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ceiving of the saints at the resurrection, and the refreshing of " them with all spiritual good things, in recompense of those " things which in the world we either despised or lost. For it " is both just and well beseeming the Lord, that there also his servants should triumph, where they have been afflicted for his “ name. This is the manner of the heavenly kingdom.”

Also in his fifth book he says ; (on the words “Thou art a priest for ever ;') “ But Hezekiah, though he once was, yet he was then “neither a priest, nor for ever, &c.

But unto Christ will agree “ the order of Melchisedec; because indeed Christ, God's proper

and legitimate high-priest of the priesthood of the uncircumcision,—then specially constituted in the nations, of “ whom he had more claim to be received,—will vouchsafe at “ last to accept and bless the circumcision and posterity of Abraham, when at length they shall know him.” (Cap. ix.) u

2. The next Father whom we shall instance is Cyprian ; who flourished in the year 222; and whose writings are had in great esteem among all the godly. For a taste of his opinion see his book De Exhortatione Martyrii ; in the Preface whereof he speaks thus : “ Thou hast desired, most dear Fortunatus, be“ cause the weight of persecutions and pressures lies upon you ; "and because in the end and perfecting of the world, the dan

gerous time of Antichrist hath begun to draw near ; that I “should compose some encouragements out of the divine Scriptures, to prepare

and corroborate the minds of the brethren ; whereby the soldiers of Christ might be animated unto the “ celestial and spiritual combat.-—Six thousand years are now “ almost completed, &c." And then, in his with chapter of that book, he hath these words, What are those seven breth“ ren, in the Maccabees, alike in birth and virtue, fulfilling the " septenary number of perfect consummation in a mystery ? These seven brethren, cleaving together in martyrdom, are as the

first seven days in the divine disposal, containing seven thou“ sand years, &c., that a lawful perfection may be fulfilled.” v

u They that would see more of Tertullian may consult his treatises, De Resurrectione, cap. xxv, Adversus Hermonegenem,' cap. xi, and De Animá,' cap. xxxv.

v On which words Mede hath this note : “ He that expected that the coming “ of Antichrist should be at the end of the 6000 years, which he supposed then

3. Lactantius, who lived in the time of Constantine the great, about 310 years after Christ, very largely discourseth the point in his seventh Book of Divine Institutions.W From this Book we shall give several passages. • In our fourth book we have “ spoken of the first coming of the Lord: now let us relate his second, which the Jews also acknowledge and expect; because “it is of necessity that he should return to comfort them, whom “ before he had come to call together." Chap. i.

• It is ordained by the disposal of the highest God, that this “ unjust age, a certain space of time being run, shall have an “ end; when, all wickedness being extinct, and the souls of the

godly called back to a blessed life, there shall flourish a quiet, “ tranquil, peaceable, and golden age, God himself then reigning." Chap. vii.

Let philosophers know, who number thousands of ages since “the beginning of the world, that the sixth thousand year is not yet concluded or ended. But that number being fulfilled, of “necessity there must be an end, and the state of human things must be transformed into that which is better.”

Chap. xiv. This he largely and learnedly proves from God's making the world in six days, and resting the seventh; alleging the Prophet's expression, that a thousand years are but as one day, &c.

" to be near at hand, yet thought the world should last 7000 years ;-viz. 1000

years after the destruction of Antichrist. This, to him that understands it, is plain Chiliasm. Compare Augustin cap. 7, lib. 20, De civit. Dei, from those words, " Qui propter hæc hujus libri verba primam resurrectionem, &c. Compare “ also what Cyprian hath in the end of that book out of the Gospel, Mark x, “ 29, 30, and Apoc. xx, and you will find him, as he professeth himself to be, “ Tertulliani Discipulum."

w I notice here an objection made against Lactantius by Jerome, as if, in regard to this subject, his opinion had been for carnal and corporal pleasures, &c. This is no real objection against that which we here quoted him for-viz. to shew that he held millennary opinions; since a few mistakes superadded to a truth do no more evert its substance, than warts and wens do the personal substance of a man. Nevertheless, the objection may be refuted: for the worst words which Lactantius hath, that may seem to look that way, are in lib. vii, c, 24. “Tunc qui erunt in corporibus vivi, &c." i.e. “ Then they which shall be “ alive in their bodies (at Christ's coming] shall not die, but shall generate for “ the space of those thousand years an infinite multitude, and their offspring shall “ be holy and dear to God. But those that shall be raised from the dead shall be

over them that are alive in the manner of judges.” This is all Lactantius saith ; in which he clears himself: for the sense is, that the raised shall live an angelical life, and those left in the body an Adamitish life: and to prove that he had no gross and carnal views, he says a little after, “ This millennium kingdom " is an empire of a thousand years, wherein righteousness shall reign throughout " the world.” Thus Lactantius ; and not as Jerome reports.



