Page images

** dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom, under the whole ** heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints, &c." And in Rev. 1, 7, St. John having said, "In the days of the voice "of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mys"tery of God shall be finished," goes on in chapter xi, 15, to say, "The seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices **in heaven saying, the kingdoms of this world are become the "kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign “ for ever;”—that is, no monarchy shall ever be on earth after his. The Jews also allege to this end Isaiah ii, 11, 17,—“ The " lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of "* men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be ex“alted.” And one, both learned and godly, doth likewise to the same purpose apply Haggai, ii, 21, 22; “ By shaking heaven "and earth once more, (saith he) the Prophet seems partly to "mean, that there shall he a change, not only of the customs "of the people, which are the earth; but also of kingly powers, "which are the heavens." Which place of Haggai, the Apostle applies to the kingdom of Christ, (Heb. xii, 26—29,) of which application, though part may comport with the kingdom of Christ as spiritual, (which hath ever been) yet the rest seems to look as far as Christ's kingdom to come on earth. For since Haggai's, or Paul's time, God never so shook the material heavens of orbs and stars, or the metaphorical of royalties and majesties, that the kingdom succeeding (as the text plainly intends) could not be moved. The place seems to allude to, and to prophesy from, God's shaking of mount Sinai; that as at that time God shook his people out of Egypt, and separated them by divine laws from all the nations of the earth to be a royal Church by themselves; so he will shake all the world of high and low ones, when he sets up his last kingdom, (viz. Christ's visible kingdom on earth,) and therewith makes all new. "For

(saith my Author) that same once more' signifies the removing of all former old things in earth, and heaven, (viz. of cus"toms and institutions of people, and crowns of kinglyhoods,) "and making all new with sanctity and spirituality in the quality; though men and creatures shall be in substance ex"tant upon the earth, according to their species or kind, and sovereignty in paramount glory ruling all." Just as

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Zechariah hath it, "And the Lord shall be king over ALL the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his Name one."s That is, (as some learned expound,) there shall be no more lords, but the Lord Christ; and his dominion shall be greater than ever any was. Which the prophet Malachi doth notably survey in these words; From the rising of the sun, even to "the going down of the same, my name shall be great among "the Gentiles, &c."h

[ocr errors]

IV. We proceed next to the qualifications, or qualities of this Kingdom of Christ.

1. It is sinless: for it is not imaginable, that the deceased saints should be raised and the living changed to enjoy this glorious state with the least tincture of sin, either of their own or others. This were to bring them again to sorrow; which, as we shall presently shew, cannot consist with this glorious state. The places of Scripture asserting the sinlessness of this time are very many and very clear; so that I need but refer to them, to convince the ingenuous reader: viz. Isaiah xi, 6—xxxv, 8—lix, 21-lx, 21-Jeremiah xxxii, 40, 41-Ezekiel xxxvi, 23 to 30xliv, 9-Daniel xii, 3-Zephaniah iii, 13-Zechariah xiv, 20, 21-Malachi iv, 1-2 Peter iii, 13-Rev. xxi, 27.


But then the question will be asked, Where then shall abide throughout those thousand years all those hypocrites, called Gog and Magog, that shall at last break out, and go about to oppose the Church? though in vain, their opposition and subversion concluding in the same moment. We answer, according to the light we have attained, that most probably they shall not be in, but without the Church for without shall be dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. The heathen (as appears by Homer's Iliad, viii,) used to call the place of outcast men Tartarus, alluding likely to some dismal and remote place of the earth (as Tartary is) from us and from Jerusalem. The Apostle takes up that word in 2 Peter ii, 4, and makes a verb out of it (raρrapów) to signify the putting of men into a hellish solitary place. So that most likely the unregenerate shall be as remote from the Church, as Tartary is from Jerusalem and the

8 Zech. xiv, 9. h Mal. i, 11.

i Rev. xx, 8.

j Rev. xxii, 15.

Christian Church,-as far, as it were, from hell to heaven. The Church being now as heaven on earth, the false hearted spawn of future Gog and Magog shall be remote on earth, near their future hell. To this, Rev. xx, 8, contributes some proof, in that it saith, that Gog and Magog shall be fetched up against the Church by the devil, from the four quarters of the earth.

But if these hypocrites were permitted to be nearer the Church, they might perhaps be converted. We answer, NO: for it is (if we may use that word) the fate of this millennary period, (I mean, God's righteous peremptory sentence,) that as all that time there shall be no degenerating of believers, so no more regenerating of any unbelievers. There is a judiciary sentence peremptorily passed to this purpose, Rev. xxii, 11.—“ He "that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy, "let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be " righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still:" that is, they shall continue to be so. In order to which it follows," without are dogs, &c. and I come quickly, and my reward is with me." The appearance of Christ at the preface to this thousand years will be (as it is represented in the preface to the Revelation, chap. i,) among the churches, that then are or have been churches: therefore it behoves churches and all professors to beware, that they be not found as the foolish virgins, that never had the oil of regenerating grace in the vessels of their hearts. For the oil of sound principles in their heads, by which they made the blaze of profession, being spent, they have lost their principles; and so, being unready at Christ's coming, they come (as Jerome saith) when the doors are shut !

