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several passages, already quoted, promised to take away the reproach of his people. This is Gilgal the great, "to roll away the reproach from Israel." In the day when the Jews shall be converted, "ten men shall take hold of one Jew;" therefore it is said divers times in the Revelation, that "the saints shall have the name of their father in their foreheads." Yea " kings shall be thy nurses;"'s and "the glory of Lebanon, &c. shall come to beautify my sanctuary, and I will make the place of my feet glorious."t The Church shall be as the stones of a crown lifted up.' "u "The governors of Judah shall say in their hearts, The inhabitants of Jerusalem, my strength in the Lord of Hosts." We know that of late days, governors have put reproachful names upon the saints and churches of the purest judgement and profession; (as faction, schism, puritans, &c;) but the time is at hand when they shall be convinced, and shall know that saints are the best men, the interest and the stay of kingdoms.

Let the consideration of these privileges make us walk like them that shall see these times! Let the dawning be upon us, now the sun is about to rise; cleaving to Christ in ordinances, and to one another in love; honouring them most, that have most holiness! Yea, let this comfort us, that all the glorious promises, and prophecies shall then be fulfilled!

q Zech. viii, 23.
t Isa. lx, 13.

r Chap. xiv, 1; xxii, 4. s Isa. xlix, 23.
u Zech. ix, 16. v Zech xii, 5.



The object of the following Exercitations is to reply to some queries; and to remove some difficulties and obscurities, experienced by the observant Reader, in the course of this Treatise and further to rectify certain misapprehensions, which some well minded and godly persons have fallen into, to the great prejudice of this glorious truth.

No. I.


2 PETER III. 10-14.

It is on all hands agreed, that material fire shall be the dividing point between this present world and the world to come; as formerly water was between the first old world, and this present. But here is the question: whether this fire shall annihilate this world, or only renovate it?-Whether again it shall not happen till the ultimate day of universal judgement on all the wicked, when Christ shall lay down all his power; or at the very beginning of Christ's restoring all things, when his kingdom is manifested.

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doctrine he was about to deliver, touching the burning of the world, was the same which the holy prophets had before spoken of. For example, Isa. ix, 5,—" Every battle 'of the warrior is with confused noise and garments rolled in blood, 'but this (battle of Christ) shall be

with burning and fuel of fire." Again, Isa. lxvi, 15, 16.—" For be⚫ hold the Lord shall come with fire, ' and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and with his 'sword (or by his sword of fire) will In proceeding to expound this 'the Lord plead with all flesh; and the text, we must take heed, that our 'slain of the Lord (because so immeexposition may harmonize with (yea,diately slain by him) shall be many. be educed out of) the prophets of the Old Testament. This rule is undeniably evident from verse 2: "That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the com'mandment of us the apostles of 'the Lord and Saviour." Here the apostle tells us plainly, that the

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The context shews, that this is prophesied as a transcendent comfort to the faithful; and in the last times, after the conversion of the Jews, v. 7, 8. Daniel likewise has this declared unto him in a vision, chapter vii, 9, 10.-" The thrones

were cast down (or rather set up) and the Ancient of days did sit,

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' &c. his throne like the fiery flame, 'his wheels as burning fire. A fiery 'stream issued and came forth from before him, &c. and ten thou'sand times ten thousand stood before him. I beheld till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame." The fuel for this fire, (viz. the body of the fourth beast,) is demonstration enough, to us of these last times, when this burning shall be. We will add but one place more, viz. Malachi iv, 1.-"For behold the 'day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and 'all that do wickedly, shall be stub'ble, and the day cometh that shall • burn them up, &c. and shall leave them neither root nor branch."

