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ON THE PERSONAL REIGN OF It may be considered as in CHRIST.
some measure a presumptive evi
dence against it, that comparaNo. II.
tively few who stand connected
with a truly evangelical ministry, The general Difficulties of the Modern
whether within the pale of the Hypothesis.
Establishment, or among ProtesI will now proceed to point out
tant Dissenters of various denomisome of the prominent deformities nations, were ever led into these which characterise modern Mil- views by their devotional attenlenarianism, a sketch of which is
tion to the word of truth. It already presented to your view. would, indeed, be passing strange, The propriety of this mode of were many found who had dared discussion will not fail to appear. I to adopt sentiments contradictory presume, if it be duly considered,
to almost every orthodox creed, that though each part of the state
and impugned, by a diversity of ment, independent of its relation
talent, which time and piety have to the whole, may easily be sup
rendered venerable, not only to ported by much apparent reason,
uninformed youth, but to hoary and a multitude of misapplied
hairs, in the way of righteousness; Scriptures; yet if the whole, as
not only to private members, but such, be inconsistent with itself, to the most distinguished officers and the tenor of divine revelation,
of the church of Jesus. Calvithe evidence for each part must be I
be nistic divines, of various hue, from fallacious, how imposing soever
the flaming supralapsarian, down it may prove. I intend not, how
to the cool moderator, with the ever, to indicate that the whole of various orders of their Arminian the statement is a fiction, still less brethren, agree to discard the idea to attempt a proof that every sen- of a scheme so carnal. An Owen. timent it contains is irrational and an Edwards, a Watts, a Whitby, a antiscriptural ; some of the parti. Wesley, a Fletcher, looked for culars are certainly believed by the spiritual reign, but denied the most, if not by all, who regard
territorial kingdom ascribed to the the writings of the prophets as the
Redeemer. I allow, that should true sayings of God; and it is
this view of the millennium appear owing to an association with these,
reasonable and scriptural, the that those which are absurd in
names of thousands, whose praise themselves, pass currently with
is in all the churches, must fall the undiscriminating multitude. prostrate before triumphaut truth : Besides, no inconsiderable portion
in for truth, not names-truth, I say, of this scheme consists of matters
and truth alone, demands with of doubtful speculation, on which
sovereign right the homage of the the most learned have never
mind. But when it is considered agreed; it would therefore be ri
that the men adverted to, as well diculous to agitate questions which
as those who are named--that an might be proposed, ad infinitum, almost innumerable multitude of on these principles, in your pe- god
godly, learned, inquiring, devoted riodical miscellany. It may suf. men, through a long succession of fice for your work, and it ought ages-private Christians, laborious to suffice for your readers, if it be
ministers, and luminous commenshown that the system, as a whole,
tators, have all declared themis destitute of evidence, and by no
selves opposed to a visible and means entitled to the cordial re.
literal reign of the Redeemer on ception of the Christian public.
earth, because they could not find it N. S. No. 34.
revealed in the Scriptures of truth; velation, free as I was born, from a man, methinks, should not wonder the shackles of party, and the if he be charged with temerity domination of synods. I will pot, when he hastily adopts the scheme, however, be influenced by bits and or with pride and vanity, when shreds torn from the beautiful conwith boundless confidence he as- texture of Scripture ; detached serts it, and determines too that portions and mutilated texts will others shall see with him, or be not suffice to induce me to adopt reproached as novices, if not the doctrines of the mediatorial anathematized as heretics. The monarchy; the whole, as a whole, belief of both the learned and the must be harmonized with the tenor vulgar of several successive ages, of revelation, before I can sit at and in distant nations, that the the feet of these illumined and ilreign of Christ will be spiritual luminating advocates of the terrionly, may be allowed to weigh torial kingdom of Jesus. But with wavering minds, unless it can we reconcile this whole statecould be shown that some preju- ment with the scope of the prophets dice, no less universal than the and apostles, any more than with opinion itself, had given it birth, the general faith of modern and and perpetuated its existence; for ancient Christians; nay, will it it seems in this case to be one of not be found that its most prothose truths which, when presented minent features are repugnant to to the mind, is so obvious and the tenor of the word of God, and clear, that it might be expected diametrically opposed to some of that men would universally agree its plainest declarations ? To the to its establishment. As with law and the testimony, if any respect to many natural truths, man speak, let hiin speak as the we find no dissent, unless, per- oracles of God. The oracles of haps, that of a few sceptical or God teach us, perhaps, that the fanciful philosophers; so, some return of the Jews to the land of religious truths, like that of the their fathers is not impossible, not spiritual reign of Christ, are gene- improbable, or, if you please, that rally recognized, except by scep- it is absolutely certain. On their tical or fanciful religionists; and return they will exist no more as in both cases they who dissent, two distinct kingdoms, but Judah are justly suspected to differ from and Israel will be one kingdom the rest of mankind, through pride under one King; for their tribeship or obstinacy, some favourite pas- is lost, nor can the line of demarsion, some artful design, or deter- cation be drawn between the ten mined singularity.
