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connected with one another. Hence I feel convinced that the interpretation itself of ver. 5 cannot be correct; and, consequently, that my own former view of ver. 4, as well as any other view of it which would necessarily involve such an interpretation of ver. 5, cannot be according to the mind of the Spirit.
FOURTH. The consideration of the clause in ver. 6, on such the second death hath no power, leads my mind to the same conclusion. This declaration must, of course, have a peculiar propriety of application to those who partake of the first resurrection. It would of itself appear to me, to imply not only that those to whom it referred had not yet undergone the first death, that of the body in this present life; but that they would be in a peculiar manner liable to undergo the first death, and that in consequence of their partaking of the first resurrection. It conveys to my mind a promise, implying somewhat of this kind : Those who partake of the first resurrection are blessed ; for although they may, in consequence thereof, be exposed to suffer the death of the body, the first death ; yet the second death, that of both body and soul in the lake of fire (ver. 14), shall have no power over them.'
As Jesus declared, in Luke xii. 4, 5, " Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear : Fear him, who after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell; yea, say unto you, Fear him.” The promise of not being hurt of the second death, would of itself seem to imply something of this kind concerning the subjects of the first resurrection. This, however, as already observed (p. 18), appears to me greatly confirmed, by my finding this very same promise given in Rev. ii. 11, He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. The faithful followers of Christ in the church at Smyrna, had been forewarned (ver. 10) of a great persecution which was about to come pon them, and were called upon to be faithful unto deuth. The promise of escaping the second death would, for the reason just observed, be very applicable to persons thus peculiarly exposed to persecution and death. I conceive, therefore, that the similarity of the promise given to those who partake of the first resurrection, implies a similarity also in their state and
situation to that of the faithful followers of Christ at Smyrna. But no such similarity would exist, if during the whole Millennial period every vestige of persecution had ceased. The promise, therefore, of escaping the second death appears to me very inapplicable and inappropriate to those who, instead of being, like the believers at Smyrna, peculiarly liable to die by the hand of man, would be entirely free from any danger or apprehension of the kind; as would be the case, if they are living during a period of universal peace and love, and when all influence of Satan would be suspended. This complete, as it appears to me, inapplicability of the promise in ver.6 to persons living in such a period, is, therefore, another reason for my feeling convinced that the Holy Ghost does not foretell such a period in this passage, wherein he gives this promise. These four considerations, therefore,-namely, (1) The absence of connexion and identity between the description of the nations in vers. 3 and 8, and the persons described in ver. 4
; (2) The entire inapplicability of the designation and characteristics given in ver. 4, to such a state and period of universal holiness and peace; (3) The violation of the analogy of interpretation which must, I conceive, exist between vers. 4 and 5; and (4) the complete, as it appears to me, inapplicability of the promise in ver 6 to persons living during a period of universal peace and love,-all concur in convincing my own mind that such a period is not signified in this passage, and that my former interpretation of it was erroneous.
Having made these observations upon the passage itself, I shall endeavour to state my reasons for conceiving that there will not be any period under the Gospel dispensation, during which universal holiness will prevail, and every human being on the face of the earth will be a real believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. The consideration of this point may appear, at first sight, somewhat foreign to the subject of the treatise ; but I conceive it to be one of much importance in its general bearing upon the question. Let me repeat, therefore, the observation which I made at the beginning of the chapter, that I was formerly led to conceive there would be such a period, from passages in the Old Testament, such as the following: Psa. xxii. 27, “ All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord : and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee." Isai. vi. 3, “And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts : the whole earth is full of his glory.” And xi. 9, “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain : for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” I am, however, now led by more mature consideration to believe, that these and similar passages do not foretell a period during which every human being will be a child of God. I shall, therefore, endeavour to state, FIRST, my reasons for believing there will be no such period; and, SECOND, what I conceive these and similar passages are intended to foretell. I would, however, make this preliminary observation: The above passages either really signify a period of universal holiness, or they do not. The person who would interpret them in their primâ facie literal meaning must simply consider them as foretelling that every individual human being would be brought to the knowledge of the truth; otherwise he at once gives up the extent of fulfilment implied by these expressions, according to their literal meaning. There cannot, according to that, be two fulfilments of the same kind, the one incipient, the other complete.
