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we know by Scripture and experience was not abolished.

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The measure or degree of this burning shall be dissolving' and 'melting'" the elements (or hosts) shall be dissolved and melt with fervent heat." The Apostle uses a metaphor from the refining of metals, which is dissolved and melted with fire in order to be purified. To this the word Tupeμεvo harmoniously agrees for when the Psalmist several times uses to refine, (as Ps. xii, 6.) the Septuagint expresses it by Tupow. And whence indeed is our word pure, but of the Latin purus? and whence is the Latin purus, but of the Greek Tuρ or fire?

But though the starry heavens shall not be touched with this fire; yet, by the refining of the airy heaven, the aspect of the starry heavens may be more clarified to our sight. All the stars and planets may appear more glorious, as transmitting their beams through a purer medium; so that the heavens may seem as a new light, and the world as a new thing. And in regard to those wicked spirits, mentioned Eph. vi, 12, which we observed are part of the elements or hosts of this lower heaven; the efficacy of the fire shall not reach their substance, so as to burn them; yet shall they so far suffer by this fire, as to be cast down from those higher mansions, and confined in some lower place. Thus St. Jude intimates," The angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own (or proper) habitation, he hath reserved to be boundd with everlasting chains of darkness, at the judgement of the great day." (v. 6.)

The time when this fire shall be kindled is shown by comparing v. 13

with v. 7, 8; viz. that whereas the thousand years of the Church's restauration, is called there one day, and a day of judgement; this fire is kindled in the beginning of that day, in order to make it also a day of ruining judgement to the obstinate wicked; as it will be also a happy rewarding judgement on them that believe, when the earth is purified. For most evidently the Apostle there makes this glorious time to follow that great burning, and this burning to precede that; or he needed not to have inserted so emphatically his nevertheless'-to prevent mistakings or misgivings of heart in them that hope for a glorious state of the Church on earth, according to the tenor of all the prophecies. (Compare Rev. xix, 3, with xx, 1, 2, &c.) And why else does the Apostle tell us of new heavens and a new earth, and such as wherein should dwell righteousness? and how shall they be so new, and a habitation of such righteousness, but because this fire shall so purge them of their dross, and make them


I have given the most literal, and therefore the most congruous sense of this text: for according to the old rule, we are not to seek an allegorical interpretation, when a plain and literal one is at hand. Our Lord indeed speaks in hyperbolical language in Matt. xxiv, 29 in relation to the heavenly bodies; because literally the stars cannot fall from heaven, having no space to fall to big enough to receive them. And in such passages as Isaiah li, 15—19; and xxxiv, 2—5; Jer. iv, 23; Hab. ii, 6; there is evidence from the context that the mention of the heavens is figurative. And even were we to account these expressions in Peter

d Compare Rev, xx, 1.

be, that they may be preserved during the conflagration of the earth, and the works thereof?

figurative, it would amount to much the same thing; considering that the hosts of the figurative heavens and earth are the inhabitants and politi-(2 Peter iii, 10.) that as Noah

cal rulers thereof. For in both senses the body of the earth, and the heaven of stars, are reserved from the fire: so that nothing is burnt, but what is noxious to the Church, and impedes her happy estate on earth.

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and his family were preserved from the deluge, by being lifted up above the waters in the ark; so should the saints at the conflagration, be lifted up in the 'clouds, unto their ark Christ, 'to be preserved there from the ' deluge of fire, wherein the wick'ed shall be consumed." And the most learned of the Jews hold an opinion agreeing with this, derived from Elias, a Jewish doctor, who lived under the second temple. He says: "When the blessed God 'shall renew this world; 'when the lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men 'shall be bowed down, and the · Lord alone shall be exalted;' then (as Isaiah xl, 3) they that wait for the Lord shall renew their