2. Next with good dependence we assert, it is a sorrowless condition; for sorrow came into the world by sin, and when sin leaves the world, sorrow must go with it. Thus the Apostle connects them" O death where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory ?"k as much as to say, "Where is sin ?" for the sting of death is sin, tending to it and the grave; but the sting is gone when sin is no more. Adam's state was a sorrowless condition, and the state of the faithful at this time shall be the same; as we have often recited the parallel, Gen. i, 26, with

k 1 Cor. xv, 55,

Psalm viii, Heb. ii, Psalm xcv, Heb. iv; out of which ninetieth Psalm the Apostle proves, that a rest yet remains on earth for the people of God. The word in the Hebrew is which comes from the same root whence Noah's name is prophetically given him, to foretel the comfort that should come to the Church by him,-even the rest in the ark in the time of the flood, Gen. v, 29. Much is couched in those words, Heb. iv. 9.


Therefore, there is yet left (or there remaineth) a Sabbatism (or a Sabbatical rest) for the people of God." Mark every word. THEREFORE,' because God rested on the seventh day in the beginning, and after that gave them a seventh weekly and yearly rest, with a rest also in Canaan, and after all he spake of another rest to come;—therefore, there remaineth a rest. 'REMAINETH'—or is yet left, imports something not extant before in specie, but only in types; but is next to come in order, in its native kind and verdure. 'A REST' i. e. a Sabbatism: the word is never used but on this occasion, and imports a limited time, (not an everlasting unlimited duration) even as Adam lived near a thousand years, and would have rested that time and longer in paradise, without sin or sorrow, if he had not listened to the diabolical temptation. "To THE PEOPLE OF GOD:" which being written to the Hebrews, must include them, (so often called by God in the Old Testament My people,) and so must necessarily signify, that this rest is for the Jews jointly with the Gentiles, when the Jews shall be the people of God by faith, as now the believing Gentiles are.1


Another circumstance which will tend to make it a sorrowless state is, that wars shall cease in it. Isaiah says, nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."'m In another place he says of Christ,-" He shall be called the Prince of peace;" and "that of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end."n Which place must plainly speak of external peace, as well as of internal, and for a long continuance; and it belongs to the time of which we speak, (as before demonstrated,) which Christ hath not to this day fulfilled, but hath brought a sword, rather than external peace. Therefore the fulfilling of the sense of Isaiah xi, 1, &c. is yet to come. In another place we have these high promises. 1 Rom. xi. m Isaiah ii, 4. n Isaiah ix, 6,

[ocr errors]

"The Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land, and the strangers shall be joined unto them, &c. And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place, &c. And the Lord shall give them rest from sorrow, fear, and hard bondage." And finally we have it most fully and plainly, "That in that day the Lord will wipe away all tears from all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it." The following Scriptures may be referred to for further testimony on this head: Isaiah xi, 1; liv, 13, 14; lx, 14; lxv, 19; lxvi, 12; Jeremiah xxiii, 3, 4; xxx, 10; xlvi, 27, 28; Ezekiel xxviii, 24; Micah iv, 1-3; Zeph. iii, 13—15; 2 Thess. i, 7-10: Rev. vii, 16, 17; xxi, 4.

Let this section encourage us to patience. Twice it is said of the present state of sufferings," Here is the patience of the saints ;" and once it is said, keep the word of patience : but after a while comes the kingdom of peace. Therefore Christ seals up all the Bible, and all the Revelation almost, with this:

[ocr errors]

He that is righteous, let him be righteous still; he that is holy let him be holy still; and behold I come quickly, and my reward is with me." Then—“ Surely I come quickly, Amen, Amen.”

3. It has already been seen, from the first place in the last section, that it is a deathless condition: if more be wanted, we may refer to Hosea xiii, 13, 14.—" I will ransom them from the power of the grave; and I will redeem them from death. 0 "death I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction. "Repentance shall be hid from mine eyes." Which words are evidently spoken to Ephraim, the ten tribes, (v. 12,) and therefore cannot relate to the return of the two tribes from Babylon. The Apostle also in 1 Cor. xv, 54, 55 evidently challenges this place, as well as Isaiah xxv, 8. To these may be added Rev. XXI, 4 and xxii, 2, 3. It is evident, that the latter, chapter relates to the same state as the former: witness not only verses 14, 15; but also verses 1, 2, of the fountain of water and tree of life, which signify a state on earth. In relation then to our point, by reason of their partaking of the tree of life it is said (v. 3.)" There shall be no more curse:" i. e. no death; for

o Isaiah xiv, 1—3.

[ocr errors]

p Isaiah xxv, 8. q Rev. xiii, 10, and xiv, 12. r Rev. iii, 10.

« PreviousContinue »