View of the Expected Millennium...
(1st ed.: Albany, 1827; 6th ed 1828)
(This web-page is still under construction)
OF THE EXPECTED
WHICH IS PROMISED IN THE HOLY SCRIPTURES, AND IS BELIEVED
TO BE NIGH ITS COMMENCEMENT, AND MUST
TRANSPIRE BEFORE THE CONFLAGRATION
OF THE HEAVENS AND THE
EMBELLISHED WITH A CHART, OF THE
DISPENSATIONS FROM ABRAHAM
TO THE END OF TIME.
And they lived and reign'd with Christ a thousand years. -- Rev. xx. 4.
BY JOSIAH PRIEST.
PUBLISHED FOR SUBSCRIBERS
1 8 2 8.
I N D E X.
1st. An account of the term Millennium, its import and meaning, . . . 13
2d. Shall show that such a period was expected, by the proponets, the Jewish Rabbins, and doctors, as the grand ultimo of the Messiah's reign on earth -- and is now in expectancy, by the churches, according to the scripture promises, . . . 16
3d. Shall give a view of the wonderful signs of the times which preceded the great deluge and the birth of Christ: a curious and interesting account of Herod the Great, who put to death the infants of Jerusalem. Also a minute description of the Ark, and of the animals saved in it -- proving it amply sufficient to contain all the scriptures state it did, . . . 53
4th. Shall exhibit the signs of our own times which clearly, indicate the Millennium nigh at hand, but must be preceded, by one of its effects, of the power of the great God; such as man has not witnessed since the world began, . . . 79
5th. Shall represent the probable state of the wicked part of mankind, just previous to the Millennium; in which division will be given an account of Rome pagan and Rome papal, which subjects are signified in the 13th and 17th chapters of Revelations, . . . 87
6th. The way and manner considered, in which God will probably remove the wicked from the earth, that the Millennium may commence, for they shall not see that glorious sun arise, nor enter that land of promise, . . . 162
7th. Will show when the Millennium will come, by a view of the ancient Jewish Sabbaths, an exhibition of which is exceedingly interesting, in reference to that day. And as analagous to the same point, shall present a view of natural and supernatural periodical recurrences. And shall give an illustration of the three visions in the book of Daniel as far as they refer to the time when the sanctuary shall be cleansed, or when the Millennium shall arrive, . . . 181
8th. An account of the first resurrection, and the subsequent happiness of all people; with which will be connected arguments to prove that all moral and natural evil shall cease a thousand years from the earth and that it was the original intention of the Creator to clothe our first parents, whether they stood or fell, 050
9th Division embraces a position that man when he fell, lost his extraordinary power or government over the animal kingdom, and became exposed to their natural fury, but in the Millennium shall recover his government again, 1187
10th Division contains arguments to prove, that neither the disposition nor death of the animal creation was affected by man's fall into sin, as is believed by many, but the true reason of their (zzzle,-tth is assigned, 299
11th. The sentiment which embraces the opinion, that all the animal creation shall arise from the dead, to be remunerated for their sufferings, which by some is said to be occasioned by the sin of man, zzzreflited, . . . 305
12th Division exhibits a view of the vast multiplication of mankind during the Millennium, and of their political state: also who they are who will attempt to make war upon the camp of the saints, called Gog and Magog; and why Satan must be loosed for a little season after the Millennium is passed by: and in what manner it is likely they will attempt their attack of the saints, . . . 316
l3th Division embraces a view of the resurrection of the wicked dead after the Millennium, and their miserable condition; and endeavours a description of the earth's dissolution, and in what manner the elements will, operate on each other, so that a general conflagration may take place, and what shall be its final end, . . . 348
14th Division embraces a view of the promised new creation, which is to succeed the destruction of this system. "And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold I make all things new." Rev. xxi. 5, . . . 366
[ v ]
A knowledge of the opinions the ancient fathers entertained upon the subject of a Millennium, is highly interesting, and are presented here as proof that the subject is by no means the growth of the present times. It is pleasing to find our own deductions from the Sacred Volume agree, in any sense, with the writings of the primitive fathers, and of those who have been distinguished upon this subject in modern times. As the ancients of the Christian church believed in the final arrival of a thousand years Millennium, when the religion of the Messiah shall wholly triumph in all the earth, so the zzzliujnble author of this book most cordially and devoutly espouses the doctrine, because supported by the Scriptures. There has been no age of the Christian church, in which the expectation of the Millennium was not admitted by many divines of the first eminence, though never embraced in any creed as an article of faith essential to salvation. But the captivating hope was ever possessed the bosom of the militant church, before and since the advent of Christ, that his sceptre shall, in the seventh Millennary of time, be swayed in, its gentle influences over all the earth.
About the middle of the fourth century, says Mr. Buck, the Millennians held the following tenets: 1. That the city of Jerusalem shall be rebuilt; and that the land of Judah shall be the habitation of those, who are to reign on the earth a thousand years. 2. That Christ shall then come down from heaven, and be seen on earth, and reign here with his servants. 3. That during that period the saints are to enjoy all the delights of the first terrestrial paradise.
These opinions were founded upon the 90th chapter of Revelation, from the first to the sixth verse inclusive, and were understood by the ancient Millennarians in the literal sense, who taught, that during the Millennium, the saints on the earth were to enjoy every bodily delight, consistent with innocence and holiness. This opinion is undoubtedly correct, but that Christ will personally dwell on the earth with his saints, who are to remain after the first resurrection a thousand years, is not promised; therefore, in that expectation
they were not correct. Though the promise in the sixth verse of the 20th chapter of Revelation, is, that the saints "shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years," yet I do not understand thereby, that the person of Christ must necessarily become visible on the earth during the thousand years. If Christ is the only wise God, and has all power, consequently he reigns in an omniscient sense, not only here, but in all worlds; therefore, when his gospel in our earth shall have gotten the victory, it will not be required, in order that the promise in the sixth verse may be fulfilled, that Christ must be personally with his saints on the earth, but in his spiritual presence only -- the saints being in perfect agreement with his holiness and government, are therefore said, by the spirit of prophecy, to reign with Christ during that peculiar term, a thousand years. The opinion of the fathers, both Jewish and Christian, and others, that Jerusalem is again to be rebuilt in the time of the Millennium, for the comfort and glory of the saints, is founded doubtless on the 43th chapter of Ezekiel's prophecy, to which the reader can refer. But this opinion will not bear the test of the most inferior criticism; because the saints, during the Millennium, will have corporeal bodies as well as now, and therefore must occupy space. From which it is at once evident, that if the whole land of Palestine shall become one continued city for the accommodation of the saints, it will be found insufficient to contain them. The whole land of Judea, embracing the ancient grant of that country to Abraham, does not encompass a greater space, than two hundred and fifty miles in length by one hundred and fifty in width, which space, if occupied as closely as the city of New-York, would not be capable of containing a greater population than about five hundred and one millions. Ancient Palestine, if it were one continued city, would be only about three thousand times as large as New-York, which is but a little short of three miles by six, if it were thrown into a parallelogram form; consequently would be as incapable of containing all the saints in the Millennium as the city of London would be of accommodating the population of the globe at the present time.
If, then, so great a city will be too small to contain the saints, how will the ancient city of Jerusalem, even if it should be re-built, contain them? Besides, how are they to be supported if all
are assembled at one place? who shall till the earth? But in reference to the meaning of that chapter, to which the reader is referred, as above, it is more rational to suppose, with Dr. Clark, and others of great eminence, who have written upon this subject before his time, that the whole description given by Ezekiel should be understood as signifying the most glorious state of the Christian church over the interior glory and darker dispensation of the Old Testament times. This sentiment certainly agrees better with the remark of Christ to the Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob, "Woman, believe me, the hour cometh when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father." St John. iv. 24. All that was embraced in the Mosaic sacrifices, the temple of Solomon, with its ceremonies, were only descriptive of some good thing to come in the dispensations of the expected Messiah. If the Jews are to be brought in with the fulness of the Gentiles, what, therefore, can a Jew promise himself by returning to Jerusalem? I confess I cannot see any ostensible, reason. If the Mosaic dispensation be again restored, then there would be a reason for their return; but it is a well known fact, that Jesus Christ has made an end of all that first system of worship, which related wholly to the higher revelation of the gospel.
This the Jews will understand -- why, then, return to Jerusalem? They will at once perceive, that to be a true Jew, or Israelite, is to possess faith in Christ, and not because they are of a lineage of Abraham. If, then, they become Christian before they go, and acquiesce in the doctrine that Jesus of Nazareth was the true Messiah foretold by the prophets, what value, therefore, can they set upon the land of Canaan above any other country? At once they will perceive, that in this truth they have found Him of whom Moses and the prophets did write, which will answer every purpose far better than to go on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. It is, indeed true, that the Jews shall be brought in with the fulness of the Gentiles; but where, or into what, shall they be brought? Why into the faith of the gospel, and nothing else?
Again -- if there is a time Coming when Christ, the true David, of whom David, the father of Solomon, was a type, shall reign king of nations in that peculiar sense that he does king of saints then all the earth way be reckoned as the land of Israel, and the inhabitants, the true Israelites (for then there will be none other)
shall in spirit and in truth worship the Father in every place -- so shall his will be done on earth as it is done in heaven. If any can prove that there is a necessity that the Mosaic economy must be revived, that the Messiah's kingdom may be facilitated on the earth, then we might, yea, ought to believe, that the Jews shall again rebuild their ancient cities, and dwell in the mountains of Israel. But as we know that system, once glorious in its place, shall never be revived, so neither is there any reason why the Jews must again be restored to their country rather than to any other on the globe. There is, however, a degree of probability, halt zzzi f tt,,c-, Ottoman power shall be broken, and such government as may stand in their place should not oppose them, the Jews who dwell in the Turkish countries, may go to Jerusalem, because it is the Land of their fathers. But if such shall be their disposition, and it is ever accomplished, how is this to further their conversion to Christianity? It would, in my opinion, rather retard than jasten it; because a revival of the Mosaic laws, with all its ceremonies, is the nastiest aim of the Jews in all the world. But if they receive the gospel, and accept of the Messiah of Nazareth in those countries where they now are dwelling, their restoration will in this way be accomplished, and the prophecies fulfilled, which respect their return in a spiritual sense, when both Jew and Gentile shall by the gospel be changed to what the Saviour and St. Paul designated as the constituent qualifications of a real Israelite or Jew.