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We must also expound this text according to some ancient promise, which God hath made by his prophets, touching this estate of which we speak. This rule is evident also in v. 13.-"Nevertheless we according to his promise, look for new heavens, and a new earth," &c. But before St. Peter's time, we have no promise of this new hea. vens and new earth, except that in Isaiah lxv, 17; and lxvi, 22, &c: in which places, the Lord promises, that he will create and make new heavens and a new earth, &c." The circumstances thereunto annexed, (as, dwelling on earth, rejoicing at Jerusalem, with external worship of God from new moon to new moon, &c.) do invincibly prove, that this state can signify no other than a glorious state on earth. Thus the discourse of Peter concerning this

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burning must belong to the same times as those referred to by the Prophets.

It must also be noted carefully, that our Apostle mainly intends, in this chapter, a parallel between the destruction of the old world by water, and of this world by fire, as to the degree of that destruction : viz, that as then, all was not anni. hilated, (neither all men, nor all creatures ;) so neither will they be at this destruction by fire. This part of the rule is so plain in the context, that I need not enlarge. For though the Apostle uses a strong word, (v. 6) touching the destruction of the old world; (viz. Anwλeto perished;) yet we know by the history of Genesis, that that perishing was chiefly of ungodly men; and that after the flood the world was renewed and fresh peopled. So our Apostle, speaking (v. 7) of reserving these heavens and this earth unto fire, saith distinctly, it is for the perdition of ungodly men and after this (v. 13) there shall be a heaven and a new earth, wherein shall inhabit righteousness," which must of necessity signify righteous men. And as in the deluge of water on the old world, the starry heavens suffered not at all; so, in the destruction by fire, those starry heavens are not by Peter included in the word heavens, used in this chapter. For the Apostle tells us, (v. 13) that the catastrophe and intent of this fiery destruction is, to make new heavens and a new earth, wherein should dwell righteousness :* but in the starry heavens there dwells no


*For the better understanding of this, note, that the ancient Hebrew had no one word to signify the system or frame of the superior and inferior bodies, which we call world: but use these two words 7 (heaven and earth) joined together. So that when St. Peter saith, "The world that then was, being overflowed by water, perished but the heavens and earth which now are, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire;" in both places he means the same thing. So the antithesis runs,the world, or heaven and earth, that then was, perished by water, and the heaven and earth, or world, that now is, shall perish by fire.

unrighteousness; therefore these heavens cannot be they that are here meant.


It must be further observed, that though there be mention in verse 7, of the day of judgement; yet the Apostle means not the ultimate judgement, -the great day of judgement, when all the deceased wicked shall be raised, and eternally judged. For he does not say, in the language he wrote, την ἡμέραν, or της κρίσεως, -the day, or day of the judgement; but ἡμέραν κρίσεως, a day of judgement," or a day of judging, as the succeeding copulative (and) and the next word (perdition) do strongly intimate. The whole together would fairly run thus: The heavens and earth that now are, &c. are reserved unto fire at a day of judging and destroying ungodly men, &c. We decline not to name the entrance into this glorious estate, a day of judgement, for we acknowledge it to be such a day, wherein all open and obstinate ungodly men then alive shall be destroyed, and all the deceased saints shall be raised; who, with all the saints then found alive on earth (being changed) shall be made happy in soul and body. But I would have the Reader understand, that St. Peter does not here intend the ultimate and great day of judgement; since he clearly tells us, that after this day of firing these heavens and earth, there shall follow, not only new heavens, but a new earth also and intimates (verse 8,) that the space of the continuance between this first judgement, which I but now mentioned, and the last judgement, is a day of a thousand years; as does also St. John, Rev. x, 4, compared with verse 7, &c. The chief difficulty with some in regard to this text, is the word


soxea (verse 10.) which our translators interpret elements.' But it cannot in this place (nor in divers others) signify those physical things commonly called elements,-viz. fire, air, water, earth. For, first, the world is here divided into heaven and earth, (which include at least three of them-earth, water and air;) and yet soixeia elements are distinguished from them both: "The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth ALSO shall be burnt (note the distinction of this word also) and the works that are therein. The mode likewise by which all shall be affected is also distinguished: the heavens shall pass away with a noise, the elements shall melt with fervent heat, and the earth, &c. shall be burnt. As for the fourth element, viz. fire, that is also clearly distinguished from the elements to be burned, being that which is to burn them.

