Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

succeeded, we need scarcely add. The effect appears Abraham is silent, (ver. 32, 33, “and the Lord in pleading before Jehovah. For us, through infinite went his way, as soon as he had left communing with grace, He has provided something better still. He Abraham ;" but he did more than Abraham asked. has come and manifested Himself in Jesus. And He withdrew Lot from Sodom and saved him. Nothing we have the certainty that we have, in the man Christ could be done till Lot was safe. (Gen. xix, 16, 22.) Jesus, one who ever intercedes for us; yea, we see God's eye was upon him. What blessedness to be ourselves in Jesus before God; and the Holy Ghost able to reckon on His love for the righteous ! gives us an intimacy with God, which even Abraham Abraham persevered in intercession, though he did not and could not enjoy, because the basis which stopped short of the fulness of God's mercy. We renders it possible was not yet laid. It is too likely that know, not as God knows, all He is going to do. Neverwe have made little progress in using this nearness theless we may intercede with faith. Ahraham grows to God; but such is our standing privilege: though bold as he goes on; his confidence increases. In reit be not a palpable visible thing, the reality of this sult he knows God much better than before. The intimacy is not the less great. The counsels of God peace of God kept his heart. The fruit of it all is are revealed to us in His word, and the Holy Spirit is seen in Gen. xix, 27, 28, where Abraham gets up given to us that we may know and enjoy them. "What early in the morning, to the place where he stood before we fail in is the simple and strong faith of Abraham. the Lord, and looks down on the plain, now smoking

Abraham does not dread the presence of Jehovah ; like a furnace. From far above he sees the effects such fear is the effect of sin. If we have seen the of the utter destruction. Such is our position if we glory of God in Jesus, the divine presence becomes are heavenly. It is thus that we see the judgment of sweet to us : we find there full strength and confi- the wicked. Lot and his daughters had been spareddence. To know Him is indeed life eternal, and His saved so as by fire-not to their honour, but through presence makes us happy with the deepest possible joy. the faithful care and tender mercy of the Lord. It

When a soul is in this confidence God shares His was his unfaithfulness, indeed, that had placed Lot thoughts, as here He treats Abraham as a friend, there ; it was his unmortified desire after the good telling him even what concerns the world. With a things of the world. “ And Lot lifted up his eyes, friend we do not speak of mere business, but of what and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well we have on our heart. Intercession is the fruit of watered everywhere, before the Lord destroyed Sodom the divine revelation and fellowship. Abraham, sepa- and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord. rate from the world, and with the Lord upon the Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan;” (Gen. mountain, communes of the judgment which was xiii ;) then he pitched his tent toward Sodom. Next he about to fall upon the world below. The Church is, dwelt in Sodom. (Gen. xiv.) On the eve of its downin a still more positive and complete way, separated to fall

, “ Lot sat in the gate of Sodom,” in the place of God from the world, and beloved of Him. God con- honour there! (Gen. xix, 1.) sad example of the fides to the Church His thoughts—not merely what earthly minded believer in the path of declension ! He means to do for her, but what is hanging over the Such men dishonour the Lord, and pierce themselves world. The Son of man is going to judge the quick through with many sorrows. as well as the dead; and He has told us of it. God shows the world the utmost patience. He

THE MILLENARIAN QUESTION. lingers ; He is not slack as some men count slackness,

(Continued from page 115.) but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any It seems to me that you greatly overrate the magshould perish, but that all should come to repentance. nitude of the post-millennial rebellion, when you say If His love be displayed to us in ways beyond and more“ an extent of territory and a number of subjects is spiritual than that which the elders tasted, His for- here ascribed to Satan such as the beast and the false bearance to the guilty world is also more marked. prophet never had.” The words of scripture are, that If a man had to govern the world, he could not en- Satan “shall go out to deceive the nations which are dure its ingratitude and iniquity for an hour. God in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to brings His friend, in some degree, to enter into His gather them together to battle: the number of whom own long-suffering, and even reproduces it, as it were, is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the in him. The angels, in the guise of men, turn their breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the faces and go toward Sodom; but Abram stood yet before saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came the Lord. Such also is the portion of the Church-to down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. stand before the Lord and learn His purposes and No doubt it is a solemn defection from Christ which thoughts. She is familiar with His love for her, and is thus depicted-an awful proof that unregenerate has the consciousness of it. She intercedes for the man, with every possible advantage, is powerless to world, in the hope that there is still room for grace. withstand the enemy when he is let loose. But bis T'he heart lives above the circumstances to draw upon going forth "to gather," would not necessarily imply the love that is in God. If we cannot intercede for that he succeeds in gathering all; and the expression 3 person, the sin is stronger than our faith. When “ as the sand of the sea" is, as we all know, applied in we are practically near God, the Spirit which sees the the Old Testament to Israel, and does not, therefore, sin intercedes for the sinner.

