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their promised "thrones,"* will commence. This infinitely blessed and everlasting state of all the host of the elect, and its duration, is now popularly, though not scripturally, called the MILLENNIUM, because the word millennium signifies "a thousand years," and because, in one instance of prophecy, the phrase "a thousand years” represents the period of the saints' final reign with Christ on “thrones." To prevent the appearance of having discarded already, in any remarks, any part of this millennial reign of the saints with Christ “on the earth," I would here avow my firm belief in the whole of it, as described in Rev. xx. 4–6. At the same time, it is to me a matter of regret, that, specially in modern times, the speculations of many have discarded, or taken from the millennium so much of its real excellency and glory. The speculations on this subject, which I regret, 7 exclude at once and entirely from the saints' promised millennium, or reign on earth, the glorious creation of the earth anew, which, as already shown, is to take place, to make it a fit habitation and kingdom in which they can reign most gloriously. The same speculations, also, exclude from the millennium the personal or visible presence of all the holy angels; all the patriarchs, apostles, martyrs, and saints who shall have previously died in the Lord; and the visible, glorious presence of Christ, the King of saints himself. More than this, these modern speculations spoil the hope of the millennium, by taking from it its eternity of duration, and by adding to it all the carnal things of the present earth, with all the flesh and blood, and natural appetites of the reigning saints, together with acknowledged imperfection, sin and sinners therein, with apostasy and death itself, together with another great victory and triumph of Satan over the church on earth, to put an end to the millennium so anticipated. And, more than all this, such a theory of the promised reign of saints is sorrowful, comparatively, (if desirable at all to heavenly-minded Christians,) in its allowing no one of us, now on earth, any assurance, from Scripture, of ever enjoying or witnessing a single moment of it for ourselves.
But let us turn away from these comparative beggarly elements, or sorrowful anticipations, arising from a theory of modern popularity in the church, or from a creature of much unbelief, to the faith and hope of the true millennial reign of saints, which is presented in the sure word of prophecy.
(1.) As may be seen from proof already exhibited, the
saints' millennial reign on earth will be blessed and glorious, because the "curse”* now resting on the earth will then be finally removed, † by which, and the creation of "all things new," and even of the earth itself, it will become a "paradise," as before the fall of man. Then, of course, the earth will be a fit and glorious place for the promised reign of the saints with Christ, and a fit place for him also to be personally and gloriously present to reign with them.
(2.) This millennium will be the more blessed for the reigning saints, because then all carnal things, or things of corruption, including “flesh and blood,''8 all imperfection, sinners, "foul spirits,” || Satan himself, I all sorrow, tears, pain and death of every kind,** will then be perfectly and finally excluded from the earth, and from all connection with the saints then on their “ thrones," "round about the throne” of their glorious King.tt
(3.) Then the saints will be blessed with the inheritance of their promised “earth” and “kingdom," in its then perfect fitness for a kingdom to "be given to the people of the saints of the Most High,” when “the kingdom, and dominion, and greatness of the kingdom UNDER (not above] the whole heaven, shall be given to them, as an everlasting kingdom.”'I1
(4.) The blessedness of this millennial reign will be increased by the personal and glorious presence in it of all the patriarchal, apostolic, martyr, and other saints since the world began, to the end thereof, including the innumerable multitude of the holy angels, who will join in their high praises to the Almighty on his eternal throne.
(5.) This millennial blessedness is infinitely the more desirable, in its being as eternal as the eternal kingdom of God, where it is to be enjoyed.SS Were there one inspired assurance of its coming to a final close, after any conceivable duration of its continuance, it would, after all, be infinitely and eternally another thing for the grasp of a lively faith, from what it is now, when known to be eternal.
(6.) This millennium is to be preferred before the other which was mentioned, in its giving full place for Christ himself to come, according to his promise, with his whole kingdom of angels and saints, perfectly to fulfil, to his suffering people on earth, literally, all his blessed promises in every particular, just as he gave them. Accordingly, then,
he will literally come in his kingdom, of "mighty angels": and "saints," as "the armies of heaven," to the earth which we now inhabit, the “uttermost parts” of which, we know, are promised him for his "inheritance,''* or to be his kingdom, when he shall come " into” his kingdom,''+ and his saints “shall come from the east, and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God; but the children of the kingdom” (or those previously reigning in it, “shall be cast out."I Then will Christ's reign on the earth be “from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same," and "from sea even to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.”'S While, in all these and other promises, our rule of interpretation admits the use of present visible things, such as rivers, seas, rising and setting of the sun, and the like, to be figures of things infinitely more important, it holds fast the uniform literal interpretation of all those things, which, instead of being at present visible and momentary, are themselves spiritual, or infinite in their importance.