4th. Some Millennarians have supposed, because Christ said on a certain occasion to his twelve disciples, that they should sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel, that the Apostles shall thus sit judging the twelve tribes of Israel during the Millennium, See Matth. 19, 08. "And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me in the zzzregene-i-,ttion, Fallen the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye who shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
Their arguments are, that the Apostles never on the earth enjoyed that promise, and must, therefore, sit on those thrones in the Millennium. But this surely is easily otherwise interpreted; for, observe, this was to take place wheat the Sort of Man should it in the throne of his glory. When, therefore, did he commence
this sitting in the throne of his glory? I answer, immediately after his ascension from earth to heaven. A few days only, therefore, had elapsed, when, after that event, the twelveApostles ascended their promised thrones. But how? I answer, in the following manner: After the resurrection of our Lord, (see Luke 24, 49) he said to the twelve, "But tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high." This very power with which they were to be endowed, was accomplished on them, when, on the day of Pentecost, after his ascension, the Holy Ghost descended and sat on them in the form of eleven tongues of fire. This was their exaltation to the promised thrones, when they received power to preach the gospel understandingly, which, till then, they had not fully comprehended This was their exaltation to the thrones of the Apostolic power, to preach the gospel to every creature, to heal the sick, to raise the dead, in confirmation of it, and to establish a new system instead of the old. This was their exaltation to the twelve promised thrones, to have power to pull down the old system of Mosaic sacrifices, and now useless observances; to confound the Jews in argument, as did St. Stephen, and to denounce judgment against them -- thus judging the twelve tribes of Israel, because they rejected the true Messiah.
5th. Some have thought that the judgment day is to take place at the end of the next century, or when the earth shall be 6000 years old from the creation, and ttiat,@ifterwards the MilleDpiUM is to succeed. But certainly neither of these positions can be true; because we have no warrant, either in reason or from the Scriptures, to believe, that Satan is to be loosed from his prison, and to trouble the saints after the judgment day. But that the Millennium shall transpire before the general judgment, there is abundant proof. See Rev. 20.
6th. Others have supposed that all the righteous Jews, patriarchs and prophets, are to possess the land of Canaan after their resurrection from the dead. They allege, as a reason, that the ex tent of the promised land was never possessed by them, and, therefore, must yet be literally fulfilled in the Millennium. But it appears to me, that land is of little worth to such as have tasted of the higher bliss of a heavenly state; and further, the sentiment would seem to compel the spirits of just men made zzzperfvq
to an alarming retrograde of being, from a heavenly state back to an earthly one.
7th. Some Millennarians have imagined that Elijah the prophet is yet to come, as a forerunner of the Messiah's second advent. They disallow that John the Baptist was Elijah, because, say they, he did not do the work foretold of him by Malachi, "which was to turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers." Mal. iv. 6. This work is supposed by them will be accomplished by the real Elijah, when he comes as a forerunner of the second advent of Christ. But that opinion has its refutation in the assertion of Christ, who well knew whether John the Baptist was Elias or not. "But I say unto YOU, that Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed." Matth. xvii. 13.
8th. It has been supposed by some, that when the judgment day shall arrive, that it will continue a thousand years, and at the same time the Millenium is to commence, and also to continue the same length of time. But how can these two amazing eras in the destinies of the living and the dead, the holy and the unholy, be blended together? It appears to me that such an arrangement would destroy the perfection of both a judgment day and a Millennium -- for the latter would necessarily be mingled with the terrors and horrors of the former; and, consequently, would have a mitigating effect, while the former would distress and disturb the mold influences of the latter; so that each would act on the other in a paralyzing manner, and render them totally migratory as to effecting the purposes for which both are appointed, and in their proper and distinct Places will surely take place.
9th. An opinion has been entertained, that the symbolical river which Ezekiel saw in a vision iSSIliDa out from under the eastern gate of the temple, shall be fulfilled by the breaking forth of a literal river of very salubrious water in the country of Palestine zzz-if, er the temple is rebuilt; @ilid is to have its commenceyyiei)t at that temple, and is to flow down through the desert country into the sea. This river, says that opinion, is to furnish the inhabitants with fishes of the most excellent kinds, by its liealiing the ocean wherever it shall mix with that of the seas. But I believe the text, which is Ezekiel, chap. 47, verse 9, furnishes no ground for the supposition, that the fishes there alluded to are art; such is
a literal ocean produces; but as the ocean, or vast bodies of water, are taken to represent multitudes, nations and people, en-masse, so the mention of fishes in that verse signify individual persons, and the river itself represents the light of revelation from heaven during the four great dispensations, from Abraham till the end of the next century, which is four thousand years. See the Chart, and also the Second Division of this book, for a more enlarged view of that significant river.
10. Some Millennarians have thought that the saints and martyrs, at the time of the first resurrection, will arise from the dead and remain on the earth, for no hi-her purpose than to possess and exercise a secular dominion over the nations. I know of no Scripture which favours such all opinion, except the following Rev. 5, 10. 11 And zzzbast malde us unto our God kings and priests and we shall reign oil the earth." But this I understand as spoken by way of anticipation, and contains a prophecy, tl)-,it finally the Christian cause should triumph on the zzzc,@tith. And further, it may signify that which every Christian knows to be a fact, namely, that when Christ has set up Iii,,i kin-,Joii-i in the lieavt of a believer, that he is at once free from the zzzi-eigi)iiiu power of sin, and whereas he once was a slave to this monster, he now zzzha,, the victory, through the power of Him in whom he has believed; therefore, of such an one it may be said, lie reigns on the earth. But, I conclude, the verse alludes to the Millennial state, as anticipating its glories, but not as retaining the righteous dead after their resurrection, to share in a state of things, though glorious for the time being, but infinitely short of the undescribed glory the saints shall possess after their resurrection, which will certainly unfit them for any degree of bliss this side of heaven itself; but the saints, who, at the time of the first resurrection, are alive, are they who shall have this victory, and shall reign on the earth.
There is another verse, which, at first sight, perhaps, might suggest the foregoing idea, namely, a reign of the righteous dead on the earth. See Rev. zzz00, latter clause of verse zzz.4. 11 Neither had received his mark upon their forehead, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years." But in this we observe there is no promise that the righteous dead, of whom it is spoken, are to reign zzzoti, the earth at all; buti simply are to reign with Christ a thousand years and signifies, that while, till living
saints on the earth are reigning in the Millennial state a thousand years, so they in heaven shall reign with Christ till the thou- sand years are finished, at which time the church below and above shall be for ever united in glory.
Having given a variety of opinions concerning the Christian Millennium, of both ancient and modern times, I proceed to present the humble views of the author of this book. He does not attempt any explication of the prophecies, farther than such portions of the sacred word as strictly relate to the Millennium, and the period of its commencement, the manner of its introduction, the consequences which will follow both its approach and consummation, as well as the glories and happiness of the saints during the interim of a thousand years.
As I have said nothing particularly in this work respecting the great battle of Armageddon, as hinted at in Rev. 16, 16, "And he gathered them together into a place, called, in the Hebrew tongue, Armageddon" –- I will just observe, that it will probably consist of an universal civil war, occasioned by the diffusion of republican politics. The charms of popular government have zzzsmiled from the face of America as front the face of an angel, and filled many countries with an inextinguishable desire to shake off all monarchical authority. Two vast parties already exist, and their interests consist in the one upholding the fancied rights of kings, while the other more righteously aims at revolution -- which will not be brought about but by the pouring out of blood. The word "Armageddon" or "chormahgedelion," signifies a great destruction of armies gathered together for battle; and when it shall be fought, it is not unreasonable to suppose truth will be the victor, when the subject shall be for ever at rest.
There are some however, who believe that this great battle will be realized not many years hence, occasioned by a collision of religious sectarian interests. But the present charitable conduct of the different churches toward each other, argues a vastly different consequence. Others suppose that infidelity under various forms of profession, will league together for the destruction of all real Christianity; -- this is even possible, and while civil war on the subject of government may be prosecuting, infidelity may then endeavour a destruction of religion -- See Appendix page 400.
THE EXPECTED CHRISTIAN MILLENNIUM.
The word Millennium -- its meaning and sanctity.
When earth in righteousness shall whelmed be --
And men with heaven shall then familiar grow,
When sighs and cries shall ever cease to flow.
The word Millennium is descriptive of a lapse of centuries, consisting of ten, and is derived from its antecedent Millenary, or a thousand years. The word is not found in the Scriptures, but seems, by a unanimous consent of the Churches from early ages, to have been, by way of anticipation, applied to that thousand years in which it is believed the Christ of God shall really and positively be believed in by all nations of the earth. And that he shall reign triumphant, leaving subdued all opposition to His government, and destroyed all the works of the devil, a jubilee shall succeed, a holy sabbath, a rest of the globe, which has these thousands of years been torn in the tumultuous sea of the corruptions and depravity of men. Its sanctity shall consist in the total absence of all evil, both moral and natural. The evils which now afflict, shall not then be known at all. There shall not then be any wars,
14 EXPECTED CHRISTIAN MILLENNIUM.
strife among nations shall cease a thousand years. All evil passions, coveteousness, cruelty, luxury, ambition, pride, vanity, wrath, self-will, haughtiness, treachery. conceitedness, hatred, malice, envy -- these shall not then exist. There shall he none poor, nor rich; none sick, nor in affliction of any kind. There shall be no crying nor sighing, nor death, nor any that lack knowledge, such as heaven approves. The knowledge of this world, which is now mixed, in many instances, with much imperfection, yet is come at by intense application and slow degrees, which, however useful at the present time, are but so many proofs, that man is fallen, and benumbed by the paralyzing power of sin But then he shall awake, shall be recovered from this opiate delirium, and shall possess knowledge by intuition, as Adam unquestionably did before his full. A necessity for the administration of human government will be totally superseded by the effects of righteousness, which shall then cover the earth "as the waters cover the face of the great deep." Such, then, the sanctity of that day; the great jubilee of heaven on earth; the expectation of the Church, which is founded in the Scriptures of truth. In that inimitable prayer which God our Saviour taught his disciples, this expectation is plainly recognized, inasmuch as he said, when ye pray, say "Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy WILL be done on earth as it is done in Heaven." Who will disputebut his will is done in heaven by every individual; so we should pray, expect and believe it will be done on earth. If then it is possible, in the economy of grace.
EXPECTED CHRISTIAN MILLENNIUM. 15
that God's will shall be done on earth as it is done in heaven, what may we not expect that is not glorious, happifying and divine? If there is no sin in heaven, neither shall there then be sin on earth -- is there no death there, neither on earth -- is there no poverty nor imbecility of intellect in heaven, then on earth there shall be none, for these things are the effects of sin.
Victory shall be obtained on the wry ground where the adversary, for so many ages, has triumphed over the once perfect man. He shall be restored, therefore, to his primitive happiness, in respect to the presence or the approach of any evil.
Anciently, before the time of the Messiah, the doctrine of a resurrection of the human body was But obscurely understood or believed: a few only seem to have had a tolerable idea of such a thing; but the Saviour demonstrated the fact.
So in reference to a Millennium, as yet many see this thing as it were through a glass darkly; but the power of Christ can, and will demonstrate, that he is able to accomplish it, as well as a resurrection of the human body. And there is not a doubt to be indulged, but he will commence the Millennium by a resurrection of all the dead in Christ, for it is written, they "shall rise first," and also, "blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection." But I forbear, at this stage of the subject, to enter farther into a view of the glories of that day, but shall, in the proper place, attempt to do so, which will more fully establish the expected sanctity and effects of that emancipating jubilee.
