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Surely, unless Jerome be considered an inspired expositor, such explanations as this are but ingenious trifling! And what right he can have to speak of such views as "Ecclesiastica explanatio," it is difficult to conceive, when we look at the array of the names of Fathers, whom, in his commentary on the 36th chapter of the same Prophet, he reckons up, as the supporters of the terrenus sensus" which

he rejects.


Let us look at one specimen more of his expositions. It shall be that on the 30th chapter of Ezekiel just referred to, "Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord," &c. Nos ergo montes Israel, Prophetas et Apostolos esse dicemus, qui audiunt verbum Dei, et quibus diabolus insultavit inimicus, dicens, Euge, 'excelsi quondam montes, (de quibus scriptum est, Montes in circui'tu ejus, et Dominus in circuitu populi sui: Ps. cxxiv, 2.) mihi dati 'sunt in possessionem.



One cannot but look with deep regret at the fearful liberties thus taken in this early age with the simple word of God; more especially when we reflect, how these merely human comments have been handed down, acquiring fresh authority from

age, now for almost fifteen hundred years, frittering away the words of God and forcing them to say just what the expositor chose. But happily it is with these figments as with the Romish corruptions and superstitions. They may be traced up to the fourth century, perhaps even into the third; but there they stop, or are found only among those whom Apostles and Fathers have marked as heretics.

For as Grabe writes, in his Spicilegium Patrum, (Lib. ii 230.) "Omnes primævi christiani orthodoxi secundum dicta Apostolorum et promissa Prophetarum novum cœlum et novam terram exspectarunt in secundo Messiæ adventu isti restituendam felicitati quæ ante lapsum Adami florebat. Atque hanc felicitatem plurimi non in spiritualibus solum bonis, sed et temporalibus posuerunt, persuasi tunc solum terræ a maledictione ob peccatum Adami ei inflicta liberum fore, ac abundantiam omnis boni sine humano labore prolaturum. Quæ et priscorum Judæorum fuit sententia, ut ex Rabbinorum dictis a Raymundo Martini in Pugione fidei. . . . adductis liquet.”

I am, Sir, Yours &c.

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Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians. He argues therein, that our faith is altogether vain, unless there be a Resurrection, and that of this the resurrection of Christ is a pledge; and having largely treated on this subject he concludes by assuring them, that therefore their labor is not in vain in the Lord."


I reply therefore, that the departed saints are to be brought into the enjoyment of this blessed and glorious state by means of a resurrection, prior in order of time to the resurrection of the wicked, and distinguished in Scripture as the first resurrection; not first, as would imagine, by a priority of a few hours only, but by a period of at least a thousand years. The former circumstance would in itself confer but little pre-eminence; since it would not matter, whether the saints were raised a few hours before





even after the wicked, provided they did but rise to the enjoyment of glory, honor, and immortality. Nor indeed would precedence, which merely regarded the order of time, even to the extent of a thousand years, avail much it is the circumstance, that all the promises of God for good (so far as they are at present revealed) are connected with this period, that gives to it such peculiar importance. To be privileged to enjoy this Millennium declares us to be "blessed and holy;" a whilst to be excluded from it, will mark us "as unjust and filthy still." b Within this period is concentrated that special glory which results to Christ as MAN-MEDIATOR: and he therefore, who is not included in that heavenly company, which shall descend at the archangel's shout, will not "be with him, where he is, to behold that 'glory which God has given him."e

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It is true, that there are one or two passages in Scripture, which might lead us to suppose, that the resurrection is but one in order and point of time, and therefore that the resurrection of the righteous and wicked take place together. I refer to that description in Matt. xxv, of the Son of Man on the throne of his glory, and all nations gathered before him, which he separates into two classes: one of which goes away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal. And secondly, to a passage in John: "The hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves 'shall hear his voice, and shall come

forth; they that have done good ' unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the ́ resurrection of damnation.” (Ch.v.)


These are the only places I deem it needful to dwell upon : for though the notions of some are so unaccountably mystified on this subject, that I have met with many who interpret Christ's coming to judge the "quick and the dead," as if quick and dead meant righteous and wicked; yet it is so evident to all who only reflect for a moment, that it means those living when our Lord shall come, and those who have died in the mean while, that I need not consume time in refuting the mistake.

