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image, that is, who had not given into idolatry or heresy, see page 46: likewise to those, who had not received the beast's character on their foreheads or in their hands, that is, who did not bear any particular mark or office appertaining to idolaters or heretics, nor used any contrivance to make themselves pass for such. For it must be observed that, in the heat of persecution, many Christians, to shelter themselves, would basely buy from the heathen magistrates certificates of their having sacrificed to idols, when they had not done it; others would eat of the meats that had been offered to idols; others delivered up the holy scriptures, &c. St. John sees the souls of all the above-mentioned faithful and courageous Christians seated in dignity, and allowed power of judging" which means that they sit as judges with Christ by a participation of his power, which he graciously communicates to them, according to his promise: "To him that shall overcome, I will give to sit with me in my throne," Apoc. iii. 21. And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years, that is, their souls immediately on leaving their bodies were admitted to heavenly bliss, and reign with Christ for a thousand years, or for that period of time which is counted from their departure out of this world to the general judgment, when their bodies will be reunited to them. And this admission of their souls into glory without their bodies is called the first resurrection. But the souls of the others, who were guilty of any of the above-named crimes, lived not the life of the before-mentioned happy souls, but were condemned to hell-flames which is the first death. Nor will they revive or recover life till the thousand years be finished at the general resurrection, when they will indeed be drawn for a moment out of the infernal pit and be reunited to their bodies, but to be replunged together into eternal damnation, which is the second death. In like manner, when at the last day the bodies of the just are made partners with their souls in bliss, that may be termed the second resurrection. We see here inculcated that known maxim of the Christian religion; that the souls of the just who die in the Lord, enter into heavenly glory, though their bodies do not participate of it till after the general resurrection: and the same holds with regard to the punishment of the souls of the wicked.
V. 6. "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection. In these, the second death hath no power: but they shall be priests of God and of Christ: and shall reiga with him a thousand years."
Here, all those are pronounced blessed and holy, who have part in the first resurrection, or whose souls are admitted to bliss after their decease, because in them the second death hath no power, that is, because they are in no danger of damnation or second death at the last judgment. Their souls, from the moment of their admission into heaven,' become priests of God and of Christ, by being empowered to offer before the throne of God and Christ their pure sacrifices of homage, praise, and thanksgiving, and will reign with him, God, and Christ, for a thousand years, that is, as St. Austin says, "for all the years to the end of the world," De Civit. xx. 7.; at which time their bodies will be joined with them in the same beatitude.
From the above passages of the Apocalypse misunderstood, some ancients inferred that the saints will rise again to life a thousand years before the rest of mankind, and in their souls and bodies will reign with Christ upon earth during that space of time, in the enjoyment of all lawful sensual pleasures. This opinion is called the Millenarian system; which, instead of having any foundation in the present text, is refuted by it. For St. John here speaks of the happiness of the souls only, of those who were beheaded, &c. without hinting the least at the state of their bodies. Whence it appears, that by the first resurrection the apostle understands the glory of heaven, into which the just enter after their death, and which they will enjoy for a thousand years, that is, during the whole course of time to the general resurrection. Besides, the notion of two resurrections of the flesh, or of body and soul, is fully disproved by our Saviour's words: "The hourcometh, wherein all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son cf God, and they that have done good things shall come forth unto the resurrection of life; but they that have done evil, utito the resurrection of judgment," John, v. 28, 23. Here Christ expresses very clearly but one general resurrection of tho good and the wicked together. Hence it is no wonder, that the Millenarian opinion fell early into disrepute, and has been long exploded. But as some moderns have endeavoured to revive it, it may be worth while to read the following brief account of its original rise, progress, and decline, in the learned Dr. Calmet's comment on this chapter of the Apocalypse.
"The system of the Millenarians owes its origin to the Jews. They expected to reign a thousand years with the Messiah on earth, as appears from the fourth book of Esdras, and from the works of some of their most famous rabbins, as Maimonides, and Manasse-Ben-Israel. But he that gave the greatest credit to that opinion, was Papias, a disciple of St. John the Evangelist, and companion of St. Polycarp. He pretended to have received the Millenarian doctrine from the apostles and their disciples. Upon this assertion it was adopted by St. Irenreus, St. Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Viciorinus, Lactantius, and several others; while it was on the other hand impugned by others from the first ages of the church. And certainly what Eusebius remarks of the character of Papias, ought to be sufficient to discredit his authority. He was a man of very moderate understanding, who, for want of comprehending what he heard fiom the apostles, took literally what was said in a mystical sense. St. Dionysius of Alexandria in the third century expressly refuted one Nepos, who had composed a book in defence of the Millenarian opinion. And Caius, a priest of the church of Rome in the second century, calls it a fable invented by Cerinthus. Origen also rejects it in several places of his works.—In fine, we may conclude with a very able man, M. du Pin, Dissert, sur Us Millenaires, who has fully discussed the question, that the Millenarian sentiment'is contrary to the gospel, to the doctrine of St. Paul, and is not at all found in the Apocalypse."
