Imagini ale paginilor

In regard of whom the earnest expectation attributed to them by the apostle is well explained by Whitby: “desire and expectation being,” as he says, “ ascribed in the sacred dialect to creatures in reference to things they want, and which tend to their advantage, though they explicitly know nothing of them.Now, this being premised, we have only to mark carefully two particulars in the passage, in order to see that still the same conclusion as before must necessarily be drawn from it. The one point is the distinction in it between the creature (i. e. mankind generally) spoken of, and the saints, or predestinated children of God, in particular :-a distinction expressed by the apostle, as well as implied through the whole context. The other point is the object of the creature's expectation, I mean of the creature as distinguished from Christ's elect saints. We, says the apostle, wait for the adoption, the redemption of our body. But the creature (or creation) generally has its earnest expectation bent upon the manifestation of the sons of God. Manifestation of whom ? I pray the reader to mark this point. Clearly of the glorified saints, the predestinated sons of God. And to whom? Not surely a manifestation of them to themselves, (who ever heard of a revelation or manifestation of oneself in this manner to oneself ?) but to angels, to men, to the universe : more especially to that same creature, or creation, whose longing expectation is directed thereto, and which is thereupon to receive its blessing and deliverance.—The anti-premillennial expositors are for the most part somewhat shy of this word revelation, with its proper genitive, in their comments; and confound the saints' hope with that of the creation. And no wonder. For I be

· Hence, he says, the Messiah is called in Gen. xlix. 10, Ipoolokia Twv edvwv, the expectation of the Gentiles, and in Haggai ii. 7, the desire of all nations.

2 “Not only they,he says in verses 22, 23, (that is the KTIOS or creature generally,) but even ourselves, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, do groan," &c.

3 Thus Origen; “ They expect the time when those things shall be revealed which are prepared for them that are sons of God.” Whitby ; That which it (the KTIONS) groans for, is its redemption from corruption." Macknight ; "Though

lieve it would be hard to escape from the cogency of the expression, naturally construed, in the sense I argue for.

Let me just add, ere I go on, that this result to the creation in general from the manifestation of the glorified saints, the children of God, and children of the resurrection,' is, as I conceive, the same that our Lord intended in a most observable, but often misapprehended and often misapplied passage, in his intercessory prayer, John xvii. “I pray not,” He says in the first instance, “ for the world, but for them which thou hast given me out of the world ;”? i.e. the election of grace. For which last his final prayer was, that they might all be one , (evidently at the time of their glorification, the only time of perfect unity which the Bible holds out to the Church,“) and that they might see and partake of his glory; of course after their resurrection. Then follows a notice, twice over, of the foreseen effect of this their conjoint glorification on the world: (it is to this I was alluding :) verse 21, that the world may believe that thou hast sent me; verse 23, that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me."

5. A fifth argument against Whitby's theory of the post-millennial resurrection of the saints, and in favour of that of their premillennial rising at Christ's coming, to take part in his millennary reign, (for his appearing and kingdom synchronize,) is soon stated, but I think the Gentiles in particular knew nothing of the revelation of the sons of God, the apostle calls their looking for a resurrection from the dead a looking for that revelation : because the sons of God are to be revealed by their being raised with incorruptible bodies :"--and again, “their earnest desire of immortality Scott is more honest in his comment : but neither suggests, nor obviates, the difficulty hence arising in the way of his own anti-premillennial system.

1 Luke xx. 36 ; “And they are the children of God, being children of the resurrection.? Verses 6, 9.

3 Verses 21-24. 4 “And whom God justified,” says St. Paul, (Rom. viii. 30,) of the predestinate or election of grace, “them he also glorified ;meaning, I conceive, in his purpose.-So Jer. i. 5; “Before I formed thee in the belly I sanctified thee.

5 Compare John xi. 52, Ephes. i. 10.—I think had this point of divine revelation been duly considered, there would not have been advocated theories of an earthly ecclesiastical unity, so as they have been, alike by Romanists, Tractarians, Semi-Tractarians, the Plymouth Brethren, and by other Protestants too. Compare Vitringa, p. 1168.

6 So 2 Tim. iv. 1, "Who shall judge the quick and dead at his appearing and kingdom.”

of great weight; viz. that this resurrection, glorification, and participation in his kingdom are uniformly noted, I believe, as the reward of hard service, suffering, conflict. “Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations, and I appoint unto you a kingdom,” &c: “ The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence:"2—“ If we suffer with Him that we may be also glorified together:"3" Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory : "4 " He that overcometh shall inherit all things : "5&c. &c. So the faithful companions of the typical David's time of hardship, exile, and suffering, had the fit rewards of office and promotion on his establishment in the kingdom. But can the righteous in the millennial dispensation come under the same category of hard service and suffering for Christ ? To whom, however, Whitby's theory would equally assign a part in the first resurrection, and Messiah's kingdom.

