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shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." Mark xiii. 26, 27. “And then shall they see the Son of Man coming in the clouds, with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.'
This gathering together of the elect is not of the living only, but also of the dead, and is the resurrection of the elect; for it is at the coming of Christ in the clouds, and at the sound of the trumpet: and so the apostle evidently understood it, 2 Thess. ii. 1. "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him :" yea, to these words of the Lord he refers, 1 Thess. iv. 16, 17. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first : then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” The elect, therefore, to be gathered together at the coming of the Lord, are both the elect dead and the elect living.
But if all the dead shall rise at the coming of Christ in his kingdom, why are the elect expressed particularly, and no intimation at all given of the dead generally? It should seem strange that, in so many places, and twice as many might be mentioned, the resurrection at the coming of Christ is expressed as of a part of mankind, if the general resurrection be intended.
The resurrection to take place at the coming of Christ in his kingdom, is spoken of in the same manner in the Old Testament, as being limited to some—to a part of the dead. manner of expression everywhere so uniform, if there be no design in it, is unaccountable; and if there be a design, it is, doubtless, to teach us the doctrine of a first literal resurrection.
Daniel was told by the angel, that, at the end of the days allotted to the kingdoms of this world, when Christ shall take the kingdom and reign with his saints, “ many of them 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, forever and ever.” And that himself, Daniel, should then stand
in his lot. At the opening of the seals in Revelation, which is a vision reaching forward to the end, there is a prospect given the saints of the kingdom of Christ, and of this reward, the first resurrection-their rising and reigning with Christ on the earth. For when they sing the new song of the Lamb, they say, "Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof : for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign on the earth.” This must be the same state mentioned chapter xx., where it is said the partakers of it shall be priests of God, and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
The seven trumpets is another remarkable vision of the Apocalypse, the seventh of which plainly opens the scene of the first resuri
urrection, and the Redeemer's kingdom on earth. Hear the sound of it—“The seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come ; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great, and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.” This is manifestly the kingdom of Christ; and with this is joined the resurrection of the dead, and the rewarding of the suffering prophets and saints, as in chapter xx. This is that mystery of God that was to be finished in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, as is said chap. x. 7, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets ; namely, the mystery of this kingdom, which was foretold by the prophets of the Old Testament, and more especially by Daniel, as we shall see hereafter.
In the view of a first resurrection, and of the glory of those who shall be the children and partakers of it, the meaning of St. Paul is plain and forcible—“ If by any means I might attain unto
the resurrection of the dead.” His words have a plain reference to his Lord's, Luke xxi. 36. “ Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."
If we find evidence of a first resurrection, we shall doubtless be satisfied that the glory of the first raised will be on the earth-the restored new earth, wherein righteousness shall dwell—the enemy
of mankind shall be bound, and the Prince of peace shall rule: where will be a paradise without a serpent, and a tree, not to wound, but to heal the nations; where will be neither curse, nor pain, nor death, nor disease ; where all things are new, and all are perfect, both the world itself and its inhabitants. There, in the blessed millennium, “the first-born from the dead will have the first-fruits of glory." The Lord himself shall come, and bring his saints with him: they that sleep in Jesus shall be raised, and the living shall be changed; and here they will all meet together in the air. The New Jerusalem. will come down, with its king David and all its holy citizens—it will descend out of heaven, but no mention is made of its returning into heaven. Here Christ will set his throne in the last day, and the tabernacle of God will be with men, and he will dwell with them.
The hallelujah song is the universal shout of the whole camp of the saints at the sound of the archangel's trump; and is observed never to be sung but in the prospect of the destruction of Babylon, the kingdom of Christ, and the millennial state : and this is the burden of the sacred
wung-the Lord God omnipotent reigneth, and we shall reign on the earth.
Will it not be for the glory of Jesus Christ, and for the glory of the Father in him, to reign and triumph with his saints; to make ready and celebrate the marriage of the Lamb, where he has suffered, and they have suffered ?. Will not this appear more like a victory and a triumph ? To me, the idea is desirable. The will of the Lord be done.
III. We were to show the propriety of our subordinating every pursuit, and of striving if by any means we may attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
The propriety of our making everything bend to this end, if by any means we may attain it, is shown by the example of the faithful, the cloud of witnesses; many of whom “were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.” Heb. xi. 35. This better resurrection is doubtless what Paul strove for, if by any means he might obtain it; even the first resurrection at the coming of Christ, which is ever mentioned as a peculiar privilege of the saints, especially those who have labored and suffered for Christ and his cause.
The propriety of this is shown by the angel of the church, who saith, “ Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God, and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”
The propriety of our striving by all means to obtain this resurrection, is shown by its being