Page images

to the twelfth verse, is to be 1335 days, (that is years,) after the ceasing of the daily sacrifice; at which time Daniel shall stand in his lot upon earth. (v. 13.)

The result is, that the coming here mentioned respects a future period, and yet before the final judgement; which is also the opinion of the great critic Dan. Heinsius.*

Luke xix, 11-28.

"He added, and spake a parable, because he was nigh to "Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God "should immediately appear. A certain nobleman went into a "far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return; and he called his ten servants, and delivered to them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We " will not have this man to reign over us. And it came to pass "when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he "commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom "he gave the money, &c. Then came the first, saying, Lord, "thy pound hath gained ten pounds. And he said unto him, "Well, thou good servant, because thou hast been faithful in a "little, have thou authority over ten cities, &c.-But those "mine enemies that would not lave me reign over them, bring "them hither and slay them before me.”

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The preface to this parable is a golden key to open its meaning, that we may not rely upon a mere allegory. Christ spake this parable, "because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because


they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately "appear." It doth not deny the appearing of the kingdom;

* His words in his Annotations on this text are ; "Verba quibus caput hoc concluditur hæc sunt & un μe inte aπ' apri &c. de quo, ut aliis quibusdam, vere dici potest, quot Theologi tot sententiæ. Alii enim de visione, non per fidem, qua hic videtur Dominus, sed de ea qua cum ad judicium venerit, denuo videbitur (quod non paucis placet.) Alii de ea intelligunt, qua a Judæis, qui in prima agnoscere eum noluerunt, tum videbitur. Quæ opiniones cum ab aliis refutentur singulæ minori opera hic defungemur. Certe quam præcipue hic amplectuntur, quo nitatur fundamento, nondum video; cum præsertim ea de quibus hic agitur, non minori cum gaudio pronuncianda videantur, quam cum Domino adveniente, Hosanna exclamavit populus. In judicio autem tribui terrorem impiis, Judæis vel in primis, de quibus fuse ad hunc Evangelistam alibi Chrysostomus, quis nescit ?"

Christ is for it only he is against the immediate appearance of it. He must before that "go away into a far country," viz. to heaven; and leave talents in trust with his servants, giving them time to employ them; and be so long absent, that his enemies grow bold enough to send after him with this high affront, that they would not have him to reign over them :" that is, some seeming professors should, by his long absence, grow quite careless of improving the talents, or gifts of endowments, to his honor; and others by his delay (as they account it) should become professed enemies against him.


But whatever these mistakers dreamed, the truth was, that as the diligent talenters expected, and accordingly acted, Christ went away to heaven,-not to be ever absent, but to take to HIMSELF a kingdom; (which phrase must signify a kingdom peculiar to himself, as he is Christ ;) and being installed into it, he is to return. He had his kingdom of grace before he went away, which he oft refers to in his discourses; and he had the kingdom of glory as his triumph over his kingdom of grace, having finished his conquest on the cross: so he needed not to return to receive either of these kingdoms. It remains therefore, that it is the kingdom we speak of that he returns to receive.

Now Christ went to heaven to be installed into the kingdom of this earth; that being the imperiality, to which this is the tributary, or province; or that being the metropolis, and this the territories. Express enough it is at all events, that he went away into a far country; which can be no other but heaven, Christ having never travelled bodily out of his own country.

There are also several other passages in this parable for Christ's visible appearance, and setting up his visible kingdom of power on earth, yet before the ultimate day of judgement. First, his giving to the improvers of their talents,—to one the rule over ten cities, to another the rule over five cities. Secondly, the different dispensations of justice towards him that had not improved his talent, who is cast into outer darkness; and towards his enemies, whom he causes to be slain before his face. All this suits not to Christ's mere kingdom of grace, neither does it comport with the ultimate day of judgement; but they well agree with Christ's appearing to set up his visible kingdom.

