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twenty Elders, who, on the opening of the seventh trumpet, fall down and worship God, thanking Him, among other things, for the resurrection of what St. Paul styles “the general assembly of the firstborn,” not who are in heaven, but “who are written in heaven.” With so much nicety and propriety, it may again be observed, are the characters chosen for the parts they are called upon to act in this great drama Daniel, however, likewise again notices, in his last “great vision,” the circumstance of this first resurrection; and shews that in its application to the Jews, it will extend to a portion of the wicked, as well as to the righteous. “Many of them,” he says, “that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” For the observations upon this, see “Dissertation,” ch. xiii. p. 365–367. The following are the sentiments on this subject of the immortal Toplady. In a speech made on a certain occasion, he said, “I am one of those oldfashioned people, Mr. President, who believe the doctrine of the Millennium : and that there will be two distinct Resurrections of the dead: 1st, of the just: and 2dly, of the unjust: which last Resurrection,
* Heb xii. 23.
of the Reprobate, will not commence till a thousand years after the Resurrection of the Elect. In the course of the present argument, I have been forced to take the doctrine of the Millennium for granted: time not allowing me to even intimate an hundredth part of the proof by which it is supported. I would only observe, to those who have not considered that subject, that it would be prudent in them to suspend their judgment about it, and not be too quick in determining against it, merely because it seems to lie out of the common road. As doctrines of this kind should not be admitted hastily, so they should not be rejected prematurely. Upon the whole, I give it as my opinion, that the reward of the saints, during the personal reign of Christ upon earth, will be greater or less in proportion to their respective labours, sufferings, and attainments: but that, seeing they are loved alike, with one and the same everlasting love of God the Father; that their names are in one and the same book of life; that they are all justified by the same perfect righteousness of Christ, redeemed and washed from all their sins in the blood of the same Saviour, regenerated by the same Spirit, made partakers of like precious faith, and will in the article of death be perfectly (and of course equally) sanctified by Divine grace; for these and other reasons that might be mentioned, I am clearly of opinion, that in the state of ultimate glory, they will be on a perfectly equal footing, with regard to final blessedness, both as to its nature and degree; and, as
the parable expresses it, “receive every man his
* See Toplady's Works, Vol. III. page 470.
the children of Israel shall be seven months in burying their slain.” This fearful slaughter is likewise adverted to and described in the subsequent part of this book. (See Rev. xiv. 19, 20 ; and xix. 17–21.)
Thus far, all the information that has been given us respecting the contents and consequences of the sounding of the seventh trumpet, has been indirect or inferential. We are first directed by anticipation to the writings of the prophets, (ch. x. 7); then to what was said by the loud voices in heaven, as its ultimate results, (chap. xi. 15); and then to the subject matter of the Song of the four-and-twenty elders. We now however come to the direct description—
“And the seventh Angel sounded ! And the Temple of God was opened in Heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his Testament. And there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.”
The thing that here attracts attention, and what indeed is of the most consequence for us to know, is, that on this sounding of the seventh trumpet, that which confirms all the preceding conclusions respecting the complete and glorious deliverance of the church by its translation to Heaven, is first mentioned. And the Temple of God—that “Temple of God,” which in the beginning of the chapter it is said was measured, or enclosed, by the providence of God, whilst the outer court was given up to the “Gentiles,”—was opened in Heaven 1 And the RE was seen in His temple the ark of His Testament. We are to understand by all this, not only that the Temple of God, the Church of Christ, was now in heaven—not only that the worship of God, or the standing church, was transplanted from Earth to Heaven, but in that pure and holy temple Christ Himself was seen—that is, what was symbolized under the Jewish church by the Ark of the Testament, and concealed from public view, is now seen open and exposed. There are no longer any shadows, or seeing Christ as through a glass darkly, but we shall see, face to face, even as we are seen, and know as we are known What I think we are chiefly to understand by it is, that during the sounding of the seventh trumpet there should be no temple of God on earth, but that it should be opened in Heaven. To this purpose was the voice from Heaven unto the two witnesses, saying, “Come up hither;” and the Church which had just ascended to Heaven in a cloud, in virtue of that call, was that great multitude which no man could number, out of all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues, which stood before the throne, and before the Lamb ; and which were constituted the Temple of God in Heaven. After this mention of the safety of the church on the opening of the seventh trumpet, it is added, “And there were lightnings, and voices, and thun
* Diss, ch. xiii. p. 360.