necessarily denote such an unprecedentedly overwhelming multitude as you represent. But be this as Lord Himself. I am not at this moment discussing it may, what ground there can be for speaking of the import of the vision, or whether it be a personal “millions upon millions of close hypocrites, mixed up coming of Christ that it sets forth. This you would, with the company of the truly converted” during the of course, dispute. But, in examining the views you millennium, I am at a loss to conceive. Forty or fifty controvert, fairness requires that you consider them years would be “a little season” compared with a as a whole. If those on whose tenets you remark * thousand ;” and supposing that none were deceived see the coming of Christ in chap. xix, and His reign by Satan, but those who were born after he was with His saints in chap. xx, it will never do to ignore loosed, and who grew up without being converted, it their use of the former chapter, and assume that, in is easy to realize how this part of the prophecy might their view, the latter presents a theme which they be fulfilled. And if Satan could triumph over our first believe the former alone to handle. parents, when as yet their nature was untainted, what And if, as all millenarians insist, the coming is difficulty is there as to his permitted success with treated of in chap: xix, and the reign in chap. u, those who, confessedly, have the same need of regene- what is there surprising in the fact that, the descent ration as ourselves ?

from heaven of the Lord Jesus Christ in pomp and The objections as to the camp of the saints and the majesty having been foretold, the saints being menbeloved city being besieged-as though the inmates of tioned as mere attendants of His train, they should, in that camp and city were the glorified saints—have the description that follows, be mentioned first, as been so often answered, that I will not repeat here partaking of the glories of His reign ? It is only by what has thus been urged. It is easier to call such the arbitrary and unwarranted severance of the chapanswers castle-building,” &c., than to present the ters, that this argument has show of plausibility or slightest proof of our maintaining, or being under strength. any necessity to maintain, that the occupants of the But you urge that the same remark applies, and beloved city are any other than Israel after the flesh, with still greater force, to Dan. vii. In it, you say, we dwelling in their own city Jerusalem. What more of have both prophecy and interpretation. The proinconsistency can there be in the idea of an attack by phet sees in vision « the Ancient of days”—God'the mortal foes on such a city and its mortal inhabitants, Father. He beholds “one like unto the Son of man," even though its name be" Jehovah Shammah," than and he“ came to the Ancient of days, and they in the thought of any similar attack in days gone by ? brought him near before him." To him, thus brought Then, besides, the assault is an unsuccessful one; the into the presence of the Ancient of days, all nations enemies are permitted to come up; but it is to their are rendered subject. “In the interpretation" of own sudden and overwhelming and eternal overthrow. this vision, you say, we have not so much as a hint

You "the evangelist saw thrones, the symbols of a personal coming of the Son of God to destroy of honour and power; not one of them is specified as Antichrist : but on the contrary, what forms a powerthe throne of Christ. He is not here placed in front, ful argument against it.” “In the symbolic part of nor as the principal figure, but named as an adjunct the chapter everything is consigned over to him, at the close of the verse, they lived and reigned with In the interpretative part, what we have as the Christ.' 'I saw thrones and they sat on them ;' they effect of transactions taking place in the invisible sat on them. Could it be the mind of the Spirit to world is simply this, the kingdoms shall be given to point out, in such a form, the great coming of the the people of the saints of the Most High, whom all Judge of all the earth, literally to fix His throne, with dominions shall serve and obey." those of glorified saints, amongst or above all the In reply to this well put argument, I would, first potentates of the earth ?" “What would we think,” of all, freely admit, that no coming of Christ to the you enquire, “ of the coming, the instalment, &c., of an earth is expressly treated of in Dan. vii. That is, no earthly prince, related after the following fashion :- one could gather from that chapter alone, that the

