The following is a copy of the book "Future Human Kingdom of Christ" written by Dunbar Isidore Heath and published in 1852, retyped in 2004.  If you would like a version of this in Word please email me jj@jjhc.info 

 

THE FUTURE HUMAN KINGDOM OF CHRIST;

OR MAN'S HEAVEN TO BE THIS EARTH.

 

A SOLUTION OF THE CALVINISTIC AND OTHER CHIEF DIFFICULTIES IN THEOLOGY, BY DISTINGUISHING THE SAVED NATIONS FROM THE GLORIFIED SAINTS.

 

BY THE REV. DUNBAR ISIDORE HEATH, M.A.,

VICAR OF BEADING, ISLE OF WIGHT, AND LATE FELLOW OF TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE.

 

LONDON: J. W. PARKER, WEST STRAND.
1852.
T. E. METCALF, PRINTER, 63, SNOW HILL.

 

 

THE FUTURE HUMAN KINGDOM OF CHRIST

CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTORY.

 

The two chief points to which I hope in this book to direct the earnest attention of my fellow Christians are, in the strictest sense, such as have been revealed to us -- if at all -- in a written revelation. Relating as they do to a subject upon which there exists no a priori knowledge among mankind, they concern too a still future state of things, which no present or past experience enables us to judge of. Man's heaven, it is asserted in the title page, is to be on this earth. He who "alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea, which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and the Pleiades, and the chambers of the south," hath made them so that, to us, these constellations are clearly as much earth as heaven, being globular masses of the one suspended in the space of the other: nor can any one say that either of these, or any other material heavenly locality, is, a priori, a more likely future habitation for the sons of men than this their own earth. Revelation alone can settle the question whether we are to ascend into one of them after

 

We are risen from the dead, if anything, at all is meant to do so before that time shall have come, when practical experience shall have resolved all. Whether Salvation again is what I deem it, is a question, which has reference to God's predestined plan for the filling of this earth eternally with a high social untempted community of intelligent beings. Nothing here may be proved by an appeal to the moral feelings, however much certain views may afterwards, as I hope to show, approve themselves to our hearts: nor can aught be decided by the unassisted understanding, however much such views may appear to be in accordance with the laws which our intellects have observed in nature. Historical investigations indeed might show that our modern notions used once to be held by heathens, and that the early Christians openly ignored them in favor of what I am upholding. This, if established, would be of high value; but in thus setting one age of the Church against another, we should only be still more clearly driven to decide between them by an appeal to the permanent supreme authority, the written Book.

 

If there were not many and vast difficulties in answering the question, -- What after all is, and what after all is not, authoritatively revealed to us in that book as religious truth? I suppose men would by this time have made up their minds as to the specific and correct answer to be made to this inquiry. For the last 300 years at least, philosophical and theological discussion has been both necessary and possible; and, from the unprecedented strides which knowledge of almost every kind has made during that period, we should have expected that such a power as that of finding the real meaning of any book, in a known language, would have by this time existed in the world. And yet the fact is, that men differ now more than they ever did before upon what is really revealed to us in the Holy Scriptures; and as it is also possible now for those who differ on this point to form separately organized bodies for the worship of God, the tendency to practical disunion and hatred has unfortunately gone hand in hand with the divergences, in many cases, of mere intellectual opinion.

 

The difficulty, of course, in learning truth from a book, is to know the real intended meaning of the sentences. Most words have several meanings; most sentences may express several meanings; and translation into a new language almost always gives to each several more. But the combined meaning of all the sentences, independently of all languages, it is which men are most diligently to search for. Men have not found this pearl of great price yet. When they do so they will be United.

 

The Holy Scriptures were revealed to us in languages known to but few comparatively among us. The books themselves, as originally written, have long been lost; we possess only copies. Some considerable difficulties affecting the authenticity of parts of them have hitherto existed, many of which are, however, now daily vanishing by the daily advance of science. The English translation of at least the New Testament Epistles, however excellent in many respects, is most painfully and injuriously faulty in the most important particular of all. No one can say it renders the same Greek word, whenever possible, by the same English one. I might go on in an enumeration of many disturbing causes which prevent every man now living from fully communing with the written Word. I name them to show that I am conscious of them, and to remind others of the real position in which we all stand as to our nearness to our written Savior, and also because the minds of men are often harassed by the contemplation of many veils between us and Truth.

 

But all these harassing contemplations vanish when we are remember the important and self-evident fact, that the Word after all is only clothed in Greek, English, or French sentences, but He Himself is the sense of the sentences, informing us and informed in us; and He moreover communicates the one sense of each sentence -- and this one right sense may be known when we know the combined sense of all: and we moderns have many most important and now rapidly- increasing advantages peculiar to ourselves, to enable us to recognize His truth. We seek that one definite meaning, which a modern may often comprehend better than his ancestors, notwithstanding loss of manuscripts and ignorance of languages.

 

And in the subjects I purpose to dwell upon we may especially remark that the truth is far more easy to be found than in any questions which have reference to our own minds. They are simply questions of fact. A "yes" or a " no" is, in the main, all we shall have to answer.

 

It is to be lamented that the most obviously satisfactory method of settling the sense of any book is but seldom resorted to by modern writers on biblical questions. The system which it certainly seems most natural to adopt is that of going methodically through the sacred writings, culling out all that seems in any way to bear upon the question, on either side; and deliberately examining the whole of the evidence. Thus a man may rise with the certainty that at least all the subject matter on which he is bound to judge has been collected and brought before him. If we are ever to expect the reunion of those great disunited Christian bodies which hold the supremacy of the same Scriptures, it must be, under God, by our adopting more systematically this principle of investigation. Surely no other course can be really satisfactory in any case, than that of following out, in some orderly method, the whole series of texts which refer in any way to any question; and when such course is fairly taken, and the mind of the Church has been fully and fairly directed to any subject of scripture truth, the promise of God to us is, that we shall by His spirit be thereunto sooner or later guided.

 

Christian theology being nothing more nor less than an examination into the personality, the position, and the principles of the historical personage whom Christians own to be their Lord, it would appear not unreasonable to suppose, that in this age of the world Christians might have come to some definite conclusion as to his position and principles. Some hundreds of years since they did with respect to his personality. But how varied are the fundamental views of our great religious parties on these subjects. As to his personality, it is true that the Romanist, the Anglican, and the Evangelical, whether churchman or dissenter, all maintain the same dogmatic truth; but I here is a large class besides these whom I would identify -- under as inoffensive a name as possible -- as the anti-dogmatists. These seem adverse to stating in a definite dogmatic form, as others do, even what themselves believe concerning supernatural phenomena.

 

Without dwelling, however, upon the personality of Christ, or even upon the many important differences among these bodies as to his principles, let us now briefly examine the rationale of their respective systems as to his position. In what way, let us ask each of them, do they hold that the man Jesus Christ is their Lord?

 

All the dogmatists maintain that this Son of Man, hypostatically united to God the Word, is in some sense other their King, now reigning over or through them, and justifying them; and by His authority they profess to act.

 

The Romanist holds it to be far more advantageous ultimately for society, far more efficacious in advancing individual piety, far more in accordance with the mind of Christ, to assert that the head of Christians is reigning now through a human living visible representative among us; and that all the noble prophecies of honor, power, and glory, in all the earth, with unity, peace, love, and plentifulness in their train, which all the Holy Scriptures are full of, are fulfilled, or are to be fulfilled, under that representative; all whose regular acts, orders, and judgments, are Christ's own, to which all other external earthly powers ought therefore properly to bow. The kingdom is known to be Christ's, therefore, according to this system, because, and only so far as, it is under his vicegerent.

 

The Anglican maintains that the kingdom is Christ's because his human Spirit is now present in his Church, whether under one visible head or not, sanctifying all the visible and bodily ordinances regularly ordained in that Church, which is his fullness and body, and gradually raising the whole of man's nature, body, soul, and spirit, till the prophecies shall be fulfilled.

 

The Evangelical, whether churchman or dissenter, maintains that nothing bodily, nothing, that is, which we can see, do, or hear, in the Church, is really and essentially sanctified; but that everything bodily is an outward shell which keeps people together, and is a sign of inward things; but is rather opposed than otherwise to spirit; and that the kingdom is Christ's because a number of spiritual individuals, not manifested yet to each other, obey Christ's law. And I think I am not doing injustice to the anti-dogmatists in stating that their principle is that of natural religion; viz., that God has given to men certain powers, not specially at Pentecost, or at Regeneration, or in peculiarly spiritual channels, but generally and at their birth; and that through the action of these, unassisted by any further Divine gifts, they will gradually work out the regeneration of the world. A full and systematic examination into the locality where Christ is to take the lead in that kingdom of glory, which all the dogmatists look for and which the anti-dogmatists also seem to expect, though not perhaps from His immediate agency, will lead us to a result, having an important bearing upon all these systems. If Christ is to reign on earth, the Romanist must re-examine the prophecies he has hitherto applied to another person. If He is to reign over the nations of the redeemed as well as through a select body of the glorified, the anti-dogmatists should recognize Him as the social Regenerator they are seeking; and if He is to reign in the body as a man, then spirit and body, which God hath united, should not be put asunder, nor yet on the other hand should body be unduly exalted.

 

I cannot but be aware that the result to which I have arrived upon these points, after a full and well-intentioned induction of texts, though it is supported by the earliest uninspired writers of the Church, is contrary to the present traditions of the vast majority of Christians. The kingdom of glory is now generally placed by us in the heavens, in some locality, if any, far removed from that of the present kingdom of grace; and the nations of the saved (Rev. 21:24) are not recognized by us at all. The kingdom of the pope upon earth, or the triumph of self-idolizing mankind upon earth, are not, it is usually supposed, destined to be destroyed by the superior brightness -- in the very seats of their own kingdoms -- of Him who is the True Light. The day which is to declare the works of the different parties who have built gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or stubble on the Pentecostal foundation, is not generally supposed to be the day when the Lord shall return upon earth, to take account of his servants, after having been long absent to receive for himself a kingdom; and the general feeling seems to suppose that the great Spirit of Evil will be successful in having entailed a curse upon this earth, the inheritance of Adam, which shall not have been removed from it by the end of time, but shall issue in its total annihilation, and the deportation of its inhabitants to some distant localities.

 

Nor is the general belief less different from my own in reference to the generic meaning of the words, "our future salvation," than it is in reference to the locality in which the saved are to exist. The nations of the saved are not distinguished by us at present from the body of the glorified. The stern but consistent religionist who only recognizes in Scripture the glorified and the lost, is almost compelled to allocate the vast majority of his species to the latter condition, for he cannot see that in plain words the vast majority of men do not "keep the commandments." But the vast majority, of Englishmen at least, on their side, do, as a matter of fact, "die happy," and expect to he forgiven for Christ's sake, and therefore to "go to heaven." I look upon this book as an attempt to arrive at a far more exact scriptural view of this important subject than has hitherto been given; and if it will obviate the tremendous amount of real infidelity which so diametric a difference between Christians has occasioned, the attempt will at least, I hope, be looked upon in a charitable spirit. That the difficulties in the way of the present views are most profound, no one can deny. I should be surprised, for instance, if one man in a hundred could be found who really and substantially  believes that the injured meek on this earth are ever to have redress, as we are assured is to be the case; for how is it possible if injured and injurers are alike to "go to heaven," how is it possible, I say, in heaven to imagine any substantial glorification of the injured, and a shame before all men on the injurers?

 

But it may be further observed that to differ from a mere tradition, and one too which is not traceable to apostolic times, is not the same thing as of opposing any decision, statement, or assertion, of either the Church at large, or any assembly, council, or synod of Christian people, or rulers, met after due deliberation, to give utterance to, or draw up, any statement upon the subject. There many scriptural truths of considerable interest and importance, which have never yet been mooted as subjects of discussion and disputation among Christians. The two main questions which I purpose to examine, viz., the locality and the nature of our future existence, are of this kind. On such points private judgment is all that private men have to bring to the elucidation of public questions. I feel indeed the responsibility of writing upon them, knowing that with the utmost care it is yet probable that offences may come, but I feel also that there is in reality much of a most practical character connected therewith, and that our comprehension of a great deal of the Holy Scriptures has been marred by our traditions.

 

I would especially urge upon my brethren the following questions:--

 

Have not the difficulties raised by the Calvinistic controversy been hitherto insurmountable?

 

Is universal redemption, which is a clear doctrine of Scripture and of our Church catechism, really to be explained as only a universal salvability, and this too on conditions historically unknown to eight-ninths of our race?

 

Can judgment according to works be, without inconsistency, now believed in, at the same time with the efficacy, through Christ, of true repentance to obtain salvation?

 

And have the following texts for instance ever yet been explained?

 

The laborers in the vineyard;

 

Our Lord's refusal to teach the crowds, lest they should be converted and healed;

 

Whether we wake or sleep, we shall live together with him;

 

God shall justify the circumcision by faith and uncircumcision through faith?

 

If I imagine myself to see that almost the whole of the tremendous difficulties here alluded to have arisen out of our radically false notion of the meaning of the word salvation, and if, believing this, I have been betrayed into an apparent tone of over-positiveness in stating my convictions, let it not, brethren, be attributed to the heart and spirit so much as to the pen and the mind of a not ready writer. Judge ye what I say, but judge not me lest ye be judged. If any of you should be disposed at first to be scandalized at what you may consider a needless interference with established phraseology, give me at any rate credit for good intentions, where to have had faith to myself, and to have remained uncared for, would have been far more pleasant, in such an age.

 

The following quotation, however, will show the reader that the subject is at any rate occupying the minds of different writers. It is taken from a sermon by Mr. Dallas, in one of a series of lectures preached during Lent, 1843, by twelve different clergymen, and afterwards published under the title: "The Second Coming, the Judgment, and Kingdom of Christ."

 

"Before Adam was, there was an eternity during which the world was not, and after the period to which we are brought at the end of the book of the Revelation, there will be an eternity during which the world will be; for God has distinctly declared that He has made the world to be inhabited; in the forty-fifth chapter of Isaiah and the eighteenth verse, we read:

 

'Thus saith the Lord that created the heavens, God Himself that formed the earth and made it, He bath established it, He created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited: -- I am the Lord, and there is none else.' Now upon that text a great deal depends. God made Adam; and the earth was the kingdom which He made for him. He said, 'Have dominion over all the works of my hands.' This grant of dominion was repeated to Noah; it was re-stated through David (Psalm 8); it was pleaded by the Apostle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 2.) the absolute sovereignty which God had given to man; his dominion over the earth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 

If Satan prevail to make it a matter of absolute necessity that the world should not be inhabited, though Jehovah declares that He made it not in vain, but that He made it to be inhabited, it follows necessarily that Satan is above God; there is a power greater than Jehovah, which forces Him from 'His purpose. But that can never be: Satan is not God, though the world love to make him their god; therefore the world shall be inhabited by the sons of man as God intended.

 

In order to restore the world exactly to what God made it, to what we find it in the second chapter of Genesis, and to make it what it shall be found millions of years hence, -- inhabited by the children of Adam, good men, very good, as He made their father, and granted to man the sovereignty over His works, it pleased Him to pay an enormous price; He gave His own Son to save the world and to restore all things on the earth. Now this was a sacrifice infinitely greater than the amount of good to be attained by the restoration of the children of Adam, as Adam was made on the earth at the beginning. It was capable of yielding a much larger harvest of glory than would result merely from the restitution of all things! While, therefore, the atonement attained this object, it pleased God to superadd in its results objects of infinitely higher glory. He has determined that there shall be a new being, higher than all angels, next to Himself; and in order to raise that new being out of the family of man, His own Son, equal with the Father as touching His Godhead, inferior to the Father as touching His manhood, gathers up with Him in the manhood a selected number of the sons of Adam, chosen for the purpose of forming in the heavens an eternal memorial of His glory in the atonement; men in the glorified body which Christ himself takes, and all His saints with Him. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual glorified body, such as the man Christ Jesus possesses at this moment, and our vile body must be fashioned like unto His glorious body. But who are these persons? The true Church, the chosen ones out of the family of Adam, a pre-determined, pre-appointed people out of every nation upon earth, -- a number which we know not; God has registered the name of each in the Lamb's book of life. These in God's time shall constitute the eternal memorial and testimony of the great atonement of Christ, and the great victory over Satan which shall be established in the heavens."

 

We observe here that this author distributes saved men into two distinct classes; and in this distribution I coincide. The description of the saints as "gathered up with Christ in the manhood," "raised out of the family of man," and formed by union with Christ into "a new being higher than all angels," seems equivalent to the striking phrase: "deification of the saints," which was first used, I believe, by Mr. Newman. Our Savior's remarks upon the eighty-second Psalm (Psa. 82) may, perhaps, justify even this strong language. David, he says, called them gods unto whom the word of God came, and the Scriptures cannot be broken. Whether the dwelling place of these saints any more than that of the saved nations is to be in the heavens, in any sense which implies absence from earth, the reader will have to judge. In the main point, however, that they are to be rulers, while the saved nations are to be ruled, I most decidedly agree.

 

In examining one distinct portion of my subject, viz., whether or not it is revealed in Holy Scripture that good Christians are to go to what is usually called heaven, after the resurrection of the body, I imagine that the first point which the intelligent reader will desire to have answered is, What do we in fact usually mean by "going to heaven?" Now to introduce here at the outset a difficult and abstruse question of metaphysics may perhaps require an apology; but, as it is obviously necessary to the completeness of the work not to pass over any one aspect of the subject in silence, I trust that the following preparatory remarks will not be considered to be beside the subject.

 

It is well known then that some metaphysical writers deny the reality of space altogether. The part of the human mind, say they, which works through our phrenological organ of locality, necessarily considers all things to exist in space, because it is human nature so to do. But our having this organization does not prove, they say, that there is any real reason for this in the nature of things; so that our future ascending into heaven in a supposed new state of existence, is not to be looked for as a future bodily change of locality, but as a mental change of state or existence, which will probably annihilate in us the very sense of locality altogether. If I have any reader with these views, who holds that space in what is called subjective, and not objective; that the spatial relation is a form under which the created human mind must, as yet, of necessity view all things, without the power of proving that all things exist in space, such an one would be disposed to deny that heaven is a locality at all, and would therefore reject as idle the question whether we are to ascend there.

 

Be it so then. Space may certainly, for ought we can prove to the contrary, be only subjective in the minds which God gave us when He created us in his own image. But it is to be observed that men we are now, and men we are always to remain for ever and ever. We are not to be angels, but to rise as men. How does any one know, then, but that in the future world he shall have his faculties and perceptions, strengthened indeed and invigorated, and freed from corruption and disease, but not altered in their essential nature? We may grant that some men shall rise in a spiritual body, and we may grant as extremely probable, that such shall have faculties, from their union with Christ, which shall transcend those spatial limitations of perception under which alone we can now think of space and matter; such men for instance will doubtless be able to look upon the bodies of the wicked, in their own future place, with the feelings, whatever they are, with which God and angels look upon the unhappily wicked in this life; and yet such a sight would be inconsistent with our own happiness now in this our state of mind and body. If there is any proof existing that all men shall so rise, in such spiritual bodies, the whole aspect of the question would doubtless be thereby altered, but such proof could only be derived from revelation, which, on the contrary, seems to me rather to imply that the mass of men will rise in the natural body.

 

Until then, this can be shown to be not the case, space is to be considered, in our contemplations of the future, in essentially the same way in which we consider it now. In other words, heaven is the name we give to a vast locality.

 

There are, however, two distinct notions in the popular mind concerning this heaven thus granted to be a locality. Heaven is either supposed to mean the vast expanse of all space, without recognizing any matter at all in it, which shall be allowed to take the mind off from the contemplation of the immaterial emptiness; or secondly, it is more usually supposed to be one definite vastly distant portion of space, more hallowed than the rest by the manifestation thereat of the Deity, and the bodily presence of Christ.

 

First then, heaven is considered as the vast expanse of the whole of space; full of angels, and untainted, as it is called, by the defilement of matter. This is considered to be a particularly spiritual notion of heaven; I own I cannot see how or why. We ourselves know that there positively and actually are, millions of stupendously large material systems scattered about in every direction through these heavens. Men are, in a literal sense, already in heaven while on this very material globe. The fact that our Blessed Savior has, and always will have, a bodily nature, and that we are always to be men, men with bodies, makes it a matter of considerable importance that we should dismiss these Manichean notions of the essential evil of matter. Spirit is opposed indeed to flesh in the Holy Scriptures, but nowhere, I believe, to body. I am utterly at a loss to conceive anything unspiritual, evil, or defiling, in the existence of gold, silver, silex, electricity, odyle, or magnetism. Cannot the sensation of Light, the symbol almost of Glory and God, be produced in the human mind by the union of oxygen and carbon, both of which are material substances? The Christian doctrine of the resurrection of the body runs great risk of sinking into the heathen doctrine of the mere immortality of the soul, and indeed cannot, that I see, be very well distinguished from it, if we banish from the world to come those bodily elements commonly called matter.

 

But secondly, that which we can see with our own eyes of the immense dwelling places for material bodies in heaven is ignored, and heaven is considered to be only some one definite vastly distant portion of this space, to which men are to ascend. To this word " ascend," there are many who give too confined a meaning, not remembering that the direction in which a person goes " up," entirely depends, at any given time, upon his starting-point at the earth's surface. The "up" of one man being literally the "down" of another, it seems an unprofitable task to make and solve difficulties about an avowedly partial word. To express a certain direction of motion by means of the word "ascend," is purely an adaptation to our weakness. The thing itself may or may not be believed in, but the word at any rate may lawfully be explained away. By ascending, we merely mean going from a common center, whatever be our direction after starting.

 

And, if we learn nothing from the word ascend, I know not on what authority we suppose God permanently manifested at that little portion of heaven to which we are supposed to ascend, rather than in "heaven itself." Whenever we proceed to affirm anything whatever about the peculiar manifestation of the Deity at a locality in some one unknown direction from us, we surely talk of things we know nothing whatever about. Do we know anything whatever of its distance, or of its direction, or of its size, or of its very existence? Is it, or was it, within the limits of St. John's natural gaze at Patmos? Is it at the extremity of our little system, 8000 million miles off? Is it at the nearest known fixed star, nineteen million million of miles distant? We do know that the whole of God's works, however vast, are present to Him, and we do know that He is present to them; and we do know that prophets and apostles have had visions of bright space distinct front this earth vouchsafed to them: so had Elisha of bright fiery charioteers upon this earth. Are we really and truly to suppose that when St. John saw heaven silent for half-an-hour, during which we know that he himself, at Patmos, moved through several hundred miles by the earth's rotation and motion -- are we really, I say, to suppose that this definite and fixed abode of God, to which good men are to ascend, was also whirled along with St. John's eyes in space, so as to be still above them? That our Lord's body is in heaven, is true. That all heaven is present to Him, is true. Whether He is peculiarly present in one portion of heaven alone, depends upon the meaning of the words "present" and "portion." We now see darkly. When He comes, we shall see him as he is.

 

But lastly, there is a distinct meaning of the word heaven, in which the notion of locality is dropped altogether. Heaven, sometimes men say, is communion with God. Where God is, heaven is. The communion of God is perfect happiness; and perfect happiness is all we mean by heaven. God is everywhere. Heaven therefore would be everywhere, if the veil which covers all flesh were but removed from between us and our God, in whom we live and move. This seems a truly philosophical, scriptural, and spiritual sense; but, having no reference to the material senses, of which alone we have hitherto been speaking, it need not be here discussed. Man's eternal fruition of God may, in this sense at least, be in heaven and yet on earth.

 

If then we are to reject the metaphysical notion that heaven is no locality at all; and if we are to reject the notion commonly, but improperly, as far as I see, called spiritual, that heaven is a locality without matter; if the word "ascend" is only an adaptation; if of peculiar local glory in some part of heaven, which we allow to be possible, nothing has been told us; and if we need not reject the spiritualized, but common enough, meaning of the word, we are then led to the threshold of what I believe the whole of Holy Scripture does declare, viz., that this earth, in the regeneration, after the restitution of all things, is to be our abode as bodily creatures. We shall at any rate, I hope, be able to examine without prejudice whether Holy Scripture means a distant heaven, or means this earth, by the phrase "the world to come" (or rather the age to come). God is everywhere, and His communion is perfect happiness, but our future home need not necessarily be everywhere. If our future world is all that is described to us in Scripture, viz., an everlasting happy life of communion with God and his creatures, it is surely enough for us; for if the ministration of the law of Moses, written and engraved on a common stone (as we call it), was glorious, so that the Jews could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance -- which glory was to be done away -- how shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious, when we all with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, shall be changed into the same image, from glory to glory? The following remarks of Dr. Chalmers are from his 4th Discourse, illustrative of the connection between theology and general science.

 

"In the text before us (2 Pet. 3:13) there are two leading points of information which we should like successively to remark upon. The first is that in the new economy which is to be reared for the accommodation of the blessed, there will be materialism, not merely new heavens, but also a new earth. The second is that, as distinguished from the present which is an abode of rebellion, it will be an abode of righteousness.

 

"I. We know historically that a solid material earth may form the dwelling of sinless creatures in full converse and friendship with the Being who made them; that instead of a place of exile for outcasts, it may have a broad avenue of communication with the spiritual world for the descent of ethereal beings from on high; that like the member of an extended family it may share in the regard and attention of the other members, and along with them be gladdened by the presence of Him who is the Fattier of them all. To enquire how this can be, were to attempt a wisdom beyond Scripture; but to assert that thishas been, and therefore may be, is to keep most strictly and modestly within the limits of the record. For we there read that God framed an apparatus of materialism, which on His own surveying He pronounced to be all very good, and the leading features of which may still be recognised among the things and the substances that are around us, and that He created man with the bodily organs and senses which we now wear, and placed him under the very canopy that is over our heads, and spread around him a scenery perhaps lovelier in its tints, and more smiling and serene in the whole aspect of it, but certainly made up in the main of the same objects that still compose the prospect of our visible contemplations, and there, working with his hands in a garden, and with trees on every side of him, and even with animals sporting at his feet, was this inhabitant of earth, in the midst of all these earthly and familiar accompaniments, in full possession of the best immunities of a citizen of heaven; sharing in the delight of angels, and while he gazed on the very beauties which we ourselves gaze upon, rejoicing in them .most as the tokens of a present and presiding Deity. It were venturing on the region of conjecture to affirm whether if Adam had not fallen, the earth that we now tread upon, would have been the everlasting abode of him and his posterity. But certain it is that man at the first had for his place this world, and at the same time for his privilege an unclouded fellowship with God, and for his prospect an immortality which death was neither to intercept nor put an end to. He was terrestrial in respect of condition, and yet celestial in respect both of character and enjoyment. His eye looked outwardly on a landscape of earth, while his heart breathed upwardly in the love of heaven; and though he trod the solid platform of our world, and was compassed about with its horizon, still was he within the circle of God's favored creation, and took his place among the freemen and the denizens of the great spiritual commonwealth.

 

"This may serve to rectify an imagination of which we think that all must be conscious, as if the grossness of materialism was only for those who had degenerated into the grossness of sin, and that when a spiritualizing process had purged away all our corruption, then, by the stepping stones of a death and a resurrection, we should be borne away to some ethereal region where sense and body, and all in the shape either of audible sound, or of tangible substance were unknown; and hence that strangeness of impression which is felt by you, should the supposition be offered that in the place of eternal blessedness, there will be ground to walk upon, or scenes of luxuriance to delight the corporeal senses, or the kindly intercourse of friends, talking familiarly and by articulate converse together, or in short any thing that has the least resemblance to a local territory filled with various accommodations, and peopled over its whole extent by creatures formed like ourselves, having bodies such as we now wear, and faculties of perception, and thought and mutual communication such as we now exercise. The common imagination that we have of paradise on the other side of death is that of a lofty aerial region, where the inmates float in ether, or are mysteriously suspended upon nothing, where all the warm and sensible accompaniments, which give such an expression of strength and life, and coloring to our present habitation, are attenuated into a sort of spiritual element that is meager and imperceptible, and utterly uninviting to the eye of mortals here below, where every vestige of materialism is done away, and nothing left but certain unearthly scenes that have no power of allurement, and certain unearthly ecstasies with which it is felt impossible to sympathize. The holders of this imagination forget all the while that really there is no essential connection between materialism and sin,; that the world, which we now inhabit, had all the amplitude and solidity of its present materialism before sin entered into it; that God so far on that account from looking slightly upon it after it had received the last touch of His creating hand, reviewed the ,earth, and the waters, and the firmament, and all the green herbage with the living creatures, and the man whom He had raised in dominion over them, and He saw every thing that He bad made, and behold, it was all very good. They forget that on the birth of materialism, when it stood out in the freshness of those glories which the great Architect of Nature had impressed upon it, that then 'the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy.' They forget the appeals that are made everywhere in the Bible to this material workmanship, and how from the face of these visible heavens, and the garniture of this earth that we tread upon, the greatness and the goodness of God are reflected on the view of His worshippers. No, my brethren, the object of the administration we sit under, is to extirpate sin but it is not to sweep away materialism."

 

And again he says,

 

"Were our place of everlasting blessedness so purely spiritual as it is commonly imagined, then the soul of man after at death having quitted his body, would quit it conclusively. That mass of materialism with which it is associated upon earth and which many regard as a load and an encumbrance, would have leave to putrefy in the grave without being revisited by supernatural power, or raised again out of the inanimate dust into which it had resolved. If the body be indeed a clog and a confinement to the spirit instead of its commodious tenement, then would the spirit feel lightened by the departure it had made, and expatiate in all the buoyancy of its emancipated powers over a scene of enlargement. And this is doubtless the prevailing imagination. But why then, having made its escape from such a thralldom, should it ever recur to the prison of its old materialism, if a prison -- house it really be. Why should the disengaged spirit again be fastened to the drag of that grosser and heavier substance which many think has only the effect of weighing down its activity, and infusing into the pure element of mind an ingredient which serves to cloud and to enfeeble it. In other words, what is the use of a day of resurrection, if the union which then takes place, is to deaden or to reduce all those energies that are commonly ascribed to the living principle in a state of separation. But as a proof of some metaphysical delusion upon this subject, the product perhaps of a wrong though fashionable philosophy, it would appear that to embody the spirit is not the stepping stone to its degradation, but to its preferment. The last day will be a day of triumph to the righteous, because the day of the re-entrance of the spirit to its much loved abode, where its faculties so far from being shut up into captivity will find their free and kindred development in such material organs as are suited to them. The fact of the resurrection proves that with man at least the state of a disembodied spirit is a state of unnatural violence, and that the resurrection of his body is an essential step to the highest perfection of which he is susceptible. And it is indeed an homage to that materialism which many are for expunging from the future state of the universe altogether, that ere the immaterial soul of man has reached the ultimate glory and blessedness which are designed for it, it must return and knock at that very grave where lie the moldered remains of the body which it wore; and there inquisition must be made for the flesh, and the sinews, and the bones which the power of corruption has perhaps for centuries before assimilated to the earth that is around them, and there the minute atoms must be re-assembled into a structure that bears upon it the form and the lineaments and the general aspect of a man, and the soul passes into this material frame -- work which is hereafter to be its lodging place for ever, and that not as its prison, but as its pleasant and befitting habitation, not to be trammeled as some would have it in a hold of materialism, but to be therein equipped for the services of eternity, to walk embodied among the bowers of our second paradise, to stand embodied in the presence of our God:

 

And lastly,

 

"The imagination of a total and diametric opposition between the region of sense and the region of spirituality, certainly tends to abate the interest with which we might otherwise look to the perspective that is on the other side of the grave, and to deaden all those sympathies that we else might have with the joys and exercises of the blest in paradise. To rectify this, it is not necessary to enter on the particularities of heaven, a topic on which the Bible is certainly most sparing and reserved in its communications. But a great step is gained simply by dissolving the alliance that exists in the minds of many between the two ideas of sin and materialism, or proving that when once sin is done a way it consists with all we know of God's administration that materialism shall be perpetuated in the full bloom and vigor of immortality. It altogether holds out a warmer and more alluring picture of the Elysium that awaits us when told that there will be beauty to delight the eye, and music to regale the ear, and the comfort that springs from all the charities of intercourse between man and man, holding converse as they do on earth, and gladdening each other with the benignant smiles that play on the human countenance, or the accents of kindness that fall in soft and soothing melody from the human voice. There is much of the innocent and much of the inspiring, and much to affect and elevate the heart in the scenes and the contemplations of materialism; and we do hail the information of our text that after the dissolution of its present frame -- work it will again be varied and decked out anew in all the graces of its unfading verdure and of its unbounded variety; that in addition to our direct and personal view of the Deity, when He comes down to tabernacle with men, we shall also have the reflection of Him in a lovely mirror of His own workmanship; and that instead of being transported to some abode of dimness and of mystery, so remote from human experience as to be beyond all comprehension, we shall walk for ever in a land replenished with those sensible delights and those sensible glories which we doubt not will be most profusely scattered over the new heavens and the new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.

 

"II. But though a paradise of sense it will not be a paradise of sensuality. Though not so unlike the present world as many apprehend it, there will be one point of total dissimilarity betwixt them. It is not the entire substitution of spirit for matter that will distinguish the future economy from the present. But it will be the entire substitution of righteousness for sin. It is this which signalizes the Christian from the Mahometan paradise; not that sense and substance and splendid imagery and the glories of a visible creation, seen with bodily eyes, are excluded from it, but that all which is vile in principle, or voluptuous in impurity, will be utterly excluded from it. There will be a firm earth as we have at present, and a heaven stretched over it as we have at present, and it is not by the absence of these, but by the absence of sin that the abodes of immortality will be characterized. There will both be heavens and earth, it would appear, in the next great administration, and with this speciality to mark it from the present one, that it will be a heaven and an earth wherein dwelleth righteousness."

 

 

THE FUTURE HUMAN KINDOM OF CHRIST

CHAPTER II.

ST. MATTHEW.

 

IN the examination of the Holy Scriptures which I have undertaken to make, I trust it will not be considered necessary to the completeness of the argument, that I should go through the Old Testament as well as the New. Though both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, yet it is obvious that life and. immortality were only clearly and openly brought to light through the blessed Gospel. Bishops Warburton, Bull, Pearson, and others, may be referred to as having written fully upon the comparative degree of light which was shed forth in the ancient and modern Scriptures. The general scope of the Old Testament is that the ancient patriarchs, looked for a deliverer with a very dark insight into the nature of the promises to be fulfilled by Him. Even the Law only offered temporal rewards, though Moses and the more spiritual among the old fathers had a more enlarged expectation. The doctrine of a future life of some kind, appears more openly under David and the prophets; and it is undoubted that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul at least, and partially that of the resurrection of the body, had become the national belief of the Jews at the time of our Savior's appearing. There is also one passage in 2 Kings 2:11, in which it is directly stated in the English version that Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven; and as the seventh of our thirty-nine articles declares that the Old Testament is not contrary to the New, and also that they are not to be heard which feign that the old fathers did look only for transitory promises this passage in all fairness demands our attention. But granting to the fullest extent the clear insight of those holy men of old, who looked for exceeding great and precious promises, yet it is obvious upon the whole face of the Old Testament, that the future life expected by the old fathers, though an eternal, and not a transitory, life, was yet a life on earth, and that the whole aspect of the Old Testament promises is earthly -- not transitory, indeed, but yet earthly. The passage in question becomes therefore an exceptional and isolated one; and it will be better to defer the consideration of it till we have thrown the light of Christian revelation upon its true meaning. I will not forget to come back to it, but proceed now to go fairly through the whole of the New Testament in a methodical order, omitting only in certain Evangelists what has been noticed in one of the others.

 

May we, in the study of these Scriptures, be granted knowledge of God's Truth, and in the world to come Life everlasting.

 

Matthew 2:2 - Where is he that is born King of the Jews?

 

It is an undoubted fact that we are now living under a dispensation in which there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile. A Divine message has been delivered, baptisms have been administered, truth has been manifested and taught, and men have been built up towards perfection for 1800 years; but in no respect has there been one gospel, one baptism, one truth for a Jew and another for one of ourselves. A curious and unhappy result has followed from this. It is curious that we who boast so loudly of our scriptural knowledge, should have failed to distinguish God's intimations of his purposes for different classes of mankind; and it is not less unhappy than curious that we should have to ask in sober seriousness, after these 1800 years, Where is he that believes that Christ was born King of the Jews? And, having once confounded together things which ought to have been kept separate, other kindred Christian doctrine has suffered; so that we may also ask, Where is he that distinguishes, with Holy Scripture for his guide, between Christ's redemption of all mankind and his special salvation of them that believe (1 Timothy 4:10)? or again, between His appearing and his kingdom (2 Timothy 4:1), or between his merely destroying the works of the devil (1 John 3:8) and his bringing many sons unto glory (Hebrews 2:10)? presenting them to himself a glorious assemblage, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing (Ephesians 5:27), when he is again brought into the world (Hebrews 1:6)?

 

That the Man who was born of Mary was ordained to be -- endeavored earnestly in a human way to be -- and is certainly yet to be -- the human King of the Jews, is so clearly revealed in Scripture, that religious teachers have a difficult task in persuading young people to explain away the fact. Young people read of God's anger when the Jews demanded another king, like the nations around them, before Christ appeared. They find that the Jews were nowhere told to proselytize other nations, and that Christ came not but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel; and that he prevented his disciples preaching, except to Jews. Go not into the way of the Gentiles; and into any city of the Samaritans enter not; but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. They read that he was born King of the Jews. They read that he entered into Jerusalem King of the Jews; and that his title in three languages, at his death, was Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. This, and much more, which we might collect to the same effect, would probably be considered amply sufficient to establish a ' peculiar relation of the Jews to Christ as their king, in the usual sense of the word, were it not that the Jews, having at a particular period nationally fallen from the true Jewish religion of their own prophets, and certain individual Jews and Gentiles having, at and since that time, accepted the full and complete Christian true Jewish religion, it has' become a difficulty to determine, in some particular texts, whether the word "Jews" applies to these individuals or to the physical descendants of Jacob. There are, however, it seems to me, such a considerable number of passages where the kingship of our Lord over Jews must be taken in a literal sense -- some of which, in their proper place, I shall endeavor to bring forward -- that I shall here only remark that if we interpret these apparently plain portions of Scripture in a way which opposes us to the unanimous opinion of the whole ancient Jewish Church, the opponents of the peculiar truths of the Gospel will, on their part, be able to use the following strong argument: Since pious Jews, in and before the Christian era, were quite wrong, as you all now say, in giving the natural sense, which they unanimously did give, to such apparently plain prophecies, you pious Christians are probably equally wrong at present, unanimous or not.

 

It is true, indeed, that Christ recommended his countrymen to pay tribute to the Romans; but this merely shows that he who washed the feet of his disciples, would have been willing (as we know he was) to be a tributary, until he was recognized as the Creator; and this is quite in accordance with the gradual nature of all his great works which we know of, whether in nature or grace.

 

It is true that he hid himself when a crowd came by force to make him a king; but this is attributed by himself to the fact that they followed him, not from having come round to his principles, but from motives common enough when religion is profitable. It is true again that he said, My kingdom is not of this world; but this does not interfere in the slightest degree with our expectation that this world will some day be of his kingdom.

 

We find, moreover, that not only the expectation of the Jews, but that of the whole heathen East, was based upon this apparent plain sense of the letter of Scripture. Tacitus (Hist. v.), in describing the fall of Jerusalem, and talking of the Jews, says, "There was a general persuasion that it was asserted in the ancient books of the priests, that at that very time the East would recover itself, and that certain who should go forth out of Judaea should obtain the Dominion." Suetonius, in his Life of Vespasian, says, in much the same words, "An ancient and immovable opinion was spread over the whole East, that certain who should go forth out of Judaea should obtain the Dominion."

 

The sort of unwilling, unpractical, yet wide spread belief with which the Church has always been able to leaven the world, is well described in these heathen testimonies to an article of revealed. truth. They may have got their assertions indeed from Josephus, but the repeating it thus stamps it with the authority of their own testimony. Such faith as has fought its way like this into foreign nations must, one would think, necessarily have had a solid foundation, though Christians now hardly seem to think so. We seem now to own a Teacher, and one who died on our behalf; but to repudiate the notion of Christ as the great human Social Regenerator, the great human Temporal King, as well as the great divine Author and Sustainer of physical, chemical, vital, and mental force upon the earth. In opposition to the present Christian unsatisfying acquiescence in the substitution of faith for sight, spirit for spirit soul and body, grace for glory, diseases for health, and hope for enjoyment, I own I think the Jews were right. I believe in "the gospel of the kingdom."

 

So do we all, doubtless, in a sense. I further then believe it to be most scripturally explained as follows: --

 

The kingdom of the man Christ, received from the Father as the reward of his sufferings in the redemption of all mankind, is a pure human government, to be distinguished from his sovereignty as God over all created things. 'Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him' (Phil. 2:9). 'We see Jesus, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor' (Hebrews 2:9). 'To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with my Father in his throne' (Rev. 3:21). These texts

 

"must relate to his human nature. As God, coequal and coeternal with the Father, he was ever in His everlasting unchangeable glory, which could as little admit of increase as of diminution To God the Son, the Father gave no glory; for He ever was in the glory of the Father -- the glory equal, the majesty coeternal. It is then his manhood, inseparable from his Godhead, before which all creation bows -- angels, archangels, men., and devils -- in reverence or in terror." -- Dr. Pusey.

 

By a human government, I do not mean that angels and other heavenly potentates are not to be subject to Christ in this kingdom; but that they are to be subject in it to a Man; who, with human faculties in a spiritual body, will make use of human methods to do his Father's will; even the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world unto our glory. What part the angels will fill in it we know not, except that they will ascend and descend, so as to hold constant communication with the Head Christ, the Son of Mary, and his members on earth.

 

In order to have anything like an accurate notion of the sense in which this triumph of a Man is described in Holy Scripture, we must carefully note its several stages.

 

I omit then, as sufficiently understood already, the kingdom which consisted of the physical descendants of Isaac -- God's kingdom; whether in tents or in houses; whether before sin was imputed or under the law; whether in the land of Ra, and Khem, and Thoth, or in Canaan; under Moses, or judges, or kings, or the Shekinah, or prophets; in Babylon, or in all the world; in the temple, or in synagogues, they were, in a quite comprehensible and in a quite human way, the chosen nation, people, and kingdom of Christ.

 

Of this we need not now speak particularly. But in the course of ages came a change. The kingdom was taken from them, and was to be given to another nation, if they should continue in God's goodness, and bring forth the fruits thereof; other wise they also were to be cut off (Romans 11:22).

 

Accordingly I think we may fairly judge that, for a time after Pentecost, Christ's kingdom existed visibly on earth as a mixed body of Jews and Gentiles. By the word "visibly," I mean to imply that it was quite the exception for a Church person to be a bad or indifferent man. Good Christians were not a hidden election, I suppose, at that time, but a visible body. A man might, in far the majority of cases, have been safe in trusting money, for instance, to any Church person, whether friend or stranger, and not, as a general rule, to a non -- Church person. There was no difficulty felt then in saying -- Open your eyes, look about you; you can see these men are Christians; they were all regenerated at baptism; there is evidently some difference between them and world people. Christ is, I doubt not, really in them at their commemorations. If they reject a man,. we may be sure he must be rejected of God. How different are their social rules from ours. We imprison and slay -- they confess their sins in public and are loosed. Truly the world receives an overflow of blessing from them. They are Christ's body.

 

Such Was Christ once on earth. But it was prophesied that a "falling away" should take place, which should last until Christ returned, in body soul, and spirit, to the earth. Accordingly we find that the bait which was refused by the King was accepted by the subjects. All these things will I give thee if thou wilt fall down and worship me. The Church agreed that Constantine and all the great men should be baptized. The death -- bed was found the most comfortable time for the purpose. Sanctification was separated from Regeneration. Good men agreed to become a hidden election, which they have been ever since from that time to this. "To the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilder ness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent." "Whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another even as iron is not mixed with clay."

 

At present, therefore, the House of God may be compared to some royal palace, such as we have seen possessed by a mob among whom should be found individuals rightly owning it. All the doctrine taught and all the ordinances established by the Apostles remain among us. They are verily profitable to those who keep the gospel, but if they be breakers of the gospel, their baptism is made apostasy. This phase of the kingdom of Christ will last till He comes and finds apparently but little faith upon the earth.

 

Next comes the day of His presence. The Parousia seems to me a useful word -- the Purgatorial period of restitution. There are millions on millions of degrees of beauty, intelligence, happiness, and what we call perfection,, in all God's works which men have ever yet seen. If invisible things are known by the visible, which we are assured is the case, we cannot be wrong in extending this rule to futurity. And to strengthen this opinion, we know that all men, the hidden election, the visible election, and the heathen, will be judged according to their works. Infinite in variety are their works, so also will be their final state. One star differeth from another star in glory, so also is the resurrection of the dead. At Christ's coming, those destined to the highest glory will rise from the graves to meet him, or will be changed and taken away from the living to meet him, and be gathered together unto him through the air to Jerusalem. They are then and there portrayed as composing the members of the government under the Lord. The remainder of men will not submit to his government at once. There will be a time of trial, a judgment of the living, purgatory, an arising to shake terribly the earth. The air which is mentioned in the passage I am here alluding to is, it must be observed, quite an earthly creation, not an heavenly that we know of. Still more so are the clouds, which never rise more than two or three miles from the earth's surface. If we, who desire to form a consistent notion of what is really revealed to us in Holy Scripture on these matters, do not begin soon to do so, a stumbling block will be cast before many Christians, who will think their understandings have led them contrary to God's revelation, when this has not really been the case. The Jews who shall be alive at this period will be nationally Christ's once more. We cannot pretend to certainty, but may with good reason imagine that Daniel and other good Jews, who lived before Christ, will "stand in their lot at the end of the days" with them, i. e., shall be partakers of the first resurrection; such, for instance, as the sons of the woman mentioned 2 Maccab. 6., who were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. A portion apparently of this period is in one place of Scripture spoken of as a duration of a thousand years. We may very well accept this literally, but if any should think it is not so to be taken, it seems not a matter of importance for us now to know. If indeed we are to enter into the chronology of this phase of Christ's kingdom we must be careful not to confound this period of the predominance of good with the whole period of contest in question, during which good and evil will alternate, but with the result, under Christ's guidance, that man will be at last raised above every enemy, and even death destroyed.

 

But now a very important question indeed arises. What is to be the final state of mankind in general when all things shall. have been gathered into Christ? heathens included, and the mass of Christians since the apostasy? After this parousia, after this millennium, after the general resurrection and judgment of the dead, after the end is come, and the kingdom which we are talking of, shall have been presented or delivered up to the Father as having been the Devil's and now being Christ's, where are those millions to be placed who, we humbly but confidently trust, are not devils, but who are not noble, not energetic, not conquerors? Where are to be the idiots, the deaf and dumb, the irresponsible, the ignorant, the very large class who are undoubtedly sinners, and sufferers from the Devil, but hardly his conscious agents?

 

In answer to this, I shelter myself under the authority of Dr. Maitland in his striking work "Eruvin," and with him I distinguish the "nations of the saved" from the "Bride of Christ." The doctrine of universal redemption is not, I think, to be interpreted as a mere universal salvability on conditions which we know historically have not been historically made known to eight -- ninths of our species. It is revealed that Christ shall succeed in his work, which -- is to destroy the works of the Devil.; this he would not have done if nine-tenths of mankind were to be doomed to the Devil's eternal society; but men are to be judged according to their works, the mass of men are not to be glorified, they are to be saved, i, e., saved from sin, and as it is revealed there are gradations of stripes, and it is revealed there are gradations of reward, and we know there are an infinite number of gradations of works and characters, according to which these stripes and rewards will be given, can we be very wrong in believing that, in accordance with the rule which we trace in all God's works without exception, these nations will fill up with an infinite number of gradations the huge interval between the glorified and the damned? Far be it from men who can hardly decide, after 6000 years of experience, whether a sponge belongs to the animal or the vegetable creation, to speculate too nicely upon the extreme limits in either direction to which Christ's kingdom will then extend; or to lay down whether the gulf which is beyond salvation is beyond Him in whom are all things even the wicked for the day of evil. It is a comfort to have a very fair ground for confidence that taking the mass of mankind the works of the Devil will be found to have been destroyed, and Christ therefore to have really gained the victory; then the majority of men, untempted, not miserable, but not glorified, nor perfectly happy, will walk in the light which the head and the habitation of the manifested sons of God shall spread upon the restored earth.

 

We may then, as I shall endeavor to show, without any fanciful transgression of what is written, imagine the mass of mankind as living for ever on this earth, showing Christ to be the social Regenerator of mankind as well as the individual Friend of his friends. We are to imagine men eating food, using property, and living apparently in cities as at present, and different saints will have different numbers of cities of saved men entrusted to their government. Be thou ruler over ten cities.

 

The appointment, it may be observed, to the offices of government in Christ's kingdom, were not Christ's to give beforehand; they shall be given by him to them for whom it is prepared of the Father. The man Christ never predestinated, or appointed before knowing them, that such and such of his brethren should be nearer to him than others. To pray and strive for men is his saving work. To predestinate their positions is the wise and loving act of God.

 

It remains in this short sketch but to notice the peculiarity of the title "King of the Jews." The Jews have once, it is evident, had the exclusive offer of office in Christ's kingdom. But it is no less evident that a remnant only have accepted it. It is not for us to ask questions about what would have happened if they had accepted, on the first offer, Christ's principles as well as his person, but we are to examine into what has happened. God then is now visiting the Gentiles, in order that a predestined fullness of Gentiles may come in; or, in other words, that a filling up by Gentiles of the deficiency of office -- bearers may take place. This view by no means depreciates the privileges of individual Christian Gentiles below that of Christian Jews (as some seem inclined to do) in the present dispensation; and yet there seems abundant reason for believing that the Jews who accept Christ will not lose their national organization, or the inheritance of Abraham, hereafter, by so doing; but that, on the contrary, in the multitudes of mansions among the saved, they will yet be nationally higher than any other people, because they will sooner nationally turn to Christ. Though God is still enlarging Japhet, he will still dwell in the tents of Shem. When the fulness of the Gentiles shall have come in, and the requisite number of the elect been accomplished; when the Epiphany and Parousia shall have taken place, and judgment begun at the House of God, and all things that offend in it shall have been gathered out, then the man Christ, and the children whom God hath given him, shall be for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of Hosts which dwelleth in Mount Zion (Isaiah 8). Then will Christ be seen upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom; to order it and to establish it with judgment and justice from henceforth, even for ever. He will be a light to lighten the Gentiles, but he will be the glory of His people Israel.