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That we may have the full intent of the Apostle in this text, note that verse 14, ("Seeing ye look for such things, be diligent that ye be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless,") suggests a query that must be answered; viz. what is the place and state of the saints in the time of this burning? We answer; that the Lord can miraculously keep his people in this fire, as he did the three children in the fiery oven;e and the Israelites in Goshen, whilst fiery judgements were spread over all the land of Egypt round about.f strength, they shall mount up with Respecting these and similar preser-wings as eagles;' or like as eagles vations it is said, "We went through 'do on their wings. For it is said, fire and water, but thou broughtest 'Psalm xlvi, 2, 'Therefore shall us into a place of refreshing."g And it is promised for the future, "When thou passest through the fire thou shalt not be burnt, &c. I am thy Saviour, that gave Egypt for thy ransom.' h He can carry them through this fire, by taking them up into the air at his coming, according to 1 Thess. iv, 17-" We which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air." On which words learned Mr. Mede hath this; "I will add what may 'be conceived to be the cause of this rapture or taking up the saints then alive, to meet the Lord in the clouds, rather than to wait his coming to the earth. What if it

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we not fear, when the earth shall 'be changed.'

The Apostle concludes with instruction to the godly; for unto such he expressly bends his speech, calling them beloved. So that here, we that believe have a morsel of importance to chew; that though we have certainly the truth of saving grace, and an apostle to assure us thereof, yet the consideration of the conflagration of the world and the renovation of it for our use, is of great consequence to As if the Apostle should say: Ye that have truth of grace, though ye cannot be damned, yet it is not sufficient to dismiss all care from your heads, nor fear out of your


8 Psalm lxvi, 12. h Isaiah xliii, 2.

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hearts, touching your salvation, at the deluge of fire burning the whole world. The method the Apostle uses in pressing believers to a deep consideration of this point, is by an argument consisting of antecedent and consequence: Seeing ' these things shall be dissolved, (v. 11,) and seeing ye look for such 'things, (v. 14.) as the renovation ' of the world; it concerns you to 'look to yourselves now, in prepar⚫ation for that great day of burn'ing. Though I will not tell you, 'what may be the great thoughts of heart in all dilatory saints, at 'that day of burning; yet you have cause to have serious thoughts a'bout it now, to your lives' end, seeing such saints shall be concerned in that fire; even as my 'brother Paul saith, 1 Cor. iii, 13." So that whatever antinomian spirits may dream, the Apostle plainly would have believers consider arguments of dread, as well as arguments of comfort.


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ness, &c." (vv. 11-18.) In both we must not be professors at large; -not such wheat as is like the tares. Towards the end of the harvest there must be a sensible difference between the lowest saint and the highest moralist; between the meanest true professor and the most guilded hypocrite. This pre-eminence in matters of piety Peter prescribes in seven particulars, viz. (1.) "In all holy conversation:" it is not enough to say, my heart is good," but our conversation must prove it to be so.i And that not only in honesty, (which all moralists have,) but in holiness, as acted by a holy rule and to a holy end.j (2.) " In all godliness:" that is, in a godly inside. (3.) "Looking for, and hasting to the coming of the day of God:" that is to say, to meet Christ.k (4.) "Be found of him in peace;" viz. peace with God and in your own conscience, and not terrified.1 (5.)

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i Matt. XII. 24, 37. j James III, 17. k Matt. xxv. 1, 3. Rom. v. 1--3. Eph. v. 27; Col. 1. 23; 1 Tim. vI. 6; Titus 11. 5; Jude 24.

m See

No. II.



The occasion of this second exercitation springs from the first; viz. how or whence shall be left remaining on earth, after the thousand years of the glorious state of the Church, such a wicked offspring as Gog and Magog, if there shall be such universal burning of the world, as shall transform it into a new heaven and a new earth? To solve this knot, we must first know, who Gog and Magog are.

Verses 8, 9 state, "that at the end of the thousand years, Satan, being loosed, shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog;" whence we can rationally deduce no less, than that Gog and Magog are not this or that nation, but an extract and collection of the dregs and dross of many nations. This the Prophet Ezekiel signally confirms : "Son of man set thy face against Gog in the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him; and say, thus saith the Lord, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; and I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and will bring thee forth, and all thy army, horses and horsemen, and all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company, with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords; Persia and Ethiopia, and Libya with them, all of them with shield helmet; Go

mer and his bands, the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands, and many people with thee :"n whence you have a fair prospect to see who Gog is, with his variety of nations embodied with him; as also what he is, viz. such as God will set himself against.

