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fulness of the Gentiles,"? were not accom- . plished then, and consequently are not accomplished yet. Nor “are the kingdoms of this world yet become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ.”8 Whence it may be concluded that the closing scenes of Providence towards our earth, will be the manhood of Christianity ; that the tree of life planted in the beginning” of the world, will bear its fruit more abundantly at its close ; or, to invert the order of the poetic ages, if the patriarchal was the iron, the Mosaic the brazen, the apostolical the silver, the future will be the golden age of Christianity.
Whether the Jews shall ever, as a nation, literally return to their own land is immaterial to the present argument; since if they do, it is certain they will return, not as unbelieving Jews, but as believing Christians, bowing to the authority of their and of our Messiah.
8 Rev. xi. 15.
? Rom. xi. 25. Comp. Gr. of Heb. ix. 12, &c.
Nor does the writer by any means intend to convey an idea of what has been designated, the personal or visible reign of Christ on earth, as inferred by some from the following words.
They lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
They shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years."9 For neither the verb
reign,” nor the preposition rendered
with,” justify, in his estimation, the conclusion drawn from them. That the verb reign does not imply any personal or visible appearance on earth is apparent from the prophetic testimony of the angel to Mary, when announcing the duration of it. “He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever ; and of his kingdom, (reign") there shall be no end.”. And that it is not implied in the preposition rendered “ with” appears no less clear, since it is well known that ustá with a genitive signifies not only together with as in Matt. i. 23; ii. 3, 11, &c., but also by means of, as Matt. xxvii. 66, Acts xiji. 17, xiv. 27, xv. 4, 1 Tim. iv. 14.3 The latter sense seems the more proper here.
9 Rev. xx. 4, 6.
the four Gosp. Dissert. v.
2 Luke i. 33.
The notion of his visible reign on earth might, indeed, be urged at the time in favour of pilgrimages to the Holy Land,” and might excite in the visitants those soft emotions, founded on the best feelings of our nature, so beautifully described by Milton;' but could be of no spiritual advantage to the church at large, since his appearance in one country would
3 Vide Schleus. Lex. sub. voce, No. 7, and Park. No. 6.
“ Here I could frequent
Paradise Lost, B. ii. 317, 327.
not benefit those of his people who resided in others. “ The presence of Christ in this kingdom shall, no doubt, be glorious and evident; yet I dare not so much as imagine (which some ancients seem to have thought) that it should be a visible converse upon earth. For the kingdom of Christ ever hath been, and shall be regnum cælorum, a kingdom, whose throne and kingly residence is in heaven. There he was installed when he sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high,' Heb. i., and there, as in his proper temple, is continually, 'to appear in the presence of his Father to make intercession for us,' Rom. viii. 34, with Heb. ix. 24.” 5
But, as Christianity did triumph over all other systems, when it was first propagated, so will it gain the ascendancy over idolatry, superstition, Paganism, Mohammedanism, and
antichristian heresy. The knowledge of the true God will be spread, his worship be established, and
5 Mede's Works, Book iii. ch. 12, p. 603.
his honours be acknowledged in the world. The Mediator’s dignity, glory, and offices will be proclaimed and hailed with delight. The refreshing and sanctifying influences of the Spirit will be the subject of anxious desire and devout prayer. Instead of the desolating influence of infidelity, " the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose;" and Christianity be publicly recognized “as the pillar of society, the safeguard of nations, and the parent of social order.” The Scriptures will be listened to as the voice of inspiration, be regarded as the standard of religion and morals, and every work written on these subjects will bow to their authority as the sheaves of Joseph's brethren did to his sheaf; or will receive a tincture from them as a stream of water does from the prevailing chemical substance over which it passes.
And, though I am far from even hinting at the possibility of perfection in this life, we are authorised from the Scriptures themselves, as well as from what Christianity has done, to maintain that selfishness