 

If the above is not accepted as a scriptural sketch, though brief, of the gospel of the kingdom, what other account are we to give of the announcement in this text? Does it simply and merely mean that the Church was to be established by Constantine in the fourth century? or again that Innocent III. was to rule over a small quarter of the globe in the thirteenth? or that our Lord was to reign invisibly in good people's hearts? Each of these three suppositions has had, I am aware, considerable currency, but see how clear is prophecy "He shall judge among the nations," says Isaiah ii. 4, "and shall rebuke many people, and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning -- hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." No one can say that this has yet come to pass; nor do either of these three suppositions make Jerusalem the seat of government, or give any relevancy to the peculiar title " King of the Jews."

 

Whatever theory, however, we give of this kingdom, what I am now principally concerned to remark is, that all the explanations, so far as they are either scriptural or historical, refer equally to a dominion over men in the earth, and not to a distant rule over men and angels in heaven. If these and all the other theories which may have been broached concerning the kingdom of Christ are found, when not built upon mere fancy, to have reference to men upon this earth, is it not a fair preparatory supposition to bring before our minds, that the prophecies concerning our future glory in the second Adam really do relate to the earth?

 

 

Matthew 3:2 -- Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

 

We find John the Baptist, our Savior and his twelve apostles, all severally but in unity proclaiming these words. It is agreed on all sides that to say, Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand, did not mean Repent ye, for a certain number of people are very soon to go to heaven.

 

In inquiring then how this phrase was meant to be understood, we must dismiss from our minds a great part of the full explanation which I have just given; for it is founded partly on our experience acquired since then, and partly on prophecies which were not then given. We must take the kingdom of heaven whose advent was here preached to be that phase of it which was really at hand, viz., the Pentecostal Church.

 

Then why is the organized Church on earth, or Christ's influence in men's hearts on earth, called the kingdom of heaven? If this does not appear to us any difficulty, it is probably because we are so habituated to the phrase; but there lurks a somewhat of inconsistency in our usual explanation, which would strike us more forcibly, were it not for our long habit of acquiescing in this mode of expression. We usually distinguish between the present kingdom of grace as the kingdom of heaven on earth, and the future kingdom of glory as the kingdom of heaven in heaven, and the kingdom of grace is called the kingdom of heaven, though it is now on earth, because we say its citizens will eventually ascend into heaven in a body, to become members of the kingdom of glory. But if it were understood that both the present kingdom of grace and the future kingdom of glory were to be in the same locality, viz., on earth, as the first Christians seem to have thought, then there would be no appearance even of inconsistency in calling them both by the same name, whatever that name might be; and this is the scriptural method. And, similarly, if men directly they repented and were converted were to be called up to heaven, to undergo probation there, as well as to reign there if they endured to the end, then all would be simple and consistent.

 

But now the kingdom of grace is on earth, and ,the kingdom of the glory is put in heaven; and yet we may observe that He by whom, we have access into the grace wherein we now stand, is now in heaven; and the " Lord of the glory " (1 Cor. 2:8), instead of remaining in heaven is to return to earth; after which Holy Scripture is quite silent as to his re-ascension. On the usual hypothesis there is certainly a slight confusion in our terms.

 

It appears then at least that the phrase kingdom of heaven need not imply in any way that we shall reign in heaven, for it does not imply that we are passing our day of grace now in heaven.

 

 

Matthew 5:3, 5 -- Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.

 

It admits of question whether our Savior meant to encourage meek people by telling them they should inherit the earth in a present or a future state. But the reward certainly seems future in the other beatitudes; and those whom our Savior would expect to influence were the more spiritual among the Jews; who would confidently apply his words to the long -- looked -- for glorious kingdom of David. The rewards in the other beatitudes too, are not rewards which naturally follow of themselves, but distinct promises, annexed to certain conditions; and if our Lord only and exclusively meant that meek people, after all, did get more of the real good things of this life than haughty tyrants, and that contentment made them more satisfied with a little than violent men are with much, it would hardly have been understood so.

 

It is no natural consequence of a Jew honoring his father and mother, that he should live long in Judaea; it is a distinct promise, which the spiritual among them would doubtless expect to see fulfilled after the resurrection, and in the land of Judaea. The present promise would be understood in the same way. The poor in spirit are much the same as the meek, and having the kingdom of heaven is apparently much the same as inheriting the earth; or else the meek would be to all eternity separated from the poor in spirit. It may indeed be doubted whether poor-spirited meek people do get happiness in this world. It may be matter of opinion that some of them do, but hardly all; and one single case of a meek person not getting on happily in this life, would be enough to prove that our Savior really meant to refer to another and a future life. And, if he did, the earthly locality of our future inheritance is at once proved; for, observe, our Savior did not say, Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the kingdom of the earth, which might be ambiguous; nor, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they shall inherit heaven, which we believe they will not do.

 

If our Savior had meant to refer to this natural reward of meekness, would he not have said that the meek should inherit the things of the earth. But the word used was the earth, which was connected in the minds of his hearers with a distinct promise. Thus (Psalm 22), "The meek shall eat and be satisfied" is connected with "all the ends of the world remembering and turning to the Lord, for the kingdom is the Lord's, and he is the governor among the nations." This is future. Again (Psalm 37.), "Those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth; for yet a little while and the wicked shall not be; yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place and it shall not be." This is future. "But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace." See also the end of Psalm 69. The meek shall see this and be glad; viz., Christ's future complete triumph, when the cities of Judah are to be built, that they may dwell there and have it in possession. Similar passages are too many to be quoted. See Isaiah 11:4. He shall reprove with equity for the meek of the earth. Still future; and Isaiah 29:19. The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord; still future, &c. &c.

 

 

Matthew 5:12 -- Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven.

 

The reconciling of different texts of Scripture most commonly depends upon attention to minute points of criticism. In the Greek text here the words are, "Great your reward in heaven," leaving the reader to supply the omission of the verb with either great is or great will be. But the words are placed in such a position that the sense "great is your reward" seems to come much the most naturally. Now, if our Savior had said, Great will be your reward in heaven, the words could have had but one meaning, to which it would have been found possible to bend all other statements; viz., that at some future time people were to go to heaven to receive their reward there. But he does not say so. The natural translation is, great is your reward in heaven. And this is a statement quite susceptible of a meaning, a little more recondite, certainly, but far from forced or -- unnatural. A man may fairly be told to rejoice if an inheritance, or reward, or crown is now laid up for him in a distant place, without implying that he is to proceed in his own person to receive it. It would be sufficient were it to be brought to him by a mediator, at an appointed day. Now St. Paul says (2 Timothy 4:8), thenceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, viz., the particular crown in question, which the Lord shall give me (or rather, give me according to covenant) at that day, and to all that have loved his appearing. So St. Peter (1 Peter 1:4) names the inheritance reserved in heaven unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time. And (1 Peter 5:13) he talks of the grace or gift that is to be brought at the . revelation of Jesus Christ. And in (1 Peter 4:13) he hopes that when Christ's glory shall be revealed, -- those to whom he was writing also might be glad with exceeding joy. And (1 Peter 5:4) that when the chief Shepherd shall appear, they might receive the crown of the glory, viz., the particular crown of the particular glory in question.

 

There are very many similar testimonies to the fact that Christ is to bring our reward, and that we are not to go for it ourselves. It follows then, if we are to take the analogy of Scripture, that our text does not mean what at first we might think it to mean, viz., that people persecuted for Christ's sake shall be greatly rewarded by going to heaven at some future day; but that there is, at the present time, a great reward laid up and reserved for such people in heaven; which reward is to be brought down to them at the appearing on earth of One who has expressly proceeded from this earth to heaven, in order to intercede and obtain gifts for men. For this cause St. Paul (2 Timothy 1:12), who himself suffered such things as our Savior here alluded to, was not ashamed, but was persuaded that God is able to keep that which he (viz., St. Paul) had committed unto hint, against that day. He had committed to God a treasure which was then in safe keeping in heaven, where his heart was with it. He expected the treasure to be safely kept and brought back by Christ, but does not allude to going there to enjoy it there himself.

 

In accordance with this view, we are ordered (1 Peter 6:20) to do what we find St. Paul did; viz., to "lay up" this treasure in heaven now, during our present life. St. Paul (1 Timothy 6:19) expresses it still more strongly by saying, Lay up in store for yourselves a good foundation against the time to come, -- the time when he that shall come will come, -- that you may lay hold on the eternal life.

 

 

Matthew 5:17, 18 -- Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled.

 

Here we shall have to inquire,

 

1st. St. Whether our Savior says heaven and earth are to pass away?

 

2nd. Whether every tittle of the prophets is to be fulfilled as well as of the law? and,

 

3rd. What we may suppose to be the way in which the law has been or is to be fulfilled?

 

-----------------

 

1st. Does our Savior say heaven and earth are to pass away?

 

The word "heaven," in the sense in which it can pass away, is evidently the visible created System of air, clouds, &c., called by the Jews the first or lower heavens; and we play remark that St. Luke's words are, " It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail." This sense being quite compatible with one of the senses we may give to St. Matthew, and the other sense we might give to St. Matthew being not compatible with St. Luke, it follows that St. Luke's sense is correct, and that our Savior therefore does not here imply anything one way or other about the enduring of the visible system around us. So that these words do not throw light one way or another on the locality of our future abode. From other parts of Scripture, but not from this, we know that there will be a considerable change in the present visible world -- that there will be a resurrection, as it were, of a new material system, but still that there will be a new heaven and earth wherein dwelleth righteousness,

 

2ndly. Is every tittle of the prophets to be fulfilled as well as of the law?

 

I conceive that on our answer to this question depends whether we shall take, when we can do so, the literal interpretation of the prophets, or what is usually, but improperly in my opinion, called the spiritual view. Take, for instance, a prophecy already quoted -- "They shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning-hooks, &c." It will be found not inconsistent with the rest of the Scriptures to expect a literal fulfillment of this prophecy. Are we then to do so? Now it is undeniable that the blessings and graces of the Christian covenant have prepared many true Christian men, and given them a susceptibility for peace, joy, and love, which no heathens have ever had; but the outward circumstances of mankind and the world are continually harassing, grieving, and cooling the hearts so prepared. It is incontestable that the most tremendous war, considering all things, which the world has ever seen, was only finished a generation back. It is irrefragably the fact that Constantine, Alaric, Attila, Charlemagne, the Danes, Mahomet, the Crusaders, multitudes of Henrys, Othos, Pascals, Leos, Charleses, Roderics, Johns, Alberts, Roberts, Frederics, and Louises, down to Napoleon and others, have been the instruments of anything but peace, and that at the present day there are millions of mankind who live as paid soldiers. Therefore, if no jot or tittle of this prophecy is to pass without being fulfilled, the time it describes must be yet future. And if a jot or tittle is to pass away, then it may very fairly be asked where are we to stop? How are we to know right from wrong? Who is to be judge among interpreters? The prophecies may then be made to mean. almost anything, according to the bias of nations or individuals, and the Pope may very sufficiently claim to have been described in them as the head of the Church. But, throughout the teaching of the apostles, the inspired declaration, continually reiterated, concerning the kind of fulfillment which the law was to receive, is an implicit announcement that this peculiar kind of fulfillment was to apply to the law only, and not to the prophets. "The whole law is fulfilled in this -- thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." " The law was given till the promised seed should come." We are "dead to the law;" we are "loosed from the law." It is to continue "to the time of reformation." "The priesthood being changed, there was, of necessity, a change in the law;" and numberless other texts, show what I mean. Not a word is hinted of any such peculiar system of interpreting prophecies as is here applied to the law; and no reason, except a new revelation, being sufficient to persuade a Christian that the prophets were not prophets after all, we unhesitatingly conclude that the events they foretell are undoubtingly to be expected to come to pass among us.

 

And 3rdly, what "may we suppose to be the way in which the law has been or is to be fulfilled?

 

The difficulty is to reconcile our Blessed Savior's most emphatic and solemn declaration, that he did not mean to destroy the law with the reiterated apostolic arguments, that the very salvation of his followers was involved in their believing that, in some sense, he did do so; that the law for instance was an interpolation, added for a particular purpose, showing an essential imperfection by the very fact of its having been ordained in the hand of a mediator; showing therefore a want of unity between two parties; and that it was eventually to be fulfilled in some Body which should be One, -- i. e., should be thoroughly united in Love, and need no mediation between it and God, who is Love.

 

Let us see whether the prophets do not describe a state of things where the law is both to be kept, as our Savior said it should, and at the same time to have been fulfilled by the building up of Saints into a system prefigured by the law.

 

The last chapter of Isaiah describes, as I have laid it down: first, a class of saints who partake of Christ's glory; secondly, the nations of the saved in imperfect communion with Christ, who see his glory, and keep the law, not a jot or tittle of which will then be found to have passed away; thirdly, the peculiar position, among these, of the Jews; and lastly, the miserable damned. "Hear the word of the Lord ye that tremble at his word; your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said: Let the Lord be glorified; but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed. A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the Lord that rendereth recompense to his enemies . . . . . . . . Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her all ye that love her, rejoice for joy with her all ye that mourn for her; that ye may suck and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations, that ye may milk out and be delighted with the brightness of her glory. For thus saith the Lord, Behold I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream; then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees, as one whom his mother comforteth so will I comfort you, and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem." On the face of it this is a description of individuals, not of nations; they are the men who have lived hitherto in God's fear; the voice of the Lord from the temple -- the last trump -- is heard! A definite locality is indicated for their dwelling -- place, viz., Jerusalem, which is described as in travail and then rejoicing. Then after alluding to a great tribulation which is to take place at our Lord's coming, the prophet says: "It shall come that I will gather all nations and tongues, and they shall come and see my glory, and I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory, and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles. And they shall bring all your brethren" (Here are the Jews) "For an offering unto the Lord out of all nations, upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters and upon mules, and upon swift beasts to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord. And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the Lord. For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord." Here are the nations of the saved indeed, but not glorified, not in intimate and continuous communion with Christ. "And they shall go forth and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me; for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched: and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh." Here, too unmistakably to be denied, is a portion of mankind described as having lost that communion with their fellows which constitutes a great portion of our happiness.

 

Zechariah 14 describes the same events, and the same final state of things, and St. John, by quoting him in his last chapter of the revelation, shows that nothing further is revealed to us after this; no re-ascension of Christ or the saints, still less of the saved nations, into heaven. After describing the time of trouble he says (Zech. 14:5): "And the Lord, my God, shall come, and all the saints with thee . . . . . . . . and it shall be in that day that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem, half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea; in summer and in winter shall -- it be. And the Lord shall be king over all the earth, in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one." The saints united with Christ are here specifically named. Next, "All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rininon south of Jerusalem, and it shall be lifted up and inhabited in her place from Benjamin's gate unto the place of the first gate, unto [he corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king's wine -- presses. And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more curse, but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited." This is the Septuagint phrase quoted by St. John. The plague of those who have fought against Jerusalem is then described: after which "it shall come to pass that every one that is left of all the nations which come against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the king, the Lord of Hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles, and it shall be that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the king, the Lord of Hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up that have no rain, there shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses holiness unto the Lord. And the pots in the Lord's house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yea every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the Lord of Hosts, and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seeth therein, and in that day shall there be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of Hosts."

 

Here then are the saved nations still under temporal reward and punishment. Thus no jot or tittle shall pass from the law after all. And if no tittle of the prophets, as distinct from the law, is to pass away -- without fulfillment, there will be a rapture and gathering of individual saints, and a turning of Jews to the son of Mary, and an everlasting kingdom of Christ will be established upon the earth, and in the light of it the saved nations will walk, as the East Indians in the light of British superior civilization.

 

The proposition which I am maintaining is, that men will hereafter live on this earth, and that the majority of those among them who shall be hereafter saved, i. e., saved from sin, will be in but partial communion with Christ.

 

Men who are in only partial communion with Christ must worship him with formal worship; the national worship once established by God was the law, which is probably a great deal better fitted than any of us are aware of for the purpose which it was meant to fulfill. If then the law is yet to be kept, Christ's words will have been literally true; nor will it be difficult to explain that the Apostolic teaching was for the building up of a far higher class of believers than those which shall be under the law, which was added because of transgression.

 

But I am far from supposing that merely the two quotations which I have just made will be considered of themselves to prove so important, and to many minds so novel, a doctrine. They must be supported in many different ways by the rest of the Holy Scriptures. On the plan, however, upon which I am writing this book, the arguments will be cumulative, and there will be much under other heads to lead to the same result.

 

The present being nevertheless the first occasion on which proof has been brought forward, it may not be amiss to introduce here a few general remarks independent of such prophecies as these, the whole of which, however, ought to be explained on some other system as well as on this before they can be set aside.

 

It is I doubt not a very moderate computation, and below the real state of the case, taking all ages of the world together, that one cut of every thousand of our species has been born and continued through life in what we consider the lamentable state of idiocy. Has it ever struck the reader that this average -- which any one who knows his poor neighbors in the country may see, even in these days, to be not very high -- would on the supposed population of the world since Adam show the astounding result that 100,000,000 of our race, 100,000,000 who shall rise from the dead, and for whom a Savior died, have passed the whole of their life here in this irresponsible state? a hundred million of idiots are to rise from their graves, a hundred million human beings who have never known right from wrong, nor God from the Devil, are to live for ever in the body.

 

No one surely can contemplate so large an aggregate of our common humanity thus brought together before their Maker at the great day of judgment, without mentally asking what state it is to Which they will probably arise. May we not expect to find that something has been told us, directly or indirectly, concerning so immense a body? May we not lawfully, and ought we not, to test our own systems, by inquiring whether they admit a fitting place for this large mass of the race redeemed by Jesus Christ?

 

Three parties would, I presume, make to this question three different answers. From the one we should hear, that not having committed known sin, it is to be held that they will go to heaven, for Christ's sake; others would say, that having been born in sin, and having had no faith, they are to be damned, for the first Adam's sake; and by others we should be told, that it is not fitting to intrude into any such inquiries, the answer to which we must leave altogether to God in futurity to reveal. These three answers seem all that our present traditions allow any one to make.

 

But the answer that 100,000,000 men are either to go to heaven without faith, or to be damned without sin, is in the first place obviously open to the anxious question of the inquirer -- Which then of the two? Eight-ninths of the world having been heathen, we may suppose that eight out of every nine of these have died unbaptized, and that some at least of the others have had an outward rite administered, which is generally called baptism from our want of a word to express that outward rite alone, when we know that it is not accompanied with that inward grace, which alone makes it to be baptism. Is then our comprehension of the Bible at present so clear that we are justified in laying down any opinion about the futurity of these hundred million men and women, whether unbaptized or passers through the above unnamed ceremony? How are we to say anything concerning salvation or perdition for a man who has neither faith nor charity nor sin, prayer nor conscience nor a rebellious will? Are men in general with their present traditions even able to distinguish between the extremely distinct ideas of being lost and being damned or condemned after a judgment? Who is there that will say, Without holiness a hundred million men will see the Lord, or without having committed known sin a hundred million men will be adjudged to eternal companionship with devils? With our present traditions surely this question is beyond us: we must answer, as many have answered, that, in the way we now explain the Bible -- not practically understanding as yet therefrom that our Lord will destroy the works of the Devil -- we are unable to see therein any guide to us upon the subject.

 

But if there are to be a hundred million who are to rise having lived in an irresponsible condition, how many hundred thousands of millions are there who, in their dense ignorance, being literally unable to distinguish their right hand -- from their left, literally unable to count five, and in this Christian land literally ignorant of the historical difference between Moses, Pontius Pilate, and the Lord; literally taught that to lie and steal is a duty towards their parents: how many of such are there who have been so near to irresponsibility in this their time of probation, that the same difficulties stand in the way of our declaring anything about them, as in the case even of idiots? Now pursue this line of thought and where do we stop? Just as in passing from the vegetable kingdom to the animal, and back and onwards through the millions of God's species of works, we find the distinction between any one and its neighbor all but imperceptible, but yet we soon own ourselves arrived at a distinctly higher order of dignity, -- so it is among the spirits of men. Some men's good deeds go beforehand to judgment; all men own and allow that some are good men; others, all own and allow are devils. There is no Scripture that I know of which implies that he whom we usually call the Devil is worse than many men. A few have their wills in accordance with God's will, whether they are tempted or not; a few others have devilish wills, where circumstances would naturally lead them to innocence; but the vast majority of mankind are placed in a continuous series containing an infinite variety of gradations between one and the other of the above two limits. If indeed the works of the Devil were destroyed for them, the great majority perhaps would not follow him, but while he does tempt them it is a very different thing to be able to resist him. And what way has the Lord taken hitherto to destroy the works of the Devil? The answer to this is a matter of history open to the observation of every one, and it is in complete accordance with what we should expect from the great spiritual differences among mankind.

 

Take the case of the slave trade. A hundred years ago the majority of minds in England, represented by, and forming, Custom and the Law, were tempted to, take the Devil's side of that question; and they did so. Now, however, that temptation has been destroyed; and their minds are therefore in conformity with God's upon it. But not one man in a hundred did anything to destroy the law of the land as it then stood. The vast majority of the nation are now a little better, not through their own work, but by acquiescing in that of an active minority.

 

Now though the mere fancy of man is never to be allowed to build up schemes for God which are not revealed to us either in his book or his works, yet the analogy of God's works has long been recognized as a firm and sure ground of argument. As God has given to individuals to destroy evil for the great benefit of the mass, who, though unable themselves to combat evil, are ready to reject it when overcome, so Christ is ultimately to destroy all evil. Not I say to alter the character of devils and devilish men, not to destroy them, or annihilate evil beings and men, but to destroy all the power which these evil beings and men now have over all the earth. We see in this life the three classes, those who resist evil, those who submit to evil, and those who love evil. The character of' the three will remain when the power of the evil is overcome. When Christ arises and his enemies are scattered, when the Anti-Christian confederacy flies before him, when he, the Father of the fatherless, defends the cause of the widows, even God in Jerusalem, the city of the great king, his holy habitation, then will he make men to be of one mind in an house; these will be glorified men in the house he is preparing from heaven; and he will bring the prisoners out of captivity; these are the saved nations; and he will let the runagates continue in scarceness; these are they who shall be an abhorring unto all flesh. Deliverance of captives from captivity is continually described as Christ's work for mankind; and expressly is it said, that he is to destroy the Devil, and deliver them who all their lifetime were subject to bondage; which seems to me to include a different class besides those who during this life have been by God's grace made free. The smaller class are free in this life -- time, having been enabled to resist the Devil, who thereupon fled; the larger being unable to resist him while lie is at large, will not be free until he is bound. Salvation, as distinct from glorification, though it often includes it, is primarily synonymous with this saving of those who do not love evil from evil. Some heathens will be saved by Christ without having known him.

 

To all this we may anticipate that what is considered to be one great and fundamental objection will be made, it will be said that men cannot be saved in any sense without faith.

 

Then the hundred million of idiots are to be damned?

 

But is it any where asserted in Holy Scripture that men in general, heathens for instance, cannot be saved without faith? or is anything equivalent to this asserted? The Epistle to the Romans will afford a more favorable opportunity than the present for anything like an accurate examination into the question. In a quite cursory way I have taken Cruden's Concordance, and looked under the word faith, and what I find there is this:

 

First, a vast number of promises, blessings, &c., to those who have faith. Therefore we must all agree that to be blest with faith is a gift we all most earnestly ought to covet. See remarks on Matthew 18:7.

 

Secondly, we are commanded to have faith. Therefore whoever hears of this command is bound to follow it. The better we do so the greater will be our reward.

 

Third. The promise that Christ, and good Christians in Him, should be heirs of the world, was through the righteousness of faith. Therefore no one who has not faith will be coheir of the world, i, e., be in a similar position with respect to their fellow creatures in the next age which heirs, and other rulers are in this age.

 

Fourth. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Rom. 14:23). The context shows that this means whatever a man does against his conscience is sin. When there is no law (in conscience or otherwise revealed) sin is not imputed.

 

Fifth. The Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. Heathens have had no promise; yet we know that the Queen of the South, Nineveh, Sodom, &c., will be better off than some who had.

 

Sixth. The word did not profit some, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. But this is the case of people to whom the Gospel was preached, not heathens or idiots. Those who do hear the word and yet have no faith will certainly be worse off caeteris paribus than if they had not heard it; it will not profit them. If they perish it will have been a savor of death unto death, and if they have no faith at all they certainly will perish.

 

Seventh. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Those who merely let others abolish the slave trade did not please God, yet they were saved from sin by that work of others.

 

And lastly, faith overcometh the world, i. e., the evil in the world. And the very point I am contending for is, that when this evil shall have been overcome by the faith of some people, the world will reap the benefit, just as the paralytic did that of the faith of others. The reader may look for himself at the word "believe." That the redemption of all mankind can only be explained by Barrow and other great men to mean the salvability of all mankind, is a proof to my mind of the utter confusion our lapse from the apostolic views has brought us into. Redemption is a great fact, Salvability is a mere hypothetical possibility. That even devilish men may be redeemed by Christ from the power of Satan, can be held by me while still holding that they will be themselves an abhorring unto all flesh and burnt up by evil passions and remorse. Happiness depends on character as well as on circumstances. It depends, that is, on circumstances and the way we use circumstances. Suppose every man that ever lived is to be redeemed from all interference from the Devil. Then reprobate runagates would still be damned; the prisoners would be loosed but have infinite variety of states; the good Christian would be in the Unity of God. It seems to me that we have not any evidence, either from Scripture, or more particularly from our Savior's words and actions, or from the analogy of God's works, from which we might deduce that all who shall be hereafter saved shall be pleasing to Christ, so as to move him to love them and have communion with then. A good man now is like Christ in his character, and a good man loves other good men and has communion with them; he also will do all he can to save the great majority of men from social, economical, and political evil; but this he will do without having communion with them; and he also hates the words and deeds of the wicked. Christ had communion with a comparatively small number, of people; I do not mean merely the twelve apostles, for there were many he had most interesting conversations with besides them; but he saved many, such as Malchus, deaf and dumb people, men with devils, &c., whom he had no communion with. How wilt thou manifest thyself to us, and not unto the world, was asked him? We will come unto a man, and make our abode with him, was an answer which is surely not synonymous with, I am the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world, or I cane not to condemn the world, but that the world through me might be saved. Nor are the thousands of sorts of beasts, birds, fishes, and creeping things now existing, to be passed over as a standing memorial that God creates and preserves beings for enjoyment without communion with Him.

 

We have but too great a tendency towards imagining a character, and works for God completely different after the resurrection of man from that which he has revealed to us as His unchangeable Self in the Holy Scriptures. We know there are vast varieties of heavenly spirits; we see every grade of strength in earthly spirits; we see every kind of combination among ourselves of the faculties of soul and mind; we see every degree of strength of vitality; we see thousands of chemical affinities; we see most various simple forces acting on matter; and we can arrive at no limit to the divisibility of matter itself. Such is the seen work and delight of our Creator. Seeing this, and knowing that man is to be rewarded in an infinite variety of ways, I feel bound from general principles to say, that if it were indeed revealed that our future salvation meant glorification, I should accept it; but until it is proved that such is the case the a priori anticipation is altogether against it.

 

To return then to the text. A way has now, I imagine, been indicated, by which our Savior's words have been explained and justified. Nor is there-any great difficulty in understanding the seemingly contrary teaching of the apostles that the law was passed away and fulfilled in Christ. For the Church, at the time they lived, was actually a social organization, consisting in a very substantial, fair, general sense, of saints, and founded on love, and so really fulfilling the law of Christ. The return to the flesh of that which was begun in the spirit, was made after their days, at the time of the alliance with the world. The organization' of the Church has been since then founded on fear. Love is the fulfilling of the law. The law had in the apostles' days truly been fulfilled, but it has since then been again added, because of transgression. The visible body, to which the apostles belonged, was "dead to the law." The hidden election among us is so still, but not the Church as a body. Throughout the whole of Christendom the social habits of men are now legal. There is no Christian denomination of any magnitude where law has not much greater influence than love. The apostles were building up saints. Saints will never again be under the law, for God is One, and they One with Him; and law implies deficiency in Unity. They are loosed from the law in this life, in the liberty with which Christ has made them free, and in the life to come they shall be as the quotations I have made describe them.

 

Among the many prophecies which coincide in result with the above two, there is one so remarkable and so closely connected with what has been written, that I cannot conclude this article without bringing it forward.

 

In the last verse of Micah 3 it is said, "Therefore shall Zion for your sake be ploughed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest." Note this as the first portion of a prophecy, and bear in mind to ask whether it was fulfilled in the Babylonian or in the Roman destruction. The first two verses of the next chapter declare that "In the last days the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and many nations shall say, come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord and to the house of the God of Jacob." Call this the second portion, and inquire whether it took place at Pentecost or is still future. The cessation of war upon the earth under Christ, who is to rebuke as well as judge strong nations, is then thirdly declared; which, since it has not yet taken place, shows that the first two portions of the prophecy do not mean merely the desolation during the captivity in Babylon and the establishment of the kingdom of grace (which kingdom moreover did not bring nations up to Jerusalem to hear the Truth there, but sent the Truth away from Jerusalem to the nations). These three portions of the prophecy must, on these accounts then, be intended to mean the desolation of Jerusalem by Titus, the re-establishment of it as the metropolis of the saved nations, and the reign there of Christ. The passage I allude to comes after the description of the nations of the saved sitting every man under his vine and under his fig-tree, and none making them afraid. It is directly stated, that under this condition of things, "all people will walk, every one in the name of his god, and we" (the saints) " will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever." This is surely a statement utterly and directly irreconcilable with anything we have imagined in our, present system. I mean that imperfection of any kind is surely excluded from all our present notions of heaven, but here is absence of perfection asserted, if I read the passage aright, among saved men; even while they sit in safety under their own vines and fig-trees, in the renewed earth, after war has passed away, and the Lord reigns over them in Mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.

 

The way in which this is to be understood is, I presume, by giving a full meaning to the declaration that the works of the dead do follow them; so as to include principles and characters formed during our probation in this life, as well as the actual visible work done by us. If a man, for instance, fails to distinguish between the spirit and the form of his acts, or claims an act as his own which is done in him by God, making himself his own god, it seems that, by the very constitution of his being, that consummation will come to pass to him which Micah here speaks of, he will follow out his ingrained principles and walk in his own acquired law, with imperfect knowledge, and imperfect communion with Christ, though not contravening his will, but coming up to his mountain at fixed periods, to a certain amount of intercourse with him. Thus can we now fully understand the distinction made in 2 Thess. 1. between those saints in whom Christ is in his day to be glorified, and those more numerous mere believers by whom he is but to be admired.

 

This text, I humbly conceive, vindicates the justice and mercy of God in a remarkable manner. It is one of the class, "With what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you;" "As the tree falleth so it lieth;" He that knew not his Lord's will, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes," &c.; and it seems to extend the doctrine of reward according to works to what is quite as much a man's work as his outward deeds, viz., his religious system. Whatever a man be, -- Anti-dogmatist, Churchman, or Romanist, if he be a good-living man, the world thinks "he can't be wrong whose life is in the right." This text explains that whatever god, whatever principle, whatever way (see Septuagint) a man chooses in this life, he will follow, by a natural development, the same god or way hereafter; so that the nearer to true Christian dogmatic principles his principles are now, the nearer to Christ and Jerusalem hereafter will his principles have brought him. If a good-living man therefore expects salvation simply by his moral works, he may attain it, indeed, perhaps as he wishes; viz., without Christ's immediate presence, and among subject nations; but Christ will not peculiarly profit him, he will only share in Christ's general work of redemption for all mankind. In what other sense but this are we to understand the apostle's statement (1 Thess. 5:10), that whether we wake or sleep, whether we are children. of the day, as he himself explains it, or of night and darkness, upon whom sudden destruction shall come, we are yet to live together with him?

 

 

Matthew 5:35 -- Neither by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.

 

We have before alluded to those prophecies of a Great King who was to reign at Jerusalem, which Tacitus and Suetonius have referred to. About the time when all the East expected him, a historical personage appeared on this earth, whom his followers, still existing in great numbers, identify with the foretold king of his nation and city. This monarch complained that Jerusalem would not receive him on his own principles; prophesied its destruction, its treading down by foreigners for a certain period, his own re-appearing there; and, through his immediate agents, he has taught us that a certain number of his followers, not of Jewish lineage, are eligible to the offices in his kingdom which were refused by his own countrymen. A considerable portion of the events he foretold have accurately come to pass.. Jerusalem is now a filthy, degraded, ruinous town, and one of the most cherished possessions of those who believe in the mediator Mahomet. Life and property have seldom been safe there-since it refused to have the great king to reign over it. Only as the resort of numberless indiscriminate pilgrims, whether Jews, Christians, or Mahomedans, and as being the place where the great king explained the principles of his kingdom, and was ignominiously rejected, has it had any influence upon the world since that day. The Crusaders, acting in his name, were unable to hold it when they got it. Jerusalem has long been trodden down by the Gentiles. But now, while the power of these Mahomedans is clearly drying up, we find the Jews, for the first time perhaps in their history, generally receiving and reading the Hebrew Scriptures, which testify to their King's principles as well as to his Person. We also find God approached daily on Mount Zion in the Hebrew language through the mediation of that king; political changes greatly affecting Jerusalem may reasonably be soon expected; and unless sober minded observers are deceived, all. things are preparing for a vast change in its fortunes. If any one, in the face of this clear and comprehensible system of connected prophecies, will go methodically into the subject, showing that the non -- natural sense is to be preferred, and that the Jews were told by our Savior in this text not to swear by the Church, for it is the city of the great king, let him do so. We must either shut our eyes, it seems to me, to the continued present miracle of the separate existence of the Jews, and reject as fanciful the literal interpretation of a very considerable portion of the Bible, or we may lawfully look forward with intense interest to those great things which seem to us clearly and consistently revealed as about to happen on earth.

 

"Glorious things are spoken of thee, Oh City of God! The Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting Light, and thy God thy glory. Oh, tower of the flock, the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it cone even the first dominion. The Kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem. Now why dost thou cry out aloud? Is there no king in thee? Be in pain and labor to bring forth, Oh daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail, for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon, there shalt thou be delivered, there the Lord shall redeem thee from the hand of thy enemies." (Micah 4.)

 

 

Matthew 6:10 -- Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.

 

If all who strive to do God's will are to ascend into heaven after the resurrection, and not in the latter days to stand with Christ upon the earth, and in their flesh see God, and do his will on earth as it is in heaven, then Christ's millions of followers have been praying in vain, the great enemy will have prevailed. And, as our Savior knew that at his coming he should not find faith on the earth, he would have sanctioned his disciples in the use of a prayer which he knew would never be heard. But now, after his coming, the glory of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. Even so come Lord Jesus.

 

 

Matthew 7:2 -- With what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again.

 

The view I have been advocating as the simple and scriptural view of our future state has the advantage of greatly clearing up the difficulties which are generally felt in dwelling upon the doctrine here taught by our blessed Savior.

 

The doctrine that our future condition will exactly depend upon what we have done in this life, is nominally accepted amongst us. But we also teach the doctrine, that if men truly repent they will be saved. And being saved is considered to mean going to heaven. And, heaven being the immediate dwelling place of God and all the holy angels, we practically cannot make any material distinctions of happiness among the denizens of that glorious place, though we allow that some will shine brighter than others. Thus the doctrines clash. We cannot teach reward according to works, and also that the tardy penitent enemy of all his neighbors shall "go to heaven after all." It is a practical impossibility and contradiction in terms to do so. One of the doctrines must give way; and we find as a matter of fact that the doctrine of having the measure meted to us which we mete has given way to the other. A friend hushing up a quarrel between two of his brethren, one of whom must be a criminal, says, "You'll meet in heaven," and this even without the penitence. The inability to conceive essential differences of happiness in heaven is also doubtless the cause why reward according to sincerity, and a charitable supposition that all men are sincere, is substituted for reward according to works, as if the sincere advocates of slavery were to get equal credit,' after the contest was decided, with those whose efforts swept it away! We have seen men in these days successfully preaching a certain religious system half their lives, and then turning to a system diametrically contrary to it in several most essential points; but since we have only heaven or hell to allocate them to hereafter, we disable ourselves from asserting, there is a fixed revelation appointed to be believed because we naturally hesitate in assigning the opponents of that revelation to the latter place. So in morals we continually extenuate offence; we discuss whether Judas was not pardoned; we are impatient of thinking at all or talking of the future life of any but the very good. If I am correctly stating this to be a very general state of mind among us, our present view of futurity is at once proved to be open to the objection that it powerfully leads to religious indifference. An honest Wan reading his Bible, sees an assertion therein that God has revealed a complicated system of truths, and there are great benefits to be derived by understanding and accepting them. Seeing, however, the great difficulties which sooner or later beset all men whatever, who search into the relations between themselves and the Invisible God, the moral sense shrinks from assigning Eternal Misery as the consequence of failure in this task. So it does with respect to what are commonly called venial sins, or sins of infirmity. Now it is one of my most solemn convictions that for ministers and teachers of religion to shirk theological difficulties is the most traitorous course for the interests of their Master's cause that they can possibly take. These are days when everything is freely and rudely examined; and it deeply behooves the Christian either to give a reason for his faith, or to see clearly how and why he cannot do so. Our Savior teaches us that for every idle word that men speak they shall give account. If we cannot reconcile this with the scriptural teaching on repentance and salvation, no wonder if the faith once committed to the Church, but unkept in its purity, should fail, or our stubble, hay, and straw, be burnt in the fiery coming trial.

 

But all this, if men really are to go to heaven, would be nothing to the purpose. The difficulty would be there, and it would be our sore trial to be unable to justify the ways of God to man.

 

If the reader, however, has followed me hitherto, the whole tremendous difficulty will have already vanished. How just and yet how merciful does the Spirit of Truth show God's ways to be. Mercy, undeserved mercy, will be shown in the destruction of the Devil (Heb. 2:16) and the pardon of the saved. Oh, may they be many that shall be saved, and may they be few that shall be damned. But what is saving? What is pardoning? Woman, thy faith hath saved thee. Come! Is that the word? come, and live close to me? No, the word is go! Go indeed in peace, go with sin pardoned, but go to that particular condition, that exact degree of happiness which awaits thee. Or again to him from whom devils had been cast out, and who wished to come. Is the word come? No. Thy Devil is destroyed, I came to effect this for thee, I have done great things for thee, thou knowest enough to know this, therefore take that particular office fitted for thee -- go -- go and proclaim what great things God hath done for thee.

 

The pardon of the sinner is most carefully to be distinguished from the glorification of the saint. Does not our moral sense most loudly tell us so? Does not Scripture repeat the assertion? Are there not one hundred and forty and four thousand only of the highest? Countless will be the multitudes of the saved in the restitution of all things. Glorious will be the renewed earth. Its untempted inhabitants will not be miserable. The will of God will be done on earth as it is in heaven. But countless also will be the conditions of the individuals who will go up in those days to keep the feast of tabernacles, -- as they are now. Untempted, saved from the Devil, but much differing, everyone's repentance will have been taken at exactly what it weighed. True repentance will, through Christ's merits, have saved the greatest sinner from the eternal companionship of the Devil, he will receive his penny for his one hour -- his salvation; he will not be in hell, but (Isaiah 60:14) as one of those who erst afflicted Christ's true holy Church shall he come bending unto her, and as one who erst despised her shall he bow himself down at the sole of her feet, and shall call her the city of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

 

 

Matthew 7:13 -- Broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. Narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

 

Let us accept the whole of the revelations in the Holy Scriptures in their full meaning, and to their full proper extent. But never let us go beyond them in the way of imposing upon others the opinions we might thus deduce. It is not in this passage told us that many are ultimately destroyed, but that many enter into the dangerous path that leads to ultimate destruction. It is true we are told, that but few find the life (or perhaps the road to it). The governing body in the everlasting kingdom of the glory are but comparatively few, but, as far as this passage goes, eternal companionship with devils is not affirmed for the many.

 

 

Matthew 7:21, 23 -- Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.

 

Every one who says, Lord, Lord, that is, every professing Christian, does enter into the company of the baptized, the body of Christians on earth. In this passage, therefore, the phrase must mean the future kingdom, and principally that of glory, the elect body of the true followers who endure unto the end, and shall govern with Christ, and be within the doors at his wedding feast, while mere professors are without, though not cast away. This passage, therefore, tends to prove that this future entering into the kingdom of heaven does yet itself also describe an event which is to take place on earth, and not in heaven. For our Savior immediately explains himself. Many will say to me in that day, &c.; i. e., the day of his coming, which we all know (see the creed) is to take place on earth.

 

 

Matthew 8:12 -- But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

 

The sitting down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, alludes to the sitting down of the elect united body of Jew and Gentile, at the marriage supper of the Lamb. The outer darkness alludes to the distant space, where the light of the torches, and of Him who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, would be hardly visible for the distance. The theory then, of degrees of future nearness to Christ is fully sustained by these words of our Savior. If in Christ's general discourses upon this subject, we consider the outermost circle of all -- the greatest distance from Him to which any human beings shall be condemned to be the outer darkness, there is no difficulty in seeing, even from our experience of what state some men bring themselves to in this world, how it is described as a place of weeping and wailing, a place of unquenchable fire. It would be this furthest circle which would be generally opposed in our Savior's discourses to the opposite extreme of the saints in glory. But there is. nothing improbable in the supposition that the weeping and wailing may extend in its degree to a circle within this outer circle. While we read of those condemned to unquenchable fire we also read of the saved so as by fire. All that the word saved necessarily includes is, I imagine, Salvation from the power, company, and works of the Devil; one great benefit, then, herein is freedom from temptation. Every man who passes through his probation in this life is exposed to certain temptations, and to certain adverse forces of evil. So far as he yields to these influences he forms his character in accordance to them, and so far as he resists them he feels them to be a burden, and he forms his character more and more opposed to them. When he is saved from them by the work of a Savior, whatever was burdensome in them he joyfully finds himself clear from, but whatever he has yielded to, leaves certain principles in his mind, and when he is placed in the light of Christ's kingdom of unveiled glory, he sees, by that light, the Anti-Christian nature of his principles, i. e., of his own self; and though no longer tempted to oppose God's will, the seeing that his own will is not such as God's, must unavoidably cause regret. A certain amount of regret and reasonable sorrow is quite compatible with an untempted state of existence; and the more cause there might be for regret the more would be the weeping and wailing.

 

When I talk of this untempted state of existence, I mean a state of things after the general resurrection, and the destroying of the last enemy, for before then we read of Satan, after a period, being loosed again, and going about again to deceive the nations (not the saints any more); and we read in the passage already quoted from Zechariah, that the punishment of having no rain will still exist for those nations of the saved who refuse to go up to the feast of tabernacles. This anticipated refusal supposes the existence of a proneness to evil, if not of the actual suggestions of a Tempter. The gradual annihilation of temptation on the earth is what we should expect.

 

God has never, that we know of, worked large complicated works instantaneously, but by a gradual, long -- prepared exercise of power. All modern science tends to prove that in the creation of this our world he followed this course; to which supposition the words of Moses perfectly agree. The same law holds in his scheme of grace; and in his works in every individual mind. Thus there might be expected, even from analogy, to be a period of time during which Christ and his saints will gradually so rule and order things upon the earth as to fit the earth, and the institutions of the men therein, for the final state I have described. The 1000 years, which is the scriptural term for the period, or for part of the period, during which the new state of things is prepared, are marked at their termination by a last effort of the Great Enemy, by the general resurrection, the sending of the wicked to outer darkness, and the completion of the new heavens and earth; and all that I have hitherto described I imagine to be the final state of things after this is done. After this then it would be that the will of God should be done in earth, and his glory cover the earth as the waters cover the sea; and if we still find it difficult to imagine how such a description should suit a state of things where, in the outer circles, we allow a certain amount of weeping and wailing to exist, we may remark that, we are often said to be in a state of salvation already, and there are so many millions of degrees of happiness now among us, that it would be difficult to suppose every individual who shall be eventually just saved, so as by fire, from the companionship of the Devil, shall be absolutely happier than the happiest saints among ourselves who, being now saved, groan within ourselves, weep and wail within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our Body.

 

 

Matthew 8:29 -- Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?

 

Art thou come onto the earth to torment us before the time? Commentators seem almost unanimous in the opinion that the fire prepared for the Devil and his angels is not to be inflicted upon them till the day of judgment. The passages in 2 Peter 2:4, and Jude 6, do not seem to contradict this view in the Greek. See Mede.

 

 

Matthew 10:15 -- It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.

 

It would appear from this text that the judgment will extend to all mankind, and not only to Jews and Christians, regard being had, of course, to their different degrees of light. As many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law (Romans 2:12).

 

 

Matthew 10:23 -- Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel till the Sore of Man be come.

 

One of the difficulties of this passage is, that at the beginning of the discourse, the Apostles are told not to enter into any city of the Samaritans to preach there. Now it appears that very soon after our Savior's ascension, the preaching had already begun in Samaria, and was so successful, that when the Apostles heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John. This mission on which our Savior sent them in this text, would therefore appear from. this not to have been the great gospel mission to all nations, on which they entered after our Savior's departure, but a minor one to the Jews only during his earthly life. What this text then names as the 'f coming of the Son of Man," would appear to be his first coming, viewed from a point in which it could not yet be said to have been finished, viewed in the aggregate as an event filling up a definite period of time, a Parousia, or Day of presence, rather than an Epiphany or Time of appearing. But then, on the other hand, the persecution which our Savior alluded to, "They will deliver you up to the councils," &c., did not begin till after his departure, so that this portion of his words would apply exclusively to the universal mission, and not to the national one.

 

It would be foreign to my purpose to give the full explanation which it is said may be given of this difficulty; but I mention it, because it has often been assumed without hesitation that our Savior's coming, in the text, means the destruction of Jerusalem; and this has, I think, tended much to discourage an accurate investigation into the scriptural revelations upon the subjects I am now treating of, and to encourage, on the other hand, a method of interpretation by which fixed phrases are understood to mean one thing at one place, and another at another, without any clue being given us whereby we may discover their definite meaning.

 

But though we may not call the destruction of Jerusalem, taken by itself, a distinct coming of the Son of Man; distinct from his first visible coming, and from that third coming, which we should still, upon this hypothesis, have to expect, we yet find it considered in Scripture as the concluding act of that series of acts, all of which are included under his first coming. He then came to the Jews, and their day, in which the grace of the kingdom was still offered them, seems to have terminated not at the crucifixion, but at the destruction of their national polity and temple by the Romans. After this Christ was come and gone; till this he was come and not fully gone. The analogy of this "day" of the Jews will, it is obvious, favor the view that the still future Parousia too will be purgatorial, as theirs most evidently was.

 

The Greek language is particularly rich in its ability to express distinctions of times, and the aorist subjunctive in our text implies that the Apostles should not have gone over the cities of Israel till the Son of Man was come and gone. The first coming is a series of events ending with the destruction of Jerusalem; the second coming is a series of events beginning with an attack on Jerusalem.

 

 

Matthew 10:32 -- Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven; but whosoever will deny me, &c.

 

In John 17:6, 8, we read, I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gayest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gayest them me, and they have kept thy word. I have given unto them the words which thou gayest me, and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. This is a comfortable instance of Christ actually confessing his followers before God, as is here graciously promised. And in v. 12, we read, None of them, is lost but the son of perdition. Here we have as awful an instance of his denying one who denied him. We must not therefore imagine that it is necessary for men to be in heaven themselves, in order that this confession may take place. See also Mark 8:38.

 

 

Matthew 11:21 -- Woe unto thee, Chorazin; woe unto thee, Bethsaida: it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon, at the day of judgment, than for you.

 

We have it here revealed to us that the heathen inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon are to be judged in the day of judgment. We can hardly imagine that any of them will be placed in those peculiar offices of dignity in Christ's kingdom which require a long previous knowledge and practice of Christ's principles, in order to fit the saints for properly filling them. And moreover we shall find afterwards that the saints are not to be judged in the day of judgment. On the other hand, we know the mass of them will not be found in the outermost darkness of all; for the people of Chorazin and Bethsaida will be further off than them. The position which we know they will occupy, does not in fact fall in with our popular notions either of heaven or hell.

 

And if " being saved" is synonymous with "going to heaven," how difficult it is to understand the following texts, which would surely assert that all mankind, Heathen, Mahomedan, and Christian, are equally to go to heaven at last " We have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world" (John 4:42); "We have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world " (1 John 4:14); "God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved " (John 3:17); "I came not to judge the world, but to save the world" (John 12:47); "The bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world " (John 6:51); "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world, " (John 1:29); " God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself" (2 Cor. 5:19); " He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2); "That he should taste death for every man" (Hebrews 2:9); with many others. Our creed too says, "Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven."

 

To reconcile these clear texts with others which we suppose to be inconsistent with them, has been one of the difficulties which has split the reformed and truth-seeking portion of the baptized into multitudinous shivers of sects. Who can wonder at it? When men understand things, they agree when they do not comprehend a thing, they differ.

 

But if to be saved means primarily to be freed from temptation and other works of the Devil, and to live in a world not cursed with the curse he has brought upon the present world, we find immediately, and surely most scripturally, how "God path concluded all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all" (Romans 11:32), and how, "the man Christ Jesus gave himself a ransom for all, -- to be testified in due tine" (1 Timothy 2:6).

 

It is true that this seems a very different view of "Salvation" from any that has yet been developed to any extent among Christians. If it is a correct one -- if Salvation is after all but the freeing captives from the interference of an alien power, and a first step only towards the manifestation of what every man really is, just as we must first loose a paralytic, or a deaf man, or a woman bowed together for years, from their infirmities, before we can very well say what they really are in themselves, -- we may perhaps expect some light to be thrown upon the Calvinistic and other controversies. We see at least that a good Christian man is already in a "state of salvation" in the most fundamental particular: he is comparatively free from temptation; yet may he groan within himself, earnestly waiting for something far beyond this negative result: on the other hand, there are bad men, whose badness seems to have very little to do with the amount of their temptation -- if saved from it altogether they would still be bad men. The doctrine of universal redemption at least need not be explained away into a meaningless universal salvability, from being supposed to contradict that of an ultimate reward according to works.