By way of removing a stumblingblock out of the way of the doctrine in question, I shall first address myself to the above difficulty. I mean not now to enter into a particular exposition of the foregoing texts; though hereafter, if I am spared, I shall institute a special inquiry concerning that judgement described in Matthew; and I hope to demonstrate, that it does not refer to the ultimate judgement. For the present I shall

a Rev. xx, 6. b Rev. xxii, 11. c John xvii, 24

examine the principal point connected with the difficulty; and that is, the apparent fixing of the two events, or the two actings connected with one great event, to the same point of time; in order to which I must bring before the notice of the Reader a principle of interpretation, which we may gather from Heb. ii, and 1 Cor. xv.



In Heb. ii, St. Paul quotes Psalm viii, applying it to the reign of Christ; ("Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet;") and he then argues : For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. This appears very absolute, as if all, not even excepting God himself, were to be put under his authority. But in 1 Cor. xv, 27, where the same Psalm is applied, we have this qualification; "When he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that HE is excepted which 'did put all things under him." From the Scriptures therefore, we infer, that if at any time we meet with a text, which seems to contradict some other plainly revealed fact, it is manifest, that we must qualify that text, according to the nature and necessity of the case; taking care that we reconcile one Scripture with another, and do not destroy one by another.

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To illustrate this I must draw your attention to some prophecies of Scripture, about which there is little or no dispute, and which seem to refer to one event only, or to two events taking place at one period of time; but which we are compelled to admit, from other passages and from facts, refer to two distinct events, between which a considerable interval of time must necessarily elapse.

I will begin with the capti

vities of the Jews, which sometimes are so blended, that careless readers of God's word do often suppose the prophecies which speak of them to refer only to the Babylonish captivity; and need to have pointed out to them those circumstances, which prove, that the present dispersion of the Jews must be included or primarily intended.

The same may be said of the restoration from Babylon, when their city and temple were rebuilt under Zerubbabel, and of their final glory, when Jerusalem shall put on her beautiful garments;-distinct events, which are nevertheless so blended together, that it requires careful observation in order to point out the distinguishing marks.

Next I may instance the Advent of our Lord Jesus. of our Lord Jesus. How many texts might I bring forward, which szem to include his first and second coming as one event! We know well that the Jews, because they did not distinguish these, were led into error, and rejected our Lord when he came to suffer. I will instance one passage in Job, and which is connected with the resurrection, in which Job says “I know


that my Redeemer liveth and ‹ he shall stand in the latter day upon


the earth; and though after my 'skin worms shall destroy my body, yet in my flesh shall I see God,—— 'whom I shall see for myself and

mine eyes shall behold and not another."d Many might suppose from this text, that the point of time when the Redeemer should stand on the earth- the latter day' —was the period of the general resurrection, in which Job should have his lot and it is only from other texts and from the fact we find, that two comings were to take place, with a long interval between,

d Job xix, 25.

reconcileable with the phrase latter day. Were not indeed the principle for which I am contending to be received, a Jew might deny from this text the reality of any standing of the Redeemer upon earth prior to the time, when Job should be raised to behold him in the flesh.

The next important event which I shall notice, is that prophecy of Joel, quoted by Peter on the day of Pentecost, and beginning-"It shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh." Let any man, unacquainted with the history of the apostolic times, look at this prophecy, and hit the joint if he can, which shall separate between the first and second outpouring of the Spirit though we all seem to expect a further fulfilment of it, and allow that an interval must be interposed.

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I shall only instance further the prophecies concerning Antichrist. The second advent of Jesus was thought by the Thessalonians, from Paul's occasional language, to be immediately at hand. And no wonder: for he speaks of himself and them, as if they were to survive


till that event should happen ; We which are alive and remain.' But he reminds them in another Epistle, that he had taught them, how that event would not take place, except there should come a falling away first, and the man of sin should be revealed so that the great period for Antichrist to grow up, seize the dominion, and reign, must of necessity come in before the glorious appearing of the Lord: which the Thessalonians certainly might have inferred, had they carefully considered other Scriptures, or remembered all that the Apostle had taught them.

