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they expect that the Lord Jesus will personally appear and remaine present and visible in his church during the space of 1000 years; and that the martyrs will be raised from the dead, and dwell and reign with Christ during that time on the earth. Expositors who are better acquainted with the style of prophecy, have adopted a construction more correspondent with the procedure of Provi. dence, and with the language and uniform doctrines of Scripture. They therefore understand the predictions as expressing, not the personal presence of Christ, or the actual resurrection of the martyrs, but the abandant grace and Spirit of Jesus with his church, and the character of his people at that day, who in prin. ciples and conversation will be similar to the martyrs. As John, who had the spirit of Elias, was designated by that name in prophecy, so all Christians will then have the spirit of the holy confessors, who sealed their testimony with their blood. A high degree of sanctification and zeal is represented by the striking figure of the resurrection of the martyrs.
Others have evidently inverted the order of events. The scheme which merits most attention, of this class, is that which considers the Millennium to be the day of jadgment: - a day which will then commence, and with its awful process, comprehend the whole space of 1000 years. But so many express texts of Scripture, so many interesting doctrines of our holy religion, and such singular events which are to happen subsequent to the Millennium, and which indicate the continuance of the world, oppose this sentiment, that it appears surprizing that minds so. well informed should ever have adopted it.
Let it suffice to observe, that by the Millennium is not meant a fifth monarchy, which, in its constitution or mode of administration, will be similar to the four preceding : that the kingdom of Jesus will never be a kingdom of this world ; that it will not interfere with other kingdoms any farther than to sanctify them, nor change the political relation of nations, only so far as they may oppose the interests of true religion. This interference in the nature of things must produce great revolutions; but the change will be for the better, and terminate in their security and happiness. The Redeemer will reign in the hearts of men, and
Iris rule and dominion be at the farthest possible distance from · what forms the courts, the revenues, and ostentation of civil policy.
In a word, there is nothing in our idea of the Millennium that, on the one hand, accords to the crude notions of Chiliasts, who represent it as a state opposed to the spiritual nature, and unwortly the boly object of the Redeemer's kingdom. Nor, on the other, is there any thing in the universal propagation of the gospel and its final success in the millennial period, which insinuates that all meil, whatever may be their principles and character, shall be savel. The propagation of the gospel, and the use of
appointed means to bring sinners to repentance and faith, proceed upon principles directly opposed to universal salvation.
The most scriptural, rational, and connected sentiment respecting the Millennium, is that which simply considers it as a period in which the knowledge and influence of the everlasting gospel shall be extensively experienced. A space of one thousand years, during which the whole world shall profess the Christian religion, and all nations submit to the righteousness and authority of the blessed Jesus.
This happy state is frequently and copiously described by the prophets. Their phraseology is so singular, that the subject, wherever it is introduced, can be easily distinguished from every other. They describe it as a period in which truth and boliness, peace and joy, shall everywhere prevail.' The abundance of grace, and the plentiful effusion of the Holy Spirit in that blessed season, they compare to a river issuing from the temple, and rolling its salutiferous stream, deep and broad, into the ocean, diffusing health and life wherever it flows. The change produced in the temper and conduct of men, is represented by a renovation of the natural world, and the taming of the fiercest beasts. The superior happiness of that period is considered as bestowing additional splendour to the fleavens, and increased fertility to the earth. To inculcate the magnitude of the event, and its blessed consequences, to a world which had long groaned under crimes and miseries, the most affecting images are intro. duced, and the force of language is exhausted. But there is nothing in these figurative descriptions of the prophets improper or extravagant. There is nothing in our construction and view of their predictions enthusiastic, impossible, or even improbable, not although many of the descriptions should, as some believe they will, obtain a literal accomplishment. If the religion of Jesus be from God, as it certainly is, we may expect a time will come, when that religion shall exert its fullest energy, and be completely experienced in all its train of happy consequences throughout the world; when it shall triumph over every false re. ligion, and all the nations of the earth be blessed under its benign influence. This expectation is not hypothetic or problematical ; it is confirmed by the infallible word of promise, which has given the fullest assurance of that desirable event.
The essential ingredients of the millennial period are, the knowledge of the truth when all shall be taught of God, -- the holiness that will prevail, when men of every rank and station shall live by faith, and whether they eat or drink, do all to the glory of God, – the union of the visible church, when no longer divided, the same doctrines, ordinances, and government, will constitute que body, - the abundant influence of the Holy Spirit as the sanctifier and comforter, whereby communion with the Father and Son will be richly enjoyedl, the means of grace be. come so wells of salvation," and every act of worship a “feast of fat things." - Civil government will not cease; it is the ordi. nance of God, and while society remains, is essential for the inaintenance of order ; but rulers, by whatever name they may he distinguished, or with whatever authority they may be invested, will then no longer abuse their power, seek their own ad. vancement, or injure religion by their wicked examples and iniquitous policy. Animated by the Spirit of Christ, they will be his servants, and promote the glory of God, the bonour of the Saviour, and the happiness of mankind. Crimes will be extinct in the same proportion that covetousness, pride and revenge are subdued. 6 The wickedness of the wicked will come to an end," wher, love, gentleness, goodness, and all the fruits of the Spirit abound. Peace will prevail, peace with God and peace with man. 66 Wars will cease unto the ends of the earth." Then “ they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning-hooks ; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” The effects of temper ance will be health and great longevity. An active and useful life will be crowned with a serene and fruitful old age. Individuals, families, and nations, by believing in Jesus and obeying his word, will be exempted from the calamities produced by una sanctified passions, and the world be blessed under the reign of Messiah,
2. When will the Millennium commence? This is the next in, quiry. AH the predictions concerning that happy period, refer it to the close of the New Testament dispensation. It is to be in the latter days, in the last times. The mountain is the last state or form, in which the stone cut out without hands, after destroying the image, is to appear. But there are indications re, specting the beginning of this period, from which we gather more than probable conjectures : -1, From the uninterrupted order of events, as arranged in the Prophecies. What relates to the Millennium is introduced in the Apocalypse as immediately following the destruction of Babylon or Antichrist; but this destruction we know, from the latest possible date, cannot be beyond the year 1999. The Millennium, therefore, which is the next event in succession, will commence in the year 2000. But,
2. The number “Seven,” so often used in Scripture, appears to have given rise to an ancient calculation, said to be familiar among the Jews long before the coming of Christ : “ Two thousand years before the law (or before Abraham); two thou, sand, years under the law; two thousand years under the Mesa siah; then cometh the Sabbath.” This, upon the strictest examination, may be found to correspond with what we are autho, rized from Scripture to expect will be realized.