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Will show, that such a period was expected by the Prophets, the Jewish Rabbins and Doctors, as the grand ultimo of the Messiah's reign on earth, and in all ages has been the expectation of the Christian Churches, as well as of Christendom at the present time, according to the Scripture promises.
Four rivers pour'd their floods to the four winds --
So once the Prophet saw, beneath the temple's door,
A broader river flow, and sweeter waters pour.
This glorious and eventful day has been expected, both of Jews and Christians, in every age since the days of Abraham, to whom was made a promise, that in his seed all the families of the earth should be blessed.
There cannot well arise a doubt, but the prophet Ezekiel had a view of the increase of the MESSIAH'S kingdom, and of the Millennium, in his notable vision of the temple, which he saw an angel measure, who has marked with great precision the progress of the knowledge of God in the earth, by the description he has given of it, under the similitude of water, or a great and flowing river, to which the grace of salvation is often compared in the Scriptures of truth. See Rev. xxii. 1, 2. where the same idea is corroborated, "And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God
EXPECTED CHRISTIAN MILLENNIUM. 17
and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and which yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations." This last idea of the verse (the healing of the nations) establishes the fact, that this river relates to the earth, and not to eternity, as some suppose.
I will give the quotation verbatim, from Ezekiel 47th Chap, from the 1st to the 8th verse inclusive, upon which I build the sentiment, that this view which he had in the vision, of the waters coming out from under the eastern gate of the temple, has a definite allusion to the kingdom of the Messiah, and the progress of a knowledge of his salvation, in both the Jewish and Christian Churches.
Verse 1st. -- "Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the fore-front of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under, from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar.
Verse 2d. -- "Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the outer gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side.
Verse 3d. -- "And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ancles.
18 EXPECTED CHRISTIAN MILLENNIUM.
Verse 4th. -- "Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins.
Verse 5th. -- "Afterward he measured a thousand and it was a river that I could not pass over; for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over.
Verse 6th. -- "And he said unto me, Son of man hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river.
Verse 7th. -- "Now, when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other.
Verse 8th. -- "Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea; which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed." The first discovery of these waters by the prophet was under the threshold of the eastern gate of the temple, from whence they gently issued, which are to be understood as referring to what God revealed to Abraham concerning the way of salvation, when he thrust him out from the house of his father, Terah, the Syrian, to go, he knew not whither.
"Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shall be a blessing." -- Gen. xii, 1. 2.
EXPECTED CHRISTIAN MILLENNIUM. 19
To these promises, therefore, the issuing of this gentle stream of water from under the gate of the temple refers; and also to the promise made to the woman, that of her seed there should arise One who would bruise the serpent's head, which promise is now renewed to Abraham, that in him shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
The vision of this temple and waters, is a symbol of the plan of salvation, which none but God could suggest; and comprehends at a glance, the law, the sacrifices, and the Gospel, with its concomitant glory and final spread over the globe.
The angel, therefore, when he began his measurement, had his eye fixed on Abraham, and those promises of God, as being the threshold, or door of hope, from whence he began to measure this river of life.
The angel who showed these things to the prophet, had in his hand a measuring line, and measured from the threshold of the gate, along the course of the stream a thousand cubits, at the end of which the waters were found as deep as to the ancles.
From this place he again measured a thousand cubits, at the end of which, the waters were as deep as to the knees.
From thence, he again measured a thousand cubits, and the waters were as deep as to the loins.
And from this he continued to measure another thousand cubits, at the end of which the waters had become a great river, in which one might swim, but too wide to pass over.
From this place the river continued its course, and
20 EXPECTED CHRISTIAN MILLENNIUM.
I passed down in the desert, and from thence into the sea, whose waters shall be healed, thereby causing a great multitude of fish to be brought forth.
The sea here mentioned, is a symbol of nations, multitudes, and tongues.
See Revelations, chapter xvii. verse 15. -- "And he saith unto me. The waters which thou sawest, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues;" who shall be the subjects of the healing power of these waters, whose numbers and extent of country are compared to a sea or an ocean, covering the whole earth; for, observe, it is too great, and too wide, and too deep, to be passed over at all.
In attempting to give an exposition of those verses, which inform us of the conduct of the angel, who measured with a line this river, by cubits, a thousand at a time, I shall assume the positions of adapting the measurement of this river to the measurement of time, as referring to distinct dispensations of God's providence, in revealing, from time to time, and from age to age, to the Patriarchs, Prophets and Apostles, and to his Church, in every age, his purposes of grace in the earth.
My desire in so doing is, to trace these waters, or this river, through the various periods of its measurement, to where they are represented by the prophet, so enlarged and extended, as to present to the view of such as look for the coming of Christ on earth spiritually, one universal ocean of His glory and holiness among men, which, when accomplished, is called the Millennium.
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From sacred chronology, it appears that Abraham, the great Patriarch of the tribes of Judah and Israel, was born two thousand years (lacking four) before Christ, and two thousand and eight years after the creation, (three hundred and fifty-two after the flood) which brings the life of Abraham half way between the creation and the advent of Jesus Christ.
Inasmuch, therefore, as God begins with Abraham more fully to disclose his good purpose towards man than he had previously done, it becomes the prophet to view Abraham as the threshold of the gate of that temple, from under which the fountain of this river proceeds, and accordingly the angel commences to measure the river at that place, in company with the prophet.
The method pursued to measure this very extraordinary river, which is noticed in many other parts of he Scriptures, is singular and interesting. It would seem this glorious angel laboured to impress the mind of the prophet, that as he had measured this river by cubits, so must be measured the several dispensations of the increase of the knowledge of God in the earth, till it shall become embosomed in the great sea of universal holiness. These cubits cannot be understood to signify any thing else but years; a thousand cubits, herefore, mean a thousand years. And as illustrative of this opinion, we will notice, that the present mode of measuring latitudes and longitudes on the surface of the earth, to ascertain degrees and distances, is very similar to the way the angel adopted to measure that river. His cubits were the symbols of years, as our
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minutes are the symbols of miles: and as seconds are the integral parts of a minute, which by the astronomer is used as a symbol for a mile, so are inches the integral parts of a cubit, which by the prophet is here used as a symbol for a year.
The first measurement, therefore, of the first thousand cubits, is considered a grand symbol of a thousand years, and extends from Abraham to the building of the first temple at Jerusalem by Solomon, which was finished exactly at the end of three thousand years from the creation; and is, therefore, a thousand years, lacking a mere fraction, from the birth of Abraham till this house was finished.
During this thousand cubits or years, God gave to Abraham several glorious and gracious promises respecting the Messiah, who should come into the world through his lineage. These promises were made to him by the everlasting God, through the medium of supernatural vision. See Gen. xv. 12. "And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abraham; and, lo, a horror of great darkness fell upon him." And also at verses 17 and 18 it is said, "And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. In that same day the Lord made a covenant with Abraham."
The Lord also, in a supernatural way, gave to Abraham a son, when both he and his wife were past the time of life, and also supernaturally preserved that son from death by the intervention of an angel's voice, who cried from the air just above where he was bound on Mount Moriah to be slain and sacrificed.
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And to Isaac, Jacob was given, to whom God also conversed in vision. See Gen. xxviii. 12, 13, 14. "And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed. And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth; and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed."
And to Jacob was given the twelve patriarchs who went down into Egypt where Moses was born, and from thence the whole nation of the Jews, consisting of about three millions of souls, journeyed towards the country of the Canaanites. During this journey, the whole nation were carried as it were upon the wings of a great eagle; for God divided the Red Sea and let them pass over safe to the other shore.
At this place also, the angel of the covenant stood between the two hosts in the form of a pillar of cloud. That side which looked towards the Egyptians, had the appearance of blackness or darkness, which involved their whole army in the shades of night. But that side which looked toward ms people, the Jews, shone with the brilliancy of a lambent flame, and gave them light till the morning rose, when it again assumed its cloudy aspect.
From this sea, in the process of years they came to Mount Horeb, at which place the angel of the covenant,
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who is Christ, came down on that Mount in great glory and with terrible thunderings, and gave his people a law of righteousness.
A lapse of not many years after the giving of the law, Moses stood on the top of Mount Pisgah, and from thence he saw the promised land, the land of his forefathers. At this place he died, and was hid in a valley of the mountain.
To him succeeded the government of Joshua, who led the armies of Israel from conquering to conquest, till all Canaan was subjected to his arms.
To Joshua succeeded the government of the elders, who had known him, and to them that of the judges, till the time of Samuel, the prophet, who anointed Saul, a Benjamite, to be king over Israel.
And next to Saul came David, the king, to whose throne Solomon was exalted: who built the first temple, which Ezekiel in his vision saw spiritualized, when the angel measured the temple, and showed him the waters of salvation, which come out from under its eastern gate.
Thus far has this descriptive and supernatural river of revelation flowed, whose waters are found at the temple as deep as to the ancles.
If the disciples of Christ, who, after being a long time with Him, who spake as never man spake, and had seen that he was raised from the dead after his crucifixion, and had heard the Saviour say, "My kingdom is not of this world," yet could say after all this, to their risen Lord, "Wilt thou not at this time restore the kingdom?" Which question evinced extreme
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ignorance of the nature of the Messiah's kingdom. I say, if such ignorance was manifest, even among the Saviour's disciples, at that time, it may, therefore, with great propriety be said, that a knowledge of this river of life was only as deep as to the ancles, in the days of Solomon.
Here, then, at Jerusalem, by the means of Solomon, did God build a house of prayer for his saints, and in the midst of opposing nations, establish the worship of himself; and here is finished the first measurement of the first thousand cubits or years.
From this house and downward, these waters became more profluent; for, from the mouths of prophets and kings, flowed abundance of these healing waters of revelation, who spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
Thus by the angel is measured a second thousand cubits, or years, which, from the finishing of the temple, brings this river to the advent of Christ, in the year of the world 4000, zzz at which place, according to the prophet, the waters were only as deep as to the knees of a man.
But some have supposed, that at this place, it should be considered, that this river of healing acquired its greatest magnitude and width.
But not so; because its effects, as relates to the whole world, were then but partially commenced, nor were the days of miracles yet ceased, but continued three hundred years after, till the time that the Roman emperor, Constantine, became converted from heathenism to the Gospel.
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The history of the Church from Christ till Constantine, furnishes many wonderful accounts of miracles being granted to confirm the character of Christianity in the view of a heathen world. On these accounts therefore, this river cannot be contemplated at the birth of Christ, such as Ezekiel saw it, in his vision, which was, at the time of the fourth measurement of the cubits, a great river, which could not be passed over, so wide it had spread its waters, in his view, through the nations of fallen men.
