« ElőzőTovább »
the prison-house of despair, during the period of the Millennium ; so that he be despoiled of every vestige of his dominion as the present god of this world, and prince of the power of the air.
9. All the inhabitants of the earth, who are converted from sin to holiness, after the coming of Christ to reign as King of Zion, shall be known by the appellation of the subjects of the Messiah's kingdom, in contradistinction to the members of his elect Church, consisting of the risen and changed or immortalized saints; the members of which, as his bride, are perfected in graces, beauty and holiness, and prepared for the Messiah, as the royal bridegroom at his coming.
10. The great metropolis of the Messiah's kingdom on the earth will be the New Jerusalem in Palestine, as it is most meet for him to reign where he once suffered all the contradictions of sinners, combined with the assaults of all the powers of darkness, and the dregs of divine displeasure and wrath against the sins of mankind, and thus poured forth a price, all price beyond, in laying down his life as a ransom for his Church and kingdom.
But although the Messiah, as King of Zion, together with his saints who shall reign with him in glory, shall establish Jerusalem as the capital of their conjoint reign during the Millennium,-still we do not believe that they will be confined to Jerusalem, or any other part of the earth.
For we must bear in mind that the Saviour and all the members of his mystical body, the elect Church, shall, according to Christ's own declaration, be like or equal to the angels of heaven, and that they may therefore pass with inconceivable swiftness, to any part of Jehovah's vast dominions, as shall most conduce to the declaratory glory of the Triune God, and best promote the interests of the intelligent universe.
For instance, they may bear to all realms of Jehovah's vast empire the intelligence of the experiment made by the inhabitants of earth, of apostacy, and foul rebellion against God and his anointed Son; and the (to all worlds astounding) manner in which this opposition to the sway of Jehovah's sceptre was subdued by the death of God's own incarnate Son, on the accursed cross; insomuch that the cross of Christ, on ever-memorable Calvary, shall for ever remain the central focus of the glory of the God, man, Mediator. And this may prove the means in the hand of God, of confirming all intelligent beings in the universe, (excepting those confined for ever in the prison-house of hell,) in their loyalty and allegiance to the throne of the Eternal.
11. The undisturbed and universal reign of the Messiah will endure through the whole period of the Millennium, so that there will be none to dispute his right to reign; but at the end of this long and happy period, Satan will be loosed for a little season, and will go abroad in the earth to deceive all nations.
And whereas even during the Millennium, mankind will not be born immaculate or holy, but only become holy through the grace and Spirit of God in early life: so during that little season in which Satan will be set at liberty, he will bring to bear all his satanic influences
the minds of the children of men, so as to seduce many of them, as he did our first parents in paradise, to apostatize from their allegiance to God and his Son, the reigning Messiah.
And in process of time Satan will thus collect a mighty army from all parts of the earth, who, with Satan as their leader, will undertake to dispute the sceptre of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the reigning King of Zion; and when all his legions are marshalled in battle array, and are ready for their onset upon the camp of Zion, fire will come down from heaven, and at once consume and overwhelm them all in one common destruction.
12. This utter discomfiture of Satan and all his hosts having been summarily accomplished, the blast of Michael the archangel's trumpet will awaken all the slecping dead; when all the righteous who died during the Millennium, and all the wicked who had ever lived on the earth, will arise from their graves, as members of the second resurrection; and they will all be congregated before the great white throne of judgment, before which a final adjustment of all the concerns of men and angels will be made; at which time the righteous will be welcomed by the Judge of the quick and the dead, to enter into life eternal, as the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world.
And at the same time also, the wicked will be doomed to depart, as accursed, into that fire prepared for the devil and his angels; and they shall go away into everlasting punishment; and even death and hell will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone for ever.
Immediately upon these final allotments of the righteous and the wicked, a fiery stream will issue forth from the judgment-throne, which will set on fire the deep foundations of the earth, and speedily wrap in one general conflagration every part of land and ocean contained in this terrestrial globe; whilst the atmospheric heavens shall likewise be dissolved with fervent heat, and pass away with a great noise, according to the express prediction of God by the mouth of the Apostle Peter.
In this process the earth will be thoroughly purified from all the pollutions of sin, and every effect of the curse consequent upon man's
apostacy; and a new earth and new heavens will arise, phenix-like, from the ashes of the old, more beautiful than ever, and in which shall dwell righteousness for evermore. For thus says God's Spirit, (2 Peter iii. 7,) “But the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and the perdition of ungodly men.” And, (2 Peter iii. 13,) “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness."
Here the curtain of time drops !-revelation ceases and all beyond the awful scenes of the judgment-day—that great and notable day of the Lord, in which the Lord Jesus Christ will deliver up the kingdom to the Father, lay down his mediatorial office, and God become all in all-I say, all beyond this final winding up of the affairs of angels and men, belongs to the untold realities of vast eternity!
