« PoprzedniaDalej »
" To another divers shall cease," until prophecies “ shall kinds of tongues, to another in- fail” and knowledge shall vanish 'terpretation of tongues.” 1 Cor. away.'
1 Cor. xiii, 8. xii, 10.
8. That tongues are given for a 5. That the gift of tongues is sign to unbelievers, and were never not to be exercised in the Church (unless interpreted) intended for by any person, unless there be one the edification of the Church. to interpret. “ If any man speak Wherefore tongues are
for a in an unknown tongue, let it be sign, not to them that believe, by two, or at most by three, and but to them that believe not." ' that by course ; and let one inter- 1 Cor. xiv, 19, 22. pret.
But if there be no inter- 9. That the gift of prophecy is preter, let him keep silence in the very superior to the gift of tongues ;
Church ; and let him speak unto and should be earnestly sought, be' himself and to God." 1 Cor. xiv, cause it tends to edification. "I 27, 28.
' would that ye all spake with 6. That no person has a right tongues, but rather that ye proto forbid others speaking with phesied : for greater is he that tongues.
And forbid not to prophesieth, than he that speaketh speak with tongues." 1 Cor. with tongues.” 1 Cor. xiv, 5. xiv, 39.
“ Wherefore brethren covet to pro7. That there is no intimation in phesy, and forbid not to speak the New Testament that “tongues with tongues.” Verse 39.
WHAT AND WHERE IS HEAVEN?
Since my mind has been turned texts which they had read a thouto the consideration of the doctrines sand times without, I believe, suscommonly termed · Millennarian,'I pecting that they did not underhave frequently had occasion to no- stand them; and I have found a tice the extreme inaccuracy and similar want of precision in their vagueness with which I had pre- case, and a corresponding surprise viously received a great number of and pleasure at the discovery that passages of Scripture; and, at the such passages admitted a very clear same time, to remark the light and determinate sense, when viewed which is thrown upon them by a under the light of a Millennarian simple reference to those doctrines. construction. Nor is it in my private experience I apprehend it would be of great alone that I have been led to at- advantage to many readers of the tribute this advantage to a Millen- Holy Scriptures to follow up the narian interpretation. I have some- idea suggested by this remark; by times inquired of persons thoroughly endeavouring, as far as possible, conversant with the Bible, what to substitute definiteness for vaguemeaning they attached to several ness in their manner of reading what
is set before them in the sacred But besides the advantage of more Volume. In truth it is incumbent general satisfaction in reading the upon those who are familiar with word of God, the habit of aiming the Scriptures to impose upon them- at precision in the understanding of selves a much severer caution in scriptural expressions, will conduce this respect, than it would be upon much to the settlement of several persons, who, for the first time in important questions, concerning their lives, were to look into the which,
those who adopt sacred oracles. For the very fa- Millennarian views feel considermiliarity which subsists between able difficulty. scriptural sounds and the ears of Among the terms to which it is those who are accustomed to them, exceedingly desirable to beguiles them into a sort of indolent upon solid grounds, a more disacquiescence which conceals their
tinct apprehension than it has own ignorance of the proper bear- usually received, is the very coming, intention, and force of the ex- mon and familiar word, HEAVEN.” pressions employed. On the other I should be rejoiced if some of your hand, a person who should read the correspondents, who are competent Scriptures for the first time, would to the task, would take up the inbe apt to stop continually, surprised vestigation suggested at the head and startled at the strangeness of of this paper ; and, by a scriptural the propositions he met with ; like analysis and induction, instruct us the prophets of old, he would find "what and where is heaven.” For himself searching what, or what myself, I must acknowledge that, manner of time the Spirit which (while I feel the importance with was in them did signify, when it which these questions bear upon ' testified beforehand the sufferings several points of prophetical inof Christ, and the glory that quiry; and that, moreover, they should follow."
in themselves most deeply There is no portion of Scripture interesting,) I am unable to arrive with which we are all more familiar at any very positive conclusions than the Psalms; and perhaps there respecting them: still less can I is none in the perusal of which the pretend to offer a satisfactory solugenerality of readers have more lution of them to your readers. A confused and indistinct ideas. But, few remarks may, notwithstanding, let any such reader take upon his be useful in suggesting hints for mind the notion of Christ's pre- examination to more learned and millennial advent to execute judge- profound correspondents. ment upon his enemies, and to set The words 'heaven and earth' do, up in the world a kingdom of right- both of them, unquestionably admit eousness, with all the prosperity and of several different significations in happiness attendant upon it ; and Scripture. Thus the earth somelet him keep applying this notion times means this terrestrial globe ; as he goes through the book of sometimes, the Roman empire; Psalms; and I will be bold to say, sometimes, the land of Canaan; that he will soon find that it furn- &c. But, in speaking of heaven ishes a key to unlock a great multi- and earth together, and, in the tude of expressions, the meaning way of contradistinction to each of which had always escaped him other, I apprehend it will be albefore.