But from the birth of Christ, at Bethlehem of Judea, these waters became more redundant; for, the ministry of the Messiah, the calling of his disciples, his death, and resurrection from the dead, and ascension to glory, the gift of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, and the subsequent preaching and success of the Gospel, by the Apostles, greatly enlarged the glory of this river of life.
But its waters are now more frequently stained with the blood of martyrs; the Jews persecuted Christ, in his disciples, till God, in his holy wrath, cut them off by the Romans, and Destroyed them, as a government, from among the nations.
But from a knowledge obtained, that, in the siege of Jerusalem, by Titus, not one Christian lost his life on this account, the Gospel became more popular and less persecuted, for a while, by which means it was preached in many countries with power and great success, and thus became a river as deep as to the loins of a man, and poured itself over many parts of the Gentile nations. Asia Minor and Greece, the
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continent and Isles of Europe, became its recipients, till the times of the dark ages, when the Roman Catholic superstitions covered and obscured the face of this river, as with Egyptian darkness, for the space of a little more than four hundred years. In the days of Constantine the great, Emperor of Rome, and his immediate successors, the Pagan religion of the Romish empire was -abolished, and Christianity took its place. From those times, and downward, the system of Christianity was more and more corrupted by the fooleries of a papal domination, till the year one thousand, at which time a total darkness, a universal eclipse of Gospel knowledge pervaded all countries. However, there were undoubtedly many who feared God in humble life, such as the Moravians, and all along these ages, though but little known.
From the time Constantine, the Roman Emperor, became a Christian, which was in the year A. D. 306, or a little before, we number a succession from Pope Marcellus till Pope Sylvester II. in the year A. D. 1000, of one hundred and six Popes; among whom, in the year A. D. 851 was the famous female Pope, Joan, who filled the papal chair two years. Here, then, is a most frightful chasm in this rope of sand, which the spiders of the Roman Catholic Church have spun, called a legal succession, which they are very fond of climbing: and holding fast to this, they dangle about in the light of the strange fire of their own kindling.
Also, from the year 1000, till 1460, there are numbered down to Pope Pious II. seventy-two. And from
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him, till 1824, when the last Pope was elected, are forty-two more, making in all, from Constantine, two hundred and twenty Popes.
From the birth of Christ, therefore, till the time oi the commencement of that great darkness, was the third thousand cubits, or years, according to the measurement of the angel, in Ezekiel's vision.
But as soon as these years of darkness were passed by, and the mist and smoke of the bottomless pit were blown away by the winds of Heaven, this glorious river was again seen to disembogue, from beneath those mountains of error and wickedness, with augmented force and majesty.
About this time, (before the time of Luther) the Beghards and Lollards, of glorious memory, began to stir up some of the remaining sparks of the hallowed fire; and travelling over several countries, discipled many to their opinions, sowing the good seed, which finally eventuated in the great reformation. This reformation, to truth, under God, was first promoted by the following illustrious and ever memorable ministers of the new covenant. METHODIUS, and CYRIL, two Monks, or Ministers of the Greek Church or, as it is expressed in the history, two Greek Monks. These were the founders of the Moravian Churches in Bohemia and Moravia, but were afterwards associated with the followers of John Huss. History gives the account, that this people and Church in Bohemia, in the year 1459, made a settlement, at a certain place near Celesta, a hilly, and undoubtedly wilderness country; and that they there cast off all superstitious ceremonies. and worshipped God in primitive simplicity.
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But the historian states, that the beginning of this Church displeased the devil. They were, consequently, persecuted by the Romanists, and were compelled to disperse among the mountains, in the depths of winter. And in order to prevent themselves from being tracked in the snow by their persecutors, they used to walk one behind the other, arid the hindermost of them to haul the bough of a tree along to obscure their track. It appears that this people were horribly persecuted and destroyed, and all their ministers taken away, so that they were, in this respect, destitute. But they assembled at a place in the mountains, and there chose, by common suffrage, certain persons whom they called elders. This thing being done at the several places, those persons so elected formed a synod, at a place in the wilderness, where they ordained ecclesiastical laws, by which they were to be governed.
But the question arose, what shall we do for ministers? but after debate it was resolved that they would inquire of the Lord, by casting the lot, whether a presbyter could ordain a presbyter without a bishop. And after seeking to the Lord, by prayer, fasting, and tears, they obtained, as they supposed, from Him, by scrutiny of the lot, a decision that it was lawful for a presbyter to ordain presbyters, and thus secure to the next generation a Gospel ministry. Thus did the Moravians, whose conduct proves, that their idea of succession was not by them esteemed as absolutely essential to constitute a legal ministry.
It appears that these Moravians were a similar kind of Christians with the Waldenses; for at this time,
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they had in common council agreed to become joined with each other, and so become one Church; but were, by the papist's persecutions, prevented at that time. The premeditated union appears to have been amicably desired by both the Moravians and Waidenses.
After these, came the famous Wickliffe, and next to him came Jerome of Prague, in 1414, and these, not long after, were followed by Martin Luther, who vfas aided by the amiable and able Melancthon. And in 1525, a Lutheran establishment was erected throughout a greater part of the German Empire, and the yoke of Rome broken off.
But to these were added, in following years, Calvin, Erasmus, Cranmer, Lambert, Coverdale, Hooper, Rogers, and a host of others, who are now in the heavens above, who aided in shaking off from the consciences of deceived men, the chains of hell, which had been imposed by mercenary wretches, in the form of councils, conclaves, and conventions.
But by the labours, preaching, sufferings, and martyrdoms of many, a great and effectual door was opened, through which this healing and saving river, poured again its glorious and widening flood upon the nations.
These, as so many commanders of as many fleets, rode sublimely upon the pelucid waters of this river of life, which was now become a river, in which thousands might swim; waters which could not be passed; which is, in fact, the very river that is now pouring its healing flood over all countries, at the present time,
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and is carrying its light, life and health, to these very desert places, seen of Ezekiel, in the vision, and healing them of their vanities, and will eventually flow into the great sea of the Millennium, when righteousness shall cover the earth, as the waters do the great deep, and all the fishes, i. e. all the inhabitants of the earth shall be righteous.
Here, the multitudes of the deep, their different species and kinds, are used by the prophet as symbols to represent the different kinds of men, who are distinguished from each other by their stature, shape, complexion, language and manners. And as the great sea is the habitation of the former, according to their kinds; so is the dry land that of the latter, according to their kinds. Now, as an immense river, possessing salubrious qualities, of the highest possible degree, is here supposed as flowing into a vast ocean of stagnant and unhealthy waters, which is thereby healed and made more prolific, and the fishes of that ocean become better in consequence; therefore, such a supposed river is taken by the prophet as a symbol of the river of life, which he saw had begun to flow at Abraham, and from thence was enlarging, and would continue to enlarge, till its golden waves should finally dash over all the face of the globe, as once the great deluge overwhelmed it, and was, probably, a type of that event. Thus shall be healed, (agreeing with the symbol) all nations whom these waters shall finally embrace, as the ocean does its fishes. To this sense, agrees the 10th verse of the 47th Chapter of Ezekiel, latter clause. "Their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the
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fish of the great sea, exceeding many," so that whatever description of men, with respect to stature, language, or manners, who may then exist, are eligible to the sanctifying effects of this water of salvation. So cried the Lord Jesus, when once at a feast of the Jews, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink," and again, "The water that I shall give him, shall be in him a well of water, springing up into everlasting life." Thus we argue, that if a portion of this river shall be in the soul of each saint, "a well of water springing up into everlasting life," then indeed, there will exist the integral parts of a sea of righteousness, in all such as have part in the Millennium. And as particles of water are the integral parts> of an ocean, when amalgamated together, so will be each individual saint, at that day, an integral part of that sea of righteousness, which is to cover the globe, as the waters do the great deep.
"And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live; and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh." -- Ez. xlvii. 9.
And thus was finished the fourth measurement of the river, which was, from the beginning of those years of darkness above noticed, and was found to be a thousand cubits, or years, from thence, to where these waters became spread into many rivers, encompassing the whole earth with their glorious flood, as once the general deluge covered the globe fifteen cubits and upwards above all hills.
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We have now followed the angel, and the prophet who saw this river measured, from the fountain to the sea, and believe it applies with great beauty and fitness to the four dispensations; namely, from Abraham to the finishing of the first temple by Solomon; from thence to the birth of Christ; from Christ to the beginning of the dark ages; and from that period to the end of the next century, when the Millennium will commence; which will exactly accomplish the four dispensations from Abraham till that time, so distinctly shown to the prophet, as comprehending four thousand cubits, or years.
Having now presented the reader with the prophet's views, which I presume to call his expectations of the universal glory and knowledge of the Messiah's kingdom, O shall next proceed to adduce other evidence, that the Jews expected such a day, found in the writings of their Rabbins, whose expectations of it seem very clear.
But before I proceed with these, I shall notice the eleventh verse of the same Chapter, where the prophet Ezekiel has given his account of the above noticed river. The verse is as follows: "But the miry places thereof, and the marshes thereof, shall not be healed, they shall be given to salt." From which it is evident that Ezekiel saw, in his vision, that there would be some place's whither this great river should not flew, called marshes and miry places. This, at first sight, would seem an objection to the doctrine intended to be promulgated in this work, namely, that the water ot the river of gospel life shall flow over the whole earth. This difficulty we proceed to remove.
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The promise is, that whithersoever the waters of this river shall come, every thing that liveth shall be healed: but where they do not flow, they will not heal. It is a well known fact, that Papal Rome is now, and has ever been, more impervious to the rays of true gospel light, than even the veriest heathen who have yet been visited. It is not contained in the promise of the healing effects of this river, that it shall at all flow over the miry and marshy places, but it shall heal only where it shall come, and is received and believed in; for faith is the only condition of salvation which is ever accompanied with works corresponding.
It is no argument that Papal Rome has at all received the Gospel, because they are numbered among Christian nations, and the reason why is, because they have perverted its truths, and turned the grace of God into lasciviousness, by the numerous idle and abominable inventions of that deluded people.
Papal Rome, then, and its vile sanctuaries, are the miry and marshy places which shall not be healed, because they do now steadfastly resist the light, by preventing the Scriptures having a free circulation among thorn; except in their own mutilated manner, and those in Latin.
Heathen countries are zzzfoiuid by the Scriptures, poor, blind, naked, and ignorant; therefore, they are eligible to its teachings.
But the Roman Catholics it finds already wise in their own conceits; therefore, they remain blind and unhealed, because they say they see, and are in no need of additional light, nor of a physician.