Indeed the whole parable will appear (to them that can leave the common road of interpretation, and ingenuously weigh the passages and preface thereof) to aim at Christ's next coming to set up such a kingdom, as shall not only perfect the spiritual deliverance of the Gentiles, but also perform the temporal deliverance of the Jews from their dispersion and corporal miseries. For the natural current of the parable runs thus: Christ being near Jerusalem, the Jews thought the kingdom of God would immediately appear. Doubtless, it was far from their thoughts, in the captive condition they were now in, to expect the appearance of the kingdom of glory in heaven: for the hundreds of promises of their deliverance from the corporal captivity were not fulfilled; and they little minded the kingdom of grace; while the better sort, (viz. the disciples and believers,) had seen it appear already. Therefore it is the other kingdom of Christ, viz. that of his visible power and rule, to deliver them from their corporal enemies, that they supposed would immediately appear. Now to this Christ saith, as it were, It will not immediately appear; but I must first go into heaven, and there be instated, and crowned King, and after that come again and actually and visibly reign. In the mean while, you, whom I have endowed with gifts, must employ them; and at my return, as a sign of my visible actual power, I will take account of you, and cause mine enemies that oppose my visible reigning to be slain before me." Again bear in mind, that at the ultimate day of judgement Christ receives no kingdom, but resigns all his kingdom, power, and dominion. (1 Cor. xv, 28.)


Daniel vii, 11-28.

This place throws much light on the parable just noticed. In verses 11 and 12, the four beasts, (that is, the four monarchies; for it is expounded at verse 17, that the four great beasts are four kings,) are slain; and instead of them Daniel sees in a vision," one like the Son of Man, come with the clouds of "heaven, to the ancient of days, and they brought him near "before him." This notably agrees with the parable which describes Christ as going into a far country, to receive to himself a kingdom, and to return; which return, according to this

place of Daniel, will be visibly in the clouds. And (saith Daniel,) There was given to him, that was like the Son of

Man, dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, "nations, and languages shall serve him :" just as in Luke, (according to the Greek) he returned receiving the kingdom.* When he visibly returned, he received a kingdom here below; else why did he return?

[ocr errors]

Jeremiah xxv, 5, 6.

"Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto "David a righteous branch, and a king shall reign and prosper,

and shall execute judgement and justice in the earth. In his "days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely, and "this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS."

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

First, it is evident from the last clause, that the Lord Christ is the person here meant, it being his incommunicable name.s Secondly, it is as apparent, by the whole series of Jeremiah's prophecy, that this relates to the times after Judah's captivity in Babylon, Israel having been carried away captive long before. Lastly, it is beyond all objection, that Christ did never yet so reign upon earth as this text holds forth, as may be made appear with few words.

1st. Christ must reign and prosper; that is, must be every way glorious and successful, so that Judah and Israel shall own him for their king, and call him, "The Lord their righteousness." 2dly. He shall execute justice and judgement in the earth: it is not said, he shall preach justice or judgement, or execute it in heavenly places; but he shall execute it, and upon or in the earth. 3dly. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely, being gathered out of all countries. But the Lord Christ did never yet thus reign: for instead of reigning and prospering in the eyes of Israel and Judah, he was as a branch blasted, a thing accursed,t so that the Jews generally disowned him, proceeding against him as a malefactor, guilty of

εν τῳ επανελθειν αυτον λαβοντα την βασιλειαν, which Arias renders in redire ipsum accipientem regnum.

s Acts iv, 12; 2 Cor. v, 21. t Isa. liii, 3, 4, &c.

many of the highest crimes. And for matters of justice and judgement in the earth, he refused to meddle with the smallest matters, even to give his opinion touching the adulteress, or to divide the inheritance." Neither did Israel then or ever return from captivity, and dwell safely: if indeed we might say Judah did, at Christ's first coming in the flesh, which is doubtful, because they were then under the Heathen Roman power as conquered and tributaries.V


Nor may any put this off, with Christ's spiritual reigning; for this he always did from the creation but this is in the future tense, the days are coming in which he shall reign; which signifies his reigning so as he never did before.

I shall now bring forward three other texts, which it is sufficient to read only, without any comment, to shew that Christ will visibly appear at the great restauration of his Church. I will only premise, in regard to all three, that the things contained in them have never yet been fulfilled; and that they are wholly unsuited to the general opinion of the character of things, as they will be after the final day of judgement.

Zechariah ii, 10-12,

Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for lo I come, and "will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord. And many "nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be "my people; and I will dwell in the midst of thee, &c; and "the Lord shall inherit Judah his portion in the Holy Land, " and shall choose Jerusalem again." Compare this with Zech. xiv, 4-9. "And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives,"- -" and the Lord shall be King over all the earth in that day there shall be one Lord, and his name one."


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Micah, iv, 1-8.


'In the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the

u John viii.; Luke xii, 14.

v Luke iii, 1.

« PreviousContinue »