Sidor som bilder

enemies and to his brethren. He took away the power of death, 2 Tim. 1, 10. Hebrews 11, 14, unlocked the place of shades, of dawning light, of ardent desire, and led his people to liberty, Ps. Lxvill, 19. Ephes. iv, 8. This hic proved in a visible manner, by the resurrection of Old Testament saints in the moment of his death, Matt, XXVII, 52. St. Peter extends the message of his triumph even to the spirits in prison 1 Pet. m, 19. His victory caused pain and joy in Scheol, before it was known on earth to his followers.' Though we still read of the existence of those different regions in the world of spirits, even here in the last book of the New Testament Canon ; yet we also have many passages to prove, that the state of believers in Christ immediately after death, is far more exalted now, than that of Old Testament saints was ; and on the contrary, the state of unbelievers more dreadful and terrible, as they sin against more light and grace. The Revelation in a great measure, removes the veil, and affords bright views of the world of spirits. Though their bodies be dead because of sin, yet we here see, that theit spirits live because of righteousness, Rom. viii, 18, and are employed by the Lord in his government of the Church, ministering to the saints in a thousand different ways, and serving the Lord in the most important offices of his kingdom.

But the state of those who die without an interest in Christ, seems to be dreadful indeed. Being deprived by death of the sensorium for the objects of this world, and having never been made spiritually alive, they have no sensorium for things spiritual ; and are thus limited to a continual review of their own ideas, which they took with them to the other world. In this state, their degrees of consciousness, probably, depend on the state of intellectual cultivation, to which they had here arrived. The ideas of unimproved minds, will be faint and irregular, and those of wicked and corrupted persons, vicious, mixed

with momentary imaginary pleasures, and a condemning conscience. Those who have had a sense of religion while on earth, will soon be undeceived as to their future hopes and fears ; while others, totally unacquainted with vital Christianity, and fed up with self-righteousness, will scarcely, and with difficulty divest themselves of their delusion, before the great day of judgment. This region of wicked souls, is, probably, under the dominion of a prince of darkness, whose name is Thanatos, death, who at the day of judgment will also be condemned, and all his dominions turned into a lake of fire. This lake is here termed the second death, and denotes a punishment inconceivably terrible, and painful beyond expression.

I have offered these ideas with diffidence. They are only a hypothesis, and I would pass them for nothing more than that. May all our names be found in the book of life, and we permitted to enter the gates of New Je. rusalem, where death will be no more.



To explain this and the following chapter, is an important and difficult task. The truth of this position is abundantly evident from the discrepancies of expositors on this vision, who have differed not only on minor points, but even as to its general scope and meaning. The respectability of authors on both sides, has induced me to ponder their arguments with impartiality, but my mind remained in an undecided state. I, at last, applied myself exclusively to the text : “Cæca regens filo vestigia.Virg. And here is the result of my inquiry.

These chapters do not refer to the glorious state of the Church of Christ during the Millennium, nor to the Church triumphant now in heaven ; but literally to a physical renovation of this earth and its atmosphere in form and quality, by a general conflagration ; when it will again become a new theatre of a divine institution of education, and of blissful perfection, for all who have obtained an interest in the redemption of Christ, since the beginning of the world. And New Jerusalem is the aggregate, and sum total of all the effects and benefits of Christ's redemption. Let the reader consider the following arguments. 1. St. John begins this vision by his accustomed ex

pression of xao bodov, and I saw, which he always uses in this prophecy when he approaches a new subject; to this manner he yet adhered in the two last

chapters xix. 11. xx, 1. 4. 11, and we see no reason, why he should here deviate from his accustomed

mod of transition. 9. It is ut natural to suppose, that the prophet, having

mentioned the last general resurrection of the dead, and the final doom of those who were not found written in the book of life, in the preceding chapter ver. 11-15 ; should now proceed to give us an account of the state of thosc, who accepted the Gospel invita

tion and were saved by the blood of the Lamb. 3. The new heaven and the new carth, are here put in

opposition to the first heaven and the first earth which sliall pass away, and new Jerusalem stands in opposition to the lake of fire ver. 8, and therefore they cannot be considered as an enlarged description of the Church, or bride of the Lamb during the Millen.

nium, chap. xx, 9. 4. If the uew heaven and new earth referred to the

thousand years, and only represented a new Econo. my, then they would wax old and be of still shorter duration than the first heaven and earth ; whichi, from their description, is not very probable. For the thousand years are a period of natural time, and af. ter its expiration, a new relaps into a state of luko. warmness is indicated by the prophecy, which can. not be expected to ensue after the glory of New Jeru.

salem. 5, Though the divine illumination and state of grace

and holiness, will be great and exalted during the Millennium; yet that happy period is not so represented in the prophecy, as to induce a believe that all the consequences of the fall of Adam will then cease, or that all the objects of Christ's redemption will then have been accomplished. There will still exist many imperfections, arising from physical nature, and the state of the atmosphere, of the earth, and of mang

[ocr errors]

such as disease, death, accidents, temptation and sin. But in the new Leaven and earth, we are here informed ver. 5, there will be no tears, no sorrow orcrying, no pain, and no more death : the former things are all passed away, and all things are made new ver.

5; which cannot be said of the Millennium. 6. Gog and Magog would not dare to attact a city like

New Jerusalem. The beloved city which they in tend to assault, is very different from the city of God. It is surrounded by a camp, and probably the ca

pital of Christ's kingdom during the Millennium. 7. At the expiration of the thousand years, there is yet

the sea existing, which shall give up the dead which are in it ; but St. John expressly says, that on the

new earth there was no more sea. 8. During the thousand years the earth will still revolve

round her axis, and form day and night ; but on the

new earth there shall be no night, Ver. 25. 9. In new Jerusalem St. John saw no temple ; but in

our present state, and during the Millennium these places of instruction, worship, devotion and edification are still necessary, as means of excitement to

the performance of our duty. 10. On the new earth the saints are said to reign 15785

aiwas twv arm van to everlasting ages of the world, but the Millennium is a determinate period of only a

thousend years. chap. XXII, 5. · 11. It is true, the ancient prophets use many expressions

in their prophecies of the New Testament Church, which we find here applied to New Jerusalem, Isa. LXV, 17. 18. LXVI, 20. 22. XXV. XXXV. LII. LX ; and even mention the new heaven and new earth, without distinguishing it from the time of the Christianeconomy. The reason is, they had no explicit reve. lation concerning this distinction, which is here made in the Apocalypse, and therefore comprehend all the

« FöregåendeFortsätt »