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should not be made perfect." This proves, that, whether the enjoyment of the promise is to be on earth or in heaven, the whole Church will be glorified together; the saints of one generation not receiving the promise without the saints of other generations.

On the other hand, let us suppose that the generations alive at the commencement of the Millennium are to enjoy the promise of the kingdom:-that then only, and to them only, is to be fulfilled what is written, "that the kingdom and dominion and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the saints of the Most High." It is plain, that the departed saints, though most of them have lived in expectation of the promise, must be shut out from it. But this also the Apostle says to us "by the word of the Lord,—that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them which are asleep." Thus again both are to rejoice together; and this at the coming of the Lord: for the Lord will descend and bring the Church above with him, whilst the Church below will undergo a change: even as it is written, "When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."n


The opinion which limits the reigning in this kingdom to the martyrs only, is the last which I shall consider, and a brief notice of it will be sufficient. For it entirely rests upon Revelation xx. 4, which is supposed to confine the first resurrection to those "beheaded for the witness of Jesus." But here are also included, when we come to examine the subject more accurately, those "which had not worshipped the beast, neither received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands."* This may be clearly inferred from chap. xi. 18, which extends the reward then to be given to "all that fear the name of God, both great and small."

II. Having shown that the saints in general are to partake of the kingdom, it will greatly confirm the view which I have taken of its being on earth, to glance at some of the promises which are made to the saints; keeping in mind, that they belong to the whole of them.

Isaiah says to the righteous, in one place,-"Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty; they shall behold the land that is very far off:" and in another, "that God should cause him to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed him with the heritage

* Heb. xi. 39, 44. • Isa. xxxiii. 17.

I Daniel vii. 27.

m 1 Thess. iv. 15.

■ Col. iii. 4.

* See Whitby in loco; who, though a decided anti-millennarian, makes here two distinct classes;-viz. the souls of those beheaded, and the souls of those who had not worshipped the beast.

of Jacob his father." David declares, that "the righteous shall be exalted and inherit the earth for ever;" and says of himself, "that he had fainted, unless he had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." The Lord Jesus repeats the assurance under the Gospel, "that the meek shall inherit the earth."'s St. Paul, as we have seen, reminds children of the promise annexed to the fifth commandment, (viz. "that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee," "that it may be well with thee (he adds) and that thou mayest live long on the earth." This latter testimony is the more satisfactory, if we apply to it a rule of interpretation laid down by St. Paul in Hebrews. He contends, that because it is written in David-"If they shall enter into my rest," there must remain a rest for the people of God. For he argues, that the Lord could not mean the Sabbath rest at creation, neither the rest in the land given them under Joshua; seeing that after these had taken place he still speaks of a rest to come; saying, "If they shall enter into my rest."u This is the Apostle's principle of interpreting prophecy; and it would violate this principle not to conclude, that as he promises length of days in the land to Gentiles, at the time when the Jews were just about to be cast out of it, there must remain an inheriting of the land to the people of God.

Those who presume these promises to be figurative thus explain how the meek shall inherit the earth: viz. that they are contented with their present lot; and that, if they needed more, God would give it to them, even unto the possession of the whole world. But such an interpretation appears objectionable on various grounds. First, it offends against the plain grammatical sense of the promise; which is, that the meek SHALL inherit the earth: whereas, if they now possess it through contentment, it should rather be written, "Blessed are the meek for they do inherit the earth." The whole argument indeed of St. Paul, just noticed, loses its cogency, if, when our Saviour, after so long a time, promises that the meek shall inherit the earth, we are to understand it of the past. "For (to paraphrase the reasoning of the Apostle,) if they had always thus inherited the earth, then would he not afterwards have spoken of a future inheriting: there remaineth, therefore, an inheritance of the earth to the meek." Secondly, it contradicts the whole scope of unfulfilled promise; which, as I have demonstrated, regards a future kingdom to be manifested on earth. Thirdly, it lowers and degrades the promises of God; as if we

Ps. xxvii. 13. . Matt.

P Isa. lviii. 14. 9 Psalm xxxvii. 9, 11, 29, 34. " Heb. chap. iv.

v. 5.


Ephes. vi. 2, 3.

were afraid to trust him, when marvellous power must be exerted to fulfil the word; and therefore placed a meaning upon it which is accomplished in the ordinary course and moral nature of things, without any promise at all.

We shall next find the saints included in the promises under every particular, in which we have been led to consider them in regard to Christ.

1. The Father has appointed unto him a kingdom; and he tells his disciples, "I appoint unto you a kingdom, as the Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." He tells them also, "that when the Son of Man shall come in his glory, the King shall say to them on his right hand, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."w And "then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father."

2. Again, Christ is declared to be a king: so in Psalm xlv. 16, the promise to the Church is, "Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth." Agreeing with which is that passage in Revelation, (put into the mouths of the departed saints) "Thou hast made us unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth."'y

3. One more, a throne is prepared for the Lord, which I will call a throne of glory; because it is said, that when he shall come with his angels, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory. Now Hannah is made to prophesy, that the Lord "raiseth up the poor out of the dust and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory:" which agrees with that in Revelation; "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne; even as I also overcame and am set down with my Father in his throne." And if any inquire, How so many can sit on the throne of Jesus, I answer with Jeremiah: "At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord;" "for there also (saith David) are set thrones of judg ment." "20

▾ Luke xxii. 29, * 1 Sam. ii. 8.

30. w Matt. xxv. 34.
a Rev. iii. 21. b Jer. iii. 17.

x Ib. xiii. 43.

c Ps. cxxii. 5.

y Rev. v. 10.


The First Resurrection.

HAVING shewn, that all who are "called to be saints" are to participate in the millennial kingdom and glory, the question will immediately arise in the minds of some,-How is this to be accomplished in regard to those who are asleep in Jesus? A satisfactory answer may be drawn from 1 Cor. xv. St. Paul there argues that our faith is altogether vain, unless there be a Resurrection; and having largely treated on this subject he concludes by assuring them, "that therefore their labour 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 some 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, or even after, the wicked, provided they did but rise to the enjoyment of glory, honour, and immortality. Nor indeed would a 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.' 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."


It is true, that there are one or two passages in Scripture which might lead us to suppose, 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 the 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 v. "The hour is coming in the which all

a Rev. xx. 6.

b Rev. xxii. 11.

c John xvii. 24.

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." 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.

I mean not now to enter into a particular exposition of the above two passages: I shall content myself with examining the principal point connected with the difficulty; viz. 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 this 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.

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 captivities of the Jews, which sometimes are so blended, that careless readers of God's word 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.

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