Two Academical Exercises on Subjects Bearing the Following Titles: Millennium, Last-Novelties
Rev Morgan Edwards
NOTE: This is a copy of the entire text of a book Two Academical Exercises by Morgan Edwards, which he originally wrote as a senior essay in 1744 while at Bristol Baptist College in Bristol England. It was published later in Philadelphia in 1788, with minimal change from the original essay. This copy was made from the Library of Congress in Washington, D. C. Spelling has been modernized. There may be some mistakes in this text from the original. Page numbers from the original copy are noted when they occur in the text on the left side. This copy has been provided for those who want to read for themselves the statements by Morgan Edwards, which we believe teach a pretribulational rapture.
SUBJECTS BEARING THE FOLLOWING
MORGAN EDWARDS, A.M.
AND QONDAM FELLOW OF R.I. COLLEGE.
May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speaketh, is for thou bringeth certain strange thins to our ears: We would know, therefore, what these things mean.
ACTS XVII. 19. 20.
Printed By Dobson and Lang,
In Second Street, between market and Chesnut Street.
Rev. XX. 4, 5.
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which-had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon there 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 thousand years were finished: This is the first resurrection.
And is it come to my lot to treat of the Millennium, or Christ thousand years reign on earth? Thousand pities, fir, that you had not allotted the task to one of these older and abler students! But since it is your pleasure, I will do my possible: and in the attempt will work by a rule you have often recommended, viz. "To take the scriptures in a literal
Sense, except when that leads to contradiction or absurdity."I need say no more to inform you, sir, that I with to be understood as a minister of the letter only while I treat of the said Millennium. Very able men have already handled the subject in mystical, or allegorical, or spiritual way: and could I rest satisfied with their sentiments, I might have colleted those sentiments, and deliver, them perhaps) with applause; as that would show my reading, and, at the same time, free a novice from the affectation of singularity and taking too much upon him, like another son of Levi. And glad I am that I may speak freely to the matter. It is what I could not have done in a late reign, for fear of being called a fifth monarchy man (as Venner and his company); and being cut to pieces by soldiers. But George the second is not Charles the second: George (whom God long preserved) is not afraid of the fifth monarchy, nor would be loth to give up his kingdom to him by whom kings reign and princes decree justice. But enough of preambling. Come we now to the doctrines of the Millennium; some of which are visible in my text; as
I. There will be. Two resurrections;
For a first resurrection supposes a second; and the supposing and supposed are in my text. Paul advances the same doctrine in his first letter to the Thessalonians "the dead in Christ shall rise first." (Chap. iv. 16). But more of this in another place.
II. The distance between the first and second resurrection will be somewhat more than a thousand years.
I say, somewhat more; because the dead saints will be raised, and the living changed at Christ's "appearing in the air" (1 Thes. iv, 17); and this will be about three years and a half before the millennium, as we shall see hereafter: but will he and they abide in the air all that time? No: they will ascend to paradise, or to some one of those many "mansions in the father's house of God" (John xiv: 2), and to disappear during the foresaid period of time. The design of this retreat and disappearing will be to judge the risen and changed saints; for "now the time is come that judgment must begin," and that will be at the house of God" (1 Pet. iv. 17): to this • refers that part of my text, "and I saw thrones; and judgment was given, "viz. 'the saints were judged, and their rewards specified; of. -Which, mark hereafter. Knowing all this, the devil will follow to accuse the brethren to the judge; and will continue at it day and night in hope of preventing their acquaintance: their pleas against him will be those borrowed from the "blood of the lamb, and the word of their testimony:"by these they Will prevail in judgment; and their accuser wi1l be hurled down to the earth by the strong arm of Michael; and with him will come, that notable voice; ''Wo unto the inhabits of the earth for the devil is come
Down among you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time;"viz. three years and a half, as before (Rev. xii. 7-11). Add to the above, that between the end of the, millennium and the second resurrection the devil is to be let loose, and Gog and Magog's army to be destroyed, which will require a considerable time, tho' John calls it "a little season." (Rev. xx. 3.)
III. Christ personal reign on earth will be a thousand years at least.
I call it personal, to distinguish it from that proxical dominion which he hath exercised on earth since he quitted it, and retired to heaven. And I have added at least a thousand years because he will-.not quit the earth, nor resign his delegation till after the last judgment; and the presentation of all the saints before God, with a "Behold I, and the children". Which thou hast given me!" (Heb. xi. 13). Then his mediatorial. kingdom and reign will cease; and he and they be subject to the father till the new earth be prepaid for another kind of reign.
IV: Christ's kingdom on earth will be universal.
No people or state will be left out. And herein it will exceed the Roman, Grecian, Persian or Babylonian monarchies, which also laid claim to universality; for Christ will "reign from sea to sea, and
From the river to the ends of the earth" (Zech. ix. io). 'The kingdoms of the world shall become "the kingdoms of Christ." (Rev. xi, 15). "All kings shall fall down before him, and all nations shall sever him." (Psalm. Xxx): surely David had in his eye that son, who was also his Lord; for to his son Solomon the above text is by no means applicable. See Dan. viii.
V. That spot of earth which. Christ will make the seat of his governments Mount Zion, in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem and the temple will be rebuilt, as we shall prove by and by and that temple will be the house of Christ kingdom. A prophet and an angel allure us that the above doctrine is true, "He will reign in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem before his ancients gloriously, faith a prophet, (Isreal. xxiv.23); and that he means what we mean evident from the New Testament, where the words are quoted, and applied to this very subject. Gabriel adds his suffrage thus, God will give
him the throne of his father David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever." (Luke i, 32,33): this throne has hot yet been given to the son of David; but the millennium
Many more passages be quoted to support our four hand our other doctrines; but this would be superfluous; as one text, rightly applied is proof sufficient of any religious point. Millennium will make steadfast the words spoken by angels.
VI. The risen and changed saints shall reign with Christ on earth a thousand years.
I do not mean that all will be kings; for some are to be Christ's priests, some judges, some rulers over cities, some over his household, some over his goods, (as wee shall see anon) and some his special chorister and musicians: neither does my text authorize any such fancy; for the thrones and judgments there, are for persons of a particular description, viz. Such as "were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and "had not worshipped the beast nor his image, nor had received his mark in the forehead or hand." And I said, in my doctrine, that they shall "reign with Christ On earth; for in heaven they cannot reign: how will they find subjects there? They will not reign over one another; nor yet over angels in heaven, tho' they will on earth (1 Cor. Vi. 3): in heaven (while they continue* there) They and their lord will be subjects and not kings (1 cor.xv.24); therefore they reign with Christ at all they must reign with Christ at all they must reign with him on earth; he supreme king and they subordinate, as Cesar and Herod reigned over the Jews at the same time.
* That continuance will be no longer than while the old earth is burning, and the new earth created; for after those events he and they will descend to he new earth where in dwelleth righteousness forever. 2 Pet iii. 13.
