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ferior (poros) because of foreknowledge: for God foreknew that man would sin. Therefore we expect new heavens and a new earth according to the holy Scriptures; the Epiphany and Kingdom of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ then appearing. And as Daniel says (chap. vii. 18) the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom. And there shall be a pure and holy land, the land of the living and not of the dead: which David foreseeing with the eye of faith, exclaims, I believe to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living -the land of the meek and humble. Blessed, saith Christ, (Matt. v. 5,) are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. And the prophet saith, (Isa. xxvi. 6,) The feet of the meek and humble shall tread upon 99* it. Later even than this period Jerome (who was no friend to the doctrine, but the contrary) admits, "that many christians and martyrs had affirmed the things which he denied; and that a great multitude of christians agreed in them in his own day: so that though he did not follow them, he could not condemn them."
The conversion of Constantine, and the protection which he gave to christianity, appears to have tended the most to render this doctrine unpopular. Rome had been considered by christians as the seat of antichrist and destined to destruction. Lactantius, who lived in the time of Constantine, in his Book on the Divine Institutes, says, "The Roman authority, by which now the world is governed, (my soul dreads to speak it but it will speak it, because it shall come to pass,) shall be taken from the earth, and the empire shall return into Asia, and again the East shall rule and the West obey." This opinion was now therefore by timid and temporizing persons suppressed, or explained away after Origen's manner. bius, (who also questions the Apocalypse,) proceeds so far as to make Rome the New Jerusalem, because Constantine turned the temples into christian churches." And the popes in after ages discountenanced the doctrine, as militating against their usurpation and dogma, that the Millennium commenced with Romish domination in the Church.
Thus the doctrine was thrown into the back-ground until the time of the Reformation, when it was again revived; but owing to the fanatical turbulence of the Anabaptists on the continent, and the fifth-monarchy men in this country, it again fell so much into disrepute, that many timidly kept it out of view, until succeeding generations lost sight of it. In the meanwhile however the doctrine was by no means generally denied: * See the forms of the Ecclesiastical Doctrines in the Hist. Act. Con. Nic. Gelasii Cyziceni. m Book vii. c. 15. n Eccl. Hist. Vol. III. p. 24.
many eminent men were raised up from time to time who advocated these truths in the established church; and the dissenters still continued to hold it so generally, that at last to broach these opinions exposed a man to the imputation of being a dissenter.
And to show that these opinions were entertained by chief persons in the Church, and generally taught at the time of the Reformation, I shall finally bring forward two extracts from the CATECHISM drawn up by the prelates in the time of Edward VI. and authorized by that king in the last year of his reign.°
"Q. How is that petition, Thy kingdom come, to be understood?"
"Ans. We ask that his kingdom may come, for that as yet we see not all things subject to Christ: we see not yet how the stone is cut out of the mountain without human help, which breaks into pieces and reduceth to nothing the image described by Daniel: or how the only rock, which is Christ, doth possess and obtain the empire of the whole world given him of the Father. As yet Antichrist is not slain; whence it is that we desire and pray, that at length it may come to pass and be fulfilled; and that Christ alone may reign with his saints according to the divine promises; and that he may live and have dominion in the world, according to the decrees of the holy Gospel, and not according to the traditions and laws of men and the wills of the tyrants of the world."
"Q. God grant that his kingdom may come most speedily,
"Q. The sacred Scripture calls the end of the world the consummation and perfection of the mystery of Christ, and the renovation of all things: for thus the Apostle Peter speaks in his 2nd Epistle chap. iii.-'We expect new heavens and a new earth according to God's promise, wherein dwelleth righteousness.' And it seems agreeable to reason, that the corruption, mutability, and sin, to which the whole world is subject, should at least cease. Now by what means or ways of circumstances, those things shall be brought to pass, I desire to know of thee?
"Ans. I will declare as well as I can, the same Apostle attesting. The heavens in the manner of a stormy tempest shall pass away, and the elements estuating shall be dissolved, and the earth and the works therein shall be burnt. As if the Apostle should say, the world, like as we see in the refining of gold, shall be wholly purged with fire, and shall be brought
to its utmost perfection; which the little world, man, imitating, it shall likewise be freed from corruption and change. And so for man's sake, for whose use the great world was created, being at length renovated or made new, it shall put on a face that shall be far more pleasant and beautiful."
