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cc in the first resurre&tion : on such the second « death hath no power, but they shall be priests « of God, and of Christ, and fall reign with « him a thousand years."

Some have supposed that Christ himself will reign in person upon earth, and that the martyrs will actually rise from the dead and live with him; but considering the figurative language of prophe cy, it is more probable, that the revival of the caufe for which they suffered is, in reality, the thing denoted by it. Besides, it is contrary to the clear sense of many passages of scripture, that any persons, however distinguished by their virtues, or sufferings, should receive their reward before the great day of judgment, after the general resurrection. Dr. Whitby has also advanced other very sufficient arguments against the literal interpretation of the millenium, which was adopted by some of the antients, and, with some variations, hath been patronized by several modern divines, especially Mr. Joseph Mede, and bishop Newton.

The circumstance which makes this passage look the most like the literal description of an event is its being said, that “ the rest of the dead shall not " live again till those thousand years be ended.” But if the resurrection of the martyrs may only denote the revival of their cause, the rest of the dead, may fignify their enemies, and their resurrection may denote the recovery of their power also. Vol. II.



As a day in the prophetical language is generally, and I think very justly, supposed to stand for a year, I do not see why we should not follow the same rule in the interpretation of these thousand years; as it seems to me that nothing but the very great length of that period has induced interpreters to acquiesce in the literal sense. But it should be considered, in favour of the figurative interpretation, that, with respect to knowledge, and improvements of all kinds, the world is yet but in its infancy, and will probably continue to be so several centuries more. Even the extent of it is not yet known; the greatest part, and perhaps the very best part of it, is yet in a manner uninhabited; and far the greatest part absolutely uncivilized : not to say that even the best policied states abound with so many absurd institutions, by which the many are miserably enslaved by the few (which is so unfavourable to the happiness of the whole) that, compared with what human society is naturally capable of, they hardly deserve to be termed better than barbarous.

Now, if we confider how very flowly mankind has advanced in political, and all kinds of improvements, how gradual has been the progress of all discoveries in science, and of excellence in the arts, we can hardly imagine (though this progress be evidently more rapid at present than it has been in any former age of the world, and though there is no reason to apprehend any more great interrup

tions in valuable improvements, and therefore we may expect them to go on with an accelerated progress) that a thousand years can be sufficient to bring the present system of the world, and the present race of mankind, to any thing like what may be called their mature state; and till this be attained, it cannot but appear improbable, that an end should be put to their existence. And, allowing a period of manhood, in proportion to this long infancy of the human species, three hundred and fixty thousand years will not be deemed a disproportioned age of the world.

As to the fabulous tradition of the Jews, that the world is to continue feven thousand years, viz. four thousand before the Messiah, two thousand more before the millenium, and one thousand afterwards, which seems to have weighed much with bishop Newton and others; besides, that it cannot be pretended to have any other than Rabinical authority, it appears upon the very face of it, so very idle and chimerical, that I wonder it should have met with any regard from christians.

That the Jews shall return to their own country, about the time of the commencement of the milenium; that they shall possess it many years in peace, and be a very flourishing nation, seem to be most distinctly foretold in many prophecies of the Old Testament, which plainly refer to a return of this people, after a much longer, and more complete dispersion of them, than that which attended


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the Babylonilh captivity. Besides, several of these. prophecies were delivered after their return from Babylon, and therefore must refer to another return, subsequent to it, and which therefore has not yet taken place. Also the restoration of the ten tribes of Israel is spoken of, as well as that of Judah ; and the ten tribes cannot be said to have returned from captivity at all yet. In proof of this I shall recite a few of the more express of these prophecies, by which it will also appear, that this nation is still to be distinguished by God, and to be the medium of his communications to the rest of the world,

Jer. xxx. 3. 6. For lo, the days come, faith " the Lord, that I will bring again the captivity " of my people Israel and Judah, faith the Lord, « and I will cause them to return to the land that “ I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.” Ver. 10.

“ Therefore, fear not thou, O my ser« vant Jacob, faith the Lord, neither be dismay“ed, O Ifrael; for lo, I will save thee from afar, 56 and thy feed from the land of their captivity, 6 and Jacob Ihall return, and shall be in reft and « quiet, and none Ihall make him afraid. For I " am with thee, faith the Lord, to save thee: 66 though I make a full end of all the nations 6 whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not “ make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee « in measure."


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The calamities of the Jewish nation are to bear but a small proportion to their profperity after their return from their last captivity, with respect to its greatness, or duration, as we may in fer from If. liv. 7, 8. « For a small moment have I forsaken « thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee. « In a little wrath I hid my face from thee, for a “ moment; but with everlasting kindness will I « have mercy on thee, faith the Lord thy re« deemer.” If there be any truth in this representation, what we call the millenium, must be of much more than a thousand years duration. For, the desolation of Judea has now continued more than one thousand seven hundred years. For this period to appear wholly insignificant, as we are here taught to conclude it will be, with respect to the flourishing state of that country, the latter must be of great extent indeed,

Zechariah, who wrote after the return of the Jews from Babylon, distinctly points out the same event, intimating, with many other prophets, that it will be attended with great calamities to those nations who shall oppose the settlement of the Jews in their own country, and also that they will bit. terly repent of their fin in murdering Chrift.

Zech. xii. 6. « In that day will I make the “ governors of Judah like a hearth of fire among " the wood, and like a torch of fire in a fheaf; “ and they shall devour all the people round about,

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