And so, faith, my text, "The saints shall reign with Christ [on earth] a thousand years."Other texts say, that all "kingdoms and dominions under the whole heaven shall be given to the saints." (Dan. Vii-- 18. 27): That the saints "shall judge men and angels." (1 Cor. vi, 2. 3). Miserable work do the Antimillenarians make of these texts. And as miserable of the following; " When the son of man shall sit on his throne, ye [my twelve disciples] shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes Israel." (Matt. xix. 28). "I appoint unto you a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table, in my kingdom. (Luke xxii. 29, 30.) "Hence forth I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my father's kingdom." (Mat. xxvi. 29.) "To sit on my right hand and on my left [in my kingdom] is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them "for whom it is prepared of my father." (Matt. xx.23). The meek shall inherit the earth." (Matt. v, 5. "Thy kingdom come" &c. (Matt. vi. I™) Literal millennarianism alone will do justice to these texts and many others; for if all the kingdoms of the world become the kingdoms of Christ (and he reside in Jerusalem), he must have deputies to manage the civil and religious "affairs of foreign countries the saints will be the men; and thus the saints will be his kings and priest: thus the kingdoms of world will be given to the saints: thus the saints will judge the world: and as the world to come will
Not (like the present) be in subjection to angels but to the saints, * (Heb. ii. 5) it follows that the angels will be superseded, and the saints take their authority from them: thus the saints will judge angels. And if the twelve tribes return to their former inheritance, and a throne of government be set up in each tribe (as will be shown presently) who fitter to fill those thrones than their countrymen thus the twelve apostles shall judge the twelve tribes of Israel: and if some must sit on Christ's right hand and left in his, kingdom, it cannot be the kingdom of heaven, else some would sit between him and the father. The last judgment will admit of no partnership or assistant judges; neither of juries, or something equivalent to", juries,' which is the usual way of accounting for. The saints judging angels and men. Again; if Christ reside in Jerusalem his vice-roys, judges, priests and ambassadors attend his court to pay homage o, the universal monarch, he must have tables to entertain them at thus the saints shall eat and drink at his table in his kingdom. I am aware of what philosophy and vain deceit will object. viz. That the raised and changed saints are not capable of eating.
*It is plain that angels have authority in the government of this world: hence we read of one Michael who had charge of the Jews and their affairs (Dan. x, 21.); of another who managed the affairs of the Persian empire (ch.x. 13). Some have power over the elements, as fire (Rcv. xiv. 18 :) water, (Ch. xvi, 5); light (Ch. xix,); the winds (Ch. vii. 1); the bottomless pit (ch. ix. 1. 2.) It would be endless to enumerate all the instances wherein this world is in subjection to angels; not so the world to come or millennium.
Eating and drinking, because their bodies are spiritual, incorruptible and immortal."I fear not the objection. Did not Christ (after his resurrection) eat and drink? (Acts x. 41). And, for fear some chemical theologies should subsidize fact into phantasm, the species of eatables are mentioned, viz, bread, filth, and honey-comb (Luke xxi. 30,42.) and why may he not eat-and drink in his kingdom? Or, why may not the risen saints eat and drink with him? Are "their bodies more refined than his? Are we not told that angels ate on earth? Nay, do they not eat in heaven? How else come we to read of angel's food? (Psalm. lxx. 25). And, if the Israelites despised it as too light for their gross bodies it well suits the refined nature of angels and saints. (Rev. ii. 17). It appears to me that all created beings stand in need of some alimen1tary accession, tho their bodies were pure another. Milton laughs to scorn those theologists who explain scripture othcrwis Ethan in a Literal sense, when angels are said to eat and drink; and finely describes the manner in which superior natures are nourished by the inferior. (Par. 1. 65.1. 405.)
V11. Preclusive to the millennium, and preparatory for it, are the following events.
1.The present usurpers of the country given to Abraham and his seed will be dispossessed, viz.
The Turkish or Ottoman Empire will be demolished; for otherwise the right owners cannot posses their inheritance. The said demolition' of the Turk (or beast that started out of the earth) is exhibited at the opening of the first seal, when .a horseman with his bow issues forth conquering an to conquer, (Rev. vi. 2): his exploits are specified at the sounding of the first trumpet (ch. Viii.7), and at the pouring of the first vial (ch. XVi, 2). The fifteenth chapter of Esdras is a prophecy of these events wherein Asia is particularly. Mentioned, (ver. 46.)
2. The twelve tribes (is observed before) will return to their ancient inheritance, else how can the twelve apostles be their judges? Men have thought that the ten tribes are lost, viz. have dwindled away, so as to cease to be a people, like many other nations; but Christ faith that the Jewish nation shall not pass away till he come in his glory. (Matt. xiv. 34.) The other two tribes are in being yet, and are seen in most parts of the world a distinct people. But all Israel must be saved, according to Paul (Rum. i, 25. 26); therefore the ten tribes are in-being, and a distinct people: a prophet + of their own faith "that, after Shalmaneser
*The present. Situation of the Turrkish empire comrades attention from all that look for the coming of the Lord Jesus to reign upon earth: the combination of the copiers of Russia an, the emperor of Germany, and their success the last year (1787) against that empire are the ressen: should they prevail, the Jews (like the crusades) will repair from all quarters towards the holy land.
+ It may be observed, that the books of Esdras were, by the primitive Christians (for near four hundred years) esteemed Canonical, as appeared by three catalogues yet extant: among some western Christians they are yet so esteemed; but granting they are not canonical, yet Esdras's account of the ten tribes is more credible than any other profane history; because he must be better acquainted with the fact he relates.
* The abomination intentioned by Daniel is supposed to be that which Antiochus Epiphanes set up in the temple; but that was before Christ time many hundred years; the Romans set up no abomination in the temple; for it was destroyed before they could gain possession of it; therefore Christ refers to a thing that is yet to come; and to a temple that is not yet extant.
Shalmaneser had led them captive, they assembled together, crossed the Euphrates, and marched in a body for a year and a half till they came to a country where no man dwelt." The name of that far country is Arsareth. (2 Efd. xxi.). This account is the more credible, because they are expressly said to cross the Euphrates. In they're way back to their own country. (Rev. xvi.12). But the western Jews will return before them, "Jerusalem shall be inhabited again, and the Lord will save the tents of Judah first. (Zech. Xii. 6. 7.) And when they are returned they will all coalefee into one body, as before the division in Rehoboam's time, and no longer be styled the Kingdome of Israel and the kingdom of Judah, but be one, and their name one this is particularly described by Ezekiel, (ch. Xxxvii), and is full to our purpose, because the prediction was not fulfilled at the return of the Jews from the Babylonith captivity. (John iv. 9). In this united capacity they will rebuild Jerusalem in its place, and the temple in its place on mount Zion; for in this temple will antichrist sit as god, and be the abomination * mentioned by Daniel, and referred to by Christ
As a prelude to his coming to reign; and an alarm to the Jews to flee for their lives Mat. xxiv. 15 35)- Into the same temple will Christ come after the destruction o Antichrist, and there fix his, residence (Zech. xiv. 4, 5.) Ezekiel is more particular in his forty third and forty fourth chapters. The same Ezekiel describes this temple in the eight last chapters of his prophecy: it is vain to say " that he "means the. Temple begun by Zerubbabel and finished by Herod."Let anyone read the description of this 'temple in Josephus, and compare it with Ezekiel's temple, and he will soon see that they are not the same, and that the latter has never yet had an existence.