Secondly, the heavens and the elements are set in contradistinction to the earth and the works that are therein. Therefore, as works signify things on the earth, not the earth itself; so elements must signify the things under the starry heaven, or in the airy heaven, not the air itself. The word τοιχεία, here rendered elements, must therefore signify the furniture belonging to the heaven of the air; as the works on earth signify the building and whole furniture of creatures belonging to the earth, called in Scripture "the host of them."a To prove this to be the true meaning of the Apostle, (who, being a Hebrew, would take such Greek words as would suit the Hebrew expressions) note, that NY tsaba signifies to stand or march in a military posture; and so corres

a Gen. ii, 1; Joel ii, 25.

power of the air," and his host "the rulers of the world," and " wicked spirits in heavenly places." Nor is it altogether improbable, that St. Paul, in Gal. iv. 8, 9, may mean in part by "the elements of the world,” (τοιχεια το κοσμο) wicked spirits, their suggestions and doctrines : for he plainly makes the antithesis so,-"When ye knew not God, ye did service to them which by nature are no Gods (for they were

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ponds well and suits with τείχω, which is expounded by the learned to march in a military posture.* And accordingly the Septuagint render the verb tsaba bу τаpararroμai, to stand in an ordered battalio. Now if this be the correspondency of the verbs, why should there not be a similar correspondency in the nouns? For if the noun is oft rendered a host or army of creatures; why should not the Apostle take soixɛov to sig-idols and worship, taught them by nify the same? Indeed the Gentile 'the devil; and thus they worshiped Greeks do use τιχος & παιχος (comthe devil in them; see 1 Cor. x, ing of the same verb sax) in that 20.) But now after that ye have very sense, viz. for military order. 'known God, how turn ye again to Further, in the Chaldee version of 'weak and beggarly elements ?" the Wisdom of Solomon (which And in Col. ii, 8: "Take heed lest Apocrypha I quote only for the use any spoil you through philosophy, of a word) in chap. vii, 7, there is after the elements of the world;' mention of bi, the same with (see the margin.) Philosophy cannot the Hebrew which signifies here signify the true doctrine of the planets and stars, which are God's works of creation, but must the host of heaven. The Greek signify the theology of heathen phiSeptuagint renders this by evɛpyɛav losophers, touching the doctrine of 50xεy, the operation of the elements, demons, &c. as our English has it; but it must of necessity signify, according to the intent of the Chaldee, the operation of the host of heaven.

Now it is granted on all hands, that as there are three heavens (according to 2 Cor. xii, 2) so each of them hath its host. In the highest heaven of glory is the host of the glorious angels and blessed spirits. In the next below, the ethereal heaven, is the host of the planets and stars. In the lowest or aerial heaven, there is both a visible and an invisible host: the visible consisting of the clouds and meteors, and also the fowls of heaven; and the invisible consisting of wicked spirits and devils,-whose prince, Satan, is called "the prince of the


It will immediately be perceived, that it is not the empyrean heaven of glory, neither the etherial heavens of the stars, that shall be burned; but only the aerial or sublunary heaven with its elements or hosts. The manner or posture of this heaven at the period when it shall cease, is described as a passing away:" which is a usual Hebraism to signify any change of a thing, Thus in Psalm cii, 26, speaking of the heavens, that they shall be changed; the Hebrew word is bn, which the Arabic renders shall pass away. So that this phrase signifies not the utter abolition of this heaven; any more than the word 'perished' (verse 6) signifies the utter annihilation of the earth by Noah's flood; which

* Zteixw ev tažɛı πapaɣıvoμaι, in ordine militari incedo. Scap. ex Etymol. b Ephes. ii, 2. e Ephes. vi, 12. See margin.

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