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But if this river of life is to envelope the whole earth, and to extend its influence to all people, why then shall not these marshy places be healed? how can this thing be, if all people are to be righteous? The mystery of these marshy places being given to salt, is to be explained as follows:
In all ages, or rather in ancient times, it was a custom with conquerors, when they had razed a city to the ground, to sow it with salt, as a token of total and everlasting ruin. This custom is undoubtedly alluded to by the prophet, in this place, when he saw, in vision, these miry places given to salt. Papal Rome, must therefore be destroyed by the direct power of God, before the time of the Millennium shall come, which he shall cause to be effected by the agency of fire. Papal Rome, which has ever been a sink of sin and a place of mire te all such as put their trust in her creeds and counsels, a place of stagnant marshes, diseased doctrines, and traditions of men.
The celebrated Calmet, a Roman Catholic commentator on the Scriptures, makes this same verse to point out the Protestant cause, as the miry places foreseen of Ezekiel. But this all Protestants know is false, be cause by the fruit the tree is known.
It is perfectly natural, therefore, to apply them to Papal Rome, because they suit the symbol, which is mire and marshy places, in a striking manner.
But they shall be given to salt, and never be healed, but destroyed.
What else can be the meaning of the following Scriptures, which by all protestant theologians are made to
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apply to Papal Rome. See Rev. xviii. 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. "For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled, fill to her double. How much, she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning."
From which we may plainly understand, that the overthrow of the country where the Roman beast has his seat and throne, shall be burned with fire, after the manner of Sodom and Gomorrah.
And as Abraham stood .afar off and beheld the smoke of the whole country ascend up, so shall many at that day, stand afar off and lament the overthrow of that great city and country.
This is also the sentiment of that truly great and good man, the Rev. David Simson, M. A. See his plea for religion, the new edition, printed 1812, page 160, as follows: -- "It is remarkable, that all the country about the city of Rome, is a kind of bitumen, or pitchy substance. And in the year of our Lord 80, a fire burst out from beneath the ground, in the middle of the city, and burnt four of the principal temples, with the sacred buildings of the capital. Italy is indeed
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a store-house of fire. And when the 1260 years spoken of by St. John (see Rev. xi. 2d * and 3d.) shall be accomplished, Rome itself, with all its magnificence, will be absorbed into a lake of fire, and sink into the sea, to rise no more for ever." Here, then, instead of healing those marshy places, which for ages have poisoned, with their noxious vapours, the atmosphere of common sense, and the more glorious atmosphere of a revelation from heaven,, they are to be destroyed by fire at an earlier stage of time than the general judgment. But my reader may here inquire, if such shall be the fact, how then are these miry and marshy places to be given to salt in token of their everlasting ruin. Thus I answer, a 'city among men, is generally a depot and repository of arms, and is called a strong hold on that account. Therefore, when the besiegers had overcome any such place, they anciently did, at some particular times, sow the place of its foundation with salt. See Judges ix. 45. "And Abimelech fought against the city all that day, and he took the city, and slew the people that were therein, and beat down the city and sowed it with salt."
From this custom, the prophet has borrowed the idea of those marshy and miry places being given to salt, but of a vastly different kind of salt from that used by men on any such occasion, which shall consist of liters, fire.
Now, as those marshy places are supposed to be embraced in the dark arcanum of the papal machinations
* The Jews reckoned invariably, 30 days to a month; the 42 months, therefore, multiplied by 30, will produce 1260 days or years.
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it Rome, they are considered the city and strong hold of devils. And since it is the great God who shall then fight against them, and overthrow their city by fire, after the manner of Sodom, it was proper for the prophet to say, those marshy places shall be given to salt, and I will add, the salt of fire, because it is God, and not man, who shall be their conqueror.
This sentiment is supported by our Lord. See Mark ix. 49. -- "For entry one shall be salted with fire." Upon these words, I have read the following comment: -- "Here may be seen the greatness, multiplicity, and eternity of the pains of the damned. They suffer without being able to die; they are burned without being consumed; they are sacrificed without being sanctified; are baited with the fire of hell as eternal victims of Divine Justice. We must of necessity be sacrificed to God, after one way or other, in eternity; and we have now the choice, either of the unquenchable fire of his justice, or of the everlasting flame of his love." -- Clark, copied from Quensel.
This I believe a just interpretation of the miry and marshy places, which shall not be healed, but shall be destroyed before the Millennium commences; and can therefore be no objection to the universality of the waters of life, which the prophet saw flowing over the whole globe.
But I resume the subject of proof, that the ancient Jews expected the Millennium.
The following is an extract from the Rabbinical writings of the Jews, among which are found their
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account of the prophecies of Eldad and Medad, two of the seventy elders, who prophesied in the camp of Israel, in the presence of Moses. But of those two it is said, that they continued to prophesy when the others had ceased, which occasioned one of the young men to run to Moses and complain of what he thought was indecorous; but was reproved by Moses, who said to the young man, "Enviest thou for my sake? Would God that all the Lord's people were prophets." Num. xi. 29.
The Jewish Rabbin who has noticed the prophecies of Eldad and Medad, is Jonathan Ben Uziel, whose account is found in an ancient Jewish book, called the Jerusalem Targum, I will give his account at full length as follows:
"And there were two men left in the camp, the name of one was Eldad, the name of the other was Medad; on them the spirit of prophecy rested."
Eldad prophesied and said, "Behold Moses the prophet, the scribe of Israel, shall be taken from this world, and Joshua the son of Nun, captain of the host, shrill succeed him."
Medad prophesied and said, "Behold quails shall arise out of the sea, and become a stumbling block to Israel."
Then they both prophesied together, and said, "In the very end of time, Gog and Magog, and their army shall come up against Jerusalem, and they shall fall by the hand of king Messiah. Behpld a king shall come up from the land of Magog, in the last days, and shall gather the kings together, and leaders
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clothed with armour, and all people shall obey them, and they shall wage war in the land of Israel against the children of the captivity; but the hour of lamentation has been long prepared for them, for they shall be slain by the flame of fire which proceedeth from under the throne of glory, and their dead carcasses shall fall on the mountains of the land of Israel, and all the wild beasts of the field, and the wild fowls of heaven, shall come and devour their carcasses; and afterwards, all the dead of Israel shall rise again to life, and shall enjoy the delights prepared for them from the beginning, and zzz skrJ.1 rsccivz the reward of their works."
zzzr!".3 conjoint Erochccv of thase two zzzr.roahels. in reference to Gog and Magog, and their armies, who in the last days were to invade the country of Jerusalem, refers to the same thing with Ezekiel, though delivered many hundred years before his time. This invasion was by Antiochus, about three hundred years after Ezekiel had prophesied of him. This prophet, and the two others, Eldad and Medad, agree almost exactly about the manner of their destruction. The two conjoint prophets state, that they shall fall by the hand of king Messiah. This should be understood of Christ, who by St. Paul is said to follow the Jews, (Cor. x. 4.) and guided them, and breathed upon them the spirit of courage in battle, as in the case of Judas Macaheus, who terribly overthrew the armies of Antiochus; and hence, by the spirit of prophecy they said they shall fall by the hand of king Messiah. And further, they stated that they should be destroyed and
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slain by a flame of fire, which should proceed from under the throne of glory. This was said in reference to the signal manner in which they were destroyed. See Ezekiel xxxviii. 22 -- "And I will zzzphad against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hail stones, fire and brimstone." Thunder with lightning, mingled with the rain and great hail, is meant, undoubtedly, such as fell upon the Egyptians in their plagues, which ran along on the ground. And their carcasses were to fall on the mountains of Israel, and all the wild fowls of heaven, with the wild beasts of the field, shall devour them. This was all literally fulfilled in the destruction of Anliochus, who attempted to destroy, root and branch, the Jews. He was called Gog, and his country Magog, and they fell on the mountains of Israel, by the hand of king Messiah, who employed Judas Macabeus as the terrible instrument of the ruin of Gog and Magog. [See 1st. Mace 1st. chap.]
But these prophets extended their views further than this event, even till the lime when all the dead of Israel shall rise again to life. Although the Jews have, at several times in the process of ages, been recovered from a captive state, from among their enemies, yet they have never had a time of peace and prosperity, of sufficient universality and duration, to warrant so strong a figure as the resurrection from the dead of all Israel. This view, therefore, extends to the time of the first resurrection spoken of by St. Paul and by St. John. See I Cor. xv. 23; Thess. iv. 16; and Rev. XX. 5. --
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This first resurrection I apprehend, as spoken of by those two prophets, and the thousand years of his (that is Christ's) subsequent reign on the earth, as spoken of by St. John, should be considered, in a more emphatic sense, to be the days of the Messiah, than any other time since his advent. Because then this government will be universal and particular, and without any opposition, for a thousand years. To this opinion, Rabbin Elieser, one of the ancient Jewish doctors, agrees, by saying that in the house of Elias, the prophet, there was a tradition, that the righteous whom the holy blessed God should raise from the dead, should not return again unto the dust but for the space of a thousand years. And again, when the question was proposed among the Jewish Rabbins, how many the days of the Messiah should be, they answer, the days of the Messiah are a thousand years, and unquestionably refer to the same thousand years with St. John after the first resurrection, and agrees with the view of those two prophets.
As to the validity of those prophets, I think there can be no doubt; for the scriptures bear ample testimony to their veracity. We see that in the eleventh chapter of Numbers, their names are mentioned, and associated with the seventy elders who prophesied on that memorable occasion, and that the spirit of prophecy rested on those two in a remarkable manner, for they were more zealous than their fellows, and continued to speak when the others had ceased.
We see that Eldad's prophecy was fulfilled, which was, that Joshua should succeed Moses in the government of Israel. -- Deut. xxxiv. 9.
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Medad's prophecy was also fulfilled, which was, that quails should arise out of the sea, and be a stumbling block to Israel. -- Num: xi. 31, 32, 33.
The reader will perceive, that the use I wish to make of Jonathan Ben Uziel's account of Eldad and Medad's prophecy, is to establish the fact, that the latter prophecies of those two prophets relate to king Messiah's kingdom, or to the Millennium, and to the resurrection of the just, at its commencement, and will as surely be fulfilled in their time, as were their prophecies respecting the exaltation of Joshua, and of the quails which became a stumbling block to Israel. We will now bring forward the testimony of another Jewish Rabbin, by whom we shall prove that the Millennium was expected by the Jewish Church.
This Rabbin's name is Eliezer, the son of R. Jose, of Galilee, and his remarks are found in a Sanhedrim folio book, in which a question is found proposed, saying, how many are the days of the Messiah? The answer is -- There is, in the house of Elias, a tradition (and Paul says to Timothy, Keep the traditions) that the righteous whom the holy blessed God shall raise from the dead, shall not return again to dust but for the space of a THOUSAND YEARS, in which the holy blessed God shall renew the world. A plain intimation this, that the waters which Ezekiel saw in his vision shall not only heal all nations of their depraved natures, who are alive at the commencement of the Millennium, but that also the world shall be renewed, i. e. shall be delivered from all natural and moral evil, as it respects the saints during the thousand years of the
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days of the Messiah. But when all Israel shall arise, their tradition goes on to say, that they shall have wings like the wings of eagles, and shall fly above the waters. This view of the Targum, respecting all Israel, who shall arise from the dead, and are to be capacitated with wings, and shall fly above the waters, is to be understood of their belief in the resurrection of the righteous, to which St. Paul agrees, when he says to the Thess. iv. 16. "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first."
