« ZurückWeiter »
sonality of the saved, the other to express their community. And I leave every one to take the view which pleaseth his mind the best, for I confess my own is not altogether
In the book of Daniel, where the fourth empire is brought to its end, there are thrones cast or planted down; and besides them a throne of judgment, whereon is seated the Ancient of Days, who instateth the Son of Man in an universal and eternal kingdom (chap. vii). This is the vision to which the xxth chapter of the Revelation carrieth a continual reference. The planting down of the thrones, the opening of the books, the act of judgment, the reign of the saints, have all their origin in that vision of Daniel, which is most explicit as to this point, that the kingdom of the saints hath no end. We conclude, therefore, from this other source of knowledge, that the thing which comes to a close at the end of the thousand years, is not the reign of Christ and his saints upon the earth, which continues for ever, but the putting down and casting forth into the lake of fire of all adverse power whatsoever. It is the ending of the judgment, and the beginning of the eternal state of holiness ; answering to the eighth day of circumcision, to the eighth and great day of the feast of tabernacles. The Millennium is properly the day of judg. ment, beginning in judgment, and ending in judgment, and all along continuing in judgment; that is, in the putting down and suppression of all evil ;--evil in existence, but under restraint ; Satan in life, but in imprisonment; the evil passions of men in being, but kept under by good government : in one word, Christ and his people exhibited as able and successful resisters of iniquity, holy judges of wicked persons, and blessed governors of the world. This ended, they have been proved by power as well as by weakness, by possession as well as by destitution, by enjoyment as well as by suffering, and having by their labours accomplished the complete redemption of the earth, and the eternal suppression of evil, they enter into the eternal enjoyment of the work which they have wrought. Christ is working now, and under him the church disembodied, of which he is the Head; and they are together achieving a great victory over the spiritual powers; then Christ shall work, and his embodied church
along with him, and they shall achieve and keep a great victory over the visible world also; which being finished, they shall enter into their finished work, and possess it for
Daniel had not the change at the end of the thousand years revealed to him, nor had any other of the prophets until John; and so they simply announce the kingdom as eternal, without end, and for ever and ever. And when we find John giving specialty to the first thousand years, we are not therefore to suppose, in the face of all the Scriptures, that therefore the whole scene of things will be shifted away from this earth altogether. This is to fly in the face of all Scripture, and to use the further revelation of the Apocalypse to supersede, contradict, and make void the other Scriptures, and not to open and explain them. So do others abuse the Gospels, containing the coming of Christ, and opening all the prophecies which speak of his coming to the earth, in order to reign there for ever, into an occasion and means for making void those prophecies, and turning them into a dead letter; as if there was to be no more coming of Christ, nor acts for him to accomplish upon the earth. The canon which we have laid down above is good for guiding us in the right use of the Apocalypse, which opens all Scripture, contradicts and supersedes none. The reference which we have made to Daniel, confirms much the conclusion which we have come to above, that the great white throne is in being upon the earth with the other thrones during the Millennium, for the very beginning of the day of judgment ; because the same supreme Throne ruling over the others, is set forth in Daniel. And there is yet another passage to which we will refer, as casting light upon the same great truth.
It is our Lord's famous discourse, in the xxiv th and xxv th chapters of Matthew, which, the more I consider it, impresses me the more with a sense of its completeness, as an exhibition of the full truth of his coming and kingdom. There, after tracing the course of events until his coming, and enlarging upon the signs thereof, and commanding all to watch, he presenteth
three parables, which, being well and justly weighed, record a consistent idea of the kingdom. There is first the parable of the virgins, and the marriage supper, and the Bridegroom entering
into the chamber, and shutting the door, and his church entering in along with him. This is the new Jerusalem, the bride of the Lamb, the marriage chamber, the blessed nuptials to which the people are invited. Next there is the parable of the faithful servants, who receive their rewards of government over five cities, and ten cities, &c. which they are to hold as kings under the King's Son. This answers exactly to the thrones of the xx th chapter, in which the faithful are instated at the coming of the Lord from the far country unto his kingdom ; and, lastly, there is the parable of the Son of Man coming in the throne of his glory, and calling all the nations into his presence, to render him an account of their treatment of himself and his children. This is the great white throne of the Apocalypse, and the throne of the Ancient of Days of Daniel; and the
of the Father in our text, which sits in judgment upon the fourth beast, and upon all the beasts, upon the quick and upon the dead, and whose decrees fix the fate for ever both of angels and of men. So that these three parables give a compact and consistent view of all the matters which the Revelation unfoldeth. And in this case also, it is for ever that the sentences extend, " into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels."
