Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

what period of the world he was living, and why should not other Christians ?

CONSIDERATION VII. We also infer it from the fact that ignorance of former 6 times of visitation" is spoken of as sin ; and this is recorded for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world have come."

God has designedly spoken of the times of visitation" in parables, or "dark sayings ;" so that those only who have an humble and teachable spirit—a spirit that leads them to him, saying, Lord, explain to us this parable—may understand them.⁕ They must have this spirit, or the knowledge would do them no good. Now read such texts as the following : “ Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle, and the crane, and swallow observe the time of their coming ; but my people know not the judgment of the Lord." Jer. viii. 7. If there is any force in this rebuke, it is by implication that the time appointed for judgment may be known, if we are only as attentive to the signs of the stork, the crane, the swallow, and the turtle. We may certainly suppose then that this will be true when the greatest of all judgments is about to come.

"O, ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times ? " Matt. xvi. 3. This is equally applicable to all periods of time that are indicated by signs. And no one will deny that Christ has given us signs to precede his second coming.

Read also Matt. xiii. 10 to 15; Luke xix. 44 ; Is. xxix. 10 to 14; Rom. xi. 7 to 20 ; Prov. xxviii. 5.

That these things were recorded for our admonition, is evident from the fact of their having been preserved in the Bible ; as also from the tenor of the arguments used, and from Rom. xv. 4; 1 Cor. x. 11; Ps. lxviii. 2 to 8.

[ocr errors]

CONSIDERATION VIII. We infer that the time may be known from the careful record of chronology found in the fifth chapter of Genesis.

Dr. Weeks says we have no means of getting a true chronology—that Providence has wisely hidden it from us. But does Gen. v. favor such an idea? Now, I ask, why has this record, so carefully exact, of a period anterior to any of the prophetic periods, been given ? Not merely to satisfy vain curiosity; for that is not the object of the Bible. Of what use, then, can it be to mankind, to know just how long it was from the creation of man to the flood,—a use so great as to lead God to make a special revelation of the matter? Let our opponents answer. For my own part, I can see no use whatever, except the single important use of assisting the humble believer in determining about when the end shall come by knowing the age of the world. Herein we see it can be of great use; and if we cannot discover that it answers any other end, we conclude that it was intended for this.

In connexion with this, let us consider the fact, that the belief of the churches founded by the apostles, and of the church generally to the present time, has been that the present order of things will be changed at the end of six thousand years. This Mr. Dowling admits. In addition to his testimony we give the following:

" Thomas Burnet, in his 'theory of the earth.' printed in London, A. D. 1697, states that it was the received opinion of the primitive church, from the days of the apostles to the Council of Nice, that this earth would continue six thousand years froin creation, when the resurrection of the just and conflagration of the earth would usher in the millennium and reign of Christ on earth. He also states that many of the Fathers believed that the world was then near its end: but that such belief was founded upon the chronology of the Septuagint, according to which the world was then near the end of the six thousand years. See book 3, page 24."-S. Bliss.

Barnabas, supposed by some to be the companion of Paul, though by others to be another individual of the same name in the primitive church, writes thus :

"And God made in six days, the works of his hands, and
he finished them on the seventh day, and he rested on the
seventh day, and sanctified it. Consider, my children, what
that signifies :—'He finished them in six days. The mean-
ing is this: that in six thousand years, the Lord will bring all
things to an end. For with him one day is a thousand years,
as Himself testifieth, saying, 'Behold this day shall be a
thousand years.' Therefore, children, in six days (i. e. six
thousand years) shall all things be accomplished. And what
is that he saith, -'He rested the seventh day?' He meaneth
that when his Son shall come, and abolish the Wicked One,
and judge the ungodly, and change the sun and moon and
stars, then he shall gloriously rest in the seventh day."—Sec.
xiv. xv. Epistle of Barnabas.

