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prophetical expositor, who should maintain a literal fulfilment in the first two cases, and a spiritual fulfilment in the last! This can find a parallel only in the popular view respecting the restoration of the Jews. It is held that the Jews are to be literally restored, and, at the same time, it is maintained that the kingdom of Israel is only to be spiritually restored! There is to be a literal restoration of the subjects, but only a spiritual restoration of the kingship! To such absurdities and inconsistencies do false rules of interpretation conduct us.
4. To commence a reign, presupposes that there was a time when it was hot in being. The prophecies fix the period of Christ's reign, as has already appeared, at a point yet future. But he has all along reigned spiritually, as all admit: a spiritual reign, therefore, cannot be intended. All must see the force of this reasoning. If Christ has ever been reigning spiritually in the hearts of his people, and the prophecies all point to a future reign, as they evidently do, a different and more important reign must be expected; and what can that be but a personal reign?
5. His reign, in the Scriptures, is connected with events such as can take place only at his personal coming. These events are, the resurrection, judgment, destruction of the entire wicked, the conflagration of the world, and the new creation. All who believe in these events, believe they are to transpire when Christ shall come personally. If, therefore, it can be made to appear that the commencement of his reign is associated with these events, it will become evident that it will begin at his personal coming; and must, consequently, be a personal reign. As this subject will come up again, under another head, I shall not here present but a passage or two showing this connection. And, since most believe that the events are so bound together as to occur at the same general period, if it can be shown that the reign of Christ is connected with any one or two of them, it will answer every purpose in this part of the discourse. Paul connects it with the judgment and resurrection, in his 2d epistle to Timothy. “I charge the
“I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom." 2 Tim. iv. 1. A connection is clearly shown in the Apocalypse. "And 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, at the same time, it is added by the elders in heaven,—"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." Rev. xi. 15, 18. In this passage,
the connection is very plain between the reign of Christ and the resurrection, the judgment, and the destruction of the wicked. From both texts, and others that will hereafter be introduced, it must be evident that Christ's coming to judgment is his coming to reign : if so, a personal reign, and no other, is to be locked for. We have, therefore, as solid a basis for the belief of a personal reign, as for a personal coming, or the events of the resurrection and judgment. To deny the one, is really to deny the other.
The events are connected, and they must occur, or fail, together. If they fail, the hopes of the saints are fated to be wrecked and disappointed forever!
If time allowed, we might still fortify our position by referring to the faith, and hopes, and ardent anticipations of the pious world, from the earliest periods. We might allude to the belief and expectations of Abraham, Job, Daniel; the united faith of the Jews; the harmonious testimony of the early church; the views of the Reformers; the sentiments of the highest ornaments of the English pulpit; the creeds of most of the sects; and the songs that are chanted in almost every sanctuary. We might present the views of some of the most learned and pious divines of our own country; and dwell upon the evidences that the notion of a spiritual reign is fast being abandoned in all
branches of the church. We might show
Receive yet one, the crown of all the earth,
II. The identity of the Millennium with
The church has, in all time, been expect- 1 ing, confidently expecting, a period of exalted
bliss, purity, and joy. For this expectation, the best of grounds can be shown. It was announced in Eden; promised to patriarchs; sung by holy bards of old; foretold by all the prophets ; taught by the Saviour; proclaimed by the apostles; believed by all the faithful. The promise and the prospect of that state have cheered, encouraged, and nerved to nobler deeds, the saints in all ages. It was the favorite theme of prophets. Their clear and far-reaching vision was filled with the bright glories of that day of holy joy and triumph. The dawnings of that day, all have longed to see. Many a heart, in its fulness, has said,
Haste, then, and wheel away a shattered world,
We would see
How pleasant in itself, what pleases him." But, though the expectation of this state has been universal, the same place has not been assigned for it by all in the field of prophecy, nor the same views taken of its character. The period is believed in, but it is differently arranged in the order of future events. This different arrangement gives rise to the different views as to the character of the period. A portion of the church put the period before, and another portion after, the personal coming of Christ. If it is to be before such coming, it must be in a mortal state, comprising