All these things work together, in strong confirniation of our doctrine, that both the great white throne and the new Jerusalem are in being upon the earth from the beginning, and during the continuance of the Millennium, and for
It is not our purpose to go into the details of the exposition of these symbols, but simply to appoint to them their proper place, time, and condition, and gather from them the instruction and consolation which they afford to
Now, the conclusion is, that the Father's throne in which Christ sits is in existence during the Millennium ; or, in other words, that he is manifested as God, and reigns as God; also that he is manifested in the glory and power of the Son of Man, which he shares with us his faithful people; likewise, that together with them he formeth the dwelling place of God, the seat of his power, and the instrument of his working, to the effect of reducing all things into the very form in which God would have them to be. After which millennial works Christ
doth surrender up the Divine glory, and take the subordinate place of the Son of Man, exercising with his church for ever the function of King and Priest over the created world. And then the inversion of the eternal order is at an end ; and the eternal order is in existence. God is all in all, Christ is Head over all; the church are his ministers, manifesting under him the fulness of the Spirit ; and the whole creation is the world, which God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost do thus govern in peace and blessedness for ever. Some may
feel that I am prolix, and sometimes indefinite in opening these subjects. The reason is, that I feel the sacredness of the ground, and I tread it with a slow and solemn pace. I feel the awfulness of the scene which opens at every footstep, and I stay to survey it, and to expatiate over its fulness and perfection of beauty. I am not like a measurer taking the dimensions of it, but like an heir considering the magnificence and vastness of that which I am called to inherit. Besides, I feel that
faculties are not equal to the whole undertaking; and therefore when I cannot speak definitely, I am content to speak indefinitely, and rather to venture by slow approaches, than at once to rush into so great a matter. Every one must take his own method of expressing his own mind upon these subjects. That which I prefer is, by coming, and coming, to it again, and doing my endeavour by successive efforts, and waiting upon the Spirit, and catching every favourable moment, and entering in at every door which the Revealer may open. And I am not careful though I should repeat niyself often, and though at one time I should give clearer light than at another, and though one thing should seem to take away from or make alteration upon another. For I am not casting a work of art, but digging in the earth, and bringing up ore, some richer, and some poorer, according as I find it in the mine. Let others found it if they please. My work is that of a laborious drudge, hewing the rocks, and bringing to light the bidden things of God, by means of the revelation of Jesus Christ, opened by the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, who leadeth us into all the truth, and sheweth us things to come.
It remains, that we add a few words upon the exhorta
tion of the promise, after having thus largely spoken of its substance. We have set forth the wonderful grace which is here promised to us in the day of the Lord's appearing; and we would now use the same for application unto all the children of men, that they may gird themselves to the battle, enter the fight, and overcome. And, first, I would propound the example of the Lord Jesus Christ, who laid aside his glory, and entered in weakness that field of combat; for which the first qualification is, that we should be likewise weak, yea, and utterly empty of all strength in ourselves. For it is a combat wherein God, not man, is to be glorified; and therefore when Christ became man, he must become a weak and empty man, in order that the glory of the victory may be due unto Godhead, and not unto the manhood. They understand nothing of this matter, who will maintain that his manhood must be in itself and of itself, other and better than our own. That way of it was tried already in Adam, and came to nought. Another way of it, which is the way of weakness, made strong by faith in God, is now in the progress of trial ; and for the trial Christ presents himself, who was not made a creature. If a creature he had been made, and found himself mortal, he must have been answerable for the guilt of so making himself. But he is the Creator, and therefore may take what form of being it liketh hiin, that which is best for the glory of God to take. And seeing the point which God hath been making good, is that He is gracious to the fallen, and forgiving to the sinful, and strengthening to the weak, if they will but trust in him, the Son of God, who came to realise this lesson, became poor, and weak, and suffering, was made sin, though without sin, and brought under the weight of all burdens, and smitten with all strokes, and had no resource nor help, nor maintenance, but what he obtained through the exercise of faith in his Father, and in our Father, in his God, and in our God. He stood in the battle as a common man; and if there was one post harder than another, that was the post he was called upon to maintain: yea the whole tide of battle rolled against this single man; and single-handed he had to encounter the fiercest shock ; and this with no weapons, but the weapons of our warfare, weakness and faith, which in bis hand ever proved effectual