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come from the other world, in bodies immortal and glorified, and shining with celestial brightness like a flame offire; mankind will have such an overpowering evidence of a future state before their eyes, as must for ever exclude all infidelity, which yet is here supposed to recur; and such strength of government as must needs prevent any idea, or at least attempt to disturb it.
I naturally conclude therefore that the words, “this is the first resurrection,” are as much figurative as those of our Lord “this ir my body,” and must be taken cum grano falls as well as those, and for the very same reasons, the strange consequences which would ensue from the literal sense. St. John seems principally to intend in Rev. xx. 4. the reviviscence of the jewish nation, and next to that,
And this rising again of the rest of the drab, gives a clear answer to the objection of Mr Mead, that “the dead and the living again of the dead, ought to be taken in the same sense.”— for by this exposition they are so taken. The dead Church lives again metaphorically at the beginning of the millennium; and the dead reprobates also live metaphorically at the end of it. See p. 387. (Note.)
the highly improved state of the church in general, in the millennium. So in ch. vii. 13. under figures very similar to this description of the millennium, (in Rev. xx. 6.-xxi. 7.) he represents the state of tranquillity which the church, for the first time since its foundation, enjoyed by the elevation of Constantine to the purple. The saints there shewn to St. John, had just achieved a similar victory over the pagan dragon, as they obtain here over the beast and false prophet, the last enemies the church will have to encounter, until the end of the millennium. In that vision the blessed walk under the guidance and protection of the lamb, exempt from the recurrence of their past sorrows, from the beat of the sun, or imperial despotism, and the pang of hunger, or a scarcity of spiritual sustenance, such as had lately prevailed during the times of danger to the ministers and preachers of the word of life. And finally, God promises that he “will wipe away all tears from their eyes,” by means of a full establishment of the christian faith. Just so in this latter vision, by the very same sort of emblems, and nearly the same expres
sions, the holy spirit intimates the very exalted, and established peace and purity of the church for the period of looo years.
The first rest is a type of the second, and yet in both these instances, this tranquillity and happiness of the church is still far from absolute perfection, or danger of future interruption by the recurrence of evil. The first peace was broken by the rising of Antichristian or popish persecution, and its consequence was a second army of martyrs, more numerous than the first, to be added to the souls already under the altar, and the second will be yet again disturbed by the insurrection or the tyranny of God and a host of aliens, raised from the numerous tribes of the unbelieving and disobedient, which have obstinately refused to enter the ever open gates of the New JERUs ALEM. (295)
(205) The millennium of the prophets is every where charg. ed with figurative representations of the peace, plenty, and ge. neral happiness and holiness of that time, little less strong, and evershooting the possibilities of nature quite as far, as St. John's first returrection and reign of departed souls. Peace and
amity between the brute creation and man, or the fiercer ra.
fional savages of the human race in concord with each other; hill flowing with milk, and mountains dropping down new wine &c. are little less out of nature than the resurrectionary kingdom.—Both therefore are undoubtedly figurative and hyperbolical.
4. Our Lord’s promise of twelve thrones to his apostles, no proof of a first resurrection.—5. Paul’s argument to king Agrippa, not concerning the resurrecTrowarr KINGDOM,-but etermal life.—6. The sufferings of the martyrs though real, yet no argument for a temporal reward.— Logical arguments applied to scripture writers not always good proofs.-The non-resurrection of the rest of the dead, Rev. xx. 5, a confirmation of the figurative tense.—This further confirmed by express authorities of scripture.—7. The vision of souls, and the blessedness proclaimed to the dead, no indications of a first resurrection.—But convey prophetical intelligence of more general interest to the church.-St. Paul’s gradations of resurrection—appropriate to the last day.—The express promises of resurrection—all referred to
the end of the world.
IV. Another argument brought forward in favor of the literal sense, assumes a still more formidable aspect, from the high authority it claims. If “our Saviour, who is himself the WOL. III, 3 F