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cies of the Fathers. Those principles for which our opponents themselves contend, will suffice for my argument. They maintain that the martyrs shall not, at the time referred to, rise from their graves; but, that there shall only spring up a generation of men similar in character, and inspired with ihe same ardour of faith. Suppose this were correct;-what, I ask, are these men similar in character to do? Are they not to reign? to reign on the earth? and as being of martyr-like and devotedly Christian spirit? And should any one, slow in heart to believe what the prophets have spoken, regard the words by themselves as insufficient to determine what is the nature of the reign to which they refer—as if it might be a dominion of principles rather than a dominion of men let him consult the preceding context, where he will perceive, that it is not only after the ecclesiastical power of the False Prophet, but also after the civil power of the Beast, has been destroyed, that the saints come to the dominion, so as to leave no vacancy in the administration of the government of the earth.
There remains another evidence of great force, which I shall immediately bring forward in support of the doctrine for which I at present plead; but along with the original one contained in the Sacred Kalendar, a stranger to the treatment which is generally given our hope, might suppose that these seven, so clear and direct, would surely be regarded as a sufficiency of demonstration, even by a mind considerably unreasonable in its demand for satisfaction. Since in this controversy, however, as indeed in some others, there are many who are affected with an inexplicable perversity of judgment, it is requisite that I examine a passage of Scripture especially, which is frequently represented as being subversive of our doctrine. And I do so with the greater willingness, because the examination will accumulate the proof.
It occurs John xviii. 36, “Jesus answered, my kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence.” Many urge this declaration of our Lord as sufficient of itself to demolish the whole of our system.
In reply, I remark, first of all, that the passage is an obscure one; and that it is not the part of wisdom to derive its faith from what is obscure, in preference to what is luminous. That it is obscure, is evident from the circumstance that the advocates and opponents of church establishments take very different views of it. The former party maintain that there is nothing in it opposed to the system of the civil magistrate “taking order," by the force of the sword of course in cases
of resistance, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire, that heresies be suppressed, and that taxes be paid in support of a Christian ministry. All that they profess to see in it is an intimation that the Church is not an institution like the Roman empire, earthly and of human origin. The opposite party maintain, on the other hand, that the passage is explicit in denying all right of the magistrate to interfere either in the way
of controlling, regulating, or helping the Church, as the Church; and that it is dangerous presumption for him to touch its Ark. Unless one of the parties then be adjudged insincere and unconscientious in their pleading, this "discrepancy of opinion is a proof that the declaration is such as has been stated; but although it was less obscure than what it is thus shown to be, could it be more luminous in opposition to our views, than is the variety of evidence which I have produced in their favour? And why, in that case, would so many testimonies be made to yield to one which is not any clearer? Without referring backward, however, to any of the eight which have been already instanced, I shall compare it with an additional
GOSPEL OF JOHN.
APOCALYPSE OF JOHN.
Chap. xviii. verse 36. Jesus Chap. xi. verse 15. And the answered, My Kingdom is not seventh angel sounded; and there of this world. If my Kingdom were great voices in heaven, saywere of this world ihen would ing, The Kingdoms of this my servants fight that I should WORLD are become the Kingnot be delivered to the Jews: But dom of our Lord and his Christ; Now is my Kingdom not from and he shall reign for ever and hence.
Is the declaration, contained in the latter of these passages, that Christ's Kingdom is of this world, any less explicit than that contained in the former, that it is not of this world? Must we conclude then that the Word of God is self-contradictory, and give up both passages as mutually neutralizing one another's evidence? All truth forbid! The two are easily reconciled; the principle of solution being, that they refer to different states of the Church, at different periods of time.
1. With respect to the first, I feel little difficulty in deciding for the interpretation common among dissenters, so long as they limit its application to the state of the Church on this side
* It is difficult to arrive at the meaning of the advocates of Church establishments in their attempted explanation of this text; and I am not sure that I have represented their opinion correctly. But if Í have done so, Why, I ask, are so many objectors to our system found among them, on the principle that we violate the doctrine of the spirituality of Messiah's Kingdom?