3. Another event prior to the millennium will be the appearing of, the two Witnesses mentioned in Rev. xi. And Zech. iv. One of which will be Elias: this I gather from Malachi, (IV,) and from Matthew, Elias truly shall come; and restore all things" (ch. 'xvii. Ii): this, indeed, is applied to John the Baptist in the next verse, but it is in a way of accommodation of prophecy, and not of accomplishment; for John was come and gone too) at the time that Christ faith in future, Elias SHALL come: besides; John was a fetter forth of new things rather than. A restorer of the old, which is the description of Elias: add to all, that John had denied that he was the Elias whom Malachi spake of, and. the Jews enquired after, John
(John i. 21), and Christ does not contradict him. The other witness I take to be the apostle John. My reasons for it follow: of this apostle, Jesus faith, "if. I will that he tarry till I come what is that to thee?" (John xxi. 22); now Christ did not use lightness in any of his intimations, which would have been the case it he did not mean that John should not die for so the disciples understood the matter (ver. 23): in another place he faith, "There be some standing here which shall not taste of death till the son of man come in his kingdom" (Mat. xvi. 28); that ". Coming of his in the "glory of his father, and with his angels (ver. 27) is yet a thing future; and therefore there be some alive now that were alive then, and will be alive till Christ make his appearance in the air to raise the dead and change the living. But plainer than all is what the angel told John in the isle of Patmos, "Thou must prophesy again before many "people, and nations, and tongue, and kings, (Rev. 11.): this he never did; and therefore has it to do in a future day. Add to all, That the accounts we have of John's death are so very fabulous, that nothing sure can be inferred from them than; that the people of Ephesus knew not what became of the old man: the truth is, he (like Elias) was caught up to paradise, which is in the third heaven, (2 Cor. Xii. 2. 4.) and was, in all likelihood, that angel that was seen "flying through the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people on the earth (Rev xiv. 6). Where these two witnesses will prophesy or preach is not hard to guess: Elias, no doubt
Will minister to the Jews to take the veil off of their eyes when they read Moses; and to restore his ceremony to its primitive exactness both as to sentiments and practice (wherein the Jews were very corrupt, and had been corrupt long before their dispersion) and so prepare them for the reception of their long expected Messiah, that they may know him when
- The composer of the above paragraph was aware how. Subject to objections is his. Representing Elias as the restorer of the Mosaic ceremony, viz. That it would-be restoring types and' shadow, which had vanished at the coming or the substance. The same objection hath been made against the return of The Jew to their own country; the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple &c: but the proofs of these last events among prophets and apostles are too plain: to be controverter: the description of Ezekiel's temple alone authorizes the supposition. But there is. A wide difference between, "restoring types and shadows emblems of good things to come; and, restoring types as emblems of good things past: in this last sense Paul used circumcision, vows, purification, &c. (Acts xvi.3. ch, xxi. 24.): in the same sense, a great number of priest that believed, and other Jews, used temple worship many years after (Acts xxi.20); in this sense the apostles, and all Christians ministers since, make use of Moses's types and shadows to preach up the Messiah that is already come in the same sense will the priests (under the instruction of Elias) preach over their circumcision, sacrifices, divers washings, sprinklings, $c. I do not wonder therefore that Luther was so positive, that the temple service would have continued to this day, had the Jews understood matters before their dispersion, as they will after their restoration; or as the apostles and succeeding Christians did, and do understand them (Com. On Gal. Ch. Iii). Anyhow Elias must fulfill the prophecy, viz. be the restorer of all things in the Law of Moses.
He appears in the air and my shout, "Blessed is he that commeth in the name of the Lord" (Mar xviii.39). The other witness, viz. John, will preach to the Gentiles; for people, nations, tongues, and kings are applicable to none but them. When these witnesses will appear is hard to say; for though their time of prophesying is sackcloth is 1260 days or three years and a half (allowing thirty days to a month) yet they may preach out of sackcloth long before; for the 1260 days reset only to the time that the holy city and the outer court of the temple shall be trodded under foot of the Gentiles (or Antichrist and his army) viz. 42 months, which make exactly 1260 days, allowing 20 to a month (Rev. xi. 2): but the ministry of the witnesses requires many more years to perform than the time of their wearing sackcloth; and there are no more than about 204 years between now and their death: I should therefore expect that their appearance is not far off. I have hinted before that the two witnesses and Antichrist will be in Jerusalem during the said 42 months: they in the temple defending it: and Antichrist and his army in the town besieging the temple: and he will prevail not with standing the dreadful powers the witnesses are armed with (Rev. xi.5), and will bring them out into the street of Jerusalem, and there slay them (Rev. xi. 7,8.): I say, into the street of Jerusalem: for the street of the city where our Lord was crucified can be no other; it is spiritually Sodom and Egypt, but literally the city where our Lord was crucified, and where the temple was which John measured (rev. 4.)
The struggling of Antichrist towards the mastery of the world, and his assumption of Godhead will also precede the millennium. Who this Antichrist will be is hard to say. I take him for the last of them, who have plagued the world under the names of Popes; for Antichrist is to be destroyed at Christ's coming to reign (2 Thess. Ii.8.); and pope will last till then; and therefore more cruel than ever it began to strive for mastery in Paul's time, but was checked by the then Roman empire (2 Thess ii 8): when that empire fell it prevailed exceedingly, till checked again by the reformation in Germany, and the starting up of the protestant states: it has begun to prevail over these (for tho' the power of the pope is lessening, his votaries multiply), and will prevail till checked anew by the two witnesses mentioned in the book of Revelation: when he has slain them, the pope will spring up to godhead, "exalting himself above, and apposite all gods, showing himself in the temple of God. (At Jerusalem) to be the god and Lord of all the earth (Zech. Iv 14. Rev. xi 4. Then, and not till then will that wicked one be revealed who has hitherto assumed no higher title than the vicar general of Christ on earth; but then off goes the mask. He will hold his godhead for 2300 days according to Daniel (ch. Viii. 14); but according to John only for 42 months; viz. 1260
Days, allowing 30 to a month; the difference between these two numbers is 1040 days: and these are the days which the lord hath shortened for the sake of the elect nation of the Jews, Left they should all be destroyed. (Matt. Xxiv. 22); so that the last and most dreadful persecution will continue but three years and fix months, instead of six years two months and twenty days. Blessed therefore (faith Daniel) is he that cometh to the end of the 1260 * days; for then Christ will begin to reign, and Daniel will stand in his lot his own country (ch xxi. 12,13), and Antichrist be no more.
5. Another event previous to the Millennium will be the appearing of the son of man in the clouds, coming to raise the dead saints and change the living, and to catch them up to himself, and then withdrawing with them, and observed before, This event will come to pass when Antichrist be arrived at Jerusalem in his conquest of the world; and about three years and a half before his killing the witnesses, and assumption of godhead. The signs of Christ's appearing in the clouds, will be extraordinary "wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and famines," &c. (Matth. Xxiv. 6, -8.) I say extraordinary; for otherwise they would be no signs at all: because such things had been before, and have been since the wars,
*The number referred to in Daniel (ch.x ii. 12) contains 75 days more than his number in ver. 7; the reason is, the last begins at the time of the visions; the other at sealing the book that contained the visions, which made a difference of 75 days. This being granted, the two numbers agree with that of St. John, as they surely must; because both the writers speak of the same event.
It should seem, will be those of Antichrist; that is, of the kingdoms that aid and appose him: the famines and plagues will be those inflicted by the two witnesses: the earthquakes will be those which will cause the earth to rock to and fro, so as to make the stars appear to fall, as they do at sea when the ship heels; for in no other sense can real stars fall to the earth. The signs of his coming, in the heavens, will be the trump of God, vapor and smoke, which will darken the sun and moon, and make them look like blood (as they often do in very hazy weather. And also cause those meteors called falling stars. (Acts ii. 19. Matth. Xxiv.) The effect will be " the terror and wailing of all the kindred of the earth, their hiding in caves and dens, bidding the rocks and mountains to cover them,"&c. (Matt. Xxiv. Rev. xi. ) But the fright will soon be over with wicked men, as with the wicked if Israelites when the terrors of Sinai ceased. And therefore, wonder working spirits of devils will take occasion to counterfeit the preceding wonders in heaven and earth, (as the Egyptian magicians did those of Moses) causing "fire to come down from heaven, & c (Rev. xiii. 13. chap.xvi.13.): by which means he will not only take the attention of the people from the foresaid miracles of Christ, but arrogate them to himself, as reasons why he should be entitled to godhead. And that godhead he will now assume, after killing the two witnesses, and gaining the temple behold, them, "the man of sin fitting in the temple of God, showing that he himself is God. (2
Thess. Ii. 4.) Now the great persecution of the Jews will begin; who (though bad men) cannot submit to him as God; and such a persecution as would extirpate the whole race had not God cut off 1040 days of antichrist's reign, as was before observed. Such of the Gentiles, as had so much sense as to refuse him in the character of a god, would have shared the same fate, had they not hid themselves in wilds and deserts of his reign as god (Rev. xii. 14.). Nevertheless, it appears that many of the nominal Christians, and Jews outwardly, will apostatize to him, and become his idolaters (Matt. Xxiv. 10. Dan. Xi.35.)