But they shall not return again to dust, but for the space of a thousand years; not that the Targum means that when the thousand years are finished they shall again return to" dust, but that during that thousand years the earth shall be renewed to its original blessedness, and its inhabitants to original holiness. Indeed many of the prophets bear their testimony, some in a greater, and some in a less degree, to the came expectation.
Thus we see Moses recording, from the very mouth of the holy blessed God, "But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled ivith the glory of the Lord." -- Num xiv. 21.
How plainly does this signify, that, in the view of Him who sees all things at a glance, a time should come, when a disordered earth should be filled with the healing healthful glory of the Lord.
David, the sweet Psalmist king, seems frequently to anticipate the final universality of the Messiah's kingdom
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on the earth. "Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." -- Psalms ii. 8.
"Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great king." -- Psalms xlviii. 2.
"Then shall the earth yield her increase, and God, even our God, shall bless us: God shall bless us, and all the ends of the earth shall fear him." -- Psalms kvii. 6, 7.
"Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him." -- Psalms lxxii. 11.
"And blessed be his glorious name forever, and let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen, and amen." -- Psalms lxxii. 19.
To Isaiah the prophet, the Lord has spoken plainly of the kingdom of his son. Many places in the book of his prophecy, declare that his government shall be from the rivers to the ends of the earth, and that all souls then on the earth shall come to have a saving knowledge of his grace.
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above all hills, and all nations shall flow unto it." -- Isa. ii. 2. From which nothing can be clearer, than that a time must arrive, as the zenith of what the Saviour began to do (when he made to the woman her first promise, that her seed should bruise the serpent's head, this shall be done,) when Satan shall be shut up in the bottomless pit, and a knowledge of the Lord consequently
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shall cover the earth, as the waters cover (the face of the sea. At that time they shall have "beat their swords into plough-shares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." This then is the expectation of Isaiah, and should be the firm and certain expectation of all saints, who shall not then be disappointed; for then "Violence shall no mart be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders, but thou, shalt call tny walls salvation, and thy gates praise. Thy people aiso, shall be all righteous; they shall inherit the land for ever. A. little fine shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time." -- Isa. Ix. 18,21, 22.
By the spirit of "inspiration, the prophet Jeremiah looked beyond the sorrows of his countrymen, to zzzA'hora was committed the oracles of truth, (he first testament, and after whose name all saints are called Israelites, not because they are descended from the lineage of Abraham, but because they are the household of faith. The prophet, therefore, looks through the long vista of ages, to the time when Jerusalem, spiritual Jerusalem, Mount Zion, shall be built in the tops of the mountains, and all nations snail (low to it, which zzzstmll no like the temple, its glorious type, "be plucked up, nor thrown down any more forever." -- Jer. xxxi. 40. "Therefore, they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock, and of the herd; and their soul
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shall be as a watered garden, and they shall not sorrow any more at all." -- Jer. xxxi. 12.
The Jews, nor their country, nor yet their city, for glory and strength excelling all others, have ever yet arrived to any such state of happiness as spoken ot above, by the prophet Jeremiah; it is therefore undoubtedly spoken of the times of the Millennium, when Jerusalem, in the spiritual sense, shall be built, and is called the New Jerusalem, which cannot be pulled down or overthrown, nor its inhabitants sorrow any more at all, strongly intimating that its citizens shall not suffer either from natural or moral evil, any more, as they formerly had, in the days of probation. The prophet Uaniel is declared, in the scriptures, to he a man greatly beloved of heaven; this was said to him by the angel Gabriel, at a time when he prayed and made his confession to God. And because he was beloved of the Most High, he was pleased to make known to him, in a vision of his sleep, zzzth«: times which should pass over the nations of the globe, and also over the saints, how they must suffer from the tyranny of the beasts which he saw arise out of the sea, and strove together, which has actually come to pass in the several eras of time. But beyond all these, he saw a more glorious vision, which cannot be understood otherwise than of the Millennium. "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should
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I serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not he destroyed. But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever; even for ever and ever. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High." -- Dan. vii. 13,14,18,27.
It is evident that this kingdom shall be on the earth in the latter days, (which are even at the door) because in the last quoted ver«e, are the words, "under the, whole heaven" and therefore, is qualified as belonging to the earth.
From what has been advanced on the preceding pages of the second division, I feel justified in believing, that the ancient Jewish Church did expect, that when the Messiah should come, he would finally involve the whole earth in his kingdom, and that peace and great glory should be the concomitants of his reign for one thousand years. But why the idea should obtain of so definite a term of years, in the early age of the Church, is deeply interesting; but we see the same doctrine taught by the holy St. John, who wrote as lie received it from the angel of Jesus Christ.
I shall next proceed to prove, under the same division, that the Christian Church have ever taught the expectation of a Millennium.
St John, the Revelator, speaks of that great day, as a day in which Christ shall come to be admired of his saints, who shall then take the kingdom, and possess it for ever.
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In order to prove that the Christian Churches, iu the days of St. John, believed that a Millennium should come in the latter days, I have only to transcribe the seven first verses of the 20th Chapter of Revelation, which I proceed to do.
Verse 1st. -- "And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand.
Verse 2d. -- "And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil and satan, and bound him a thousand years.
Verse 3d. -- "And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed for a little season.
Verse 4th. -- "And I saw thrones, and they that sat upon them; and judgment was given unto them; and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
Verse 5th. -- "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection."
Who can speak plainer than St. John does in those two last quoted verses? stating, explicitly, that between the resurrection of the righteous dead, and the resurrection of the wicked dead, shall be a lapse of a thousand
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years, which is the Millennium contended for in these passes.
Verse 6th. -- "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection, for on such the second death hath no power; but they shall be priests of God, and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
Verse 7th. -- "And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison."
It is thought that these scriptures show, as clearly and as definitely as can be desired, that the primitive Church did expect the Millennium.
Six times in the course of seven verses, has the Evangelist, in the most plain and emphatic manner, declared that a certain thousand years shall come, when the great Shepherd of the sheep shall walk in their midst, and that his spiritual presence shall be with them a thousand years. This, therefore, is the Millennium which is to come.
"This doctrine of the reign of the saints after the destruction of Antichrist, was the opinion of the whole orthodox Christian Church in the age immediately following the death of St. John, when Polycarp, and many of St. John's disciples, were yet living, as is expressly stated by Justin Martyr; and is a testimony of sufficient strength to convince any who rely at all on the authority of antiquity, that this doctrine was believed by the primitive Church, who unquestionably founded it upon Rev. xx. from the 1st verse to the 7th, inclusive." -- Second Advent, page 503.
The Christian Churches have, in succeeding ages, held the doctrine; many able theologians and fathers
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have maintained the opinion; and at the present time the expectation pervades Christendom; and every individual bosom possessing any share of scripture knowledge, and regarding it as truth, expects the promised Millennium.
The heathen also, of many countries, anciently entertained opinions equivalent to this, who were doubtless indebted to the Patriarchs and Prophets from Noah and downward, for their ideas, though vastly adulterated with their own fancies by some of them.
A description of the changes which await the earth, are very clearly hinted at by Plato. In the end, he states, the world shall be plunged into an eternal abyss of confusion, but God, he says, will again appear, and resume the reins of ihe empire, and restore order. Is not the new creation here hinted at, though obscurely, by this great philosopher? See Rev. xxi. 5. "Behold I make all things new."
Virgil has expressed an opinion, which, in the aggregate, agrees with the opinion of this book as it respects the Millennium. He says, A child of a superior order is soon to descend from heaven to earth; and at his birth the iron age will cease, and the golden age be restored; crimes will be banished, and the world shall be delivered from all its fears, and become fruitful as at first, and produce every thing every where.
Seneca declares a sentiment, which seems to favour the opinion, that before the Millennium, (as contended in this work) all sinners shall be destroyed, to prepare its way. He says, "Haste and come, last and great day, when the heavens shall fall into confusion,
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their ruins crush the impious set of men, so that a better race may arise; such as they were heretofore, when Saturn reigned over the beginning of the world." Here is a hint at the state in which our first parents existed, before they fell by sin, and were banished from Eden.
The Chinese ancient books have an account, that an extraordinary person, called by them the Saint, or second person in the trinity, is to reign, and in his kingdom he will not allow any wicked men to be there, but they must be banished into the dark abodes of beasts and monster?, leaving none to be the subjects of his kingdom but heavenly and upright people.
Plutarch says, that the Persian Magi hold, that there will come a time when Arimanius, the evil spirit, or satan, will be banished from the earth, when it shall, therefore, become beautiful, when men shall be happy and their abodes become transparent, and shall all have the same life, language and government.
Thus it is plain, that from very early ages, the expectation prevailed, that a better state of things was finally to succeed this bad State, so acknowledged to be by all. Yes, even Infidels.
Having shown that the Prophets, the Jewish Rabins and Doctors, the ancient Christian Church and lathers, and even the very heathen, have expected the Millennium, I now proceed to exhibit the signs of the times which went before the flood, and before the coming of Christ, and also the signs of our own times, which denote the Millennium nigh its commencement.
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Our next endeavour shall be, to give a view of the signs of the times which preceded the great deluge and the birth of Christ -- and an account of Herod the great, who put to death the infants of Jerusalem. Also, a minute description of the Ark, and the animals saved in it -- proving it amply sufficient to contain -- all the Scriptures state it did.
God signin'd by signs, his spirit griev'd --
So from his glorious Heav'n where now he reigns,
He show'd the coming Christ by mystic signs.
The reason why a view of those times are presented to the reader, is to prepare the mind for a view of the signs of our own times, which signify the Millennium nigh its coming.
The signs of the times, which were eminently calculated to arouse the antediluvians to the expectation of severe judgments, to be poured out upon them, was, in the first place, their own great wickedness, corruption and violence. Of these things they were reproved and threatened by Enoch, the first prophet, who was the seventh from Adam, and was translated from earth to heaven by the miraculous power of God. We have in St. Jude, an account of his manner of reproof, which strongly indicates that those times were highly fraught with fearful forebodings, that great wrath was in waiting for those abominable nations who had so thoroughly corrupted their ways in the earth.
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The manner in which he communicated his reproofs of their doings, was, no doubt, at their public assemblies of riot, confusion and idolatrous worship; where he, in some commanding situation, harangued and fore-ivarned them of impending judgments, and said, "The Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, for their ungodly speeches, which they have spoken against Him:" namely, against the Lord God of Adam. For there is scarcely a doubt, but they constantly reproached and reviled his name, for what they might erroneously esteem severe in his conduct toward Adam and Eve, because he drove them out from Eden, for their sin.
