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speaking, in the foregoing verses, of the old world, which, bes ing overflown with water, perished; which is, without doubt, to be taken in a literal sense. And now he speaks, as some call it, of a second deluge, which shall be not by water, but by fire, in which the heavens and the earth shall pass away, or be dissolved, that is, changed, as to the form thereof, though not annihilated. By the heavens and the earth, the learned Mede well understands that part of the frame of nature, that was subjected to the curse, or that is inhabited by Christ's enemies, and includes in it the earth, water, and air, but not the heavenly bodies, which are not only at a vast distance from it, but it is little more than a point, if compared to them for magnitude. And he also (notwithstanding some peculiarities held by him, as before mentioned, relating to the Millennium) justly observes, that this conflagration shall not be till the end of the world, and consequently it shall be immediately before the day of judgment; and, indeed, the apostle intimates as much, when he speaks of this awful providence, as reserved to the day of judgment, and perdition of ungodly men, in ver. 7. The main difficulty to be accounted for, is, what is meant by these new heavens, and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness, which are appointed as an habitation for the righteous. Concerning which, if I may be allowed to give my sense thereof, with that humility and modesty that the difficulty of the subject calls for, I cannot think that there is any absurdity, if we suppose, that, by these new heavens and new earth, the apostle means, that the form of them shall be so changed, as that they shall be an apartment of heaven, in which, together with those other parts of the frame of nature, which are designed to be the seat of the blessed, the saints shall dwell and reign with Christ for

ever.

2dly, We shall now consider the sense that may be given of that scripture, in Rev. xx. and more especially what we read therein, concerning the first resurrection, in which the martyrs are said to live, when this thousand years' reign begins, and the rest of the dead not to live, till these thousand years be finished, in ver. 4, 5. on which the stress of the whole controversy principally depends. I cannot but adhere to their opinion, who think that these words are to be taken in a metaphorical sense; and then they, who were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, viz. the martyrs, shall live when Christ's spiritual reign begins, that is, the cause, for which they suffered martyrdom, shall be revived: this is supposed to have been in a languishing and dying condition, during the reign of Anti-christ, and towards the close thereof, to be at the lowest ebb, and, as it were, dead; I

So Irenæus styles it, Adv. Hær. Lib. V. cap, 29. Diluvium superveniet

Ignis.

say, this shall be revived, these martyrs shall, as it were, live again, not in their own persons, but in their successors, who espouse the same cause. Before this, the enemies of Christ, and his gospel, persecuted and trampled on his cause, insulted the memory of those that had suffered for it; but afterwards, when it is said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, then Christ's cause revives, and that which was victorious over it dies, and shall not rise again, or be in any capacity to give disturbance to the church, till the thousand years are finished, and Satan is loosed again out of prison, to give life and spirit to it; and then we read of a new war begun, a fresh battle fought, the nations deceived, the camp of the saints compassed about; and this will continue till Christ shall come, and put an end to it at the day of judgment, when the devil shall be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. In this sense some, not without ground, understand the account which is given of the slaying and rising of the witnesses, Rev. xi. 7, 11. as signifying that the gospel, which before had been persecuted, and the preaching thereof prohibited, shall then prevail without restraint. The witnesses? death, denotes their being silenced; their rising and standing upon their feet, their having liberty again to preach. And therefore why may we not understand the resurrection, in the chapter we are now considering, as taken in the same sense? And this agrees very well with the sense of ver. 6. in which it is said, concerning them, who have a part in the first resurrection, that is, the saints, who live and reign with Christ, on such this second death hath no power, that is, whatever the enemies of the church may attempt against them, after this thousand years reign, shall be to no purpose; for they shall not prevail, their cause shall never die again. Or, if it be applied to their persons, the meaning is, that they shall not die eternally. Eternal death is a punishment to be inflicted on their enemies, who shall be cast into the lake of fire, which is expressly called the second death, in ver. 14. But these, as it is said, in Rev. ii. 11. shall not be hurt of it, i. e. not exposed to it; but, as they have lived with Christ, in a spiritual sense, on earth, so they shall live with him for ever in heaven.

We are, in giving this sense of the text, under a kind of necessity to recede from the literal sense thereof, because we cannot altogether reconcile that to the analogy of faith. And it will not seem strange to any, who consider the mystical or allegorical style in which this book of the Revelation is written, that this text should be understood in the same sense: However, that this sense may be farther justified, let it be considered, that it is not disagreeable to what we find in many other scriptures, that speak of the church's deliverance from its troubles, under the metaphor of a resurrection; and of the 3 D

VOL. II.

destruction of its enemies, under the metaphor of death. Thus the Babylonish captivity, and Israel's deliverance from it, is described, in Ezek. xxxvii. 1-12. The former by a metaphor taken from a valley full of dry bones; the latter by another taken from their being raised out of their graves, living and standing on their feet an exceeding great army. And, in Ezra ix. 9. we read of God's extending mercy to them, who were before bond-men, and not forsaking them in their bondage, giving them an opportunity to set up the temple and worship of God; this is called, giving them a reviving; and the prophet, speaking concerning the captivity, in Lam. iii. 6. says, He has set me in dark places, as they that be dead of old; and the prophet Isaiah speaks concerning their return from captivity, as a resurrection from the dead, Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise; awake, and sing ye that dwell in the dust, Isa. xxvi. 19.

Many other scriptures might be cited, out of the writings of the prophets, to justify this metaphorical sense of the words, death, and resurrection and also some out of the New Testament, of which I need only refer to one, which has a particular respect to the subject under our present consideration, when the apostle says, that the receiving of them, to wit, of the church of the Jews, when converted, shall be as life from the dead, Rom. xi. 15. therefore the scripture gives countenance to its being called a resurrection.