6. Another event previous to the Millennium will be, the destroying of that Antichrist or false god. And this will come to pass about a month before said millennium: I say about a month before; for there is another number in Daniel which supposes as much, "From the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination which maketh desolation is felt up is 1260 days." (Chap. Xii. 11.): but he will maintain his godhead only for time, times, and half a time (chap. Xii. 7.); that is, for a year, two yours and half a year or 1260 days, as observed before: the difference between these numbers is 30 days, or one month: time little enough to demolish his god ship, bury his army and cleanse the temple, &c. The manner of his destruction is thus described by Daniel, (chap. Vii. 25) "He shall be broken without "hand:"and well did he foresee; "for he will be consumed with the spirit of Christ's mouth, and not with hands (2 Thess. Ii. *.).
7.Another event prior to the Millennium is the binding of Satan and shutting him up in the abyss for a thousand years (Rev. xx. 1, 2, 3.). An event this long foreseen and dreaded by the devils (Matth viii. 29.). Poor work do the Antimillenarians or spiritualizing Millenarians (who are much the same) make of this matter: They say that the devil was bound when Chris came in the flesh; because (surfeit) oracles were silenced, and possessions checked: but if the Devil has not been loose these thousand years past, and for seven hundred and forty - two years besides, he never was loose in his life. It is not long ago since I heard a grave divine maintaining, "that Satan was bound when the Hebrew boy was born, according to prophecy of the Sibyls: and yet before he finished his sermon he cautioned his flock against the temptations of the devil: some happened the laugh at the inconsistency; and his reverence broke the thread of his discourse to admonish them. But is it fair to tickle one first and then breaking one's head for laughing? Is it not more like truth to say, that the devil has been loose, is loose, and will be loose, till the Millennium begins?" However, the wicked during that millennium cannot say, as they do now, the devil tempted us.
8.The last event, and the event that will usher in the millennium, will be, the coming of Christ from paradise to earth, with all the saints he had taken up thither (about three years and a half before to justify, against the accuser of the brethren; and to fettler their future business and rewards, "the time is come that "thou should give rewards to thy servant the
Prophets, and the saints, &c. (Rev. xi. 18) as it is written, "be thou ruler over all I have thou authority over ten cities thou over five be thou ruler over all my goods thou over all my household be thou judge of such a tribe of Israel thou king of such a kingdom thou priest of such a parish, &c. &c. (Luke xii, 42. Xix, 7. 8. Matt. Xxiv, 47,48) the number of these saints is said to be 10000 (Jude 14); a definite for an indefinite number surely! For we read of 144,000 that "follow the Lamb whether forever he goeth." (Rev xiv, 4): these are his suit or retinue, who attend his person in his tours thro' his vast dominions; and consequently in his coming to the earth! Millions and millions of saints will have been on earth from the days of the first Adam, to the coming of the second Adam. All these will Christ bring with him. The place where they will alight is the "mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east." Zech. Xiv, 4. The mountain will cleave and form a valley, and the water, which Ezekiel speaks of, will spring from the sanctuary and fill the chasm. (Ex. Xlvii). Then Christ will enter the city by the east-gate, which will ever after be kept shut, as a memorial, that thro it the Lord came into the temple, and filled the house with glory, (Ez. Xliv). "And now behold the son of David, Sitting on the throne of his father! Behold the prophecy concerning Jerusalem fulfilled. "The Lord is there1"Behold the happy millennium begun! O my God, let me be there, if it were only to be servant of servants to my lord the king!
VIII. Coincident with the Millennium will be the following events.
1.Reducing to the obedience of Christ all the kingdoms and states that will be refuse submission to him, or to the viceroys that he shall appoint over them. Resistance will be made, not with standing the wonders in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath, which happened but three years and a half before; and not with standing the recent and awful destruction of antichrist, and the descent of Christ and his saints, from heaven to earth, which will be fresh in all memories. Paul intimates that resistance will be made; where else would be the occasion of Christ's "putting down under his feet all rule, power and authority? (I Cor. Xv. 24). Why else should he command the enemies that would not that he should reign over them, to be brought to his presence, and slain before him? (Luke xix, 27) Why else this caution, "Kiss the son left he be angry and ye perish; for then God shall have set his king on the holy hill of Zion, to rule the heathen kings that rage: and to dash them to pieces as a potters vessel?" (Psalm. Ii. 1-9). Why else should his vice Roy "have power over the resisting nations, to rule them with a rod of iron? (Rev. ii. 26. 27). After this quelling of the refractory, the most eminent of Christ saints shall reign in peace, as observed before. After this will Christ's priests reform religion where it is, and plant it in countries
Where it is not, so as to cause pure religion to cover the earth as the waters do the sea. (Hab. Ii. 14). Now begins the spiritual reign, or the latter day- glory, which divines talk too much of, tho none of them (to my knowledge) has assigned it to its proper time and place. By the same means another branch of popery will be overset; for the popes have already put kingdoms and churches in subjection to the saints; but popish saints and Christ's saints may not be all alike: I suspect that St. Thomas a Becket must resign his church; and that St. George St. David, St. Andrew and St. Patrick must give up their kingdoms to their betters. In this reformation of religion the Lord's supper will be discontinued; for that is to be used no longer than till the Lord comes (I Cor. Xi. 26). Not so baptism. But instead of he Lord's Supper another feast will be instituted, as we shall see by and by.
2. Another notable event that will commence with the millennium is, taking away the enmity and hatred between man and man; "for men will not more learn the art of war, but beat their swords into plough shares, and spears into pruning hooks. * Ephraim shall not envy Judah, or Judah"
- By the above account it is certain that vine- dressing and agriculture will be used in the millennium state of the world: and if agriculture, then the beasts will be employed, but not abused; and if lions and serpents, &c. will be there, but not all other animals, it harmless? Sure it is that fishing will be continued, tho the fishes will not devour one another, as now. (Ez. Xlviii.10). I can see no reason why trade, navigation, and all other used and innocent employments should not be carried on, as at present. Marrying and propagation will remain among all, except the raised and changed saints; and, by reason of a meliorated state of earth and air, and the good government of Christ's kings and priests and regularity and sobriety in living it seems that there shall be no infant of days among them, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: the child shall die on hand. ......And the days of the people shall be as the days of Noah (...)
Vex Ephraim, nor the English, the French, nor the French the English, nor any other nation envy and vex one another." (Isaiah. 4. ch xi. 13). The variance and violence between animal creations shall cease. The wolf shall dwell with the Lamb, the leopard with the kid, the calf with the lion, and a child shall lead them; a child shall play on the hole of the asp, and put his hand on the cockatrice's den, and not be hurt." (Isaiah. Xi). Now the dumb beast shall no longer groan for the cruelty of man, or their own cruelty to one another; nor the fouls under the altar cry, how long? The earth will be restored to a condition long?" The earth will be restored to a condition far better than the present. "God will make the wilderness as Eden, and the desert as the garden of God." (Isaiah. Li. 3). Besides plenty and peace, something sanative will be a part of the millennium earth's furniture: Ezekiel gives a specimen of it in chapter xlvii; for the water of his river (which sprang from the sanctuary when Christ lighted on the mount of olives) healed wherever it ran, and the fruit of the trees by its side were for meat and medicine; so he expresses their virtue.