6. I might add perhaps yet another and different argument (or, I would rather say, illustration) from the term sabbatism applied by St. Paul to the departed saints' expected rest. For if the word indicate, as it might seem to do, some septenary of time, the which could scarce be any other than the seventh millennium of the world,?then, without entering at all minutely into chronological details, it is evident from our present actual position near the end, on the lowest computation, of the world's sixth millennary,8 that were we to postpone its commencement yet a thousand years,-in other words, were we to admit of a Millennium of earthly bliss still intervening before the departed saints' entrance on their promised blessedness, then their rest, even though this Millennium were to begin instantly, would be postponed long after the opening of the seventh millennary; and consequently be, in the more proper and etymolo

1 Luke xxii. 28.
Rom. viii. 17. So Apoc. i. 9; 2 Tim. ii. 12.

Apoc. xxi. 7.
? This will appear in my last chapter.


2 Matt. xi. 12.

4 2 Cor. iv. 17. 6 Heb. iv. 9.

8 See ibid.


gical sense of the term, no sabbatism.-But the full and more exact consideration of this last argument, as well as of the ancient Jewish and Christian Fathers' opinion concerning it, will find perhaps its fitter place in my concluding chapter. And I shall therefore here say on it no more.

So my millennial argument ends : and I conclude on general Scripture evidence, just as before on that of the Apocalyptic passage itself, that Whitby's theory is as untenable as those of Augustine and Grotius, and that the only true one is the literal :—which theory, held by the earliest Christian Fathers, has been revived substantially among us by Mede, Daubuz, and Bishop Newton; and been embraced by almost all modern prophetic expositors of note, as well as by many others also whose studies, though not directly prophetic, have yet bordered on the subject, such as Mr. Greswella and the late learned Bishop Van Mildert.”—For my own part I cannot but feel much struck at the consistency, as well as variety, of the evidence in its favour. If evidence has been brought from Scripture to shew the synchronization of the saint's resurrection alike with Israel's conversion and restoration,-with the world's restoration to paradisiacal blessedness,—and with Antichrist's destruction also,-it seems to appear from quite other scriptures that these various events, which thus synchronize with it, are likewise to synchronize with each other : viz. Israel's restoration with the earth's restoration, and each and either with Antichrist's destruction.4—Nor can I help being

1 Mr. Faber is almost the only exception.

? See the Introduction to his work on the Parables. 3 Mr. Bickersteth has quoted the Bishop's opinion at length, in his work on Prophecy. I give an extract. “Respecting the Millennium, or reign of the saints on earth for 1000 years after these events shall have taken place, there is room for a great variety of conjecture. Whether we are to expect that a resurrection and triumph of the saints shall precede the general and final resurrection, or whether to hold that it is not to be a reign of persons raised from the dead, but a renovated state of the Church, flourishing gloriously for 1000 years, after the conversion of the Jews, and the flowing in of all nations to the Christian faith,—it is not necessary to determine. The former interpretation seems to offer the least violence to the language of Scripture, and is supported by great authority.” p. 275.

* See pp. 110, 113, 170—173.


struck also at the agreement of the Apocalyptic statement, thus explained, respecting the first and second resurrection, with St. Paul's famous declaration on a similar subject in 1 Cor. xv. 23, 24, &c. “But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits : afterward they that are Christ's at his coming: then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father ; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power: for he must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” In this passage three several distinct epochs, as if with intervals of time between them, appear to be marked ; that of Christ's own resurrection,--that of the saints' resurrection at his coming,- and that finally of his destroying the last enemy, death. All which seems exactly to correspond with our Apocalyptic theory of the saints' resurrection taking place premillennially on Christ's second coming, long after his own resurrection ; and then, at the interval of yet a thousand years, on the completion of the resurrection, Christ's casting Death and Hades into the lake of fire.—On Whitby's theory the duration of the eita of St. Paul would be reduced to a nothing.

As to the grand difficulty in the way of this theory which has been supposed to arise out of St. Peter's description * of the earth's being burnt up before the promised new heavens and new earth, I shall only suggest two considerations. The first is that the yn, or earth, of the Apostle's conflagration is by no means certainly the whole habitable world; (indeed the parallel prophecy of Isa. lxv. 17, 18, 1xvi. 22, &c, seems to forbid it ;) or, in fact, any other than the Roman earth, which we have seen on Apocalyptic evidence is to be destroyed premillennially by fire at the time of Antichrist's destruction : moreover that He who saved a remnant out of the wa




ειτα το τελος. . 3 That the esta is generally so used, will appear from the following parallels : Mark iv. 17, Eita Onckis, afterward tribulation," &c; ib. 28, “first the blade, ElTa saxus, then the ear ;” 1 Cor. xv. 5, “first to Cephas, then to the twelve; and 1 Tim. ii. 13, “ Adam was first formed, then Eve.”

4 2 Peter iii. 10.

« ÎnapoiContinuați »