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wide-spreading force of temptation be withdrawn. Simultaneous must be the entire deliverance of the children of God from the oppression of the wicked, and their introduction to “ the joy of their Lord,” whose “rest shall be glorious."
If we inquire what may be the probable design of God in appointing a Millennial dispensation, we have no sufficient authority to declare ; but we can perceive that it is every way consistent with his goodness; and that there is nothing inconsistent in the supposition, that as this earth has been so long the seat of misery and alienation from the life of God, so long the empire of Satan, it should become at length a glorious theatre of Divine power and grace, and the seat of bliss and reward to the suffering and oppressed. The souls of the righteous who depart this life are, we doubt not, translated to mansions of joy ; but when they shall be united to their glorified bodies at the first resurrection, they will experience a new exercise of Almighty power and goodness, glorious and endless in its nature, in “ the new heavens and new earth, according to his promise;" and "shall shine, as the sun, for ever in the kingdom of their Father.”
“Many have supposed, that views of the premillennial advent of Christ, and the first resurrection of his glorified saints, are necessarily connected with their constant, personal, and visible residence on our earth, and being thus intermingled with men living in the flesh, during the Millennium. It will be seen that whatever may be the manifestation of the sons of God, (Rom. viii. 19, the view here taken of that reign does not require this; it being here considered that its nature has not been so revealed as to justify us in coming to” any positive
“ conclusions. We cannot go one word beyond what is written.”*
We doubt not but that the select arrangements of Scripture made in this work will become more acceptable and edifying to the generality of readers, by a previous and careful perusal of a passage from Sir Isaac Newton's “ Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse,” which we have placed in the Supplement, No. I.
We have only to add, that it would ill accord with the plan of this work to occupy the attention of the reader with too tedious and unprofitable a refutation of the many objections which have been raised against the examination of the Scripture prophecies, because satisfactory replies have been made by preceding writers. We prefer, for the most part, the task of placing the most prominent of them in one connected view, according to the measure of grace vouchsafed us. They will abundantly speak for themselves to every unbiassed mind; and will be less liable to misinterpretation or neglect. At least; all will have an opportunity afforded of judging for themselves in this matter, and be better able to distinguish the literal and symbolical passages as they occur. It should be carefully kept in mind, that where the interpretation is ambiguous, there is nothing to be gained, in some cases, by a literal construction: nothing advantageous to the elucidation of the truth; but in which the figurative sense completely adapts itself to every rational expectation.
SUMMARY OF THE JUDGMENTS PREDICTED AGAINST THE ENEMIES
OF CHRIST, SOME OF WHICH MORE IMMEDIATELY PRECEDE HIS SECOND ADVENT.
The Saviour of mankind came not only “ to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,” but the day of vengeance of our God. And if, as appears unquestionable, from the plain declarations of Scripture, the whole world, and particularly the nations of Europe, are destined to undergo an overwhelming judgment of God's wrath, which he will inflict on obdurate sinners for the accumulated and increasing guilt of ages; and if the series of divine chastisements already fulfilled, imply that the more dreadful and awful completion of them is near,—what can more importantly and profitably employ our attention than thence to acquire a knowledge of the vices, errors, and follies of the past and present periods, and distinctly to mark the Scripture condemnation of those principles and practices to which so many attach themselves; and which, as a vortex, embrace those of all ages and conditions in the circle of their destructive influence ?
The sincere adherents of the simple truths of Scripture, during the whole period of the history of the church, have uniformly separated themselves from mere professors, on account of the rise of apostacies and heresies; and this notwithstanding every infliction of cruelty, injustice, and oppression to which they have been subjected; but they have now arrived at a period of peculiar trial and danger. Proceeding rapidly with the tide of knowledge, excited by the high ratio to which worldly science and improvements have attained, and above all engaged in the fierce struggle of opposing principles,—their final preservation from error and guilt can only be effected by approaching seasons of trial, which shall “ try them that dwell on the earth,” though it will gradually and finally “ sever the wicked from among the just.”.
We have now to contemplate the various and interesting periods to which we allude, as arranged in the Scripture quotations: and though we would not presume to fix with decision the particular divisions of time wherein these judgments will take place, they are of too specific a character to escape a marked attention. None who carefully peruse, can imagine them to be applicable to any past events, to their proper extent. Such as are placed in the first division or series of this Chapter exhibit a description more general than those under subsequent heads. The latter describe judgments distinct, and of a peculiar nature; and they appear to be so intimately connected as scarcely to admit of varied interpretation.
Numerous are the Scriptures which declare Christ's general government of his church: “In the midst of his enemies," -as, “Divide the spoil with the strong,” &c., see Psalm cx., applicable, more or less, to all the ages of the Christian dispensation ; but the following present us with a more determinate or precise view of that portion of time wherein God “will break them with a rod of iron," see Psalm 11., _" will break in pieces the oppressor,”—.will “ destroy
those who destroy the earth,” and “ scatter the people who delight in war.”
Ezekiel xxx. 3. The day is near, even the day of the Lord is near, a cloudy day; it shall be the time of the heathen. See Psalm cx. 6.
Obadiah 15, 16. The day of the Lord is near upon all the heathen : as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee : thy reward shall return upon thine own head. For å as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink and swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.
Psalm xxxvii. 9, 10, 20. Evil doers shall be cut off. . . ... Yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. The wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be B as the b fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.
Psalm Lvii. 9—11. Before your pots can feel the thorns, he shall take them away as with a whirlwind, y both living, and in his wrath. The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance : he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked. So that a man shall say, Verily there is O a reward for the righteous ; verily he is a God that judgeth the earth.
1 Samuel 11. 9. He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness ; for by strength shall no man prevail.
The quotation from the prophet Obadiah contains an epitome of God's providence towards the Gentile world, during the whole of the Christian dispensation,—which, or "continually,"_here appears to be emphatically styled," the day of the Lord.” The former portion of the prophet's denunciations are directed against Edom only; yet in the first verse he says, “An ambassador is sent among the heathen;" the destruction of the Edomites is then named, and
a Is. xlix. 26 ; Ezek. xxxv. 15. Bi.e.“ wholly consumed.”. b Deut. XXXII. 14–16.
9 Heb. “as living as wrath.” Num. xvi. 30. 8 Heb. “ fruit of the, foc.”