 

It is particularly mentioned (Psa. 45) that at our Lord's marriage supper, the daughter of Tyre will be there with a gift, and (Isa. 23:18) that " her merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the Lord, it shall not be treasured nor laid up, for her merchandise shall be for them that dwell before the Lord, to eat sufficiently and for durable clothing." This last quotation might indeed, as no specific time is mentioned, merely mean that Tyre was to become Christian, but the description of saved nations bringing in their wealth to Jerusalem at a yet future day is very common in the prophets. Thus Micah iv.: " Arise and thresh, Oh, Daughter of Zion, for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass, and thou shalt beat in pieces many people, and I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth." On the whole may we not say that in the case of the Jews, it is clear that God gave his privileges not that they might boast, but that they might profit; and perhaps from the heathen he has withholden privileges that they may yet boast in the end. -- Many that are first shall be last, and the last first; for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified (Rom. 2:13).

 

How awful a responsibility does the being in covenant with God impose upon us. Though we are in covenant and can preach the gospel, we have nothing to glory of, for a necessity is laid upon us. And if we think such views as these save us from the necessity of preaching the gospel, woe is unto us if we preach not the gospel, for if we do this thing willingly we have a reward, but if against our will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto us.

 

 

Matthew 12:32 -- It shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

 

The Greek text here is simply "neither in this age nor in that to come. " That there is an age of the world still to come, a new dispensation or state of things to come to us in this world, is obviously a very different notion from that of our being transported after the judgment to a different world. It is well known that the word age has for some reason or other been translated world in many parts of our version.

 

 

Matthew 12:41 -- The men of Nineveh and the Queen of the South are to rise in the judgment day as well as those of Tyre and Sidon.

 

Matthew 13:39 -- The harvest is the end of the age.

 

It would have been so simple and easy for St. Matthew to have written the end of the world, if he had intended to convey the impression which the words give to an English reader, that as we find lie has not done so, but has simply said the harvest is the end of the age, we cannot but come to the conclusion that the end of the world and the end of one particular age of the world, are two very different things.

 

 

Matthew 13:43 -- The parable of the tares.

 

Here is a place where we should expect the doctrine of our ascension into heaven to be plainly expressed if ever meant to be revealed. But it is neither expressed nor implied. The end of the age is spoken of; all things that offend in the Church are to be gathered out; and the righteous are not then described as going to heaven, but as shining forth as the sun in the kingdom thus purified. The parallel passage in Daniel almost forbids us to imagine an ascension. " Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt" " Go thou thy way till the end be, for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days." The shining forth as the sun has been supposed indeed to imply the shining forth on high; but the sun shines below the earth (as it is called) at night time quite as much as what we call above it during the day. There is, however, no above and below in this case; the words are only useful to express popular but incorrect notions. The sun is no more above Jerusalem at twelve o'clock in the day there than Jerusalem is above the sun. The sun is no more above the earth ever than the earth is above the sun.

 

 

Matthew 14:32 -- The wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him. And when the men of that place had knowledge of him they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased, and besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment; and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.

 

How distinct a picture of the saints and the saved we have here. In the ship they worshipped him, lived with him, worked miracles with him, and were rulers with him over the elements. I do not mean that' the Apostles were saints yet. The Holy Ghost was not yet given, and they were evidently extremely ignorant as yet in Christian doctrine; but they present a picture of what the saints will be in their nearness to Christ and co-partnership in his kingdom. In the same way the people of Gennesaret were not yet saved, but they present a picture of a nation for whom Christ, without any intimate communion with them, yet conquered storms and every disease. He had just the communion of being "moved with compassion towards them," but to the Apostles he said "Be of good cheer, it is I." They "had knowledge of him;" but Peter in the ship said: "Bid me come unto Thee on the water." What a striking difference! St. Paul might well forget those things which are behind, and, reaching forth unto those things that are before, press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

 

 

Matthew 16:28 -- There be some standing here which shall not taste of death till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.

 

It can hardly be supposed that if our first parents had had that peculiar shining appearance which the author of the book of Genesis was very well acquainted with by his own experience, we should not have had an intimation of it from him. It is by this time also so well authenticated that the old traditions of the Egyptians, Etrurians, Greeks, and others, do go up, in a corrupted form, to the very earliest days, that the absence of any trace in their account of such a remarkable change as this would have been may fairly be taken for a concurrent argument against the hypothesis of a change. We possess in the Hamilton collection of vases distinct pictures of the tree of knowledge, of the serpent coiled round it, and of Eve receiving the apple from him, while our Savior is typified either as Hercules leading captivity captive, and dragging up from Hades the three headed dog of death, or as Eros, Divine Love, with the Phoenix, the symbol of resurrection, in his hand. But there is no trace of a glory round the head of any of the figures, nor is there any legend that I am aware of alluding in any way to its loss. It would follow that in the mere "restitution of all things," the saved nations, being in Adam's likeness, would be without this peculiar glory.

 

At Christ's transfiguration, which is described as his glory or kingdom, Moses and Elias had the glory with him, and thus we have, most probably, one distinct outward difference which will mark the saved from the glorified on the restored earth. That this particular glory is the same which the saints will have at the manifestation of the sons of God, is shown too from 1 Peter 5:1. "The elders among you I exhort who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed." -- Where the word partaker, however, probably only implies partaker in the sight of this glory.

 

 

Matthew 17:3 -- There appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.

 

Moses and 'Elias are not said to appear from heaven, as the angels in Gethsemane and other places did. "There appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him" (Luke 22:43). " Of that day knoweth no man; no, not the angels of heaven" (Matthew 24:36). Moses and Elias are simply said to appear.

 

 

Matthew 17:11 -- Elias truly cometh first, and shall restore all things.

 

If John Baptist had not been already dead when our Savior here said of him, in the future tense, he shall restore all things, and if those who endeavor to take Scripture in its literal sense, when possible, did not build a good deal upon the phrase "restitution of all things," in Acts iii., there would be no great difficulty in supposing that John the Baptist, as a great and successful preacher among all classes of his countrymen, fully and entirely fulfilled all that was meant in the text. But the two considerations named do obviously create a difficulty; and no less obviously the future tense applied to a dead man, allows us fairly to argue that there will be a future work of restoration, without derogating from the work of John the Baptist in his own day.

 

As to the phrase "will restore all things;" while we must take it literally, we must still discriminate what that state of things was which Elias restored. It was certainly not the primitive condition of Adam and Eve in Paradise. In a time of great religious division and corruption, he withdrew into the wilderness. For three years and a half God held back the very rain of heaven. Truly religious men were scattered in very small numbers up and down, and only amounted to an aggregate of 7,000 in all the circumcised of Israel. His restoration. consisted apparently in his anointing an outward power in Syria, a power in the nominal Church, a continuing his own spirit in a younger prophet in the Church, and in the destruction of the false teachers of the age. In our own day there is equal division and corruption as in his; there is an equal dryness; true men are equally scattered in small number, considering what they ought to be, and what many advantages we have had. And with all this there is yet a great amount of earnestness. May the attention which all religious men seem inclining to pay to the healing doctrines concerning our coming King, be a sign of the restoration of Unity. To united prayer all things are possible.

 

 

Matthew 18:10 -- In heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father.

 

This would appear to mean that little ones living upon the earth are not to be despised, for certain angels in heaven serve them.

 

 

Matthew 19:21 -- Go and sell that thou ham and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven.

 

I notice the future tense here, thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and not thou hast treasure in heaven, in order to obviate any objections which might be made in reference to the argument on Matthew 5:12. It is true that the future tense is used here, but it evidently may refer to the time when the young man should have distributed his goods..

 

 

Matthew 19:28 -- Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

 

The very peculiar style of interpretation which the Holy Scriptures have occasionally undergone in the supposed cause of spiritualization by commentators of great name, is well exemplified in this passage.

 

I have left all and followed thee. What shall be my reward? In the new Genesis, when I, the second Adam, rule the new earth; when the new heaven and the new earth appear, and there is no more sea, and the holy city, new Jerusalem, comes down from God out of heaven, as a bride adorned for me, her husband, and the great Voice out of heaven 'is heard saying, Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away; when this city with twelve foundations appears, and in them the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb; when there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in the city, and his servants shall serve him, and see his face, and have his name on their foreheads, and shall reign for ever and ever, then you shall. sit on a throne and rule also.

 

What does this mean?

 

Dr. Lightfoot, and many more with him, say it means, While I am reigning in heaven you are to preach that Gospel by which the Jews are to be judged. Your doctrine, sent to the twelve tribes in your epistles, may be said to judge and to condemn them!!! -- (See Whitby) The reward for leaving all and following a visible Christ, is to wander about the country without a visible Christ; preaching and writing epistles, with imprisonment, torture, stoning, beating, shipwreck, crucifixion, and so on, continually before you. When Felix sat on a throne and judged you, it was your reward; for in the regeneration, after the day of Pentecost, when I was sitting in the throne of my glory, you were sitting upon a throne judging Felix and one of the tribes of Israel. So much for spiritual interpretation.

 

The only approach to a difficulty in the passage is not explained in this commentary, viz., how the twelve tribes alone, and not the Gentiles also, are represented as being judged by the Apostles; for the doctrine in the apostolic writings can hardly be said to judge either class peculiarly. With respect then to St. Matthias and the other eleven Apostles judging Jews only, it may very well be so, for aught we know, but I hardly think the text is meant to assert it. Though the tribes are mentioned, they are not excludingly mentioned; and at a time when the great mystery of Jew and Gentile being of twain formed into one body, and when the fall of Judas even was not alluded to, it may only be meant that they will judge the tribes among others; which St. Paul might have meant thirty years afterwards by saying, know ye not that the saints shall judge the world.

 

 

Matthew 20:1 -- The parable of the laborers in the vineyard.

 

If we consider our Savior's observations preceding and following this parable, and the occasion in reference to which it was spoken, I do not think that the whole can be consistently interpreted, except by distinguishing the, future salvation of the many from the glory of the few.

 

The young man, in Matthew 19:16, had many virtues; and Jesus even loved him, says St. Mark; but when openly called upon to make his choice between two incompatibles, he preferred staying at home to apostleship.

 

This naturally brought on our Savior's declaration about the future peculiar glory of the twelve Apostles and others who gave up all for him. Judas, however, being one of these twelve, who was to fall from glory even to perdition, and the .young man having almost entered the path of glory, and then fallen back, the observation would naturally be introduced that glory was not eventually to be the lot of those who in men's eyes were first, or bid most fair for it: many of those who thought themselves, or might be thought by others, first in this race, would come in, after all, only for the common salvation; and many who were not thought much of would be with the highest.

 

A parable is then given, connected by the word "for" with that which has preceded it, and describing a class who, on the faith of a covenant of works with God himself (he agreed for a penny a day), were surprised that other classes, who entered into a covenant of free justification (whatsoever is just I will give you) should, for less labor, receive the same gift in the end, as had been covenanted with them; and thus (runs the moral) classes that have little trouble, difficulty, and anxiety in this life, nay yet, the gift of God being free, be equally saved with careworn long-lived toilers in this weary world.

 

Thus -- in this sense -- says Christ, the last shall be first, and the first last. And this he says is in accordance with the truth expressed in other places, "many are called;" for if only they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect. Many will attain to the result which the toilers under the law looked for, viz., salvation; but, as I was saying concerning the young man and those who give up all for me, few will be chosen, few will attain glory. Those who take the parable by itself, without reference to the occasion on which it was spoken, have a comparatively easy task in explaining it, but even then all the explanations I have seen of it are unsatisfactory. How can those, for instance, who are alluded to at the end of it as the called, be those Jews to whom the Gospel Was unsuccessfully preached, in opposition to the chosen, who are those who joined the Christian Church? For all the laborers in the parable belonged to the same class; they followed their call immediately it was made; and what is the penny they all got in this case? And again, if the parable be made to refer to the eternal glory in heaven, how can any one who attains it be described as being discontented? and how can it be said to any one in heaven, "go thy way?" And, worse and more dangerous still, we then give the parable a meaning incompatible with, and directly contrary to, the doctrine of judgment according to works; so directly incompatible and impossible to be reconciled with it, that we cannot really and consciously hold both.

 

Since writing the above I have met with Mr. Trench's well-known "Notes on the Parables." He writes as follows: --

 

"This parable stands in closest connection with the last four verses of the preceding chapter, and can only be rightly understood by their help, so that the actual division of the chapter is here peculiarly unfortunate, causing, as it has often done, this parable to be explained quite independently of the context, and without any attempt to trace the circumstances out of which it sprung. And yet on the right tracing of this connection, and the showing how the parable grew out of, and was in fact an answer to, Peter's question, 'What shall we have?' the success of the exposition will mainly depend. The parable stands only second to that of the unjust steward in the number of explanations, and those the most widely different, that have been proposed for it, as it is also only second to that, if indeed second, in the difficulties which beset it. These Chrysostom states clearly and strongly, though few, I think, will be wholly satisfied with his solution of them. There is first the difficulty of bringing it into harmony with the saying by which it is introduced and concluded, and which it is plainly intended to illustrate; and 2ndly, there is the moral difficulty, the same as finds place in regard of the elder brother in the parable of the prodigal son; viz., how can one who is himself a member of the kingdom of God 'be held,' as Chrysostom terms it, 'by that lowest of all passions, envy and an evil eye,' grudging in his heart the favors shown to other members of that kingdom? Or if it be denied that these murmurers and envious are members of that kingdom, how is this denial reconcilable with the fact of their having labored all day long in the vineyard, and ultimately carrying away their own reward I And lastly, there is the difficulty of deciding what is the salient point of the parable, the main doctrine which we are to gather from it.

 

"Of its many interpreters there are first those who see in the equal penny to all the key to the whole matter, and who say that the lesson to be learned is this -- the equality of rewards in the kingdom of God. This was the explanation which Luther gave in his earlier works, though he afterwards saw reason to withdraw it. But however this may appear, &c. . . . .  others affirm, &c.  . . . .  There are others who make, &c. . . . . "

 

All these views, and their subdivisions and combinations, far too lengthy for quotation, notwithstanding their interest, are with good reason successively condemned, and the view which Mr. Trench himself then gives, it is perhaps hardly necessary to say is, to my mind, equally unsatisfactory with any of the others.

 

 

Matthew 20:21 -- Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand and the other on thy left, in thy kingdom.

 

After seeing the transfiguration, and Moses and Elias on earth, and hearing these parables and discourses, James and John still did not desire to sit with Christ in heaven, but in his kingdom.

 

 

Matthew 21:4, 12, 19 -- All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, Tell ye the daughter of Zion behold thy king cometh And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon but leaves only, and said unto it, let no fruit grow on thee henceforth for ever. And presently the fig-tree withered away.

 

The interesting events of the Sunday and Monday before our Lord's crucifixion, demand the deepest attention from all who would desire to learn, in the record of his actions, the true light in which he would have us regard his person and his office.

 

We learn here, first, that our Lord applied to himself the prophecies concerning a king who was to come to Zion. Secondly, that our Lord accepted the homage of a vast crowd, who, for the day at least, accepted on their part the principles of lowly meekness, on which alone he will gloriously reign. This crowd, it may be observed, was distinct in knowledge, position, and character, from the band of his more intimate attendants. Thirdly, we learn that he performed one act of kingship over his subjects, as distinct from those his associates; and fourthly, that he performed one act of kingship over the inanimate creation. Now the question between the literalists and the so-called spiritualists may, I believe, be fairly stated thus. Are these acts of kingship merely the first of an everlasting series of similar acts of visible kingship, in the strict natural sense, or does his kingship merely mean that he invisibly restrains the Devil within certain limits, and guides human events, directs the seasons according to fixed laws, &c. &c., and will, after his coming, be king as God in heaven, but not as man?

 

When I express my own belief that Christ is to be king as man, I mean that he will rule as a sinless human visible Being on earth, having a spiritual body, and endowed with that Wisdom and Power which he derives from a perfect hypostatical union with the Godhead. And, to express what I mean more fully, I would refer to the strictly human character of his sinless earnest endeavors to get the Jews to accept him on the only principles on which he would rule them. Thus, after the man Christ's baptism, he began to preach the kingdom of God or heaven; but he took care at Nazareth, when at first he was most favorably received, to offend the people immediately, by letting them know that his care extended to other nations as well as them. While laboring to let his principles be widely known, and most earnestly calling his people to him, showing them throughout how the very creation would serve them, and all their physical, and mental, and moral diseases and sufferings would be destroyed, if they would accept him, he yet boldly told whole cities that he intended to judge them more hardly than he would even Sodom and Gomorrah. People were much divided as to whether he was the king they expected or not; and the more desirous they were, on some occasions, of accepting his kingship without accepting the principles on which he will reign, so much the more did he endeavor to prevent this, and to offend them by openly stating that with all his lowliness he was their God (John 6). The Nation took three years to discuss the question of his claim, Tell us plainly, how long dost thou make us to doubt, art thou the Christ? And up till the last week public opinion seemed inclining to accept him. But however much his human inclination desired to gather the children of his Jerusalem as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wing, when he found that  "they would not," he did not force their wills, though he might have had twelve legions of angels wherewith to do so; but he waited, say the literalists, till they should say blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord; or, say the so-called spiritualists, he will never literally fulfill on earth the rest of the prophecies about his kingship; but he reigns now, through his human Spirit, in the Church, or in men's hearts, and not bodily, and he will reign hereafter in heaven.

 

The command to us is Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me." It being allowed that they testify of the above acts of kingship, and no principle being laid down by which we may distinguish between those acts and the others that are equally and in like terms prophesied of him, I accept the latter as well as the former, and in the same sense. I believe that Christ shall yet reign in Mount Zion. "Behold the man whose name is the Branch, and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord; even he shall build the temple of the Lord, and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne, and he shall be a priest upon his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both."

 

 

Matthew 22:2 -- The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king which made a marriage for his son.

 

Maitland (Eruvin, p. 202), illustrating the fact that a share in the peculiar kingdom of Christ, as distinct from that of the most High God, has been offered only to a part of the human race, writes as follows. --

 

"This matter may, I think, be well illustrated by the parable in which our Lord compares the kingdom of heaven to the celebration of the marriage of a king's son. In that case the entertainment was not provided or intended for all the king's subjects. The invitation was given to a certain part of them; and it was not until they had refused to come, that the servants were sent forth into the streets and lanes off the city, and afterwards, with a more extended commission, into the highways and hedges. They were commissioned to bring indiscriminately any whom they might find; but it was not intended that they should bring in all the subjects of the king, but only so many as that the house might be filled. It was obviously not the intention of the king to call in the whole population of his kingdom, but only so many as that the wedding might be furnished with guests.

 

"To apply this parable to that kingdom of heaven, respecting which it was professedly delivered by our Lord, I would say that it appears to me that the period during which our Lord offered himself, and sent out his disciples to those to whom exclusively he came, and which he has called the time of their visitation, answers to that in which the servants are represented as going forth to inform those guests who had been already invited that the supper was ready. The rejection of Christ by the Jewish people, answers to the refusal of the guests. The sending forth of the servants with more extended commission was (when our Lord delivered the parable prophetic of that commission which he meant to give to his disciples, and under which the Gentile Church has been and is being collected, and upon which she now acts. I am not fond of pressing resemblances too close, but I' cannot help imagining some reference to what certainly has been the case. The servants were sent first into the streets and lanes of the city. They executed their commission and returned, saying, Lord it is done as thou halt commanded, and yet there is room. They were then directed to go out into the highways and hedges, and compel those whom they should meet to come in. Is it fanciful to suppose that, in this twofold commission, some allusion is made to two periods; the first, that long period in which the preaching of the Gospel was confined almost entirely to Europe, or at least to what was once the Roman Empire; and the second a period, but recently begun, in which unprecedented exertions are making to spread the knowledge of the Gospel of the kingdom over the whole world? It may be fanciful, but I seem to recognize in the missionaries to Greenland, to Otaheite, to New Zealand, to the Indians of the East and of the West, to the Caffre, and the Hottentot, those servants who were sent into the ' highways and hedges.' But whether this is well founded or not, we see, I think, in the sending forth of the servants to seek guests indiscriminately from all the king's subjects who had been hitherto uninvited, a clear reference to the bringing in of the Gentile Church, and learn perhaps something of the reason why that Church has been formed, and of the extent to which we may expect that it will be increased.

 

"Following the language of the parable, I should say that, from the time of the rejection of the Jews to the present moment, the marriage supper of the lamb has waited, because there are not so many guests brought in as those for whom it has been provided; or, in the words of our Church, because God has not yet 'accomplished the number of his elect.' In the meantime the table is gradually filling from the highways and hedges. Gentiles are taken to fill up the place of the Jews; and, perhaps, those who are thus brought into the kingdom of heaven form that filling up, or 'fullness of the Gentiles,' of which the Apostle speaks: and when that fullness shall have come in -- when the table shall be furnished with guests -- then shall be celebrated the marriage supper of the Lamb. Such appears to be the expectation of our Church, when she prays that God would 'speedily accomplish the number of his elect, and hasten his kingdom.' When the fullness of the Gentiles shall thus have come in, all Israel shall be saved, for the Redeemer shall come out of Zion; their God and their King shall be seen 'upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice from thenceforth, even for ever."'

 

 

Matthew 22:20 -- Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's.

 

Those who hold that Christ is reigning at present through his Church, or in the hearts of individuals, hold that this is perfectly compatible with his subjects paying tribute to temporal powers, whether the latter be professedly Christian or heathen. It would follow that if the Jews had accepted Christ on his own unchangeable principles, and he had reigned over them on those principles, in the sense in which the prophets would lead us to expect him, he would have paid tribute to the external Roman power, to whom he says it was lawfully and properly due. I do not see the slightest trace of a renunciation here by our Savior of temporal power over the Jews, in his thus owning the claims of the Romans to tribute.

 

Even our human wisdom 'may tell us that the Romans would very soon have seen the advantage of his principles of government over their own, and would have come bowing down to him of their own accord, had the Jews given him the opportunity of manifesting himself. Foreigners accepted him, we know, after 300 years, even in his absence. The world would have been redeemed from the grasp of its usurper by this time, had its king been with it. Who would not prefer health, mutual confidence, peace, fertile seasons, and a just distribution of labor, to even our present average quantity of sickness, distrust, war, famine, and burdensome oppressions? And, 1800 years ago, the contrast between our Lord's system and the world's would have been far greater than it is at present.

 

Are those who deny that Christ's reign upon earth will be temporal, of opinion that if the Jews had not changed their mind after Palm Sunday, the judgment -- day would have taken place, and the Jews would have ascended to heaven, and the Romans gone down to hell?

 

 

Matthew 22:30 -- In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

 

St. Luke's words (Luke 20:36) are that they neither marry nor are given in marriage; neither can they die any more, for they are equal unto the angels, and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. The two passages taken together, and with reference to the question which had been asked, show that they are on an equality with the angels in not dying, and so not needing marriage to keep up their numbers.

 

 

Matthew 22:44 --The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou on my right hand till I make thine enemies thy footstool.

 

There being no need of argument to prove that our Lord will at a certain period leave his Father's right hand, we need only remark that in Psalm ex., whence this quotation is taken, there is no revelation made us of his returning. In the day of his power -- the day that is, when he shall cone in power and great glory -- it is said that his immediate adherents shall be willing, but the willingness is apparently a willingness to rule from Zion in the midst of his enemies. The great day of trouble is notified, and the perfection of human government described in the absolute unity of the temporal and spiritual power in Christ. The Lord sware, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek.

 

 

Matthew 23:39 -- I say unto you, ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

 

These words, as we have already seen, were used by the body of the people, when they owned our Savior for a short time as their King, though riding meek and lowly into Jerusalem. Our Savior here declares that, after a while they should not see him any more till they used the same words again. They are -- as is so often the case in our Savior's sayings -- a quotation; and if we turn to the 118th Psalm (Psa. 118), and if we take the simple natural sense of it, there is nothing obscure or difficult in reading therein as follows: Israel and the house of Aaron are to pass through some distress, from which they are to be delivered and set in a large place. All nations are to compass them about, but, in the name of the Lord, and through his strength and exalted right hand, they are to destroy them. Israel then praises the Lord for hearing her; and the stone which the builders refused having become the headstone of the corner, Israel breaks out into the exclamation, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

 

Now it is a fact that since our Lord's -- departure from the temple, it has been left desolate, exactly as he prophesied; and there has been no deliverance yet by Christ's interposition in any siege or attack on the Jews. Nor have they as yet nationally said, Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord. Let us see then whether any light is thrown by any other prophecy upon a yet future siege and deliverance.

 

In Zechariah 12 we read as follows: --

 

"The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel saith the Lord, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layette the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.

 

Behold I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people; all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. In that day, saith the Lord, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness,* and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness. And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, There is strength to me and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the Lord of Hosts their God. In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf, and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left, and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem. The Lord also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah. In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David, and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him as one that is in bitterness for his first-born. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon; and the land shall mourn, every family apart (compare Matthew 24; then shall all the tribes of the land mourn), the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; all the families that remain; every family apart, and their wives apart."

 

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* See Rubens' well-known picture of the Conversion of St. ]Paul. When all the tribes of the land of Judah do mourn, this sign of the son of man in heaven will probably convert them as it did him.

 

 

A siege is here very fully described, which it must be observed cannot by any possibility be the siege by Titus, because there was then no deliverance of the Jews, but the contrary; nor could it of course be any siege before our Savior's time, for they could not then look on him whom they had pierced. It appears then that the Parousia, during which is to be the preparation for the eventual restitution of all things, is to be a time of probation to the non -- saints then living, and will be ushered in by Christ coming in judgment and vengeance on the then living generation; or, in other words, by a physical defeat of a confederacy of armies at Jerusalem, through the immediate visible instrumentality of the man Christ himself.

 

Again, turn to Zechariah 14: --

 

"Behold the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee, for I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished, and the half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city; then shall the Lord go forth and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem, on the east; and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof, toward the east and toward the west; and there shall be a very great valley, and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains, &c., and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee."

 

Can any one reasonably expect any prophecies to be clearer than these? They prove that the immediate precurring sign before our Lord's coming, the sign of the son of man in the political heavens, will be a great inroad into Judeea, with a siege and a half capture of Jerusalem. And when this takes place, the tribes of the land of Israel will at last truly mourn and repent, and will say, Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord; and then he that shall come will come, and every eye shall see him, they also that pierced him. Surely no one can be wrong, or visionary, or fanciful, in looking with interest to the state of the eastern and western powers, and of the Jewish nation, in reference to such an expected event. If Christ's feet standing on the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem to the east, and where the angels, at his ascension, said he would in like manner return, can be still taken by some minds to mean his spiritual presence, in some signal way, in the Christian Church, I can only repeat that on such principles of interpretation " Christ " may very likely indeed really mean the Pope, and "all his saints" the College of the Propaganda. *

 

 

 

 

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* "We may conclude, then, that all the promises and predictions in Scripture relative to the future glories of the Jews and of Jerusalem, are to be understood of the Christian Church, of which the Jewish Church was a figure; and all that is said of feasting, and splendor, and wealth, and worldly greatness, and enjoyment, is to be interpreted spiritually of the inward comfort, and peace of mind, and. 'joy of the Holy Ghost' (1 Thess. 1:6), which is promised to sincere Christians in this life, and the unspeakable happiness prepared for them after death." -- From "The Scripture Revelations concerning a Future State," by a Country Pastor; attributed to His Grace the Archbishop of Dublin, p. 167. Are all the descriptions of sieges, sorrow, dispersion, and anxiety, to be interpreted also spiritually of the inward doubts, assaults of Satan, schisms, and insincerity of Christians, and of the eternal damnation prepared for them in hell?

 

 

 

Matthew 24:3 -- Tell us when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming and of the end of the age?

 

Observe here Christ saying the house should be left unto them desolate, is one thing; saying they should not see him henceforth till they should turn to him, is another.

 

Accordingly one disciple (see Mark 13:1), deprecating the first, pleaded the beauty and strength of the building, and the four chief Apostles, having considered the matter between his sorrowful final departure from the temple and their arrival at the Mount of Olives, asked him about both; tell us first, when shall these things be, i. e., the desolation of the house; and tell us secondly, what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the age.

 

Accordingly it is very easy to divide our Lord's answer into its twofold division; the center point of the first being the abomination of the desolation of the house; that of the second being "the sign of the Son of Man in heaven," and the end of the age.

 

Two or three verses indeed between the two parts may possibly apply to both; but, otherwise, all in the first part is known to have already happened, and none in the second. For instance: if the carcass round which the eagles, are gathered belongs to the first division, it would allude to the dying Jewish polity, and the eagles to the well-known standards of the Roman army. But if it belongs to the second, then the evident fact that Christ's Church is no longer an organized one living Body, would be meant by calling it a carcass; and the eagles would typify the attack of government, people, half -- learned thinkers, &c. &c.; the judgment that will begin in it as the house of God, and bring on the tribulation which begins the second division. The simile of the lightning would appear from the context to indicate the indubitability and visibility of Christ's presence, rather than its suddenness.

 

These few remarks upon this text I have introduced rather for the sake of making comprehensible what I shall hereafter have to say upon this chapter, than for any immediate reference they have to the proper subject of the work. It is to the point, however, to observe that if the reason why our Savior gave at one and the same time two predictions is that he was asked two questions, we may not use his doing so as a justification for confounding together, as is often done, other distinct predictions about these events.

 

 

Matthew 24:31 -- They shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

 

It is perhaps most likely that this is a mere phrase, signifying from the north, south, east and west quarters of the earth, where the elect living and the bodies of the elect dead are.

 

We shall, however, meet several times in the course of our investigations with phrases implying a locality also for spirits or disembodied saints, who are said to depart and be with Christ, or to be in Paradise, or perhaps in this text to be gathered together from heaven; and the Holy Spirit is said to have come on the day of Pentecost, and to dwell in its; and the devils to have entered into the herd of swine; and virtue, which is neither a spirit nor a body, nor a being of any kind, is said to have gone out of our Savior; with very many similar phrases.

 

The examination of what we really mean when we say all this, is not only a duty and a satisfaction, but will be found to throw great light upon many of the most serious disputes among Christians.

 

We use, almost universally, words which imply that spirits as well as bodies are in definite localities, and that spirits move from one place to another, as bodies do.

 

The Holy Scriptures use these phrases; and while we are what we are, we always must use them. Let us endeavor, by God's grace, to understand them spiritually. The spiritual sense is here indeed the proper sense.

 

When the Lord and giver of life, who is not less than the Father, came on the day of Pentecost, can any Christian man suppose that he left somewhere or other, so as not any longer to be there, and that he traveled at a certain rate per minute through vacuum, so that every point in his route was first before him, then filled by him, and then behind him; and that when he came to the atmosphere, the bodily particles were impinged upon, and that at last he arrived at the brain or the heart of the Apostles; and that when they walked from one room to another, their motion took him to twelve different points or localities in space, where he before was not? Far be it from any one of us so to interpret the words, " Suddenly there came a sound -- from heaven, and there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and they were all filled With the Holy Ghost."

 

But if we do not mean this, what do we mean by the Comforter being sent and coming.? And if we do not mean this, we must give up altogether all notions about spirits moving from one locality to another like bodies, if, that is, by spirits we really do mean spirits, having no shape or form, no bounds or extremities. And if we give up the notion of spirits moving from a locality, we must equally reject that of their being in any one limited locality or space at all more than in any other; else, being unable to imagine them moving, we must imagine them for ever fixed.

 

The ingenious author of the "Physical Theory of Another Life" has felt this difficulty; and has provided for it by virtually throwing overboard the existence of incorporeal spirits; maintaining that a "spiritual body," -- a body, that is, though a highly attenuated one, is given to created spirits. But instead of inventing theories which we can never substantiate, let us keep to what our own consciousness as well as the testimony of Holy Scripture would lead us to recognize; viz., the actual separate existence of pure spirits. And let us ask, are we then utterly without conception of spirits as connected with particular localities, though certainly not as resident locally in them? Can we or can we not conceive spirits as manifesting themselves in localities, as working in particular places, and in this sense, as coming to those places, though of their actual residence there we have no kind of knowledge whatever? It is very clear, I think, that we can apply a very rational and consistent sense, though not a carnal one, to our words, when we talk of spirits being in a place.

 

Far be it from us to intrude into things unseen. The only spirits any man knows are his own, the human spirit of Christ, and the Holy Spirit; and of these three the two latter are continually confounded by our most popular writers and teachers. And yet a very distinct and definite meaning can surely be given to the phraseology of Holy Scripture.

 

When a spirit or angel is said to be in a place, it means, as far as we are concerned, that he acts in that place. It may mean more among themselves, but it means nothing more to us. All notion of a spirit moving from one place to another is to be rejected, for all motion is bodily. And all notion of locally filling any circumscribed space is to be rejected, for whatever locally fills a circumscribed space is a body. But an angel may act and be manifested first in one place and then in another. And this we should express by his going from one place to another, without meaning to imply anything whatever about the method by which he appears to us to move; as, even in material things, the light is said to come from the sun to the earth; but most people now think that it is merely an action propagated through space, and not a bodily emission of light. When the Holy Ghost dwells in a man, it means that he acts in a man; when he descended upon the Apostles, it means that he acted in them henceforth, without having so acted in them before.

 

The same meaning is applied to the dwelling-place of the human spirit; but we must remember, of course, that an embodied spirit is acted upon in space as well as acts in space. When then we say, "A man's spirit is within him," we do not mean that it is in an actual locality, as the pineal gland of the brain; for, if so, it must have the same shape as the gland, and therefore be a body and not a spirit. We mean, as far as we are concerned, that it acts, from within, through the brain, the eye, the tongue, the members, and is also acted upon within through these members.

 

I am aware that our habit of confounding immaterial and material things are so inveterate, that there will be considerable difficulty in realizing all these points; which yet, I am convinced, must be done, and done too in a popular comprehensible way, before disputes in the Church can be settled. The great subjects on which our generation is painfully beating the air, and most uncertainly striving, are all connected with the meaning of the word presence, as applied to spirits. How, viz., is Christ's human spirit, and how is the Holy Spirit present in men's spirits, and in bodily elements, and in the Church? One great thing is to distinguish the notion of power from that of locality. There is a great power, people would say, in a bushel of coals. This is true. But it does not mean that there is something of a certain shape and size which resides locally in the coal; it means that the power will act in the coal. This I give merely as an illustration, for the power of heat is not a spiritual but a simple motive power.

 

I will apply very briefly what I have said only to one point, viz., to the presence of Christ in the Christian.

 

The human spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit, our guardian angels, the devil's angels, the spirits of men now living, our own spirits, all act in exciting, quelling, strengthening, resisting, balancing, exaggerating, recalling to memory, or pushing out of memory, the various sensations, imaginations, emotions, and judgments, which are ever, succeeding each other in the mind of man. The Christian has the peculiar privilege that, through the operation of the Holy Spirit, his spirit has been placed into intimate relationship with his Lord's human spirit. If his spirit. have vitality in it, these states of mind act through it, on his Lord's spirit, and the more sensitive and strong his spirit is, the more readily it transmits the action to Christ, and also Christ's reflex action upon the mental phase. If the mental phase were some temptation to sin, the man who thus is united to Christ transmits the temptation, and by the reflex strength overcomes it, and works out his own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in him both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

 

The phrase "worketh in him," I suppose to be synonymous, when applied to spirits, with the phrase "is in him;" and neither of them imply in any way a locality in space, but only an action in space.

 

If this is what we mean when we say our spirits are in Christ now; and if it is revolting to our reason, and against revelation, to say that our spirits are in our pineal glands, or in Christ locally, or in any other way than as acting and being acted upon spiritually by the bodily vibrations of the brain, or by Christ, are we to invent, to imagine without any authority, a new material local meaning, a new sort of meaning, for the same phrases, when we say to depart and be with Christ is far better, or the elect spirits are to come with him. When the spirits which were pervious to Christ's reflex action during life-time are said to be with him after death, it does not mean, as far as we know, that they have shapes and fill a certain locality, but that, the veil of the flesh being removed, and faith done away with, they enjoy the spiritual action of Christ immediately and vividly.

 

It may be objected to all this, that it makes created spirits omnipresent, and that omnipresence is the peculiar attribute of God. But if we attend to the definition of spiritual presence, we shall see that this objection is unfounded. Bodily omnipresence is the filling all space at once; spiritual omnipresence is the acting in all space at once. God does sustain and preserve all created things at once. Angels do not do so, and therefore angels are not omnipresent.

 

That the Lord Jesus Christ, God and Man, Head of all created things, in heaven and in earth, does, and will for all time, act in all space at once, is the comfortable and glorious belief of Christians. Concerning his saints, his members, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, he has prayed that, "As thou Father art in me, and I in thee, they also may be one in us." Very much there is in Holy Scripture to encourage such to believe that all space shall be present to them too at once in Christ; in the spiritual Body of their and His resurrection; while locomotion shall still be the lot of the merely saved. Locomotion is the plan which our Maker has devised for enabling the spirit of man to communicate consecutively with considerable, numbers of distinct portions of created things. For a man to speak to a friend at his right hand, and then to another at his left, a lapse of time only is requisite, no new spatial sensations need occupy first his mind; but should he seek for intercourse with any created being in Australia, vast amounts of matter, sea, and land, and air, and all therein, must first exert a certain action upon him.

 

We communicate spiritually, even now, with our absent Lord, without this interposition of other previous actions of matter. When he comes, his own flock shall see him as he is, and be in and with him; and the more we consider it the more the phrase "Deification of the Saints" appears not too strong to express to us that intimate union with him who filleth all things which He shall then give to them that wait for him.

 

 

Matthew 24:39 -- So shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken and the other left.

 

The straightforward meaning of this text is that our Lord's coming will take place at a definite instant of time; that he will find people at their usual occupations; and that some of them will then be taken to him, and others left as they were. The expectation of many people, however, seem to omit anything of this kind, being altogether derived from the description in the next chapter; and it is that at his coming he will sit upon the throne of his glory, viz., in the clouds, and immediately call all men, of every sort and kind whatever, to his right and left hand, and then pass judgment upon all. These two notions, it is obvious, are incompatible. There is then a difficulty. How are we to treat it?

 

The first and most obvious method is to explain away our short text, and accept the longer and detailed passage as it is popularly understood. Accordingly, Christ's coming is here considered to be the coning of Death! to each of us (a glorious coming, indeed, in the clouds of heaven!), or the highly probable hypothesis is suggested, that the Roman armies approaching Jerusalem, were likely to take one woman at a mill prisoner, or kill her, or something of the sort, and leave the other; and the suitableness of the injunction, watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come, is perhaps dwelt upon.

 

To have mentioned these interpretations is enough at present. We may always come back to them if we find no better way of solving the difficulty. We are then here taught -- that the first event consequent upon our Lord's coming, is the rapture of the saints; the dead in Christ shall rise first, this is the first resurrection -- the resurrection from the dead, and not the resurrection of the dead. Then some of them which are alive shall be caught together with them in the clouds ("caught-up" is not in the Greek), to meet the Lord in the air; and so will they be ever with the Lord. This being supposed to be conceded, let us now pass along the next chapter, and see whether what we find. there is consonant with, or rather contrary to, this doctrine of two distinct resurrections. First comes the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. And we immediately remark here, that five of these also are taken, and five are left. And this is explained to us by the fact, that five went with Christ to the marriage. The marriage of the Lamb is the well-known scriptural phrase for the union of Christ with his saints in glory, and excludes the mass of Christians, who, we here find, are shut out, but not otherwise condemned. Thus so far as this, all is still consistent. This parable we must remember, is not a description of the kingdom of heaven in general, but at the particular epoch of Christ's coming, then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened, &c. We next come to the parable of the talents, where again saints are described, who are to rule over cities, and not simply to enter into eternal life, but into the joy of their Lord. One who was left -- a foolish virgin -- appears here as condemned to outer darkness.

 

We now arrive at the statement, "When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory." I do not see that we may lawfully begin here, as is so often done, and take this to be the first verse of a detailed description of the whole of the judgment -- day in its widest sense; that is to say, I do not see that we may lawfully cut it off from all these preceding parables, which undoubtedly do describe epiphanal events; as also from the 24th chapter; especially as both chapters were spoken at one and the same time. The whole of the 24th and 25th chapters are the answer to the question: "Tell us when shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the age ?" If, then, it is true, first that the saints will be declared already judged ipso facto by their being taken to Christ at the epiphany: secondly, that the living will pass through a purgatorial judgment of the living; and, thirdly, that the great mass of mankind, viz., the dead, will be judged at what is more usually called the judgment-day; then it will probably be found that these two chapters, taken as a whole, can be divided into portions descriptive of these several events. I am disposed to give very great weight to the fact, that the system I am explaining does enable us to read these two chapters through in chronological order; for if such an important discourse of our Blessed Savior as this is may reasonably have its middle part taken out and read separately, and its beginning and ending read as separate discourses, how are we ever to arrive at certainty, or even at probability, that we have correctly guessed his mind?

 

 

We have then: --

 

Matthew 24:4-29 -- The abomination of Gentiles desolating the temple.

 

Matthew 24:29-32 -- Events accompanying the yet future siege of Jerusalem. (See remarks on 2 Pet. 3.)

 

Matthew 24:32-36 -- General observations, and to

 

Matthew 25:31 -- The Epiphany and gathering of saints, which we have already seen reason to suppose will be subsequent to the siege of Jerusalem.

 

We then arrive at the sitting on the throne of glory; and this would have been immediately understood by our Lord's hearers to be synonymous with the filling the throne of David at Jerusalem; for the judgment of the living. The Apostles had but a short time before had a definite promise concerning this very event. "In the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." So far, then, all is hitherto perfectly consistent.

 

And now a new and distinct event is described, viz., the judgment of the dead, and the placing the majority of them, as we may well think, in an earth from which the Devil shall by that time have been expelled, so that from henceforth and for ever their happiness will depend upon their own characters, and will not be marred by adverse influence. Several enemies, we know, are to be destroyed before death is swallowed up in victory on the mountains of Judea (Isa. 25), where Christ is to sit. Christ would have been earnestly desirous, we doubt not, at his first advent, to have led men in destroying leprosy, possession by devils, sickness, labor for perishing things, unjust distribution of property, and all the other evils he opposed, but men would not at that time follow him. He was left alone (though yet never alone, for the Father is ever with him, -- he is God while man). Death will not be swallowed up in victory till the general resurrection to life of the great mass of dead men takes place. When, then, but in the Parousia, when Christ, previous to the destruction of this last enemy, is sitting on the throne of his glory, are these other enemies to be first vanquished? The sea will, during this period, be filled up, and the earth regenerated (Rev. 21:1), giving room for all men to abide on the earth at once; but the cities which the saints are to rule over, will then be filled with the dead as well as the living; the twelve tribes of dead as well as living Jews will be collected for the Apostles to judge. Before Christ we now read, and most likely this is to be more than a thousand years after his advent, -- for of the time the text tells us nothing,  -- before him shall be gathered all nations. No acts of intimate joyful communion between him and them are then detailed; nothing of equality or high privilege is hinted at. "He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats, and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left." Now, here the English phrase, " Come ye blessed of my Father," has tended, we can hardly doubt, very much to advance the notion that this is a description of the judgment of the blessed saints as well as others; and thus the doctrine of the two resurrections, and all that depends upon it, has been confused through our unfortunate translation. But the word "blessed" here has nothing whatever to do with happiness. I repeat it again emphatically, eulogos, in the Greek language, has no connection whatever with happiness. It means what is reasonable, or probable, or can be well said of a man. Thus, at the highest, the verb derived from it, comes to mean to praise. The word blessed in the beatitudes is a different word, one which is specifically and distinctly used, throughout the whole range of Greek literature, as indicating the highest grade of happiness, as connected and derived from that of the gods. The word, in our text means, Come ye praised, justified, or well spoken of by my Father; but it is not synonymous with Come ye sanctified, ye glorified, ye who love God. The extraordinary ignorance of Christian doctrine displayed by these "nations," or "Gentiles, must often have struck those who confound them with Christian saints, but is nothing surprising now that we see who they are. There are some, it is true, called righteous among them, but righteous and holy are by no means the same thing in the New Testament. Well will it be, indeed, for them to be well spoken of in that day by him whom not knowing they relieved; but they do not enter into glory, or the joy of Christ, or sit on thrones, or rule cities, or enjoy a marriage feast -- only the general term life eternal is used.

 

It will however, doubtless, be immediately observed that the word " come " is made use of here, and that I have myself two or three times dwelt upon this word as implying communion with Christ, just as the words "go in peace" do not necessarily imply more than salvation from the power of some evil.

 

If the word " come " is a verb off motion here, the objection is a strong one; but if it is probably only used as an enclitic, no argument can be founded upon it.

 

The best way to decide in which of the two ways the word is here to be taken, is by looking at the nine other cases (exclusive of repetitions) where the same word is used in the New Testament.

 

We have then (Matthew 4:19), "Follow me," or come behind me. It implies motion, but then it is used with a preposition of motion after it.

 

Matthew 11:28 -- Come unto me all ye that labor, &c. It is again used with a preposition of motion.

 

Matthew 21:38 -- Come let us kill him. There is no preposition here, but the word "come" does not seem to imply motion in this case The sense would be the very same if it were omitted.

 

Matthew 22:4 -- Come unto the wedding. With a preposition.

 

Matthew 28:6 -- Come; see the place where the Lord lay. No preposition. They were already at the place.

 

Mark 6:31 -- Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place. With preposition. Verb of motion,

 

John 4:29 -- Come; see a man who told me, &c. A doubtful case; especially as the Greek Lexicons do actually call this word an adverb, and not a verb. It may be read as an invitation to the Samaritans to come, and they certainly did go out of the town; but the mind of the speaker was plainly not on the motion of the Samaritans, but on 'the man whom she was directing them to see.

 

John 21:12 -- Come; dine. They were already on shore. The word is enclitic.

 

Rev. 19:17 -- Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper, &c. If the preposition "unto " refers to the word "come," as well as to the word "gather," it is a verb of motion; if not, it is enclitic.

 

These examples then prove that, in the present case, where there is no preposition there is no stress and no argument to be laid on the word "come."

 

 

Matthew 24:34 -- Come ye praised of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

 

Without reference to the distribution of rewards among the different classes of the saved, we have here, in the natural sense of this passage, almost a distinct assertion that the locality of the kingdom of Christ is to be the world or earth. The well-spoken-of are to inherit some place, property, or kingdom, which has been prepared, it seems, exactly the same length of time which this world has been. Now it is not revealed that any other world or kingdom was prepared at the same time with this earth. We know, too, that the coming of the second Adam is connected with a "regeneration " of some faulty thing or other, such as that of this world, which was originally pronounced good, with a "restitution" of all faulty things. Does not therefore our conclusion naturally seem to follow? Two kingdoms might indeed possibly have been prepared at one and the same time, but the point is, that we are nowhere in Scripture told so; nor is it anywhere implied. Both governors and governed may be said, each in their own way, to inherit this kingdom. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the ruling places in it. Every one who has forsaken anything for Christ, shall in nowise lose his reward, but shall receive an hundred fold, and inherit everlasting life; but many that are first shall be last and the last first; and God will give to the well-spoken-of, even as unto them, eternal life; for it is lawful for him to do what he, will with the earth, he made.

 

 

Matthew 26:29 -- I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the Vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.

 

Our thoughts are irresistibly carried to our Lord's eating a piece of broiled fish and an honeycomb, after his resurrection, and to St. Peter's statement in Acts 10:41, that the Apostles eat and drank with him after he rose from the dead. Could we possibly have a more striking proof that materialism is to remain after the resurrection, in the spiritual body? But how distressing it is that some of our Lord's followers think he only pretended to eat and drink. Putting aside the question of the verbal inspiration of Holy Scripture, and taking St. Peter's assertion that the Apostles eat and drank with him, merely as the assertion of an eye-witness to a matter of fact, I can have no sympathy with the "philosophy" or "spirituality" which accuses St. Peter of falsehood or mistake in his assertion. How well did our Savior know what was in man when he said, If they believe not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. What is there unspiritual, wicked, or defiling, in eating and drinking? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, why hast thou made me thus? That which entereth into a man defileth not a man. We know, indeed, that there shall in no wise enter into the holy Jerusalem anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination or maketh a lie; but as to eating and drinking, "he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month."

 

 

Matthew 28:18 -- All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

 

The phrase "given unto me," shows that our Brother here speaks as a man, and alludes to the peculiar connection he now has with material and spiritual creation, as the reward of his sufferings. He states that all power was given him on earth. But how has he hitherto shown it? We cannot deny that all things on earth are not yet put under his feet, and that his name is not yet above every name in the mouths of the majority of men on earth, whatever it may be among the angels in heaven. We also know that there will be no essential change in this aspect of things before his coming; for when he comes, it will be in anger, and he will not find the faith on the earth. If then the usual notion of a brief judgment day and a deportation to two localities of all earth's inhabitants be maintained, it is hard to see in what his "power on earth" will have issued.

 

 

THE FUTURE HUMAN KINGDOM OF CHRIST

CHAPTER III.

ST. MARK.

 

Mark 4:11 -- Unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables; that seeing they may see and not perceive, and hearing they may hear and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted and their sins should be forgiven them.

 

How awfully does a wide-spread misapprehension upon any one portion of the Christian revelation react upon the Church in many different ways. Take the text as an example. Here we have a passage which is received on equal authority with any other into the Canon of Scripture, and which takes equal rank therefore with any other in the mind of the humble believer, as the authentic word of God. But we have been brought up in a tradition concerning heaven and hell, which most likely never entered into the head of any of the Evangelists, Apostles, or early Christians; and words therefore which embodied, probably, to them (after Pentecost) but the most simple and self-evident view of Christ's office and methods of action, have been, to millions of us, the source of the most heart-rending doubts;, entailing but too often upon the individual mind either a grievous temptation to dishonesty, a resolute and cowardly shutting of the eyes to God's word, or an open avowal of unbelief.

