Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Spirit." And St. Peter also, speaking of Christ as of 'a living stone," adds, "Ye also are built up a spiritual house."

Persons who do not consider, that such a spiritual view is reconcileable with other texts, which must, for reasons equally manifest, be literal, at once conclude, that every reference to the house, or city, or mount of God must be figurative; just as some others, collecting a few passages, the nature of which is unquestionably literal, thence conclude that none are figurative. There are passages, which speak of a spiritual resurrection, relating to the raising of the soul from the death of sin, unto the life of righteousness; whence believers are said to be already risen with Christ: but we must not thence conclude that there is not a bodily resurrection revealed also. The spiritual resurrection is the pledge and earnest of the bodily one, rendering it more sure; just as things which are first literally fulfilled, are pledges of the like spiritual things. It was the exclusive consideration of such Scriptures that caused many among the Corinthians to err, supposing the spiritual resurrection to be the first resurrection promised, and therefore that it had taken place: which opinion is apparently the very one St. Paul denies and combats, in the fifteenth chapter of his first Epistle to them; wherein he insists, that their faith was vain were this the case.

Prophetic Scripture, and all Scripture, must be judged of by its context and general scope. For example, when it speaks of a man, we understand a being who possesses a spiritual soul, dwelling in a mortal body. The chief commands and promises of Scripture are addressed to his spiritual part; but that does not prove, that the soul will not hereafter be manifested in a body, any more than it proves, that it is not now in the body. When therefore we use the word soul for man, we include his body as a matter of course. For who would suppose, because it is written, "that Abram took Sarai, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the SOULS that they had gotten in Haran, and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan;"-who, I say, would conclude, that they took only the spirits of these persons, and left their bodies behind? And who again, because St. Paul exhorts the brethren to present their bodies a living sacrifice unto God,' would suppose that he does not include the soul; without which they would be a dead, and not a living, sacrifice?

Now apply this principle to the house of God,-which we have seen is the city, the New Jerusalem, the holy mountain. A city is, strictly speaking, a number of persons dwelling to

Ephes. ii. 19-22.

Rom. vi. 4, 5; Col. iii. 1. Gen. xii. 5. Rom. xii. 1.

S

gether under certain laws and immunities. Whether they dwell in tents, in ceiled houses, or have the sky only as their canopy is indifferent: houses come to be called the city, only because they are the place of abode of the citizens; just as we call a pile of stones a church, because the real Church of God are presumed to assemble in it. The houses are no more a city when without inhabitants, than a body is a man when the spirit is fled: both are their ruins only. Thus it is written-❝Then went out to him Jerusalem, &c. and were baptized of him in Jordan"-which evidently means the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and when therefore a city is said to be preparing in heaven, the saints must be intended, who are destined to form it, and are now called "Jerusalem which is above;" and which is the same Jerusalem which it is said shall "come down-FROM Godout of heaven." But because they are the real city—the lively stones-it does not follow therefore that they are to have no place of manifestation: on the contrary, there must be some place of visible dwelling if they come in the body, whatever the nature of that place may be. Those who can see nothing but figure in Scripture are compelled to explain, that the great city, the holy Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven, signifies the ascent of the saints into heaven. But this is not only a perversion of language, but a perversion of figure. The scripture figures are remarkable for their appropriate significancy; whereas in this case they would be remarkable, as meaning the very reverse of what they seemed to describe.

It may clear this point to observe further, that there are texts which beyond question refer to a material city, so far as literal language can express it; and yet they primarily aim at the persons who compose such cities, without which they would have no meaning. For instance,-"Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not. Woe unto thee, Chorazin," &c." "And when he was come near he beheld the city and wept over it saying, if thou hadst known," &c." It is here evident that it was the material city-the pile of stones with its towers and domes, which first caught the eye of Jesus; and he appears only to address this mass of materials. But any man of understanding must be aware, that it was the inhabitants of Chorazin, &c. against whom he pronounced the woe; and the inhabitants of Jerusalem over whom he wept. It was her "children" whom he would have gathered: but the one part is included in the other.

Thus am I led to conclude, when Daniel, on "presenting his

☐ Rev. xxi. 2. ▾ Matt. xi, 20-24. w Luke xix. 41.

supplications for the holy mountain of his God," couples together the following phrases-"thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain;""Jerusalem, even thy people"-"thy city, even thy people, are called by THY NAME," that these terms are in the first place explanatory of each other; and, secondly, that there is a reference in them, both to the household of God, and to the place of their congregating and future manifestation. So in the following passage, "Remember thy congregation, which thou hast purchased of old; the rod of thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed; this mount Zion, wherein thou hast dwelt;" mount Zion and the congregation are made as one by implication; whilst yet the context shews, that Zion literally, as well as the congregation, are both distinctly referred to.

I add here some texts, shewing the practical use, which the Apostles made of the doctrine of the Kingdom and Inheritance to be manifested on the earth. I could greatly increase the list were I to turn to the Old Testament; (particularly in reference to the land, the promise of which, in one Psalm only," is practically applied six different times;) but, for obvious reasons, I prefer keeping at present to the New Testament. Grounded then on these truths are Exhortations

to Repentance.

"And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matt. iii. 1.

"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10.

"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulation, wrath, strife, sedition, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." Gal. v. 19-21.

"For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." Ephes. v. 5.

to Holiness and to seek Grace.

"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John iii. 3.

Dan. ix. 16-20. y Ps. lxxiv. 2.

z Ps. xxxvii.

* In both these instances, I take the vau of the Hebrew, and the x of the Septuagint necessarily to mean even, (as they often do,) not and.

"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." John iii. 5.

"Wherefore we, receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear." Heb. xii. 28.

PARTICULAR GRACES EXCITed.
Obedience to God,

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." Matt. vii. 21.

Obedience to Parents,

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and thy mother; (for this is the first commandment with promise;) that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth." Ephes. vi. 1-3.

Humility,

"Blessed are the poor in Spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matt. v. 3.

"Hearken, my beloved brethren; Hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor." James ii. 5, 6.

Meekness,

"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." Matt. v. 5.

Patience,

"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matt. v. 10.

"These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly, that they seek a country." (apida.) Heb. xi. 13, 14.

"Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come." Heb. xiii. 12, 14.

"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." Luke xii. 32.

Perseverance,

"He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son." Rev. xxi. 7.

Diligence,

"Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless." 2 Pet. iii. 13, 14.

General Holy Walking,

"Ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promse, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."-"Grieve not [therefore] the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed. unto the day of redemption." Ephes. i. 13, 14; and iv. 30.

"Walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto His kingdom and glory." 1 Thess. ii. 12.

Thankfulness,

"Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son." Col. i. 12, 13.

Prayer.

"And he said unto them, when ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth." Luke xi. 2.

NOTE, that almost the whole of these texts, by making the kingdom and inheritance the subjects of promise, do likewise expressly make them future.

ESSAY V.

The Participation of the Saints.

THOUGH much of the evidence brought to bear on the points which have now been considered, must already have led to the conclusion, that the saints in general will participate in the glorious state of things to be revealed in the Millennium; yet I consider it to be a matter of so much importance and interest to the Church, that I have reserved many Scripture testimonies for the purpose of proving it more distinctly; which testimonies will likewise further corroborate the view I have taken of the Kingdom of the Son of Man. I proceed therefore to shew, that the promises of this glory belong equally to the saints of the Old and New Testaments, and of every age of the Church.

I. This point is the more necessary to be insisted on, because there are many, who, whilst they admit a Millennium of glory on earth, confine it nevertheless to a portion only of the

« ZurückWeiter »