tribes of Israel and the other two, · Neither you nor your readers, much less between each of the Gentlemen, I trust, will mis, twelve tribes of Jacob. The Jews understand me; mental vassal- will be converted to the faith of age, of which an enslaved body Christ, and probably become most is but a living picture, I ab- efficient instruments in the diffusion hor. Let the day of intellectual of the knowledge of his name to freedom, now dawning on the the ends of the earth. But may world, go on with the rapidity of not all this be admitted without light to meridian splendour. Show the extravagant assumption that me unequivocal testimony for the the Jews will be elevated above personal and visible reign of the all the nations of the earth, by Redeemer on the earth for 1000 the miraculous interposition of his years, and in defiance of the whole arm who is no respecter of perworld, I will believe, admire, and sons, neither of the Jews above bow submissive at the feet of re- the Gentiles, nor of the modern above the ancient Jews? Do the truth, and the beauties of holinessScriptures authorise us to believe The mind, I say, that in opposition that a special providence will be to these and similar testimonies, displayed in effecting that which can dream of an assemblage of inmay be effected and accounted congruities like this, is certainly. for on the most common and na- . . . . . but I forbear, lest tural principles; and may not the I should wound; and proceed to return of the Jews be effected and another proof of the contrariety accounted for thus ? Shall a spe- of this scheme to the oracles of cial providence be displayed in God. restoring the Jews to the land of In this scheme of prophecy, a their fathers, while they remain prominent station is assigned to enemies to Christ, and adhere to the reign of infidelity. We are the very crime for which they were called to believe ibat the whole expelled from the holy land ? Roman empire will be as geneWill miracles the most stupendous rally infidelized as it ever was pabe wrought, to defend an impeni- ganized or papalized. Thus, while tent people from the powers of the an impenitent, implacable, and east, that they may build a temple, blaspheming people, who have and restore the legal services of endeavoured, for nearly two thou. the Mosaic economy, which was sand years, to blast the church of done away by Christ? What! Christ, and crush the cause of and Christ dwell in this temple, God, are taken under the special devoted to carnal washings and care of heaven, still impenitent shadowy rites and ceremonies, and implacable; the Gentiles who and that too in his logos state, in profess the name, and thousands the shekinah, the cloud of glory, of whom love the cause of the . and so while he continues in Redeemer, are to be abandoned heaven in his glorified humanity, to the iron reign of infidelity.' be visibly present at the temple of These infidelized nations, of which Jerusalem, in the form of God, I suppose England will be one' among a disobedient and blas- O my beloved country, what' pheming people? The mind that dismal doom awaits thee !- will can dream of an assemblage of be destroyed by the brightness incongruities like this and that, in of his coming, who will descend direct contradiction to those testi- from heaven to earth to rescue monies which assure us that the the unbelieving Jews from the Jews will return with weeping and hands of the unbelieving Gensupplication, and confessions of tiles, and while he sends the sin that what was said by the latter into endless perdition, con-. ' prophets respecting the building vert the former to himself. Is of the tabernacle of David, and this part of the statement acrestoring the ruins thereof, is ap- cordant with the tenor of Scripplicable to the admission of the ture? With whatever plausibility Gentiles unto the fellowship of the some detached portions may be Jews in the Christian church in made to harmonize with these the apostolic age, Acts xv. 16, 17. ideas, can we fail to perceive --that the distinction between Jew that divine revelation generally and Gentile, was destroyed by the authorizes and demands far dif. coming of Messiah-that Jews and ferent views ? Are we not taught Gentiles are to be consolidated into to believe, that, soon after our one body, and form one fold under Lord ascended, he set up his king, one shephered — that with one dom in the hearts and undermouth they shall glorify God, standings of his disciples, by the worshipping him in spirit and in agency and under the manage
ment of his Holy Spirit, whom be all the dispensations of provisent from the Father for that dence, illustrate and prove this purpose? Is not this the king- fact, nor can it ever be otherwise, dom of which the Redeemer said, without a total alteration of every it is not of this world, and which, part of the works of God and according to the apostles, is a man with which we are acquainted. kingdom within men, consisting Again, upon the plan laid down in righteousness, peace, and joy in the statement, which I oppose, in the Holy Ghost? Will not the religion of Christ will at once this kingdom continue to the end become irresistible. Whereas the of the present system, exerting its condition of man, as an active, powers with increasing energy rational, and accountable being, till all the ends of the earth shall requires that means should be adore the Name which is above employed proportioned to his caevery name, and every tongue pacities, and adapted to his conconfess, that Jesus Christ is Lord stitution, and the effects of such to the glory of God the Father ? means must be gradual, not inIs not the supposition, that infi- stantaneous. In the first age of delity will triumph over the truth the Christian church, indeed, the