« PreviousContinue »
of the Lord, to destroy the kingdom of antichrist in the world, and give rest unto his long-afflicted church and people. I have reason to hope, that unto such, the following treatise will be read with pleasure. I have gathered it principally from other writers, without any regard to sect or party; having some time since come to what I hope will not be considered an unwise conclusion, not to deprive myself of the privilege of being benefitted by the remarks of any Christian, which are in themselves correct and pertinent, simply because he may think differently from me in some points of divinity. Dr. Hopkins has written an excellent treatise on the Millennium, from which I have selected a considerable part of the following work. The first section is almost entire from his work; but few probably have ever read it, nor will, except it should be published in a detached work from his body of divinity, which is too costly and voluminous for the common class of Christians to be possessed of. In short, L have simply this to say, that in compiling this work, I have brought on to its pages that alone which has appeared to me agreeable to scripture, and have only to ask the reader to first read without prejudice, and then to judge with candour and impartiality with a regard unto its merits.
Pawtucket, July 8, 1824.
ON THE MILLENNIUM, &C.
Shewing from scripture prophecy that such a time is yet to come.
"THE first revelation of a Redeemer, in the prediction spoken to the serpent, may be considered as implying the destruction of the kingdom of the devil in this world, by the wisdom and energy of Christ."He shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."* Satan has bruised the heel of Christ, in the sufferings and dishonour he has been instrumental of bringing upon him, and in the opposition he has made to the interest and church of Christ, in this world. And it is natural to suppose that Christ shall bruise his head in this world, by destroying his interest and kingdom among men, and gaining a conquest over him, in the struggle and war which has taken place between the Redeemer and seducer of men. And by the Redeemer's bruising the head of the serpent, is signified that he will not destroy him by the mere exertion of his power, but that by his superior wisdom, he will confound and defeat Satan, in all his subtilty and cunning, on which he depends so much, and by which he aims to disappoint Christ and defeat him in his designs. And by this he will make a glorious display of his wisdom, as well as of his power, while
* Gen. iii., 15:
he discovers the craftiness of Satan to be foolishness, and disappoints him in his devices, carrying all the counsel of this cunning, froward enemy headlong. If all this could not be gathered from this passage, considered by itself, yet that this is the real meaning, will perhaps appear from what has already taken place in accomplishing this prediction; and from other prophecies respecting this, some of which are to be brought into view in the sequel: without which the full meaning of this first promise could not be known.
In order to bruise the head of the serpent, in this sense, most effectually, and turn his boasted wisdom and cunning into foolishness, and entirely defeat him in this way, he must have opportunity and advantage to try his skill and power, and practise all his cunning, in opposing Christ, and the salvation of men. And in this way be overcome and wholly defeated, in the ruin of his interest and kingdom among men; so that all his attempts shall turn against himself, and be the occasion of making the victory and triumph of the Redeemer greater, more perspicuous and glorious, in the final prevalence of his kingdom on earth, by drawing all men to him; and destroying the works and kingdom of Satan in this world, and setting up his own on the ruins of it, and so as to turn all the attempts and works of the devil against him, and render the whole subservient to his own interest and kingdom. And thus the coming and kingdom of Christ will be "As the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.' When the sun rises in a clear morning, after a dark night, attended with clouds, rain and storms, the morning is more pleasant, beautiful and glorious, and the grass springs and grows more fresh and thrifty, than if it had not been preceded by such a stormy night. So the prosperity and glory of the church, when the Sun of righteousness. shall rise upon it, with healing in his beams, will be enjoyed to a higher degree, and be more pleasant and
glorious, and Christ will be more glorified, than if it had not been preceded by a dreadful night of darkness, confusion and evil, by the wickedness of men, and the power and agency of Satan.
The words above cited are the last words of David the prophet, and sweet Psalmist of Israel, and are a prophecy of the glorious event now under consideration.The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was on my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake by me. He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be like the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth, by clear shining after rain.* The first words may be rendered so as to give the true sense more clearly. "He who is to rule over men (i. e. the Messiah) is just, ruling in the fear of God." The words must be, in our translation, are not in the original, and the helping verb is, which is commonly not expressed, but understood, in the Hebrew, should have been supplied: "He that ruleth, or is to rule over men, is just." This is evidently a prophecy concerning Christ, his church and kingdom, when he shall take to himself his great power, and reign in his kingdom, which shall succeed the reign of Satan during the four preceding monarchies, which were first to take place, which will be more particularly explained, as we proceed in examining the prophecies of this great event, The latter day glory. And that these words of David are a prediction of the reign of Christ on earth, after the long prevalence of Satan and wicked men, is farther evident from the words which follow, relative to the same thing. "But the sons of Belial, shall all of them as thorns be thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands. But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron, and the staff of a spear, and they shall be utterly burnt with fire in the same place."
* II. Samuel xxiii, 2, 3, 4.
Exactly parallel with this prophecy, is that of the prophet Malachi. "Behold the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, all that do wickedly, shall be stubble, and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name, shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth and grow up as the calves in the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet, in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts."*
But to return from this, which may seem to be some digression, or anticipation: The great and remarkable promise, so often made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and more than once mentioned by the Apostles, will next be considered. This promise was made to Abraham, and of him, three times." 'In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed."t "All the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him."+ "And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." And this same promise is
Note by the Compiler.
By how many has this passage been misunderstood and most wretchedly perverted! It has by not a few been exclusively applied to the destruction of Jerusalem and the judgments of God on that nation, soon after the establishment of the gospel dispensation; and by others as strictly been applied unto the final judgment day; and the burning up here mentioned has been considered as conclusive proof that the wicked will then be annihilated. But little attention to the context and passage itself will plainly shew that this construction of the passage is contradictory in itself, and that although the judgments which fell upon the Jews at the destruction of Jerusalem might be considered a partial fulfilment of the words, yet it is clear they by no means received their full accomplishment, but that this remains to take place when the judgments of God shall be poured out on the wicked, and issue in the final des truction of Antichrist before the Millennium.
* Mal. iv. 1, 2, 3.
Chap. xviii. 18.
† Gen. xii. 3.
$ Chap. xxii, 18.