“ And," saith Lactantius, in the fifteenth chapter of the said seventh book : "As it is in the Scriptures, how and for what ne

cessity Israel went down into Egypt, and there exceedingly

multiplied; but that, when oppressed with an intolerable “yoke of bondage, God smote Egypt, led his people through the Red Sea, and there drowned the Egyptians endeavouring to

pursue the flying Israelites : so this famous exploit was a figure

of a greater thing to be, which God shall bring to pass “ in the last consummation of times; for He will deliver his people from the grievous servitude of the world. But though God

then smote only Egypt, because his people was but one na" tion; yet now, because God's people are over all the world, “ God will smite all nations, even the whole world, and deliver “his righteous people that worship him. And as then there were “ certain previous signs, by which the future ruin of the Egyp“ tians was foreshewn; so at the last shall be prodigious won“ ders, by all the elements of the world, whereby may be un“ derstood, that ruin to all nations is at hand. For then shall

righteousness become so rare, and impiety so multiply, that “ if there be any good men then extant, they shall be a prey to

the wicked, &c. Then shall ruin over-run the world. The cause of which devastation and confusion shall be, because the

Roman authority, by which now the world is over-ruled (my “ soul fears to speak it, but I will speak it, because it shall come “ to pass !) shall be taken away from the earth, and the empire “ shall return into Asia, and the East shall have again the do

minion, and the West shall be made servile," &c. " Moreover

the Sybils do speak it openly, that Rome shall be destroyed, “ because she hated the name of God, and opposed righteousness. " And Hydaspis a most ancient king of the Medes, even before " the Trojan race was set up, prophesied the same.” Chap. xv.

" How that shall be, lest any one should think it incredible, I “ will declare. First the regality and chief power shall be mul

tiplied into many, and cut and minced into crumbs. Then perpetual civil discords shall be sown, and never shall there be

any quiet, &c. Ten kings shall then stand up together, who shall “ not suffer the world to be ruled, but to be ruined, &c. Then “ upon a sudden, shall rise up against them a most potent enemy “ from the utmost bounds of the North, who, having overthrown " three of that number, shall be taken into society of the rest,

and by them shall be made chief of them all. This man shall “ domineer and vex, mingle divine and human things, subvert · laws, establish his own, and shall waste, destroy, and kill. “ The name and seat of the empire being changed, there shall

follow the confusion and vexation of all mankind, &c.” “ The circle of the whole earth being oppressed, at which time human strength shall be unable to destroy the tyranny of im

mense power, God, moved by the manifold dangers of his “people, and with their miserable lamentations, shall forth with

send the Deliverer. Then shall the midst of heaven be opened " in a quiet but black night, so that the light of God, descending, “shall appear over all the world as lightning. The Sybils have

it thus : · When he shall come, the darkness in a black mid'night shall become as fire, &c.' For which night there

is a double reason ; viz. that he was born in the night, and “ suffered death in the night; and so, after these, in the night “ he shall receive the kingdom of the earth. This is the Deliverer, the Judge, the Revenger, and King, and God, whom

we call Christ; and who will give this sign before his descent: “ The sword will suddenly proceed from heaven, in order that “the righteous may understand, that the Captain of the armies

of the saints is about to appear; and then he shall descend, his angels accompanying him, &c.”

After this follows a description of the overthrow of Antichrist, and the vast slaughter which shall be ; which description continues throughout the chapter.

And after these things (saith Lactantius in the next chapter) the places of the dead shall be opened, and the dead shall rise " again, and the great judgment shall be performed by God

Christ concerning them, of which judgment and kingdom the Erythræan Sybil thus speaks : ' When the day shall receive its

'fatal end, and the judgment of the immortal God shall come ""to mortals, then shall come upon men the great judgment "' and the beginning, &c.' Nevertheless all universally shall not be then judged of God; but those only which are versed in the re* ligion of God.Chap. xix and xx.

The Poets by poetical licence corrupted that which they had received; for in that they sang,--that men, having finished a thousand years among the dead, should be restored to life

again, their understanding deceived them. For the dead shall "indeed rise again, not a thousand years after their death, but

that, being restored to life again, they may reign a thousand years with God.

Chap. xxii. By God Lactantius means Christ; as he openly explained himself a little before.

““ Of which resurrection the Philosophers also endeavoured to say something, as corruptly as the Poets. For Pythagoras

disputed, that the souls of the deceased did pass into new bodies, and foolishly said, that he himself was Euphorbus.

Chrysippus spake better in his books which he wrote con"cerning Providence; wherein, speaking of the renovation of " the world, he brings in this, Seeing things are so, it appears

that it is not impossible that we also should, when we have “.finished this present life, after certain wheelings about of

times, be restored again into this very state in which we now ' are.' And the Sybil saith thus : 'It is hard indeed to be

lieve, yet, when the judgment of the world and of mortals " shall come, he shall send the wicked into darkness, &c. but

those that embrace godliness shall again live upon the earth, “God giving them both spirit, honour, and life.'” Chap. xxii.

I will add the rest.“ Now therefore (saith Lactantius) the Son “ of the most high and greatest God shall come to judgeboth quick “and dead, according to that of the Sibyl : Then shall there be

confusion of all mortals of the whole earth ; and the Omnipotent himself shall come upon his tribunal, to judge the “.souls of quick and dead, and all the world. But when he

x Has omnes, ubi mille rotam volvere per annos,
Lethæum ad fluvium Deus evocat agmine magno ;
Scilicet immemores, supera ut convexa revisant,
Rursus et incipiant in corpora velle reverti.

Virg. Æneidos, Lib. vi.

" But when a thousand rolling years are past,
(So long their punishments and penance last,)
Whole droves of minds are by the driving god,
Compelled to drink the deep Lethæan flood,
In large forgetful draughts to steep the cares
Of their past labors and their irksome years,
That, unremembering their former pain,
The soul may suffer mortal flesh again.”

Dryden's Translation.


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