3. Another affair that will be set up in the beginning of the millennium, and will continue with it is, an annual feast to be celebrated in an about Jerusalem. Of this feast Zechariah speaks largely under the name of the feast of tabernacles: but that he means not the Jewish feast of tabernacles is evident; for that was to be observed only by Israelites born. (Lev. Xxxiii. 42;) this is commemoration of tabernacles used in the wilderness; this, to worship the king: the penalty of neglecting that is not mentioned; the penalty of neglecting this is very extraordinary, "countries used to rain shall have none, if they come not up to the feast year by year, and countries that have no rain shall have the plague (ch.xiv.17, 18). Besides; the prophet throughout the chapter is speaking of things that have not yet had existence. Nothing plainer therefore than that he does not mean any Mosaic feast, but a millennium feast; he calls this last a feast of tabernacles for an obvious reason. Viz. Because it must be celebrated in tabernacles, or tents, or booths; for it will be impossible to find houses for all that will then resort to Jerusalem to feast; and worship the king. This annual resort accounts for the long and particular descriptions which the prophets give of the fine and safe roads to Zion, thro' deserts, and across rivers and mountains. (Isaiah xi. Xxxv. Zech. Viii. Rev. xiv.)
IX. Subsequent to the millennium are the following events.
1. The Loosing of the Devil from the bottomless pit; and his going about the world to seduce all the hypocrites from their allegiance to Christ, and his vice-roys, tho' they, and their allegiance to Christ, and his vice-roys, tho' they, and their progenitors, had experienced the happiness of his reign for a thousand years. The effects will soon show themselves. St. John's * Gog and Magog (whoever they be) will raise an army numerous as the sand on the sea shore, and will march along the breadth of the earth with their rebel clans towards Jerusalem: and when they are come, and have encompassed the camp of the saints (who had retired to their Lord to give notice of the insurrection) and are sure of victory, then fire will come down from heaven, and devour them all. (Rev. ss. 7-9)
2. Sometime after will come on the second resurrection, hinted at in my text; a resurrection both of the just and unjust: for during a ministry of a thousand years we must suppose that. Christ's priests had made many converts; who died; and that many will be made alive at that time: and if so, those must be raised, and these changed, as in the first resurrection. After this the judgment will sit; and when trial is over and sentence pronounced, the devil and the wicked will be cast into the lake; and the righteous, with their Lord, will ascend to heaven to be presented to God; with a behold I, and the children thou hast given me! And there they will abide till the Old earth is burnt, and the new earth created, and the New Jerusalem built in heaven: then they and he will descend in all the happiness human nature is capable of.
I have done, Sir, except a wonder or two.
*His Gog and Magog cannot be the same with those of Ezekiel; because there is so much difference between the countries whence they are to come, their exploits, and the places and manner of their overthrow. I rather think the places and manner of their overthrow. I rather think the latter will make their appearance between the establishment of the Jews, and the millennium.
1.I wonder that Christ's thousand years reign is not more thought of by modern Christians; for in the earliest ages of Christianity it was a sure article of faith, and a favorite topic of conversation: the writings of the three first centuries are full of it, with but one exception of any notes; and he discarded the book of Revelation from the canon of scripture, which was a tacit confession that the doctrine was there. And I wonder the more for the following reasons; Christ has retained expectations of it ever since he sat down at the right hand of God (Heb. X.13); the four living creatures in the midst of his throne, and the four and twenty elders who surround it make this the burden of their long. We shall reign upon earth (Rev.v.10); the apostles, even after the day of Pentecost, were expecting it, and wishing for it; nay the whole animal creation, by a kind of instinctive prescience, groaned for its delay, as well instinctive prescience, groaned for its delay, as well as all they who had the first fruits of the spirit (Rom. Viii. 19-23); Paul recommends at as a comfortable theme
of meditation (Thess. Iv. 18). But what little effect has these things on the present generation! Should Christ now appear in the clouds he would hardly find upon earth any faith in the millennium! Surely the signs of Christ's coming do now appear; for when he had spoken of that coming in Mathew (ch. Xxiv.), he adds in the same discourse, while the bridegroom tarried they all slumbered and slept. In the fourth and following centuries the Christian had a reason for being shy of the doctrine, which we have not: then the kings of the earth became Christian, and consequently were jealous of the fifth monarchy.
2. I wonder that none (to my knowledge) have written of the millennium in a temple and literal manner: especially as that involves in it no absurdity or improbability, or any thing contrary to sound faith and good manners: and I wonder the more, as so many parts of the Bible point to the subject in that light, and can have no meaning suitable to the words and dignity of prophets and apostles, but upon a supposition, that such as thing will be in reality, and not is some mystical or allegorical whimsies. Let any one try his skill (for instance) with Ezekiel's temple, and with many other texts quoted in this piece, and see if all men of sense (manners permitting) will not laugh at him except mystics? I will recite only that petition in the Lord's prayer thy kingdom come; the kingdom of grace was come at that time; the kingdom of glory is never to come to men: the millennium kingdom therefore is the object of that petition:
And when it is come, the petition will be improper.
3. I wonder that so many great men have taken upon them to fix the time when the millennium and its preceding events are to take place, by an arbitrary use of Daniel and john numbers: I say arbitrary; denominate years, and then rummage the histories of Rome pagan and Rome papal for points to begin at; and yet their gross mistakes, discovered by time, give no warning! I have taken the arithmetic of those two divine chronometers under the denominations which they themselves give their figures (but with what success time will show); and am content with the old, and hitherto, unconsumed hypothesis, viz. "that this world is to last seven thousand years, and that at the end of the sixth thousand the millennium will begin." This hypothesis is grounded partly, on a prophecy of Elias, which the Jews have among them; where they got it we cannot tell, any more than we can tell where Jude found the prophecy of Enoch: and partly on Moses septenaries, such as the seventh day, and the seventh year, &c. which day was a day of rest to man and beast, and which year was a year of rest to the land; and if one day be a thousand years with the Lord, (2 Pet. Iii, 8), it follows, that the six days of the week are six thousand years, and that the seventh is a thousand years of rest: Paul confirms this signification of the seventh day by making it typical of the sabbatism which remains for the people of God. (Heb.iv. 4-9). To the above we may add the septenaries of Saint John, such as
The seven seals, the seven trumpet, the seven vials, &c. for under the opening of the sixth seal, the founding of the sixth trumpet, the pouring of the sixth vial (all which I take to be synchronic) we may find passages that exactly correspond with the near approach of Christ coming to reign; and under the seventh seal, seventh trumpet, and seventh vial we have him and his saints on earth. Let me add, that I have not met with any of the fathers of the three first centuries who as much as questioned the validity of the above hypothesis. I ask their venerable leave to join issue with them; and then assert, that from the present year (1788) to the commencement of the millennium are but two hundred and eight years. I make it out thus; from the creation (according to the Hebrew chronology) to the birth of Christ 4004; from the birth of Christ to the present year, 1788: these years, added together, make 5792; and 208 added to these make 6000: it is true, a late chronologic places the birth of Christ in A.M. 4007; and makes it out that dionisius exiguous fixed the Christian area 3 years too late: if so, there are but 205 between us and the millennium. Time little enough to bring forth the events we have already mentioned, viz. The destruction of the Ottoman empire; the restoration of the Jews, and their rebuilding Jerusalem and the temple; the exploits of antichrist towards the mastery of the world, &c. Therefore we may expect soon the see the fig tree budding and putting forth its leaves.