When I first advanced these things, my assertion that the doctrine of the personal reign was revived at the Reformation, and held by some of the principal divines of that period, was presently attacked. This circumstance has rendered it needful, in order to prevent misapprehension, to explain, that so far as the mere circumstance of the thousand years is concerned, the orthodox reformers disclaimed it, and were evidently alarmed at the term Chiliast or Millennarian, owing to the disrepute brought upon the name by the conduct of the Anabaptists of Germany. Following, therefore, Jerome and Eusebius, they supposed that what we call the Millennium commenced with Constantine. Thus the more avowed antagonists who afterwards sprung up, taking it from Grotius, referred to this period the binding of Satan and the reign of the saints: and this, notwithstanding the apostasy of Julian and the Arian and Popish persecutions (so foreign to the notion of a Millennium) came within those thousand years! Prideaux and Whitby try with all their might to reconcile these things with the circumstance of Satan being nevertheless bound in the bottomless pit! In this respect the doctrine has made a great and decided advance of late years; since modern opponents do now hold the thousand years or Millennium to be future. But mark the effect of this error upon the views of such men as Latimer, Bradford and others; for it is important as a clew to their real sentiments on this question. They held that the world would only last six thousand years; (taking no notice of the seventh thousand;) and that the final Restitution, the Advent of Christ, the manifestation of the Kingdom, and the Judgment, were all to take place at the end of that 6000 years. So that they were in fact looking for the coming of the Lord Jesus at that very period of time, at which the millennarians of the present day expect him. Observe how remarkably this appears in the following extracts from Latimer's third sermon on the Lord's prayer. Having spoken of a Parliament different from the parliaments of this world, to come at the last day;-"a parliament in which Christ will bear the rule and not men;"-"which the righteous pray for when they say, 'Thy Kingdom come,' because they know that therein reformations of all things shall be had;"he presently after has these words:-"Let us therefore have a desire that this day may come quickly; let us hasten God forward; let us cry unto him day and night, Most merciful
Father, thy Kingdom come.' St. Paul saith, "The Lord will not come till the swerving from faith cometh;' (2 Thess. ii. 3,) which thing is already done and past: Antichrist is known throughout all the world. Wherefore the day is not far off. Let us beware, for it will one day fall upon our heads. St. Peter saith, The end of all things draweth very near.' St. Peter said so at his time: how much more shall we say so? For it is a long time since St. Peter spake these words. The world was ordained to endure (as all learned men affirm and prove it with Scripture) six thousand years. Now of that number there be passed 5552 years, so that there is no more left but 448. 'And furthermore those days shall be shortened: it shall not be full six thousand years: 'the days shall be shortened for the elect's sake.' Therefore all those learned men, which without doubt God hath sent into this world in these latter days to give the world warning, all those men do gather out of Scripture, that the last day cannot be far off.”*
I cannot forbear giving a few brief and scattered extracts from his sermons for the second Sunday in Advent. Having observed again, that the days before the Advent will be shortened, "so that peradventure (saith he) it may come in my days, old as I am, or in our children's days;" he goes on: "There will be great alterations at that day; there will be hurly burly, like as ye see when a man dieth, &c. There will be such alterations of the earth and the elements, they will lose their former nature and be endued with another nature. And then shall they see the Son of Man come in a cloud with power and great glory. Certain it is that he shall come to judge; but we cannot tell the time when he will come. Then quoting 1 Thess. iv. to show that the living saints "shall be rapt up into the air and so meet Christ our Saviour," he adds; "all those, I say, who be content to strive and fight with sin; these shall in such wise be taken up into the air and meet with Christ, and so shall come down with him again."—"I pray God, that we may be of the number of those, which shall hear this joyful and most comfortable voice of Christ our Saviour when he will say, Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess the kingdom which is prepared for you before the foundation of the world was laid"-"That man or that woman that saith these words 'thy kingdom come,' with a faithful heart, no doubt desireth in very deed that God will come to judgment and amend all things in THIS WORLD, to pull down Satan that old serpent under our feet."
The Editor of a recent edition of Latimer's Sermons, Dr. Watkins, says in a note on this opinion of the world's duration for six thousand years only-"At the time of the Reformation this notion was very prevalent."
III. The last objection to which I shall reply is, that although it may be admitted, that the doctrine is scriptural, it is not of a practical character, and therefore not profitable or to edification.
The first point to be determined, in order to refute this objection, is-In what does a satisfactory proof of the practical tendency of the doctrine consist. If I appeal to my own personal experience of its salutary influence, or to its stirring and edifying effects upon others, (either of which I can most conscientiously declare,) there would not I fear be that confidence in the minds of many, as regards the integrity of the proof, which is essential to conviction. The most proper and unexceptionable mode is to turn to the Scriptures, and to notice what practical use the writers of the Bible, and of the New Testament especially, make of the subject. This it is my intention to perform, if God will, as I proceed to bring forward and support from Scripture the doctrine itself: until which even this mode would not be satisfactory; because some of the testimonies, which I shall hereafter adduce, might not at present be considered to the point. As regards therefore this one particular mode of considering the objection, I shall only premise, that I fearlessly challenge the production of a greater number of independent passages, practically applying any other Scripture doctrine or connected series of doctrines, than I can bring forward in behalf of those in question; and that if we are to judge of them by the frequency with which they are made the ground of exhortation, or by the variety of duties or graces which they specially call into exercise, they must be deemed among the most practical and highly important truths in the Bible. But I must for the present entreat the patience of the reader.
In the meanwhile I do not think the objection,—that a doctrine (admitted to be scriptural) is not profitable,—at all consistent, nor fit to be advanced by persons professing to receive the Scriptures as divinely inspired: and I must here therefore beg to submit four short observations, for the candid consideration of the reader.
1. First, it is plainly written, that "ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable, &c." It is affronting to the Deity to suppose, that he would reveal anything to the Church, which is not calculated to edify it; or which individual members of it may wilfully neglect, without great damage to their souls. Some points are indeed more prominent than others; and there are some also, which we may justly call "first principles of the doctrine of Christ:" but because I