« FöregåendeFortsätt »
dom, and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
This has never yet come to pass, and therefore must relate to a fulfillment at his second coming in glory, and after the first resurrection : this being absolutely necessary to the completion of it-Enjoying a kingdom, eating and drinking at their master's table, and sitting on the seat of judgment and actually trying those who are to be acquitted or condemned, cannot with any propriety be referred to a merely spiritual state, or a heavenly and spiritual world.
ACCORDING TO JOHN.
THE beloved apostle John, who leaned on his master's bosom, and was continued in life the longest of any of the apostles of our Lord, wrote his gospel at the age of ninety-eight years, and upwards of sixty years after the crucifixion. He lived to see many absurd tenets advanced in the church of Christ, by heretics, and enemies to the truth as it is in Jesus, and established the doctrine we are examining, when he informs us that Christ told his disciples, “ that in his Father's house (or kingdom) were many mansions; if it had not been so, he would have told them. I go, says he, to prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.” He earnestly invokes his father in the most pathetic terms, " Father I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory, which thou hast givep me, for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." Those whom God had given to Christ would certainly behold his glory in heaven or the place of departed spirits ; but it was his glory as the Messiah in this world, when he should see the travail of his soul and be satisfied, that they were to behold, when they should be re
united to the body, at the first resurrection, and share in the glorious things that he was to receive as the king of Zion.
The disciples certainly understood these promises as relating to some state of glory in this world, and therefore asked with considerable anxiety, the express question of our Lord, saying, “ tell us when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming?” which you have been speaking of with so much pleasure, and at which we are to be thus honored and rewarded; and lastly, what shall be the sign
66 of the end of the world," or of the age or period you refer to, as the last you have mentioned.* Our Saviour answers them without a parable, and predicts and forewarns them of the previous signs of the times, and then in plain and positive terms declares, “ that then shall appear the sign of the son of man in heaven, when the tribes of the earth shall mourn, and shall see the son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” The enquiry of the disciples was, what would be the sunteleia tou aionos, or the consummation of the
period, at the expiration of which, another aionos, or eminent period, was to commence. The fathers often took this for the millenbium-in the Old Testament and the 'Targum, the reign of the Messiah is termed,
* This should be rendered according to the opinions of St. Jerome-Erasmus-Beza and Montanus, either period, or time - the greek word is Aion. Mr Waple says it siguifies an age of the world, or some eminent period of it.
the age to come. --The latter part of these questions, is thus paraphrased by Dr. Clarke, “and by what signs shall we know when the consummation of the present state of things in this world shall be ? and when and by what revolutions the kingdom of the Messiah shall be established."
THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.
WE will now examine the conduct of the apostles of the risen Saviour, whom he sent forth (after his resurrection) to teach all nations the princi. ples of bis divine doctrines, which they received personally from their Master, under the miraculous influences of the holy spirit, according to his promises whilst in the world. They regularly continue the sacred and mysterious clue, and carry on the original idea, holding up to their numerous followers, the second coming of their glorious restorer and redeemer, as the great object of their hope and joy.
Berennius, the disciple of the famous Episcopius, says, “ It is not difficult to gain information of what the disciples understood by the coming of Christ, provided we shall have considered the hope entertained by the Jews respecting the Messiah, which was then generally prevalent, namely, that it was incumbent on him to restore upon earth, the fallen kingdom of Israel--to establish the throne of David, so as never again to be shaken--and to bring deliverance to them without exception, from all their enemies.--Hence that speech of the disciples travelling to Emmaus, " but we trusted that it had been him, who should have redeemed Israel." —Wherefore it is true that by the coming of Christ, the