4. I wonder, Sir, if your patience were not exhausted with the length, and perhaps, nonsense of my sermons?
The reply of the tutor was to this effect. "You finished your discourse with a supposition that the length and nonsense of it had tiered my patience. If you used lightness you are to blame. But as I hope you are always in earnest when you study the things of God, I have to assure you that the novelty and ingenuity of your attempt have entertained me not a little. And when you are more master of time than at present, I advise you to study your subject closely, and you will see cause to alter some parts of your plan, and correct the errors of others. You also dropped a hint or two touching the New Heavens and the new earth, which founded a little strange. Let us hear what you have to say on those subjects, when it comes to your turn to appear in that desk again."
Let me tell thee, gentle reader, that the composer of the millennium took the tutor's advice: and that it has undergone several alterations and corrections since the photograph was exhibited in the said desk. Let me tell thee further, that the other advice, or rather command of the tutor was attended to; and a discourse delivered in the same desk, on the New Heavens and New Earth. A copy of which follows under the title, last novelties. And if thou like it half as well as I do; thou wilt not begrudge the eleven penny bit it cost thee.
The Following errors escaped notice in some of the preceding sheets if is left out before threesome in p; 10, 1, 25. Is for are, p. 14.1.5, of the note.
Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness and I saw a new heaven, and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and will dwell with them. (2 Pet iii. 13. Rev. xxi. 1-3).
Though my text contains a new heaven to come, as well as a new earth, new inhabitants, and a new city; and also old heavens, old earth and old sea to pass away, yet am I not obliged, Sir, by your direction to discourse of all those subjects and their predicates; nor of any of them beside the new heaven, new earth, New inhabitants, and New Jerusalem. And these are tasks sufficient; for I never saw either; nor, indeed, have I seen much of the old heavens and old earth, having been born, and having hitherto lived in this northern corner of the earth, within, almost, the smoke of my father's chimney. My knowledge of the rest of the creation is owing to your help, Sir, and the help
Of books of astronomy, geography, history, &c. But I have no such helps towards knowing the new heaven, new earth, and New Jerusalem: some of them who shall be the inhabitants I may have seen. Nor do I find that any man ever saw these surprising Novelties besides St. John the divine. Tertullian, indeed (in his third book against Marcion) informs us that the New Jerusalem had been seen for forty nights successively; and further he saith not. It is from St. John, Therefore that I must fetch my knowledge of the said novelties; and chiefly from his last chapter of the apocalypse. I begin with the New Heaven.
By which I understand the atmosphere, which will surround the new earth. The present atmosphere is often called heaven and heavens, in the plural: the reason of the plural is obvious; for heterogeneous matter floats in the air in different altitudes and so divide it into regions: but the atmosphere of the new earth will be homogeneous, and therefore pure and serene; because free from those noxious vapors which cause thunder and storms, nay cause sickness and death; for we often draw in both with our breath; therefore john speaks of it in the singular number, new heaven: and so would Peter and Isaiah had they seen it as St. John had. What fine air will the inhabitants of the new earth breathe in! And consequently, how fine their weather! The fable of the halcyon days will then be fact! You see, Sir, that I have confined my notion of the new heaven and
The old heaven to the atmospheres of their respective earths; because no other heaven belongs to this earth either in its past, present, or future state. I come now to the new earth.
Concerning which St. John's account affords us the following remarks (1) it will owe its extraordinary quality to the mighty power of God, "I make all things new" (Rev. xxi. 5.). Isaiah uses a stronger expression; "I create new heavens and a new earth" (LXV. 17). One would think by this that the old earth is to be annihilated in the fire which my text mentions: but this is not credible; for fire annihilates nothing, and is itself but matter into brisk motion, as we see by many accidents in common life: the matter therefore of the old heaven and old earth will remain, to an atom, after the fire has had its will of it; of which God will form the new. Nor does the word create forbid such a notion; for though it properly signifies "making something out of nothing, yet in the writings of prophets and apostles it often signifies no more than "to give things that did previously exist some new form or quality: so God formed dust and a rib into man and woman, and called it the creation of Adam and Eve: so he makes a saint of a sinner and calls him a new creature: just so in case of the new heaven and new earth: they will rise, like the Phoenix, from the ashes of the old, and that refined like gold out of the furnace. O glorious saints!
The first earth in its pristine state was not equal to it! That was to be broken with floods and dissolved with fire; but this is to last forever, and therefore put off of hand with exquisite finishing! (2) Another hint that St. John gives us in his geography of the new earth, is, that it will have no sea, but be all terra firma and there was no more sea, faith my text. Nevertheless it will not want water; "for he showed "me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal proceeding out of the throne of God, and the lamb in the New Jerusalem " (Rev. xxii.1). This river, like that of paradise (to which esurience is had) will divide, and compass the new earth, as that did the lands of Havilah, Ethiopia, and the east: but the spot where the lamb's throne will stand (in the New Jerusalem) will not be the only source; for we read of fountains of waters elsewhere (Rev. vii. 17. xxi. 6. xxii. 17). The new earth will abound with such springs and rivers. But here it will be asked, what comes of all the water of life if there be no sea? Go, ask Dr. Halley what comes of the waters of the ocean: they evaporate: so will the rivers of the New earth; and the blessed inhabitants will breath life, as well as drink life and eat life! And now since we are come to the banks of our river, let us pause a while for the purpose of admiration: Water clear as Christa! Who ever heard of such water before! How still the courses of such rivers, and how firm the soil, if they will be never muddy! Water of life! Well May they live forever who drink it! What is wine in comparison of such nectar! So exhilarating and delicious is it, that a draught therefore is made the
Reward of victory, and a motive to Godliness (Rev. xxii. 17). I proceed to the inhabitants of the new earth.
