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fear of contradiction that the saints never have either reigned or ruled.—“Would to God," says St. Paul to the saints in his day, “ that ye did reign, that we might reign with you."
Ellen. • The 11th chapter of the Hebrews, mamma, is quite enough to prove, that at the setting up of the SPIRITUAL kingdom the Saints did not bear rule. “They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheep-skins, and goat-skins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented, &c.”'
Mrs. R. 'Yes, dear Ellen, and there is also another point of importance to be noticed.—The setting up of the spiritual kingdom was gradual.-It began with only twelve fishermen, without influence, without wealth, without power ; but by turning again to Daniel, chapter ii, we shall find that the promised kingdom is not to be established by any gradual spread of the Gospel. In fact the Gospel is only the good news of the future kingdom.—The fourth kingdom was a divided kingdom, partly strong, and partly broken or brittle, before the appearance of the stone, suddenly cut out of the mountain. Now, we know, both from profane and Sacred history, that at the commencement of the gospel kingdom the Roman empire was not divided nor weakened, but was the most powerful, extensive, and consolidated in the world. Nor is the agreement less unsound with regard to the visible power of the stone.' The gospel kingdom, instead of breaking down, and rooting out all other kingdoms, was oppressed and broken, (though not rooted out) by the ruling power. This lack of agreement between the type, and what has been looked upon by a certain class, as the antitype, affords to my mind irrefragable proof, that the introduction of the
Gospel was not the kingdom predicted, nor the first coming of our Lord the event symbolized by the wonder-working stone.''
Ellen. “Well, mamma, though I have read Roman History so often, and with so much pleasure, yet these comparisons never occurred to my mind before, but how very much light does this kind of argument throw on this part of the prophetic.word ! I am often surprised to see how very beautifully one part of the Sacred Scriptures seem to explain other parts.—the Bible and Testament shedding a reflex light on each other. : Mrs. R. “It is indeed the case, my child; hence the vast importance of comparing Scripture with Scripture, and this is the only sure way of understanding the Spirit's meaning in them. There is another text which gives and receives light by comparison with the "Stone," and its mighty exploits. You will find it in Matt. xxi. 44. At his first coming, the builders set Christ at nought: compare this with what St. Peter tells us concerning him, that "he was a stone of stumbling, and rock of offence” (1 Pet. ii. 8), which is an exact fulfilment of Isaiah's prophecy. chap. viii. 14. The house of Judah fell on him, and were as a nation broken to pieces ; but, at his next appearing, he will fall on them, and not on them only, but on all who shall set him at nought. If we suddenly loosen a stone from a mountain, without placing any confining power to influence it, we know what would be the result. It would roll with a velocity proportioned to its weight, bearing down all opposition, and destroying all impediment, until it had found its level. The symbol, therefore, which the Spirit uses, is well chosen to represent an all-conquering power, which no hostile efforts can withstand. And thus, without metaphor, we are assured Jesus, at his next appearing,
will act. He will go forth as a mighty man, clad with zeal, as with a cloak. Just read that sublime passage in Isaiah lxiii. to the sixth verse, and its fellow, Revelations xix. from the 11th to the 16th verse. You will then see how he will destroy his enemies, and set up his own most glorious kingdom. Let us sing with the poet
Come thou Desire of nations, quickly come,
Our sorrows turn to joy, our sighs to songs." Ellen. "Oh, Mamma ! how very beautiful and expressive those lines are ; but, really, there is something very saddening in the thought of the Avenger's work“ Come, avenge our wrongs.”
Mrs. R. * Certainly, my dear Ellen, nature must shudder at the thought of so many perishing, who might have obtained mercy; and having seen so much meekness in the Son of Man, when coming as our Lawfulfiller and satisfyer, we can hardly realize the fact of his appearing in a vesture dipped in blood, treading the wine-press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God ; but thus the Scriptures represent him, and thus he will come, and that too before there will be any universal reception of divine truth.'
Ellen. "That is, mamma, before there will be any millennium ?'
Mrs. R. "Yes, my love; for I look upon the present dispensation as altogether different from “the dispensation of the fulness of times,” when St. Paul asserts, all things are to be gathered together in One. The present is pre-eminently the dispensation of the Spirit, during the continuance of which the elect number, or the election
according to grace, are to be gathered from an ungodly world, as a kind of first-fruits of his creatures. On ascending with our nature to the Father's right hand, be gave commandment, that during the period of his appearing there, as our Intercessor, the Gospel, or good news of the future kingdom, and the means by which we attain a title to its felicities, should be proclaimed as a witness among all nations. When this is done, and the last soul, for whom he is now pleading, brought to receive him as his Saviour, He will come forth with a shout, louder than ten thousand thunders, to take vengeance on them who have despised his authority, trampled on his laws, and bade defiance to his power-gathering out of his kingdom all things that offend, all open sinners, all mere professors.'
Elen. • This is a very solemn thought, mamma, especially when we consider the suddenness and uncertainty, as to time, of his appearing.'
Mrs. R. • It is, my child, a solemn thought; may you and I, and all we hold dear, be prepared to meet him. To his own disciples he will appear as their true Aaron, adorned in robes of dazzling glory and exquisite beauty, while with a voice more melodious than ever broke on mortal ear, he will say, “ Come, ye blessed children of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”“ Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”
Ellen. Will all his people appear with Christ, mamma ?'
Mrs. R. 'Doubtless, all his people.-“ All that fear his
name, both small and great,” St. John tells us in the 18th verse of the eleventh chapter of Revelation ; so that the righteous dead will be raised, and the living caught up to meet their Lord in the air; not, I imagine,
to be stationary, but as an escort to the King immortal on his return to earth, the same as when the summons is given of the approach to his capital of some mighty Prince, a number of persons are despatched to hail his return, and augment his retinue.'
Ellen. Oh, that is very clear, mamma. I have always felt at a loss to know whether Christ and his saints remained in the air. What a fearful sign it must be to the wicked, when they see the saints caught up from them. Two in the field together, the one taken, and the other left ; two enjoying pleasing intercourse together, in a moment for a separation to be made, perhaps something like a separation of the two prophets of Israel!'
Mrs. R. · Yes, dear, the rapture of the saints will indeed be a fearful sign to the godless, for like the shutting in of Noah in the ark, and the departure of Lot out of Sodom, it will be the signal for the final conflict-the pouring out of long restrained wrath. Every antichristian . power will then be destroyed, and the KINGDOM, the universal kingdom, compared to which every other is a mere shadow, set up! Oh, who can describe the tremendous realities of that scene-agony intense to the scoffer, who, hardened by infidelity, will be crying out to the very last, “ Where is the promise of his coming ?” Would that the subject was more pondered over than it is. It would arouse the careless, and animate and comfort the Christian on his care-worn way. It is because the latter has so lost sight of this grand object of hope, that he is so frequently cast down under present sorrows.
Did he live in the vivid contemplation of these future glories, his present cares and sufferings would appear more insignificant than the bursting bubble on the rippling stream ! He would feel listi? Liis Sz!!! D'ail