First. My reasons for doubting whether there will be any such period under the Gospel, during which every human being will know the Lord, are the following :: I. I am not aware of any passage in the New Testament which describes such a period. That a great work of the Lord is yet to be carried on, I find clearly foretold; and shall endeavour to consider this point hereafter : but I can find no passage in which the universal spread of the Gospel is foretold. Now I cannot but conceive, that if the Holy Ghost had intended by these passages in the Old Testament to foretell such a period, he would have given to the church, if not many, yet at least some clear and express passages in the clearer revelation of the New Testament harmonizing with them; and developing, not only equally, but even more fully the period and its state of universal holiness. As, therefore, I do not recollect any such passages in the New Testament, I am led to conceive that the above passages in the Old Testament are not intended to foretell any such period. The reader will observe I do not say there are no such passages, but merely that I cannot remember any.
II. While I cannot remember any passages in the New Testament which lead me to expect any such period, I find many which induce me to conceive there will not be any such state of religion in the world.—First, The parable of the wheat and the tares, Matt. xiii. 24—30, and 37–43 (see p. 24), appears to me to indicate clearly these two points : (1) That there will be tares, ungodly professors, constantly springing up in the world in the midst of the wheat, the real children of the kingdom, during the whole period of the Gospel, even until the end of the world : (2) That the devil will be engaged in sowing the tares during the whole of that period. The representation, therefore, conveyed to my mind by this parable, would certainly lead me to conceive, that there will not be any period, and far less such a period as a thousand years, during which there will be no ungodly men whatever, and the influence of the devil will be entirely suspended.--Second, The parable of the net cast into the sea, Matt. xiii. 47–50 (see p. 26), appears to me also to imply, that the Gospel net will be drawing to the shore during the whole Gospel period, and will, until the end of the world, be inclosing bad as well as good fish. Hence I do not conceive there will be any period, and far less one of a thousand years, during which not a single bad fish will exist. - Third, The same observation applies, I think, to the representation given of Christ's kingdom of grace, in the parable of the marriage supper (Matt. xxi. 1-14); which seems to me to imply, that during the whole period previous to the King coming in to see the guests, that is, I conceive, to the second coming of Christ, the Gospel will be preached; and some will reject it, and some embrace it in mere form, while they remain entirely destitute of the wedding garment. This also appears to me to contradict the idea of there being any period, during which every human being will not only be gathered into the wedding as a guest, but also every guest have on the wedding garment.-Fourth, The parable of the Ten Virgins (Matt. xxv. 1-13), at least in its full and complete sense, appears to me to represent, that during the whole period of the Gospel which precedes the coming of the Bridegroom, there will be many graceless professors in his visible church ; instead of there being any period, and far less one of a thousand years, during which every human being will be a subject of real grace. These are indeed all parables, and I am well aware that we must not strain parables too far; but the points which I have now been considering, appear to me to be some of the chief truths intended to be gathered from them.--Fifth, I cannot but conceive that the discourse of Jesus, given in Matt. xxiv., is intended to convey some representation of the state of the world, previous to and at the coming of the Son of Man (vers. 30, 37). I am aware that vers. 15, 16, 20, 26, 28, 33, 34 might, strictly speaking, confine our application of the whole description to the coming of Christ, in a figurative sense, at the destruction of the temple and city of Jerusalem. Still it appears to me, that these Scriptures intimate an analogy between that event, and the great day of the Lord; and the mode of expression in ver. 27, and in the account of the same discourse as given in Mark xiii. 26, and Luke xxi. 27, lead me to conceive that, while this part of the prophecy respecting the coming of the Son of Man received a first or figurative fulfilment at the destruction of Jerusalem, it will yet receive another, a literal fulfilment at his second coming in glory. Viewing it in this light, I am led to conceive, (1) That the Gospel of the kingdom will indeed be preached among all nations for a testimony, before his second coming; and thereby, as was the case before the destruction of Jerusalem, a vast number will be gathered into the church of Christ : but (2) That the state of the world in general will remain, as then, like the state of the world previous to its destruction by the flood : “For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away ; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matt. xxiv. 38, 39). In stating