On the other hand, we might refer to some scriptures that speak of the ruin of the church's enemies, under the metaphor of a state of death: thus, in Isa. xxvi. 14. They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise; therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish; and, in chap. xiv. he describes the utter destruction of the Chaldeans, the church's enemies, by whom they had been carried captive, in a very beautiful manner, and carries on the metaphor, taken from persons departed out of this world, in. ver. 9, 10, 11. and says, in particular, concerning the king of Babylon, Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, the noise of thy viols; the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee; which signifies the political death of that empire, and the utter inability which followed upon this, of their giving disturbance to the church of God, as they had formerly done. These, and many other scriptures of the like nature, may, in some measure, justify the sense we have given of the scripture before mentioned, relating to the death and resurrection of Christ's cause, for which his martyrs suffered, and the death of the Anti-christian cause, which ensued thereupon.

Thus concerning Christ's reign on earth, and what may be probably supposed to be the sense of those scriptures that are brought in defence thereof. We have not entered into the par

ticular consideration of what is said concerning the time, or the number of years, which this glorious dispensation shall continue. We read, indeed, of Christ's reigning a thousand years, by which we are not to understand the eternal exercise of his government; for it is said not only to be on earth, but this period is also considered, as what shall have an end: which that excellent Father, whom I before mentioned, did not duly consider, when he reckoned this as a probable sense of this thousand years, and produces that scripture to justify his sense of the words, in which it is said, that God has remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations, Psal. cv. 8. by which we are to understand, that God will establish his covenant with his people, and make good the promises thereof throughout all the ages of eternity. This, indeed, sufficiently proves that a thousand years might be taken for eternity, agreeably to the sense of scripture; but it is plain, from the context, that it is not to be so taken here, in Rev. xx.

As for the other sense he gives of this thousand years,* namely, that they might be understood as containing a great but indeterminate number of years, in the latter part of the last thousand which the world shall continue, so that, by a figurative way of speaking, a part of a thousand years may be called a thousand years; † this I will not pretend to argue against, nor to say that those divines are in the wrong, who suppose that a thousand years is put for a great number of years, and that it does not belong to us to say how many; I say, whether we are to acquiesce in this, or in the literal sense of the words, I will not determine; only we must conclude, as we have scripture ground for it, that they shall end a little before Christ's coming to judgment; during which short interval it is said, Satan will be loosed a little season, and make some fresh efforts against the church, till he, and those that are spirited and excited by him, to give disturbance to it, perish in the attempt, and are cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. This is all that I shall say concerning the time appointed for this glorious reign, our principal design being to speak concerning the advantages that the church shall enjoy under it.

We have endeavoured to avoid two extremes, namely, that of those who do not put a just difference between it and the

* Vid. Aug. de Civ. Dei. Lib. XX. cap. 7.

†This is very agreeable to the scripture-mode of speaking; nothing is more common than for the cardinal number to be put for the ordinal; und so the meaning is, that this reign shall continue to the thousandth year, or till the last 1000 years of the world shall have an end, what part soever of his 1000 years it began in. Thus God sells Abraham, in Gen. xv. 13. that his seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, to wit, Egypt, and shall serve them, and they shall afflict them 400 years; whereas it is certain that his seed were not above 215 years in Egypt, and they were not slaves, or afflicted there 100 years; therefore the meaning is, q. d. thạy, they shall aflict them till 400 years are expired, from this time,

heavenly state; as also another extreme, which we have not yet mentioned, which several modern writers have given into, who suppose, that this thousand years' reign is long since past, and that the binding of Satan therein consisted only in some degrees of restraint laid on him, and that the reign itself contained in it only some advantages, comparatively small, that the church enjoyed at that time, and that the thousand years' reign began in Constantine's time, when the empire became Christian, about the year of our Lord 300, and that they ended about the year 1300, when the church met with some new difficulties from the eastern parts of the world, which they sup pose to be intended by Gog and Magog. But we cannot see sufficient reason to adhere to this opinion, because the state of the church, when Satan is said to be bound a thousand years, is represented as attended with a greater degree of spiritual glory, holiness, purity of doctrine, and many other blessings attending the preaching the gospel, than we are given to understand by any history that it has yet enjoyed.

As to what concerns the general method, in which we have insisted on this subject, I hope we have not maintained any thing that is derogatory to the glory of Christ's kingdom, nor what has a tendency to detract from the real advantage of the saints. Do they, on the other side of the question, speak of his reigning? so do we. They, indeed, consider him as reigning in his human nature, and conversing therein with his saints; which opinion we cannot give into, for reasons before mentioned: but it is not inconsistent with the glory of Christ to assert, as we have done, that he shall reign spiritually; and the consequence hereof shall be, not the external pomp and grandeur of his subjects, but their being adorned with purity and universal holiness, and enjoying as much peace, as they have reason to expect in any condition short of heaven. Moreover, we have not advanced any thing that has a tendency to detract from the spiritual blessings and advantages of Christ's kingdom, which the saints shall enjoy in this happy period of time. If, notwithstanding all this, it be said, that there are some advantages which the contrary scheme of doctrine supposes that the saints shall enjoy on earth, beyond what we think they have ground to expect from scripture; nevertheless, their not enjoying them here will be fully compensated with a greater degree of glory, which they shall have when they reign with Christ in heaven; which leads us to consider,

The eternity of Christ's mediatorial kingdom; concerning which it is said, He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end, Luke i. 33. As he is described, by the apostle, as a Priest for ever, Heb. v. 6. and * See Napier on the Revelation, prop. 33, 34. page 61, 62.

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