I saw chariots, and persons seated in them, and great final and universal kingdom would be introduced by honour was paid to them; they entered the city and the coming of the Son of man to the earth. I lay the palace; they took their seats and were installed stress on these words to the earth, for there is a in their high and honourable offices with the prince'?” coming treated of, but it is, as you urge, “to the

I have quoted thus largely that I may not be Ancient of days.” But though the chapter itself does supposed to do injustice to your argument, which not expressly teach the coming of Christ to this earth, has, at first sight, some appearance of strength. This there is an expression used as to His coming to the appearance vanishes, however, on a moment's reflection. Ancient of days, which, when viewed in connexion No one maintains that “the coming of the Judge of with numerous quotations of it, and allusions to it, the earth" is pointed out in this vision of the millen- in other parts of scripture, makes it sufficiently nial thrones and their occupants. All who regard evident, that a coming of Christ to the earth is to this vision as depicting the personal reign of Christ take place at the crisis of which this chapter treats. and His saints, see the prediction of His coming in “I saw in the night visions, and behold one like the the latter part of chap. xix; and no one can allege that Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came in the vision there portrayed, the central, conspicuous to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near and all-commanding place is not occupied by our before him. And there was given him dominion, and

say,

glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and chapter," as you say, "everything is consigned over to languages, should serve bim: his dominion is an ever- Him.” When the blessed Heir of these dignities was lasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his here and rejected by the people—His own earthly kingdom that which shall not be destroyed." Let it people, who are to hold under Him the dominion be remembered, then, that, when Daniel wrote, Jesus under the whole heaven-the question of His person of Nazareth had not come in humiliation, nor was it and of His coming became the all important one; and as yet revealed that he was the “one like unto the He leaves no room for doubt, that His coming in the Son of man.” But there can be no doubt that this clouds of heaven will be visible to all; that public as title “Son of man” was appropriated by our adorable was the humiliation He underwent, the insults heaped Lord, and in His lips the phrase " came with the clouds upon Him by mankind, so public shall be the display of heaven" received a significance and application, of His glory, the vindication of His outraged dignities which could scarcely have been inferred from the and claims. “ Behold he cometh with clouds; and mere language of the prophecy itself. “And then every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, of him.” (Rev. i, 7.) with power and great glory.” (Matt. xxiv, 30.) They In the remarks on John v, 28, 29, Dan. xii, 2, and shall see! True, that in Dan. vii, the coming of the on the subject of a premillennial resurrection of the Son of man to the Ancient of days might seem to be saints as a whole, there is nothing but what has been “ a transaction taking place in the invisible world.” urged and answered by almost all who have discussed But in our Lord's quotation of its phraseology, we the subject. If the "hour" in which the Son of God find that there are to be human spectators, either of quickens dead souls has already lasted 1800 years, why this transaction, or of its immediate result. The should not the "hour" in which “ all that are in the tribes of the earth are to see the coming of the Son of graves shall come forth” be of more than 1000 years man in the clouds of heaven. Equally emphatic is our duration ? And why speak of a “resurrection of life" Lord's allusion to this prophecy when before Caiaphas. and a “resurrection of judgment,” if there be but one Adjured by the living God to say whether he was simultaneous resurrection of those who, after being the Christ, the Son of God, the meek and holy raised, are divided into classes, as a shepherd divideth Sufferer replies, “Thou hast said ; nevertheless I say the sheep from the goats? Why speak of the parable unto you, hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting of the sheep and the goats, in Matt. xxv, as fulfilled in on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds the resurrection and judgment of all mankind, when of heaven." (Matt. xxvi, 64.)

