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away like a storm; the elements shall melt away; the earth and all the works therein shall be consumed with fire:' as though he should say, As gold is wont to be fined, so shall the whole world be purified with fire, and be brought to his full perfection. The lesser world, which is man, following the same, shall likewise be delivered from corruption and change. And so for man this greater world, which for his sake was first created, shall at length be renewed ; and be clad with another hue, much more pleasant and beautiful.”

But as in the first ages Cerinthus and the heretics disgraced the true doctrine by their gross inventions, so at the Reformation, and subsequently among the Anabaptists and Fifth-monarchymen, false notions were blended with the Scriptural doctrines by wild and wicked men. All the errors, not only in this but in every other doctrine, proceed from the desire to bend Scripture to our corrupt inclinations, instead of conforming our inclinations to the declarations of Scripture. A corrupt heart will bias the judgment: a man must do the will of God, if he would know of the doctrine. The early heretics were sensual, and they perverted the Millennium to sensuality: the Anabaptists and Fifthmonarchy-men were turbulent, ambitious spirits, and vainly imagined that their prowess could establish the kingdom of the Most High. We may think ourselves safe from delusions like these ; but let us not be too secure: we have still the same corrupt affections to mislead us, and the same subtle adversary to beguile us with a semblance of truth ; and we may be sure, , that in proportion as he perceives the belief of an approaching Millennium increase, so will he endeavour to defeat it, by setting up unscriptural vagaries agreeable to the natural man, and, as far as they are indulged in, so far subversive of the truth. Against these let the true believer be most vigilantly jealous : let him ever bear in mind, that none shall partake of the glorious kingdom of Christ but such as have“ the kingdom of God within” them now; that “ without holiness no man shall see the Lord;" that the “pure in heart alone see God;" that it is “ the meek who inherit the earth ;" that this kingdom cometh “not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord ;” and that, therefore, all those who desire to reign with Christ hereafter, must be united to him by true and lively faith now, and that our strength is to sit still, to “wait upon the Lord : for they that wait upon him shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles ; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isa. xl. 31.)

In treating of the circumstances which led good men like Jerome to deny the scriptural doctrine of a Millennium, it is necessary to notice the perversions and falsehoods introduced by wicked men, which were subsequently made use of as argu

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ments for rejecting the doctrine altogether. That wicked men have abused a doctrine, is a most insufficient reason for rejecting it: no sound doctrine of Scripture would be retained by those who follow this line of argument; for there is not one of the articles of our faith which has not been at some time or other abused. But these men, who perverted the doctrines of the Millennium, have always been denounced as heretics, and shunned and detested by the scriptural Millenarians, as much as by our opponents. The earliest of these heretics was Cerinthus, who lived in the first century, and debased the glorious doctrine of the kingdom into a mere sensual Mohammedan paradise. But there was scarcely any one article of the Christian faith which he did not in like manner debase: the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Resurrection, and the sacraments, were all corrupted by him. In these we should think it folly to reject the truth because he had debased it: let us, then, extend the same equal measure to the Millennium, and retain that part of it which is scriptural, though Cerinthus laboured to disgrace it by his gross additions. It is recorded by Irenæus, that Cerinthus was once in a bath when the Apostle John entered the house; who, finding the heretic there, retreated with the utmost precipitation, lest the roof should fall and crush him also : yet to this man, absurd as it may seem, some have attributed the Apocalypse ! (Euseb. Hist. vii. 20.) Ebion, Marcion, and the Alogi, propagated other heretical opinions; but Irenæus and the orthodox fathers did not therefore reject the reign of Christ : they were impelled the more diligently to inculcate it according to the manner in which Scripture describes it; and a Millennium of blessedness to the saints, on a purified and regenerated earth, was the general belief of the orthodox church down to the time of Constantine's profession of Christianity. But at that period a change of doctrine began, which is mainly to be attributed to the change in the religion of the empire. With the reign of Christ other great events are connected in Scripture, as preparing for or accompanying its introduction : the most prominent of these are, the destruction of Babylon and the restoration of the Jews. For the first three centuries, the whole Christian church applied the Babylon of the Apocalypse to Rome, and rejoiced in the prospect of the downfal of their persecutors. Papias, according to Jerome, explaining 1 Pet. v. 13, The church that is at Babylon saluteth you,” says that Babylon meant Rome. Jerome begins the preface to his translation of

. Didymus thus: “When I dwelt in Babylon, and was a guest of the purple harlot, and lived after the manner of Romans," &c. On İsa. xlvii. he says, “The daughter of Babylon, some inter

, pret not of Babylon itself, but of Rome; which, in the Apocalypse of John, and in the Epistle of Peter, is specially called