(7.) This millennial reign of the saints on the earth is the more desirable for its assurance made to saints, now and in all ages, that, whether living long or dying soon in this world, they shall all themselves personally and forever enjoy it, instead of the offer of a hope that possibly some of their posterity, in after ages, shall enjoy it for a time, as in case of a supposed temporal millennium.
(8.) The same millennium is also desirable, in its being the object of the true Christian faith and hope, and the safe resting-place of the heart Faith being "the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen,” it is plain that such a faith has nothing to do with, neither can it grasp, the earthly things of a temporal millennium. And most surely, the saints' true hope can never anchor at all on any supposed millennial rest or reign in the present world, because the Lord forbids their anticipation of bliss of any kind in this life, even for an hour, saying, “ For ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” He also calls a worldly man a "fool,” for such an anticipation of bliss on earth, though in apparently the most favorable prospects of enjoying it, under the penalty of suddenly taking away the soul.!! And how can any Christian truly anchor, or set his hope on millennial bliss in this world, under the prohibition of the Lord, and with no assurance of another day here to live, even should such a millennium of time begin to
morrow? Again, as the saints are commanded to set their heart on things above, and forbidden so to set it on things on the earth,* it might seem as an act of deliberate and positive rebellion against God's authority, for us to set our heart on, or attempt to delight ourselves with, such a millennial period, should we seem to find it revealed. But, living or dying, and in all situations, the saints may grasp. both with faith and hope, and safely and joyfully, as commanded, set their heart on the high, holy, and heavenly promised blessedness of their true millennial reign with Christ “on the earth,” when he himself shall come, and when, “in the regeneration” of all things then to be effected, they shall " sit on thrones” with him in his kingdom. And surely,
“The thoughts of such amazing bliss
III. It remains, now, briefly to speak of the condition of things on the earth, from the present time till Christ's second coming himself to reign.
1. No MILLENNIUM TILL ChrisT HIMSELF SHALL COME, "QUICKLY."
As already shown, we are to look for no thousand years for the spiritual reign of Christ on the earth, with men in the flesh, and still on probation, before his own coming in his kingdom, to reign gloriously and eternally. Accordingly, we may anticipate the final deliverance and most triumphant and blessed reign of all the saints, when all their vast desires shall be forever satisfied, as being at least "a thousand years” nearer “at hand," than in putting it off for a supposed temporal millennium first, to come and pass away. Then inay we not, with an emphasis, repeat the text of the already “long-suffering” or waiting Jesus, in the introduction of his ministry, viz.-" The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of heaven is at hand ; repent ye, and believe the gospel.”
2. No CONVERSION OF THE WORLD FIRST.
Neither are we to look for the conversion of the whole world to the faith of Christ, before his coming to judgment. The doctrine of the world's conversion," and the phrase itself, are now supposed to be of but modern origin, and scarcely found, if found at all, in the theology of any age before the present. And most surely its very opposite is abundantly contained in the Bible. To be sure, the Bible repeatedly inculcates a doctrine like this, that "the heathen
[enemies of God] shall be given” to Christ and to his saints, for an “inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for a possession ;' but instead of a promise here for the saving conversion of the world of God's enemies, it is rather a promise to Christ and the saints for a final victory over the whole world of incorrigible sinners, when Christ shall come, and the saints shall inherit the earth, then to be renewed, and the wicked to be cast out. The next words of the same promise are, “ Thou shalt break them (the heathen with a rod of iron, thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.” Thus, putting the whole passage together as the Lord has done it, it becomes to the wicked, who wait for the world's conversion, a dreadful threatening of their sudden and universal destruction from the presence of the Lord, instead of a promise of their salvation on its fulfilment. And thus, on examination, it will be found that all the supposed predictions of the world's conversion," mean something altogether different from such an event. This new doctrine and language of “the world's conversion,” as a syren song mostly if not wholly come into vogue since my own short recollection, seems now, and for a few years past, very much gone into disuse among ministers and leading Christians, as in case also of the doctrine of a temporal millennium just at hand. And probably this change in their anticipations is in part the result of their disappointed expectations, on witnessing the increase of abounding iniquity, and love waxing cold, in the place of their expected increase of primitive Christianity; and also the result of their deeper reflection for themselves on religious and moral questions, since the late commencement of reform operations, wherein they have detected themselves as being before much deceived on many points which have undergone the test of public scrutiny, beginning perhaps with the temperance movements.
3. No RETURN OF THE UNBELIEVING JEWS FIRST.
Neither do I look for the removal of the scattered, unbelieving Jews from their present locations to Palestine, before Christ's coming; while the rule of interpretation thus far pursued, rather explains all those gathering promises to Israel, as the promises to all the Israel of God by faith, to be inherited in the New Jerusalem state of the earth forever, at the return of the Messiah. But with my brethren of a different sentiment on this point, who also look for the Lord near, and who do not intend to present a theory on the subject to delay his coming, I would rather now waive than controvert the question. The time doubtless is near when, without controversy, the lovers of Christ's expected quick