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Rev. xix. 20) "For thys caus do we long for and praye that it may at length come to pass, and that CHRIST may reign with his sainctes, according to God's promises, (Rev. xx. 4, &c.) that he may lyve and LORDE in the world, accordynge to the decrees of the HOLY GOSPEL, (Phil. ii. 11; Rom. xiv. 8, 9; Rev. xix. 6, &c.) not after the tradition and laws of men, nor pleasure of worldly tyrant. Master. God graunt hys kingdome may come, and that spedilye! (Rev. xxii. 20.)"
But since the time of our early reformers, a growing distaste seems to have prevailed among us for the literal interpretation of the reign of Christ upon earth; and some modern expositors have even began to treat this interpretation as extravagant and absurd: "Cum antistitibus agamus, ut quidvis potius ex illis libris, quàm regem proferant." 1
The Close of the Parable of the Tares, Matt. xiii. 40. WE next barely notice the conclusion in the explanation of the parable of the tares.
"The harvest is the end of the world, and the reapers are the angels. As, therefore, the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of Man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all that offend and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father."
Cicero de Divinatione, lib. ii.
To the same effect, at the conclusion of the parable of the great net, ver. 47-50.
The "severing of the wicked from among the just," in Christ's professed and visible church, the casting of the former into the fire of hell, while the remainder are exalted to everlasting glory, has ever been represented, in the prophetic Scriptures which we have reviewed, as part of the business of the second advent; and this not after a long period of Christ's reign upon earth, but in order to its commencement. This is particularly to be observed, and is fully ascertained by the following Scriptures. This earth is to witness the "reign of righteousness," and to be "covered with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters cover the sea."+ It is to see a time," when the wicked have been turned into hell, and all the nations that have forgotten God."‡
Behold, the day of Jehovah cometh inexorable,
Even indignation and burning wrath;
To make the earth a desolation,
And to cast her sinners out of her. ||
So in Amos, when the final felicity of Israel is foretold, § The eyes of Jehovah are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth," &c.—“ All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword:" but this is at the eve of their expected felicity,"In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David, which is fallen,"-" And I will plant them in their own land, and they shall no more be plucked up," &c. See also especially the close of the prophecy of Malachi.
+ Chap. xi. 9.
the expression, "so shall it be in the end of the world," may, perhaps, at first lead us to suppose that the destruction of this material fabric is intended; but the term we render "world" in this place, applies properly to duration. It implies the whole and entire duration of any system or dispensation. Thus in this, and in many other passages, "this world" denotes the duration of the present dispensations of grace and providence, contrasted with a future dispensation which is to commence with "the manifestation of the sons of God" at the resurrection of the just. That is called " the world to come."1 To come," as it should seem, with respect to the inhabitants of the earth for Jesus, at his resurrection, is said to be brought into that "world." "When he bringeth the first-begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the
1 "Mihi singula loca diligenter excutienti persuasissimum est, in formula ay outos (Judæi nm oby vocant) tantùm describi præsentem rerum humanarum in his terris statum et conditionem. Hoc enim certissimè evincitur locis omnibus, in quibus hæc formula reperitur, v. c. Matt. xiii. 40, OUTNG sσTai an Εν τη συντελεια του αιώνος τούτου, Luke, xx. 34, οι υιοι του αιώνος τουτου. 1 Cor. iii. 18; Ephes. i. 21; Tit. ii. 12; εν τω νυν αιώνι, E contrario αιων ὁ μέλλων (f, εκείνος, f. ερχομενος,) vel futuram omnium hominum post resurrectionem conditionem in universum (quam etiam Judæi * appellabant), vel speciatim futuram Christianorum in calis felicitatem significat. Hanc
in rem maximè notabiles sunt loci, Matt. xii. 32, ούτε εν τούτω τω αιων, ούτε εν τω μελλοντι.—Mark, x. 30, και εν τω αιώνι τω ερχομενω ζωήν αιώνιον, Luc. xviii. 30; ib. xx. 35; ∞ καταξιωθέντες του αιώνος εκείνου τυχειν, Ephes. i. 21; Heb. vi. 5; dvvaμus του μέλλοντος αιώνος. E quibus locis satis apparet nunquam in N. T. mundum hunc tempora V. T. et mundum futurum tempora Messia significare, quæ fuit olim plerorumque sententia," &c.—Schleusner.
But the fact was, by the " era of Messiah," the ancient Jews did not designate the temporary events of a first advent, but, losing sight of this, they speak of the glorious manifestation of Messiah's kingdom. This was their xan b.
angels of God worship him:"* so that we may say, world to come," spoken of in Scripture, is already begun in the heavenly places, but is yet" to come" with respect to its manifestation here below: for it is one day to come down and to supplant the present system and dispensation of things in this lower world. This is what is frequently in Scripture meant by " the end of this world," and also by the symbol of "a new heaven and a new earth." However the material frame of the universe may, or may not, be affected by the change, it is the political, the moral, the religious world that is often principally in view and it is plain, from what we have already read, that "the world to come of which we speak" is manifested on earth before the fabric of the earth is entirely destroyed, or the children of Adam altogether cease to exist upon it in flesh and blood: so that Messiah's reign, though upon this present earth, should be reckoned, not as part of this world,' but of the world to come.' This is plain from Psalm the seventy-second, and the second chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews.
THE Conversation which our Lord held with his disciples previously to his transfiguration, and that remarkable event itself, will fall next under our consideration.
Mark, viii. 34.-" And when he had called the people unto him, with his disciples also, he said unto them,"-Luke, “All,"
Heb. i. 6.
"Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself," and "take up his cross"— Luke, daily,"- "and follow me." Luke, ix. 24. "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it, but whosoever will lose his life for my sake,"— Mark," and the Gospel's,"" the same shall save it," Matt. "find it." Matt. xvi. 26. "For what is a man profited if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"- Luke, "lose himself, or be cast away,"-" or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Mark, viii. 38.-"Whosoever, therefore, shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of Man be ashamed when he cometh"- Luke, " in his own glory and"-" in the glory of his Father, with the holy angels." Matt. xvi. 27.-" For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels, and then shall he reward every man according to his works."
We have here an evident distinction between "Christ's own glory" and "the glory of his Father." He comes in his own glory; he comes in his Father's glory too. "His own glory," I agree with Dr. Macknight, "is the glory peculiar to him as God-man—the majesty and splendour of his glorified body, a visible representation of which he exhibited in the transfiguration, about a week after this discourse was delivered." This was the glory everlastingly ordained to him as the Meritorious Man, — the glory which God gives to him, and which he gives to his brethren of mankind. Our Lord is said, moreover, to
come in his Father's glory" when he appears surrounded with divine majesty, as the delegated Messenger of the Father. It is one thing to manifest himself as the Head of his church and the Lord of creation; another, as the Representative of ABSOLUTE DEITY. As the Representative of ABSOLUTE DEITY, he appears in the character of Judge; in his Father's name, inflicting vengeance on the wicked, or vindicating the righteous, whether