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sation of heavenly Light to Man, by his divine Providence, directed the matter otherwise.
The Prophets indeed gave some hints concerning the perishable Nature of this World, and its Dissolution by Fire; but they were very slight hints, and only as Smoke and Sparks of Fire, seen at a great distance-(fumum aliquem, et Scintillas perituri Mundi, quasi longinquo conspicere.) The Apostles beheld it as if near at hand, and in more full view faut comminus, & de proximo, viderunt Flammas;) but St. Peter, especially,* describes it as if he was standing close at hand, and saw with his eyes the raging Fire, and the burning World; in the very act of Dissolution, and passing away from the sight. “ The Day of the Lord,” for so the Day of Judgment is distinguished from all other Days in Seripture“ The Day of the Lord will come, as a Thief in the
Night; in the which the Heavens shall pass away “ with a great noise, and the Elements shall melt “ with fervent heat; the Earth also and the works “ that are therein shall be burnt up;" [wherefore] " in all holy conversation and godliness, let us be “ looking for, and hastening unto the coming of that
Day of God, wherein the Heavens being on fire " shall be dissolved, and the Elements shall melt with “ fervent heat.” And he goes on to mention what is to follow this final Dissolution of the old world by fire—“ Nevertheless we, according to his promise, “ look for new Heavens, and a new Earth, wherein “ dwelleth Righteousness.”
2 Pet. Ch. 3. Ver. 10-12-18.
Now, as we have just said that the holy Scriptures gave only gradual openings of those great events, first darkly, and then with greater light, let us examine some of those Scripture Texts on this Subject, in the order of place, in which they stand in the Bible; beginning with the Writings of Moses, and reaching down, through the writings of the Prophets, Evangelists and Apostles, to the Revelation of St. John; a period of about Two thousand Years. We begin with
Ist, Moses. Now, what has been relied upon from him, by some great men, as prophetical of the Dissolution of the World by Fire, and by others treated only as a Threatening or Denunciation of temporary evils upon the Jews for their Disobedience of God, and Disregard of his holy Commandments, is taken from Deuteronomy (Chapter 32. Ver. 22). “A Fire " is kindled in mine Anger; and it shall burn unto " the lowest Hell, and shall consume the Earth with “ her Increase, and set on Fire the Foundations of " the Mountains." 2dly, David.
" On the Wicked he shall rain Snares, Fire and Brimstone, and an horrible Tempest;” (Ps. xi. 6.)“Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence; a Fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him-He shall call to the Heavens from above, and to the Earth, that he may judge his people-Gather my Saints unto me, those that have made a covenant with me by Sacrifice,” (Ps. 1. 3, 4, 5.)—"Clouds and Darkness are round about him: Righteousness and Judgment are the habitation of his Throne. A Fire goeth before Him, and burneth up his Enemies round
about; bis Lightnings enlightened the World, the Earth saw and trembled, the Hills melted like Wax at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the Lord of the whole Earth,” (Ps. xcvii. 2, 3, 4, 5.)" Of old hast thou laid the Foundation of the Earth, and the Heavens are the work of thy hands—they shall perish, but thou shalt endure; yea, all of them shall wax old like a Garment, as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed; but thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.” (Ps. cii. 25, 26, 27.)
3d, Isaiah. * “ Behold the Day of the Lord cometh—The stars of the Heaven, and the constellations thereof, shall not give their light: The Sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the Moon shall not cause her Light to shine.” “ Feart and the Pit, and the Snare are upon thee, O inhabitant of the Earth! It shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the Noise of the Fear, shall fall into the Pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the Pit, shall be taken in the Snare; for the Windows from on high are open, and the Foundations of the Earth do shake; the Earth is utterly broken down—the Earth is clean dissolved--the Earth is moved exceedingly—the Earth shal reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a.cottage, and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it, and it shall fall and not rise again”.“ Andt all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the Heavens shall be rolled together as a Scroll; and all their Hosts shall
* Isaiah, Ch. xiii. Ver. 9, 10.
Ch. xxxiv. Ver. 4. 8, 9, 10.
fall down as the leaf falleth off from the Vine, and as a falling Fig from the Fig-tree. For it is the Day of the Lord's Vengeance, and the Year of Recompences for the Controversy of Zion. And the Streams thereof shall be turned into Pitch, and the Dust thereof into Brimstone, and the Land thereof shall become burning Pitch. It shall not be quenched Night nor Day: the Smoke thereof shall go up forever." the Moon shall be confounded, and the Sun ashamed, when the Lord of Hosts shall reign in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.
“Liftt up your eyes to the Heavens, and look upon the Earth beneath; for the Heavens shall vanish away like Smoke, and the Earth shall wax old like a Garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner; but my Salvation shall be forever, and my Righteousness shall not be abolished. Beholdt I create new Heavens, and a new Earth, and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into Mind--- Behold || the Lord will come with Fire, and with his Chariots like a Whirlwind, to render his anger with Fury, and his Rebuke with flames of Fire.”
4th, Daniel. “I beheld ** till the Thrones were cast down; and the Ancient of Days did sit, whose Garment was white as Snow, and the Hair of his Head like pure Wool-.-his Throne was like the fiery flame, and his Wheels as burning Fire---a fiery stream issued and came forth from before him; thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand
* Isaiah, Ch. xxiv. Ver. 23. + Ch. li. Ver. 6. # Ch. Ixv. Ver. 17. Ch. Ixvi. Ver. 15. ** Dan. Ch. vii. Ver. 9, 10. 13, 14,
times ten thousand stood before him.--the Judgment was set and the books were opened--I saw in the Night-Visions, and behold one like the Son of Man came with the Clouds of Heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him near before him; and there was given him Dominion and Glory and a Kingdom, that all People, Nations and Languages should serve Him. His Dominion is an everlasting Dominion, which shall not pass away; and his Kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”
5th, Zephaniah.* “ Neither their Silver, nor their Gold shall be able to deliver them in the Day of the Lord's Wrath; but the whole land shall be de. voured by the Fire of his jealousy; for he shall make even a speedy Riddance of all them that dwell in the Land; for,ť saith the Lord, my determination is to gather the Nations, that I may assemble the Kingdoms to pour upon them mine Indignation, even all my fierce Anger; for all the Earth shall be devoured with the Fire of my Jealousy.”
6th, Haggai. I " For thus saith the Lord of hosts--- Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the Heavens and the Earth and the Sea and the Dry Land; and I will shake all Nations, and the desire of all nations shall come.'
Thus far I have collected the chief texts on the subject before us, from the Old Testament and the Prophets; and although they do not all speak so directly as Isaiah and Daniel concerning the last Judgment, and a dissolution of this Earth by Fire; yet all
* Zeph. Ch. j. Ver. 18.
† Ch. ii. Ver. 8.
1 Hag. Ch. ii. Ver. 6.