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unto the end, that all men should be saved : that He had offered heavenly glories to all who are true to Him: that even out of the mouths of babes and sucklings He has ordained strength*; and thus He showed that the failings and miseries of men, which had been described in such vivid colours in the preceding visions of this book, were due to themselves alone; and that all God's acts toward man were done in equity and love.
This chapter, then, is the summing up of the whole Revelation to
Viewed in this light, it is in perfect harmony with the whole. It is the moral epilogue of this sublime drama. And when so regarded, it gives no countenance to Millenarian notions.
Let us now return to examine the reasons above pleaded in behalf of these opinions.
On these allegations I would first observe, that the greatest caution is to be used how we attempt to build any doctrine on an isolated passage of Scripture. A doctrine which is based on one text of Scripture will generally be found to rest on text at all. Scripture is not so poor as to have only a few syllables to bestow on an article of Faith.
tudinem surgens solidam figuram reddit, et omne significat tempus a Domini passione ad finem sæculi.
* Ps. viii. 2.
† Bede in loc. Recapitulans ab origine plenius exponit quod suprà dixerit. Lightfoot, on Rev. xx., well says: “This chapter containeth a brief view of all the times froin the rising of the Gospel to the end of the world."
We are specially and solemnly warned in Scripture that prophecy is of no private interpretation* We are commanded to compare spiritual things with spiritual t; and to interpret Scripture, not from one passage, but according to the proportion of faith 1that is, according to the symmetry of the whole and not to mar that proportion by an interpretation at variance with it.
Now, to repeat the words of our own Church, it cannot, I think, be denied that the doctrine of the Millennium is “repugnant to Scripture.”
Scripture teaches us that Christ, Who has appeared once on earth for our salvation, has ascended into heaven, there to prepare a place s for His faithful people: that the many mansions promised to them || are not in an earthly city, but in His Father's house : that the Saints, when raised from the dead, will be equal to the Angels **, and will therefore be citizens of heaven; that being lifted up on high tt, He draws all men to Him; that He Who has been taken up into Heaven will remain in Heaven till the restitution of all things tt; that as He ascended into heaven, so He will come, in like manner 98, with His Holy Angels, once again, and only once, not to reign on earth, but to awaken, not the Saints only, but all men from their graves, and to judge the world. That day, in which the Saints will arise from the dead, is called by Christ Himself the last day. This is the Father's will (says He), that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day * And observe, He calls the day of judgment also the last day. He that rejecteth Me hath one that judgeth him : the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day t. Therefore, there will be no Millennial interval between the Resurrection of the Saints and the Universal Judgment: no; they will take place on one and the same day—the last day. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye t, the Lord shall descend with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and the trump of God ; and the dead shall be raised ||. The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty Angels **. The hour is coming (as He Himself says) in which, not the righteous only, but all that are in the
* 2 Pet. i. 20. * Rom. xii. 6.
|| John xiv. 2. tt John xii. 32. SS Acts i. 11.
† i Cor. ii. 13. S John xiv. 2. ** Luke xx. 36. # Acts iii. 21.
graves shall hear the voice of the Son of Man, and shall come forth ; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation ft. It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this (not a Millennium, but) the Judgment ft. The Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father with His Angels ; and then
* John vi. 39.
1 Cor. xv. 52.
† John xii. 48.
2 Thess. i. 7.
He shall reward EVERY man according to his works *; and Whosoever shall have been ashamed of Him and of His works, of him shall the Son of Man be ashamed when He shall come in His glory t. The Lord Jesus shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing . When the Son of Man shall come in His glory, and all the Holy Angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory, and before Him shall be gathered all nations ; and He shall separate them one from another g.
Such are the words of our future Judge Himself.
Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake ; some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt ||
Still further : It is clear also from Scripture that the present mixed state of things will continue, as it now is, to the Day of Judgment, and will be immediately succeeded by that day. The tares and the
* Matth. xvi. 27.
† Luke ix. 26. # 2 Tim. iv. 1.
§ Matth. xxv. 31, 32. || Dan. xii. 2. See the conclusions of S. Hippolytus, writing in the third century, B. P. M. p. 257. “ After that the abomination of desolation has been revealed, and the world hastens to its close, what then remains but the coming of our Lord and Saviour from heaven to execute just judgment on all who do not believe on Him? Then the trumpet will sound, and every nation and language and tribe will arise in the twinkling of an eye, to stand before the just and terrible Judge. . . . And the King of kings shall be revealed; and all flesh, bad and good, shall see Him."
wheat will grow together in the field of the world, even unto the Harvest, which is the end of the world*-the Last, the Great Day. The Lord of the Harvest will then send forth the Reapers, who are the Angels, to gather up the tares, and to bind them in bundles, to burn them, and to store the wheat in His Barn. So, again, the chaff will remain mixed with the grain on the threshing-floor of this world till the Judge comes, with the fan in His hand, to purge his floor t, and to winnow the one from the other. The good and bad fish will remain together in the net of the Church, till it is drawn to shore, and then the good will be gathered into vessels, and the bad be cast away t. The bad and good guests will remain at table together till the King comes to see them , and to cast the man without the wedding garment into outer darkness. The wise and foolish virgins slumber and sleep, till at midnight a cry is made, and the Bridegroom comes : and they that are ready go into the marriage, and the door is shut ||. These Parables show that the present mixed state of things will continue till Christ comes ; and that then a full and final separation will take place: and they teach us plainly the solemn truth, that there is no Millennial gulf betwixt Time and Eternity.
Again : what was the language of the Apostles ? When the Thessalonians were expecting the imme
* Matth. xiii. 30–39.
+ Matth. iii. 12.