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grievous* ; and having been tortured, tempted, afflicted t, tormented, and having resisted even unto 'blood, and having come forth more than conquerors f, they judge the world g. They condemn it of blind infatuation, and of base ingratitude to God. The life and death of the Saints is the judgment of the world.
Again; in another sense, the Church of Christ now judges the world. She has received from Christ the power of the keys || ; the power of binding and loosing **; and whatever she does on earth, orderly and rightly, in the ministry of remitting or retaining sins, is ratified by Christ in heaven. Thus, even now, the Saints of God sit upon thrones, and to them judgment is given ti.
Yet more; in another manner the Saints of God are even now seated upon Thrones, and judge the world.
In the precepts of the Law, in the revelations of Prophets, in the melody of Psalms, in the instruction of Proverbs, in the Old Testament, the Twenty-four Books of which were believed to be represented by
* 1 John v. 3.
† Heb. xi. 35, 37. xii. 4. I Rom. viii. 37.
Haymo ad loc. Per sedes generalis Ecclesia exprimitur : per sessores duodecim Apostoli, et omnes qui perfectam illorum vitam imitati sunt. Per animas decollatorum plenitudo intelligitur omnium sanctorum, sive scilicet spiritualiter in animâ sunt mortui, sive corporaliter pro Domino jugulati.
|| Matth. xvi. 19. ** Matth. xvij. 17, 18. John xx. 23. tt Bede in loc. Ecclesia jam sedet judicans, quæ a suo Rege meruit audire Quæcunque ligaveris super terram erunt ligata in cælo. Matth. xvi. 19. xviii. 18.
the twenty-four* Elders sitting enthroned in heaven; and in the four Gospels typified by the four living Cherubim † on which the Throne of God is set; and in the Royal Lawf of the Letters of the Apostles, whom God has made Princes in all lands 9 ;—which books, be it remembered, have been placed on Thrones || in the great Council-IIalls of Christendom, and have been delivered as a Law to anointed Kings at their solemn enthronization; yes, taken from that very altar, and placed in the hands of the most august Monarchs of the world, in this national Temple, at their Coronation **; and whose sanctity is proclaimed by solemn adjurations in Courts of Justice; and which are delivered to Bishops and Priests at their Ordination, as the Royal Code of their Teaching, and the Divine Charter of their Ministry; and which sound forth daily from Pulpits and the steps of Altars—as it were, from Christian Thrones and Tribunals—in every part of the world : thus, I say, they whom God has employed to declare His Will to men, are now, even now, seen by the eye of Faith sitting upon Thrones ; and to them Judgment is given.
In this manner we see that the souls of the Saints,
See “ Lectures on the Canon,” Appendix, pp. 26, 60; and below, Lecture IV. | Rev. iv. 6–11; and “ Lectures," &c. VI.
151. # James ii. 8.
§ Ps. xlv. 17. || See the authorities in “ Lectures on the Canon,” Lect. V. p. 124, and VI. p. 149.
** This paragraph was added when this Discourse was preached in Westminster Abbey.
by virtue of their spiritual incorporation and indwelling in Christ, have risen from the dead with Christ; that in Christ they live; that they ascend with Him, and sit with Him in heavenly places; that they are Priests of God and Christ; that they reign together with Him; and that with Him they judge the world. Therefore, - Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection *.
Such, we feel persuaded, is the true interpretation of our text. Thus, and thus alone, it is in perfect harmony with the general teaching of Holy Writ. And such, let me add, is the interpretation which is authorized by the consent of the Church. Ever since the question was examined, as it was in the third and fourth centuries, there was but one prevailing voice for more than a thou
* All true Christians (in the words of St. Augustine, De Civ. D. xx. 10) are said, in a certain ineffable manner, to partake in the royal, priestly, and prophetic unction of Christ. Let me add the following from Bede, ad loc. Regnat Ecclesia cum Christo in vivis et mortuis. And again : Hæc de vivis et mortuis debemus accipere, qui, sive adhuc in mortali carne viventes, sive defuncti, regnant cum Christo jam nunc, modo quodam tempori huic congruo, per totum hoc intervallum quod numero mille significatur annorum : prima resurrectio in hac vitâ est animarum, per remissionem peccatorum : omnes, qui sic resurgunt, sunt sancti Dei et Christi (alia editio habet sacerdotes Dei). Non de solis Episcopis et Presbyteris hoc dictum est, qui propriè vocantur in Ecclesiâ sacerdotes ; sed sicut omnes Christi dicimur (Ps. cv. 15) propter mysticum Chrisma, sic omnes sacerdotes, quoniam membra sumus UNIUS SACERDOTIS. De quibus Apostolus Petrus, Plebs, inquit, sancta, regale sacerdotium. 1 Pet. ii. 5. 9.
sand years * Origen, Dionysius, Jerome, Augustine, Philastrius, Andreas, Arethas, Primasius, Cassiodorus, Bede, Haymo, Aquinas, and many others, agree in this exposition; and from the fifth to the fifteenth century scarcely any author of credit can be cited as having countenanced any other.
But it must not be concealed that two objections have been made, by some modern critics t, to this interpretation. First, it is alleged, that we read in our text, the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished: and that this, we allow, is said of the general Resurrection, that is, of a bodily resuscitation : and that therefore, it is added, if we will not be inconsistent, we ought to interpret the first resurrection, also, not of a spiritual, but of a corporeal revivification. If the words life and resurrection have a physical meaning in one place, they must, it is said, have a similar meaning in the other.
In this conclusion we cannot agree. Our Blessed Lord, you will remember, uses one occasion the words, Let the dead bury their dead †; where, it is acknowledged, the word dead is employed in two senses, a spiritual and a physical one. And, again, He that findeth his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find
* See above, Lecture I. p. 19: and compare Andreas in Bibl. Patrum Max. v. p. 626; Primasius Bibl. Pat. Max. X. p. 331; Cassiodorus Complexiones in Apocal. Rot. 1723, Bede, vol. xii. p. 428, ed. Giles ; Haymo ad loc. ; Ambrosius Ansbertus, A.D. 890, Bibl. Pat. Max. xiii. 620; Aquinas ad loc.
† e. g. Bishop Newton in loc.
it * ; where the word life is used in a double sense. It seems also that the Author of the Apocalypse bas studiously warned his readers that he uses the word lived in a double sense; for he says, I saw the souls of them that were beheaded ; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years, where life and reign is ascribed to the soul, and not the body ; whereas when he speaks, as he afterwards does, of the Universal, bodily, Resurrection, he says, The rest of the dead lived not again † till the thousand years were orer.
It deserves special notice, that there is a passage in St. John's own Gospel which refutes the objection just mentioned, and establishes the true interpretation. Our Blessed Lord says † concerning the first, or spiritual, Resurrection : Verily, vorily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead (that is, the spiritually dead in trespasses and sins) shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself.
* See Matth. x. 39. Luke xvii. 33. John xii. 25.
+ οι λοιποί των νεκρών ουκ ανέζησαν. Rev. ΧΧ. 5. Such at least is the reading of numerous MSS., and it is, I believe, the true one; whereas in the former place the reading is, kai č snoav. In St. John's Gospel, v. 24–26.