But then the grand question necessarily falls in, How can it consist with that glorious state and time, included within the one thousand years, that after it, even immediately at the very end thereof, there shall be extant such a crew as this? I confess this has been to me the most intricate knot throughout the whole doctrine of the Millennium. I was not thereby (as some learned men acknowledged to me they were) kept off from embracing so much of that doctrine as was revealed to me; yet it still perplexed me as a labyrinthian difficulty. I must therefore prophesy of this submissively, leaving the Church of Christ to judge. For besides that in mysteries of this nature, Christ hath usually some reserves, which he will not unveil till near the very time of fulfilling the whole; there is also a peculiar method in Christ's discoveries of such great things as these, whilst he intends and is intent to reveal. So that, as the world was made orderly and successively in six days, as an introduction to the Sabbath of rest; and several months are appointed for the product of

n Ezek. xxxviii, 2-~7.

several fruits and flowers, (the preface to a complete summer,) Christ likewise is pleased to tell us his mind in sundry times or parcels. If therefore this be the day or the month in which a clear light is to spring forth in relation to this point, clearing the way to that millennian Sabbatism ;P what I can receive of it by prayer and scrutiny into the Scriptures, I shall cautiously communicate to the apocalyptical students among the expectant saints.

Many to whom I have propounded this gordian knot to be loosed, centre towards this opinion-That there shall be in the time of the thousand years a remnant of smooth hypocrites, extant upon the earth, as the hidden putrid matter or spawn; which at last, by the devil's influential brooding and hatching, shall be generated into Gog and Magog. They that are apt to conceive this remnant shall be a distinct body by themselves, seem to have in their eye some such passages as these: he that is filthy, let him be filthy still:"q" no unclean thing shall enter:"-" without there shall be dogs."s


Others, who think that this remnant shall be a mixture sprinkled among the glorified saints on earth, hanker after such notions as these that as the Gibeonites, were hewers of wood and drawers of water to the Jewish Church, so these to the glorified Church shall be servile,—and that if the saints must reign, they must have somebody to reign over;-and if they must rule the nations, there must be a communion, such as is between the governors and the governed.

I must however adhere to my principle before laid down (p. 281;) that this time of the thousand years

is a sinless time, and withal, a sorrowless time; and that the raised and changed saints shall not be brought into such a dim glory or cold comfort, as to have adjacent to them, or interjacent among them, men of sinful hearts. If believers now have a great spirit of discerning men, how much more will they have it then: discernment of false brethren amongst them, would, in every respect, be incongruous to a glorious estate. Christ, indeed, and the angels conversed on earth, unpolluted, but not ungrieved: and surely, in the same sense as angels are said to joy at mens' conversion," they also grieve at their transgressions. And if Christ hated hypocrites equally, if not more, than the profane, (when he said, that the publicans and harlots enter into heaven before them; and that the burning of the world is an universal deluge of fire on all evil persons, that obey not the gospel of Christ,w and on all evil things, even to the very hay and stubble of errors in his own elect;) it cannot be fairly probable, that he will leave among his glorified saints such a corrupt brood, who often do more mischief secretly than the open wicked;-as Paul hints in his complaint of false brethren.

Now we hold, on the contrary, that there shall be no men on earth during this period, but such as shall attain to a perfect freedom in one kind or other from sin, and so from mortality also, throughout that time. For as all they, who, under the covenant of grace, have been incorporated into Christ by the spirit of faith, shall be raised or changed into an immutable state of perfection, never to be altered for the worse but for the better; so there shall be

o Heb. i, 1. P Heb. iv, 9. q Rev. xxii, 11. r Rev. xxi, 27. * Rev. xxii, 15. u Luke xv. w 2 Thess. i, 8. x 1 Cor. iii, 12—15.

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