To conclude this part of our present history; the reader may remark, that the events, which took their rise in the first age of the Church, have been here carried on in a continued series, because connected, far beyond the period of that age, which terminates about the year 320. And in general it must be observed, that the transactions relating to the Church are not confined within the compass of the age which gives them birth, and which they serve to characterize, but continue and extend into the subsequent ages.
THE HISTORY OF THE SECOND AGE OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. THE OPENING OF THE SECOND SEAL.
Apoc. chap. vi. 3. "And when he had opened the second seal, I heard," says St. John, "the second living creature, saying: Come and see.
V. 4 "And there went out another horse, that was red: and to him that sat thereon it was given that he should take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another, and a great sword was given to him."
Here is announced the heresy of Arianism, the rise of which opened the second age of the Church, about the year 320.
He who sits on the horse is the Heresiarch, Alius; and his horse is red, or according to the Greek expression, of a fiery colour, agreeing with the character of heresy, which always kindles a flame of discord and violence. To him, the rider, it was given that he should, take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another. Constantine the Great had procured peace to the Church in 313, by suppressing the Roman idolatrous power, as we have before seen; but this peace is soon banished by intestine broils, occasioned by Arius broaching, in 319, a new doctrine, which impiously denied the divinity of Christ our Redeemer. This blasphemous doctrine, in progress of time, raised such a flame of contention among the Christians, that there ensued commotions, tumults, violences, and bloodshed. A great sword was given him, to Arius and the Arians, who were supported by the great powers of the earth, as by several Roman emperors, and by several kings of the -Goths, the Vandals, &c. who employed the sword in defence of the Arian doctrine, and cruelly persecuted the Catholic Christians. This explication will be elucidated presently by an historical account of that heresy.
The whole drift of the Arian doctrine being to impugn the divine nature of Christ: in opposition to it was ascribed to the Lamb the attribute of divinity, or riches, according to the Greek text, Apoc. v. 12. see p. 29; that is, the riches of the Godhead, which he shares equally with? the Father; for in him " dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead corporally," Coloss. ii. 9; and Christ speaking to the Father, says; "all my things are thine; and thine are mine." John xvii. 10.
Let it be remarked that, at the opening of the second seal, the second living creature, which, as we have before shown, represents the prophet Jeremias, says to St. John, "come, and see." This invitation comes with propriety from that prophet, who being a priest, here shows to St. John the apostacy of Arius, a priest of the Christian Church. Besides, Jeremias Was sent by Almighty God against the false prophets, who deluded the Jews by their pernicious counsels and deceitful promises; see- Jet. c. 23. In a similar manner he here points out Arius, a false teacher in the Christian Church.
The Sounding of the Second Trumpet.
Apoc. Chap. viii. 8. "And the second angel sounded the trumpet, and as it were a great mountain, burning with fire, was cast into the sea, and the third part of the sea became hlood.
V. 9. "And the third part of those creatures died which had life in the sea, and the third part of the ships were destroyed."
In the seal we saw the intestine convulsions and violences occasioned by the Arian disputes; here we find described by an expressive allegory, the spiritual mischief done by that same heresy. And thus the second seal and second trumpet announce to us distinctly and separately the two dismal effects, temporal and spiritual, of Arianism. A great mountain burning with fire, or a great heresy, tending to kindle among Christians the fire of. discord in their principles of faith, and the flame of mutual animosity, is cast into the sea; that is, published in the Church, which it embroils, and which therefore is now represented as a troubled sea. And the third part of the sea becomes blood, by which change its waters become poisonous to the fish that live in them: and in like manner the Catholic doctrine, on which the faithful live, is corrupted by Arianism through a third part of the Church, and becomes poisonous and destructive. The consequence of which is, the third part of those creatures die, which have life in the sea, or the third part nearly of the Christians drink the heretical poison, and die a spiritual death. And even the third part of the ships were destroyed, that is, a third part of the particular churches entire with their pastors, meant here by the ships, imbibe the same poiSon and perish.
The natural consequences of heresy are, disputes and contentions in the Church; and therefore we find ascribed to it voices or noises. Apoc. viii. 5. see p. 19.
The pouring out of the second Vial of the wrath of God.
Apoc. chap. xvi. 3. "And the second angel," says St. John, "poured out his vial upon the sea, and there came blood as it were of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea."
As at the sounding of the second trumpet, a fiery mountain was thrown into the sea, or among the Christians; so here