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whole tenour of Scripture explain clearly, to my mind, the nature and proceeding of this judgment. It is the judgment of works which every mortal must abide, who, not believing in Christ, has “ died in his sins :"-"and the dead were judged out of those things that were written in the books, according to their works.”
One mysterious circumstance, indeed, remains to be considered. Why is the book of life represented as produced in this judgment ? since those who were written
: in the Lamb's book of life, as we have seen, were partakers of the first resurrection; or, being found on earth at the Redeemer's coming, had been separated by him as a shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats, and had gone away into life eternal.
The judgment that we are now considering, it is evident therefore, concerns not them. Nor, indeed, does it concern the apostates, who were found on earth at Christ's first appearance, for they were then judged and cast into the lake of fire. This judgment, therefore, concerns the rest of the dead still in the separate state: that are neither with Christ in glory, as the children of the first resurrection nor have been cast into “ the lake of fire,” either with the beast and false prophet, at the commencemet of the thousand years, or with the devil at the termination of that period. For with respect to all these, judgment has already been awarded.
Why the book of life is produced, also, in this general judgment, perhaps we may be unable to show. It may have reference, however, to those who had been faithful during the reign of the saints upon earth, and were among the survivors in the last defection of their race. It may, again, have reference to the claims of some who will plead an acceptance of the Gospel in arrest of the
judgment of works. Perhaps we may apply the words of our Lord,-“ Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name have cast out devils, and in thy name done many wonderful works? Then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work ini
There may, also, be a reference to something more mysterious still. We observe that the dead that are in the sea are distinguished from those who are under the custody of death and hades — the general symbolical representation of the departed state. It is said that “ death and hades are cast into the lake of fire.” This may possibly mean to designate what will be the issue of the judgment of works, as to all that are in the general abode of the dead, there being none there whose names were on the roll of the book of life: but that with respect to the dead in the sea it was different. I
the interpretation is possible — understanding by the dead in the sea, not merely such as met their death by drowning, but the souls of them that perished in the great deluge, though the grace towards them abounded not to take them into the ark of Christ's church, or to exalt them to the same eminence as the saints of the first resurrection: There is, indeed, a passage of Scripture concerning these “ departed spirits,” that cannot be satisfactorily explained but by the revelation of some secrets not yet explored in the unseen worlds.
Speaking of the Redeemer“ being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by” or “ in the Spirit,” St. Peter adds, “ By” or “ in which also he went and preached to
* Matt. vij. 22, &c.
the spirits in prison, which some time were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was preparing."
.”* They had been disobedient once — they were saved as a remnant of the old world with Noah, an heir of the righteousness of faith, whose ark was a type of spiritual baptism. They were “ in prison” or “ safe keeping :” Christ, after his
” death in the flesh, went and preached to them -a separate spirit to separate spirits. These facts seem clear: further we know not. These, then, may possibly be the dead that the sea gives up at this occasion, and the book of life may concern them. But, again, we may remark, " we know but in part, and can but prophesy
The passing away of the first heaven and earth, and the formation of the new, is, doubtless, parallel to that of Peter: “ The elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burnt up.” This judgment, in a measure as far as related to the fourth empire -- had taken place at the commencement of Christ's reign upon earth, and there had been a partial renovation, it should seem, in the land of Canaan. But this entire destruction of the earth, and the formation of a new one without a sea, takes not place till after the thousand years are expired.
None can doubt, however, that though the heavens and earth that now are will be dissolved and recreated, yet this does not include the camp of the saints and the beloved city, where the saints had inhabited, and
Chap. ii. 19.
! See Bishop Horsley's Sermon on the descent of Christ into hell.
which, in some sort, had been the object of Satan's attack, when fire came down from God and destroyed all his followers in the flesh. No; we may justly say that was “a city not of this building," — " not of this creation.” It was a “heavenly city,” which came down from God; and though it was, in some sense, on the earth, it was not of the earth, or a part of this lower creation. It is no part of the heavens and earth that now are, and which are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the
day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." Of this holy city we are to be informed more particularly in the remainder of this vision.
The Conclusion ; containing a symbolical Representation of
the Kingdom of Christ, from its first Descent on Earth, with concluding Exhortations.
Chap. xxi. 2. “And I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
The descent of this holy city, which is described below, does not, we should remember, refer to the time posterior to the final judgment. The new Jerusalem had descended at the commencement of the second advent. For in the nineteenth chapter, in connexion with the judgment of the great whore, it was announced, that “ the marriage of the Lamb" was come, and “ his wife has made herself ready.” And that' to her it was granted, that she " should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white : it
was pronounced, « Blessed is he that is called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” The new Jerusalem, therefore, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband, came down to earth at the beginning of the advent, and there it continued, connected with the present earth, during all the thousand years of the reign of Christ and his saints thereon. There Satan found “the beloved city,” when at the end of that thousand years he was released. In the last general conflagration, the beloved city, of course, stood entire. It passed safely through the deluge of fire ; and, like another ark, landed its inhabitants in a new restored world.
We are to place ourselves, therefore, again at the first resurrection, and at the very commencement of the second advent. “ The holy city” or “ the bride” is a symbol of the church glorified at the Saviour's coming. The symbol of the beloved city represents his residence, and the residence of his saints, when he establishes his kingdom on the ruins of the fourth empire.
3. “And I heard a voice out of heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he shall dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God."
The holy city is the tabernacle of God, and that tabernacle will be with men when Christ and his saints shall reign upon earth. He will be as the God of Israel in his sanctuary, and they “ priests of God and of Christ,"—the cherubim “between" whom "he dwelleth." And it is probable there will be some immediate connexion between this holy city -" the tabernacle that God doth pitch”—and the sanctuary which restored Israel