Now I claim for the general doctrine of the Resurrection the exercise of this same principle of interpretation; and if I can shew, that in many places the doctrine of a resurrection of the saints is revealed, altogether distinct from that of the wicked, we are bound to receive this doctrine in such manner as shall fall in with the general scope of Scripture.*

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1. I begin with 1 Cor. xv, 2226, which explicitly gives the order in which all shall rise. As in 'Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive; but every man in


*It is worthy of remark, that most of those expositors, who from the two places of Scripture now under consideration, insist on the resurrection of the righteous and the wicked as one in point of time, do nevertheless, in their interpretation of our Lord's prophecy in Matthew xxiv, generally contend for two judgements; (the one on Jerusalem, the other at the second advent;) though they confess them to be so involved the one in the other, that it is difficult to distinguish them. I differ entirely from such an interpretation of that chapter, as makes it an involved prophecy; but I mention it now merely to shew the inconsistency of their objection, when urged against the millennarian doctrine of the resurrection.

Further, there are interpreters of this class, who admit a future millennium ; which period, according to them, is to consist of a universal prevalence of christianity on earth, and to be preceded by a crisis of judgement on all apostate churches. Now the Scriptures generally unite that tribulation with the coming of Christ; and we may turn therefore and ask of these interpreters,-Where do they find an interval for their thousand years of spiritual christianity? If these interpreters can find Scriptures decisively shewing, that the Lord's advent is not till after the Millennium, even then they must have recourse to my principle of interpretation, and teach, that an interval of at least 1000 years must be interposed for their spiritual reign, wherever they find the previous tribulation and the Lord's advent apparently united. And if they cannot find. decisive testimony to that effect, then they are bound to admit, that the Lord comes before the millennium..

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his own order: Christ the first'fruits;-afterwards they that are Christ's, at his coming;-then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom, &c. and shall finally destroy the last enemy, death." Here are three degrees in the order of the resurrection. (1) First we have " Christ, the first-fruits." St. Paul tells Festus and Agrippa, that Moses and the Prophets had testified, "that Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead e which was typified by the offering of the first-fruits of the harvest. And in this first-fruits may perhaps be included those saints, who came out of their graves after the resurrection of Christ, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many, * a blessed earnest of their own future manifestation in the same place. (2) Secondly we have it—" afterwards they that are Christ's, at his coming" or as I would paraphrase it,—“ Afterwards, at the coming of Christ, those that belong to him." For some read this (or at least so interpret it) as if it were " Afterwards, those who at the coming of Christ shall be his;" as if those only are intended, who shall at that time be walking in the faith of Christ. But forasmuch as these will be then already living in the flesh, the promise of a resurrection cannot have reference to them they will undergo a change, and will be privileged, like Enoch and Elijah, never to death. All those must therefore be intended, who shall be asleep in Jesus, and whom, at his coming he


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will raise and bring with him. Let it be observed however, that there is no mention of the wicked dead ;



those that are Christ's. (3) Next it follows,it follows," Then (after that) cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom; a plain proof that the kingdom is to be between his coming and this end.

I shall take a second testimony from the first Epistle to the Thessalonians; because there can be no doubt that this passage, like the former, is to be understood in a plain and literal sense. For as in the former instance, the Apostle expressly instructs them in the nature of the resurrection, to guard them against the error of those who denied it; so here he teaches them plainly concerning those who sleep in Jesus, that they may not sorrow as men without hope of seeing them again. To suppose that in either instance the language is symbolical, allegorical, or figurative, beyond what belongs to our ordinary use of figure, is to offend against the context and common sense of these passages.

The Apostle then assures those, who were disposed to sorrow without hope of seeing their believing friends again, that "the Lord Jesus will

bring them with him when he comes-For that the Lord himself

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e Acts xxvi, 23,

* Another instance of negligent exposition, which I have more than once heard from the pulpit, is the making these saints come out of their graves at the crucifixion of our Lord in which case Jesus would not be the first that rose from the dead to die no more. The Evangelist, though he mentions it in connexion with his narrative of the crucifixion, does nevertheless distinctly state, that they came out of their graves after his resurrection. Matt. xxvii, 52, 53.

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