And they are righteous persons, as appears by one clause in my text, wherein dwelleth righteousness: the abstract for the concrete, to denote perfection in righteousness. Some of the dwellers on the old earth are righteous, but not perfectly so the raised and changed personages in the millennium earth will be perfectly righteous: not so the rest of the inhabitants of the New earth: so holy will it and its inhabitants be, that the father in a symbol, and Christ and angels in persons will dwell with them. We have heard of a heaven on earth; but now we see earth itself become a heaven: holy angels, the holy Jesus and the holy father (in a symbol) altogether upon earth! We see earth made perfect at last! Air made pure! And sustenance refined to the uttermost! Fruits of life for food! And aqua vita for drink! O happiness beyond compare! Who would not be a saint in a prospect of such profusion of happiness! One thing more of these righteous dwellers on earth, viz. They will be divided into nations, and governed by kings: what else can be the meaning of these words and the nations that are saved and the kings of the earth shall bring their honor and into the New Jerusalem. (Rev. xxi. 24. 25). In this New Jerusalem like the Millennium Jerusalem) will Christ sit upon the throne of majesty and
Hither will his vice-roys and the nations that are saved, and their kings repair to acknowledge his supremacy, and to offer him their honor and glory. Let it not be thought strange that there should be thrones, principalities, dominions, &c. on the new earth; for are there no such things in heaven; among holy angles? (Col. i., 16). If there be archangels in heaven, why not arch saints on earth? Governors and governed there must be, else how can any of the saints reign with Christ for ever and ever: their reigning with him for a thousand years is not reigning with him forever and ever: and of his kingdom in the new world there shall be no end, tho there will be in the old. (Luke i. 33) So much for the earth in its everlasting state. Other parts of scripture give us a view of it in its early condition; then it was void and without form. * (Gen. I). But God gave it a form;
"The Hebrew word, used in this place, signifies became, rather than was, hence some gather that the chaotic state of this earth, which Moses presents to our view, was not its original state; but a state of concession into which sequent the creation of the earth, which Moses speaks of can mean no more than reducing a ruined globe into the beautiful form and furniture it bore when Adam and Eve were put in possession of it; for it is not credible that the matter of the earth did not exist till about six thousand years ago, or that God had been unactive from all eternity till then. Its first inhabitants that sinned are those spirits, which we call souls. It may be so; for if souls now exist when they lose their bodies, why might they not before they had them? Could the ancient doctrine of the pre existence and delinquency of souls be established, it would not only confirm the article of original sin, in our creeds; but give it a form that would neither hurt our feelings, nor stagger our faith, as is now the case. Nothing is plainer in the Bible than that we come into this world under guilt; and that we no sooner have our beginning in it than punishment begins, even before we do either good or evil: how can this possibly be, except we deserved punishment in a prior state? To account for it, some suppose that all mankind, souls and bodies, were seminally in Adam, who sinned before he began to propagate the species and that as the root, so the branches. But this hypothesis is reprobated; and another assumed, which has good luck if it escape reprobation, viz. That God creates a foul for every fact that is produced, which, by this rule, God must create souls in constant succession: by this rule he must create thousands every day, Sunday not excepted. But the notion of pre-existence and delinquency solves all difficulties; and affords us a clue that will lead us thro all the mazes of revelation and providence, as far as the doctrine of original sin is concerned. I observed that the pre-existence of souls is not a novelty: it was held by the Gym nosophists of Egypt, the brachmans of Greece and Italy, and by the Christian fathers. The Jews believed the doctrine. Nay the Apostles believed if as appears by their question in John. Ix. 2; for they supposed the blind man had sinned before he was born; and Christ's not contradicting, was authorizing the doctrine."
Form; and the most perfect of all forms, the form of a globe; and furnished it with all things that live and vegetate, so that it became very good. Afterwards it is shown us under a curse, and torn to pieces by a deluge. Time is coming when it will be restored to
A better state, viz. The time of millennium. Afterwards it will be seen all in a blaze. Then comes it to be the new earth we have been speaking of. These changes are obvious to all that read the Bible: if any such were ignorant of them they are willingly ignorant. Peter had to do with some such. (2 Ep. Iii. 5.) We come now to the metropolis of the new earth, viz. New Jerusalem.
I say metropolis; for we cannot suppose that there will be no other city or town in the new world: the division of the inhabitants into kingdoms and nations intimates and contrary. But the New Jerusalem will be the chief of all cities and towns, and the metropolis of the entire world. Concerning which the following things are specified in the book of Revelation.
1. Its name, with periphrases of its proprietor: the name is New Jerusalem. It is so called, partly, to distinguish it from the old Jerusalem; partly to show the peaceableness of it, for Jerusalem bears that signification; and the gates of the New Jerusalem are to be open day and night (Rev. xxi. 25): but chiefly, because it is to be the residence of deity, as the old Jerusalem was. The periphrases of its proprietor is, the bride, the lamb's wife: it is called a bride to denote its brilliancy, as the sun is called a groom; and the lamb's wife, because its is the lamb's property as a man's wife is his own, and what is here called the bride is in the next clause called the tabernacle of God with men; nevertheless some are led by the above
Phrase to imagine, that it is no city at all, but the church triumphant, altho' it has all the characters of a real city; viz. Length, breadth, height, trees, river, walls, gates, guards and kings, and nations bringing honor and glory into it: to adjust all these to a number of persons* is not staring but stark madness; but an accommodation of them to a city is neither uncouth nor uncommon. Is not the city Jerusalem considered as God's bride? Else how comes he to charge her with adultery when the chose other lovers? Is not the city of Rome compared to a woman richly attired a little before my text? Not to a virgin but to a harlot, married to antichrist. The very word city is feminine in most languages, which makes the comparison easy and natural. But if what hath been said will not save our fine city from Vanishing in an allegory let it be observed, that Christ and his saints are to descend from heaven to the new earth; and that the New Jerusalem is to descend from the same place to the same earth; but not empty; no; Christ and his saints will descend in it; if so, the contained will be the lamb's wife, if not the thing containing. Either way we save the finest city in the world from annihilation. Precede we.
2. To the origin of the New Jerusalem: and we find that to be heavenly; for if it had not been in heaven it could not have been seen coming down out of heave, as noticed in my text. And indeed, no place but heaven could furnish such materials as this city is made have: for instance; twelve pearls of such magnitude as to form, each, a city gate!
*In chap. Xxii. 17. The bride may mean persons, and not a city because a personal action is ascribed to her.
(Ver. 21). A city built and paved with gold clear as glass! Who ever saw transparent gold? A wall surrounding the city of amazing length and height, and built with precious stones! (Ver. 18.) With foundations of jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, sardonix, sardius, chrystolite, beryl, topaz, chrysophrasus, jacinot, and amethyst (ver. 19, 20)! O what architects are in heaven! What materials there for master builders! Can there be a finer building in heaven? Is there any archangel possessed of such another city? I throw not; for this is built for the Lord of Angels. The Father's city and palace may be more superb.
3. The dimensions of the New Jerusalem are remarkable; for the length, breadth, and height of it are equal. It is a perfect cube, each side measuring 3000 furlongs, or 12000 in all, equal to 1200 English miles, allowing 8 furlongs to a mile? What a number of stories and rooms may be in houses that are fifteen hundred miles high, allowing twenty four feet to a story! A number equal to all that is saved. The wall of this city is said to be "great and high" (ch. Xxi. 12.) viz. One hundred and forty cubits or two hundred and sixteen feet, allowing eighteen inches to a cubit: this is the height of the wall. The word great refers to length of it, which is not set down; neither was there any, occasion, since the length of each side of the city had been given: for we may conclude the wall to be a square, like the city, and that it stands at a proportion able distance from the city. Surprising long wall therefore! Great Britain will not afford length and breadth sufficient
For the fire of the New Jerusalem, unless joined to the continent of Europe.
4. The descent of this city from heaven to earth claims our notice; for descend it will, as my text expressly asserts. Peter saw a great vessel descending from heaven to earth (Act. Xi. 5-10.) Three times, and as many times ascending to heaven: and a very great vessel it must be to contain all manner of four footed beast of the earth, and wild beast, creeping things, and fowls of the air. But what was this to John's vision? An amazing great city shining as the sun without; and full of the divine presence and glorified saints within! A descent this which exceeds all the descensions that we read of either in sacred or profane history. O my soul labour at saint ship, and thou shall not only see but also descend from a heaven above to a heaven below in this glorious vehicle! Where the New Jerusalem will settle is not mentioned; but as it is to be the metropolis of the new earth we may reasonably suppose that its place will be in the middle of the world.
5. The guards of this city are suitable to its grandeur and inhabitants and at the twelve gates are twelve angels (Rev. xxi. 12). But I do not call them guards for security, but for grandeur. The majesty within is the king of angles, who surround the throne wherever he is seated. Such pageantries and pomp attend the courts of earthly kings, and are types of the pomps and pageantries in the final state of things: "for the things of heaven and earth are like to like more then men are aware of, faith Milton. They
May also stand at the gates to instruct the kings and nations of the new earth, as they enter in, how to behave in the presence of their great monarch; and how to offer him their honour and glory in an acceptable manner; for that kings and nations will, at times, enter in for such purposes is out of doubt with all bible Christians (Rev. xxi. 24).
