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" is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who “ is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also ap
pear with him in glory.” The same sentiment feems also to be couched under, and an attention to it throws a beautiful and strong light on, that otherwise obscure passage, i Thes. iv. 14. “ Even « fo them also which sleep in Jesus, will God « bring with him ;" intimating, that they are already committed to him by God as a deposit or trust, and that God will then bring them with him, that he may accomplish the purposes of the trust.
The apostle seems to have borrowed thefe fenti ments and modes of expression, on the subject of the security of dead christians, as reserved in the hands, and under the protection of Christ unto a glorious resurrection, from the words of Christ himself, John vi. 39.
66 This is the Father's will “ which hath sent me, that of all which he hath “ given me I should lose nothing, but should raise « it up again at the last day;" and ch. x. 28, 29. “ I give unto them eternal life, and they shall “ never perih, neither shall any pluck them out " of my hand. My father which gave them me, " is greater than all; and none is able to pluck " them out of my Father's hand." Hence we fee the reason and propriety of dying Stephen's invocation, Acts vii. 59. " Lord Jesus, receive my s fpirit.”.
Upon Upon the whole, by being with Chrift, the apostle seems to me to mean being in a state of security with him, under the protection of divine power, and the fanction of his faithful promise, reserved as a trust or deposit committed to them both by God and ourselves, in order to be restored to life, and made completely happy by him at the resurs rection of the just.
of the future condition of the world in general.
THE great events of the refurrection of the
retribution afterwards, are such as all mankind are most nearly interested in, as individuals. But there are, likewise, other intermediate events, which are foretold with sufficient clearness in the scriptures, in which we are interested as members of civil societies, or, at least, as well wishers to the cause of christianity and virtue in the world. Of these I fall briefly mention a few, that are the most considerable.
The power of antichrift, mentioned by different names in several parts of the scriptures, by which almost all interpreters understand the usurpations
of the pope of Rome, is to be finally overthrown. Several different steps are to be taken in order to the reduction of this enormous power, as is most probably the meaning of the seven vials, which are said, in the book of Revelation, to be poured, in fucceffion, upon the beast, which is synonymous to antichrist. And since it is evident, from the state of the world, that the papal power has long been upon the decline, we may conclude, that several of these vials are already poured out.
But the utter destruction of antichrist seems to be reserved for a more remarkable period, which is often denominated in the scriptures by the coming of Christ, as was also perhaps the period in which Jerusalem was destroyed; so that probably this coming also will not be a literal one, but figurative, representing a most eminent judicial proceeding, in the exertion of that power in heaven and in earth, which was given to Christ after his resurrection. The apostle says, of this man of fin (by which there can be no doubt of the same antichrift power being intended) that the Lord Thall 65 fume him with the spirit of his mouth, and de66 stroy him with the brightness of his coming." 2 Theff. ii. 8.
The same coming of Christ seems to be described by the apostle John, in the book of the Revelation, in such a manner, as to lead us to conclude, that the powers of this world will make
a violent, but ineffectual opposition to this event; and that when it has taken place, christianity, then restored to a state of great purity, by the destruction of the power which had introduced and supported the corruptions of it, will prevail through the whole world, for a space which in the prophetic language, is called a thousand years.
Nothing less than this can be denoted by the reign of Christ upon earth, and the resurrection of the martyrs, and others who opposed the antichriftian corruptions of the gospel, to live and reign with him, in the following passage. Rev. xix. II. " And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white " horse; and he that fat upon him was called 6 faithful and true, and in righteousness he doth “ judge and make war. His eyes were as a fame " of fire, and on his head were many crowns; 66 and he had a name written that no man knew 66 but he himself: And he was clothed with a ver“ ture dipped in blood: and his name is called, 66 The Word of God. And the armies which
were in heaven followed him upon white horses, “ clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And “ out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with 6 it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule « them with a rod of iron : and he treadeth the “ winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Al“ mighty God.And I saw the beast, and the “ kings of the earth, and their armies gathered to
gether to make war against him that fat on the " horse, and against his army. And the beast “ was taken, and with him the false prophet that « wrought miracles before him, with which he « deceived them that had received the mark of the " beast, and them that worshipped his image. 66 These both were cast alive into a lake of fire “ burning with brimstone.--And I saw an angel “ come down from heaven, having the key of the " bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand. " And he laid hold on the dragon, that old fer“pent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound “ him a thousand years. And cast him into the « bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal “ upon him, that he should deceive the nations no
till the thousand years should be fulfilled : " and after that he must be loofed a little season. " And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them : 66 and judgment was given unto them: and I saw 66 the souls of them that were beheaded for the 66 witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and 66 who had not worshipped the beast, neither his “ image, neither had received his mark upon their 6 foreheads, or in their hands : and they lived and “ reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the “ rest of the dead lived not again until the thou
sand years were finished. This is the first re6 furrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part