 

But I will not quote passages from the Calvinistic controversy; I will not chronicle the opinion of Christians that God takes pleasure in -- or at least derives glory from -- the damnation of his creatures; though sad things indeed have been written and said upon such subjects. I would rather ask how those who are "without " at the present day are likely to be struck with the interpretation which we can hardly avoid (with our present traditions) giving to these words of the Adorable Loving Savior. Perforce the intellectual multitudes of our busy cities must be expected to give to these words, so plain as they are, their natural sense. And so surely ought they. To answer the close -- reasoning and very likely conscientious opponent by explaining them away, is not the way to convince him of the truth of Christianity, nor ought it to be the way to do so. Let us own that Christ would not speak openly to the masses, and let us not deny but that his reason for refusing to do so is given us plainly enough: it was, lest they should turn to him, and their sins should be forgiven them, and he should heal them. So it is written, and none used to see therein any difficulty.

 

The shocking doctrine that the Teacher sent from God, the Self sacrificer, the Example, the Brother, the Redeemer, refrained from openly speaking, lest his hearers should go to heaven, and that his hearers might go to hell, this detestable blasphemous impiety follows most reasonably and lucidly, upon our present system, from the words of our text; for if any one were now told upon his deathbed that his sins were forgiven, he would consider it the same thing as an intimation that he should be glorified in heaven. And here I may observe, that even if it be possible, by fitting the words of St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. John, into those of St. Matthew, to produce, a sense from the four together, which is not so obviously open to this interpretation, yet it is very extraordinary that St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. John, if they exercised their judgments in the choice of words, should not have seen how liable their selection was to misapprehension; and if they wrote immediately under the verbal inspiration of the Holy Spirit, then the Holy Spirit is plainly speaking to us now in parables, the effect of which upon millions has obviously been that seeing we have not seen, hearing we have not heard, nor been converted, nor healed; and much sin has been perpetrated in consequence.

 

Upon the Scriptural principles which I am advocating, there seems no difficulty at all in this passage. The motive of our Savior was most simple and reasonable.

 

Healing of sickness and forgiveness of sin, it requires but a very cursory perusal of the Gospels to assure us, were the gift of our Savior, upon the simple condition of faith in him. Faith, and faith only, was the requisite. There is, -- no hint of any inquiry having been made by him into the previous life as a condition of forgiveness or healing, except perhaps that the worst living people had the most favors of this kind shown them. "He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief " (Matthew 13:58). "Jesus said unto them believe ye that I am able to do this. They said unto him yea, Lord. Then touched he their eyes saying, according to your faith be it unto you, and their eyes were opened " (Matthew 9:28). "Jesus seeing their faith, said unto the sick of the palsy, son be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee" (Matthew 9:2). " Daughter be of good comfort, thy faith hath made thee whole." " As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, be not afraid, only believe, &c." (Mark 5:36.) "If thou canst do anything, have compassion on us and help us. Jesus said unto him, if thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth " (Mark 9:22).

 

Now the crowds which were following our Savior from all parts of the country, at this period of his ministry, were beginning to show very evident signs of faith in him. " The multitude sat about him" (Mark 3:32). "The multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread" (Mark 3:20). "A great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judaa, and from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and from beyond Jordan, and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him, and he spake to his disciples that a small ship should wait on him, because of the multitude, lest they should throng him, for lie had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues; and unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him" (Mark 5:7). They came by force to make him a king. Many even of the chief rulers believed on him (John 12:42).

 

And what then would have been the consequence of all this if it had, gone on unchecked? I contend that all of Christ's work that we know anything about has reference to earth, and that we may examine into the future consequences to mankind of his having forgiven their sins in this life, by inquiring into the earthly consequence that would have followed from his so doing. Surely then, in this case, instead of this man spoiling principalities and powers, and making a show of them openly, triumphing over them, they would have been able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. Christ would not, if this had gone on, have been at all nearer the conquering evil upon earth, which is declared to have been the object of his coming, and it is never declared that his actions had reference only to a futurity, where glory and misery were the only alternatives, and the glory of which would have been ensured to any one by accepting his person. If our Savior, by "hard sayings," by obscure "parables," by purposely assaulting the deepest prejudices of his followers, had not kept them, as far as he could, from turning to him, and being forgiven and healed, the experience of hundreds of years has but too surely shown us that the Jews would have accepted his person without his principles. "Nevertheless (John 12:42), among the chief rulers also, many believed on him," and with what result? " but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue, for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." To prevent then the results we are now suffering from, -- the union of Church and world, of Church knowledge and worldly actions, -- to prevent this, I say, our Lord spoke in parables. He offered himself to the Jews as their king; he promised them on their simple faith, on their simple acceptance of him, a most glorious dominion. He urged them to accept him. Whatever sick individual accepted him, he healed and pardoned him. At the same time, pardoning freely without laying down any condition, he told them -- sin no more, repent, turn from your iniquity, be meek, lowly, follow me as well as believe in me. He found they were inclining to believe in him, but not on his own principles; to believe in him, but not to purify themselves even as he was pure; to run after him, but not really to follow him. Tile therefore, as a most wise master builder, endeavored in a human way to prevent this faith. He sifted them, and united a certain number really to him; and so, without prejudicing their prospects with respect to their state in the resurrection, which depends upon works, i. e., upon the characters worked into our minds, the power of communing with God, which all that we have ever done, thought, or said, has worked into us, just as present privileges do on faith; without prejudicing this, he in fact secured them from next to inevitable relapse and apostasy, rather than let them take a privileged position according to promise for a moment, and then fall like Judas and retard the recovery of other nations. Thus he called them a generation of vipers, the children of the devil, -- he preached His real presence in earthly food, and when they murmured at the apparent impossibility, he told them some of them did not believe, and that none of them could come to him, except it were given him of the Father.

 

Now it is quite as surely revealed that the ultimate position of men in his kingdom will be according to their works done in this age, as it is that their entering thereinto, with all its privileges, depends upon faith only. Hence this course of our Savior in checking their faith at the very time that he was most urgently exhorting them to faith, repentance, and a good life, was doubtless the best way in the end of drawing even that generation then living to grace and glory, and it was far better for the rest of the world, and did not show harshness to any individual. Though faith had the promise that it should result in forgiveness and healing, there was no security, except in true union with him, from falling as Judas did. Neither do I condemn thee, is a pardon; sin no more, an injunction; lest a worse thing happen to thee, shows what the result would have been had the Jews accepted Christ without his principles. They would have fallen; have been far worse off than they were in the method he did pursue; and the Romans would not have joined him on his own principles any more than his own nation. We can see but too plainly, without going far to look, that war, sickness, hatred, cheating, lying, injustice, storms, and extreme heat and cold, and other works of the devil, are a long way off yet from destruction among nations of unholy believers.

 

Since then on our present system we can not understand our Savior's saving actions, but must recognize them as an awful stumbling block laid before vast numbers of Christian minds, and since on the system I am advocating no particular difficulty seems to exist, we may fairly consider this a strong argument in favor of the latter.

 

 

Mark 4:33 -- And with many such parables spake he the word unto them as they were able to bear it, but without a parable spake he not unto them, and when they were alone he expounded all things to his disciples.

 

This remark indicates that there was something in the short preceding parables peculiarly suited to the circumstances of the people just at that time. The people then, as I have observed, were inclining to faith in Christ's person, without troubling themselves to attend overmuch to his instructions. This faith lie endeavored to check and sift, by obscurity of style, and by arousing their prejudices. But mark still the good careful shepherd; for while this method was necessary for their own true interests, he couples it with short speeches as they were able to bear it, earnestly exhorting them not to rest in an inattentive careless position. Take heed what ye hear. If it seem secret now, there is something in it I warn you will not be secret long. If you do not cherish the seed I am sowing, it will be taken away from you. There is something in my words will grow up in a mysterious way, you know not how, like the blade, the ear, and the corn. You make light of these parables as nothing. The little mustard seed will by and bye protect the fowls of the air more than all herbs.

 

 

Mark 6:33, 54 -- And the people saw, them departing, and many knew him and ran a-foot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him. And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him, and ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was. And whithersoever he entered into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment. And as many as touched him were made whole.

 

It must be granted, I think, that in a very substantial sense these crowds believed in Christ. Does it not even appear that they had more faith, not more knowledge, but more faith than the Apostles themselves? The Apostles were just at that point where faith was beginning to produce knowledge. The strength of their faith was sustaining them in the birth pains of knowledge, and faith meanwhile was faint, and "they were sore. amazed in themselves beyond measure and wondered," for they were learning what and in. how great an one they really did believe. Give ye them to eat, said our Savior, but they made no attempt to do so, whereas the crowds, at the hazard of their own inanition from hunger, or else in the faith of the expected good, followed him from place to place. And the Apostles "considered not the miracle of the loaves, for their heart was hardened," but according to the faith of the crowds so was it unto them, "they did all eat and were filled," "as many as touched him were made whole."

 

Still we see very plainly that these crowds were not a crowd of apostles and teachers, were not a company of a hundred and forty and four thousand of the tribes of Israel placed in any peculiar position of glory. They eat, but they were fed. They enjoyed the bread, but did not bless it. They had satisfaction, but exerted no power; and when they had eaten, they were sent away.

 

Let us now turn to the ancient prophets, and see whether or not there is any well marked intimation, not any mere fanciful, but any thoroughly well marked, distinction portrayed in prophecy between two classes of believers; and let us look whether this distinction (if there be one) is to be carried on into time yet future. Compare then Isaiah 54 with Isaiah 55.

 

"Sing, oh barren, thou that didst not bear," &c.

 

Here a wife is spoken of, an address to a definite personage is made. The absence of the husband and grief at the small number of her progeny is the peculiar sorrow of this woman. The definite place where her tent is pitched is alluded to, and she is encouraged to enlarge it. It is prophesied that she shall prevail and increase, and see to the filling of empty cities. The absence of Christ will be no more remembered, the time of his absence will be looked back upon but as a small moment, a little wrath. The covenant with her will not be made at a future day, but has been made already.

 

God has sworn that he would not be wrath with her. Throughout the chapter nothing concerning sin or worldliness or carelessness is mentioned, but much concerning affliction and tossing by tempests.

 

She is, however, yet to be established, far from oppression and in great peace. The final attack, however, which is so often alluded to by the prophets, is to be kept in mind. It will fail. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of God.

 

The next chapter begins "Ho every one that thirsteth," &c. Indefinite numbers are here invited. They are addressed not as people who were particularly grieving for Christ's absence nor as having any definite dwelling place, but rather as having faith without love, they are earnestly exhorted to follow better things than they had hitherto done. They are to leave their principles, or home, and hearken and incline their ears, and come to Christ. The covenant is not made with them yet, but it will be made some future day; and they will have a leader and commander put over them. They are called "the people," and "nations." Exhortations to repentance are made, and the difference between God's ways and theirs dwelt upon. One of these differences, however, is that God is able to carry through all his designs sooner or later, and the comfortable thought is deduced that we may be sure the world will not be finally given up to evil. Then these men will go forth with joy (not glory, but joy and peace), and the curse will be taken off the inanimate creation. That it may be judged whether I have made a fair comparison of these two chapters, I here quote them in full:

 

 

Sing, oh barren, thou that didst not bear, break forth into singing and cry aloud thou that didst not travail with child, for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord. Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thy habitations, spare not; lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes, for thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left, and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. Fear not, for thou shalt not be ashamed, neither be thou confounded, for thou shalt not be put to shame, for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more, for thy maker is thine husband, the Lord of Hosts is his name, and thy Redeemer, the Holy one of Israel, the God of the whole earth, shall he be called. For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth when thou wert refused, saith thy God. For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment, but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, for this is as the waters of Noah unto me, for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be wrath with thee, nor rebuke thee, for the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord, that hath mercy on thee. Oh, thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold I will lay thy stones with fair colors, and lay, thy foundations with sapphires, and I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones, and all thy children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of thy children; in righteousness shalt thou be established; thou shalt be far from oppression, for thou shalt not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near thee. Behold they shall surely gather together, but not by me, whosoever shall gather together against thee, shall fall for thy sake. Behold I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work, and I have created the waster to destroy. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.Ho every one that thirsteth come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat, yea come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not. Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear and come unto me, hear, and your soul shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. Behold thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not; and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee, because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy one of Israel, for he hath glorified thee. Seek ye the Lord while he may be found; call ye upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord; for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts; for as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth; it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it, for ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands; instead of the thorn shall come up the fir -- tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle -- tree, and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign, that shall not be cut off.

 

 

We find then, if I have rightly understood these chapters, that the prophets describe two distinct classes among the inheritors of eternal life; we find that the Savior grouped men around him into the same classes during his bodily sojourn amongst us; we find the prevalent notions of "heaven" not to include these divisions; and it is therefore to be deduced from this that the prevalent notions require correction.

 

 

Mark 9:41 -- Whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward; and whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and he were cast into the sea.

 

There are two dangers which we must be very careful to guard against in teaching, as our Lord here most undeniably teaches, the doctrine of the minute and accurate distribution of rewards and punishments in a future life, according to our works in this.

 

First. Unless carefully warned, men might very easily fall into the mistake of looking only to that part of a deed which is seen, and not to the spirit in which a deed is done. The formal giving of a cup of cold water to any one would be considered to be equivalent to giving it because the recipient belonged to Christ. This mistake is called formalism. It separates the formal act from the informal motive, and takes for a part the credit due to the whole.

 

Secondly. Upon a man's looking back upon his own acts there is often a natural disinclination to discern the Power and the sustaining Spirit from whom the act is done. An act may be done from a good habit, without a direct consciousness at the time, or else from a good discernible motive; but if the agent thinks himself in consequence a profitable servant, not discerning the Spirit who has either worked in him profitably to form his habits according to the predestination of the Father, or to suggest the motive. at the time, and keep off opposite and harassing suggestions of motives from the Evil One, such a man falls into what is called self -- righteousness.

 

Formalism then and self-righteousness are dangers incident to the performance of such good deeds as it comes to our hand to do in this state of our existence.

 

But there is no likelihood whatever of our ever attaining to a true perception of God's will, or of his beautiful system of Truth, if, because of these dangers, we repudiate a doctrine so clearly, so vividly, so often, so earnestly taught us as the strict just and accurate reward of men hereafter according to works done here.

 

Some openly repudiate this doctrine, and oppose faith to works, which God hath not opposed, simply because of these dangers of formality and self-righteousness.

 

But in most minds the doctrine falls quite to the ground from a different cause. It is not denied; it is owned, and often dwelt upon; but a combination of two other doctrines is held with it; viz., first, repentance, faith, &c. -- because of Christ's death -- are efficacious to the forgiveness of sins; and secondly, forgiveness of sins implies going to heaven, i. e., going to happiness and glory. These two, whatever we may say, have in the minds of nine believing Englishmen out of ten, destroyed the very notion, the very possibility of the conception, in any tangible sense whatever, of the doctrine of accurate and exact judgment according to works.

 

How awful is this result.

 

I hold that by one single sincere act of repentance and faith a man can pass from the condition of a runagate to that of a captive.

 

And one effect of Christ's death is to deliver captives. But the making men to be of one mind in an house requires preparation, "for every house is builded."

 

I find then no difficulty in fully holding the efficaciousness of death-bed repentance, and fully holding at the same time that of reward according to works. Is not this scriptural? Can we, can we possibly receive the whole Scripture truth, if we hamper ourselves with things which the Scriptures have not told us about our heaven?

 

 

Mark 10:30 -- And in the world to come eternal life. -- Age to come.

 

Mark 11:17 -- And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written my house shall be called an house of prayer for all nations, but ye have made it a den of thieves?

 

Our Blessed Lord, in this quotation from the prophet Isaiah (Isa. 56:7), was not merely illustrating some doctrine of his own, showing, for instance, that the prophet really taught the same gospel as himself about spirituality of worship, though in a hidden way; he was not explaining or expounding an obscure passage of Scripture, about the junction, for example, of Jew and Gentile in one election; but he was enforcing and reiterating a comprehensible fact laid down in very plain terms.

 

You have made, he said, God's house at Jerusalem a den of thieves; do you not know that it is to be a house of prayer for all the nations?

 

Now our Savior knew, at the time he taught the Jews this, that an hour was very shortly coming when spiritual worshippers, of different nations, would not worship peculiarly at Jerusalem, nor in the rival dissenting temple, nor in one material house anywhere.

 

Again Isaiah; in the same passage, says that the burnt -- offerings and sacrifices of Gentiles shall be accepted on God's altar at Jerusalem.

 

Experience has shown us, however, that hitherto Gentiles have offered up indeed acceptable spiritual sacrifices (1 Peter 2:5) and also incense and pure offerings (Mal. 1:11) in other places, but not unitedly at Jerusalem, and that burnt -- offerings have not yet been offered by them.

 

The prophet's words then do not seem to have been yet fulfilled, either in respect of united worship, or of the kind of worship.

 

And 3rdly, Isaiah, who says here that "strangers" were to be brought to God's holy mountain, and made joyful in his house of prayer, says in another place (Isa. 2:2.) as follows: "and it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow into it. And many people shall go and say, come ye and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us of his ways and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem, and he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people, and they shall beat their swords into plough-shares and their spears into pruning-hooks, nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

 

Does not the worshipping of all nations seem connected here with a regular system of going up to worship; with the keeping the law; with judgment among nations; with rebuking them; and with universal peace and prosperity? To live in a state liable to the rebuke of Christ may be thought indeed to imply damnation, or to be quite inconsistent at least with our notions of salvation; but, upon reflection, does it not seem to be only much the same as living in imperfect communion with him. We do not think that St. Peter is to be less happy to all eternity because he once, said "this be far from thee, Lord." It was no sin to say so; but it showed imperfection. He was rebuked for it. "Get thou behind me, Satan; thou savourest not the things that be of God but the things that be of men."

 

I have before quoted other passages to prove that the law will be kept by the redeemed nations, and when it is remembered that the chapter I have just copied in full, -- "Ho every one that thirsteth" &c, is the one immediately preceding, and not apparently disconnected with this which our Savior here quotes, it becomes still more obvious that the time when a temple at Jerusalem shall be the house of prayer for all the nations is the time when the nations are to go up to keep the law.

 

Thus too Isaiah (Isa 25), after describing the earth when freed from the curse, says, there shall be a highway, called the way of holiness; "the redeemed shall walk and the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness (not glory), and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."

 

It seems to me then that our blessed Lord, when teaching the people in the words of the prophets, did not mean that the great body of Christians, or that those predestined to sanctification among them, were to be an house of prayer themselves to the nations; but that on his mountain, in the city of the great king, an incomplete communion at stated intervals will take place between him and all who are not "punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power."

 

 

Mark 12:25 -- For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but axe as the angels which are in heaven.

 

A saying so carefully guarded would hardly proceed out of the mouth of a preacher of the present day. We should probably be told that after this mortal body is put off, they should be in heaven with the angels for ever.

 

 

Mark 12:26 -- And as touching the dead that they rise, have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; ye therefore do greatly err.

 

One of the scribes who heard this answer perceived that our Lord had answered the Sadducees well. It is not too much, however, to say that, except to those who believe that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had God's sure promise that they should personally live in the land of Canaan, there is no force whatever in our Savior's argument. Granted that God is the God of the living, and not of the dead, the very utmost that could fairly be deduced by any one who thinks the land of Canaan means heaven, is that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were in a state of existence, by an immortality of God's sustaining, at the time God spake to Moses. It might be further allowed, therefore, that they also existed, in some high state or other, at the time of our Savior; but what this would have to do with proving, the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, is more, I own, than I can see. Thousands of localities, thousands of modes and states of existence, might be very well imagined for these patriarchs, as well as for Adam, Cain, Nimrod, or any one else; but unless we were quite sure previously that they in particular were to exist some day on the earth, and to live, in the plain natural sense of the words, on some particular part of it, the drawing the attention of the Sadducees to their being alive, in some sense or other, would not convince them that they must be raised to stand in their promised inheritance.

 

Do we Christians then; or do we not, believe that the land of Canaan was given to Abraham for an everlasting possession? The Old Testament is not contrary to the New. We accept both as the word of God. Do we find any part of the New explaining this particular portion of the Old in some sense not understood by the Jews, but which we find it will very well bear?

 

Now we seem, at present, generally to imagine that, because certain Gentiles have been admitted to all the privileges of Abraham's descendants, which we must remember have nothing whatever to do with the covenant made afterwards upon Mount Sinai, therefore we are to suppose also that God is to alter the particular privileges promised to this father of the faithful. We think there was something particularly carnal and. fitted for legal Jews in this promise (for we seem generally to own that it was a promise), but that it is done away with now, because we Christians know, that Canaan really meant heaven. Let us read the promises.

 

Genesis 13:14 -- And the Lord said unto Abraham after that Lot was separated from him, lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art, northward and southward, and eastward and westward; for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever; and I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth, so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered; arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it, for I will give it unto thee.

 

Genesis 15:7 -- I am the Lord, that brought thee out of Ur, of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it; and (Genesis 15:18) Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.

 

Genesis 17:8 -- And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.

 

Genesis 26:3 -- Unto thee and unto thy seed I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham, thy father; and I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries, and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.

 

Genesis 28:13 -- I am the Lord God of Abraham, thy father, and the God of Isaac; the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed.

 

Brethren, I speak after the manner of men, though it be but a man's covenant, yet, if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth or addeth thereto. Because it was solemnly promised that in Abraham's seed all nations should be blessed; and because, when one nation only thought that it was so to be exclusively blessed, and this, too, by means of a separate covenant, God vindicated his original intention by calling in other nations -- because, I say, of this, which God plainly gave warning, was the course he all along intended, are we the nations called in -- to think that God has altered his intention, and that the land of Canaan is not to be given to Abraham? It is allowed that these covenants, which were thus confirmed of God in Christ, were not disannulled by the law, which was 430 years after. These promises were not made of none effect by the law, nor can I believe that if they were made of none effect by any act of Christ on earth, or of the Holy Spirit, at or since Pentecost, or by any unknown acts of Christ now going on in heaven, we should not have been told so. I ask, then, is there any hint in the New Testament of any such voidance? Quite the contrary. The convincing nature of our, Lord's answer to the Sadducees cannot be perceived by us, if the promise was void. The promise, in fact, we are explicitly told, was not to the seeds as of many, but to Christ himself; and Abraham, we are expressly told, did not receive the promise, but saw it afar off; for God has provided that he should not be made perfect without us; or, in other words, that he should be made perfect, and should receive the fulfillment of his promise, with Christ and with us, as all the rest of Scripture teaches.

 

God had a certain design, a hidden wisdom, ordained before the world, unto our glory. The carrying out of this he promised to Abraham, and deferred it till other generations of mankind, besides that in which Abraham lived, should combine to make it more perfect than if it had been carried out immediately. The filling infinite space, during infinite time, with an infinite variety of happy created things, at the head of all which is a Man, is the design which God's works and words show us it may well be he purposes. All we have yet seen of the minutia of this plan, is confined to that part of it within our solar system, more particularly to our own globe, and, more particularly still, to a shell of it ten miles in thickness, viz., from five miles below to five miles above the average surface of the earth. Passing over for the present the millions on millions of sentient beings which a cubic inch of earth or water has once contained, or does now contain, and keeping only to mankind, we observe that God has hitherto created about that number of people who would, if all were now collected together, fill the surface of our earth in the density we at present consider most favorable to happiness. Therefore we see a fair sense in which Abraham in his Seed had a particular promise about the particular portion of space I am mentioning, and in which we are essential to his perfectly receiving its fulfillment. But if, instead of this, we transport men away, we must either transport them to some limited world like our own, or scatter them over a vast heaven. The former course is not scriptural; and what do we gain by it? Nothing whatever, provided we really do believe and keep in mind that men are always to have bodies. The second course I contend is not scriptural either; and what do we gain by it? Why the volume of our own solar system is but an infinitely minute portion of the whole of heaven; and yet, if men were scattered about in it, each individual would have to himself a volume more than a million million million times that of our globe to live in. Is there anything common between this conception and that of saints ruling over five cities?

 

THE FUTURE HUMAN KINGDOM OF CHRIST

CHAPTER IV.

ST. LUKE.

 

Luke 1:32 -- He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest. And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

 

I suppose that all, upon reflection, will agree that whatever the Lord God was to give to this infant, must be something which a perfect and sinless, but still a grown, taught, and perfected man could administer. Some human kingdom, all Christians surely must agree, is to be administered everlastingly; and the question turns altogether upon the meaning of the two phrases, "the throne of his father David," and "the house of Jacob."

 

First, then, as to the locality of this kingdom, the difficulty of explaining many of the most important parts of Scripture on the assumption of a locality away from this earth, has been, perhaps, already sufficiently dwelt upon; it is a notion that was, I think, unauthorized among the Christians of the age of the Apostles and Apostolic Fathers; and I think we may safely say, after the examination we have made, that nothing in St. Matthew or St. Mark gives it any sanction, but that very much in these Evangelists is opposed to it.

 

Granted then that the grown, taught, and perfected Man, Christ Jesus, will reign on earth, is it revealed -- that the Jews, by the free election of God, are to have any special position in his kingdom, nearer to his bodily presence than other nations? If they are, then the phrases "house of Jacob," and "throne of David," would have a very tangible meaning; and if not, some other meaning must be sought for them.

 

Many of the quotations already made will have prepared the reader to answer this question in -- the affirmative, remembering always, however, the two following limitations: --

 

1st. A certain number of Christians, without distinction of sex or nation, will reign with Christ in a far higher position than the house over which he is to reign. These will be over the house of Jacob with him, and in Christ's and David's throne in a more intimate communion with him than that of any subjects, however blessed or happy.

 

2ndly. If individuals, whether Jews or Gentiles, have reduced themselves to the moral position of devils in this life, it is most certainly revealed that they, as individuals, will partake of the position of devils hereafter, notwithstanding general promises.

 

But if we take care to keep these limitations in mind, I do not think there is any difficulty in seeing that a national covenant will yet be carried out between Christ and his countrymen, distinct from the higher individual Unity between Him and His Members.

 

Whitby, in his discourse on Romans 11, says, the conversion of the Jews was "the constant doctrine of the Church of Christ, owned by the Greek and Latin fathers, and by all commentators I have met with on this place;" and as it is indeed very generally allowed in words by different writers at the present day, I shall not attempt to draw out the evidence for it into any brief form. I will merely remark, that if we grant this doctrine, as deducible front Holy Scripture, it will require a very peculiar system of interpretation to separate from it the view that the Jews are indeed to be the " metropolitan nation," under Christ and his Saints. It is comprehensible that a man may deduce from Scripture that the judgment and ascension into heaven are to be the immediate events consecutive to Christ's coming, and the end of this age; but if he breaks in upon the simplicity of this scheme by recognizing the fate of Israel as a distinct subject of prophecy, it seems difficult or impossible not to accept therewith much that I have been advocating. The following remarks from Mr. Dallas are on the miraculous state in which the Jews are even at present maintained by God: --

 

"And at last, after forty short years, during which these preparatory miracles had been done in the land of the Jews, was not that great miracle performed that they should be dispersed into all lands, and scattered into every country of the earth, and there, in separation and tribulation, should still continue a people bearing witness of God's truth and of God's anger while dwelling alone, not reckoned amongst the nations! Is not this contrary to the ordinary laws by which human character is governed? Is such a thing to be found as a people whom God has so enabled to continue without national polity, without a center of appeal, having their worship rendered impossible to be performed, without the impulse of that fervent chivalrous feeling which night lead them to cling to the story of their ancestors, for it has been buried under the worthless rubbish of Rabbinical lore, a nation persecuted to the death, receiving at every man's hand a measure of wrath according to. that which our Lord received at their hand when he 'tasted death for every man.' If it had not been that the providential dispensation of God with this people is miraculous, hindering the natural effect of circumstances upon the heart and motives, would not the Jews have been annihilated centuries ago? Would they have existed in the second century after our Lord's death? Assuredly not and yet here they are in the 19th century, a nation scattered and peeled, a people meted out and trodden down, but a nation still, a nation growing wealthy under persecution, a nation pillaged in one generation, and in the next inheriting increased wealth, a nation lifting up the standard of Jehovah in their national history, even while they deny his truth with their lips. My brethren, this is a miracle which is before our eyes even today, and which has convinced multitudes; and this a miracle which will justify me in saying, that from the day when God aroused them from Goshen, and called them forth from Egypt, to this present moment, their distinguishing characteristic is that they are Jehovah's people, marked out to all beholders as his own by the miraculous system of providential dealing under which they live."

 

This quotation leads me to another aspect of the subject; for not only may we, as scriptural students, ask, What is revealed concerning the Jews? but, as political observers, gifted with the ordinary amount of political pre-science, it is perfectly competent for any one to inquire, What is the probable political destiny of this extraordinary people?

 

I hinted indeed above, that if the Jews were to have any peculiar position in Christ's kingdom, nearer to him than other saved nations, it would be by the "free election of God." I am, however, far from implying by this phrase, that the Jewish mind is not molded, and the Jewish destiny gradually developed, by the action of individual free will among them, as among any other people, and by such outward circumstances too as they, like other people, are liable to. The Jews are, in fact, one of the best instances we can take to explain the compatibility of the free election of God with the free will of those whom he elects. It was foreordained and promised to the patriarchs, that Christ should be King of the Jews; but the Jews of their free will chose to put themselves under Saul; God let them do so; but he has so arranged circumstances, that they are again without a King at present. They may at present of their own free will choose either Anti-christ or Christ; if they accept the latter, the fore-ordained result will have come to pass, without prejudicing their freedom; and if, on the contrary, they submit to the former, they will assuredly be punished, but be gradually again brought into a position for making ever fresh choices until their wills are chastened into a coincidence with God's will.

 

Waving, therefore, the question of the revealed result of God's predestination, let us look at the tendencies and moral forces which seem to be acting now upon this people, without reference to a supposed natural or supernatural origin of such forces. Do we see anything peculiar in their own present state of mind which would make them more likely than any other nation to accept Christ as their King if he were to offer himself to them?

 

I answer simply thus:

 

There is not one Christian nation -- extraordinary and astounding indeed it is to say so -- that has retained the tradition, the idea, the aspiration after, or belief in, a human perfect universal monarch to direct and head the world in that contest against evil which they all know and own to be going on. We own there are certain injurious forces acting in the world, poisons, siroccos, liars, slave -- dealers, and so on. Christian nations recognize a good Spirit dwelling in each individual to counteract the mental division of these forces. Physical evils they are willing to grapple with in their own strength. They have totally lost the aspiration after a perfect good man, who, with body and soul as well as spirit, is to head them in their contests. Individuals wish and pray for such an one, but there is not a court, a congress, or a parliament in Europe, or the Isles, or America, that would not, at the present day, scout, scoff, and jeer at the statesman who should propose some practical measure to smooth His way on his. expected arrival. We know our own country best, but all Christian countries are alike in this. It is the recognized rule among us to treat subjects only in their secular and ecclesiastical aspect. The secular includes all that relates to man as a citizen of the world, the ecclesiastical considers him as a member of some religious, visible society.. It is allowed amongst us that to go beyond this, and to discuss Theology or Divine Revealed Truth in our legislature, would, in the disunited state at which we are now arrived, break up human society. Now the discussion of Theology has broken up hundreds of churches; this we are so used to as almost to be indifferent to such a result; but to break up states we rightly look upon as a vast evil, and to prevent this we knowingly avoid the discussion of Theological Truth; or in other words, we agree not to settle what are the claims of Christ upon our allegiance to his principles and person; for what else is Christian Theology but the discussion of this claim. No Christian state, as at present constituted, could exist under the successful statement of His evident claims; no Jewish state, if we may judge from history, can exist without owning them.

 

The famous events of 1851 in England illustrate so clearly what I mean, that I may be pardoned for referring to them.

 

A person, we all know, does claim to rule this kingdom as the vicegerent of Jesus Christ. The nation met in its parliament to consider the aggression. Men's minds were very much aroused for a long period; and numberless suggestions 'and plans of defense were, with many and moving arguments, and with much labor, elaborately discussed. The claim was considered in parliament only as an attack on the monarch or the temporally established Church. Who can paint the indignation of an intelligent early Christian, could he have arisen from the dead, and learnt that among us to have considered it as a transgression of Christ's rules, and therefore practically as an attack on Christ, would have been held simply useless and impracticable? Only a few individuals realize Christ as a human Monarch who has rights, prerogative, and supremacy, given him by God, as a reward for certain definite human acts. To bring his rights forward and state them would, it is felt, create such difference of opinion and moreover be so novel (oh huge and horrible apostasy), that it is not attempted. Christ as a teacher indeed is often, or sometimes, alluded to in our great national representative assembly; Christ as a sacrifice, a Redeemer, is believed in; and the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, as our God, is on solemn occasions recognized; but never Christ as an absent man monarch.

 

In saying all this I am merely stating recognized facts, and I am doing it merely as calculating the human probability of our accepting a given monarch under certain supposed circumstances.

 

But when, under these same circumstances, we look at the present nation of the Jews, scattered and divided in all lands as they now are, what do we see? It is perfectly true that on a definite occasion they rejected Christ, and they still reject Him as teacher, sacrifice, and king, whom we accept as teacher, and sacrifice, and as Divine, but not human, king; but they stand far better than any Christian nation in not having lost the very idea of him as a human King. St. Paul expresses their present condition clearly, there is a veil over their minds at present, "nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord the veil shall be taken away." Humanly speaking, and looking in the most unprejudiced way possible at the present aspect of Christianity and the present aspect of Judaism, there is every human prospect that things will turn out exactly as was prophesied 1800 years ago. If the Jews were gathered into the land they still claim as their own, and they were to incur in consequence a formidable military attack from European powers; if the Jews were on the very point of being put down, and some sign of the Son of Man should appear, what more probable, humanly speaking, and merely taking Europe and the Jews as we now find them, -- than that the Jews should nationally accept Christ, that nine European newspapers out of ten should scoff at the " sign," that individuals should accept it, and that the sudden taking away of these individuals should then be the beginning of a moral action upon the remaining nations, which is described to us in numberless places of Scripture as the real purgatorial fire so injuriously misapprehended by the Roman. Church.

 

If then the Jews will, as far as we, can judge, almost certainly be the first people to turn nationally to Christ, can we be surprised that they will be metropolitans among the nations, and that Christ while reigning with his saints, may fairly be described as filling the throne of David over the house of Jacob.

 

 

Luke 2:32 -- A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

 

I have nowhere observed any intimation that the important distinction here made between light and glory, may lawfully be confused. Our Lord is the glory of his Saints, and the glory of his people Israel, but not the glory of " the nations," or of the world at large. He is described as the heir of the world, as the Savior of the world, as the light of the world, and as the God not of the Jews only but also of the Gentiles; but he is not, I believe, called in any way the glory of the Gentiles. On the other hand, he is repeatedly described as the light of the nations, of men, and of the whole world. Thus: --

 

Matt. 4:16 -- Galilee of the Gentiles, the people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death, life is sprung up.

 

Matt. 5:14 -- Ye are the light of the world.

 

Our text.

 

John 1:4 -- In him was life, and the light was the light of men.. 

 

John 1:9 -- That was the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

 

John 3:19 -- Light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light.

 

John 8:19 -- I am the light of the world.

 

John 9:5 -- As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

 

John 12:46 -- I am come a light into the world.

 

Acts 13:47 -- I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles. 

 

Rom. 2:17 -- Behold thou art called a Jew, and art confident that thou thyself art a light of them which are in darkness.

 

And lastly, -- Rev. 21:24 -- The nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it.

 

 

Luke 2:34 -- Behold this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel.

 

Israel can hardly be put for the Christian Church here, for Christ is not set for their fall. But as Israel fell nationally, so, it may be supposed, will they rise. If the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fullness?

 

 

Luke 4:18 -- The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

 

I am afraid it is undeniable, that even under the light of the Gospel, there are hundreds of thousands, nay millions, of poor souls continually "broken-hearted" among us, and that notwithstanding eighteen hundred years of more or less zealous individual spiritual action, the world is still " captive" to many very evil worldly principles; nor can we say we have been successful yet in very greatly diminishing the number either of the morally or the physically "blind." It becomes, then, perfectly proper for us to inquire whether we are now really in the "acceptable year of the Lord," or the jubilee year for the earth, which our Lord and Maker came to preach. No fairer method for answering this question strikes me as being imaginable, than to quote the remainder of the description in the prophet Isaiah's words. They certainly seem to me to describe a state of things which our Lord is striving to bring about upon this earth, nor can I see any allusion to his supposed work of preparing people for heaven.

 

(Isaiah 61.) "The Lord hath anointed me, &c. (as in the text) . . . . . . to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your ploughmen and your vine dressers. But ye shall be named the priests of the Lord, men shall call you the ministers of our God, ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves. For your shame ye shall have double, and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion, therefore in their land they shall possess the double, everlasting joy shall be unto them. For I the Lord love judgment; I hate robbery for burnt -- offering, and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people, all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed. I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall be joyful in my God, for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom bedecketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory, and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate; but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah, for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married, for as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee, and as a bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee. I have set watchmen upon thy walls, Oh, Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace, day nor night. Ye that make mention of the Lord keep not silence, and give him no rest till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. The Lord hath sworn by his right hand, and' by the arm of his strength, Surely I will no more give thy corn to be meat for thine enemies, and the sons of the stranger shall not drink thy wine, for the which thou halt labored, but they that have gathered it shall eat it, and praise the Lord, and they that have brought it together shall drink it in the courts of my holiness. Go through, go through the gates, prepare ye the way of the people, cast up, cast up the highway, gather out the stones, lift up a standard for the people. Behold the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, say ye to the daughter of Zion, behold thy salvation cometh, behold his reward is with him, and his recompense before him, and they shall call them the holy people, the redeemed of the Lord, and thou shalt be sought out, a city not forsaken."

 

The acceptable year of the Lord is here described at great length. It is altogether earthly. The saints, covered with the robe of righteousness, are clearly described, and clearly described moreover as the Bride, intimately one with Christ, Bridegroom and Bride together speaking, but in the first person singular. The restoration of Jerusalem is clearly described, and "the holy people" are to reside there. And nations of lower rank are described as tributary, as admiring Christ among his glorified saints (2 Thess. 1:10), and as seeing Jerusalem's brightness.

 

 

Luke 6:12 -- And it came to pass in those days that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.

 

The fact that the tops of mountains are the most favorable sites for devotion, has been used as an argument for our future ascension into heaven. If the universal religious feeling of mankind leads them upwards in thinking of God, and if being up on a hill in its turn keeps their minds towards Him, as is undoubtedly the fact, it is argued this feeling will ultimately be, satisfied, and that our perfect future communion with God will not take place in this lower world. It is obvious, however, upon very short consideration, that the very phrase, lower world, is merely a popular way of speaking, and that were we to ascend upwards to some other world, directly we approached it we should find ourselves descending instead of still ascending, and that our earth would. then be in its turn the star towards which our religious feelings would (if they remain the same as they now are) lead us to aspire; and if they are not to remain as they now are, no argument founded upon them can be of much value.

 

 

Luke 6:23, 35 -- Rejoice ye in that day and leap for joy, for behold your reward (is) great in heaven . . . . Love ye your enemies, &c., and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest.

 

Observe the remarkable accuracy of the phraseology in these two cases. The remarks upon Matt. 5:12 will apply to the first, but in the second, the future tense is used -- your reward shall be great. If it had but been said your reward shall be great in heaven, who could have gainsaid it? But now the fact is, that it is only said Your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest. Is this chance?

 

 

Luke 9:30 -- And behold there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias, who appeared in glory.

 

I have commented upon these words already under the 17th chapter of St. Matthew, but the fact that the different Evangelists do continually vary the phraseology in recording the same events, gives a very great additional weight to the peculiar kind of negative verbal argument which is used here, and in the remarks on the last text. In the first three Evangelists we have already, it seems, found six cases where a very slight change of the words indeed would give a scriptural foundation for a doctrine which we have not yet found to be true. Irrespective of verbal inspiration, and of the Evangelists copying each other, which in words they hardly seem to have done, taking it as a mere question of choice between equally admissible modes of expression, the chance would be sixty-three to one against the concurrence in all six cases of the form of words not implying the usual doctrine. Is or is not, then, this peculiarity designed? Is or is not this extraordinary coincidence in a point which would so easily elude observation, a remarkable internal evidence that, at least in all cases where doctrine is involved, the New Testament is verbally inspired?

 

 

Luke 12:14 -- And he said unto him, man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?

 

A reference is made here in the margin of our bibles to John 18:36, where we read, "My kingdom is not of this world." Now, as I have illustrated, on different occasions, the revealed principles on which Christ is to reign by his recorded actions in this world, noticing the different character of his actions towards the different classes of believers, who grouped themselves around him during his ministry, it is but fair to ask whether the present is not an instance of a contrary description to those I have dwelt upon. Who made me a judge, or a divider, over you, was here spoken to an Israelite, and seems to imply, therefore, that his kingdom really was intended, just as men now think, to be carried on only by impressing certain thoughts, or spiritual principles, on men's hearts, and leaving them to act accordingly, and that his office was not to adjudicate between man and man. Accordingly we see that immediately after his refusal, he warns his hearers against covetousness, i.e., he addresses himself to their hearts as a spiritual adviser, and acts not as a temporal Judge.

 

But in answer to this, it seems most natural to suppose that only one of these brothers was willing to apply to Christ. We are reminded, therefore, immediately of the text, " We see not yet all things put under him." That no one has yet made him a ruler and a judge over parties who do not accept him, and who are covetous, is only the same as saying, ye shall not see me henceforth till ye shall say blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. His complaint to the Jews (Luke 6:46) was, why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? And he implied that it was useless for him to superintend the building of a house among those who thus nominally accepted him, for their compartments would soon fall. If we had had the case of two brothers who mutually desired to consult him, owning him to be the infallible revealer of God's will in the matter, we can hardly doubt he would as gladly have declared to them equity as he did to others truth.

 

 

Luke 16:22 -- The beggar died and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom; the rich man also died and was buried, and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments.

 

It is, perhaps, superfluous to remark, that the naming of the locality of Abraham's bosom only implies that, wherever in common language Abraham is, other dead men are. But this text has reference to the state of men's souls before the resurrection, and does not, therefore, bear upon the subject of this book.

 

 

Luke 17:34 -- I tell you in that night there shall be two men in one bed, the one shall be taken and the other shall be left.

 

See on Matt. 24:39. The notion that the Roman armies were likely at the invasion of Judea to take one man out of bed and leave the other, is more remarkable even than that they should separate the women at the mill. But when the text is explained of the rapture of the saints, how vivid a subject is opened up to our contemplation. What an elect would be produced by the sudden disappearance throughout the world of the few unknown excellent men in all ranks of life whom it hides in its recesses. What a warning, loud as a trumpet, clear as the bright corning of the Son of Man himself. How awfully will it proclaim to all who shall be left unchanged. You know now so much of your eternal fate as this, -- you may yet be near to the feast-room, but you are shut out from the feast itself. You may be high yet (if you endure to the end of the coming purgatorial period) in an untempted freedom from the power of the Devil, but there are longings in you which will for ever and ever, to a certain degree, torment you, for you will never be in such thorough and intimate connection with Him who alone can fully satisfy them as to be altogether One with Him. Oh, would that every individual, public or private, priest or lay, would consider how every shade of sin, whether bodily or intellectual, or spiritual, and every falsehood, whether spoken in word, or accepted in system, goes far to intervene between himself and Him who is Truth, Light, Purity, and Self Sacrifice.

 

 

Luke 18:7 -- And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him; though he bear long with them, I tell you that he will avenge them speedily; nevertheless, when the Son of Man cometh shall he find faith on the earth?

 

I think we may say, without exaggeration, that faith in an avenging man Christ has already perished from the earth. It is true that while God is invisible, and the Man whom he sent absent, we do believe in a general way in God's judgments, viz., that famine, disease, and so on, do come from him as punishments. Vast numbers, I doubt not, believe that they come from him immediately, and if others think that they mostly come as a natural result of our transgressions of certain of his laws, they do not probably, most of them, mean to repudiate the notion that they are, not the less for this, a punishment or vengeance. But directly men imagine themselves visibly before Christ, either by their dying and going to him, or by his coming visibly to us, all their notions of him are immediately swallowed up in that of a person pardoning all sin; and this they think implies the glorification of all sinners; and, if at the last half hour of life men believe in him, the vast majority, I really think, expect eternal happiness in glory, according to the general and popular view of our religion, as they have been taught it. The scriptural view, however, is surely very different from this, and by no means hides God's justice behind even his redeeming and saving mercy. All men now living are under the moral government of God, and are ruled by a system of judgment or probationary discipline. The doom of those who are already dead, is already finally settled, and when declared, it will be found to be in accordance with the way they have gone through their "day of salvation;" tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile, but glory, honor, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile." When, however, Christ comes he will find a certain number of men here on earth alive, and men on earth will not all immediately die in consequence of his advent. The moral trial of those who are not taken to Christ will then begin with peculiar intensity. Christ will not find his faith generally received by Christians, and the method he will take to show his power to the living will be accompanied with very considerable suffering t, those whom he will not first take away to himself from the evil to come. See 2 Thess. 1:7, "When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God;" and 2 Pet. 3:7, "The heavens and earth which are now, are reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." Very little of this is believed. This vengeance will be purgatorial oh those then living, on the quick as distinguished from the dead, as all trials to us now living are purgatorial, i, e., are meant to purify us. After the living have thus been judged, the general resurrection and judgment will take place, and then in the first place it will be clear that eternal life and eternal salvation, are by no means identified with eternal undiluted happiness; still less with eternal glory; and secondly, those devils and devilish men of all generations, who are doomed to eternal death, will then be finally cast away.

 

But our Lord's words seem to imply that faith in general will have passed away at his coming, and not only the faith that he will avenge his own elect. Is there any sign of this? And first, what is faith?

 

It has sometimes been said that all human society is founded on faith, and therefore it cannot have disappeared while men are still alive. In this sense of the word it is applied to that so-called confidence between man and man by which debtor and creditor accounts are 'possible; and through which most shopkeepers part with their goods; or hosts prepare the entertainment for their expected guests. There is an ample amount of this faith in the world at present. Were it to fail from the earth men would soon die out of hunger, disease, and violence.

 

But in this sense of the word it is specifically a mere mental expectation, and not a mental belief or power. It is generally neither "credo" nor "fido," but merely "suppono." We do not believe, accurately speaking, that the sun will rise tomorrow, nor can we make it do so by our faith, but we expect it. It is not true that our guests will come, nor can we make them, but it is probable that they will do so. We cannot substantiate as a fact that our customers will pay us, nor can we mentally force them, but we confidently look for their doing so.

 

It is in a sense quite distinct from this that the word is mostly used in scripture for a mental power (fides) of doing, or suffering acts, and chiefly such acts as are spiritual, or supernatural; a power of healing, or a power of receiving healing; a power of declaring truth (I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not), or a power of receiving truth; a power of sending onward into the presence chamber of Christ's central sympathizing and all -- sustaining spirit, all our emotions, and a power of transmitting his reflex action, and manifesting it in our works. These powers, as explained in the remarks on Matt. 24:31, do not reside locally in a man, but act in a man; they are powers either of action, .or of being acted upon, as a prism has power to decompose the sun's rays, and it has power also to receive illumination and warmth during the process.

 

Is this power then lost, or being lost, from the Christian Community?

 

And here if any one finds a difficulty in seeing that a community may have the power of faith as well as an individual, it arises from the material and false conception that faith must reside locally somewhere. We find that we cannot fancy faith as residing in, an aggregate community, and we wrongly think that we can imagine it locally resident in the individual mind or heart. Therefore we find a difficulty in talking of the faith of the community, and think it only really means the separate faith of the majority of the members of the community. But if a community has a power of acting spiritually and a power of being acted upon, a power of witnessing to truth, and of receiving truth, then a community has faith. If it have no such powers then it has not faith, however powerful may be the faith of every individual composing it. Disarrange the pins of a barrel organ and the power to give out harmony is lost, though the separate sounds may remain as loud and as beautiful, separately, as before.

 

That the Christian community has in a great degree lost, and is still fast losing, the faith which "overcometh the world," "subdues kingdoms and works righteousness," "is spoken of through the world," "increases," "is spread abroad," "groweth exceedingly," the prayer of which "saves the sick," which is "a common faith," which is "one," the work of which "God fulfills with power," which Cc worketh by love," and the law of which "excludes boasting," that, in a word, while the true Christian creed has been kept intact on the paper books of communities, fides exists only in the hearts of individuals, is, I am afraid, but too evident. I am fully aware that men are always over apt at depreciating their own age, but in this case the test of the existence of faith is so patent that there is no room to hesitate in the conclusion that itself is impalpable.

 

If Christendom had need of a hundred million pounds, there would be no difficulty in the different Christian governments giving their joint guarantee, and they would get it in a day, at a fair value, but no one now thinks that Christendom can unitedly accept a truth, or declare a truth, or remove the mountains of uncomfortable ice at the North Pole, and cast them into the too sultry regions of the African Ocean.

 

It is one of the objects of this work to enable Christians again to realize, as of old, the character of a man who unites the knowledge of all the Father does, with perfect justice, and unbounded love, and who moreover has, with this, had a power given him far above all principality and power, and that this man, even since his resurrection, is not ashamed to call us brethren, but is heir of the world, and let us be sure that of his own self he can do nothing, but, like other men, as he hears he judges, and if his own elect therefore cry day and night unto him he will be sure to avenge them though he bear long with them. And if when he comes he is not to find faith upon the earth, Oh, may the state of things in the times of Josiah and Hezekiah and in the times before the last destruction of the Jewish Polity, be at least reproduced in this respect, that there may be a vast number of individuals at any rate, who shall be found faithful and waiting for him.

 

 

Luke 20:35 -- But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage.

 

The resurrection from the dead is to be distinguished in the New Testament from the resurrection of the dead. If it is equivalent to the "resurrection of life," to the "resurrection of the just," and to the "first resurrection," I do not see any difficulty in any of the texts which touch upon the subject of either of these two resurrections. If, however, the first resurrection is explained, as is often done, to be our spiritual regeneration in this age of the world, and not the complete, viz., the bodily and the mental, as well as the spiritual regeneration of the Sons of God, which those who have the first fruits of the Spirit are waiting for in the age to come, then the unity of teaching upon this subject in the New Testament seems to me to be lost.

