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St. Peter, after he had foretold the general conflagration, prefently fubjoins-Nevertheless, we, according to his promife, look for new heavens, and a new earth, wherein divelleth righteousness *.
St. John, the beloved difciple, was vouchfafed a vifion of nature, in this its renovated ftate. In a former vifion, he had feen a great white throne, and him that fat upon it; from whofe face the earth and the heaven had fled away, and there was found no place for them.
The old face of nature being totally deftroyed, its place could not be found. After this fucceeds an account of the final judgment. Then follows, And I faw a new heaven, and a new earth: For the first heaven, and the first earth, were passed away; as before mentioned. And again, The former things are passed away: And he that Sat upon the throne faid, Behold I make all
2 Pet. iii. 13. + Revel. xx. II.
things new. And in confirmation of the certainty of this great change, he faid unto me, Write: For these words are true and faithful. Therefore enter them upon record, as what, in its due time, fhall be faithfully and fully accomplished. And as a still farther ratification of it, the infpired writer adds, He faid unto me, It is done*. This decree is as firmly established in the divine council, as if it were already executed.
We have allufions to this renovated ftate in feveral other parts of fcripture. Thus we are given to understand, that the prefent ftate of the world is not permanent. For the fashion, form, or, cxnμa, the fcheme, or plan, of this world paffeth away. The prefent form of the world is to be changed, and it is to be modeled. upon a different plan. And that the world is not to be annihilated; but only to undergo a change, we learn elsewhere. Thou,
* Revel. xxi. 1, 4, 5, 6. Comp. 2 Cor. v. 17. +1 Cor. vii, 31.
Lord, in the beginning, haft laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the work of thy bands. They fhall perish, but thou shalt endure. They all fhall wax old, as doth a garment; and as a vefture fhalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: But thou art the fame, and thy years shall not fail. From this comparifon it fufficiently appears, that this will not be a partial, but a total change.
Our Saviour likewife fpeaks of a regeneration+; and promiseth, that Elias fhall come, and restore all things For it is poffible, there may be a coming of hist yet future. Our Lord fpeaks of it, as fuch, at the fame time that he obferves, he was once come already, in the perfon of John, the Baptist. And that there shall be a restoration of all things, the apoftle
Heb. i. 10, 11, 12.
* Pf. cii. 25, 26, 27. Ειλίσσει δε τις γράνες sx ένα απολέση τέλος, αλλ' ένα xxλova; εlapy. Cyril. catech. 15.
Matt. xix. 28, 29.
is exprefs: For, fpeaking of Jefus, he faith, Whom the heavens must receive, till the times of the reftitution of all things; which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets, fince the world began Thefe times he had just before called times of refreshing. And it is most probably in allufion to this renovation of the inanimate creation, that the apostle speaks of its being made fubject to vanity; and that the time will come, when it shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption unto the glorious liberty of the children of Godt.
Acts iii. 21. + Rom. viii. 20, 21.
This restoration of all things, or renovation of all nature, having been foretold. by the mouth of all the prophets, fince the world began; no wonder the tradition concerning it was fo antient, and univerfal; not only amongst fews and chriftians, but among the heathens likewife: Among the feveral fects of the Greek phi
lofophers, Stoicks, Pythagoreans, Platonifts; who all held it.
It had fpread likewife through the eaftern, or barbarick philofophers, as the Greeks were pleased to call them, whom they might have owned to have been their mafters, and from whom they probably got it; the Perfians, Chaldeans, Egyptians, and Indian Brachmans; who had all imbibed this notion of the renovation of the world.
Some held that this great change would precede the general conflagration; others, that it would be fubfequent to it. Of the former opinion were the Platonifts. The Stoics maintained the latter: But both opinions are reconcilable; as it is probable, there will be fo great a melioration in the ftate of man and nature before the conflagration, as may be truly reckoned a renovation of both: And, on the other hand, there certainly will be fuch an entirely renovated state, after the earth hath undergone this thorough purgation.