The time employcal in creation; the institution of the Sabbath ; the numerous Sabbaths, not only of days, but of weeks and years; all measured by seven, have put a singular mark upon a seventh portion of time from the earliest period of the world, The same number is sanctioned in the Apocalypse, and rendered peculiarly distinct and remarkable. To this general observation we may apply the argument of Paul to the Hebrews, chap. iv. where he speaks of a great Sabbath or rest, which remaineth for the people of God; and the words of Peter, 2 Epis. chap. iii. where he not only asserts that, “ One day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day with God ;” but reasons upon this calculation of time, to refute scoffers and establish believers in their expectation of the new Hleaven and a new Earth.” The most candid and critical exposition of these passages, especially when compared together, and both considered in connection with the peculiar empbasis which God has, throughout his whole word, and in every dispensation of his Church, put upon the number Seven, leads us to conclude, that the seventh millenary period will be as much superior in every thing respecting religion, to all the preceding periods, as the Sabbath excels the ordinary days of labour : That, therefore, the Church may hope that seventh portion of time will be the great Sabbath of the world. With the opening of that period we expect the Millennium will com. mence.
3. The duration of the Millennium, and what from prophecy we learn is to follow that period, include the remaining inquiry upon this subject. From its name it is determined to be a thou. sand years. The only question upon this number is, Whether years must be here taken symbolically or literally? If the first, a day for a year, it would amount to the prodigious term of 160,000 years; but it is not here a symbolical number. Smaller things are always used as symbols for greater. Hence days for years. But years being the greatest periociical revolution known to the ancients, were expressed literally. We are undoubtedly in the Apocalypse to take it thus, and to understand this number as expressing strictly one thousand years; a seventh portion of the great millenary week.
As the Millennium will be immediately preceded by a terrible conflict, which is the last struggle of the Antichristian adversary, called in prophecy the Battle of Armageddon; so after the thousand years are expiredi, Satan, who during that whole period had been bound, will be loosed out of his prison, ani new and unexpected troubles will immediately arise in the world. These are said to be conducted by an enemy called Gog andi Magog. Ezekiel has plainly foretold and fully described this event. In the Apocalypse the time when it will happen is fixed. The discomfiture of this last adversary, the victory in this last battle in which the Church will ever be involved, closes the scenes of Revelation, as to the state of the Church in this world. It has pleased God not to inform his people what will be the subsequent train of events. It is enough to know that captivity will then be bed captive, and all but the last enemy, Deaib, be already put under the feet of our conquering Immanuel; but when the wholc mystery of salvation will close, when the day of judgment will open, and the dead arise, is not revealed. This no man knowetb, nor may know. How long after the defeat of Gog and Magog, before the blessed Jesus will come to be glorified in his saints, and admired in all them that believe, is not declared. From the state of things which appears to be then fully ripened and brought to a crisis, we may conclude, it will not be very long before he will appear the second time, without sin, for the complete and clernal salvation of his redeemed family,
THE RIDICULE OF INFIDELS PREMATURE.
Where is the promise of his coming ? 2 Pet. iii. 4.
INFIDELS may boast that they have got rid of the prejudices of education and the qualms of conscience, but they remain in total uncertainty about futurity, and cannot free themselves from uneasiness and alarm. The Lord has not only promised to come again to judge the world, to be glorifier in bis saints, and to be admired in all them that believe; but to take vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel. This fills the unbelieving with apprehension, so that, as Mr. Paine says, when they view it as a truth, they are the mere slaves of terror; their great labour, therefore, is to persuade themselves that it is a falsehood. The apostle Peter tells us, that there should come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, " Where is the promise of his coming ?” This prediction has heen exactly fulfilled, and has received a remarkable accomplish. ment in our times. We have seen scoffers walking after their own lusts, scoffing at God's people, sneering at their belief, laugbing at religion ; with daring presumption, ridiculing the doctrine of a future judgment, saying, “ Where is the promise of his coming ?”?
Your ridicule, my fellow-men, is premature, as we shall shew. Your pleasantry on this subject is low indeed, and your wit shallow in the extreme. Your puzzling question is considered by you as a cutting sarcasm on our understandings; as a keen satire on our credulity, and as involving us in an inexplicable dilemma. It is as if you were to say, " Where is the promise or his coming ? What fools to credit so easily a promise so unlikely ever to be fulfilled, whose only use and design seems to be to amuse weak people, or to be a bugbear to frighten children and old women. Yes; his long delaj sufficiently indicates, that he has no intention of coming at all, but that his promise has either failed or been forgotten. It should have been accomplished long ago, if it was ever meant to