 

The different passages are as follows: --

 

Luke 14:13 -- Call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and thou shalt be blessed (makarios), for they cannot recompense thee, for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

 

The present text must be another example, for it talks of those who shall be accounted worthy to obtain it, which cannot apply to the general resurrection of all men.

 

John 5:21 -- For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them (i.e., the dead in general) even so the Son quickeneth whom he will (a certain number).

 

John 5:29 -- All that are in the graves shall come forth, they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of . . . .

 

It is too bad to have translated the Greek word for judgment by three different words in eight verses. Our blessed Savior's argument is quite lost here in our version.

 

John 11:25 -- I am the resurrection and the life.

 

When we have gone through the Gospel according to St. John, we shall see the distinction continually drawn between these two.

 

Acts 4:2 -- The Sadducees came upon them, being grieved that they preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

 

The distinction does not obviously appear here, but they were preaching the " first-born from the dead," among a set of people the majority of whom already believed in the general resurrection.

 

Unto you first God having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you in turning away every one of you from his iniquities." This is much the same as, "be ye conformed to the image of his Son that he might be the first-born among many brethren."

 

Phil. 3:11 -- If by any means I might attain unto the exanastasis (not the simple anastasis), the resurrection from the dead, not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect, but I follow after, &c. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended, &c. -- I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

 

Heb. 2:35 -- Others were tortured not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. -- See 2 Macc. 7, where the young men and their mother seem to have been quite aware of the distinction, for they tell Antiochus, " as for thee, thou shalt have no resurrection unto life."

 

Rev. 20:5 -- But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished, This is the first resurrection. Blessed (makarios) and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection.

 

No one, I believe, imagines that they who shall be accounted worthy to attain spiritual regeneration, are debarred from marriage in this age. No one imagines that St. Paul had not as yet attained unto spiritual regeneration, nor can this rising from sin unto righteousness be substituted for the rising of the righteous unto life in any of the other passages quoted.

 

THE FUTURE HUMAN KINDOM OF CHRIST

CHAPTER V.

ST. JOHN.

 

John 1:51 -- And he saith unto him, verily, verily, I say unto you, hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.

 

We have never been informed of any instance where this has yet been seen by the Apostles. At our Savior's trial he used similar words to the high priest, which would tend to show both that the event was still future, and that it should be seen by all, and not by his Apostles only. There is a very interesting instance of the verbal accuracy of the Evangelists to be observed here. St. Matthew (Matthew 26:64) uses much the same words as St. John. He says that men shall see the Session of Christ; and he uses the same word hereafter as our text. St Mark (Mark 14:62) simply says, " ye shall see the Son of Man, &c.;" he names no time. St. Luke (Luke 22:69) does not allude to the time when they should see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, but simply to the time when he should sit there, whether seen or not; and accordingly, though the word hereafter is used in our translation, the Greek says, from this time, or from now, the Son of Man shall be set down, &c. This accuracy would of itself lead us to suppose that Nathanael and the others in this text, were to see this at our Lord's second coming, viz., hereafter; and Heb. (Hebrews 1:6) seems much in favor of the same hypothesis, for it is when he again, i.e., the second time, brings the first -- begotten into the world, that he says, " Let all the angels of God worship him." Our Savior then was probably not alluding to Gethsemane,, or to any case where such an event might have been seen had Nathanael been there to see it, but to a sight at the end of the age, which all men were to see permanently, for the Greek implies a finished act, whereby heaven remained open, and a continuous act of ascending and descending perpetually going on.

 

Now should we not, with our present notions, have expected our Savior in such a case to say to Nathanael, "Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig -- tree, believest thou? Thou shalt see greater things than these; verily, verily, I say unto you, hereafter ye shall see the Son of Man surrounded by all God's angels in heaven."

 

The real meaning of the words ascend and descend, may be well shown by a comparison, which we know by means of our telescopes, to be a just one. Consider, then, our globe to be a grain of sand on the sea shore, and all the other heavenly globes to be the other grains, extending for miles in every direction. To ascend is a word used by every inhabitant of every grain, in order to indicate the passing, in a straight line, away from the center of his own globe, in any direction. If we keep this comparison in mind, we may, perhaps, accept more vividly the truth here taught us, that angels will ascend and descend upon earth, and that heaven, the innumerable collection of other worlds, will be open to our enlarged view, that the veil which now covers it from us, will be taken away, and that God will be with us because He is in the Heavens, not that we are to move, as heathens thought, into some neighboring grain of the heavens, in order to be with God. God that made the universe, and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not locally at a distance. He hath made all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, that they should seek after the Lord, if haply they might feel after him and find him, though he be not far from every one of us, for in Him we live, and move, and have our being.

 

 

John 3:13 -- No man hath ascended up to heaven but he that carne down from heaven.

 

There we have the words of our Lord in direct contradiction to the apparent sense of 2 Kings 2:11, where it is stated in the English version, that Elijah went up to heaven. It may be as well, too, upon the present occasion, to remark that the Septuagint version expressly states that he went up as if to heaven. This statement of our Lord's seems to me quite decisive with respect to all who ever lived upon earth before his coming; and indeed this is, I believe, very generally allowed, except that Enoch and Elijah, and perhaps Moses, are sometimes considered to have been taken already to heaven, having no need of resurrection. I am not, however, in this work concerned with the locality (if we can conceive one) of disembodied spirits, nor with that of Moses, Enoch, and Elijah. Even if it had been revealed that they, as individuals, had been granted the special privilege of ascension (which our Savior here denies), we should not be entitled to infer, without an express revelation, that any class of mankind were, after the resurrection and judgment day, to ascend also.

 

 

John 4:22 -- Ye worship what ye know not, we worship what we know; for salvation is of the Jews.

 

There are two things about the Samaritans which I cannot bring my mind to imagine.

 

1st. After reading the parable of the good Samaritan, and that only one of the ten cleansed lepers, viz., a Samaritan, " when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at Christ's feet, giving him thanks," who said to him, " Arise, go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole;" and that many of the Samaritans of Sychar believed on Christ for the saying of one woman, " So when the Samaritans were come unto him they besought him that he would tarry with them, and he abode there two days, and many more believed because of his own word, and said unto the woman, now we believe, not because of thy saying, for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed .the Christ, the Savior of the world." After reading this highly favorable testimony to the piety of many Samaritans, I cannot think that we are meant to infer from anything revealed to us in scripture, that all the Samaritans who died before the conversion of Samaria to the Gospel were eternally damned.

 

2ndly. I cannot imagine that when our Savior called the Samaritan a stranger; when he called them you and your party, as opposed to his own party; when he told them they worshipped what they did not know, and that salvation was of the Jews, in direct answer to a question as to which of the two was right; and when he told his disciples not to preach to Samaritans, or enter into any of their cities, I cannot think when I read all this that it just meant nothing at all. I do not believe, in opposition to our Teacher, that the dissent of the Samaritans was not to be prejudicial to them in the future age.

 

But if good pious Samaritans, who lived before the Gospel are not to be damned at their resurrection, and if they are not to be saved in so high a sense as they would have been if they had been members of the Jewish church, so as to know what they worshipped, it follows that there must be different kinds of salvation according to the different religious systems followed in this age.

 

 

John 5:21 -- For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom he will; for the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment (the whole judgment) unto the Son.

 

A certain number whom the Son quickens are here distinguished from "the dead" whom the Father quickens; and in the next chapter we read "This is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day." And, "This is the will of him that sent me, that every one that seeth the Son and believeth on him may have everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day." And again, "No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him, and I will raise him up at the last day." Those whose system does not take in the doctrine of two resurrections, have considered our Savior to be alluding in our text to Lazarus or the widow of Nain's or Jairus's children, or to those who rose in Jerusalem after his resurrection. The three former, however, we can hardly think were instances of men raised either to eternal life or to judgment, and the latter also seem to be too exceptional a class for our Savior to be here alluding to them in particular, or at any rate to them only. That it is not a mere spiritual resurrection to righteousness our Savior means, is evident by his talking of those who were in the graves, and by his not saying the dead shall hear his word but his voice, and by his calling it a greater work than the healing the man at the pool of Bethesda, that men might marvel.

 

Now, though all men are to be judged, there are abundance of passages in scripture which imply that the elect are already judged in 'this life, and not at what is more usually called the judgment day. The books from which the dead, small and great, were judged (Rev. 20.), are distinguished from the book of life. None of the parables we have quoted about the marriage feast, &c., imply another judgment for those who were already judged "worthy," and shown to have been so by being taken into the room at the coming of the Bridegroom; and that "there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit," is only the very essence of the Gospel of repentance and remission of sins, which we are authorized and commanded to preach freely. As some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment, so are we told that likewise the good works of some are manifest beforehand. If then we keep this in view, the passage under our consideration seems to take a more connected form. Life with a future judgment, i. e., salvation as we may hope in most cases, seems opposed in it to life without a future judgment, i. e., glory. If we translate the Greek word for judgment in one sense throughout, we now read as follows: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me, path everlasting life and shall not come to judgment," i, e., future judgment, "but is passed from death unto life." "All that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil (or foolishness) unto the resurrection of judgment."

 

 

John 12:26 -- If any man serve me let him follow me, and where I am there shall also my servant be. See onward to John 14:2, 3.

 

John 12:34 -- We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever.

 

Qn earth they meant! For they meant it as an argument against Christ being lifted up. A very fair ground for Jews holding this expectation before the time when they rejected our Savior, may be found in the following passage: --

 

"Thus saith the Lord God, Behold I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and will bring them into their own land. And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel, and one king shall be king to them all, and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions, but I will save them out of all their dwelling places wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them, so shall they ' be my people and I will be their God. And David my servant shall be king over them, and they all shall have one shepherd, they shall also walk in my judgments and observe my statutes, and do them,' and they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt, and they shall dwell therein, even they and their children and their children's children for ever, and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, it shall be an everlasting covenant with them, and I will place them and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore, my tabernacle also shall be with them, yea I will be their God and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore." (Ezekiel 37.)

 

Before the time of our Savior's rejection by the Jews, before the day when "the public" pronounced decisively " we have no king but Caesar," there was no difficulty in determining a plain sense for every sentence in this prophecy, to the effect that Christ was to abide their king, in their land for ever, over all Jews who had ever lived, and who had not been cast away on account of their sins from a participation in the blessings here described.

 

What alteration then has the rejection of Christ and our experience of God's subsequent providences produced in the sense we are to give to this prophecy?

 

Chiefly, I think, that without touching a word of the letter, or a shade of the meaning of it, we find that a higher class than " Israel," viz., the Jew and Gentile "election of grace," have been brought into a quite separate position, above that named in this prophecy. " Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for, but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded." "At this present time also (A. D. 60) there is a remnant according to the election of grace" (Romans 11.). Therefore, without altering this prophecy, we yet do not now read it as describing the highest reward of a future life, which a spiritual Jew would once have done. We are now Christians; we know more than the Jews did; and we have now a far higher calling than Jews had. But does it therefore follow that we are to alter all the regular rules for the interpretation of any piece of writing, and to make some sentences here to apply continuously to a perpetual succession of one kind of people, viz., Gentile Christians of different generations, and others to apply, at a definite time, to another sort, viz., to Jews at the end of the age?

 

A great part of this prophecy it cannot be denied must apply to Jews at the end of the age. Are we not satisfied with the promises made to ourselves? Has not God provided some better things for us that they without us should not be made perfect? And must we also pick out certain disjointed portions of this prophecy and apply them to the continuous succession of Gentile generations of Christians who shall have lived and died before Christ's second coming?

 

Let us see how the parts will stand if we do this.

 

The beginning is allowed to concern the Jews, because they were in the Babylonian captivity when it was written, and it was accurately fulfilled in their return.

 

Then comes a passage, "one king shall be king to them all." The prophet here, it is argued, breaks away from his former subject and describes either heaven at a future, time or the spiritual unity of Christendom under one head at many times and places; this head being either Christ, who -- is invisibly in all true Christian hearts, or his vice -- gerent visibly on earth. The word "them" on this supposition does not allude, as is usually the case, to its antecedent noun substantive. The prophet returns to his subject. Judah and Israel must be meant by the two nations. The word "they" refers back as it would have done had the intermediate prophecy not been inserted.

 

When the prophet describes the people as "cleansed," and all having one shepherd, and their walking in God's judgments, and observing his 'statutes and doing them, he prophecies, it is said, about Christians. The word "they" which next appears, means the Jews, because the sentence talks of their dwelling in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt.

 

Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them. The word " them" here refers to Christians.

 

I will. set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. The reference in the margin of our bible is to the text, "Ye are the temple of the living God, as God hath said I will dwell in them and walk in them, and I will be their God and they shall be my people." The prophet therefore says, if the prophecy applies to Christians, I will set my sanctuary in the midst of them who are my sanctuary for evermore. Or, I will set my Christians in the midst of them, i. e., in the midst of the Christians for evermore.

 

The rest of the prophecy alludes to Christians, but the concluding portion is still future, for it is but too evident that the heathens have no reason yet from what they have seen of Christians to know that the Lord sanctifies "Israel." That Christ abideth for ever is a true deduction from this passage even after his temporary rejection. But unless we are willing to interpret according to the example just given, it quite hangs upon the interpretation of his abiding as King of the Jews.

 

 

John 13:36 -- Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou I Jesus answered him, whither I go thou canst not follow me now, but thou shalt follow me afterwards.

 

This is sufficiently explained by St. Peter having followed our Lord in the manner of his death. " When thou shalt be old thou shalt stretch forth thy hands and another shall gird thee and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God" (John 21:18). " Shortly I must put off this my tabernacle even as our -- Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me" (2 Pet. 1:14).

 

 

John 14:2 -- In my Father's house are many mansions, if it were not so I would have told you, I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am ye may be also.

 

Let us at present suppose that " my Father's house" means heaven. There is, I believe, no place in the whole of the Scriptures where it has ever been supposed to mean heaven except in the present text, but let that pass for the present.

 

Our Savior is in heaven preparing a place for us. Is he preparing it in heaven or elsewhere?

 

By heaven we here mean some locality not including this earth.

 

Now, 1st. There is not the slightest a priori necessity for supposing, even if we grant that Christ's work is human, that hiss human work can go on only where he is in the body. Do not even weak and foolish men prepare colonies at a distance, or found hospitals for those they never see? The works of men are carried on at a distance by the hands of their servants; and are the hands of the holy angels tied up from working in any portion of creation where they are sent, and more especially is nothing being done by them upon earth? Because the Lord is present in heaven, is the Lord therefore not only absent from the earth in spirit and in power, but is he unable even to send his messengers, of whom it is written, "are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?"

 

This is upon the supposition that the preparation for Christ's future unopposed reign is a pure human preparation; which, however, seems not to be the case; for the Father puts all things under his feet, and offices are given to those for whom it is prepared of the Father. "As long as I am in the world," said our Lord, " I am the light of the world; the night cometh when no man can work." " He is entered into his rest, from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his foot stool."

 

Our Lord is in heaven preparing a place, but if the place he is preparing must therefore be of necessity where he is bodily, nothing whatever which now takes place, either for the physical or moral amelioration of the earth, takes place under his guidance, no things in this case work together for good; for how can anything be good on earth without him? Height or depth or some such created thing would, in this case, be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. This is a notion, influential perhaps while lurking in the recesses of our minds, which has but to be stated in words for its inconsequences to be seen.

 

2ndly. Does heaven need preparation? What is there to do in heaven in order to prepare it for men? Is heaven too imperfect for us? Requires it a regeneration -- a restitution? Or is it too glorious? Must its glory be softened down by Christ before his brothers can dwell there? Is his work of preparation there to raise it or to lower it? Or is it too full perhaps of inhabitants, and must their room be given up to us? Is the gold and the glass collected there too small in quantity, as yet, for the city of 12,000 furlongs? Or does the tree that bears twelve manner of fruits require 2000 years before it bears? Is it the preparation of jaspers and sapphires and: chalcedonies that is behind-hand  -- has there ever come a curse upon heaven that requires to be taken off before it is ready for the saints, or is the veil that hides, heaven from men spread over heaven so closely as to impede the prospect or the motion of those who inhabit there? We cannot well imagine that it is heaven, or at least we know too well that it is earth, and the people therein, which require preparation.

 

3rdly. Our blessed Savior is now in heaven. His work there is described to us. It is called the work of intercession; but there is no allusion to his supposed work of preparing heaven either in the popular, the learned, or in any other school of theology, nor in the holy Scriptures, that I am aware of. His spirit is ever with us unto the end of the age. Whenever two or three of us are gathered together there is he. He sends gifts among us and offers up prayers from and for us, but no trace of his action to alter the existing state of things in heaven is to be found in the records of his inspired writers.

 

4thly. The work of preparation is indeed often alluded to in Scripture, but always with reference to the earth. John the Baptist "prepared the way of the Lord" among men. High offices on earth shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of the Father." " Behold I have prepared (on earth) my dinner;" "the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;" "fire prepared (not in heaven) for the devil and his angels;" vessels of mercy which God had afore prepared unto glory, even us whom he hath called" on earth. " We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before prepared that we should walk in them." "In a great house (my Father's house) there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and of earth, and some to honor and some to dishonor" (not in heaven therefore); "if a man therefore purge himself from these he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work." "And the woman fled into the wilderness where she path a place prepared of God." " The water of the great river Euphrates was dried up, that the way of the kings of the East might be prepared." "And I John saw the holy city new Jerusalem coming down from God out . of heaven prepared as a bride adorned for her husband."

 

Wily. This preparation is explained in Scripture as the preparation of a place upon earth. Take Ezekiel 37. The resurrection of the dead is first minutely revealed in the well-known description of the coming together of the dry bones, after which, in Ezekiel 37:12, we read, "Therefore prophecy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, oh my people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel, and ye shall know that I am the Lord when I have opened your graves, oh my people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live and I shall place you in your land; then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it and performed it, saith the Lord." Here it is not a preparation of a place in heaven first, and then a resurrection and ascension in order to fill it; but first the resurrection, and then the bringing them to a place on earth, and a declaration that they should then know it was God's doing.

 

And lastly, let us briefly mention the actual steps of preparation which have actually been taken since the ascension of our Lord to prepare the earth for restitution to its uncurled state.

 

1st. An absolutely very large (though relatively small) body of very efficient men has been prepared for the higher offices of government in the direction of mankind. Strength of character, knowledge of the human heart, simplicity of motive, truth, humility, love, and every royal quality, are far more visible in them than in the great mass of mankind.

 

2ndly. The whole population of the earth, from Adam's time to our own, if collected together, would now almost bring up the average density in the restored earth (where there is to be no more sea, Rev. 21:1) to a density favorable to civilization.

 

3rdly. Social, political, and physical sciences, are so fast advancing, that if men had an infallible guide they might, even with such preparation as they have hitherto had, be formed into a united community, maintaining every individual in affluence.

 

Leaders, then, have been chosen out, a population provided, the earth already partly subdued, and the spirit under which alone regeneration is possible, has been, to a certain extent, already infused. Christ went to prepare a place for us. It is given to our eyes in this generation to see with what rapid steps his work is hastening to an end.

 

And does "my Father's house" mean heaven? I see no reason, except our present prepossessions, to suppose that it does. The words, house, building, temple, household, family, body, are continually and systematically used, it is well known, for the fitly-framed, many-membered set of people, for whom Christ is preparing a long promised heritage. Judgment must begin at the house of God, means it must begin, not in heaven, but among these people (1 Pet. 4:17). We have an high priest over the house of God, means a high priest not over heaven, but over these people (Heb. 10:21); and the House of God, the pillar and ground of the Truth, has the same meaning. In the same way we have Eph. 2:19, "Ye are fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;" and Gal. 4:10, " Let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith." The argument in 1 Cor. 2., when closely examined, will also, I think, guide us to the fact that the house which God is preparing, is to be viewed as closely connected with a prepared house hold. If so, we know that a preparation on earth, and not in heaven, must be meant, for our time of trial ends, we know, with this life. St. Paul, 1 Cor. 2, asserts that he, as a spiritual man, knew a good deal about what God was preparing for them that love him. He says he used to speak about it to some, to spiritually-minded people, but it was liable to be misapprehended by the carnal, or worldly-minded. He declares his hesitation as to whether he should write to the Corinthians as carnal or as spiritual; and, after administering his ministerial rebuke, he softens his tone, and gives them the information he had alluded to. Ye are God's building, he said; let men take heed how this building in which they are united, is carried up -- the different parts of this building are to be tried some day; know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you; if any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy, for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. The good things prepared seem, I think, here evidently connected in St. Paul's mind with the people, or building prepared on earth. The fiery trial on earth is in his mind, but heaven is not alluded to. See also in the epistle to the Hebrews, chap. ii. (Heb. 2); Moses who gave you the law was, it is true, a member of God's ancient House or people, and he was a faithful one. His law is holy and just and true. But he was a servant only in his house. We Christians are now Christ's house, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. We have a great high priest over this house of God (Heb. 10;21); he is passed into the heavens, yet this is no reason against our still coming boldly unto the throne of grace, for while he is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, he is entered there now to appear in the presence of God for us; and to them that look for him he shall appear the second time -- on earth that is -- unto Salvation. Cast not away, therefore, your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward, for ye have need of patience that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise, for yet a little while and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.

 

And lastly, as to the words, " that where I am ye may be also:" if our Lord is to come and reign upon the regenerate and renewed earth, they would seem decisive that his disciples are to be there with him, and not in heaven.

 

 

John 14:18 -- I will not leave you comfortless (or orphans), -- I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world seeth me no more, but ye see me. Because I live ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

 

Are we thoroughly and intimately imbued with the fact, that to see Christ is to see the Father? and that when we are with Him we shall not be orphans, for we shall see our Father which is in heaven; and that we -- shall know in that day that He is in the Father, and we in Him, and He in us? We cannot thoroughly realize this without seeing that the earth, when Christ has come again, will be heaven itself to those who shall see him. The world will, perhaps, " see him no more," even while he is among them, no more, perhaps, than most of us see of our Sovereigns; but some shall see him -- because he lives they shall live also. Those who love God will see Him as He is, they will live by sight not faith, for faith will have vanished away. But those who; after a judgment, shall simply have been declared "just," will probably still "live by faith." The righteousness of God will be revealed in Christ, not only from faith but to faith. The saints will advance a great step front faith to sight; the saved will be advanced, perhaps, up to faith.

 

 

John 17:2 -- That he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him;

 

And in John 17:6, 9, 24, --

 

"The men which thou gayest me out of the world, thine they were and thou gayest them me." I pray not for the world but for them which thou host given me." " Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am."

 

Individuals are continually predestined by their relations in this world to fill certain posts of honor and command over their fellow men. Nor is there any hardship, but rather there is benefit, to the rest of mankind in this being done. A child is often destined, before his birth, to an officer's rank in the army or navy. If he is found meet (and often, in human predestinations, if he is not found meet), he is in due course, without hardship to a single "common" soldier or sailor, raised to the lowest position of command. It was not, and never will be any hardship or injustice to any individual that ever lived, or ever shall live, that Jacob was predestined before his birth, to enjoy a certain rank among his fellow men, in the land of Canaan, for ever and ever. Esau and all other men will be rewarded according to their works, neither the more nor the less for the peculiarity of Jacob's position. Whether James and John, or two people yet unborn, are to sit on Christ's right and left hands hereafter, we may be quite sure that events will be so brought about that no injustice will be committed, and no man's free agency interfered with. The great difficulty in the way of our hearty reception of God's free elective agency has arisen from the prevalent' views of the future life, for it has been, of course, almost impossible not to say or think, " Why doth lie yet find fault," when damnation has been considered the only alternative for those who are not predestined to glory. When, however, the advancement of the saints is viewed as the very means for the salvation of the nations, we read without feeling a difficulty (i.e., in scriptural language without having a hard heart, or a heart which feels a difficulty), such language as, "therefore he hath mercy on whom he will; and he makes difficulties for whom he will." See, however, the comment on Romans 9.

 

 

John 17:24 -- Father, I will that they also whom thou halt given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me.

 

The same glory which the Word of God had with the Father (see John 5:5) before the world was, is, it appears, to be given to the man Jesus whom our eyes shall see, and our hands shall handle. This will constitute heaven to those who partake in it, but the question where this glory is to be beheld is not here determined; if this is a prayer that the disciples, when disembodied, may be with Christ spiritually, it is not to the purpose of this book to discuss it; and if it is a prayer for Christians after their resurrection, it relates to "the days of heaven upon the earth." (Deut. 11:21.)

 

 

THE FUTURE HUMAN KINGDOM OF CHRIST

CHAPTER VI.

ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.

 

Acts 1:6 -- WHEN they, therefore, were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father hath put in his own power.

 

As the Christian Church was not yet in existence when these words were spoken, and, therefore, had never been a kingdom which could be restored again, it follows that it is impossible for "Israel" to mean anything but "the Jews" in this passage.

 

It has been said that the expectation of a kingdom of Christ on earth is "at variance with the general character of the Christian religion," and that " the course of the Divine dispensation would be going back, instead of advancing, if a worldly kingdom of God were to succeed a spiritual one, if temporal splendor and prosperity, the blessing promised to God's favored people under the old covenant, were to succeed and to be added on to the pure and celestial glories promised under the Gospel."

 

If the Apostles expected any impure or uncelestial, in the sense of wicked glories, -- if they expected a temporal kingdom in the sense of a kingdom lasting but a short time, or a worldly kingdom in the sense of a kingdom founded on fear rather than love, or having anything unspiritual whatever in its composition, then these objections are quite to the point. Meanwhile, no such meaning necessarily attaches to the phrase " kingdom on earth," and the fact remains that in this very last lesson of the ascending Lord, there is not only no caution whatever given us against taking the prophecies about this kingdom in their natural sense, but he almost actually says, -- he certainly leads or allows us to expect that after a certain time, and at a certain opportunity known to the Father, such a kingdom shall be established.

 

 

Acts 2:16 -- But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel. -- And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophecy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams, and on my servants, and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my spirit, and they shall prophecy. And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath, blood and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

 

St. Peter has here quoted four verses and a half of the Prophet Joel.

 

The first two describe certain gifts and. graces to be poured in "the last days" upon all flesh. Nothing is in them described which men would wish to be saved from.

 

The next two describe some signs and wonders which are to precede the "great and notable day."

 

The events of this day are such as men would wish to be saved from.

 

The half verse contains a practical application of the two verses immediately preceding it, to the individual souls of his audience, being the same half verse which St. Paul has also separated from its context, and applied (Rom. 10:13) in the same practical way.

 

The half verse which St. Peter has not quoted goes on to distinguish between the condition of "all flesh" and the elect "remnant," who are to be saved from the "notable day." "For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call. For behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, &c." Here are the saints, the Jews, and the nations.

 

Now from these four verses being quoted together, and being headed by the assertion, "this" viz., the gift of tongues -- "is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;" it does undoubtedly at first sight appear that St. Peter considered the gift of tongues to be described by the prophet, as blood, fire, smoke, and darkness.

 

And accordingly, we can hardly doubt that very many minds have been turned away from the study of the writings of God's prophets by such a conception of the purport of this quotation in St. Peter's discourse; for, if it be supposed that we have Apostolic authority for explaining the darkening of the sun and moon by the gift of tongues, it is quite obvious that this is tantamount to confessing that there is no such thing as any comprehensible system whatever of interpretation to be arrived at.

 

But did St. Peter mean to assert this?

 

It surely cannot be supposed that he exhorted men to save themselves from dreams, visions, and spiritual gifts. He must have seen the two distinct parts into which his quotation divides itself.

 

But why then did he use the practical exhortation which hangs on to the last part, while the gift of tongues only led him apparently to notice the first part?

 

It is this apparent confusion of the two portions of the prophecy that has led many to think that the last has already really come to pass, though they do not exactly see how; and this has discouraged accurate study of the subject.

 

Now though we cannot for a moment think that St. Peter meant to say, the sun and moon have already been darkened, yet we are not bound by anything in Scripture, that I know of, to attribute to him the same accurate perception of the meaning of this kind of prophecy which we have ourselves in this age. We were told expressly in the last chapter, that it was not for the Apostles to know the times and the seasons, and in this we have a great advantage over them, -- in our negative knowledge certainly, and therefore in fact in our positive knowledge. St. Peter did not know whether the signs in the sun and moon which Joel talked of were not to come to pass within a week or two, or a few years, perhaps, from the time of his discourse. We do know whether they were or were not. We can distinguish the graces and gifts described by the prophets from the glories and from the signs described. We find that the graces and gifts have all been given, and we find that the glories, after 1800 years, have not been given, nor all the signs come to pass. St. Peter did not know whether St. John was not to be alive when Christ returned in the promised glory. If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?

 

It does not therefore imply anything like an error in doctrine, or an unfairness of any kind, when we find St. Peter going on in his quotation till he came to the practical deduction, call on the name of the Lord. For though we can see that the notable day has not yet come, he could not tell -- and we know he was not meant to tell -- whether it was not coming in his own generation. We must allow, on one hand, that St. Peter cannot have thought it had come already, but we may allow, on the other hand, that he may have expected it in a week. In no way does his speech show that he confounded two distinct things. Very likely he did not see any distinction between the then rising kingdom of grace and the promised kingdom of glory; but what of that? We do. And none of his words confound the two.

 

 

Acts 2:30 -- Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his loins according to the flesh he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne, he, seeing this before, spake, &c.

 

In writing a sermon upon this text the preacher would refer to the original promise of God here alluded to; and finding it not so very obvious to a general congregation that the promise did not simply refer to King Solomon, he would probably spend a moderate portion of his space in showing that it referred to Jesus Christ. It is unnecessary here to follow the supposed preacher, who would very easily prove that "the fruit of his loins" was to be taken literally; "according to the flesh," was to be taken literally; "would raise up Christ," was to be taken literally. But what would he do then? Would he explain that "to sit upon his throne," was not to be taken literally? If so, it is my opinion that he would have to leave Scripture behind him, and dwell, out of his own head, upon some fancied superiority of a throne in heaven over a throne filled by his Maker and Redeemer on earth, as if that quite settled the question, supposing 'the fancy correct. A man is superior to a horse, but God, we see, has created horses for all that. So he has created earth, and Jerusalem, and the scriptural matter-of-fact statement is, that God has sworn that a man born from David's family shall conduct for ever the affairs of the earth, which some one or other must conduct, and in which the devil has hitherto had the chief direction. Moreover, not earth only, we know, but all angels, and principalities, and powers, and things in heaven as well as things in earth are to be subject to the same man, whom "God hath made both Lord and Christ." "To make any further remark upon this passage," it has been said,

 

"seems superfluous. If persons will spiritualize one part let them spiritualize the other; if they must take one part literally let them be consistent and take the whole in the same manner." Again: "It remains for me now to lead you to the testimony of the New Testament on this important subject, and the interesting question naturally arises here: Does Christianity at once throw a cloud over all this? Does the New Testament tell us that it might be very well for the Jew to expect this, but that now all that is done with, and that as for any covenant with David we have nothing more to do with it, we are now to begin to spiritualize, and as for any thing literal it is to be discarded? Does it in short crush the hope of the literal fulfillment of the covenant with David, which must to a Jew at all events appear to pervade his scriptures, and instead of dying away to become more substantial as the volume draws to its close? Oh, no! It enlarges and enforces and confirms the very covenant we have been considering. And, oh! what an unworthy stigma have Christians cast upon the New Testament when they have gone to the Jew and said: All this is spiritual. The New Testament has no communion whatever with any such statements. It is just as uncompromising as the Old in its positive declaration that the son of David shall for ever possess the throne of David. Let us look at its statements. First observe, it tells us the accomplishment of the fact of the Messiah being the Son of David with the greatest possible particularity. It gives us no less than two genealogies for the very purpose of proving that this is the case, and at the same time it informs us, in what may be called an incidental manner, that it was because this was the case that Joseph went up to Bethlehem to be taxed, viz., because he was of the house and lineage of David; and thus was fulfilled the prophecy that our Lord should be born in Bethlehem Ephratah."

 

The remainder is too long to be quoted, but the author proceeds,

 

"And now, my dear brethren, having glanced at the New Testament evidence on this head, let me ask you how stands the covenant? Is it gone? Is it frittered away? Is it all become spiritual? Is David lost sight of, and the throne of David, and the house of David in any literal meaning scattered to the winds? No; the covenant stands in all its unchangeableness to the last chapter of the Book of God, and we find Christ still glorying in that title which shall belong to him for ever. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star." -- ISRAEL RESTORED, Bloomsbury Lectures.

 

 

Acts 2:34 -- David is not ascended into the heavens.

 

These words in one respect have greater force than those of our Savior himself in John 3: "No man hath ascended up to heaven;" for they were spoken after the sacrifice of Christ and after his descent into Hades, where, according to some commentators, he preached to the spirits inn prison.

 

 

Acts 2:47 -- And the Lord added to the Church daily such as should be saved.

 

The doctrine of the Church of England is, that all members of the Church are, during this life, in a "state of salvation," from which they may fall, or in which they may continue "unto their lives' end." It is surprising that this common sense view of Scripture has not led men before now to what I am advocating in this work, viz., to the obvious fact that "saving" in Scripture phraseology is altogether a negative and relative work. To save a man, in Scripture language, is to save him from some definite evil, but not to endow him with any definite good. * A man may be saved, and be a no better man for it, no nearer God by it. The many instances in which we have translated the word "save" by the word "heal," or "make whole," might have shown us this. Matt. 9:21: "If I may but touch his garment I shall be saved. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said: Daughter, be of good comfort, thy faith hath saved thee; and the woman was saved from that hour." Here the word means saving from sickness. Luke 8:36: "They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was saved." Here it means saving from the power of the devil. And in Luke 8:50, "Fear not, believe only, and she shall be saved." Here it means saving from death. Acts 4:9 and Acts 14:9, show that the Apostles followed the same usage. The apparent unfairness of the translation of Acts 4:12 is to be lamented, not because the fact there stated is untrue, but because it rightly offends those who see that St. Peter cannot have meant it in our modern sense in this particular passage.

 

--------------------------------

* In 2 Tim. 4:18, the preposition appears to give the positive meaning.

 

Acts 3:21 -- Whom the Heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things.

 

The great difficulty which has been felt by commentators on this passage is that a restitution of all things cannot be very well reconciled with the common notion of 'a destruction of all things by fire at the end of the world, and a deportation of the earth's inhabitants to two different distant localities. The fact that our Savior said, after John the Baptist's death, that Elias should come and restore all things, strengthens of course the view of a restoration against that of a destruction. One of these theories then must give way to the other; and as the two texts seem, in their present translation, decisive, the only way of altering their English meaning seems to be to examine whether the Greek word for restoration may not mean reducing to order or perfection, not by restoring but by simple improving. This, if established, would leave room for a destruction after the improvement was brought to pass. Thus Dr. Doddridge says "it is plain that apocatastesei here (Matt. 17:11), as apocatastasis (Acts 3:21), cannot as it generally does, signify restoring things to their former state, but only in the general reducing them to order." To this Dr. Maitland, "Eruvin" p. 230, answers --

 

"Does the reader see that this is 'plain'? or does he think that, notwithstanding Doddridge's preconceived opinion, the words may mean what the critic himself is obliged to confess that they ' generally do?' The meaning of the word apocatastasis according to Schleusner is 'the act of reducing anything to its former place, the replacing or restitution of anything, from a verb signifying as its first and proper sense to replace, to restore, to bring back anything into its original or former state.' Hence, as he observes, the noun which we translate restitution is by Greek writers used to express the reforming or setting of crooked or disjointed limbs, the returns of the planets to their former stations, and the restoration of hostages to their own country. It is true that he gives us a third meaning, 'the reducing anything into a better state, the amendment of that which is corrupted;' but he produces no authority for this explanation of the word; merely observing that by adopting it we may be assisted in understanding Acts 3:21; and, in fact, it seems to have been made simply for that purpose."

 

Dr. Maitland also remarks:

 

"It would be a mere waste of time to enter into a formal proof of three things which are commonly admitted by Christians. First that our Lord is called the Redeemer, secondly that the word redemption most naturally implies the getting back of that which has been lost, withheld, or parted with, and thirdly, that the Goel or Redeemer, under the Mosaic law, an important part of whose office it was to redeem the inheritance of his kinsman, was a type of our Lord. Thus Mr. Scott says, 'The kinsman here evidently typified Christ, our brother and Redeemer, who ransoms our lost inheritance, and will keep it for us until the day of judgment, when he will restore it unto us' (On Lev. 25:25). It is then a work of reduction or restoration."

 

The opposite theory to that of the restitution of all things is that the earth is not to be redeemed, but only some of the people on it, and that the inheritance which is to be given us is not our lost inheritance which is ransomed and restored, but some new inheritance which we never parted with, having never seen it or owned it.

 

 

Acts 7:5 -- And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on, yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him.

 

If the word "and" can really mean i. e. -- "that is to say " -- then it may follow that Abraham is not to inherit the land of Canaan; for it was promised to him, that is to say to his seed after him.

 

But then the Apostles' Creed may mean in this case, -- I believe in the resurrection of the body, that is to say, the life everlasting. And thus is Her Majesty declared to be Queen of Great Britain, that is to say, Ireland.

 

The declaration in the text is clear enough.

 

1st. He gave him no inheritance at all in the land.

 

2nd. Yet he promised that he would give it him.

 

3rd. And to his seed, Christ.

 

That the promise shall be fulfilled after the resurrection, is the only possible deduction to be made from these words. Let it, however, for a moment be supposed that " and" means, " that is to say." The difficulty of Abraham inheriting the land is now got -- over. Christ is to inherit it.

 

Accordingly we read, Lev. 25:23, "The land shall not be sold for ever, for the land is mine. For ye are strangers and sojourners with me. And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land."

 

Now the present possessors of the land own Mahomet as the Mediator between God and man. They consider the followers of Christ to be infidels; they call them dogs. We see not yet, therefore, all things, and we see not yet the land of Judea put under Christ's feet. He is at present "waiting till his enemies be made his footstool."

 

If then at his coming the world is to be destroyed, and all men are to be deported into heaven or hell, then neither will Christ any more than Abraham have inherited the promise. To this it is answered, however, -- The land of promise means heaven, he will have inherited heaven, which is better than the earthly Canaan. But to this I reply, -- It cannot be that when we read about earth we may rightly suppose it really means heaven, for in this case why might we not equally well take the other side, and assert that when we read about heaven it really means earth?

 

 

Acts 15:13 -- And after they had held their peace, James answered saying, men and brethren, hearken unto me. Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets, as it is written, After this I will return and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down, and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up, that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

 

The " tabernacle of David," is a very peculiar phrase, and is only used in two places of Holy Scripture, exclusive of this quotation.

 

The "house of David," is used upwards of twenty times, always in the sense of the family of David.

 

In Amos 9:11, which is the passage here quoted, it is prophesied that David's tabernacle shall be set up in order that the residue, or elect remnant, might seek the Lord, and also that all those Gentiles upon whom God's name was called, might do so. In the other place, Isaiah xvi., the country of Moab is described as a refuge for God's wanderers upon some great occasion, when spoilers and oppressors were to be destroyed, and yet somehow there were to be outcasts and wanderers left; and in this country, apparently, this tabernacle of David was to be set up, some righteous ruler sitting on a throne in it. "Take counsel, execute judgment, make thy shadow as the night inn the midst of noon-day; hide the outcasts; bewray not him that wandereth; let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler, for the extortioner is at an end; the spoiler ceaseth; the oppressors are consumed out of the land, and in mercy shall the throne be established, and he shall sit upon it in truth, in the tabernacle of David, judging and seeking judgment, and hastening righteousness "

 

Now if "tabernacle" in these two places is meant to have any meaning distinct from that of "house," it must mean a temporary place to live in. But I am unable to see any sense in which a temporary house for David to live in, ever fell down or was rebuilt about the time of the conversion of Cornelius, or the Council of Jerusalem. If indeed we leave out the thought of David altogether, and make the tabernacle of David to mean the tabernacle, temple, or church, of Christ, we certainly get a tenable meaning for this one passage in the Acts; but then the phrase "as in the days of old," which St. James omitted in his quotation from memory, becomes too important an one for him to have omitted, even in a public speech. If St. James had really had in his mind the rebuilding of Christ's Church, after the falling down of the Jewish Church by the rejection of the corner stone, I cannot think he would have forgotten the words, " as in the days of old," still less that he would have omitted them intentionally; for the very case he was deciding was whether Gentiles were or were not to be bound by the rules as of old.

 

The reason that I am commenting upon this passage is, that I am desirous of eliciting whether an Apostle has really explained away the notion of David altogether from the phrase tabernacle of David, for it certainly seems to me contrary to the proper principles of prophetical interpretation to do so.

 

In explaining the word tabernacle by the word house, or family, it cannot be said that I in my turn am explaining away the meaning of tabernacle, for a tabernacle is undoubtedly a house, and a house is continually and systematically used for a household or family.

 

Let it now be remembered that St. James, who was here speaking, is allowed on all hands to have been "the Lord's brother," and bishop, or chief officer, of the Church at Jerusalem. That he filled the " chair," "seat," or "throne," at this important council is evident, and though we may think little now-a-days of his honorable and dangerous position as a member of the house and lineage of David, yet we know that both Vespasian and Domitian made strict search after all the descendants of David then remaining, and that two of them were consequently summoned before the latter, and dismissed only after full inquiry as to their means and views. (Euseb. Eccl. Hist. iii., 12 and 19.) That St. James was insensible of the peculiarity of his own position in this respect, it would be quite irrational to suppose, and the great honor in which, notwithstanding his Christianity, he is represented to have been held by the mass of his countrymen, was doubtless owing partly to his own virtues, but partly also to his birth.

 

Let us, then, now recite the following historical facts, and it seems to me that these two prophecies of Isaiah and Amos will then require but little further explanation.

 

The family of David before the advent of our Lord had fallen to a very humble condition. It may well have been called at this time a tabernacle rather than a house. About A.D. 41, God made choice that the Gentiles should hear the word of the Gospel by St. Peter's voice.

 

"After this," viz., about A.D. 45, St. James, the brother of our Lord, a member of the house of David, was appointed. to the bishopric of Jerusalem, an office whose direct end was "the edifying of the Church," which, in other words means "that the remnant of men might seek after the Lord." And in this office he was mainly instrumental in giving the Gentiles, on whom God's name was called, an equal opportunity of doing so for a question altogether affecting the comfort and privileges of Gentile Christians having been for a while warmly disputed, was at last left to the decision of a Church composed entirely of Jews; and he, as Bishop of that Church, decided it in a way contrary to the prejudices of his countrymen, and most consoling to the Gentiles.

 

All that portion, then, of Amos which St. James quoted from memory, is susceptible of a natural interpretation, and it is explained in a way in which his leaving out the phrase "as in the former days," seems of no great importance. Again, just before the flight of the Christians to Pella, and to all the neighboring mountainous parts doubtless, beyond Jordan (eastward), Symeon, son of Joses, another member of the family of David, was appointed to this same important office after St. James' death. This part of the country hid the outcasts, bewrayed not him that wandered; Christ's outcasts dwelt with Moab; it was a covert to them from the face of both Jewish and Roman spoilers, for the Jewish extortioner then came to an end; the spoiler ceased, the oppressors were consumed out of the land; in mercy Christ's throne was established there until the tyranny was overpast, and he sat upon it in truth, acting through the house of David, judging and seeking judgment, and hastening righteousness. (Isa. 16.)

 

It is true that Pella itself was situated in that part of the mountainous covert for the Christians that was north of Moab, but it is not on the other hand stated exactly where the tabernacle was to be raised.

 

It may be said again that as the cousin of the Blessed Virgin was of the daughters of Aaron, so the Virgin, and Symeon, and James, were therefore Levites, and not of David's family; but our Lord's descent from David cannot be a fiction, and the Virgin may, therefore, have been of a different tribe from her cousin.

 

On the whole, whether or not I have rightly given the meaning of this passage, I doubt not all prophecies will be fulfilled quite as closely as this would now seem to be.

 

 

Acts 17:6 -- These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also, whom Jason hath received, and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus. And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city when they heard these things.

 

It must be remembered that the event here described took place twenty years after the complete launching of Christianity into the world, and the way therefore in which the Jews represented to the civil power the salient point of the apostolic preaching, is as much entitled to attention as the statement of an adversary would be at present who should endeavor to persuade the Emperor of China to expel the missionaries from his dominions. The whole system of Christian preaching must have been thoroughly methodized in this interval, and in particular we know that it had been cleared from the peculiarities of Judaism, and the great fact had become quite clear that Christ did not die for one nation only, but that he might gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. If the cry in the text had been raised before the call of the Gentiles, there might have been room left to argue, that until the Council of Jerusalem, the Holy Ghost had not thought fit to utter, even through apostolic mouths, the whole mind of God with respect to other nations, and the relation of the Lord to the great majority of the world. But now, after all the experience of twenty years, we find his kingship still chosen by the Jews as that doctrine of Christianity upon which they could best excite the jealousy of the State. I do not think the Emperor of China would feel any jealousy at this doctrine in the way it is preached among his subjects at present, because I think almost every missionary would be eager to explain that he only meant to preach what he would call a spiritual kingdom, and even this he would explain in a way which would apply to a lecture-room quite as well as to a kingdom. I do not, in fact, imagine that the kingship of Christ would be singled out by adversaries now in any heathen country in the way it was by the Thessalonian Jews, and it would follow that it is not preached by us in the way it was by the Apostles.

 

Would that there were any section of the Church (in its largest sense of the baptized) which really, practically, and truly made the kingship of Christ the foundation of their system, in the way the Roman Church does the kingship of the Pope, following his commands in truth and in deed, and not in word only.

 

 

Acts 17:18 -- He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange Gods, because he preached unto them Jesus and the resurrection.

 

Here we have the interesting sight of St. Paul trying to convert the most famous philosophers of the world to Christianity. I believe that instead of the early Christians having taught heathens the ascension into heaven, it is the heathens that have taught it us. St. Paul here taught that a man was to judge the whole inhabited world, and that this man was ordained to that office; that he had been raised from the dead already by God, and that all other men should be raised also. The heathen would not have mocked if St. Paul had represented a spiritual judgment of all mankind, to take place in some distant locality; the immortality and judgment of the soul was a common belief enough. The Book of the Dead," which we can now decipher from Egyptian records, does not seem to differ much from our popular views, when it describes the passage of the "soul," after judgment by Osiris, to the "realms of light." The influence of Egyptianism upon the Church I suspect to have been immense. It was the earthly -- part of the doctrine that struck the Athenians. The Acts of the Apostles contain a large number of sermons, speeches, and judicial defenses, addressed to Jews as well as heathens, to men of many different religions and different ranks and degrees of education. They were delivered in different countries, and 'at periods spread over a range of thirty years.. Now, not a trace of the doctrine of eternal life for us: in heaven can I find among all these. Repentance, faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ (both credo and fides), baptism, saving from sin, grace, judgment to come, fulfillment of ancient promises, resurrection from the dead, and eternal life, these are the staple of them all. Can we read our missionary sermons and narratives, and honestly deny the very evident dissimilarity between them and the Acts of the Apostles in this respect.

 

 

Acts 24:14 -- But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets.

 

I have in this work maintained the opinion that the law will be kept again upon earth during the future state of existence. It is extremely striking that thirty years after the beginning of Christianity, St. Paul should so strenuously and repeatedly assert his own personal adherence to the Judaic faith and practice. The following remarks from Cartwright's Hebrew Christian Church of Jerusalem, will put the subject in a light in which it is, perhaps, not often considered by us who boast so loudly of our scriptural knowledge.

 

"It is an acknowledged fact that this Church maintained its national distinctions unimpaired, and that all its members, lay and clerical, were strict observers of the law of Moses. A decided recognition of this remarkable feature in the pure Christianity of the Pentecostal Church is essentially necessary to a satisfactory appreciation of its real position and character. If the national observances and attachment to the Mosaical institutions, which were so strongly marked in the history of the first Christians, were a blemish in their character as a Church, if we are to look back upon their zeal for the law of which their Apostolical Bishop testified, and satisfy ourselves with the reflection that theirs were, in a measure, times of ignorance, which God winked at, the conclusion, after all, must be peculiarly distressing to a serious and reflecting mind, and painfully at variance with the estimate which Scripture itself has taught us to form of the purity and simplicity of those early times, when the multitude of believers 'were of one heart and of one soul,' and 'great grace was upon them all.' It must be borne in mind that Holy Scripture gives us a highly favorable description of this Church; that the same Holy Spirit which has attested its faith, its devotedness, its unity in Christ, its love for the brethren, its zeal for the Gospel, has likewise particularly recorded its continued and inflexible adherence to the law of Moses, and the national institutions of the Jews, without affixing one single note of disapprobation. Besides this, we cannot come to a decision which imputes to the Hebrew converts of Jerusalem a perilous degree of ignorance, prejudice, and an unenlightened conscience, without involving the inspired Apostles of our Lord in this heavy charge. We cannot disapprove of St. Peter's general conduct, who on one occasion was certainly to be blamed, without at the same time more decidedly condemning what we must in this case consider the compromising submission of St. Paul, the great champion of Gentile liberty, when he unhesitatingly complied with the requisition of the Church of Jerusalem, that he should, by an immediate public performance of certain Jewish rites, give a practical denial of the calumny which charged him with teaching the Jews of the dispersion to forsake Moses." And again: "St. Paul's last recorded visit to Jerusalem, which has been already alluded to, affords another decided proof of the stedfast adherence of the Church there to the law of Moses, in the testimony of St. James himself to the fact that the myriads of believers were all zealous for the law. We may claim the testimony of the Apostle of the Gentiles that there was nothing in this state of things subversive of the faith of the Gospel. Where the interests of truth were concerned, this Apostle gave place to none by subjection, no, not for an hour. Yet at Jerusalem on this occasion he willingly exhibited his Jewish conformity by engaging in an extraordinary service, which, though not uncommon, was yet not binding upon any particular person.