of the millennial era. The accusers of our Lord understood his claiming the Messiahship as being tantamount to his claiming the external governorship of the world, and they carried Him before the Roman judge with the accusation in this latter form: so that the point at issue when He was tried there, was not the origin of his Kingdom, but its nature—whether it was such as to interfere with the authority of Cesar. Had He simply answered that it was not of earthly or human, but heavenly or divine institution, this would have been no proper answer to Pilate's question; for as was exemplified in the Jewish theocracy, a Kingdom might be established by Heaven, and yet be one of external force. * And since the answer was given as a denial of the charge of his enemies, and received as such by the judge, I cannot help saying, that the establishment of the Church by civil power under the present dispensation, appears to me inconsistent with the declaration of the blessed Redeemer. Our milleniary system, however, makes no such implication. It was his First Advent, and the Kingdom which He had come to erect at that time, of which our Lord was interrogated and judged. With the Kingdom of his Second Advent Pilate had nothing to do, more than if it had been the advent of a totally different person. Accordingly our opponents do not consider the declaration inconsistent with his coming in his Kingdom to execute external judgment on the workers of iniquity at the conclusion of this mundane system.-Although then our Lord had stopt short in his reply, without subjoining the last clause, his explanation would have been nowise at variance with our doctrine concerning the nature of his millennial reign. But lest he should be misapprehended, as disclaiming right of empire in the sense charged, not only for the present time, but all time to come, even at the bar of Pilate does He enter his protest against any misconstruction, and intimate that it is only for a season he makes no pretensions to the diadem of Cesar:—"If my kingdom were of this world then would my servants fight for me. But now is my kingdom not from hence.” Why this qualification-this particularising of the present state-if his kingdom would not be of such a nature at some future period? How refreshing and invigorating it is for the soul, to think of the heroism with which the Man of Sorrows, even in these circumstances of humiliation, defends his royal prerogative! at the risk too of being asked for explana
* The key of interpretation lies in the clause, “else would my servants fight," or use external force, evincing that both of the phrases "not of this world” and "not from hence," do not refer so much to the derivation of his Kingdom, as to its rank and order,-that it is not of the same class as the Kingdoms of this world, nor administered on similar principles.
AN APOLOGY FOR MILLENNIAL DOCTRINE.
tions which might have lost Him the countenance of that tyrant, whose willingness to let him go is a memorable proof of his innocence, and of the malice of his accusers.
2. The declaration of our Lord, recorded in the Gospel of John, instead of being hostile to our system, having turned out on examination to be on the contrary corroborative of it, the proclamation of the angel, recorded in his Apocalypse, does not require an extended discussion. That it refers to the millennial reign almost all are agreed. And is not the import of it obviously, that Christ shall then be put in possession of that same government which is now held by those kings of the earth who shall be consumed under the seventh trumpet, till by the seventh of the vials, to the outpouring of which it gives the signal, they shall be utterly destroyed? The evidence of the text as corrected by Griesbach, is, if possible, stronger,“the sovereignty of the world has become our Lord's and his Christ's."'* There can be little doubt with any candid inquirer that this is the same event to which Daniel refers, when in recording his vision he states, that on the overthrow of the Fourth Monarchy and the establishment of the Fifth, he saw in the night visions, and behold One like the Son of Man came with the clouds of Heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought Him near before Him; and there was given Him dominion and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve Him.'' As in producing this passage on a former occasion I did not argue from it for more than the administration of the dominion by the instrumentality of the church; so, in the case of that more particularly before us, I leave the evidence which it contains for the Personal reign of Christ to be considered afterwards, and at present only claim on its authority the acknowledgment of the external aggrandizement of his Kingdom. The thanksgiving of the Elders, consequent on the proclamation, is strongly confirmative of this view:-"We give Thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come, because Thou hast taken to Thee thy great power, and hast reigned. 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 that destroy the earth." Has any one the boldness to refer all this to the spiritual victories of religion over ungodly principles, through the instrumentality of the preaching of the Gospel? And let it be remembered that it is not a prediction of events which shall not take place till the time of the final judgment; but of the visitation of God's wrath on ungodly men previously to the millennial era, and the reward which shall at that period be conferred on the saints.-I must explain that it is under a feeling of being greatly restrained, that the course of argument obliges me, when reviewing such passages, to limit my pleading to the ascendancy of the church as an institution, without enlarging on the prospect for all the saints who are dead awakening in resurrection to the enjoyment of the triumph!
* There are some who maintain that the "One like unto the Son of Man," mentioned in Daniel, is the Church, as bearing the image of the Son of Man. It would be less objectionable to suppose that the word translated Christ in this passage signifies his anointed Church; when "Lord” would signify our Lord Jesus.
The next proposition which I deduce from the Sacred Kalendar has, to some extent, been necessarily anticipated; and its full elucidation belongs to the unfolding of the destiny of the Jews. I shall, therefore, do little more at present than give a simple statement of it.
PROPOSITION SEVENTH. The church once established with external power shall rapidly extend her dominion till her empire be Universal; being that stone which, as seen by Nebuchadnezzar, “became a great Mountain and filled the whole earth."
In the first instance she shall take possession of power on the territory or platform on which the image stands; but immediately thereafter she shall proceed to subject to her dominion all the tribes of the world, so that there shall be no authority which is not held by tenure from her, and administered in her name. When the kingdom is restored to Israel there shall be no limitation to the sway of his sceptre.
PROPOSITION EIGHTH. This kingdom of the Church "shall stand for ever."
Rebellion will at one period disturb it, and it will undergo modifications, but as the kingdom of Heaven on earth it shall have no end. At the instigation of Satan, let loose from the bondage in which he shall be held captive for the thousand years, Gog and Magog shall assail the seat of government, but fire from heaven shall devour them; then shall come the Second Resurrection and Final Judgment;—and what thereafter? Not the annihilation of this earth, I am persuaded. It may be changed and renovated, but it will not be utterly destroyed. Were the Prince of hell so far to succeed as to make necessary the obliteration from existence of this great work of