The local situation of Eden, was, most certainly, well known to the antediluvians, for they must have frequently conversed with their, great progenitor, Adam, concerning it, who had informed them of its delights; which might have inflamed them with a spirit of covetousness to possess it again; but this being impossible, they raged against the Lord, and spake injurious words against him on that account.
Of their works, therefore, the holy Enoch reproved them, and perhaps told them, that if God had so severely judged Adam, they might not expect to escape some signal punishment.
At which rebukes they were, unquestionably, enraged, and no doubt proceeded to lay violent hands upon him, to take away his life; but in the midst of their fury, God caught him up from their sight.
He was a man in the prime of life, being three hundred and sixty-five years old when he was translated;
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but had walked with God three hundred years, consequently, was born again at the age of sixty-five. This holy man, who had been among them a preacher of righteousness, as Noah was, in after years, was no doubt translated in open sight, as was Elijah, near the fords of Jordan.
This circumstance should therefore have been received of them, as an evident sign, that God sanctioned Enoch, and consequently condemned them.
But what avails the signs of Heaven with the ungodly -- the translation of Enoch should have been to them as a voice from the ETERNAL, informing them that they were in imminent danger, since God had so suddenly and miraculously removed that good man from among them.
Not many years after the translation of Enoch, there was given to the antediluvians another sign from Heaven, which was the preaching of Noah, who declared to them that God had determined to destroy the earth by water; for God had said to Noah, "The end of all flesh is come before me, for the earth is filled with violence; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth."
This surely was a novel doctrine, which was by no means worthy of the attention of the wise ones of that day, who, probably, began to philosophize upon the subject, and to say, how can this thing be, since the waters every where cleave to the lower parts of the earth, and cannot, therefore, climb the hills, and from thence overflow the globe.
Neither is there water sufficient in the clouds of heaven,
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if every drop were drained, to flood a globe like this: they were not willing to suppose, that God, who out of nothing made the globe with all its seas, could as easily create an addition of water, sufficient to drown the world.
And again, why should he do so? they might say; surely we have done nothing to offend him -- he is far from us, and cares not what we do -- it is beneath the notice of a God. But if he does, how can he find fault? are we not as he would have us? did he not create us? we have done only as we listed, and acted in accordance with the passions he implanted in us himself -- therefore, he must be pleased, instead of being offended with us, when we live as we list.
There are many of the same sect at the present day, who do not wish to confess that they are fallen from original innocence, who will, if they continue in that fatal error, fall into, not a flood of water, but of fire, according to the Scriptures.
Therefore, Noah and his preaching were rejected, who no doubt, notwithstanding, took all opportunities to reform them, and to bring them to repentance, as Enoch had done before him, but without success.
The people of that age, are they to whom Christ preached by Noah, in spirit, while they were in prison; which prison is to be understood as relating to the fact, that they were under condemnation; for God had said, "The end of all flesh is come before me." And the one hundred and twenty years in which Noah was building the Ark, is to be considered only as a respite of their lives from immediate death; therefore, during this time,
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they are spoken of as prisoners, or spirits in prison, and under the divine arrest. This idea is beautifully corroborated in Genesis, where it is written "My spirit shall not always strive with man, for as much as he is flesh, yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years." -- Gen. vi. 3, in which Christ, by his spirit, in Noah preached repentance to those nations, precisely as Christ, by his spirit, preaches to the people by his ministers at the present day.
The strange news, concerning a man, whose name was Noah, had probably spread far and near, that he was, in fact, building a large vessel upon dry land, to save himself and family from drowning, excited, no doubt, a general curiosity to visit so strange a person, and to see his vessel, and to converse with him about it, and to ridicule his work of needless precaution.
Upon this principle, it is reasonable to suppose, that immense assemblies, from time to time, visited him during the one hundred and twenty years, at which opportunities this great preacher of righteousness endeavoured to convince them of their sins, and assured them that he was not building this vast vessel but at the express command of God, for the saving of his house and every species of beasts, that the earth should not be desolated when the flood should be dried up.
In this way, therefore, they were all warned of their danger, for God is just, and gives to every soul time and opportunity, according to his day and ability, to secure a place at his right hand.
But suppose the antideluvians had all repented, or a half of them only, at the preaching of Noah, then
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God would not have drowned the world, but would have saved them from that destruction, as he did the great city of Nineveh, when they repented at the preaching of Jonah, though he had said, in an unqualified manner, "Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown:" the threatenings and promises of God, relating to men, are always to be understood as conditional while man is a probationer.
But the building of the Ark continued to progress, and the time drew nigh when the prophecies of this singular character were to be fulfilled, to his honour and everlasting renown; or to fall to the ground, to his great shame and confusion.
No doubt, he had suffered abundance of ridicule, for his strange preaching and his stranger work, and perhaps, added to that, persecution, for they of his generation were a violent race of rebels against God; and had not his special providence protected the Ark, it is very probable they would have burned it, as often as Noah, with all his power, could have built it.
The Ark at length was finished, and six days were allowed to Noah and his family to remove into it, and to bring the several kinds of animals, and put them in their places, and to store away food for man and beast, for on the seventh, God would pour out his rains from Heaven, for God had said, "Yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth." -- Gen. vii. 3.
How wonderful a sign was this -- the huge vehicle
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stood finished in their sight, when from the hills and fields came all beasts with fowls, by sevens and by pairs, male and female, voluntarily to the Ark, and went in last of all, Noah and his family went in, and God, by his invisible hand, shut and fastened the door!
Perhaps at this juncture, there were gathered together immense multitudes, to see the strange spectacle of a man's shutting himself up on dry land, to keep from drowning.
But while they mocking and wondering stood, to £ ee from whence a flood should come, far in the south black clouds began to rise and send along the heavens In frightful haste.
From the north, and from every point of the four winds, it was evident a dreadful storm was gathering unusual thunders began to rive the heavens, and terrifying lightnings to flash around; anon, the rains began to pour, the earth to tremble, the sea to spout its waters in tall cataracts to the stormy skies, through the opening fissures of regions sinking to the depths beneath.
But it is probable, the millions of those countries thought this storm of no long continuance, but would be soon assuaged, as other storms had always been. But after several days of continual storm, and anxious expectation that the rain would cease, their hopes began to fail them, and horrors, instead of hope, possessed their souls, lest the fatal prophecy of the venerable Noah was indeed fulfilling. But there stood the steadfast Ark in its place -- the waters already risen and involved its keel -- every where the flood increased
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with hastening fury -- the vallies, it was evident, were fast filling -- from the hills, whole rivers began to pour, bearing the earth, in many places, with trees and all their load, with roaring fury, to the: vales beneath. Now, terrors began to seize their unbelieving souls, and fearful forebodings to shake their self-begotten confidence, while they fled from their houses, or their tents, in all the country where they dwelt, to the nearest hills or mountains. -- But still the flood pursued, and in awful haste climbed up their sides, enveloping the tallest trees beneath in a deep of dreary waters. As far as the eye could reach, nothing but one extended inundation could be seen: houses, with all the works of man, lay floating on its rippling tide, with beasts of every kind struggling in the waves with mighty death.
Far from the former haunts of man, on the mountains' rough and rugged sides, were seen crowds of men, with feeble women and children, climbing up, disputing as they scrambled through the tangled woods; whole droves of fleeing beasts, that bit and tore them as they fled, each aiming at the highest point of land, to save the precious life.
Oh, what a sight was this to pitying angels, and to suffering men, that while they climbed, the weaker fell behind, worn down with the descending storm, they fall and roll downward to the black waves beneath, or sit in dead despair, till the unpitying flood engulfs them in its foam. But here, there is none should doubt, though mercy was denied the body, yet to the soul that sweetest balm was given, to all that mercy
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sought, and bewailed their sins. But soon the highest hills were sunk beneath the flood; the race of man was extinct, except the eight who now outrode the prevailing waters, safe in the wondrous ark, the labour of more than a hundred years, and perhaps of more than a hundred men; a history of which we shall now give. See Clarke's Commentary.
When God said to Noah, make thee an Ark of gopher wood. And this is the fashion which thou shall make it of. The length of the Ark shall be three hundred cubits, which is, five hundred and forty-seven feet: let it be remembered that the ancient cute was nearly twenty-two inches, which 'was ascertained by Mr. Greaves, who travelled into Greece, Palestine and Egypt, in order to be able to ascertain the weights monies and measures of antiquity.
Its length, therefore, was five hundred and forty seven feet. The breadth of it fifty cubits, which is ninety-one feet two inches. And the height of it thirty cubits, which is fifty-four feet eight inches.
It is plain enough, therefore, that this vast vessel was amply large to contain all beasts and men, said to have been in it; and also, to contain food for them in abundance for more than twelve months. " Dr. Arbuthnot computes this vessel at eighty-one thousand and sixty-two tons burthen. *
A history of the Ark, as given in the Scriptures, of its containing every thing of all flesh, two of every sort, and food sufficient for their subsistence for a year, has been made an objection to the truth of the Mosaic history. -- Gen. vi. I 9. But to obviate this objection,
* Which is equal to a fleet of 81 ships of one thousand tons burden each.
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perhaps I cannot do better than to introduce, in this place, the following observations on the subject.
At the first view, the number of animals may appear so immense, that no place but the forest could be thought large enough to contain them. If, however, we come to a close calculation, the number of the different kinds of animals will be found much less than is generally imagined.
Naturalists have divided the whole system of zoology into classes and orders, containing genera and species. There are six classes thus denominated. 1. Mammalia. 2. Aves. 3. Amphibia. 4. Pices. 5. Insectae; and 6. Vermes. With the three last of these. viz. fishes, insects and worms, the question can have nothing to do.
The first class, Mammalia, or animals with teats, contain seven orders, and only forty-three genera, if we except the seventh order, i. e. all the whale kind, which certainly need not come into this account. The different species in this class amount (the whale kind excluded) to five hundred and forty-three.
The second class, Aves, or birds, contains six orders, and only seventy-four genera, if we exclude the third order, Anseres, or web-footed fowls, all of which could very well live in the water. The different species in this class, the Anseres excepted, amount to two thousand three hundred and seventy-two.
The third, Amphibia, are only two orders, reptiles and serpents. These comprehend only ten genera, and three hundred and sixty-six species; but of reptiles, many could live in the water, such as the tortoise,
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frog, &c. Of the former, there are thirty-three species; of the latter seventy.
The whole of these, therefore, of such as were saved in the Ark, would occupy but little room in that huge vessel: a small portion of earth, in the hold, would be quite sufficient for their accommodation.