 

"On the whole, we do not find that the Apostle Paul on any occasion condemned the strict Mosaism of the Church of Jerusalem, or apprehended that her Christian simplicity was endangered by her national character. His epistle to the Hebrews was certainly not specially directed against any unsoundness in the view of salvation by faith, and not by the deeds of the law. For a bold exposition of this doctrine we must turn to the epistles addressed to the Gentile Churches of Rome and Galatia. We may make the same remark on St. James' epistle to the twelve tribes scattered abroad. It indicates no fear of what have been called 'legal views,' to which we might have supposed the Hebrew Christians liable; but, on the contrary, combats the opposite error so strongly, as to have been hastily pronounced spurious by the reformer Luther, on account of supposed discrepancy with the doctrine of St. Paul to the Romans. He subsequently retracted his opinion, and acknowledged his error."

 

 

Acts 26:6 -- And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers, unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come, for which hope's sake, King Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you that God should raise the dead?

 

It is incredible indeed that this should have been the argument of so intelligent and honest a Christian as St. Paul, if his hope was the same as ours is now. An intelligent and honest Christian of these days has a hope of living for ever in heaven, and not in the land of Canaan. He could not, therefore, intelligently and honestly have argued as follows: My spiritual ancestors, oh king, had a promise which you may see here in this book. Read it. They, and their seed after them, were to possess the land of Canaan. My persecutors profess to believe this as well as myself. But our ancestors are dead. How then can those who brought me here before you, really believe ,the promise, except they believe also in a resurrection? And yet, it is only because the resurrection of one of their seed shows me the possibility of their and my resurrection, still to possess Canaan, notwithstanding death, that I am here tried before you.

 

Instead of this being the sort of argument that intelligent and honest Christians would be disposed to use in these days, some of the most intelligent Christians among us have now arrived at a theory which would certainly have made both of St. Paul's ears tingle if he had heard it from the mouths of believers. Abraham and the fathers are no longer considered by many Christians to have been undoubtedly real individuals to whom God made promises, but possibly the mythical heads of tribes.. The Greeks, we know, used to invent names of different people, and describe them in the relation of father and son, or as making certain changes of residence, and all this only meant that certain tribes of men, in early times, were of common stock, and migrated in successive generations from one place to another, in the way the "Hero Eponymus" was described to have done. The detailed adventures of a man named Egyptus, are merely meant as a way of narrating the history of the country Egypt. America, the daughter of Europa, would have been said by them to have sailed over the Western Ocean, to have driven Esquimalchus, Indianus, and Patagonius, from their thrones, and to have colonized the land. Whoever thinks that because heathens used to write their histories in this way, it follows that Moses also did the same, and that Abraham was probably therefore not an individual, will disagree with me in all the arguments founded on the promises which it is more usually considered were really made to Abraham. But even while I now write, so many new and important. steps have been made public towards the settlement of the chronology of Abraham's time, that it would be perhaps most charitable to let all pass into oblivion that has hitherto been said in this sense upon such subjects. See, for instance, Poole's "Home Egyptiacae," and Foster's "Voice of Israel from the Rocks of Sinai." The notion we have hitherto been led to form is, that Egypt was an united powerful monarchy, existing in a very high state of civilization many ages before the time of Abraham. By deciphering on the monuments themselves several new cycles of time hitherto unknown to us, and by the application to history of this new light, we have now grounds, as solid seemingly as a pyramid itself, for recognizing different districts in early Egypt, each under its own king, and that the origin of the earliest government, accords with the Septuagint date of the dispersion, together with other interesting corroborations of the accuracy of Moses.

 

 

Acts 26:17 -- The Gentiles unto whom now I send thee, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified.

 

This is our blessed Savior's own short epitome of the object of his own work on earth. His own voice in the Hebrew tongue was here heard from heaven itself. Saul, arise. I send thee to preach me and my works to the Gentiles, and the object of my work for them is, that by turning from Satan unto God they may receive two things, viz., first the forgiveness of sins, and secondly a certain inheritance. So this preacher, in accordance with this instruction, said (Acts 20:32.), "And now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you. an inheritance." And in writing to the Jews, he said (Heb. 9:15.), that the reason why Christ was the mediator of the New Testament was, that a certain set of men might receive what had been promised, viz., the eternal inheritance. It is unnecessary to quote the many texts to the same purport; and the question is, what is this inheritance? Is it in heaven or upon earth? Whoever holds either that gospel graces, or heaven, are the "inheritance" of Christians, must show scripture for it. I can conceive no way of escaping from the answer that it is earth, even the same which we know Satan took from Adam, when we have read the famous passage in the eighth to the Romans. Spiritual men are there argued to be sons of God and heirs with Christ of something or other -- some estate or inheritance which is due to his sufferings and is called his peculiar glory. Now it is the earthly creation that is declared to be waiting for the manifestation of this, and surely this must without any doubt be taken to imply that this earthly creation instead of being destined, as is generally supposed, to be annihilated or depopulated at that time, is on the contrary to be refreshed and restored (Acts 3), and, under the second Adam, heir of the world, to be what under the first Adam it was to have been had he not fallen.

 

THE FUTURE HUMAN KINGDOM OF CHRIST

CHAPTER VII.

EPISTLE TO THE  ROMANS.

 

Romans 4:13 -- FOR the promise that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.

 

The purely human nature of Christ's kingdom has been hitherto deduced rather from our having seen in the record of his actions and words on earth how essentially human they were. This view we now find much strengthened (if indeed any need be thereof) by the reiterated argument of the Apostolic Epistles. His kingdom is here stated to have been given him by a promise, and it is said that it should be worked out by means of the purely human faculty of faith. That God the unincarnate Word can be said to have faith, or to receive a promise, seems contrary to all our conceptions of His Divine Personality. But now Abraham's Seed, a Man who could learn the terms of a promise as he grew up, and who could believe it, and receive it, is Heir of the world; and by his faith the righteous plan of God will be manifested and its benefit come unto all and upon all them that believe, who will be heirs together with him.

 

Whitby has given only two other explanations of the phrase heir of the world, 'besides the natural one, which he rejects. The first is, that world need not mean world, the second, that heir need not mean heir. "Others," he says, "think that to be heir of the world is to be heir of the spiritual and heavenly Canaan;" but to this he justly observes, "it is hard to find where any such promise was made to Abraham and his seed." He himself adopts the explanation of heir not meaning heir. He talks of Abraham as "the father' of the faithful, and so the heir of the believing world." But how a man can be said to be the father of good children and so the heir of his good children he does not explain.

 

 

Romans 8:22. For we know that the whole Creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now, and not only they but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the Adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

 

We may here ask, --

 

Is the whole creation to be delivered from bondage into glorious liberty by going to heaven itself? For if not, the redemption it is here described as waiting for, must be its redemption from sin and the curse, and not a change of locality.

 

It cannot surely be contended that after the resurrection not only is man to ascend into heaven, but the whole creation with him. It would be very like straining at a gnat to swallow a camel if, to escape the conclusion that we are to live on earth, we fancy that earth shall be removed with us into heaven. All Scripture points to the great conclusion. The second Adam shall rule the second or restored earth.

 

 

Romans 9:14 -- What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid! For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy. For the Scripture saith unto Pharoah, even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

 

What clear language. So Jude 4: "There are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation." And 1 Pet. 2:8: " Them which stumble at the word, being disobedient, whereunto also they were appointed. There is no trace of any hesitation here in the minds of either of these three Apostles. They agree in asserting distinctly, and in two of the cases without it being necessary to their argument, that it was ordained before-hand of certain men that they should have hard hearts, and be disobedient to God's law in this world. So again (Acts 4:28) the acts of Pontius Pilate and Herod were predestinated.

 

How utterly Christians now disbelieve this clear revelation. How hypocritical we are. Not for rejecting this doctrine, because our rejection of it is but the natural consequence of our present notions of futurity, but for professing, while we reject it, to found our teaching firmly upon Holy Scripture, and for pretending we really believe all the New Testament to be as if God were speaking to us. Is there any symptom that this was one of the things considered by the early Christians to be "hard to be understood" in St. Paul's writings? On the contrary, the very Apostle who gave this character to some of St. Paul's epistles repeats, we see, in a way we should call unnecessary, and certainly without appearing to think he was stating a thing difficult to be believed, that men were appointed unto disobedience. Let us humbly endeavor to justify the ways of God to man upon this most important subject.

 

I remember once reading, in some medical book, of a person whose general conduct seemed conscientious, but who was subject in a marked way to some one sin, I forget what, and which was the more marked by being contrary to what was expected of him from the general tenor of his life. The mystery, however, was explained after his decease, for it was then found that from birth to death there had been a spiculum of bone projecting into the matter of the brain, the physical organization of which was, therefore (unknown to himself or the world), an undoubted cause of much temptation, condemnation, and disobedience. The reader Who keeps this case in mind will understand exactly what I mean when I say, that thousands, or millions, or all of mankind, whoever is born stupid, or passionate, or prone to any one temptation, may be considered to have a spiculum in his brain, not a physical protrusion of the bone, but a physical organization prone to evil, a carnal, a fleshly state of being, adverse to perfection of character. Moreover, lest the objection should cross the reader's mind, I would observe that no theologian in the world that I ever remember hearing or reading of, has ever stated that baptism annihilates this proneness to evil. Some people have, I believe, been supposed by other people to hold this, but no one that I ever heard of does hold it.

 

This then being an admitted fact, viz., that our minds are imperfect, unbalanced, or prone to evil, it must follow either that every child is predestined immediately by God to have the particular temptations, and the particular character, with which it is born, or else that the particular character must have arisen in each separate case from the action of some general law, not yet understood. The character and circumstances of the parents, the spiritual or fleshly, the calm or the striving, life of the mother previous to birth may very possibly have determined the character of the offspring altogether.

 

A general law of this kind, however, only seems to shift and spread the operation of God in our minds, and does not enable us to explain things without his direct operation somewhere or other, either in parents, grand-parents, or others. And indeed, as I am informed that physiologists now generally admit that the phenomena of growth, secretion, and vital forces in general, are due to the direct sustaining power of the Deity, it will not be too much to assume that the birth-character of a child is mediately or immediately his work also.

 

In fact, if we grant that one being was ordained to be Adam, and another being was ordained to be Eve, the whole principle of predestination to situations in this world is therein granted already. If diversity of climate, if insular position, if any inequality whatever even in outward nature is God's immediate work, then all the effects that follow from it in this world are fore-ordained. Nor does the allowed interference of an evil Spirit in the affairs of man alter this, for he is created as well as ourselves, and his interference is by supposition allowed, and he must act according to the. laws of man's -- and his own -- nature which are ordained by his Almighty Maker. Nor does the known existence of man's free will alter it. Man's Maker is not unable, as man is, to calculate the exact force and direction of man's will.

 

Reverting now to the medical case quoted above, must we not also allow that, as far as this life was concerned the unfortunate patient was ordained to condemnation. Whether this condemnation would be just is a perfectly distinct question, but that a considerable amount of unhappiness and condemnation follows any egregious offence against society is undoubted, though the existence of a hidden physical exciting cause might, after it was discovered, quite alter the judgment of the world. The patient was undoubtedly " appointed unto disobedience," was condemned accordingly, until the time came that his cause was known; and then he was as undoubtedly set free from the stigma which heretofore attached to him

 

Now I, for my part, fully and ex animo assent to the words of St. Paul, St. Peter, and St. Jude; and whoever does not do so must never dare to boast of his scriptural views; or else he is a hypocrite; not for rejecting those words but for boasting of his scriptural views while he rejects them. Certain men were ordained, by God's fore-calculation of the effects of his own laws, to have spicula in their brains, certain to be gypsies, others to be taught to worship apes, cats, and crocodiles. But God is fully and accurately just. He is a Justifier. There will come a day when all secrets will be disclosed. What did our blessed Lord mean when he announced that publicans and harlots would stand better hereafter than the Pharisees? Did he mean to excuse impurity? God forbid! But what did he mean? He meant that every temptation and every resistance to temptation, should hereafter be accurately weighed, and the result should be declared accordingly; and who can doubt, who has any knowledge of human nature, that, without for one moment excusing any vice, we may yet safely say that many a degraded harlot, ordained to condemnation, appointed to disobedience, has resisted evil more in proportion to her gifts, than many a respectable clergyman. He that willeth, or he that runneth in this world, may often not succeed, because God has not yet shown mercy; but God is able accurately to weigh the effort. A man and a child may equally fail. in moving a ton weight, none but God and the man know yet how great was the effort. God hardened Pharoah's heart. The Greek word means hard in the sense of difficult, not in the sense of solid, God then put the difficulties (mediately no doubt, see James 1:13) before Pharoah; either his mind saw the obvious political difficulty, or his heart, from other motives, formed its determination to let Israel go with difficulty. Christ will weigh those difficulties accurately at the judgment day. A tremendous difficulty indeed it would be if I found that God, willing to show (on earth) his wrath, and make his power known (on earth), will refuse therefore to weigh accurately, after this age of the earth shall be past, the hardness of the circumstances which himself has caused. But thank God such a difficulty as this does not come home to me. Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid

 

 

Rom. 9:19 -- Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?

 

If the view which I am advocating concerning God's predestined plan for man's future state, enables us to throw some considerable light on ,the chief difficulties of the Calvinistic controversy, little more need, probably, be offered to most minds, to induce them to look favorably upon it.

 

These well known, and to most minds hitherto insuperable, difficulties, may be briefly stated thus

 

1st. How shall we reconcile the fact of the felt free will of man with the undenied fore-calculation of God?

 

This is a general difficulty, not peculiar to Christianity, not to be solved from the Bible, a difficulty in natural, quite as much as in revealed, religion.

 

When this shall have been made as clear as may be, we shall then have secondly to inquire as Christians, --

 

What revealed system enables us to assert at once the full sovereignty, the strict justice, and the immeasurable love of God? The full sovereignty as shown in the absolute predestination of all his creatures to certain definite positions, according to his own will; the strict justice, because these positions shall be accurately proportioned to a particular sort of strivings, viz., those commonly called the good strivings of these creatures; and the immeasurable love, because the final situation of the whole mass of creatures shall recommend itself to his and our feelings of complacency and love.

 

Our chief difficulties will, I think, be found to have arisen out of the fact, that though we nominally do recognize degrees of future happiness and misery, yet practically, we have made no account of the Righteous. Plan which such a doctrine strongly brings before us.

 

We talk of all future mankind as either the lost or the saved. It is perfectly legitimate and scriptural to do this in the present tense. Every man is now either being lost or being saved (see 1 Cor. 1:18, and 2 Cor. 2:15). But it is equally true that every living creature in this world belongs to one of the two classes, animal or vegetable, and it is perfectly legitimate to assert this. If, however, in discussing the future freedom, the purposes, the predestined happiness, and highest objects of men, we should systematically class man with animalculae, asserting the same things systematically of both hereafter, because they are both now animals, is it likely we should be able to arrive at truth upon such subjects. Something like this it is which has, however, always been done hitherto on both sides of the Calvinistic controversy. See for instance our 17th article. The predestined to life are considered also to be as "vessels made to honor."

 

First, then, as a preliminary question, -- Can we assert man's free will and God's fore-calculation also? Can we say as follows: -- Men have been created with free wills, and yet God can fore-calculate their actions. A man may do a thing tomorrow or not as he chooses, no man knows which he will choose, nor does he know himself. Can we say, This man alone will, of his own motion, decide the result; and can we yet say, God knows, or calculates before-hand, what he will decide?

 

The answer seems to depend upon the fact that the will is a force like other forces. No man knows the exact strength of his own will, nor the exact direction of its actions (i. e., his purposes), nor the exact strength of the different motives in. his mind, nor their exact directions. Still less does he know all this of any other man. The maker of mankind probably alone knows it. It seems as hard to fore-know whether a man will remember a thing, as whether he will do a thing. I have forgotten a thing, and cannot tell whether I shall remember it, nor can any one else tell. Why not? Because I do not know the exact force of my memory, nor the exact resistance of my forgetfulness. We do not, however, find any difficulty in supposing that God, who does know this exact force, knows before-hand the result. So also must it then be in his fore-calculation of our willful actions. We must be careful to remember that the will of a man in its strict sense, is only shown when he follows a purpose. Purposes are strong or weak, and the wills which follow them are strong or weak like other forces. Many people have no discernible purposes, but follow the force predominating at each instant in their minds, without any action of their wills. A man has what is called free will, whether his will be strong or weak. When a man's will is strong enough to follow his purposes, his action is attributable to his strength of will (whatever be the origin of that strength). Therefore the man is free. But yet God knew before-hand all his strength and all the opposing forces, i. e., He foresaw his actions.

 

 

 

 

--------------------------------

* Of the three words, fore-see, fore-know, and fore-calculate, I think the last is far the best to use in these subjects. It is, of course, thoroughly understood, that by neither of them do we presume to affirm anything definite concerning the operations of the Godhead. We do not say that God either sees as men see, knows as men know, or calculates as men calculate; but the latter word expresses much better than the others that certain laws are laid down by the Deity, according to which the powers and forces He creates must work, whether freely or not. A Being may be said to know or see a thing before it comes to pass, but it is clearer to say he calculates it; for he knows it on the supposition that certain powers will act in certain laws, and bring the event to pass. The laws may be of his own ordering, the powers of his own creation, but the phrase still remains the clearest.

 

 

I see no difficulty in this, because will is a force. Had I the proper weights I could very easily determine the exact weight which my will, acting in a definite way through my arms, would counterbalance; and again, a slight headache is often produced by a slight action of the will, and a more acute pain by a more powerful determination; and if we could measure our own bodily sensations as accurately as the forces of gravity, we should approach one step nearer to measuring our own wills, and therefore to fore-knowledge of the result of free will. I believe then that God fore-knew all the mental forces that would be evolved into action in the minds of his creatures, and also the purposes of such of them as should have purposes, and yet that the following out these purposes by them was Free will. Mankind are already busily engaged in measuring, under the name of the "theory of probability," the " doctrine of chances," &c., one mental force, viz., the amount of man's belief in different cases. Probability is nothing in itself, it is only the amount of belief in a man's mind.

 

In illustration of what has been here said, it happens that we Christians have direct scriptural testimony in a special case, concerning each of these three particulars, viz., fore-knowledge, freedom, and purpose, in respect to which an action may be viewed. First we are told (Acts 4:28) that a certain definite act was predestinated by God. Secondly, we are told (John 10:18) that this same act was done under the purely free will of the Man Christ immediately concerned in it. And thirdly (Luke 12:42), we are told the definite purpose under which his will, after wavering for a time, made at last its final choice. Neither of these three statements can be put aside, nor is there any inclination, I suppose, anywhere, to do so. If we reject the first we reject the sovereignty of God; if the second, the love of Christ in the Atonement; and if the third, His righteousness and unity with God.

 

All this, however, except the illustration, we have spoken as men. As Christians, 1400 years of pitiable discussion have passed, and why have we hitherto failed . in reconciling what has been revealed to us concerning God's sovereignty, his justice, and his love? Is it not because we have set out with a wrong notion of what the plan of our Sovereign God is?

 

We preach universally, and the people universally believe us, that God created man originally for the simple purpose of his being eternally happy.

 

Though there is nothing of the sort, that I know of, told us in Holy Scripture, there is just such a sufficient amount of truth and vagueness in this supposed fundamental assertion of God's love, that we can hardly wonder at the disputes which have arisen, when men compare this supposed design of God with Scripture and with facts. The Scriptural revelations concerning God's eternal purposes for men, are, I imagine, revelations of his purposes in Christ, i. e., of his purposes for saving men from sin, not of any supposed purposes irrespective of sin. Happiness, moreover, undoubtedly includes to our minds millions of mental states in all animated beings, from God himself to the lowest sentient animal he has created. If then we teach that God has eternally purposed, through Christ's work, to bring man into millions of degrees of happiness or enjoyment, and that even devils shall ultimately be harmless, we shall teach that which the Scriptures teach, and which recommends itself to our moral perceptions, as conformable both to the Sovereignty of our Maker and to his goodness, and also to his works which we already see. I believe with whoever has most strongly asserted it, the absolute Sovereign predestination by God of every individual to a definite place in Christ's kingdom. The very same sovereignty which predestined horses to be lower than men, predestined some men to be eternally lower than others, nor will this predestined plan be baulked. There is nothing grating to my moral feelings in the contemplation of the fact, that the good God has predestined horses to be lower than men, nor yet in the comparison together of different men's predestined places.

 

Let us then suppose that we rightly read God's word and works, and see that this variety in men's ultimate condition is really God's fore-ordained plan " unto our glory." By creative power then we grant that God has filled the earth with animated beings, vastly differing in perfection and dignity from animalcule up to man. He also created Adam and Eve differing vastly in nature.

 

Let us suppose now in order to make this complicated subject somewhat easier of conception, that instead of working through a few thousand years, God had in one instant filled the earth with its hundred thousand million men and women, harmoniously co-operating, and "very good," as were Adam and Eve and animals, but vastly differing among each other in dignity and capability of communing with Him. There would be nothing in the slightest degree repugnant to our moral feelings if we were told that God had purposed that his created earth should thus be filled for ever with these his manifold works. " Hath not the potter power over the clay," &c., is a text which, if understood to apply to this beneficent plan of the Sovereign Creator, would never cause in our moral feelings, an emotion of aught but gratitude and admiration.

 

If a single man, however, out of this vast number, had been created with such an unhappiness in himself as would make him prefer annihilation to a continued existence, and still more if he had a purpose in his will to cause such unhappiness to others, and a power of doing so, a difficulty would immediately arise in our minds.

 

Let us next suppose that the space of one minute should be given for a time of trial to these one hundred thousand million of men, and let us suppose that the eyes of all us supposed spectators were shut during the fifty-nine first seconds of the day of probation, so that we only saw the final arrangement at the end of the minute. And let these probationers themselves be supposed not to have distinguished the initial arrangement.

 

Upon examining into the history of this minute we should be told that different good and evil forces, acting very differently on the different individuals, had pushed them into the respective places in which we now beheld them. If the final result we saw to be the destruction of the works of the evil forces, we should now, exactly as in the first case, worship. God's goodness and his sovereignty, but we should also be able to say, There has been a reward here according to works. Certain good forces (whatever be their origin) have opposed certain evil ones, and according to the difference of the respective intensities, there have been produced certain definite results.

 

But the only difference, surely, between these two cases is that in the first men were placed in an original arbitrary position, in the second they were subjected to arbitrary forces which led them to this position. The fact that one of these arbitrary forces is with some men free will, by which they act irrespectively of temptations, is no difficulty. The existence, the strength, the direction of action of the will, is ultimately in any individual as much the arbitrary gift of God as a good or bad memory is. If in this imaginary case there were no "serpent," no evil for man to overcome in the world, and God designed to place men arbitrarily in different positions for the common good, and yet to give them a trial, there would be nothing unworthy of Him in our supposing he might place men according to the way they improved the originally unequal powers of their memory. The introducing the statement, men shall be placed according to their works, alongside with the statement, men shall be placed according to God's Absolute Predestination, corresponds exactly to what mathematicians would call the introducing an equation of condition into the problem, but since a new unknown quantity, viz., time, is introduced along with it, the possibility of the solution is not affected. But here too, exactly as in the former case, we may remark that if a certain number of men remained or became subject to that particular degree of unhappiness, under the action of these forces, which would lead them to desire annihilation without obtaining it, our minds would feel a difficulty in understanding how God, who is Love, could have ordained a plan which allowed or produced this result. It seems then, when put in this way, much the same thing whether we suppose God to ordain such forces as will bring a, certain individual to a certain place, or to forecalculate that the individual will arrive at the place under the action of the ordained laws. And yet, under the names of absolute and conditional election, this has been the chief part of the controversy. We must, therefore, decide it altogether in favor of absolute election. There is no such thing as fore-calculating a man's virtue irrespective of the forces fore-calculated to act on him. When the Almighty said, I know accurately the purposes and powers of all evil spirits, and I now ordain certain laws in man's nature under the action of which, and of known good spirits, the hundredth son of Adam in such and such a line will, I foresee, arrive at a definite position in my Son's Kingdom, which I require some one to fill for the good of his fellowmen in my united arrangement. -- When He said this, he exercised absolute election; and if he said: In order that the hundredth son of Adam may arrive at such a de finite position which I require him to fill for the common good, I ordain such and such laws for man, then lie also exercised absolute election; for the act of ordering the forces was in both cases the true act of election. Giving a man a strong will, in whatever way wills are given, strengthening him through the Holy Spirit, in whatever way the Spirit is given, this is election.

 

Lastly let this supposed minute of time become 6500 years, and men be placed consecutively rather than simultaneously in their position of trial. The difficulty concerning those who become lovers of evil remains, but no new difficulty appears.

 

Let us then now say a few words upon the fact that the "hidden wisdom ordained before the world unto our glory," would seem from what I have as yet said to include the eternal damnation of individuals.

 

Now in the first place even this difficulty, called the "origin of evil," weighs practically less heavily upon us when we distinguish between the sin of yielding to temptation and that of forming an evil purpose. The immense majority of sins are of the former description. We may hope that but few men follow willfully a purpose known to be evil and irrespective of any temptation to the course they follow. It seems to me that to follow a known evil purpose, irrespective of temptations, constitutes a devil; to follow good purposes irrespective of temptation constitutes a saint, but that the vast majority of mankind do neither the one nor the other, but yield to temptations, and that when, at their resurrection, they shall find all temptation put down by the energy of Christ in his great and long continued work, they will not indeed be "meet for the Master's service," but they will not be an abhorring unto all flesh.

 

2ndly. We in this generation have the privilege of knowing an important fact which none of our ancestors (unless they were inspired) can have been sure of, viz., that Death existed on this earth ages before Adam. Pain and death are evil. That evil existed on the earth before the fall of Adam is clearly revealed from the act of one of those "beasts of the field" which yet, in some sense, and at some time,, God had pronounced very good; but that we are to date its origin ages before the creation of Adam is an important additional step in our knowledge; for the design of God in creating mankind on a spot where evil previously existed, cannot have been an absolute design simply for his unconditional happiness, but a relative one, connected with this existing evil; for all God's earthly works are connected together. It was, we are told, a fore-ordained plan that a man should destroy evil and make it of no effect.

 

Man then was placed on to the earth at a time when evil already existed there. This seems, when we consider the close connection of the different parts of creation, almost equivalent to saying that God ordained the temptation of man; even as a Man, we know, was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil.

 

But it is a matter equally of revelation and experience that there is temptation to good as well as temptation to evil. Three things -- the amount of temptation to good, the amount of temptation to evil, and the amount of freedom in every human being ever born -- are probably connected together by a Law which we do not yet call a natural law because we have not yet learnt how to calculate it; but which God of course as fully knows as He does the law by which to calculate the amount of corn that will be grown ten years hence under the action of man's free will, his hunger, and the elements. God Himself strives with a considerable amount of direct force in the spirit of every man to prevent him forming a known evil purpose, whatever be his fore-ordained temptation. The law by which a man does what another man asks him to do, is not at all more a "natural law" than the law by which God does what a man asks him to do. Experience is the only ground we have for believing that men often do as others wish them. But experience proves that God also does the same, and acts directly in us with considerable force. This force depends upon that of our own desire for it, in other words upon our prayers. We may not then simply state the case as follows, we may not say, as all I had hitherto said would have led us to say, God ordained certain laws under the uninterrupted action of which temptation should be destroyed, at the expense of the unalloyed misery of a certain number. We must add to this statement that, what we at present call supernatural direct interfering power is, in every individual case, exerted to counteract the formation of evil purposes.

 

Still some, it is revealed, will be lost. They will lose something they still have, and be as devils. Is then our moral nature, after this fuller view of God's appointments, still incapable of resting with complacency upon the whole of His plan?

 

Now considering how very little we know about the absolute degree of happiness of even our nearest friends and neighbors, considering how much less even than this we know of the state of the great spiritual powers in the universe, whether good or evil, is it going beyond the bounds of propriety to observe, that we must not assert even concerning the fearful author of all our evils, more than we are told of him, or than we can see in those who follow him in this life. Even Michael the archangel, when, contending with the Devil, he disputed. about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, the Lord rebuke thee. If it has been revealed to us that the misery of devils and devilish men will be such that they will desire annihilation, and be unable to attain it, then the " origin of evil" remains a difficulty. I simply point out that we may riot argue upon our ignorance as if we had knowledge. We may not assert that there is, but only that there may be, a difficulty. Our experience of human devils in this life, and the revelations made in the Scriptures concerning them hereafter, are the only sources of information open to us on the subject; and, as far as our experience goes, it would rather appear that bad men, whether tormented by conscience or not, whether an abhorring unto all flesh or not, whether degraded or not, whether eaten up by foul passions or not, however bad, however devilish, however cut off in everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord they may be, or from the Glory of His Power, still do seem, as a matter of fact, rather to set more store on the comparatively low boon of simple existence than good men. If devils (whom we have no reason, that I know of, to suppose to be worse than men) are hereafter to be powerless to tempt others, and if it is not revealed that they now desire, or hereafter will in vain desire annihilation, it is no difficulty that even devils should exist. The far greater portion, I believe, of our absolute unhappiness and shrinking when we contemplate evil, arises from our knowledge of the power of evil. We certainly look upon a vicious animal with very much more complacency and toleration than a vicious man. Who can tell yet the feelings with which we shall look upon harmless devils?

 

Even if, however, we cannot yet bear to look upon the "origin of evil," which is a difficulty quite independent of the Scripture, still much will have been attained if we may at any rate now believe fully, and with happiness, the whole doctrine of St. Paul in this ninth to the Romans. Men quarrel about the difficulties of Scripture more than about the difficulties of nature and matters of fact. The Apostle teaches the predestination of individuals to high station among other men. This is no comparative loss, but a vast positive gain to all other men in their predestined social eternal existence. Whoever sees this may see God's absolute sovereignty, and yet His infinite and wise love. Again, as to the predestination of hardness or difficulty in men's hearts, if we see that the peculiar force called man's free will can be as accurately measured by God as our memory or muscular power, we may see that God's reward, or placing of men according to works, -- not according to visible results, but according to strivings and power expended, -- may also together with this be fully and comfortably maintained. And lastly, as in the works of creation there are some reptiles and creeping things which cause a loathing and abhorrence to mankind, so may some men ultimately be for ever an abhorring unto all flesh, and have a worm within them that will never die, and yet we know not but that they may choose to live, and refuse for ever to ask annihilation, or any other gift in Christ's name. Until it can be shown that a Being has been created who has vainly asked this boon, the question. of the origin of such a being need not harass the moral sentiments of a man who is safe from such a condition himself, if he approach God while it is yet today, while the time is yet given him.

 

 

Rom. 10:17 -- So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing; by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? yes, verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world."

 

A clear assertion, by quoting the nineteenth Psalm, that God's word is, to a certain degree, heard by the contemplation of the material system of stars in heaven, and that heathens who listen to this word and call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13).

 

In the earlier portion of this work, p. 65, I gave but a very brief examination into those texts which, like this present one, relate to the justification of the heathen; and to the question, whether, or in what sense, they too, like Christians, are being saved, or will be saved by faith. The beginning of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans contains a great deal of direct revelation upon this subject, and the present, therefore, will be a fair opportunity for going through his arguments, and endeavoring to throw them into a connected form, more fit for the comprehension of the English reader than that in which the authorized version clothes them.

 

It is deeply to be regretted that even the simple rule of translating the same Greek word, whenever possible, by the same English one, instead of having been attended to by our translators, at the expense even of a little occasional ruggedness of expression, seems on the contrary continually to have been violated without any perceptible cause whatever. If this occurred in words only of comparatively minor importance, it would be of less consequence, but when we find it continually taking place in those very words upon which the whole stress of the argument is laid, we may lament but cannot be surprised that disunion among English Christians has been the consequence. It will hardly be credited that the one word about which, perhaps, more disputes and difficulties have arisen than any other, is translated in the first four places where it occurs in the New Testament, by four different English words, and moreover, that two of these have meanings, in general conversation, directly contrary one to the other. Judgment and justification might very well appear as the parts in an antithesis instead. of what they are in this epistle, viz., translations of the same word; and when to them we add ordinance and righteousness, when I say these four English words, "ordinance," "judgment," "justification," and "righteousness," are but one and the same Greek word, who can wonder that we have fifty or a hundred different distinctly organized religious sects speaking the English language.

 

Again, the Apostle is definitely arguing in a part of his epistle about the particular religious privileges which different classes of men may boast of. Now the words "boast of," "rejoice in," "glory in," and "joy in," are,, it is true, for many common purposes equivalent to each other; but why we should go out of our way to make it utterly impossible for any English reader to understand this portion of the epistle, by translating one and the same word in these four ways, is a sad question, far more easily asked than answered.

 

The result is that the beginning of this noble composition is in fact almost a dead letter to the mere English reader (taken as a connected doctrinal argument I mean). There is but too much reason to fear that it has confused the perceptions of English religious people hitherto, almost as much as cleared them upon the great point of the foreordained Divine plan for the justification of mankind.

 

The statement which I have made at different places, is to the following effect: -- Christians will, as we all know, be justified by faith (fides). But the whole of mankind, and not Christians only, will, in the future age, be placed according to their works. Some will be declared, manifested, or shown, by accurate admeasurement, to be in vastly different degrees righteous, and others unrighteous. If then any of the heathens will ever be declared righteous, i. e., justified, it will evidently not be because they had faith in Christ, it will not be ec pistewv from their own faith. It may, however, be, and it is revealed to us that it actually will be dia thv pistewv through Christ's human faith, which worketh by love as any other man's faith does. They will not be saved (see our 18th article) from the power of the devil by anything but the work of Christ, but many of them will be so saved.

 

Let us go through the argument of the first part of this epistle, and inquire whether this is not revealed to us therein.

 

The Apostle begins his argument in Romans 1:16. Christ, he says, is the Power of God working towards the end or purpose of the salvation of all that believe out of two classes of men who, having heard of him, are able to believe, Jews, viz., and Greeks. It is in Him that what the Apostle calls the righteousness of God, viz., -- the plan of God so often mentioned for justifying mankind, is being revealed. Whatever is revealed is of course only revealed to the class who receive the revelation. It is revealed in this case from or by faith, and also to or towards the production of faith (Romans 1:17); in other words, the human work of Christ, "the Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness" (Romans 1:4), in revealing God's plan, is performed by faith, and Christians are justified, according to this plan, from or by faith, and also besides this the ultimate effect of the work of Christ and his saints will be to produce faith. The just, but not hereafter the holy, shall live by faith.

 

Having stated this great truth in this dogmatic way at the outset, the Apostle now proceeds to recommend his position to the reason of men by arguments. He speaks as follows: --

 

A justifying plan, I affirm, is being revealed in Christ. Now there is no need, I grant, of the revelation in Christ of any justifying plan, unless God's wrath also is now or has previously been revealed; for it is from the effects of this wrath that men are to be redeemed by a plan for their justification. From Romans 1:18 onward, then, the works of creation, the undenied evil existing among men, the voice of conscience, &c., &c., are appealed to for the purpose of showing that this wrath had been really revealed, not only to Jews and Greeks, but to every soul of man among the nations also.

 

At Romans 2:17, however, more particular attention is given to stating the exact position in which that particular class of mankind which knew most about God, stood. They boasted of God. The Apostle finds it an easy task to show that they too were under this wrath notwithstanding this boast.

 

But, says the Jew, granted that our nation has not kept the law, granted that you have rightly described us, granted that the name of God has been blasphemed among the Gentiles through us, still there are two objections of an opposite character to make against what you are now trying to show. You say that this plan is revealed unto faith, that it will ultimately produce faith in every man that has ever been born or ever will be born into this world. Now either the very faithlessness of the Jews which you are talking about will make this plan void, or, if on the contrary it will help it on, as I understand you say it will, then at any rate to subject us to the wrath you talk of on account of it will not be just. We are not doing an evil in this last case by our falsehood, though some indeed say we are; they call it doing evil that good may come. -- St. Paul answers to these two objections that the first would not hold, for God's plan would certainly be carried out, whatever men said; and as to the second, he ratified the opinion of those who do assert it to be evil; their opinion or judgment, he says, is just.

 

The ground then having been cleared that all men whatever are justly liable to the revealed wrath, the Apostle in Romans 3:21, goes back to his position in Romans 1:16, and says that, independent of the law, the justifying plan has also now (A. D. 60) been revealed to certain classes of men. It was revealed by means of the faith which the man Jesus, who is the Power of God, had; and it is revealed not to all men, but to all that believe. These are all freely justified by means of the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God foreordained to be a propitiation in his blood by means of his faith. (I must here interrupt the argument to remark the extreme danger to the uninstructed reader of the twenty-fifth verse in our translation. It is almost impossible for such an one to avoid supposing that Christ is not a propitiation through his sufferings and death, but through man's faith.) And where then is the boasting? now suddenly asks the Apostle, most evidently in reference to the boast of Judaism. It is excluded. God will justify the circumcision, and not the literal circumcision only (as Romans 4:12 will show), but all who walk in Abraham's steps, by faith. But more than this will lie do. The nations he will also justify through or by means of the faith of Christ which they will all the while be ignorant of, for it has not been revealed to them. The word here is not Greeks but nations, and the definite article is annexed to the word faith.

 

The identity of this revealed plan with that under which our father Abraham was justified is then shown, and our own justification proved as Christians by reminding us (Romans 4:25) that Christ was raised because of it.

 

We then as well as Jews may boast (Romans 5:2) in the hope of the glory of God; being justified by his blood we shall be saved from the above -- mentioned wrath through him (Romans 5:9). And it will not be a mere salvation, but a salvation with a boast too (Romans 5:11) in God.

 

Hitherto the justification of particular classes, the classes who can have faith by which to be justified, has been treated of. The more general view of universal redemption through the righteousness of one Man (which most men, we know historically, have never heard of) is now naturally introduced.

 

As God's wrath, we found, was revealed in all men's consciences whether He Himself had been clearly revealed to them or not, so, notwithstanding omen were nowhere actually told what was and what was not sin, the fact of death being universal proves that all sinned. The universality of the effect of Adam's fall is dwelt upon, and the universality of the effect of Christ's obedience compared to it. The two, however, it is twice expressly stated, are not to be compared together in every respect, but only apparently in their universality in which they are three or four times compared; and, in accordance with all I have said, we find here that a certain class only who receive abundance of grace will reign in what is called life, but that all men will, by Christ's righteousness, be brought into a lower position called justification of life. As by one offence, or the offence of one, judgment came upon all men, to condemnation, even so by one act of obedience the free gift shall come (rather than came) upon all men unto justification of life. By the obedience of one the many shall be made, or rather placed as, righteous.

 

But because we strongly hold the Scriptural doctrine of universal redemption shall we remain in sin (Romans 6:1-15)? The very effect that this book (like St. Paul's doctrine) will very possibly have upon the great mass of men if they read it will be that they will be satisfied to remain under sin. Knowing that Christ will eventually destroy temptation, and that grace will pass upon all men unto justification in the future life, they will possibly forget that they were baptized into a participation in the effects of Christ's death, and it is by this death alone that he will "destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil."

 

The Apostle now agues at great length to show the degrading slavish state of mind of those who would thus serve the devil for so poor a wage. This state of mind clearly is what is usually called a "legal" state; and the train of thought in the famous seventh chapter comes naturally to St. Paul in showing the very inferior state which a man returns to if he thus balances his actions, to endeavor to serve sin here for its wages, and yet be declared just afterwards after all. A spiritual condition alone gives life and peace (Romans 8:1-12).

 

He now (Romans 8:12) as he is talking of spiritual men naturally bursts into an anticipation of Glory. If the reader will observe the complete change of the phrases in the rest of this chapter he will see that St. Paul did not consider, as we do, future "justification of life" to be synonymous with future sonship, heirship, and glory.

 

But (Romans 9:4) sonship and glory, a very definite high future condition, much above mere justification, were known by St. Paul to be promised to his own nation, the Jews. How naturally then does the commiserating and explanatory ninth chapter follow the eighth. The Jews (Romans 10:3) were ignorant of God's justifying plan, and put up their own Mosaic one in opposition to it. One of their chief stumbling blocks was the universality of that plan, by which any one, whoever and whatever he was, who called heartily on God, should be saved. The nineteenth Psalm affirms this even of those who had received no revelation in the ordinary sense of the term. But the future state of Israel notwithstanding is a joyful subject of thought. As their rejection (Romans 11:15) was closely connected with Christ's atonement for the world, so will their restoration be with the Resurrection. The rest of this epistle consists of an exhortation to the practical duties of life.

 

 

Romans 11:1 -- I say then, hath God cast away his people? God forbid! For I also am an Israelite of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he fore-knew.

 

There are, I think, in reference to the subject of this chapter, three distinct opinions, or perhaps, to speak more strictly, two opinions and a tendency to a third.

 

First, it is very evident that the Jewish remnant, here spoken of by St. Paul, which God did not cast away, and which included the Apostles themselves and thousands of the best Jews then living, not only became Christian, but in the course of a few generations became Gentile also. The descendants of the first Christian Jews are no longer distinguishable from their co-religionists, -- they are merged in the body of Gentile Christians.

 

Following then the historical analogy founded on this fact, it is held by many that all Israel will indeed turn to the Lord and become Christian, but that they will also, as the elect remnant did, become Gentile. The Gentile Church, according to this view, will be the only organized body of Christians, and, therefore, heir to all the promises. There will be no organized body of Christian Jews. The Christian Church and the Gentile Church will be always synonymous.

 

There is another "opinion, or perhaps only a tendency to it, very contrary to this, viz., that which seems to contemplate Jews, i, e., unchristian Jews, as somehow peculiarly under God's favor, even while anti-christian, and as destined hereafter, in a sort of opposition not to the Gentile but to the Christian Church, to be advanced to some decided place of honor. Now with respect to the first of these two opinions I can but say that if Christian Jews, in whatever age of this dispensation they become Christian, are to be amalgamated into the race as well as the religion of Gentiles, not only must all the arguments I have hitherto noticed on Christ being King of the Jews go for nothing, but such a text as blindness in part having happened to (unchristian) Israel, until certain Gentiles be come in, and then all Israel (i. e. what until that consummation was unchristian Israel?) being saved seems incomprehensible; for it recognizes an organization among the national body of the Jews, who at that time shall receive the Deliverer who shall then come out of Zion and turn away ungodliness not from Gentiles but from Jacob.

 

But how, on the other hand, can those whose tendency is to the second view, heartily re-echo St. Paul's words: "The rest were blinded; according as it is written, . God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, unto this day; and David saith, let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling block, and a recompense unto them; let their eyes be darkened that they may not see, and bow down their back alway." If we do not recognize the curse which lies upon an organized body of men who systematically deny Christ and the New Testament, we cannot, I think, consider Christ's work to be of any very real importance.

 

The true view must be that which explains two distinct classes of texts and prophecies. The Jews being now anti-christian are under a curse, and have forfeited the title of the true Israel of God. But the prophecies do not contemplate them as converted individually, and then becoming true Israelites because Gentiles. They will be converted nationally. Nations of Gentiles have never yet formed the true Israel. Individual Gentiles will join the Jews and be the true Israel with them under the saints.

 

The Christian religion, we must remember, is not in any way whatever opposed to the Jewish religion (God forbid!), nor the Jewish religion to the Christian. Because the unchristian Jews choose to reject Christ and the New Testament they are in error, but they certainly are not called upon by anything in their religion to do so. Directly then the unchristian Jews do accept Christ, they will be Christians, and then, but not till then, they will come into the fulfillment of those promises which were not made to Abraham and his seeds as of many, but to his seed as of one Christ. Notwithstanding all the villainy of the lower class of Jews in England (I know them not abroad) we cannot but see that their nation alone is likely at Christ's coming to become a Christian nation, while all the present Gentile nations would contribute but members to a Christian election. Thus the present difficulty of knowing whose the promises really are, would solve itself. They are mostly national promises, and with the fairest opportunities Gentile nations will have refused them, and the body of Jews which, it is quite true, were "broken off," and so for a while were not " Israel," will be "grafted in again," and the national promises after all be theirs again, and shared in by individual Gentiles. Every thing at present points to this consummation, and it alone surely would explain all the texts. Israel at present, let us grant, means all who will live spiritual lives, whether Jew or Gentile, but we see there is no nation which now owns Christ, or shows any sign of the power so to do nationally, and we believe Jews will yet nationally do so, and become again the true Israel, subject to the still higher election. "Because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear; for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold, therefore, the goodness and severity of God. On them which fell severity, but toward thee goodness if thou continue in his goodness, otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also if they abide not in unbelief, shall be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive-tree, which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive-tree, how much more shall these which be the natural branches be grafted into their own olive-tree? For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits, that blindness in part is happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved, as it is written. There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob, for this is my covenant unto them when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel they are enemies, for your sakes, but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes, for the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief, even so have these also now not believed that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief that he might have mercy upon, all. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out. For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor?"

 

 

Romans 14:10 -- We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

 

This would seem opposed to the remarks on John 5:21; and though it does not specifically name a common time for all judgment it would at first sight imply that all men, whether the saints, the saved, or the lost, are to stand before Christ for their sentence on one and the same occasion. But the word here translated "stand before" merely means stand by, and it is even used in 2 Tim. 4:14, for the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, and it is the regular word for by-standers.

 

 

Romans 15:8 -- Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.

 

These promises were all earthly. At the time St. Paul wrote this, the Church of Christ comprised two distinct organizations, that of the circumcision and that of the uncircumcision. He here describes the effect of our Lord's work as I have done. The promises are to be eventually confirmed to the Jews; the Gentiles will glorify God when the God of peace shall bruise Satan under their feet shortly (Romans 16:20), and Christ will reign over both.

 

THE FUTURE HUMAN KINGDOM OF CHRIST

CHAPTER VIII.

EPISTLES TO THE CORINTHIANS.

 

1 Corinthians 1:7 -- Waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

The glaring mistranslation of the parallel passage in 1 Thess. 5:23 has doubtless tended to obscure this text. We there read " I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." Upon observing this peculiar translation of the words en th parousia in the Parousia, I naturally supposed that there was a various reading eiv thn parousian. This, however, not being the case, and it being utterly impossible that by en th parousia can mean unto the coming, we must replace our version by "in the presence," meaning the time or day of the presence of our Savior.

 

As this is a point of very great importance, involving what I believe to be the truth which was afterwards turned into the lie of purgatory, I thought it best to refer by means of a Greek concordance to the use of this preposition en with a dative noun of time. In St. Matthew alone I found it used thus forty-two times and rightly translated in every instance. Thinking it useless to follow it up after this through the rest of the New Testament, I still thought it better to look at the whole of the first epistle to the Thessalonians, as St. Paul might there be possibly using it in a peculiar way. It occurs but four times thus in that epistle, once in the phrase, "a thief in the night," and the other three are each the very phrase we are discussing, viz., in the Parousia. In 1 Thess. 2:19 and 1 Thess. 3:13 it is translated at his coming, which -- if Parousia is simply an instantaneous coming or appearance -- would come to the same thing as in his coming, but not otherwise.

 

Now, besides ample proof from other sources, the mistranslated passage alone is decisive to my mind that a day of presence is really meant, rather than an instant of appearing, for it is unmeaning to pray for a man's spirit, soul, and body to be preserved during, or in, an instant of time; and we cannot doubt that it was the perception of this which led our translators, who did not think of a day of presence, to solve the difficulty in such a cool way.

 

This day of Christ's presence is what has been always called by the name of the millennium, but I would submit that Parousia is a better word; and it is obvious that if St. Paul, here and in other places, prays that we may be preserved blameless through it, he implies that sin and a possibility of falling will exist during a portion at least of that purgatorial. period. This is the view which I have taken throughout this work.

 

The following is a portion only of the testimony to there being such a "day of the Lord," with its beginning, its duration, and its end.

 

1 Cor. 15:23 -- Christ the first-fruits, afterward they that are Christ's at his coming (here Parousia seems to be the. appearance), then cometh the end (of the day).

 

2 Pet. 3:10 -- The day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night in the which many things will happen.

 

Malachi 4:1 -- The day cometh that shall burn as an oven. Many things happen in it, the purgatorial treading, down of the wicked for instance, and the growing up of the righteous.

 

John 8:56 -- Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day. The day probably in which he is to receive his promised inheritance.

 

Acts 17:31 -- He hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world.

 

Luke 17:24 -- So also shall the coming of the Son of Man be in his day.

 

Rom. 2:5 -- The day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.

 

1 Cor. 3:13 -- Every man's work shall be made manifest, for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire, and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon he shall receive a reward; if any man's work shall be burned he shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.

 

Eph. 4:30 -- Ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

 

And lastly, our text first talks of the Corinthians waiting for the coming of Christ, secondly of his confirming them unto the end, which we cannot any longer doubt means the end of the day of his presence, and lastly the result is given that they may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

 

1 Corinthians 2:9 -- As it is written, eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love him; but God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit.

 

These words are usually quoted as applicable to the glories of our future existence in heaven. But commentators have seen, what indeed is very obvious, that St. Paul is talking of things which spiritual men do know, though worldly men do not. Some of them have, therefore, considered the passage to allude to the glories of the present dispensation, such as they are. While the gifts, however, of the present dispensation are great and wonderful, still, as to the glory of Christians, individual or corporate, surely the less said the better; and if the Apostle had asserted that God had given unto us by his Spirit the things which he had prepared, the words must have applied to the gifts under the present dispensation, but the Apostle merely says that God has revealed them unto us, and not that he has given them unto us; they may, therefore, very well be, as they are more usually considered, future ones and not present.

 

What then are the words quoted from the prophet? Does Isaiah (Isa. 64) say, and does the spiritually instructed man, according to St. Paul, apply the words to himself, " Oh, that we might rend the heavens and ascend up to thee, that the earthly mountains thou madest might never melt at thy presence any more; Oh, may thine adversaries, repenting and dying, be taken to thee without fear?" No: the prophet says, " Oh, that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, . . . . . . to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence . . . . . Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, Oh God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him . . . . . . Be not wroth very sore, Oh Lord, neither remember iniquity for ever; behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people. Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation; our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire, and all our pleasant things are laid waste. Wilt thou refrain thyself for these things, Oh Lord, wilt thou hold thy peace, and afflict us very sore?"