III. The number of those Christians who hold substantially the foregoing views of the Millennium, cannot be computed with any degree of certainty; but from the writings of distinguished divines, both in the European and American churches, we are warranted in estimating their number at many thousands already; and according to the sure word of prophecy, we are led to believe that the time is at hand, when these views will become universally prevalent throughout the habitable globe.
For, according to the signs of the times, the developement of most astounding events in reference to the coming of the kingdom of God, are just at hand, even at the door. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus! come quickly!" Amen!
Those who are desirous of making themselves more minutely acquainted with the views of the Millenarians, are affectionately advised to consult a periodical called the “Literalist," a republication of the works of many of the master spirits of Europe; and we would also refer them to Dr. George Duffield on “ Prophecy,” and his reply to Professor Stewart, of Andover; Bishop Henshaw, and Dr. Breckenridge, on the Millennium;" Rev. Mr. Shimeall on the " Age of the World;" Rev. John Lillie, on “ The Perpetuity of the Earth;" Judge Jones, on “ Prophecy Interpreted Literally," &c.; Rev. Mr. Ramsey on the “Coming of Christ;" and other kindred works on this delightful and important subject.
NE W CHRISTIAN CHURCII.
BY A LAYMAN OF, THAT DENOMINATION.
This body of Christians receives the doctrines and theological writings of the late Hon. Emanuel Swedenborg, as a rational and authoritative exposition of Scripture. Before proceeding to a sketch of its doctrines, it is proper to premise, that this church refuses to be regarded as one of the many different sects into which the general body of Christians is unhappily divided ; but claims, as the name imports, to be an entirely new dispensation of doctrinal truth, as compared with any of the systems which at present prevail.
“A new church!” will the reader exclaim in wonder or indignation: “Where's the necessity?" And we meet the inquiry at the threshold. The reasons are many. We can here cite but a fewand even these cannot be given without reference to opinions of other Christians, from which we dissent. We would, therefore, premise that we desire such reference and such dissent may not be interpreted into any want of respect to their holders as such; since erroneous opinions may be innocently adopted or retained, although there has been no full collation of conflicting systems.
There was a time when the followers of our Lord were of one heart and one mind; but now we see them hopelessly sundered into Romanists on the one hand, and Greeks and Protestants on the other; and the latter rent into many-coloured and uncompromising factions. And if there be a temporary or seeming union among them, neutral spectators still think or fear, that it is not because they love each other more, but Rome less. What is the object of any church, but to preserve and propagate the truth for the sake of good? And has the former Christian church done this? While we acknowledge with Protestants, that it had become utterly corrupt in doctrine and practice before the Reformation, the radical differences among themselves show that they cannot all be right; nor will it avail to assert that they agree in fundamentals. We know of no such accordance in any one doctrine, either as to the nature of God, the character and wants of man, the mode of divine interposition, or the inspiration of the Scriptures. Granting that each sect has retained some truth,—and were there not a portion in the worst, we should not, as we do, see good men in every one,—the true system of doctrine has been lost; the true ideal of Christian character has been forgotten, if it was ever fully known, and men were left to suppose that this religion was incompatible with rational pleasure and manly dignity or virtue. Christianity lies in ruins, and the life of its several fragments is only that of the segments of a polypus, hopeless of reunion. And it must be owned, that, if we are to look for nothing better in the future than the past, it has proved a failure. The adulterous connexion with the state early led to its corruption, and to the reproach that Catholicism, like the Koran, if not propagated, has at least been maintained, by policy and the sword. Remonstrants were denounced under the name of heretics—their tenets and apologies suppressed with them. Some fragments, even now, lay more stress on church government and obedience to authority, than on knowledge; and all insist more on faith than on works. Reason has been discarded as an enemy, and mystery received into alliance. As a natural consequence, the ablest minds have becoine infidel, or indifferent to religion as a personal affair ; or, seeing that society cannot subsist without it, they yield a formal and political support, while the feeble have been inflamed to fanaticism.
The clergy have sometimes complained of the slight esteem in which their order is held where not patronized by the state, and of the opposition they encounter where they are. Not to mention their demeanour towards opponents and their unwavering regard to their corporate interests, we think they need look no farther than to their own dogmas, to account for the decline of reverence for their sacred function. We do not say that their lives are spent operose nihil agendo ; for any religion which does not discourage good morals is better than none; but they do reap an immature and stunted harvest, themselves being judges. Men will not freely bestow even on spiritual rulers the fruits of their labours without an adequate return. Why is it, that, after eighteen centuries, Mahommedism is more extended than Christendom, and Heathenism more than either? Nay, why did Mahommed rise at all ? and why is the conversion of his followers so hopeless, and the missionary crippled in his efforts at every turn? Why are irresponsible societies left to discharge the duty of the Church? It is, that those who had the control of religion “ DID NOT UNDERSTAND His