, reward is with me, to give every, yourselves like unto men that wait man according as his work shall be.
for their lord, when he will return Rev. xxii, 12.
from the wedding ; that when he
cometh and knocketh they may open to Spirituality of mind; " For our conversation is in hea.
to him immediately. Blessed are ven; from whence also we look for he cometh shall find watching."
those servants whom the lord when the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ;
Luke xii, 35, 37. who shall chage our vile body, &c.”
Behold I come as a thief: blessed Phil. iii, 20, 21.
is he that watcheth, and keepeth his to works of Mercy;
garments, lest he walk naked, and IVhen the Son of Man shall come they see his shame.” Rev. xvi, 15. in his glory, and all the holy angels But
brethren are notin darkwith him, then shall he sit
ness, that that day should overtake throne of his glory; and before him you as a thief: ye are all the children shall be gathered all nations; and of light and of the day : we are not he shall divide them one from ano- of the night, nor of darkness. Therether as a shepherd divides his sheep fore let us not sleep as do others : from the goats. And he shall set but let us watch and be sober.” 1 the sheep on his right hand, but the Thess. V, 4, 6. goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, to Patience and Long-suffering ; Come ye blessed of my Father, in- And shall not God avenge his herit the kingdom prepared for you own elect, which cry day and night from the foundation of the world i for unto him, though he bear long with