 

This passage then, as applied by St. Paul, has introduced to us the aspirations of the spiritually minded Christian, and we find from it that he earnestly expects a great glory, unseen, unheard, and unimagined by politicians, but still an earthly glory, to be revealed when his Lord appears on earth.

 

Hitherto the text has been looked at as if it stood alone. Let us now see how it is connected with the previous verses.

 

"We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory." St. Paul is here opposing to the wisdom of this age a certain fore-ordained wisdom unto our glory, and a foreordained wisdom unto our glory must mean a fore-ordained wise plan for the fulfillment of our glory, " which none of the princes of this world knew, for had they known it they would not have crucified the Lord of the glory." The introduction of the definite article shows that our Lord, if the princes of this world had accepted him, would have been the Lord of this particular fore-ordained glory he has been speaking of. He then quotes Isaiah illustrative of the great difference between this glory and what the rulers and wise men of this age would ever expect or imagine.

 

Can we then find in the New Testament any trace of principles laid down for the welfare of men under Christ which it never enters into the hearts of men in general to imagine in practical operation, and which yet were revealed to those who wrote the New Testament? Is a revelation made in the Bible about our future state of existence, which people in general have not seen in operation any where, nor heard of, nor imagined, but which spiritual men can see to be revealed as God's plan in the Holy Scriptures?

 

If I am wrong in the great mass of what I have hitherto written, the revelation which I imagine myself to see, will not, probably, be accepted any more by any one because it is found to have been unimagined by rulers in this world; but if God's wise plan for our glory is really such as I have developed, and such as I imagine God did really reveal to the early Church by His Spirit, then the fact of its not having been discerned by men in. general, is nothing more than from this text we might have expected.

 

If it be answered that, in this case, the best and wisest and most pious Christians have been for, perhaps, 1600 years in the same ignorance as men in general concerning this wise plan, may it not be replied, yes, but see the consequences! If the Church at the expense, perhaps, of 600 years of persecution instead of three, had maintained the whole gospel, practical and social I mean, as well as doctrinal, should we not have been far nearer to universal civilization, and to liberty, equality, and fraternity, than we now are? i. e., to the destruction of the works of the devil through the sacrifice and power of our Lord?

 

 

1 Corinthians 3:13 -- Every man's work shall be made manifest, for the day shl1 declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire, and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

 

The expectation of a future conflagration of the earth corresponding to the former destruction by water, evidently cannot be derived from this passage, and need not, therefore, be examined here. This passage on the contrary is opposed to any such expectation, for the works which are here described as under the action of fire, are not material but the works of the personal religion, the will, the conscience, the love, the power of unity, and all the other spiritual principles which St. Paul was laboring to produce in his converts, and through which they would be built up into the Spiritual Temple of their Lord's Body. There shall be, he says, a fiery trial of all this, of what sort it is.

 

St. Peter declares indeed (1 Pet. 4:17) that the time of this trial is already come, and this is obviously correct in a general sense, for every generation is substantially tried by the trial peculiar to itself, nor can any one escape his own probation in his own life-time. We have also had experience enough since St. Peter's day to see the truth of the principle lie has laid down, that judgments do begin at the house of God. The Church mostly feels evils before the State.

 

As, however, the generation in which the Apostles wrote was very peculiarly situated in comparison with all that have hitherto followed it, so must there come one or more other generations which shall be placed in not less peculiar circumstances. The visible existence of an infallible guide and true autocratic, all loving, all wise, human king at Jerusalem, would obviously alter greatly the character of all our present trials. Those of my readers who have been accustomed so completely to identify the sky with man's futurity as to obliterate the earth from the same, may be astonished at the suggestion, that earthly property may probably at Christ's coming, be still taken by Him from one man and given to another, and that He will probably at his coming send to all nations, and demand a delivery into his hands, or the hands of his agents, of all property My notions of the kingdom of Jesus Christ are certainly not consistent with the supposition that the tenure of any one's property, while He reigns, shall be, " my father gave it me," or, "I worked for it." Now would men in general consent to be re-distributed into those stations for which they should be judged fit by Jesus Christ? Would they hand over to such and such a man so many shares, and such and such a farm at the bidding of their Maker, or would they murmur? It is but too probable they would most of them resist, and that a tremendous social conflict would arise, accompanied by a purgatorial persecution of those who, though not deemed worthy to be "taken" from the evil to come would yet be unwilling to accept the rule of anti-Christ.

 

This great tribulation is continually alluded to in almost every book of Holy Scripture. The general notion we are led to form of it is, that the Christ -- resisting organization, the "Assyrian," the "rod of God's anger," will be used for the purpose of trying by a fiery trial the better disposed, but not saintly, members of the Church (for these are not to come into judgment), and that they will themselves after this be in some signal way discomfited. It is often typified in the prophets by the captivity of the Jews in Babylon and the subsequent punishment of the oppressor. Take for instance Jer. 25, after prophesying both these events, the prophet writes: "Thus saith the Lord God of Israel unto me, Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations to whom I send thee to drink it, and they shall drink and be moved and be mad because of the. sword that I will send among them. Then took I the cup at the Lord's hand, and made all the nations to drink unto whom the Lord had sent me." The list of all nations is then given who are ordered to drink; "and it shall be if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand to drink, then shalt thou say unto them: Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, -- Ye shall certainly drink. For lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name and should ye be utterly unpunished? Ye shall not be unpunished, for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the Lord of Hosts. Therefore prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them: The Lord shall roar from on high and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout as they that tread the grapes against all the inhabitants of the earth. A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth, for the Lord hath a controversy with the nations; he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth, and the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth, and they shall not be lamented neither gathered, nor buried, they shall be dung upon the ground." And Ezekiel ix., describing the vision of destroying angels, says: "The Lord said unto him, go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, go ye after him through the city, and smite, let not your eye spare, neither have you pity, slay utterly old and young, both maids and little children and women, but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house." And again Malachi 3 says: "Who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner's fire and like fuller's soap. And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Then -- shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years, and I will come near to you to judgment, and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of Hosts."

 

In all these quotations there appears to be described a time of still future trial beginning at the Church.

 

 

1 Corinthians 4:5 -- Judge nothing before the time until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts, and then shall every man have praise of God. And

 

1 Corinthians 5:5 -- To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

 

We should say, judge nothing till you get to heaven, and that the spirit may be saved hereafter in heaven. If, however, the day of the Lord Jesus is to be spent by him on earth, then salvation, which we always associate with heaven, is here, in direct terms, said to take place on earth. The Apostle clearly contemplates the day of Christ's judgment as occupied with a series of minute investigations which are to take place on earth, and which, if we consider the immense number of transactions to be thoroughly inquired into, will at least fill a long period of time.

 

 

1 Corinthians 6:2 -- Do ye not know that the Saints shall judge the world?

 

If this merely means that the Church should lay down rules of morality and Christian equity, by which the worldly tribunals would be gradually leavened, I hardly see how St. Paul could use the fact as a practical argument ad hominem to any individual Corinthian. If, however, I am fully persuaded that on a certain day the quarrels in which I am engaged shall be fully entered into by my compeers, under Christ's presidency, and that I shall have complete knowledge of all the lies and mental reservations of the witnesses and of all the cowardice or dullness of the judges, and if I know that for all my own faults I shall suffer due right and proper loss, I shall be much more ready as an individual not to go to law, except for the sake of other people, but rather to suffer wrong.

 

 

1 Corinthians 15:23, &c. -- Every man in his own order, Christ the first-fruits, afterward they that are Christ's at his coming, &c.

 

Considerable difficulties have been felt with respect to this well -- known passage, especially as concerns the isolated statement supposed to be here made by St. Paul, and which has few or no parallel passages wherewith to explain it, viz., that Christ is at a certain period to give up his kingdom (continually called eternal) to the Father. That the Son is at some definite time to retire into a lower position than that in which he had previously been manifested is, I believe, the current opinion derived from this isolated statement. It is obvious, however, that the notion of any diminution hereafter, in any sense whatever, of the dignity, human or divine, of Christ is not one which appears at first sight consistent with the general tenor of Scripture. It becomes, therefore, of importance to see whether this apparently isolated text has been correctly interpreted.

 

May we not explain the whole passage in a simply way, on the assumption that the Apostle is here consciously arguing, laying down, and proving a particular point? one which I have much insisted on, viz., that Christ's kingdom, wherewith he shall destroy the devil's power, is human?

 

Man's resurrection, he starts by saying, is proved by a man having already risen. We all know that one man rose, therefore shall all men rise. It is true, he says, there will be different orders, two resurrections besides the first -- fruits, first, Christ, then Christ's own in his Parousia; then will come a certain time when he shall have delivered up the devil's kingdom to God. I think this means the devil's kingdom, not his own, because it seems explained by the putting down his rule and authority, it is only when the last enemy, death, is destroyed that all men will be enabled to rise.

 

The Apostle having asserted all this, quotes the eighth Psalm in proof. "He hath put all things under his feet."

 

I suggest, however, that the Apostle having quoted this, feared. the result that has actually come to pass, viz., that Christians should forget the great fact, that their Lord's peculiar kingdom is a human one, given him as a reward, and should merge it in the not peculiarly Christian notion of the Divine government.

 

For why, it may be asked, does he now proceed to use the subjunctive mood? In our translation, I suppose that the words "when he saith," viz., when David saith, must be considered to be subjunctive, but yet we mentally change the following clause, "when all things shall be subdued unto him," into an indicative. The construction is, however, the same in both, and implies, I think, as follows: "When David says," as he did say, "that all things are put under him;" when he puts the stress upon the word all things, it means in such and such a sense. And again when in the eighth Psalm (Psalm 8), "All things shall be at a future time subdued unto him;" when the stress is upon the word subdued, it means that then at that time even the Son himself will be subject as he is now subject to God."

 

If, however, this explanation should not be deemed admissible, I do not see that the difficulty peculiarly touches anything advanced in this book.

 

 

1 Corinthians 15:40 -- There are also celestial bodies and bodies terrestrial.

 

The celestial bodies are immediately named, viz., the sun, the moon, and the stars. The sentence which corresponds to the naming of the terrestrial bodies is "so also is the resurrection of the dead." Unless then our bodies after the resurrection are to be terrestrial, the compact form of St. Paul's argument is here broken in upon. The beauty of all these very striking passages is lost if we suddenly come upon what appears at first sight to be a similarly formed sentence to the rest, but which we are told is not to be so considered.

 

Though this is pretty clear in the English it is clearer still in the Greek., There are two Greek words here used for "another," viz., cellos and heteros. The word allos is first used for the minor distinctions between the earthly bodies, and then heteros is introduced to distinguish them all from the heavenly, and allos is then again used for the subdistinctions of the heavenly. And then -- ushered in by the words, so also -- those earthly distinctions about bodies sown in the earth are made with respect to which the converts had asked unreasonable questions.

 

 

1 Corinthians 15:44 -- There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body.

 

Many writers have considered themselves warranted from this text in describing our future bodies as thin, light, aerial structures, floating in the clouds, and altogether different from Christ's body after his resurrection, which had flesh and bones. But the word spiritual cannot be shown to have anything more to do with thin, light, and aerial, than with thick, heavy, and solid. Wood is not more spiritual than lead, nor feathers than wood. Others have seen this, and have explained that the future body will rather be " so much like a spirit as to be continued without food or nutriment; to be destitute of the peculiar physical organization of flesh and blood and bones; of veins and arteries and nerves as here, (1 Corinthians 15:50), and it will live in the manner in which we conceive spirits to live, -- sustained, and exercising its powers without waste, weariness, decay, or the necessity of having its powers recruited by food and sleep. All, therefore, that has been said about a refined body, a body that shall be spirit, a body that shall be pure, &c., whatever may be its truth, is not sustained by this passage. It will be a body without the vital functions of the animal economy, a body sustained in the manner in which we conceive the spirit to be."

 

These observations might be of value if we had any actual notion of the "way in which we conceive spirit to be sustained," but we have not; and I really for my part have no inclination to allow that veins, arteries, and nerves, will not exist in the spiritual body; for the one thing which we do plainly see here is, that St. Paul immediately expands the proposition in the text by naming Christ's body as the spiritual heavenly body, whose image we are to bear, and who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body. I cannot for a moment allow that because our Savior eat and drank, to show the disciples that he was a man, therefore he did not really eat and drink, and was not really a man; and though this is doubtless often said or implied, we must charitably hope that it is said without due consideration, for it involves nothing less than making God a liar.

 

Our faith is that the Second Person of the Godhead and a true and perfect man are one Person; and if we hesitate in joyfully believing that the resurrection or spiritual bodies of the saints, will be exactly like this Person's, we should be unable to teach that before resurrection he grew like us, learnt like us, and wept like us, or that we also shall rise like him. If a man whose body follows the same laws as ours is not risen, then is our preaching vain, and our faith is also vain. But now, is Christ risen from the dead, the first born among many brethren. His spiritual body was seen six weeks among us.

 

Matter having no power to originate motion or thought, a man cannot hold conversation with any of the members of his natural body, which have no spontaneity or intelligence in themselves, but are instruments, and only instruments, of the soul. A man is solitary, and can be selfish in the midst of the members of his natural body. They are not him but his; not himself but his own. But it appears to be taught us that in the spiritual body all the members will have life and independent power in themselves, as in Christ's present spiritual body, since Pentecost, viz., the Church, which is his flesh and bones, a Person and yet a Community. Thus is the Church called Christ in this epistle (1 Corinthians 12:12). His members have the independent power of action and conversation. We are complete in Him, from whom all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.

 

 

1 Corinthians 15:48 -- As is the heavenly such are they also that are heavenly.

 

The bodies of heavenly men after the resurrection are to be like that of the second Man the Lord from heaven. In this beautiful passage the Apostle dwells upon every thing most inspiriting the last trump; the glorious change of our bodies; the swallowing up of mortality; but not a word of going to heaven. On the contrary, he quotes the saying that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory;" and on referring to the place where this 'is written, viz., to Isaiah 25:8, where do we find that this is to take place? Not in heaven -- but in the land of Judea. "In this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from of all the earth, for the Lord hath spoken it. And it shall be said in that day, 'Lo this is our God, we have waited for him and he will save us, this is the Lord, we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation, for in this mountain shall the hand of the Lord rest, and Moab shall be trodden down under him even as straw is trodden down for the dung -- hill,. and he shall spread forth his hands in the midst of them as he that swimmeth spreadeth forth his hands to swim, and he shall bring down their pride together with the spoils of their hands."'

 

 

1 Corinthians 15:50 -- Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.

 

Flesh is, I think, never confounded in Holy Scripture with body. Materialism will remain among the saints but not carnality.

 

 

2 Corinthians 5:1 -- For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, for in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven.

 

If read as a single text, without reference to the two preceding chapters, and to the fair examination I have endeavored to make of the five sevenths of the New Testament preceding it, this would seem the strongest passage we have had yet against the view I have been advocating. But even isolating it thus the Apostle does not say that if we died we should have a building in the heavens (it is not ei with the optative), but he says that even though we should die we have, that is we have now at this present time, an eternal building there (ean cataguyh ecomen). It is quite against the Apostolic method to argue as if Christians had a mere reversionary interest in the kingdom of heaven, contingent upon the fact of Death first triumphing over them. On the contrary, whether we live or die, whether we are present or absent, the inheritance lost by Adam is redeemed, its new genesis is preparing in the heavens, and, for the saints, the reward is reserved there, laid up against a certain day for which Creation is earnestly waiting. Or again, he does not say we desire to be clothed upon with our house which shall be in heaven but which is now or shall be derived from heaven. That the New Jerusalem is to come down from heaven is asserted by our Savior himself in conformity with the sense of this passage. The considerations here urged receive additional strength if we take the two preceding chapters into account. For if St. Paul in this heart-stirring comparison of the ministration under Moses with the ministration of the fore-ordained plan of everlasting righteousness under Christ had really had in his mind that the latter was to be first gradually developed to a certain degree of perfection on earth, and then suddenly altered in character by a change of men's locality to heaven itself, it is incredible he should not have mentioned it. If the earthly Canaan was glorious how shall. not heaven the shining residence of the Great God and all his holy angels be rather glorious?

 

 

2 Corinthians 5:19 -- God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.

 

Is it not, as far as we can see, a more noble exercise of God's grace, and power too, that he should reconcile the world to himself than that he should annihilate the world and transplant the inhabitants to some other small portion of the heavens where we, without authority, imagine they may be nearer to him than they can well be here?

 

 

2 Corinthians 12:1 -- I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ about fourteen years ago, whether in the body I cannot tell, or whether out of the body I cannot tell, God knoweth, such an one caught up to the third heaven, and I knew such a man, whether in the body or out of the body I cannot tell, God knoweth, how that he was caught up into paradise.

 

Commentators seem no more determined than was St. Paul himself apparently whether -- -- this was a mere vision in a trance or, an actual bodily rapture as that of St. Philip, who was found at Azotus. Not that it would bear one way or another on our investigation, even if we knew that .St. Paul in the body had been granted a personal conference with our Lord in heaven.

 

To those who consider the words "up" and "down" as something more than mere adaptations to our present phraseology it may be worth while to observe, that in the Greek text here St. Paul is not said to be caught up either to the third heaven or to Paradise. The Paradise in which our Lord communed with the thief on the day of his death is usually explained to be a part of that Hades to which he descended, not ascended.

 

THE FUTURE HUMAN KINGDOM OF CHRIST

CHAPTER IX.

GALATIANS -- THESSALONIANS.

 

Galatians 1:4 -- Who gave himself for our sins that he might deliver us from this present evil world.

 

That is to say from this present evil age. There are many cases where the words age and world are interchangeable; for instance, cares of this age are named in the Gospels, cares of this world are not, but plainly might be, as they would mean the same thing. Wisdom of this age and wisdom of this world are both found, as are God of this age and Prince of this world, &c. On the other hand there are many cases where if this world is really to remain after this age has passed away we should expect to find the words not used indifferently. Accordingly we do not find that God was in Christ reconciling the age only to himself, but the world (2 Cor. 5:19), or that Christ had a promise that he should be heir of the age only (Rom. 4:13), or that Christ came to save the age only (John 12:47), or that he was the light of the age (John 8:12), that he came down from heaven to give light unto the age (John 6:33), that he was the Savior of the age, that God so loved the age as to give his son, that the Lamb of God taketh away the sins of the age, or that the age only was made by him.

 

The end of the age, however, is spoken of six times, but never the end of the world.

 

These instances are enough to show a decided distinction between the use of the two words; not strong enough, perhaps, to make it fair to build any positive argument upon the use of either in any particular passage, but quite strong enough to defend a negative position. In this text then we may decidedly object to the argument, should any one be inclined to bring it forward, that Christ gave himself for our sins that he might deliver us from materialism.:

 

 

Galatians 4:26 -- But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

 

In allegorical language, which St. Paul here informs us he is using, our true, our new Jerusalem is now above. The head of our Polity is indeed locally there. Our conversation is in heaven. But he will not remain there, and the descent of Jerusalem is consequently three times named in St. John's Revelations.

 

 

Ephesians 1:9 -- Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he bath purposed in himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him.

 

This fullness of time has not yet arrived. The mystery of God's will, in which his wisdom and prudence are to be so abundantly shown, has been made known to us, it is true, already, says the Apostle; we know what the plan is, but we see clearly that it is not yet worked out. "The angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth, lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever and ever . . . . . . . . . . . . . that there should be time no longer, but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets" (Rev. 10:5).

 

We see plainly enough, for the prophets are full of it, that all things are to be put under Christ, but we see not yet all things put under him. God's will is not yet done on earth as it is in heaven.

 

 

 

 

It follows then that in some still future day all things both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, are to have one head. How then can the earth be destroyed before or at that day if things are still to be in it? The text seems decisive against any such a supposition. Nor can we reasonably suppose that plants and irrational animals alone are. the "things on earth" which are 'to be gathered into unity with things in heaven, according to the mystery of God's will which the prophets have made known unto us -- we are come rather to "an innumerable company of angels" -- the things in heaven -- and to the "general assembly and church of the first-born" -- the things on earth -- "even as by Christ were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers," not only plants and irrational animals.

 

 

Ephesians 1:18 -- The eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.

 

The beginning of this epistle is clearly meant to impress upon the Ephesians the extreme "Wisdom and Prudence" of some lately revealed, but foreordained, plan, for God's future government of creation. See the rich repetition of phrases here the predestination to adoption by the work of Christ; the good pleasure of God's will; the good pleasure which God purposed in himself; the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own Will; the making known the mystery of His Will; the choosing us before the foundation of the world. Now it is not too much to say that an honest modern Christian can see but little of either of these two qualities in what he is usually taught to look upon as the Divine counsel for this purpose. On a large calculation, he sees that perhaps scarcely five per cent. of Christians live all their life through without lying, cheating, or habitually transgressing some clear rule or other of the gospel. Few, however, like to assign ninety-five per cent. of Christians to eternal misery; and different Christian communities have, therefore, adopted different methods of asserting to mankind that in the "ages to come". God will yet "show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness towards us through Christ Jesus." With some the dying man is assured of forgiveness (which he thinks means glorification), if he rely on the intercessory work of Christ's body, the Church; with others, if he rely on Christ's personal work on the cross. Not only is the wisdom and prudence as distinct from the mercy and justice of God not dwelt upon in stating to the dying man these terms of forgiveness (which he thinks means glory), but it is, I imagine, impossible even to comprehend how this supposed glorification of the penitent is consistent with the doctrine, that he shall be judged on a certain day according to what has been worked into him during his time of trial.

 

Again. Few who have investigated the subject can doubt that this earth has been as many millions of years in preparation for Adam's dwelling place as there have been thousands of years from the time of Adam to ourselves. The ratio of a million to a thousand, is that of a quarter of an hour to a second. Much would be thought of the inventive power and creative energy, but little of the wisdom and prudence of a Being, who, after a quarter of an hour taken up in the fabrication of an abode ,for certain of his creatures, should place them therein for the space of one second, and then seeing that the habitation had failed in its intended purposes, should annihilate it.

 

The Apostle, however, is throughout these two first chapters clearly talking of the future. The English version indeed gives us the words, "hath blessed us," "hath chosen us," "hath made us accepted," " hath abounded," &c. &c., -- but we are notwithstanding this kept right on the whole by the phrases, " the dispensation of the fullness of times," the ages to come," &c.

 

It is important and, I imagine, very decisive to remark, that the good works (Eph. 2:10) which God path before prepared that we should walk in, are, in the Greek, seen to be future good works; for it is this future-prepared goodness of men's works in which, despite the devil, God's wisdom and prudence will yet be shown. A system of good works prepared for men to walk in hereafter is not the usual notion of " heaven." It seems to me clearly the notion of St. Paul.

 

I venture indeed to think that it is difficult to understand the connection of the thoughts in St. Paul's mind in very many of his epistles, unless the fuller theory which I have given of the Divine plan for our futurity is present to our minds. The fact that now his apparently most disconnected flights often fall into a methodic unity must be felt to be a strong argument for the substantial truth of what I have been advancing,

 

 

Ephesians 2:6 -- Made us sit together in heavenly places in Jesus Christ.

 

It seems obvious to remark that in whatever sense we have already been quickened and raised in that same sense, doubtless, we are now sitting in heavenly places.

 

 

Philippians 1:10 -- That ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.

 

In the sixth verse we have, in the English translation, the same phrase as here, viz., "until the day of Christ." In the Greek the words used are very distinct in the two cases. In the sixth verse (Phil. 1:6) the translation is correct, but here the prayer of the Apostle is not for the Philippians simply to be preserved without offence until that day, but rather for that day, ready, that is, for the events of that day, or for the work which God will then have for them to perform.

 

 

Philippians 2:16 -- That I may rejoice in the day of Christ.

 

That the Apostle systematically avoids any mention of our going to heaven is clear.

 

Philippians 3:2 -- If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead, not as though I had already attained.

 

Exanastasis, the resurrection from the dead. If St. Paul had in his mind what I have endeavored to show the Holy Scriptures teach us throughout, there 'is no difficulty in this passage. If he meant to teach as most of us teach now, the difficulty is to me insuperable. In this very epistle he has said (Phil. 1:23) that he had a desire to depart and be with Christ, which was far better he also calls the Philippian converts "his joy and. crown;" to live, he says, was Christ, but to die was gain. And yet a few lines afterwards he counts not himself to have attained to the resurrection, and desires by any means to do so.

 

With our meager notions such a state of. mind, if supposed to be honestly and truly described, is impossible to be imagined; and the text is consequently very often put down as an instance of St. Paul's great humility, or, in other words as I should say, of his dishonesty, in saying what we yet think he cannot have meant, in order to make others use the same sort of dishonest words. For how is it possible among us for a man to have that full and satisfactory assurance of salvation, which many look upon as a chief sign of acceptance with God, and yet to doubt his eternal glorification? To be saved and lost at the same time is impossible in our modern sense; and with us the not attaining by some means to the resurrection, must be considered equivalent to being lost. But how can this be if to die was gain? Must there not be some radical error in the whole system which has thus destroyed our capacity for understanding the personal hopes and the very meaning of the words of the aspirations of an Apostle?

 

And what do we find to be some of the many evil consequences? The list of bewilderments into which a man cannot help being drawn when he now seriously meditates on his own justification, are far too sad and solemn and real to many a mind for me to do more than merely allude to them, lest I should be considered to deny that men do or ought to feel difficulties upon them all. This very text has, with our present views, added largely to them; for how many there are who feel that if St. Paul did not consider himself to have attained the resurrection it cannot be right or desirable that they should. To point out to such minds the many texts of a contrary nature will, of course, only increase the embarrassment. To show that there are two texts speaking contrary things is a poor dole of comfort, unless we are enabled to see in what sense they are both from God.

 

And besides the harassing doubts of individuals, we must all feel that the sentiments which different Christians have about the subject of our ultimate acceptance with God are among the most serious causes of disunion among us in the aggregate and it is, therefore, peculiarly important to find out what Scripture really does or does not tell us thereon. A philosophical or metaphysical difficulty about some of the parts of this great subject, has separated individuals, bodies, and districts, which otherwise would have worked in common; and it is certain that there will always be insuperable difficulties in explaining this important portion of the Gospel until we go back to the matter-of-fact statements of the Bible, uninfluenced by heathen tradition

 

When this shall have been done, when we have first, learnt to believe that Christ is a man, that hd had faith for instance like other men; secondly, that God's plan is for him to be a man -- king over men, angels, and all other powers and potentates in heaven and earth; and thirdly, when we have looked at the principles on which alone he will reign; and fourthly, at our own hearts; then, if we do but -- choose to examine ourselves habitually, with a sufficiently careful and determined inquiry, it will not be so obscure a point to know whether it would be gain or loss to us to see Christ succeed. But to know our destined place in carrying out his success is another matter, which will not be known before the proper time. Let as many as be perfect be minded to press forward.

 

 

Colossians 1:5 -- For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven.

 

We have had several instances of phraseology where our hope, our crown, our reward, our conversation, our treasure, are said to be in heaven, and quite as many where it is said they are not to remain there longer than Christ himself, our hope and head, shall be there. The full meaning of the several passages seems given in this epistle (iii. 1). First, the injunction is, '° Seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God; set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth;" secondly, our present state is described: " Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God;" but thirdly, the temporary nature of this is shown in the words, "When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."

 

If we examine into the usage of the substantial phrase, "ascend into heaven," the result is as follows, which it will be seen is in accordance with all I have said:

 

John 1:51 -- Angels are to ascend and descend. 

 

John 3:13 -- It is denied that any man has ascended.

 

John 6:32 -- The Son of Man is to ascend up. 

 

John 20:17 -- I ascend (viz., Christ).

 

Acts 2:34 -- A denial that David has ascended. 

 

Eph. 4:8 -- Allusion to Christ ascending.

 

But Rev. 11:12 -- The ascent of the witnesses. The sense of which, however, seems more doubtful than that of most parts even of the book where it is found.

 

A concordance under the word heaven would show the same result.

 

 

THE FUTURE HUMAN KINGDOM OF CHRIST

CHAPTER X.

THESSALONIANS -- TIMOTHY.

 

1 Thessalonians 3:13 -- The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

 

A doubt has been already, expressed (1 Cor. 1:8) whether St. Paul is not here praying for the safe establishment of the Thessalonians during the period of the presence of the Lord and his saints, rather than at the mere instant of his coming. Be this as it may, this coming with his saints is explained in the next chapter as a coming of the Lord from heaven, and a meeting of him by the saints, whose bodies are contemplated as then rising from the graves, and together with whom the living saints are caught in clouds to meet him. The only reason why the word "up" is introduced into our translation must be because of the clouds and the air being mentioned. But a passage through the air to Jerusalem would be an amply accurate answer to this description, more accurate far than an ascent into heaven, for the air it is well known extends but a short distance "up," and the clouds a shorter still. When we consider that a cloud overshadowed Christ at his transfiguration without his departure from the earth, the statement that he is to come in clouds as he went has again quite as much of an earthly look as not. In 2 Thess. 2:1, the same event is called our gathering together unto him; and in 1 Cor. 15 the change and not the gathering is all that is mentioned. After this gathering or meeting it is said that we shall ever be with the Lord, and no one will say that any Scripture shows that the Lord will re-ascend after his second coming.

 

 

1 Thessalonians 5:1 -- But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you, for yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night; for when they shall say peace and, safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are, not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

 

It seems very clear that the approximate time of Christ's second coming will only be unknown to those who are riot looking forward to it. It is compared for its suddenness and, unexpectedness to the flood and the destruction of Sodom, and to the travail of a woman with child. In all these three cases it is obvious that the time of the event was very, closely known by those few who waited for it. The Apostle here in fact states that while the day should come upon some as a thief in the night, the were others who were not in darkness to be thus overtaken by it. It is true Our Savior said that no man, and not even, the angels of heaven knew the day and the hour of this event; but this was spoken before Pentecost, before any of the. New Testament was written; before the manifold wisdom of God was made known by the Church to the principalities and powers in heavenly places; and in particular, before the Revelation of Jesus Christ was made to St. John. The words and the book, says Daniel, are to be shut up till the time of the end, implying that at the time of the end they will be opened. "None of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand."

 

There have been several epochs in the history of Christianity when a general expectation has been entertained of a speedy second advent. These were all disappointed, as we see by the event. This is often taken as an argument to show that there is no better foundation for the present very general expectation of the Lord's coming within a comparatively short period than there was for any of the others. But the right conclusion would be exactly the contrary to this. If an event which we were not sure was ever to come to pass should very often fail in happening, the probability for its ever happening would keep diminishing; but if we knew certainly that it must come sooner or later, the probability would, on the contrary, keep increasing at every successive failure. This is a mere general argument taking the very lowest view of computing a probability about an event to which no scientific anticipation would apply. But there is certainly a science or set of principles which will bear upon the meaning of all Scripture, prophecy included. If men have three or four times thought the " times of the Gentiles" were nearly fulfilled for keeping possession of Jerusalem, we are not in a worse position on account of their failures, for making now our own political anticipations as to the stability of the Turkish Empire. If they applied to themselves the peculiar description of the last times, viz., " knowledge shall be increased, and many shall run to and fro," while Jerusalem was yet a six month's journey to parts of Europe, and its very name unknown to half the world, are we less able to see the force of the prophecy now that we know how to converse thousands of miles off, literally without losing one instant of time in the transmission of our thoughts?

 

The signs of the times are at any rate sufficiently striking to make this subject a practical one; but there are many reasons, the rapidity and importance of present events for one, the expected light from the histories of Assyria, Egypt, Arabia, &c., for another, why a pause may be profitable before entering upon it, if at all.

 

 

1 Thessalonians 5:10 -- Who died for us that whether we wake or sleep we should live together with him.

 

Considerable difficulty has been felt in finding some meaning for this verse so as to prevent its clashing with the usual traditions. It has been instinctively felt that waking and sleeping cannot here mean going to heaven and hell, as usually understood, notwithstanding that these sleeps are those children of night and darkness upon whom sudden destruction is to come; for to describe the damned as living together with Christ would be inconsistent with our present notions. And yet this must be the meaning, unless some other can be given. Whether we shall be alive or dead at Christ's coming has been proposed, but felt to be untenable, not only because it is irrelevant to the general scope of the passage, but because the Greek word here for sleeping is catheudein, not coimasthai. The Apostle cannot, be saying in 1 Thessalonians 5:6, " Therefore let us not die as do others, but let us keep alive and be sober. Whitby's explanation, the only other one I have seen, is, I must say, downright silly: " Whether he come in the night, and so find us taking our natural rest, or in the day, when we are waking."

 

It has evidently been felt necessary by some means or other to show that these sleepers are different people from those named at the beginning of the description.

 

The natural sense of the whole passage, however, will now present no difficulty. It asserts, first, the trial, wrath, and overthrow at Christ's coming so often alluded to, from which only saints will escape; and, secondly, it helps us to realize the peculiarly Christian revelation, that lost men as well is others will see Christ's glory, and be put under his feet, and be gathered into one with him. But what follows? Not that they will be pleased, but on the contrary, that they will be "tormented," by seeing so evidently those great principles triumphant with which they will have no sympathy.

 

 

1 Thessalonians 5:23 -- I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless in the coining of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

See 1 Cor. 1:8, for some observations on the serious mistranslation of this passage.

 

 

2 Thessalonians 1:6 -- It is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you, and to you, who are troubled, rest with us when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power, when he shall come to be glorified in his saints and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

 

The words "when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed" are, in the Greek, simply "in the revelation of the Lord Jesus," which is the same construction as in the last text, and implies that the revelation or presence of Christ is a series of events rather than a moment of time.

 

The rest and the trouble are plainly not identified here with what are usually meant by heaven and hell, for they are to be given at the apocalypse of Christ from heaven, when he is to come, to come, viz., to, the earth to be glorified in his saints, and admired in all that believe. It would be difficult, if we wished it, to mix up the notion of going to heaven with this description. Any one who had not the notion of re-ascension in his mind before-hand, would feel but little hesitation in declaring that what is here written shows an interval at least of earthly glorification and wonderment before any such consummation, of which no hint is here given.

 

It might be supposed, that if some are to be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, it implies that they at least will not "live together with him," as has just been stated. But it is clear that whoever or whatever lives at all must live together with Him in whom all things are gathered. It does not follow that they know that they so live, for they may be irrational, nor that they desire so to live, for they may be devils: nor does it follow that they shall enjoy the countenance or communion of the Lord, and this is the word used in this text. Man's future felicity will consist in the enjoyment of the "countenance" of Christ, seeing him more or less face to face, as lie is. Whether the lost will actually live in the valley of Hinnom, which is the original Hebrew literal Gehenna or Hell, I am not inquiring in this book; my work I now see would have been more complete had I done so from the first, for the title clearly points to all human subjects of Christ, whether lost or saved. But wherever the lost shall live, we see that in this world, and we know that in the next, they will be blind, in different degrees, to "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."

 

The very clear distinction between the classes in whom Christ is to be glorified and merely admired, is too obvious to need comment.

 

The phrase "front the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power," is a quotation from the Septuagint version of Isaiah 2, where the "rest" and the "trouble" are successively described.

 

"Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his Majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the Lord of Hosts shall be upon every one that is proud, &c . . . . . and they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord and for the glory of his Majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, &c., into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord and for the glory of his Majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth."

 

My own opinion is, as I have before stated, that a certain number, those already sanctified, having been taken from the "trouble" altogether, those who are "left" will be tried at once by some decisive act, such as the requirement to reconstitute society altogether. "Behold, the Lord . . . . will uncover the face of the earth, and scatter the inhabitants in it; and the laity shall be as the priest, and the slave as the master, and the maid as the mistress." (Isa. 24:1, Sept.)

 

The majority of the left men, taking them as men are now, would have sufficient faith in Christ's Divinity to wish to obey, but would not have the moral courage to resist the active minor which will be the instrument of God's purgatorial vengeance on the cowardly believers, and which will then go so far as to organize a confederate attack on Christians, and will then finally be itself cast into the "furnace of fire," where their carcasses shall be seen, and they will be an abhorring unto all flesh. This description of the events of the day of Christ explains how St. Paul should so frequently pray for Christians to be preserved blameless through it.

 

With respect to our Lord coming in "flaming fire," the mount of transfiguration and the vision at Patmos have already shown us Christ "as the sun shining in its strength," i. e., in flaming fire, as far as the "brightness of his appearance" makes up part of the description. That physical fire may, besides this, be one of the weapons which the Lord of Nature may choose to make use of against those who shall attack him, is of course perfectly possible; but still there is a vast preponderance of cases where the use of the word fire in connection with the work of Christ or a Christian, is avowedly figurative. " I am come to send fire on the earth, and what will I if it be already kindled?" (Luke 12:49) which is explained, "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you nay, but rather division." " If thine enemy hunger, feed him, &c., for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head" (Rom. 12:20). Every man's work "shall be revealed by fire, the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is." "If any man's work shall be burned lie shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire" (1 Cor. 3:13). "It is better to marry than to burn" (1 Cor. 7:9). "Who is offended and I burn not" (2 Cor. 11:29). "The fiery darts of the wicked" (Eph. 6:16). "He maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire" (Heb. 1:7). "Our God is a consuming fire" (Heb. 12:29), spoken by Christians, not fire worshippers. "The tongue is a fire:" "it is set on fire of Gehenna" (James 3:6.) "That the trial of your faith . . . . . . though it be tried with fire, &c." (1 Pet. 1:7). "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the burning which is taking place among you for your trial" (1 Pet. 4:12). "By the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning" (Isa. 4:4.) "Others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh" (Jude 23).

 

 

2 Thessalonians 2:3 -- That day shall not come except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God showing himself that he is God, &c.

 

A prophecy is here given, first of an apostasy from the Christian religion, secondly either of one individual man who should ai e in consequence, or 'of an office filled by successive men, who are therefore viewed as one, and thirdly certain general descriptions are given as applicable to the official or individual man in question.

 

First then, as to the apostasy, or falling away.

 

It is my opinion that in these days we, almost all of us when we talk of the Christian religion think a great deal more, comparatively, than St.. Paul did, of the intellectual and formal aspects, and a great deal less, positively, than he did of the social principles of Christianity. When we read of a man holding that the resurrection meant only the resurrection from sin, and therefore that it was already past, we are willing to say, and St. Paul would have agreed with us, that he had fallen away from the Christian faith. But the evidence we have of the immense social loss which Christians suffered upon their alliance with the world does not strike us in anything like so vivid a way. Yet it is as much part of Christianity that we should confess our sins one to another as that we are to search the Scriptures. One is a social, the other an intellectual duty. The sanction for both is the same. We read without any indignation probably such a statement as follows: "After the empire had become Christian, and so the world had mixed itself with the Church, the consequences of public confession of secret sins to those who made it, and the scandal arising to the Church at large, rendered it necessary for such public confession to be forbidden." When we read that the cup was forbidden at the Holy Communion, we own it to have been a falling away. But we read without emotion that henceforth the Lord Jesus Christ's method as laid down (Matt. 18) for doing away with cheating, lying, uncleanness, and drunkenness was forbidden! Yes! forbidden practically by God's own Church! For the Church did not choose to suffer fresh persecution and diminution of number rather than acquiesce. The Christian religion in its social aspect may be described as God's method for doing away with these and other works of the devil. If a Christian is cheated now, he must spend a great deal of money and time before he gets even a chance of partial redress. Christ's way of preventing it we know worked well when it was in use. If it may not fairly be said that the altering it was a great apostasy I know not the meaning of words.

 

I do not then explain the apostasy which St. Paul spoke of as primarily the papal falling away from correct Christian doctrine, but primarily as the more fundamental falling from Christ's rules, which took place when Christians agreed to baptize all the world, without making disciples of them, that they might, instead of lest they might, see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and be converted, and Christ should heal them.

 

At the reformation we repudiated several undoubted errors in doctrine, but as long as we still baptize every man, some of the most important portions of Scripture will continue to be incomprehensible to us. We shall go on disputing about them, and the pope who explains them in a consistent way will possibly be able to re-introduce the principles on which he can do so.

 

In what I am saying I would again repeat that I am not talking of any "falling away" in doctrine, nor in the saintliness of individuals, but in the social recognized principles on which the vast mass of Christians act.

 

Individual Christians hold Truth, and act up to Christ's wishes, at present, but until the Church shall be the body of baptized men who will agree to be sober and pure, to pay good wages, to give a good day's work in return without being watched, to charge a fair percentage and no more, to pay a tenth part of their income for Church purposes, to keep their own poor in comfort, and in fact to unite in carrying out the Gospel as a social as well as individual regeneration, she will surely, as a visible body, in practice though not on paper, have "fallen away."

 

But secondly, the man of the sin was to be revealed, who should oppose and exalt himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. The pope answers accurately to this. The mention of the falling away proves that the man of the sin in question cannot be looked for among Jews or heathens. One who has fallen away does not mean one who never was a Christian, but one who has fallen away from the true Christian religion. This narrows the field greatly in which we are to look for the son of perdition. Again, this man of the sin in question was only to have fallen away from the Christian religion, and not from the Christian Church. He must on the contrary be high in office in Christ's Church, for it is expressly declared that he exalts himself, and sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Two or three verses then give a historical mark which coincides accurately with the circumstance that the pope's principles could not be, realized till the Roman emperor was taken out of the way. The presence of the personage in question is then described as having a satanic working, with power and lying wonders. It is considered unchristian in these days to use such language as applying to any one, much more to a Christian bishop. The sting, however, is unfortunately in its truth; and as most of those who would object to the epithet satanic, would allow that the pope has continually appealed, and does in these days still appeal, to lying wonders, still dedicating churches to the lie of the assumption, they cannot surely deny that such an appeal of itself deserves the epithet.

 

We are not here concerned in the inquiry whether any still future man of sin may be expected who will answer to the description here given still better than the pope. If any such should arise, we should have one more sign both of the truth of the past, and of the certainty of the future day of Christ.

 

 

2 Timothy 2:12 -- If we suffer we shall also reign with Him.

 

In heaven we fancy all heaven's inhabitants engaged in a perpetual praise and worship of God. The notion of the saints reigning in God's immediate presence seems out of place. To direct or form part of the heavenly choir, and to execute God's commands, or, to carry messages to distant localities is really all the notion we have of office bearing in heaven. The notion we have of all being there glorified and made perfectly holy and happy, though not all equally high in honor, quite destroys the notion of their being formed into a kingdom in which some are to reign and some to be subject. If, however, we start with the idea of Christ reigning on earth, and that he is a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, and that he will have all men to be saved, we see at once an occupation and a reign for the faithful who are specially saved. After all that has been written, it will be unnecessary to do more than call attention to the marked absence of any allusion to our going to heaven in these shorter epistles.

 

 

 

THE FUTURE HUMAN KINGDOM OF CHRIST

CHAPTER XI.

EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS.

 

Hebrews 1:6 - And again when he bringeth in the first-begotten into the world he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

 

If this were not a quotation, and supplied therefore no extraneous means of determining the proper meaning of the word "again," we should still, I think, from the grammatical collocation alone, be compelled to translate the passage as in our margins, and not as in the text. When he bringeth again the first begotten, &c., is the literal. translation; and this means, when at the second coming he shall bring our human Lord into the world, he says, the angels are to worship him.

 

Independently of grammar, however, these words are a direct quotation from the last Song of Moses, Deut. 32:43. We have but to put ourselves into the' situation of a Jew living in the e of Moses, before Jeshurun had ever been fat, or sacrificed to new gods newly come up, whom their fathers feared not, and before any dispersion, &c., or moving to jealousy, &c., had taken place, to convince ourselves that it must have been impossible to understand this song except as prophetical, It was also avowedly given (Deut 31:20) for a prophetical purpose, moreover a great portion of it has already come to pass, and if so, then, as our Lord has not yet whet a glittering sword and taken hold on judgment, or rendered vengeance to his enemies, and rewarded them that hate him, it follows that, with the Apostle, we may rightly expect that it is when he again cometh into the world that he will do so.

 

These words are a quotation from the Septuagint, which differs here considerably from the present Hebrew text. Several distinct reasons might be adduced for supposing that the present Hebrew Bible is more corrupted from the original authentic word of God than the Greek. The one fact alone that they differ some hundreds of years in their chronology, and that the present Septuagint is the more correct in that important particular, ought to urge us to combine the two into a better version than either now is separately.

 

Without professing, however, to examine here into a question of manuscripts, common sense will tell us that if St. Paul quotes half a verse from a certain version, still extant, on a point of doctrine, we cannot be unscriptural in quoting the other half from the same source.

 

And amore comprehensive epitome it would be hard to find in so short a space of all which I have been endeavoring to prove shall be upon the scene at the coming of the Son of Man. We find distinct mention in this one verse, first of the rejoicing heavens, -- this reminds us of the whole creation (Rom. 8) waiting for the redemption of our body at the manifestation of the Sons of God. Secondly, of the worshipping angels, -- this may probably be represented in another place by the angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man. Thirdly, of rejoicing nations, plainly distinguished from, fourth, the people of the speaker, viz., the Jews. Fifth, of the Sons of God. No Jew was ever called by this new name before the first coming of our Lord, and they cannot in this place be angels, because their blood is to be revenged, and they must therefore be the Christian saints. Sixth, of Christ's enemies; and lastly, of the purification of Judaea. "Rejoice ye heavens together with Him, and let all the angels of God worship him; rejoice, ye nations, with His people, and let all the Sons of God be strong in. Him; because he has revenged the blood of his Sons, and will punish and render vengeance on his adversaries, and to those that hate him, and the Lord will thoroughly purify the land of his people."

 

The 97th Psalm (Psa. 97) alludes to the same events, and distinguishes similarly saints, angels, the nations, Mt. Zion, daughters of Judah, and rejoicing Creation.

 

 

Hebrews 1:10 -- The heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish but then remainest.

 

Change and passing away is here predicated of the heavens, just as much as in other passages the same is said of the earth. Nothing about man's future place in material Creation can be gathered from this beautiful comparison of all material . systems whatever to our Lord's garments which he changes. We who know that almost all the marble, chalk, and limestone on this earth is composed of the skeletons of dead insects, may very well imagine a sense in which new heavens and new earth may exist, ever changing as ours now are, and yet that the throne of the Son of Mary shall be in all their phases over all for ever and ever.

 

 

Hebrews 2:5 -- For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.

 

Dr. Mac Neile (Bloomsbury Lectures for 1849), after remarking that the world to come means here in Greek the inhabited earth, and not a dispensation somewhere else, proceeds as follows:

 

"Such shall 'the world to come' be, this earth, with all the then inhabitants thereof, without sin, without sorrow, without ignorance, without curse of any kind, on man, or on beast, or on the fields, or the trees! I have said the then population, because in the process of thus establishing the earth, two classes of its present and past population shall be removed: those who have truly believed the Gospel, and those who have rejected it. Those who have believed shall be with Christ, not indeed removed altogether from the earth, but in risen bodies reigning over it, one with Christ, constituting the King, rather than any part of the kingdom. For this, those among them who have fallen asleep in the faith, are now waiting. In Rev. 5:9-10, we read their song, both retrospective and prospective. Retrospective -- ' Thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation, and hast made us unto our God kings and priests;' and prospective, 'we shall reign on the earth.'

 

"Those who have rejected the Gospel shall be cast into the pit with the fallen angels. They are symbolized by the beast and the false prophet, and include all who have received the mark of the beast in their foreheads or in their hands. 'They shall perish: the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of Lambs.' ' The wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.'

 

'Who then shall remain? First, the restored Jews, on whose behalf mercy shall have, triumphed over judgment, according to the manifold promises made to their forefathers; and second, the millions of the heathen who have never heard, and of course have never rejected, the Gospel; and of whom it is written, that ' they shall come to Judah's light, and their kings to the brightness of her rising;' and again, that 'ten men out of all languages of the nations shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you."'

 

It appears invidious to quote an author in my own support, and then to proceed to criticize a great part of what he says. I quote Dr. Mac Neile, however, as an influential writer, in order to show that portions of the general system I am advocating are not so totally novel in these' days as many of my readers might imagine, but that they are being recognized by different minds. At the same time, having done so, since it certainly seems to me that there are considerable difficulties in the way of our adoption of the phraseology and classification here made use of, I cannot think that it would be desired by our common Master that I should pass them over without remark, for the very deepest rte: lts will depend upon our clear view of these important matters. If we do not discuss these things in a friendly way how shall we ever learn? I was not born wise. If I am now wrong I shall heartily retract when I see my way to Truth.

 

First then, truly to believe the Gospel. is evidently meant to be equivalent to being a good Christian, "a spiritual man, a saint, &c. It is not at all so equivalent in my opinion. If good man, spiritual man, faithful man, saint, &c., are scriptural phrases, and if the word "believer" is so far from scriptural that there is actually no word in Greek corresponding to it in its most essential particulars, we shall be sure to be led into difficulty if we habitually use it. Again, the phrase truly to believe and preach is used in one of our collects, but truly to believe is not scriptural language. We have in Scripture such phrases as the true riches, true light, true worshippers, true bread, &c., because false riches, false light, &c., are in each case opposed to the true; but falsely to believe in any truth is as impossible as truly to believe in it is tautological. The devils most thoroughly and truly, I doubt not, believe the Gospel. How can they avoid it? And why else should they tremble? Truly to believe cannot be distinguished from simply to believe any more than truly to remember can from to remember, 'or truly to draw a circle from to draw a circle. The simplest rule perhaps for avoiding the unutterable confusion we have fallen into concerning our use of the word "faith" is to keep in mind continually whether we are talking of credo or fido. Belief in a person and in what a person says are even in our common language quite distinct things. Faith in God, usually in Scripture called faith by itself, is a power; it admits of degree; it may be imperfect.

 

Faith in a message, believing the Gospel, is an act admitting of no degree. The intellectual comprehension of the message admits of infinite degrees of clearness, but this comprehension is not the same thing with holiness, spirituality, &c. The existence of the word "believer" in the English language has been at present a great misfortune to us.