there is no mention of resurrection in the passage, Do we object, then, to listen to the angelic interpre- and when the term employed is never used in scriptation to Daniel, of the vision he had beheld ? By no ture except of living nations ? means. We only object to the understanding it in It is not a gratuitous assumption, a mere begging of such a sense as to set aside the interpretation of it by the question, that in Matt. xiii ouvré ela toll aiớvos means a greater than the angel—by the Son of man Himself. “the end of the age,” or “present premillennial dis

Should it still be asked why there is no mention of pensation.” It is, on the contrary, a meaning of the the Son of man by the angel, but only repeated men- words demonstrated to be correct, by the accustomed tion of “the saints of the Most High,” let the force of the words themselves, and by the entire scope following suggestion be weighed. In Daniel's day the of the divine instruction which the chapter contains. question of all absorbing interest, was not so much as The subject of the chapter is, “ the mysteries of the to the Person by whose coming the kingdom and kingdom of heaven ;' mysteries, which have their dominion should be wrested from the hands of its existence and development contemporaneously with Gentile possessors ; but as to its transfer by the Most Israel's rejection of Christ, and the judicial blindness High from these haughty oppressors of His people, to under which, in consequence, that nation lies. To the

very saints whom they persecuted and trod under suppose that these “ mysteries” extend beyond the era foot. Daniel was a captive; the holy people were in of Israel's dispersion, and the universal triumph of bondage to the Gentiles: the holy city was in their truth and righteousness with which all scripture assohands, to waste and to destroy; and the vision and ciates Israel's restoration, would be to confound things interpretation of Dan. vii were evidently designed to which most widely and obviously differ : and nothing put in relief the assurance, ominous indeed to the can be plainer than that the transition from “mystery Gentiles, but most consolatory to Jewish saints, that to “manifestation”—from the period of patience to the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth, that of the establishment of righteousness by power Would, in His own time, execute judgment on the is, in this chapter, identical with

the harvest, the end of imperial power of the Gentiles, and transfer to His the age. The millennial saints, whom you would have own down-trodden people the sceptre of the whole included in “ the net,” or amongst ci the wheat and earth.

tares,” evidently belong to "the age to come”-the Even this could not be made known without a period of manifestation and of power. revelation of the glorious One in and through whom You assert that “there is no dispensation but one, these counsels of God are to be accomplished; and that of the gospel, so long as sin and Satan exist,-accordingly, in the vision, “ in the symbolic part of the long as there may be found in the world deceivable

more

mortals exposed to signal divine visitation,—so long as This restitution, if any where, is described in 1 Cor. death, the last enemy, as well as he who had the power xv, 24. Then cometh the end, when he shall have of death, are undestroyed.” If all you mean by this delivered up the kingdom to God,'" &c. Had Peter is, that all saved sinners, from Adam or Abel down to said, " whom the heaven must receive till all things the last that shall be converted, are saved by grace, have been restored,” there might have been some force through faith, saved on the ground of Christ's atoning in this argument; but his language was " until the work, and regenerated by the Holy Ghost, most gladly times of restitution of all things ;' and surely these do I concur in all this. But this is no warrant for are millennial times. How all things can be restored denying the existence of separate dispensations. when the heavens and the earth flee away, and no place When the apostle says, “ until the law sin was in the is found for them, it would be difficult to explain. world, but sin is not imputed where there is no law,"' Having replied at large to Dr. Brown's remarks on does be describe the same dispensation as in another Acts ii and iii, (see Plain Papers, pages 448—454,) I passage where he says, " the words spoken by angels must refer you to what is there advanced as my answer was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience to what you give on those chapters, acknowledging received a just recompense of reward ?" Is there no your obligations to Dr. B. change of dispensation indicated by our Lord's words, No one supposes that the destruction of death is “Ye have heard that it hath been said, an eye for an premillennial; but the swallowing up death in victory eye and a tooth for a tooth : but I say unto you, that is decided to be so by Isa. xxv, as we have already seen. ye resist not evil,” &c. Was the “heir differing The fact is, that the whole millennial period, and the nothing from a servant, though lord of all,” under little season which succeeds, are characterized by the same dispensation as he to whom the apostle Christ's actively subduing, by His own power, the enesays,