lowed that we are frequently to
a 1 Pet. i, ll.
regard them as jointly making up fer an honor upon the earth and its the universe. For example in this inhabitants, which renders this nosentence" Do not I fill heaven tion extremely probable? In this and earth ? saith the Lord.” Ac- view, the earth would no longer cording to this view, the earth'be contrasted with and opposed to will be understood to mean heaven ; but be considered as formplanet, and heaven' will mean ing a part of what is contemplated the residue of the creation, consist- under that blissful appellation. And ing of innumerable worlds. Ad- is it not possible, that it is regarded verting then to the blissful con- in this light in several passages dition of angels, or to the future which seem to confound heaven happy state of redeemed men, it and earth, by speaking of the should seem that their having their kingdom of heaven under such happiness in heaven means no more conditions as inevitably force us than their enjoying it in some one
to consider this earth as the seat or more of the celestial globes, ac- of that kingdom? It is a question, cording to the wise and gracious I think, whether the word heaven appointment of God, who, un- is not, in many places, another doubtedly, assigns to His crea- name for happiness; and whether, tures the abodes which are suited when that idea is applied to it, the to their several capacities.
But term is not absolved of all further although the earth is thus spoken meaning. On the other hand, , of in distinction from the heaven, earth is contrasted with heaven in (that is, from the remainder of the
an odious sense ;
and we have universe,) such distinction may be therefore imbibed very contemptugrounded solely on the circumstance ous notions of this portion of the of its being our proper habitation, Creator's work: but I would ask, and so demanding, in our regard, wherefore is it that the earth is a more distinct reference than any thus spoken of ? Was it created so other single world; or else, on its worthless as to warrant our scorn, being at present, through man's sin, and to appear unworthy of man ? a degraded and inferior orb, as com
No: for - God saw every thing pared with the rest. Considered in that he had made, and, behold, a more general view,—regarded, asit it was very good.” But, when were, from some point in pure space, man fell, the sentence was proin common with the other worlds, nounced, cursed is the ground and having the curse removed from for thy sake :” and this was it,—what reason is there to con- token and part of the curse, clude that it may not be as well " thorns also and thistles shall it entitled to be numbered among bring forth to thee.”c But whereas the celestial spheres as any other sin was the occasion of the curse, planet, in the universe ? And does
we are taught to look forward to not the visit of the Son of God, a new earth,” (that is, a new state and the assumption of man's nature of this earth,*) or wherein dwelleth by Him who made all worlds, con- righteousness :” and is there not a
b Gen. i, 31.
c Gen. iii, 18.
* An attentive perusal of the passage in 2 Peter iii, wherein this doctrine is laid down, will convince any intelligent reader, that the expression new heavens and a new earth” means only an altered and improved state of the world, to be effected by the operation of fire. For the Apostle draws a parallel between the deluge and this
clear intimation, that then it shall to inherit heaven, and the other to be no longer accursed, but blesscd ? inherit earth, considered as for,
as truiy as I live,” saith the distinct places : they are evidently Lord, all the earth shall be filled the same place; and from thence it with the glory of the Lord.”d And, follows, either that earth is heaven, as sin shall give place to righteous- or that heaven is earth. ness, and the curse be supplanter tion of this earth being classed by a blessing, so Isaiah teaches us amongst the heavenly and happy that the token and part of the curse spheres, when Messiah comes above alluded to shall be removeu; reign in it, will reconcile the two for, “ instead of the thorn shall come passages, and remove the whole ''up the fir tree, and instead of the difficulty. Possibly, by the same
brier shall come up the myrtle method of interpretation, we may * tree: and it shall be to the Lord understand Moses, when he predicts ' for a name, for an everlasting sign the blessedness of God's people in • that shall not cut off."e In his a state of holy obedience by saying, sermon on the mount, our Saviour That your days may be multipled, uses very remarkable language, and the days of your children, in which may be applied to this sub- the land which the Lord sware ject. He says,
Blessed are the unto your fathers to give them, as poor in spirit; for their's is the the days of heaven upon earth.”g* kingdom of heaven :” and again, To the same purpose it is promised
Blessed are the meek: for they to the true David, Messiah the King, shall inherit the earth.”f Accord that his throne shall be as the days ing to the vulgar notion, he refers, of heaven.b in the former of these promises, I believe some persons harbour to a state of future happiness in a great prejudice against any docheaven ; that is to say, not in any trines which appear to substitute of the stars, neither in this world, happiness on earth for happiness but in some other region to which in heaven. That such doctrines the word heaven is vaguely applied. are inconsistent with the indeterBut if this be the sense of the former, minate and incomprehensible fancies by the latter it is hard to say what commonly entertained respecting is meant. Now, I conceive, the heaven, its occupations and enjoypoor in spirit and the meek are ments, I am willing to admit; but here taught to anticipate the same that it should be inconsistent with state of happiness; not that one is any just and rational anticipations
fiery judgement, and the changes thereby produced. He tells us the effect of the deluge :—“The world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished ;'' evidently meaning that it underwent a wonderful alteration, and not that it was literally destroyed and another planet substituted in its room. The world having, in this sense, perished, he talks of the heaven and the earth which are now,--that is, the same globe changed ; and tells us that they are reserved unto fire, and that when that fire shall have done its work, we are to“ look for” new heavens and a new earth ; that is, in like manner, the same globe greatly altered.