utterly irreconcilable with our ministry of the word was supLord's own account of his reli- ported by wonders and signs folgion and kingdom, who teaches lowing, as well as the animated that from the small beginning zeal of the men who spake what which it had in the days of his they had seen and heard; in this flesh, it will continue to increase case, it should seem, supernato the time of the consummation, tural means were necessary, beand that during the whole mil- cause the prejudices of the world lennial period, the full effect of could not be subdued without Christian principles will be pro- them. These miracles, however, duced in the hearts of men through- were employed only as the means out the world? The analogy that of conviction, and this end once characterizes the works of God, accomplished, miraculous interwarrants the expectation of this position ceased, because its pergradual progress. Thoughout the petuation would bave proyed a systems of animal and vegetable constant and irresistible principle, life, we behold this progression incompatible with the moral confrom less to greater, from embryo dition of man as an intelligent existence to the perfection of and accountable agent. And after being. The arts and sciences, the all, it is worthy of remark, that civilization of individuals, and even in the age of miracles, the societies, are all vouchers for this conversion of sinners to God truth, that there is a general was not effected by the agency principle of gradual progression of miracles, but by the agency pervading both the natural and of the Holy Ghost working with moral world. The possibility of the word preached. And again, miraculous interposition for the upon the plan of the statement overthrow of the interests of in- which I oppose, a reflection is fidelity, as well as the permis- cast not so much upon man, as sion of its universal domination, upon the glorious Gospel of the no one will deny. But the Al- blessed God. If infidelity is to mighty never employs superna- sway its iron sceptre in the tural means to accomplish a de- gloom of midnight darkness over sign, which may be accomplished the nations so long irradiated by means ordinary and natural. with the beams of the Sun of The whole system of nature, and Righteousness, how feeble must
those beams be proved. But duction of which unerring wisdom though the progress of truth must, gave that revelation. These effrom the nature of the case, be fects may, and must be gradual; gradual, it may reasonably be but they will and must increase expected, both from the wisdom to the consummation : the leaven and goodness of God, that it will is laid, and the whole will be continue to advance with sure and leavened pursuant to the unfrussteady steps, till every dark place trable purpose of the eternal mind. of the earth is cheered with the From the nature of the case, and light, the life, and the joy it in the scope of the prophecies conspires. It will not, it cannot be tained in the sacred volume, we denied, I am aware, that after are warranted to conclude, that the cessation of miracles in the the success of the Gospel, unChristian church, ages of igno- aided by prodigies, will be unirance and superstition succeeded versal, maugre all the powers -that in ten thousand instances, of earth and hell combined. Two declension has marked the re. astonishing events, indeed, but spective parts of the visible not events that will disorganize church, and too often the whole the natural system, or supersede Christian world; but what is ne- the use of ordinary means, will cessary to be established on this contribute to this final triumph. subject, is not that the progress Rather by the fight of the Apoof Christianity was never inter- calyptic angel in the midst of rupted, but that, upon the whole, the heavens, having the everit has been advancing from the lasting Gospel to preach to them period of its introduction to the that dwell on earth, the fall of present time. The evidences of Antichrist, and the conversion of this fact are too multifarious to the Jews shall be at once efallow even an allusion to them fected. The latter of these events individually; in every age, in will in a peculiar manner facilievery clime, and among all con- tate the conversion of the world. ditions of human life to which Let the Jews, the ancient peothe Gospel has had access, these ple of God, be once converted facts abound; benevolence, hu- to the faith of Christ, and we manity, and mercy diffused- are sure that that fact will opecharity, piety, and pacific prin- rate powerfully to this important ciples extended-superstition de- and ultimate design. Emancistroyed, slavery abolished, idols pated from those prejudices, which degraded, despotism dethroned, now make them a bye word and and, in a word, the maxims by a proverb in all nations, and which civil society is regulated, fired with that holy zeal which attest, that there is more good new converts always exemplify, ness in a greater number of the they will preach the Gospel with human race now than at any a fervour of which we who have former period, and consequently, long possessed its privileges can that notwithstanding the growth form no adequate conception; of infidelity among certain orders wbile, by their dispersion over of men, for whose infidelity it the whole earth, they will be is by no means difficult to ac- enabled to adapt their instruccount, truth prevails and shall tions to every individual of the prevail. For yet again, we can- human family. Here then is a not suppose that a revelation sufficient reason for their disfrom God, given for the most persed condition, and their polibenevolent purposes, will not tical existence. The conversion produce those effects, for the pro- of these implacable enemies to