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is to reign: for these, at his coming, are to be *justified by his blood," and sanctified by his " righteousness," imputed to them, far above all deception and temptationt. It follows then, that it must be the pagan nations whose "lives were prolonged for a season and time," or during the thousand years. And here another question arises, to what end are these nations to be thus mercifully relieved from the power and temptations of Satan? The proper answer to this question is, that "God is a rock, his work is perfect: for "all his ways are judgment: a God of truth with"out iniquity, JUST and right is HE." It is therefore impossible but that this reprieve of the pagan nations, and this disability of Satan, must be founded in righteousness and mercy: and if we may be permitted to conjecture, from temporal events, the motive of his infinite wisdom, it seems intended to give to the pagan nations a farther opportunity of saving themselves from the effects of his divine wrath, inasmuch as they will not have had so complete an opportunity of knowing the revealed word and will of God through Christ, nor have so knowingly, wilfully, and audaciously blasphemed his holy name, as the apostate and atheistical nations: and moreover, that being now no longer held in their darkness and captivity by Satan, but left to their free will; and having the peace, righteousness, and beatitude of the kingdom of Christ, as it were, before their eyes, they
* Rom. v. 9. † Ibid. iv. 11. 22. 24. Gal. ii. 6. James, ii, 23. Deut. xxxii. 4.
may, if they choose*, "turn from their idols, and turn their faces from all their abominations," and come over to the church of Christ, in his kingdom, before the expiration of the term of their reprieve. Otherwise, after rejecting so great an instance of divine mercy, should they perversely prefer their filthy idolatry to the word of God, they may suffer according to the judgment passed upon them at the time of their reprieve, when confederated against the coming of Christ, with the powers of apostacy and atheism.
A similar distinction in made by Christ through the prophet, in his epistle to the church of Thyatira, between those that have had a perfect knowledge of the word of God, and those that have not. For, when denouncing utter destruction. upon that woman† Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess," and all who had committed fornication with her, because she knew the word of God, and obeyed it not, and had a space given her to repent, and she repented not; "But" he adds, "unto you, and the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have "not known the depths of Satan (through my "Gospel, as she has), I will put upon you no o-"ther burden; but that which ye have already, hold "fast till I come:" evidently meaning, that no more will be required at the day of his coming, than according to that knowledge of his divine truth which has been received. However, this
* Ezek. xiv. 6. † 1 Kings, xvi. 31. Ibid. ix. 33, 34, 35, 36, 37. Rev. ii. 5.
imprisonment of Satan, and temporary deprivation of his power by the Almighty power of Christ, is foretold and described in the following plain and beautiful figures. " And I saw an "angel come down from heaven (from the church "of Christ, now typified by the word heaven,) "having the key of the bottomless pit (given to "him by Christ himself, who is represented as. "having the keys of hell and of death) and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on "the Dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil "and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and "cast him into The bottomless pit, that he should "deceive the nations no more, till the thousand "years should be fulfilled."
From the imprisonment of Satan, the prophet proceeds to the kingdom of Christ, and the first resurrection of the just. "And," says he, "I saw thrones, and they sat upon them:" evidently alluding to the thrones promised by Christ, when upon earth, to the apostles, and to the just made perfect, through faith in him. When Peter heard the parable of the rich man, he asked Christ, saying, "We have forsaken all and followed thee, "what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said "unto them, Verily I say unto you, that you who "have followed me in the regeneration, when the "SON OF MAN shall sit in his glory ye shall sit on "twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Is"rael." Again, He that overcometh, and keep
Chap. xx. 4, 5, 6.
* Chap. xx. 1, 2, 3. Matth. xix. 27, 28.
+ Ibid. 1, 18.
"eth my words unto the end, to him will I give "power over the nations," So the prophet, speaking of Christ, tells us, " And he hath made us (the "apostles, martyrs, and saints) kings and priests "unto our God, and we shall reign upon earth." And farther, "I saw (in this kingdom) the souls "of them that were beheaded for the witness of "Jesus, and for the word of God;" meaning all the prophets, apostles, saints, martyrs, and righteous men, who shall have suffered death before the second coming of Christ, either by the pagan powers, whether Babylonian, Persian, Grecian, or Roman, or by the apostate powers of Mohamedanism and popery, "for the witness of Jesus and the word of God;" and also the souls of those "which shall not have worshipped The beast; "neither his image; neither shall have received "his mark upon their foreheads or in their hands;' that is, which shall not have been corrupted from the "fear and love of God into the filthy and blas→ phemous impurity of atheism;" and these "lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead" (meaning, as I humbly apprehend, all those who shall not have "feared God and given glory to him," according to the merciful invitations of Christ himself, and, in particular, the black and hardened children of atheism) "lived not again until the thousand years "were finished. This is the first resurrection." "Blessed and boly is he that hath part in the first
* Rev v. 19. Ver, 5.
† Rev. xiii. 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17.
"resurrection;" blessed, indeed, for they are now separated from, and placed above, all the troubles, vexations, misfortunes, and destructive evils of the world, and even above the temptation and power of Satan! blessed, indeed, because they have now recovered that glorious state of innocence, felicity, and perfection, which they had forfeited through the disobedience of their first parents; and blessed above measure, for they have now found their lost Shepherd, and are now to be fed by him, and repose in the sunshine of his perfection for ever and ever! and holy indeed! for they are pardoned and justified by his blood, and anointed and sanctified by his righteousness, and so perfectly boly, that "the second death," or the wrath of God, which shall be poured out upon the wicked in The last day, to their eternal punishment, "shall have no power over them;
but they shall be priests of GOD and of "CHRIST, and shall reign with him a thousand " years*."
Having foretold the reign of Christ upon earth, the prophet passes to the next, the most awful, important, and decisive events of the providence of God contained in the prophecies, which are to come to pass at or immediately after the termination of it. He does not mention what are to be the effects of the merciful reprieve of the
lives" or superstitious rites of the pagan nations; nor was it a matter of any moment for us to know; it would only be one among innumera
Psalm ii. per totum.