" Wherefore thou art no a servant, mies who are put as a footstool under His feet at the but a son: and if a son, then an heir of God through moment He arises from Jehovah's throne. The last Christ ?” (Gal. iv.) Can it be all one and the same dis- of these is death, which is not destroyed till after the pensation in which Jews and Gentiles were separated by judgment of the great white throne. a "middle wall of partition," and in which, that wail Nor have I the least idea that the conflagration of having been broken down, and peace having been made 2 Pet. iii is pre-millennial. That “the day of the Lord," by the blood of the cross, Jew and Gentile are both “ the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly one in Christ? It is to differences like these, that the men,” includes the whole millennial period is sufficiently phrase “difference of dispensations” is applied. Call evident, I think, from many passages. And it is a day them by what names you please, who can deny their “ in the which" the universal conflagration will surely existence, or the stress laid upon them in God's word? take place. But Peter says nothing to decide in what And while the proof of this point would require more part of the day, whether in its early dawn or at its time and space than would befit my present com-close, this solemn event occurs. A comparison of his munication, proof is not wanting of a future change statements with Rev. xx, xxi, seems to me to make it of dispensation. When suffering is exchanged for plain that it is at the very close of the day. The new triumph, Satan bound, and Christ and His saints fill- heavens and the new earth of Rev. xxi, 1, seem to ing the place for good, which he and his angels have follow at once on the events foretold at the close of done for evil and misrule, surely a change of dispensa- the previous chapter: and between these events and tion of no small magnitude will have taken place. some of which Peter treats, there is surely a close

Christ sits, you say, " at the right hand of God resemblance, if not absolute identity. But it is the till his enemies are made his footstool. He therefore day as a whole, with the succeeding post-millennial sits there all through the millennium.” Not so: state, for which Peter says we wait. God's making Christ's enemies His footstool, is No doubt, “the trump of God,” (1 Thess. iv,) and evidently distinct from Christ's subjugation of His the last trump,” (1 Cor. xv,) denote one and the same foes by His own power. The effect of Christ's ene- signal of the resurrection and translation of the saints mies being put as a footstool under His feet is, that at the coming of the Lord. But we have seen that Zion becomes the earthly centre of His power in the Holy Ghost authoritatively associates these events judgment, the rod of His strength being sent out of with the fulfilment of a prophecy assuredly preZion, while He rules in the midst of His enemies. millennial: and unless there be mention made of the Once He was crucified through weakness. (2 Cor. xiii, sound of a trumpet in some passage undeniably treat4.) Now, he waits in patience, "expecting till his ing of post-millennial events, this declaration of the enemies be made his footstool.” (Heb. x, 13.) Ere apostle ought surely to over-rule all objections founded long, His people shall be willing in the day of His power on the expression the last trump.” (Ps. cx, 3.) And he who is now at Jehovah's right “The expression 'the last day,

' simply conveys to hand, "shall strike through kings in the day of His our minds," you observe," the idea of the termination wrath.(ver. 5.) “The heavens must receive him of time.” To this I do not know of any sound until the time of restitution of all things." On this objection. But be it remembered that for all of whom you remark, “ from what we have seen of the nature Christ says, in John vi, repeating the statement four of the millennium, there is then no restitution of all times, “I will raise him up at the last day," time has things, though great progress is made towards it. terminated, and it is not to another time-state-to natural life-that they are restored, but everlasting remnant in the approaching crisis, not for the Church, life, as to their bodies, as well as their souls. But to which at a previous stage of his descent, will have assume that time has therefore terminated with all been caught up to meet Him in the air. “One of the mankind, is certainly to beg the question, which in days of the Son of man” will doubtless be the object part at least is this, Whether, during the millennium, of intense, longing desire, to that deeply tried remnant; there be not two departments of blessedness, heaven and for a while their desire will be unfulfilled, drawing and earth, the one bearing all the characteristics of a forth from them the well-known prophetic utterance, dispensation in time, the other eternal and without “ Lord, how long ?” change. Scripture does testify, that it is the purpose Millenarians do not question the sufficiency of and counsel of God in the “dispensation of the God's word and Spirit for the conversion of any; nor fulness of times to gather together in one all things do they suppose that any will be converted otherwise in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on than by the Spirit and word of God. But God's earth, even in him.” (Eph. i.) Has not " Christ the government of the world is something entirely distinct first-fruits” entered personally on His eternal and from His gracious operations in converting souls. unchanging state? And has He no present con- Souls have been converted through all the changing nexions with the world and time? Why should not forms of the divine administration, in regard to the the harvest, of which He is “the first-fruits,” government of the world, and will, doubtless, in greater similarly enter on a state of perfect, unchanging, numbers than ever, be converted during the millennial eternal blessedness and glory, and yet for a thousand age. All who will then be converted will owe their years be ministers of light, healing, liberty, and joy, to regeneration to the Holy Spirit, who will then, as now, those who are still in a mundane state ?