* And may we not, by the same method of interpretation, understand Moses as predicting a state of misery and oppression to the people when he says, “ Thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass ?” Deut. xxviii, 23. ED.
d Numb. xiv, 21.
e Isa. lv, 13.
f Matt. v. h Ps. lxxxix, 29.
8 Deut, xi, 21.
of man's future state-to suppose being blotted out of the creation. that God, who originally made the Reason infers, from a variety of earth and man for each other, and comparisons, that the earth is the who cursed the earth for man's proper dwelling of man ; the earth sin, should, after restoring man to accursed, for fallen man; the earth righteousness, re-establish the earth restored, and blessed, and rendered in such a condition of blessedness
very good,' for man redeemed and as to enable man to find in it a risen. suitability to his nature and fa- Reason, however, can go but a culties, and a happiness worthy of very little way: come we therefore being styled celestial—is what I am to Revelation. I have observed yet to learn. When it is objected already, that the Scriptures, in the to persons who hold the expectation view of future happiness, seem to of a purely spiritual, and, as I may confound earth with heaven : that say, mystical, sort of bliss in some they also speak of the kingdom of unknown region which they call heaven as a kingdom to be set up on heaven, that such an expectation the earth : that they speak of the does not present any distinct or days of heaven upon the earth. intelligible notions of enjoyment to Yet, as such passages do not stand such a being as man, it is readily alone, but are mixed up with mulanswered, that it is the business titudes which apparently suggest a
of faith to credit God's assurance different doctrine, they are far from * that heaven is a happy place, and determining the point. ' that man, redeemed and renovated, It is the observation of Joseph shall (however unintelligible the Mede, that the Scriptures make sort of pleasure may now appear) three heavens: first, the air or subreally find unutterable satisfaction lunary heaven ; second, the ethereal - there." It is obvious that the same or starry heaven ; third, the heaven answer is applicable to their own of glory, or empyreal heaven. objections to the possibility of find- Each of these heavens have their ing happiness on earth: for cer
host or army.
The host of the tainly, it is as much within God's heaven of glory, or the third heapower to make us happy in this ven, are the angels and blessed spiplanet, as in that region beyond the rits: the host of the ethereal heaplanets and the stars usually thought are the stars and planets : to be the proper heaven. The the host of the aerial, or sublunary question is not, which theory is the heaven, are either visible, as the most consonant to those preconcep
· clouds of heaven and other me. tions which we imbibe in infancy teors, and also the rest of the crearespecting the identity of heaven 'tures mansioning therein, as the and the blue sky;' but, which is the fowls of heaven; or invisible, viz. most agreeable to reason and to the wicked spirits and devils, Scripture.
whose prince, Satan, is called,“ the As to reason, I think that upon prince of the power of the air,” and the supposition of a resurrection and · his host, “rulers of the world,”(i.e. of the redintegration of this world, the sublunary world,) and “ wickreason would prompt us to conclude, ed spirits in heavenly places," that the risen creatures should be namely, in the lowest or subluplaced upon it.
Reason revolts nary heavens.”i It is to be wished from the idea of this glorious sphere that the learned writer had illustrated
i Eph. vi, 12. See Mede's works, fol. 614.