6. With the good leave of the angelic guards we will now enter in at the gate into the city. And God grant we may do so in reality when the time comes. Now we are within! Look round and be astonished, o our fouls! We see no temple; it is true (ver. 22)! But we see the tabernacle of God with men! We see the chief glory of the Jerusalem Temple in that Tabernacle, viz. The shechina, which Paul translates the glory, (meaning that strong glare of light in the sanctum sanatorium, Rom. Ix. 4). The same symbol of the divine presence will be more dissuasive in the New Jerusalem. Well may it be said that it needeth not that the fun and moon should shine upon it (Rev. xxi.23). Well may it be said that the saints shall be forever with the Lord, beholding his glory! I think it impossible to have a notion of a better heaven! Can there be greater glory than the visible presence of there be greater glory than the visible presence of deity, angels and saints in such a city? Can there be a finer drink than water of life? And pleasanter food than fruits of life? Lo all these in the New Jerusalem! Common divinity has refined too much on the condition of angels and saints, as if they wanted to sustenance, or were impassible. But remembering that saints have bodies such as Christ had after his resurrection,
And that angels did eat on earth and do eat in heaven will prevent such a fond conceit. To speak of immaterial creatures, and creatures existing without aliment is to darken counsel with words with out knowledge; and is contrary to reason, Scripture, and facts.
7. Let us now come out of the New Jerusalem, and ascend with St. John to an exceeding high mountain for the sake of an external prospect; and exceeding high it must be to have a full view of a plane of fifteen hundred miles square. Before, we saw it descending from heaven! Now we see it descended, and upon earth! Observe how it shines! The precious stones and burnished gold without, and the Schechina and Christ and saints and angels within make it looks like a square fun! We have noted before, that it needed not that the fun and moon should shine on it: yet it does not follow that they will not. The New Jerusalem any more than the sun cannot enlighten the entire world at once. Besides; there are many worlds in the solar system that want the light of the sun. Nor will the moon be useless though it will have no sea to govern; because, (as many suppose) the lake of fire and brimstone* is in the moon: the lake is not Gehenna, Tartarus, Hades, Abyss, Outerdarkness, Prison, Furnace,
*Since the late improvements of telescopes, volcanoes or fiery eruptions have been as really seen in the moon as in Etna, Vesuvius, &c.: the lake therefore may be in the moon. Add to this, that they, in the lake, are punished day and night (Rev. xx. 10), and days and nights are in the moon. The moon has hitherto been attendants on earth; and why not the receptacle of its essals and noxious things at last? Be that as it may, the lake is some new soil.
Oven, Ec; for whenever we read of these (in our testament) we meet with something which directs us to look down for them: but when the earth is burnt, all will be destroyed; and hell cast into the lake (Rev. xx. 14): both the surface and bowels of the new earth will be holiness to the Lord. So much for the doctrinal part of the new heaven, new earth, New Jerusalem, and New inhabitants. Some remarks follow in a way of conclusion.
I. Literal interpretation of scripture is so preferable to all other interpretations that it should never be parted without necessity. No such necessity occurs touching the subjects of the foregoing discourse, though all the commentors I have seen have treated of them in an allegorical way; and thereby have dishonored their authors as if they had a very ill knack at expressing their meaning; and making their meaning uncertain. But is it incredible, for instance, that earth should be so refined as to become the heaven of all that have had their existence on earth? What sense is there in taking the sons of one globe into another, when all globes have their own inhabitants? "The earth abideth forever?" (Eccl. I. 4). Surely not a barren waste.
2. As for the descent of Christ and his saints in the New Jerusalem it ought not to be deemed incredible, since events of the kind have been very sequent. Did not Moses and Elias descend to mount Tabor, in clouds, and thence ascend? Did not Jehovah come down to Sinai in a chariot of angels and returned in the same animated vehicle? Will not Christ descend in clouds to raise the dead and change the
Living about three years and a half before the Millennium? Will not they spring up to meet him in the air? And when he has gathered all to him. Will not the whole assemblage ascend to heaven? The wings of the wind, cherubim, chariots of fire, &c have been often used as vehicles of downs and ups between heaven and earth, and why not the city New Jerusalem? Down from heaven it certainly will come, be it empty or full.
3. Before I quit a subject, which has so much to do with the heavens, I cannot help felicitating the present age on account of the knowledge they have of those heavens, by means of modern astronomy: partly because that knowledge dilates the heart, and stretches the mind more than any other science, nay, more than all the other put together; and partly, because it enables us to form a comparison between our world and the other worlds in our fight; and consequently between ourselves and our neighbors, and who inhabit those worlds. The first scheme of astronomy placed the earth in the center of the universe, and made the sun and stars go round it; and therefore men conclude that all were made for the earth: and thus "man became vain in his own imagination, and magnified himself and his world above measure. But modern astronomy assures us, that the fixed stars are suns which have worlds moving about them: and that our sun is another fixed star which has six * worlds encompassing it, and warmed and enlightened by it, viz. Mercury, which is less than our world: next is Venus, which exceeds us in bulk as much as 9330 exceed 7970. The third station from the sun is ours. Back of us is Mars, which is somewhat less than our world. Back of it is Jupiter with his four moons and belts: an amazing great world! Greater than ours as 94000 are greater than 7970. Back of him is Saturn with his five moons and rings, which ring resemble the brim of a hat round the crown, but not touching the crown: a very great world also! Greater than ours as 78000 are greater than 7970."
*Since the above was written another planet has been discovered, which makes a seventh. The name of it is Georgium Sidus. The size of the planet is amazing according to............................
These are all the worlds, which belong to our sun in this corner of universal space: in comparison of some of which our earth diminishes into a small grain of shot, and the inhabitants into almost nothing! But, O God, how great art thou who hast made such huge and enormous globes, and hast suspended them in the vast inane! Well might they servant Boyle make a solemn pause when he mentioned they great and tremendous name! Well might the king of Israel, in comparing of miniatures with magnitudes, cry out, what is man!
4. Could self-knowledge allow me to be vain, it would be, because my notion of the new earth frees me from the absurdity that the great Dr. Burnet was
Driven to in his theory of the earth. He confounds the millennium state with the final state of the world; and therefore could not account for Gog and Magog, and their army, without having recourse to spontaneous generation in mud and slime. Strange chimera! How could he not perceive that mankind will be on earth during the millennium, and that it is over these that the raised and changed saints will rein? It is true mankind will behave well during that reign by reason of their good king and priests, and the absence of Satan. But all will not be sons of grace. Hypocrites will be plenty in the four quarters of the world; it is these that will form the army of Gog and Magog, when the Devil will be let loose among them, at the end of the millennium Besides; there is great difference between the earth in its millennium state, and in its final state: in the one it will approach towards a paradise; in the other it will be a heaven: in the one, agriculture, vine dressing, &c. Will be used, as Adam and Eve labored in Eden; in the other, nature will spontaneously yield meat and drink to the blessed inhabitants.
Since the preceding discourse was composed the publisher has met with the following paragraph, in an author of great note. Peruse it, gentle reader, and much good may it do thee.
"I won that I take St. John's account of the New earth to be a literal description: and then it is possible for us to have a notion of a future state. But what notion can we have of it according
To the common talk? Where we can the heaven is of which men speak? In the boundless space that surrounds us? We know of nothing there but suns, moons, earth and comets. Neither of these (except the earth) can be thought to be the everlasting habitation of good men, &c."
The editor of the foregoing pieces has many other exercises by him, which owed their existence to the mode of studying divinity about the beginning of this century. Besides those, he has by him forty-two volume, written in large print hand, and warranted originals. Should he meet with an opportunity of disposing of them in a proper manner, he might be induced to do on reasonable terms.