 

See the evil of our present phraseology. I fully, and in my heart, believe the whole of the Gospel, but I have a besetting sin, which, against my better self, and with my eyes open at the time,. I continually give way to. If I give way to it, and so am no saint, some are led by our present confused notions to say I do not truly believe. Yes but I say, brethren, I do. I must know best whether I believe or not, and I say I do fully and truly believe. But am I to "constitute the king rather than any part of the kingdom" without keeping the commandments, truly believing that God gave the commandments? If any one is led by. his phraseology to answer yes to this, it is a great evil.

 

2ndly. Whether or not those who reject the Gospel are to be removed from the earth I know not, but very much doubt. Gehenna, or the valley of Hinnom, is on the earth. Whatever other punishments, physical or spiritual, they may ave to endure, one thing is certain -- they will see the principles of Christ -- which by the supposition are opposed to their own -- completely and universally triumphant. If it is almost unbearable at times to see opposite principles to our own partially triumphing, we may well imagine that even this of itself will be a never dying worm and torment.

 

3rdly. In dwelling on the future great national blessings of those particular, generations of Jews who have not rejected and will not reject the Gospel, we must never forget that Jews who have rejected and do reject it will not have part in these blessings.

 

4thly. Jews and Heathens are all who it is here said will be left on the earth, and those who believe or reject the Gospel are all who it is said shall be taken away from it. Now many a Christian child, it cannot be denied, dies before hearing the Gospel; before he has either truly believed or rejected it. Where then is he to live hereafter? If we are to assert that his baptism takes him (through Christ) to glory, what is this but asserting practically a regeneration independent of believing the Gospel? but if because he has not heard the Gospel he is to remain with the heathen, then Christian mothers must no longer believe their children to be inheritors of the kingdom of heaven. Christianity is not then a covenant or a gift for any but intelligent people. The classification seems incomplete.

 

The full account surely is that all Christians who follow Christ, whether Jew or Gentile, shall reign with him; all men who reject him or his principles (and his principles -- are in the consciences of heathens who have never heard of him), shall be put away from his countenance. All pre-abrahamic followers of his principles shall be made perfect with Christians; all followers of Moses (which no unconverted Jew has been since our Lord explained Moses) will inherit a peculiar metropolitan position in Judea; all the rest of mankind, being the great mass of our species, will be saved by the eminent energy of our Lord from the bondage to which they were all their life-time subject; and in many mansions will be placed each according to what has been worked into him in this his day of trial. Believing this to be the only statement consistent with the whole of Scripture, I can look the amiable, gentle, partly lovable, but weak and ignorant, majority of the world in the face, and not pass them over in silence as Dr. Mac Neile has here plainly done, nor yet assign them to damnation.

 

It will I hope be obvious, from the whole tone of my book, that in making these few remarks upon the published writings of an individual, I have been influenced by no her motive than the desire of making clear and plain our common subject.

 

 

Hebrews 2:8 -- But now we see not yet all things put under him.

 

"The place referred to contains three clauses descriptive of the progress of the man in question. The first describes him as made for a little while inferior to angels; the second, as crowned with glory and honor; and the third, as having all the works " of God in the world to come placed in subjection under him. These were all prophecies when they were written by the psalmist. They were purposed and predicted, but none of them bad then been performed. When St. Paul quoted them, a change had taken place. Two out of the three had become history, fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The third was still a .prophecy not yet fulfilled. Such was the Apostle's comment. He says,

 

We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor.' These two clauses of the psalm are fulfilled. 'But now we see not yet, all things put under him!' This clause remains to be fulfilled.

 

"By this we are guided, with much accuracy, to the right interpretation of the species of subjection here predicted. There is a sense in which all things are already in subjection to Jesus. 'All power is given him in heaven and in earth;' and ' he is head over all things to the Church which is his body." He is exalted to the right hand of the throne of the majesty in the heavens: angels, and authorities, and powers, being made subject unto him.' We say, or imply, or think, nothing against this dominion of the Lord Jesus. It is at once the safety and the happiness of his Church that this rule is complete. But is this what St. Paul writes of in our text? If so, why his distinction between what was then seen to be fulfilled, and what was not yet seen? The incarnation had visibly taken place. The resurrection and ascension had visibly taken place. These clauses in the prophecy were seen to have been fulfilled. The present invisible dominion of Jesus was fully established. Concerning it the Apostle could not speak as a thing not yet, for it was then. But the second coming of the Lord Jesus was not yet. And his visible rule, as the second Adam, over a restored creation was not yet. As it was is the Apostle's days so it is in ours. The incarnation, which was for ages and generations prophecy, has become history. The resurrection and ascension, which were for ages and generations prophecy, have become history; but the reign of Christ over ' the world to come' we see not yet -- it is still prophecy. For this we wait, looking for and hasting unto the coming of that day when ' the creation, which still groans, and travails in pain, shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.'

 

"This is that 'better land,' that golden age after which the human heart yearns, and for the introduction of which so many fond schemes are fondly propounded. We deny not the possibility of much improvement by such means. The best institutions framed by fallible men must ever be open to progressive amendment; and as the wants of society are better understood, institutions to meet and supply them ought to be better constituted. But for the main point, all must prove radically abortive while sin is intermingled with them; no superstructure can be permanent which has sin in the foundation. In all the attempts now referred to, there is this plague-spot. Selfish covetousness, or party spirit, or envy, or ambition, under the mark of philanthropy or patriotism, and the history of them all is written in one word, -- applied by the prophet with the solemnity of a threefold reiteration to a monarchy of antiquity, overturn! I Thus saith the Lord God, Remove the diadem, take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it; and it shall be no more until lie come whose right it is; and I will give it him."' -- Mac Neile. Ibid.

 

 

Hebrews 2:14 -- That through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil; and deliver them who, through fear of death, were all their life-time subject to bondage.

 

It is of some importance, to observe here that the word used for destroy" is derived from a-ergos, without work, fallow, &c., and means to destroy the works, and not the person, of the devil. The following, among other instances, show how very variously the word has been translated: Why cumbereth it the ground: do we make void the law? We are delivered from the law; when he shall put down all rule; then is the offence 01F, the cross ceased; whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming. To destroy then the works or power, and, not the person, of the devil is the great object of" our Lord's incarnation; it shall bruise thy head (Gen. 3:15); -- for this purpose the Son of God was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8); the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly (Rom. 16:20).

 

It is certain that vegetables and animals died on this earth millions of years before Adam's sin. Whether this was the work of the devil we know not; but in human beings the great work of the devil, named death by St. Paul, and which our Lord purposes to destroy, is a certain confusion and displacement in our spiritual powers, which, when unremedied, leads, by natural causes, to sin and unhappiness; and continually to a derangement, and ultimately to a complete stoppage, of certain material actions in our bodies, through which actions alone our spirits are now conversant with each other.

 

Concerning the way in which our human Lord's death on the cross placed him, once for all, in some completely new position with respect to the devil, and enabled him, continually, to obtain certain new gifts from God for setting right the said confusion and displacement in men's spirits, we know little or nothing, but we see the results working out in certain individuals before our eyes exactly as revealed. In other words, we see certain individuals now delivered from the body of this death (Rom. 7:24), and that such individuals have not received the spirit of bondage again unto fear; and there are many scriptures that would lead us to suppose that the stoppage of material actions, commonly called death, is not really and practically the same phenomenon for those who do and who do not keep Christ's sayings (John 8:51). That St. Paul, iii writing the passage before us, had in his mind the two classes of Christians, those who were delivered from bondage (i, e., practically and spiritually from death, John 11:26), and those who were still subject to the fear and power of death, seems to be borne out not only by his introducing the phrase "all their life-time," but by the distinction of tone in the few verses before and after this text. Bringing many individual sons unto glory is the central idea before this; a merciful high-priest making reconciliation for the sins of a mass of men, and succoring the tempted, is the burden afterwards.

 

 

Hebrews 6:20 -- Whither the forerunner is for us entered.

 

The words "for us" are repeated in two or three places, and they show that our Savior need not be supposed to have entered.: according to the common notion of a forerunner, in advance of us, so that it is implied that we are of necessity to follow him, but rather it is said that he is gone to mediate, intercede, and prepare a place for us. His return from within the vail is quite as much insisted on in this epistle as his entry. How curious that this very word forerunner in Greek should be used for the sweet Mitylenian wine made of the first juice of the grapes that ran off by its own weight. Christ the first fruits.

 

 

Hebrews 8:8 -- Behold the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house 'of Israel and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt.

 

It seems to me literally impossible to find any words that would describe the physical descendants of Jacob at all more clearly than these do. House of Israel, house of Judah, land of Egypt, tower of

 

Haiianeel, brook of Kidron, are certainly not words that can be called ambiguous. They are not like faith, equal, spiritual, by, through, which men mostly use to escape from their thoughts with rather than to express them. The name of a certain nation, and certain well known events of history, which apply to no other people whatever, are here given; if all the other nations of the world were enumerated, with an intimation that the prophet was not speaking of them, but of the Jews, I do not see that our certainty would be greater than it now is. That the present Christian covenant may be the very same which God is here asserting he will make with the Jews, I do not deny nor affirm; but that the Jews are nationally and not individually hereafter to know God could not be more clearly asserted to my mind by any form of words additional to those here made use of by the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31).

 

The tower of Hananeel, the hill Gareb, Goath, and all the valley and fields up to Kidron, are named as included in the future city of Jerusalem. I cannot conceive myself disbelieving this. What is the usual spiritual interpretation here, I do not happen to know. Does it mean all the churches and meeting-houses of Christendom, or pious men's chambers, or some hearts? "Thus saith the Lord which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar, the Lord of Hosts is his name; if those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith the Lord: if heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord." It is not here said that the sun, and moon, and stars, and sea, may not ultimately be annihilated, but that, as long as they remain, the Jews shall be distinguishable from the Gentiles. The nationality of the covenant between God and the Jews seems also most distinctly asserted. How can all from the least to the greatest, how can little children know the Lord without being told of him, except by seeing him among them?

 

 

Hebrews 10:19 -- Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest, &c., let us draw near, &c.

 

The entering into the holiest, as applied to our Savior, undoubtedly typifies his ascension into heaven, but in respect to ourselves, the Apostle immediately exhorts us to practical measures, shich have reference all of them wholly to our method of approaching God individually and socially on earth.

 

 

Hebrews 10:34 -- Knowing that ye have in yourselves in heaven a better and an enduring substance. (See Matthew 5.)

 

Hebrew 11:16 -- But now they desire a better country, that is an heavenly.

 

This passage reads in English as a strong proof against any earthly future habitation for the patriarchs, not so in the original language of St. Paul. The word "country" is in Greek of the feminine gender. In the phrase "mindful of that from which they came out," the pronouns are accordingly still feminine, and all has hitherto referred to some country or locality. But in the text, without any reason, as must now generally be maintained, but as I may justly maintain for the very purpose of preventing the adoption of the views now current, St. Paul changes the genders of his adjectives, making it impossible to suppose that if he intended to write grammatically, he was asserting anything about locality. They desired heavenly citizenship, heavenly institutions, heavenly communion, a heavenly king, or, in fact as St. Paul says himself, heavenly promises, but not a heavenly country, for heavenly is masculine or neuter, and country is feminine.

 

 

Hebrews 12:22 -- But ye are come unto Mt. Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels in general assembly, and to the church of the first born, which are written in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.

 

Do we not trace more method now in this brief description than we could have done without the full views we have arrived at? With our present traditions some of these separate articles of the apostolical recapitulation seem tautological, or brought in without any particular reason, so far as we can see, for choosing them rather than others. But now we see, first, that the locality in which the future government of Christ is to be exercised is named, Mt. Zion, and that city or polity which Abraham, St. Paul says, looked for, which is to come down from heaven when it shall have been prepared by its builder and maker, God. Next, the angels pass before us, who shall continually ascend and descend, we are told, upon the Son of Man when the heavens remain open. The Church of the first born may fairly be Christian saints. "Son thou art ever with me; and all. that I have is thine." A reason now appears for introducing the next phrase. "God, the judge of all men;" the saved nations being brought into their position in the kingdom only at the general resurrection and judgment, And lastly, the fact that the patriarchs were not to be made perfect without Christians seems to point them out as properly completing the picture.

 

 

Hebrews 12:26 -- Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word yet once more signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken.

 

This word "removing" is only used in two other places in the New Testament, both of which are in the present epistle. In the one it means' change of the law which follows from a change of the priesthood; in the other it expresses the translation of Noah. Annihilation does not seem meant in either case, and if it did \ we see that the heavens as well as the earth would be annihilated. Both are to be shaken, i. e., probably changed and restored, but materialism will remain. "The earth which he hath established for ever" (Ps. 78:69). "The earth abideth for ever" (Eccles. 1:4). "Who laid the foundation of the earth that it should not be removed for ever" (Ps. 104:5).

 

 

THE FUTURE HUMAN KINGDOM OF CHRIST

CHAPTER XII.

REMAINDER OF NEW TESTAMENT.

 

1 Peter 1:4 -- Reserved in heaven for you.

 

See observations on Matt. 5:12, &c., so 1 Peter 1:7, in rather than at the appearing of Jesus Christ; and 1 Peter 1:13, the grace that is to be brought unto you in or at the same.

 

I do not dwell now upon these texts, as the idea which I find in the whole passage must be already sufficiently familiar to my readers. I would remark, however, that our translation of the eleventh verse destroys the unity of the argument. St. Peter is not saying here that the Prophets searched diligently about the sufferings of Christ; this is not his subject, nor can his words, I think, be so taken. It is the sufferings of Christians for Christ, and the glories in the plural number, which should follow that he has now in mind.

 

 

1 Peter 4:18 -- If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

 

If all men, or the great majority of men, are to be "saved," how can it be said that even the righteous will be scarcely saved? and if Christian saints are called in the New Testament holy rather than righteous, why is the word righteous here used as synonymous, apparently with those upon whom "the spirit of glory and of God resteth?"

 

To enable us to answer these inquiries, we turn to Proverbs 11, from the Septuagint version of which our text is a literal quotation. We there read, that "from the fruit" (or seed) "of righteousness a tree of life grows, but the untimely souls of transgressors shall be plucked off from it; and if the righteous is scarcely saved" (or kept on it), "where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?"

 

Such being the passage quoted, let us see whether or not the Apostle stamps the meaning of holy upon the word righteous, or of going to heaven upon the words; be saved?

 

Beloved, he says "think it not strange concerning the fiery burning which is taking place among you for your trial, as though some strange thing were happening unto you."

 

It is then a purgatorial fire, or judgment of the living which St. Peter is speaking of; and in accordance with Luke 12:49, we see that he considered the house of God in his own generation to be undergoing the beginning of that particular time of tribulation which we still expect.

 

 

 

 

Now this particular event is described in Scripture language as the "gathering the clusters of the vine of the earth" (Rev. 14:18) and this too for the purpose of "casting them into the winepress of the wrath of God;" so that whatever fruit is saved or kept on the tree is saved from the particular tribulation here typified. The image is not confined to the Book of Revelation, but will he remembered in the Old Testament. See Lam. 1:15. "The Lord hath trodden under foot all my mighty men in the midst of me, he hath called an assembly against me to crush my young men; the Lord bath trodden the wine-press of the Virgin the daughter of Judah;" and Isaiah 63, "Who is this that cometh from Edom?" &c., "I have trodden the wine-press alone," &c. So (Isa. 24.) in the description of the purgatorial period: " When. thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people there shall be as the shaking of an olive-tree, and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done, they shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the Majesty of the Lord."

 

It appears, then, that the gathering out of Christ's kingdom all things which offend, and casting them into the fire at his coming, corresponds to the not saving or keeping the fruit on the tree, and that the difficulty of keeping any of it there corresponds to the fewness of those who shall be ready for the Lord at his coming, and go in with hint to the marriage feast, &c.

 

Ultimate or eternal salvation then, in our modern specific sense, is not the subject of St. Peter's remarks in the text. He is writing about the judgment of the living, wherein it is the will of God that all Christians except a few shall suffer he hopes his hearers will not suffer as murderers, thieves, evil-doers, or as bishops in the dioceses of others; but if it shall be their lot, he says, to suffer as Christians, according to the will of God, let them not be ashamed, but commit the keeping of their souls to God in well-doing as unto a faithful Creator. As 'to his using the word righteous, the fact that he is doing so only in a quotation seems in all fairness quite sufficient to account for it.

 

 

2 Peter 3:7 -- But the heavens and the earth, which are now by the same word, are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

 

St. Peter refers twice in this very chapter to certain parallel passages of the Prophets and Apostles, the former of which are indeed so numerous and lengthy, as to constitute a very considerable portion of the prophetic books of Holy Scripture. That the earth is to be "reserved unto fire" is quite consistent with all these. Physical fire, for instance, may very probably be. an agent in producing that change on the earth, after which it is said, "There shall be no more sea." Asteroids, meteors, comets, compressed zodiacal light, or what not, may very possibly "fall to the earth." But the larger statement, that the earth and the things that are therein are to be physically burnt, up does not seem, I think, in its full sense to be revealed to us; at least not in its full, modern sense. Among the Jews the word earth had many meanings.

 

St. Peter, in this very epistle, uses the phrase the world of the ungodly; and the physical heaven and earth he describes not as having been destroyed by the water (which is part of itself), but as having been the instrument by which this world of the ungodly" was destroyed.

 

Joseph Mede, a man always worth listening to, writes as follows:

 

"Mundus, or the world (to omit other particular acceptions) is, according to the scripture use, either mundus contineus or mundus contentus (give me leave to use these terms for distinction sake). By mundus conteneus, I mean the compages and frame of the physical heaven and earth wherein the rest of the creatures are contained; by mundus contentus, the state or body of the inhabitants and kingdoms of the earth. Now to whatsoever the notion of mundus is appliable there is also supposed to be an heaven and earth as being the names and parts whereby the scriptures express the world. The heaven then of this political world is the sovereignty or sovereign part thereof; whose hosts and stars are the powers ruling that world; in the highest place gods and idols; next kings, princes, peers counselors, magistrates and such other lights shining in the firmament. And at such a meaning and no other (it being an Oriental notion) may aim (for aught I can see) that supposed fatuous style of Sapores King of Persia to Constantius the Emperor, Rex regum Sopores, frater solis et lunce, particeps (i.e., socius) siderum, Consiantio fratri salutem. But to go on: the earth is the peasantry, or vulgus hominum, together with the terrestrial creatures serving the use of man."

 

If St. Peter had not expressly stated that the world once perished by water, which is true of the mundus contentus and is not trite of the mundus continens, I should consider I was twisting his obvious meaning in what I am now saying, but where a particular literal sense cannot be maintained the staunchest literalist may consistently bend it to the sense most consonant with other passages. If others can show that this must be done in any of the cases I have been bringing forward as literal, let them do so. The idea in all the parallel passages is that institutions of men still on the earth are to be remodeled, but that the earth itself, undergoing certain unspecified changes, is most certainly to be substantially preserved; a mighty confederation against Jerusalem is to be defeated; a day of great tribulation, a day of fiery judgment and perdition is reserved for ungodly men, they themselves being probably the agents in their own perdition, but certain are to be kept on the earth during the very progress of this visitation, and are to be found of him (2 Peter 3:14) in peace, after this trial, and still upon the earth.

 

The following are some of the prophecies alluded to: --

 

Dan. 7. The body of the beast which is declared (in Dan. 7:23) to be a human institution is given to the burning flame; and this is explained (in Dan. 7:26) to be the consuming and taking away not material matter but dominion, and then it is that Christ and the individual saints are to rule over the mass of people, nations, and languages. "I beheld till the thrones were cast down and the ancient of days did sit whose garment, &c. -- his throne was like the fiery flame and his wheels as burning fire. o A fiery stream issued and came forth from Before him thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him, the judgment was set, and the books were opened; I beheld then, because of the voice of he great words which the horn spake, I beheld even till the beast was slain and his body destroyed and given to the burning flame. As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. I 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; -- his dominion is an everlasting dominion and which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."

 

This is explained that "judgment was given to the saints off the Most High and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom."

 

Isa. 66 -- "For behold the Lord will come with fire and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury and his rebuke with flames of fire; for by fire, and by his sword, will the Lord plead with all flesh; and the slain of the Lord shall be many." Immediately after this, however, is described the gathering "all nations and tongues, and they shall come and see my glory;" the permanency of the new heavens and new earth are declared, and the Prophet ends with a very clear description of the future separate states of the Jews, the worshipping nations, and the damned.

 

In Matthew 13 -- "The tares are gathered and burned in the fire" -- all offences and those that do iniquity are to be gathered out of Christ's kingdom and cast into the furnace of the fire, but then the righteous are to shine forth as the sun, in the kingdom of their Father.

 

Malachi 4 -- "Behold the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble, and the day that cometh shall burn them up saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch." But then the Sun of righteousness arises on them that fear God's name, the scene remaining on the earth.

 

Psalm 102 -- The heavens shall perish and be changed as a garment, but the children of God's servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before Him.

 

Isaiah 30 -- Christ is to come from far, burning with his anger and the burden thereof is heavy; his lips are full of indignation and his tongue as a devouring fire The Lord shall cause his glorious, voice to be heard and shall show the lighting down of his arm with the indignation of his anger and with the flame of a devouring fire with scattering and tempest and hailstones -- The "Assyrian" is to be beaten down -- for Tophet is ordained of old, yea for the king it is prepared, he hath made it deep and large, the pile thereof is fire and much wood, the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it. -- The "Assyrian" is to fall saith the Lord, whose fire is in Zion and his furnace in Jerusalem. And Luke 12:49, " I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I if it be already kindled? " Compare with Jeremiah 15:14, " I will make thee to pass with thine enemies into a land which thou knowest not, for a fire is kindled in mine anger which shall burn upon you;" and previous to our Lord's second coming Deut. 32:21, " I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation; for a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains."

 

Compare also Isa. 51:15 -- "I am the Lord thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared the Lord of Hosts is his name; and I have put my words iii thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens and lay the foundation of the earth and say unto Zion, Thou art my people." And Haggai 2:21 -- "I will shake the heavens and the earth, and I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen."

 

Notwithstanding the impossibility of quoting within moderate limits the vast number of descriptions which the Prophets give us of the purgatorial fire which men will kindle among themselves at our Lord's coming, there is one which is so plainly the foundation of all the strongest expressions of St. Peter and St. John, that it will be necessary to remark how Isaiah explains even these expressions as the coming down of Christ's sword upon Idum2ea, and upon the people of his curse, to judgment; and that after the hosts of heaven are dissolved, and the heavens rolled together as a scroll, and all their hosts fall down as vine leaves, a curse upon some locality on the earth, and a blossoming of some wilderness, and a returning of the ransomed of the Lord to Mount Zion is immediately described. I refer the reader to Isaiah 34. The elements shall melt (thcetai) with fervent heat, is the same as the hosts (dunameiv) of heaven shall be dissolved (tachsontai), and this, again is the same as our Savior's words, the powers (dunameiv) of heaven shall be shaken. The word "elements" in Galatians and Colossians has nothing to do with earth, air, fire, and water, and is probably, even in those places, the hosts who by nature are no gods, and from whose weak and beggarly bondage the Galatians had been freed, and whom the Colossians seemed inclined with voluntary humility to worship. It may be observed too, that St. Peter distinguishes the elements he is talking of as something belonging to the heavens, and not included in the works of the earth; and the air which is the only element, in our English usual sense of the word, which belongs to the heavens, expands we know, and does not melt by heat. St. John too describes men as hiding themselves on the earth during the very time of this conflagration.

 

Lastly, in reference to the whole subject, which ought to be methodically examined into, the finial result in all the descriptions is clearly the same viz., righteousness will dwell on the earth; but when during the long preparatory interval the stars are said to fall from heaven to the earth, I either interpret it of such meteoric appearances as can, and very probably will, fall to the earth, or I follow the definite sense of Mede, which can be more consistently maintained, I think, in all the passages than the other.

 

 

2 Peter 3:13 -- Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

 

It might be supposed that all the generations of men who have lived from Adam till now, and who shall yet live from now unto the end, would be literally unable to find standing room, or at least to find sustenance upon this earth. The calculation necessary to be made in order to inquire whether or not this is so, will necessarily contain many doubtful quantities, but the result is curious.

 

From Rev. 21:1, I assume that in the new earth there will be literally no more sea.

 

The surface of the dry land would therefore, it could be easily shown, contain 200,000,000 of square miles.

 

A generation of men is usually considered to be, on an average, about thirty -- three years, or that, on an average, three distinct generations of people pass over the earth every century.

 

If then the earth -- according to the independent authorities of the Septuagint, the Samaritan version, Josephus, the Egyptian existing monuments, the Trevalore tables, and the records of Tyre -- has lasted 4,900 years since the deluge, we may count 6,500 as already elapsed since Adam. About 200 generations then may be supposed to have elapsed. Some supposition or other we must of course make, and I only take this as more probable than any other.

 

With respect to the number of men living upon the earth at any time in each generation, I consider that I am putting a very high figure if I count it, on the average of the whole, to be 500,000,000. Our number is said to be at present somewhat above 800,000,000; 300,000,000 would probably be quite equal to the real average, but let us say five hundred.

 

This would give then the remarkable result of about 500 to a square mile, or more than an acre to each individual. If I remember right, this is less than the density of the present population of Great Britain.

 

 

1 John 2:2 -- He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

 

Here too the world clearly means the people in the world, and in 1 John 2:16, what St. Peter calls the earth and the works t ,t are therein being burnt up, St. John surely seems to explain many years afterwards by "all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is of the world, and the world passeth away and the lust thereof." And, like St. Peter, he then adds, " But he that doeth the will of God abideth" on the earth surely " for ever."

 

 

1 John 2:28 -- Abide in him, that when he shall appear we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

 

Or rather in his Parousia, in his day of presence.

 

 

1 John 3:2 -- Beloved, now are we the Sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

 

Why does not St. John talk of going to heaven as we do? Which was right, he or we? the bible or the heathens? Or is the difference a matter of no importance? The practical importance surely lies in the fact, that men cannot practically believe that they shall go to heaven and also be rewarded according to their works. But they can practically believe that they shall remain untempted on earth, and see an infallible head, and be rewarded according to their works.

 

 

Revelation 2:7 -- To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

 

Here are seven most earnest exhortations addressed to seven different Churches in times of grievous trouble, and seven descriptions are given of the glorious rewards laid up for those individual Christians among them who should endure unto the end and overcome the wicked one. It is incomprehensible that in seven consecutive instances the one modern formula, the going to heaven, which to our minds is everything, should have been omitted, if Christian men really are to go there. Ruling over the nations is named, and eating the fruit of life in paradise, and sitting in Christ's throne, and being clothed in white raiment, and having the name of Jerusalem written on them, which cometh down out of heaven, &c., all these are named as future rewards, in complete accordance with all the rest of Holy Scripture, but not a hint of going to heaven.

 

 

Revelation 2:26 -- He that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers, even as I received of my Father.

 

I maintain that this is not an isolated idea in this one place of an obscure figurative book, but that it is to lie found in hundreds of places both in the Old and New Testaments. It is the peculiarly Christian view, which none but the followers of Christ have ever known, that Christ has received of the Father the commission to break up all human governments, and to form all men that have ever lived into one body. He will do this in this noble earth by human methods. How immensely different a notion this is from anything we can fancy, if men are to leave this earth. Men are conceited enough to think they cannot be as happy as it has been promised them they shall be hereafter, if they are to remain fixed upon God's earth. Do they imagine then that the Lord and the Apostles would have been unsatisfied and imperfectly happy in bringing Ill the Jews, Greeks, Syrians, Romans, and other heathens into perfect unity, and leading them in the conquest of all the evil of any kind which was in themselves, or in physical nature? Yet even this is only a very small portion of the whole work which. would have been and will be done by Jesus Christ. He will gather, we know, the whole of Creation into One, a work large enough surely to give materials for happiness to all who shall agree with him in the principles on which alone it will be done.

 

 

Revelation 3:9 -- Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold I will make them to come and worship lore thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience I will also keep the' from the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold I come quickly.

 

Men who maintained right principles at Philadelphia will have the satisfaction of seeing them triumphantly asserted hereafter. The injured meek then will have redress after all. This is not the usual notion of heaven. There will also come a time of temptation for all the earth at Christ's coming, which implies the possibility of men then sinning; in other words, the trial will be purgatorial. Men too who belonged, in Philadelphia, to the synagogue of Satan, will live in the same locality, apparently, with those whose principles they will then own to have been correct.

 

 

Revelation 5:3 -- No man in heaven nor in earth neither under the earth was able to open the book.

 

No one, no Being, but not specifically no man.

 

 

Revelation 5:9 -- Thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation.

 

This song does not prove that redeemed men are in heaven, for it must be meant as the song of the saints presented and sung by these beasts and elders, otherwise we must suppose these beasts themselves to be men.

 

 

Revelation 6:12 -- The sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood, and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth even as a fig-tree casteth her untimely figs when she is shaken of a mighty wind, and the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men., and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every freeman hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains.

 

It is so manifestly impossible that people should literally hide, themselves in the dens and rocks of the mountains while a universal and physical conflagration of the rocks and mountains was taking place, that this alone would prove these constantly recurring phrases not to be meant as physical descriptions. Enough has been perhaps already said upon the subject in a general way as it would require a methodical examination of a great part of the Old Testament to elaborate the specific revelation which is given us upon it. See for instance Isaiah 26, where the "indignation" is clearly described as taking place after the first resurrection "Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing ye that dwell in dust, for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers and shut thy doors about thee, hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For behold the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, the earth also shall disclose her blood and shall no more cover her slain. In that day the Lord with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea."

 

 

Revelation 6:9 -- I saw under the altar the, souls of them that were slain, &c.

 

I am not writing about the condition of souls before the resurrection.

 

 

Revelation 7:9 -- After this I beheld and lo a great multitude, &c., stood before the throne and before the Lamb clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.

 

The scene of the whole of this chapter is the same as that of the last, and is on earth: hurt not the earth (Revelation 7:3) till we have sealed the servants of God, &c.

 

 

Revelation 11:12 -- And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud and their enemies beheld them.

 

Certainly not a fit passage to found any doctrine whatever upon in our present state of knowledge.

 

 

Revelation 15:4. --All nations shall come and worship before thee, for thy judgments are made manifest.

 

In the remarks on Rom. 10:17, I took the word here translated judgments for an example of the immense evil done to Christianity by our translation of the New Testament epistles. So long as judgment, justification, ordinance, and righteousness, are allowed to remain as translations of the same Greek word, so long the English New Testament will naturally enough fail in leading the English into religious and social unity. The present text is not of much doctrinal importance, but it carefully distinguishes the holy or the saints from the nations, and it connects the worshipping of these nations with the manifestation of the decrees, ordinances, or fore-ordained plan of God rather than with his judgments in the more usual judicial sense of the word.

 

 

Revelation 19:10 -- And I fell at his feet to worship him, and he said unto me, See thou do it not. I am thy fellow-servant and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus.

 

The real thing meant by the words " I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day," Rev.1:10, and again, " and immediately I was in the Spirit, and behold a throne was set in heaven" (Revelation 4:2), and again, "the Revelation of Jesus Christ . . . and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John" (Revelation 1:1), are so utterly beyond our present comprehension that we can found no argument from this verse as to the future locality of risen men. That some disembodied human spirit here spiritually "signified" sights and sounds to St. John is all that St. John says.

 

 

Revelation 20 &c.

 

The rest of this inspiriting book is so obviously favorable to the views I have advocated that I may safely leave the detailed examination to the reader himself. The first resurrection, the existence of temptation after this, the general resurrection, the new earth, the dwelling of God therein among men, the distinction ok the Bride's wife in the New Jerusalem from the nations of the saved who walk in the light thereof, are all here. What mean they? What they can mean upon the supposition of the annihilation of the earth and our deportation to heaven I know not, but surely they are no longer mysterious to those who have followed me so far. They are but a repetition of the rest of the Bible, -- of almost every page of it; -- God will live with men. The earth is to be subdued despite the devil. Known unto God are all his works, and with Him I no variableness nor shadow of turning. Hereafter shall we see the heavens opened. Why leap ye, ye high hills? This is the hill which God desireth to dwell in, yea the Lord will dwell in it for ever. Suffice it to remark, as has often been remarked before, that the grand moral of this whole book of St. John is the "restitution of all things." The beginning of Genesis is repeated in the end of the Revelation. He finishes the Canonical books of Holy Scripture with no description of earth deserted by mankind, but of earth an Eden as originally described by Moses.

 

And lastly, after all this can we hesitate to say in the case of Elijah to which I undertook to return either that his case is exceptional as Enoch's may be, or that the Septuagint version is the more correct, or that his ascent was only towards those lower regions called by the Jews the second heavens which the consent of mankind has dignified with the name indeed of heaven, but which have not been considered to be the immediate Seat of God.

 

THE FUTURE HUMAN KINGDOM OF CHRIST

CHAPTER XIII.

CREEDS AND APOSTOLICAL FATHERS.

 

In order to know what the Christian faith was understood to be by those to whom the Apostles first taught it, it is as useful or necessary to go to the writings of the early fathers as it would be for an East Indian Christian inquirer to go to a "sketch of all denominations" for knowledge of what all denominations hold.

 

For this purpose it is, and for no other purpose in the present case, that I go to the fathers. I go for knowledge of the opinions of the earliest followers of our Blessed Lord; to the only source from which I can learn their opinions; viz., their writings.

 

And indeed if it is really revealed in Holy Scripture that we are to go to heaven after the resurrection of the body, might we not have expected that the Apostle's Creed would have stood thus. I believe in the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, the ascension into heaven, and the life everlasting? Or again, would not the Nicene Creed have stood, I look for the resurrection of the dead, the ascension into heaven, and the life of the world to come? The Athanasian Creed would give still more room for the full doctrine being stated, at whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give account for their own works; and they that have done good shall ascend into heaven, and they that have done evil shall go into everlasting fire.

 

But without dwelling upon this part of the subject, how remarkable, how extraordinary an omission, surely we must think it that the Apostolical Fathers, as they are called, Barnabas, Clement, Ignatius, and Polycarp, should refrain in such a marked way, as it will be shown they do, from giving us any inkling of such an interesting doctrine. "A Christian in those days not only revealed his profession when he refused to join parties of friends in the amusements of the circus, or declined the offer of a magistracy, which was alike honorable and suitable to his talents and fortune, or omitted to put up lights and laurel at his door in honor of Caesar, but also when, in the commonest contract, he was required to swear, or was understood to swear, by the name of some heathen god; when, if a carpenter, he refused an application to make an image, or some appendage to heathen worship; if, when a smith, he was called upon to gild a statue; if, when a druggist, he refused to sell frankincense for sacrifice; if, when a schoolmaster, he appointed no holidays for the festival of Saturn. In short, every day opened and closed a series of vexations, if not of dangers, and was a period of at least petty persecution" (Evan's Biog. Early Church, I., p. 31). The question is, whether the advisers and chiefs of such men comforted them with the anticipation of going to heaven, as we do now when good people are tired of this world; or did they anticipate a conquest of evil by the Man Christ upon this earth, and an eternal life with him thereon? I think that a very cursory glance at their works will show us that they cannot have known of the ascension, as well as resurrection, of the body, for their subjects lead continually up to the very point where such a statement would be expected, but not once in their miscellaneous practical discourses do we find it given. And, if I am correct in this assertion; how incomprehensible, considering the general character of their writings, must such a phenomenon be, except on the hypothesis that there has been no omission in them, but an unauthorized addition in ourselves to the faith once for all delivered to the saints. I cannot conceive that in an age of such persecution these writers should have taken upon themselves to write letters of comfort and exhortation to the various Churches; should have alluded frequently to every topic that could encourage their hearers to meet death joyfully, and should never once have alluded to going to heaven, if to heaven they thought they were to go.

 

I proceed on the same plan I have hitherto pursued, only much more briefly, to go through their writings, and notice those places where the omission is most marked; and I shall then leave it to my brethren to consider whether the lie that has been palmed off upon so many Christians, called the assumption of the Blessed Virgin into heaven, does not stand upon much the same foundation as the doctrine of our own future ascension, namely, upon the assertion of imaginative and comparatively late authors, intruding into that which they had not seen, and bearing witness to that which they had never known.

 

 

CATHOLIC EPISTLE OF BARNABAS.

 

C. 4. "For which cause let us give attention to the last days, for the whole time of our life and faith will profit us nothing unless we hold in detestation iniquity and the future temptations."

 

Alluding, I suppose, to the events of the Parousia.

 

 

C. 6. "He said above 'Be fruitful and have dominion over the fish of the sea.' Now who is there that is really able at present to have dominion over the beasts, or fishes, or the birds of heaven. We see it implies a power of order, rule, and domination; if then this has not yet come to pass, and still he has promised it, when will it take place? Why -- when we ourselves shall be perfected as inheritors of the promise of the Lord."

 

"Man's heaven to be this earth," is plainly written here, unless indeed the "fish of the sea" are also to ascend with us into heaven.

 

 

C. 10. "The just man walks in this world and expects the holy age."

 

The way in which this sentence is brought in, whatever we may think of the argument, shows that Barnabas looked upon the present world and the future holy age as two divisions of one common creation. The people of Israel, he observes, were commanded to eat "whatsoever parteth the hoof and is cloven footed" Lev. 11:3. We smile at his explanation of this command, and at his remark thereon, "See how beautifully Moses legislated." Still the fact remains. The earliest uninspired writer of our Church expected heaven to be a holy age, so closely connected with this our world, that he compared the two to the two divisions of a cloven hoof.

 

 

C. 15. ". . . . . 'And he rested the seventh day.' This means: When His Son shall come, and shall make void the time of the wicked one, and shall judge the wicked and change the sun and the moon and the stars, then he will well rest in the seventh day." And again, "'Your new moons and your sabbaths I cannot away with.' See how he says, the present Sabbaths are not acceptable to me, but those which I have made, in which, resting from all things, I will make the beginning of the eighth day -- that is, the beginning of another world."

 

C. 19. "This then is the path of light. If any one wishes to go towards the appointed place, let him hasten by his deeds."

 

A very clear avoiding of the word heaven here.

 

 

FIRST EPISTLE OF CLEMENT TO CORINTHIANS.

 

C. 5. Talking of St. Peter -- "and so having suffered martyrdom, he journeyed to the covenanted place of the glory." And again, talking of St. Paul, "Thus he departed from the world; and journeyed to the holy place."

 

These are given as specimens of many similar negative expressions. Four sections, for instance, 24-28 are given to the resurrection as a comforting ground for hope and trust in God; but going to heaven is not alluded to.

 

 

C. 32. Clement here lays down the absolute election of God; and universal justification "through that faith through which God, Supreme over him who was born in time,* justifies all men." lie then immediately supposes the same objection made to this which St. Paul did when laying down the same doctrine, and which, I fear, will be made against myself by those who make universal redemption mean universal salvability, on partially known conditions. "What shall we do then, brethren," he says; "shall we leave off doing good works, and leave Love behind us?" It is extremely interesting to observe that Clement answers this exactly in the spirit of my book. God has a benevolent divine plan, he argues, by which he made the world, and man at the head of it, and it gives Him joy to contemplate it. He immediately calls upon us to help God in carrying out this benevolent work. The very word "kosmos," which means both universe and adornment, supplies an argument. With our whole hearts, he says, having such an example, let us work the work of righteousness. It is to these works finally that he applies the text, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard," &c.

 

 

 

 

 

 

--------------------------------

* See C. 58. "God, Supreme over spirits and Lord of all flesh, who elected the Lord Jesus Christ, and us through him."

 

 

 

C. 35. In reference to the promises which it hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive, he says, "How blessed, my beloved, how admirable, are the gifts of God. Life in immortality, glory in righteousness, truth in boldness of speech, faith in confidence, temperance in holiness; and these are the things which it hath entered into the heart of man to conceive. What then are those good things still remaining for those that wait for him? The most Holy Creator and Father of the world knows both how great and how beautiful they are. As for us, let us try to be of the number of those that wait for him, that we may receive the promised gifts."

 

Here again when the student of "Baxter's Saints' Rest," or "Jeremy Taylor's Contemplations, eagerly expects a description of heaven, we find the waiting for Christ the prominent idea, coupled with truth, liberty of speech, faith, temperance, &c., which moderns seldom associate with heaven.

 

 

C. 36. "This is the way, beloved, in which we may find our salvation; Jesus Christ the chief priest of our oblations, the patron and defender of our weakness. Through him we look to the height of the heavens, through him we see, as in a glass, His pure and most excellent visage."

 

The word heaven is not avoided when it may be rightly used.

 

 

C. 50. "All the generations from Adam unto this day have passed away; but those who are made perfect in love attain, by the grace of God, the place of the righteous, and in the visitation off the kingdom of Christ they will be made manifest."

 

Many similar negative expressions may be met with in the epistle of Ignatius, as also in those of Polycarp.

 

The details of the martyrdom of St. Ignatius have come down to us in an anonymous account, purporting to be that of eye witnesses. The authenticity of the first part of this account is, I believe, not seriously doubted. Usher and Pearson consider the latter portion to be much interpolated. In the middle, in section the fourth, we read in the margin of late editions, that the whole of that section is absent from the Cotton Manuscripts; and in this section, immediately preceding a portion which is particularly attacked by Usher, the following passage is found:

 

"Thus he spoke, thus he bore his witness, he drew out his Christian charity to such a pitch as if he would take hold on heaven by his good confession, &c., and send letters of thanks, &c., to the other Churches."

 

If taking hold of heaven means going to heaven, the coupling it with sending letters to the Churches does not seem felicitous. He probably only means taking hold of heaven by prayer to heaven, i. e., to God in heaven.

 

We now come to a document of a very different description as relates to its style and authenticity.

 

The acts of the martyrdom of St. Polycarp are described in a circular epistle from the Church at Smyrna, and rest therefore on no anonymous authorship, but on the united authority of that important Christian community. This account has received the highest praise from many different quarters, both for eloquence and historical accuracy; and its influence upon the general mind of Christians at the time it was in circulation, was, doubtless, very great.

 

But we must remember that in reading it we have already advanced one hundred and fifty years from the day of Pentecost. As much as the floating popular opinions of the days of Queen Anne differed from those of our own, so much, nay, far more, it may fairly be considered, did popular Christianity change between Pentecost and this letter of the Smyrnoeans.

 

The human mind was most certainly not resting during that interval; it may be questioned whether there has ever been a century and a half during which, if not its progress, yet, its confusion has been so evident.

 

Why do I say this? Not to prepare the reader to expect a statement to be made in this letter that men are to go to heaven. Even yet I have not found this, but a clear false doctrinal statement we do here find upon which the other would closely follow.

 

It is particularly remarkable too that it is a text which we have already found St. Clement scripturally and modestly treating, which here gives occasion to the Smyrneeans to speak unwarrantably. In the midst of a splendid description of the martyrs, to whom, in their haste to escape the fire that never shall be extinguished, the very fire of the cruel tormentors seemed cold, the passage occurs, (C 2) "With the eyes of their hearts they saw that which neither eye hath seen nor ear heard, neither path it entered into the heart of man to conceive; but this was shown them by the Lord as being no longer men, but already angels." I do not quarrel with the rhetorical word "already," as applied to the dying martyrs; but to assert that men were ever to be angels is manifestly false. The Son of Man did not take on him the nature of angels. The way in which the heathen error I am combating gradually crept in among the Christians is, I think, obvious now that we have found this false but eloquent phrase in this very captivating and most popular epistle.

 

 

ENGLISH CHURCH.

 

If it be asked whether the English Church has not bound her members to some of the views which I have been combating, I answer that the reward of her constant habit of keeping close to the Scriptures is that she has been preserved from doing so. There are two sentences, and only two, so far as I am aware of, in the whole of the prayer book, which need be alluded to, and I cannot but consider it, when I look around upon other communities, as a remarkable instance of the favor God has shown us, that he has kept us from embodying in our formularies any direct assertion concerning going to heaven not based upon the revelations in the Scriptures.

 

The two places I allude to are the collect for the Sunday after Ascension-day, and the proper preface in the Communion Service for the same festival. The collect for Ascension-day itself may be passed over, as the prayer there is merely that we may in heart and mind ascend into heaven.

 

The collect then for the Sunday after Ascension day refers at first sight to a bodily ascension; and yet there are two things which may make us doubt whether even the compilers meant it to be so taken, for, first, the rest of the prayer is not for future but for present benefits, and secondly, the word exalt is made use of, which may well be meant to be, as in the beginning of the collect, the exalting unto a kingdom rather than the bodily raising unto a place. Either the prayer, is for a future exaltation, in which case the place whither our Savior is gone before is the place where he will at that future time be found, viz., Jerusalem, or it is for present benefits, and then the exaltation is a present one.

 

A similar remark applies to the proper preface. We there merely state that our Lord did a certain act in order that where he is (viz., in Jerusalem at the time we look for) thither we might also ascend and reign with Him in glory.

 

 

 

THE FUTURE HUMAN KINDOM OF CHRIST

CONCLUSION

 

I would now in conclusion observe, that however responsible a task it may be to draw men's attention to the many great and fundamental difficulties which we all own to exist in Theology, it would be, I firmly believe, a sin in God's eyes for a man who thinks he sees the reason of the confusion, to refrain, for mere ease sake, from propounding what be supposes to be a remedy. If this book stands the test of criticism a remedy will have been found; if not, it will at least be well that a supposed remedy shall have been found fallacious. If all went well with us as we now are, right glad should we be to leave this well alone, or if, even counting by fifties or hundreds of years, men seemed gradually to be approximating to some common understanding on the enormously important question, What in the main does the New Testament teach? even then we might lawfully prefer to see Truth prevailing slowly, but yet prevailing, rather than have recourse to a revolution. Theology, however, as far as I can see by converse with books and men, does not alas stand well with honest and sincere men in general. Is it not the fact that so great is the confusion among Christians that good honest men are driven to think we were never meant by God to agree together, or to see in the same light even the fundamentals of what we yet call revealed Truth? Can we deny that Christians are at this moment infamous throughout the whole heathen and Mahomedan world for divisions and hatred among each other, and that they have been so ever since they began to seek for Truth three hundred years ago? The result I say is, that good men from very despair force themselves not to care too much about disunion, and that ordinary Christians secretly disbelieve almost all the peculiar dogmatic portions of Christianity except (God be thanked) the great fact of their redemption.

 

On all sides we now hear loud complaints of the infidelity of the masses. Why is this? If men are gradually brought, after many long years of disputation, to agree in astronomy and chemistry, why is it that they are no nearer than they were three hundred years ago to knowing the meaning of that very definite book, the New Testament?

 

It has struck me, I own, that professed theologians are greatly in fault. Most of the chief technical words in theology have had several quite distinct meanings given to them; and also on the other hand, several of these words, really different, have been taken to mean the same thing. It is impossible, absolutely impossible, to state truth unless our words are placed beyond misapprehension. Is it not a fact that salvation, redemption, glorification, and final justification, have all been used indiscriminately; and, again, is it not the fact that the word righteousness, for instance, has had perfectly distinct meanings attached to it? I give but one instance. In the physical sciences, whiteness, roundness, tallness, have long been seen to be mere qualities which do not in any sense cause things to be white, round, or tall. Now righteousness is, of course in one sense, the quality of being righteous, just as whiteness is the quality of being white, and tallness the quality of being tall. To use then the unscriptural phrase justifying righteousness in the sense that there is some quality which makes a man just, is as pure nonsense as if we said tallness makes a man to be of a certain height. But then again righteousness sometimes means righteous deeds. flow very different a sense is this. But, when we use this so common but unscriptural phrase, justifying righteousness, do we mean that a man's righteous deeds make or declare him righteous? Which of the two do those mean who talk of imputed righteousness? Do they mean that Christ's righteous deeds or that his quality of being righteous are imputed to men? Is crucifixion imputed to a man, or choosing Apostles, or any of the Lord's other good works? or is there such a thing as a quality of tallness, whiteness, roundness, mercifulness, which can belong to one man and be imputed by the God of Truth to any other man who is not tall, or white, or round, or merciful?

 

I am not writing upon this subject; I am simply alluding to it as an illustration to show that our theology is not in a satisfactory position.

 

If it were I would not dare touch it. As it is, I dare not leave it alone. Talk not then of the infidelity of the masses. Before we judge them we must judge ourselves. Judgment must begin at the house of God. Let us fear lest wherein we judge another we condemn ourselves, for we that judge do the same things. Who can deny that, practically, the mass of Christians have agreed to change Christianity into a science, which Jesus Christ left as an art? The art of living socially is lost. Jesus Christ gave rules for success. Owen, Fourier, Louis Blanc, the Mormonites, are trying to restore it. But the art of living and the science by the light of which we must direct our life must always, be intimately connected. The loss of one must fatally tell upon the integrity of the other. Thus it is that even as a science we all must own -- the world certainly owns it for us -- that Christianity stands in a low position, and that absolute predestination, universal redemption, and accurate justice in ultimate destination, all repeatedly, clearly, distinctly revealed, have not hitherto been seen to be compatible each with all. As a consequence, the instinct of mankind has partially revolted from our teaching, and only partially accepted the communion of any of our disunited sections. We have been unable, by asserting the love of God to man in our creation, and of Christ in our redemption, to impress, vitally, a strong and earnest love for God upon more than a comparatively small number of individuals in every age.

 

The world, the flesh, and the devil, on the other hand, have hitherto asserted with but too great success their 'respective claims in the face of this teaching. The mass of mankind are still unjust, impure, and covetous. All the world still require policemen and standing armies to protect themselves against themselves, against fraud and violence. The sexes are still to be painfully drilled from early years into a frigid unlovely distance, as the only guard it seems against the dangers of license; and still, so rooted is the system, the great cry of the poor themselves has often been, give us not ease but give us work.

 

What then, it may be said, can be done? It would ill become a young author, who knows not whether his book will not fall unnoticed into oblivion, to suggest practical measures. Suffice it to say, that he has notions concerning what he supposes Jesus Christ would himself do upon this earth towards the classification of his followers, which, if God seem to call him to it, he will be ready hereafter to put forth. The revealed doctrines of the New Testament he has here examined, not the best methods of teaching them among men.

 

Brethren, if I have spoken in an unknown tongue it has been by course. Let then one interpret. Let the prophets speak. Let the other judge, and if anything be revealed to another that sitteth by, the first will hold his peace (1 Cor. 14:27-30).

FINIS.

 

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