Gibbon, in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Em-
pire, speaking of the faith and character of the primi-
tive Christians, says:

"The 'ancient and popular doctrine of the Millennium was
intimately connected with the second coming of Christ.—As
the works of the creation had been finished in six days, their
duration in their present state, according to a tradition which
was attributed to the prophet Elijah, was fixed at six thousand
years. By the same analogy, it was inferred that this long
period of labor and contention, which was now almost elapsed,
[the early Christians suppose the world was about six thou-

years old in their day, I would be succeeded by a joyful
Sabbath of a thousand years,—and that Christ, with the
triumphant band of saints, and the elect who had escaped
death, or who had been iniraculously revived, would reign
upon the earth till the time appeared for the last resurrection."

Now the fact that this was the belief of the churches
to which the apostles preached, gives it no little
weight. It is also in accordance with the harmony,
order, and analogy which we find prevailing in the
things of God, and is supported by several scriptures.
Thus,

2 Pet. iii. 8. "But, beloved, be not ignorant of
this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a
thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."
The apostle was here telling when we might expect the
coming of Christ, and how long God will wait for men
to come to repentance—to hear his voice. See verses
4, 9, and Heb. iv.. See also Ps. xc. 4. "For a

thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night."

Heb. iv. 9. "There remaineth therefore a rest [Greek, Sabbatismos, a sabbatical rest] to the people of God." Read also verses 4, 8 and 10, and compare with Rev. xx. 2 to 4, where we are informed that this sabbatical rest will be a thousand years. We therefore infer that the other days of this week also consist of a thousand years each.

In Ex. xx. 17, the fact of God's spending six days in making the heavens and earth, and resting the seventh day, is given as a reason why the children of Israel should observe the Sabbath, which was intended to be a sign to them. A sign of what? Of the great Sabbath, the seventh millennial day of the great week, in reference to which it was typically said, "Six days shall men labor, and do all their work." That is, Six thousand years shall man's salvation be wrought out, in which he shall do all his work of repentance and preparation for heaven; the seventh day (or thousand,) is the Sabbath, in which there shall be no work done ; for the work of the Redeemer, the work of the Holy Spirit, the work of grace is ended, and the Sabbath of the Lord is come. Blessed are they who enter into that rest. Read carefully Heb. iv. 3 to 11.

Hosea vi. 1 to 3. “ After two days will he revive us; in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight." Luke xiii. 32. "Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected." The two days of Hosea are to be dated from the time when the people of God were torn and smitten ; see verse 1. This was one hundred and fifty-eight years before Christ, according to 1 Maccabees, ch. 8th and 9th. The two days were not literal days, neither have they been fulfilled as yet, as facts show. We have reason to believe, therefore, they are millennial days; and that the third day, in which the people of God shall be raised up and live in his sight, corresponds with the third day in which Christ shall be perfected, and the period of a thousand years, during which the saints shall live and reign with Christ. Rev. xx. 4.

CONSIDERATION IX. We infer that the time has been revealed, from 2 Pet. i. 19. - We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light shining in a dark place."

More sure than what? Than being "eye-witnesses of his majesty." Verses 16, 18, and Matt. xvii. 1,9. Let those who despise the prophecies, or say they cannot be understood before fulfilment, ponder this passage. This sure word of prophecy is a light shining in what was a dark place even to those who had been eyewitnesses of Christ's majesty. Now what was it that remained in the dark to them? I answer, the time. "No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light." (Luke viii. 16.) And yet some would have us believe that God has lighted a candle, and then so completely hidden it in obscurity, that none of those entering in may see the light.

That the foregoing considerations make it probable, in the absence of any proof to the contrary, that the time has been revealed, I think no candid person will deny. But the following proofs establish the position, beyond a doubt, in my own mind.

PROOF I. The question in Is. xxi. 11, "Watchman, what of the night?" and his answer, imply that those who watch may know what time of the night it is, or, at least, when the morning is about to dawn. That this text refers to the bondage of the church, seems evident from both the answer and the context. What will be morning to the church will be night and gloom and horror to the world. If, however, it be applied only to the captivity of the ancient Jews, analogy makes it almost certain that the watchman in the church, of which Jerusalem was but a type, will. be equally able to discern the dawn of the day of a more glorious emancipation.

« PoprzedniaDalej »