act by the word. Believing in no “millennial Adamics” different from But the government of the world will not be then all who bear the image of the first Adam, and need to by secret providence as it has been ever since the fall. receive, in regeneration and resurrection, the image of It will not be a theocracy, administered as in Israel the second, I feel myself under no obligation to heretofore, by mere fallible human agents; much less defend what may have been advanced on such a subject will it be the imperial Gentile rule which began with by others.

the permitted overthrow of the Lord's throne at JeruI know not how to understand your intimation, salem. It will be the reign of Christ and His heavenly (page 123,) that the Saviour's words, “ this generation saints, to whom (Satan being bound and all obstinate shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled,” referred rebels having been destroyed) will be committed the to the accomplishment of that entire prophecy, Matt. administration of the world's

government for a thouxxiv, in the destruction of Jerusalem and its attendant sand years. Happy period! Happier still the portion events. You seem so definitely to quote Daniel's pro- of those, who, having been partakers of Christ's phecy of the time of unequalled trouble, repeated by sufferings, shall then be the sharers of His throne, and our Lord in this chapter, as yet to be fulfilled in the companions of His joy. approaching crisis of nations, that I was unprepared I fear you have greatly misunderstood millenarians, for such an interpretation as that now referred to. if you suppose that we overlook the spiritual operation You do indeed, on this same page, speak of Christ's involved in Israel's conversion, or that we deem the coming "upon the Jews, and the analogous one upon agency of the Holy Ghost insufficient to effect it. the Gentile nations, which is generally expected.” But if there was nothing inconsistent with these But the Saviour's words are much too precise to admit foundation truths in the peculiar circumstances of a double interpretation like this. 'If " this gene- attending the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, why should ration" meant the succession of men then living upon they be thought to be impugned by those who see in earth, and if our Lord thus affirmed that the men scripture (or think they see) that Israel's conversion then living should not die till everything He had fore- will be attended by their literally looking on Him told should be accomplished, any application of His whom they have pierced? Will the spiritual view be words to yet future events, is clearly out of the question. less efficacious because of His being revealed to their And yet it does appear to me that he must be a bold mortal gaze ? That their unbelief, like that of man, who would undertake to prove that all included Thomas, should demand such of, is doubtless to by our Lord in “ these things was fulfilled during their reproach. “Because thou hast seen me thou hast the life-time of His contemporaries on earth. But believed ; blessed are they who have not seen and yet this is a subject too wide to enter upon here.

have believed.” Such is the superior blessedness to As to Luke xvii, if the heavenly saints who are, at which we have been called by sovereign grace. But Christ's coming, to be caught up to meet Him, and so how touching the grace, which in convincing Thomas be for ever with Him, were the only persons recognized and subduing Saul, by means of that which appealed as His people; if there were to be no Jewish saints to the senses, as well as to the conscience and the spared throughout the unequalled tribulation; no heart, afforded a type of the mercy yet to be extended elect for whose sakes those days are to be shortened ; to Israel after the flesh ! I could understand your argument drawn from the As to 2 Thess. ii, believing, with many others, that directions not to flee, &c. These are evidently designed Antichrist is a person, the use of the word Tapovoia, for Christ's earthly Jewish disciples, the Jewish as to him, is with me na presumption against its being

« ZurückWeiter »