Babylon : and all things which are here spoken of Babylon are cited as agreeing with its (Rome's) ruin.” So also in his Epistles (ad Marcellam, &c.) he applies the threats in the Apocalypse to Rome. But when, instead of the persecutor, Rome became the protector of the church, and Christianity was made by Constantine the religion of the empire, they began to apply the denunciations against Babylon only to Pagan Rome. They flattered themselves with the hope that the universal reception of the Gospel was about to follow, now that the rulers of the world undertook its patronage ; and they not only ceased to regard the destruction of Rome as necessary to the deliverance of the church, but considered the deliverance as already attained. But a difficulty stood in their way: for the destruction of Babylon foretold in Scripture is so tremendous and complete that no one could for a moment maintain that it had been fulfilled in Rome; and the context of the passages made it impossible, by any simple and fair interpretation, to transfer the judgments to old Babylon : they therefore adopted the two notable expedients; first, of shifting the application, even in the same verse, making part apply to Babylon, part to Rome; and secondly, when the prophecy, even after this shifting, still hits too hard upon Rome, they spiritualized its meaning and lightened its ominous forebodings to that degree as to make it a very bearable burden of woe. By these delusions they brought themselves to understand the judgments figuratively, and with great limitations : the blessings promised after the judgments were also made figurative, and to be limited in the same manner: and with these qualifications they thought Babylon might be understood as already destroyed, and the Millennium might be understood as already begun !!! We may tolerate such fond fancies in those who, like Eusebius, lived in the time of Constantine ; but the course of a few years ought to have dissipated the dream. That was not the reign of righteousness in which Julian the Apostate or the later emperors bore sway; nor were swords beat into plough-shares and spears into pruning-hooks, when Justinian, whom Procopius, compared to a demon from hell, laid waste the fairest portions of the empire, or when the Goths and Vandals sacked and re-sacked all its capital cities. Yet, strange to say, this absurd notion of a Millennium beginning with Constantine has been adopted by Grotius, and after him by Hammond; and such men are quoted as of authority in the interpretation of Scripture! If these causes operated to discountenance the true understanding of the Apocalypse when Christianity was only taken under the protection of the state, they would produce much greater effect in the Papal times, when the church usurped lordship over the civil powers, and when in the full tide of prosperity she exclaimed, “ I sit a queen, I am no widow.”

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eternal city” is the name they have given to Rome, and the pope and his adherents have ever discountenanced those interpretations which imply any change in the future condition of their church, especially those which infer judgments to come. And we of the Protestant church seem too much lulled into the security incident to an old establishment, and can scarcely bear to be told of judgments on Babylon, lest in their course they should involve ourselves. Nay, more, as a nation we have even identified ourselves with Babylon, as if to record in the most public manner our disbelief of the threatened vengeance of God.' But the judgments will come, and every month evinces their accelerated approach; and it is this conviction, which the study of prophecy has forced home upon our minds, that prompts us to urge with all possible earnestness the imminent peril which now impends over our church; and presses upon our spirits to entreat her to enploy diligently the short breathing-time which is allowed her, to examine these things, to profit by them, and thus escape the wrath to come.

It is not easy to collect wholly, or to ascertain exactly, what were the opinions of the early orthodox Millenarians. The opinions of the heretical Chiliasts are known from the refutations of their opponents, and, as being notorious, have been often imputed indiscriminately to all the Millenarians. But of the orthodox believers in this doctrine we have only a fow fragments handed down to us; yet from these remains we may infer, that in the general interpretation of prophecy, and in all the main points of its application, they agreed precisely with us : we only fill up with more minute details the general outline which they had drawn. They knew that “the mystery of iniquity,” which was then at work (2 Thess. ii. 7), and was then restrained both “ by him that did let,” or hinder, and by the faithfulness of the early church, should at length be revealed as “the man of sin, the wicked one,” by the falling away” (ver. 3) of the church, and “ the taking out of the way of him who now letteth” (ver. 7); and that then the “ Lord should consume him with the spirit of his mouth, and destroy him with the brightness of his coming (ver. 8). In their commentaries on the different passages in

. which this mystery of iniquity, wicked one, or Antichrist, is mentioned, they maintain, That the Antichristian principle then at work would at length gather head, and concentrate all its power and malignity in one individual, who should lead the final Antichristian confederacy, and fulfil all that is predicted of the “wicked one” (2 Thess. ii. 8); of the “ lawless king” (Dan. xi. 36); of the “beast” (Rev. xvii. 13); and of the “ Assyrian (Isa. xiv. 25). And they considered Antiochus and the other persecutors to have been but types of this last and greatest oppressor of the church. The sufferings inflicted by this impersonation of all evil, they held to be that " time of great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of this world to this time, no nor ever shall be" (Matt. xxiv. 21; Mark xiii. 19; Dan. xii. l; Rev.xvi, 18 ; Isa. xxiv.5—19):—That this tribulation will be so great, that,“ except the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days” (Mark xiii. 20):—That in this time of her greatest extremity Christ himself will interpose for the deliverance of his church : “ Behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven”.....“ But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing on his wings” (Mal. iv. 1, 2):- That the first effect of this interposition of our Lord shall be, the raising of the dead saints, and the attendant change of the bodies of the living saints, who shall be thus prepared to meet him on his descent : “ The dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air" (1 Thess. iv. 17):That his coming shall be with the same glorious body, and in the same manner, as at his ascension : “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him


into heaven” (Acts i. 11; Matt. xxiv. 30); and probably to the same place, “ His feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives” (Zech. xiv. 4):—That he alone shall execute the vengeance of God on the assembled hosts of his enemies : “ I have trodden the wine-press alone” (Isa. Ixiii. 3; Rev.xix. 15):-That all his people

; shall be with him, to witness this vengeance on his foes : « The Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee" (Zech. xiv. 5); “ At the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints” (1 Thess. iii. 13); “They that are Christ's at his coming: "--That there shall thenceforth be no more separation between the Lord and his people : “ I will see you again, and your heart shall

I rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you...... Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me may be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me” (John xvi. 22 ; xvii. 24); “ So shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Thess. iv. 17):That the restoration of the Jews and people of Israel shall then be completed, and their government administered by Christ and his saints: “In the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matt. xix. 28); “ To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me on my throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with my Father on his throne” (Rev. iii. 21):--And that the whole creation, which was subjected to vanity and the bondage of corruption by Adam's fall (Rom. viii. 19, &c.), shall, in this manifestation of the sons of God, have that glorious VOL. I.-NO. III.

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