Bishop Wilkins, who has written largely, and with his usual accuracy on this subject, supposes that quadrupeds do not amount to one hundred different kinds, nor birds which could not live in the water, to two hundred. Of quadrupeds, he shows that only seventy-two species needed a place in the Ark. and the birds he divides into nine classes, including in the whole one hundred and ninety-five kinds, from which all the web-footed should be deducted, as these could live in the water. He computes all the carniverous animals equivalent, as to the bulk of their bodies and food, to twenty-seven wolves; and all the rest to one hundred and eighty oxen. For the former he allows one thousand eight hundred and twenty-five sheep for their annual consumption; and for the latter, one hundred and nine thousand five hundred cubits of hay. These animals and their food will be easily contained in the two first stories, and much room to spare. As to the third story, no person can doubt of its being sufficient for the fowls, and Noah, with his family. One sheep a day, he judges will be sufficient for six wolves; and one square cubit of hay, which contains forty-one pounds, as ordinarily pressed in our ricks, will be amply sufficient for one ox a day.
When the quantity of room which animals and their
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food required for one year, is compared with the capacity of the Ark, we should be led to conclude, with the learned Bishop, that of the two it is more difficult to assign a number and bulk of necessary things to answer the capacity of the Ark, than to find sufficient room for the several species of animals and food already known to have been there. But there is no doubt there was more than sufficient room, which conduced to health by a free circulation of air through the several apartments of the Ark. The most expert mathematicians of the day, and the Bishop was one of the first in Europe, could not assign the proportion of a vessel better accommodated to the purpose than is here done.
The capacity of the Ark, which has been made an objection against Scripture, ought to be esteemed a confirmation of its divine authority. Since In those rude ages, men being less versed in arts and philosophy, were more obnoxious to vulgar prejudices than now; so that had the Ark been contrived by human invention, it would have been made according to the will and apprehensions which arise from a confused and general view of things, and is probable would have been made as much too big as it has been represented too little.
Having now passed through my views of the signs of the times which went before the flood, I shall next attempt an exhibition of the signs of the times preceding the advent of the Messiah, with which will be found many strong intimations of the Millennium to come in the latter days.
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I conceive that this field of research is more abundantly supplied with prophecies, forerunners and signs than the other; and therefore, shall only notice some of the most obvious, relating to my purpose. All the prophecies of the Messiah, and all the supernatural appearances of angels, previous to his coming in the flesh, should be considered as the signs of the times, denoting that he was making haste and would not tarry.
Our first instance of the appearance of Christ in the likeness of the human form, is that of his sociable conversation with Abraham, in company with two of his angels, under the oak trees of Abraham's grove at Mamre. "And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day."
But Abraham knew not that it was the second person in the Trinity, for he was in the likeness of a man; therefore, as soon as he saw the approach of these strangers, arose and made them welcome to his lowly tent. Therefore, he said to the men, "Let a little water I pray you be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree." -- Gen. xviii. 4. But they had not been long there before he found that his guests were from heaven, and that one of them was the very same who had appeared to him before. See Gen. xvii. 1. "And when Abraham was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abraham, and said, I am the Almighty God; walk before me and be thou perfect." 3d. verse. -- "And Abraham fell on his face, and God talked with him."
It is very likely he discovered him first in the affair
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of Sarah, when he asked him "Where is Sarah, thy wife?" and added, "I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and lo! Sarah thy wife shall have a son." Then he knew it was the Lord, for he had talked with him upon the same subject before, when he fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, "Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old, in whom all the families of the earth shall be blessed?" *
Here, then, is a remarkable forerunner of the Messiah who should come of the lineage of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; which to the Jews, in after ages, was a sure sign, that king Messiah was to arise out of their nation. And to a Christian, his appearance to Abraham may be an early token that his delight was with the sons of men, who at that time, in the human form, stood on the plains of Mamre, as in after ages on the hill of Calvary.
The Patriarch Jacob also saw him and wrestled with him all night; and Jacob called the place Peniel, or the face of God; for he said, "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved."
* "In whom all the families of the earth shall be blessed." Would it be putting a forced meaning upon the above promise, if we consider it as relating, finally, to the universal knowledge and effects of the Gospel on the earth, in tin; days of the Millennium? If it does not, why then is the blessedness of the promise put in the future I We know very well, that Jesus Christ is the truth, light, that lighteth every man who is born into the world, and that this light had gone into effect long before that promise to Abraham, and in this sense, not only all the families of the earth are blessed, but all individuals also. It would seem, therefore, to extend with a peculiar reference to the time, when all the families, then on the earth, shall be blessed, at one and the same time, with a definite knowledge of Christ, which was never yet the fact.
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And Moses, at Mount Horeb, saw him; for their appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai the angel of the Lord, in a flame of fire, in a bush; and when Moses saw it he drew near, and the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying, "I am the God of thy fathers." This was he who was with the Church in the wilderness, who was called a rock, and St. Paul says that rock was Christ. See I. Cor. x. 4.
At another time, Moses, with many of the elders of Israel, went up into the mount and saw the God of Israel; "and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and as it were, the body of heaven in his clearness."
Let no one stumble at this, although it is written in the Scriptures, that no man ever saw God and lived; for it is not possible for mortal eyes to behold him, and perhaps it is to be doubted whether even angels ever saw him as he is, and was from eternity: but they have seen him only through some medium which he has assumed, and thus descended to be seen of angels, as he has descended still lower in the form of man to be seen of men.
Joshua, the successor of Moses, saw him when he was by the river Jericho. "And he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold there stood a man over against him, with his sword drawn in his hand; and Joshua went unto him: Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said nay, but as Captain of the host of the Lord am. I come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and did worship, and said unto him, what saith my Lord unto his servant."
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This was the Captain of the armies of Israel, who was with them for their salvation; and is it not written of Christ that he is the Captain of our salvation, the good shepherd of the sheep, and head of all principality and power?
Again he appeared the same mysterious angel, who is again and again called Jehovah, and sat under an oak in Ophra, and appeared to Gideon and said, "The Lord is with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man; and the Lord looked upon him and said, Go in this thy might, have I not sent thee?"
Some years after, he again appeared to the wife of Manoah, the mother of Sampson, and promised her a son; but Manoah not being present at the time, prayed that he would come again. God heard his prayer, and the angel again visited them, at which time Manoah asked his name, not knowing that he was an angel, but probably thinking him a prophet; but the answer was, "Why askest thou after my name, seeing it is a secret;" as if he fain would say, I am not yet called Jesus the Christ. But Manoah being directed to offer a sacrifice to God upon the rock which was at hand, at which it is written, the angel did wonderously and ascended in the flame of the burnt sacrifice, for it was the angel Jehovah.
Many wonderful manifestations had David, Solomon and Elijah, especially the latter, in the cave of the mountain, when the Lord passed by in an earthquake, and in a strong and mighty wind, which brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord, and in a fire, and next a still small voice, at the sound of which Elijah covered
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his face in his mantle, for then he knew it was the Lord.
St. John informs us that Isaiah saw Christ's glory and spake of him. "I saw the Lord, says he, sitting upon his throne, high and lifted up; his train filled the temple. The seraphim covering' their faces zzzivir/t their wings, and cried one to another, saying, Holy, Holy, Holy if the Lord of Hosts."
Thus far we see, that from Abraham as well as before his time, until that very remarkable view of Isaiah, there were many signs of his coming. But we will now pass over subsequent ages, and come higher to the time when he who was and is the desire of nations, the great zzzaritetype of all the old testament types, sacrifices and signs, was to be disclosed to human view in Bethlehem of Judea.
The signs of those times, it appears were very closely observed by the wise men of the east. They no doubt were Jews, or men who possessed a knowledge of Jewish tradition, or else had the Jewish Scriptures, though living a great distance cast of Jerusalem.
The fact that Isaiah had foretold the miraculous birth of the Messiah, who should be the offspring of a virgin, and that his name would be called Immanuel, was known to them, to Daniel, the prophet, which was given him when he so fervently prayed that God would again restore the captive Jews to their country and beloved city; and it is probable that he at that time also prayed, that the Messiah might then appear for their relief and emancipation from captivity.
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But to this prayer the angel Gabriel seems to reply, by saying, "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy." -- Dan. ix. 24. Which informs, in the most emphatic manner, that the Messiah would not come sooner than seventy weeks, or four hundred and ninety years, reckoning each week to be seven years, which was the fact.
Relative to this verse, Dr. Clark states that the seventy weeks here mentioned amount to four hundred and ninety years, and are divided into three distinct periods.
First period embraces from the going forth of the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem, which commandment was issued by Artaxerxts zzzLnngimanus, and given to Ezra, the prophet, and comprehends seven weeks, or forty-nine years, till Jerusalem was repaired, her sacred constitutions and civil establishments again brought into effect by Ezra and Nehemiah.
Second period consists of sixty-two weeks, or four hundred and thirty-four years, and extends from the above mentioned repairs of Jerusalem, till the commencement of the preaching of John the Baptist, which was probably several years before Christ entered tin his public ministry.
Third period embraces one week, or seven years, and comprehends all that time in which the Messiah to confirm the covenant with many, and extends
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from the commencement of John the Baptist's preaching till the out-pouring of the holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, which three periods will make seventy weeks, or 490 years.
The propriety of adapting the last week, or seven years, to John the Baptist's preaching, appears from the words of Christ, who says, "The Law was zzz« ' il John: with John's ministry and his own, till Pentecost, the new and better covenant was confirmed, which is the last of the seventy weeks, and was fulfilled to the letter.
And that these years were nearly accomplished was undoubtedly known to those Eastern Magi, or wise men, and the place foretold by the prophets of his birth was a subject to which they were no strangers, else why should they seek him at Jerusalem.
And while they were in the way to that City, a meteor or star appeared in the air, not very high from the earth. The appearance of this star, was to those wise men a very joyful coincidence, for it is likely they might then recollect that it was said by Balaam, "I shall see him but not now, I shall behold him but not nigh; there shall come a star out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall arise out of Israel." -- Num. xxiv. 17. This star, therefore, might be thought a symbol of the true star that was to arise out of Jacob. As soon, therefore, as they had come to the city, they inquired for Him who was born king of the Jews, and added, for we have seen his star. Although they were certain that this was the country where he must be born, vet the particular place was to them an object of inquiry;
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but of this they could not be informed; for when Herod, at their instigation, had assembled the Sanhedrin to inquire for himself, where this king should be born, they could only tell him, in Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: "And thou, Bethlehem, in the land of Judea, art not the leas among the princes; for out of thee shall come a Governor that shall rule my people Israel.'" -- Math. ii. Zzz Herod, therefore, as soon as he had finished the inquiry dismissed the Sanhedrin, and privately said to these wise men, "As soon as ye find the young child bring me word that I may worship him."
These wise men having obtained information where that section of the country called Bethlehem was situated, went from the presence of Herod, to seek in that place the particular dwelling of his parents, or house of his abode, which was about six miles from Jerusalem. And while musing and conversing upon the prophecies and signs of his birth, saw suddenly and not very high from the earth, the same meteoric star, which they had seen in the way when coming to Jerusalem. At which sight they greatly rejoiced, and followed its course until it came and stood over the place zzzind humble dwelling of God manifest in the flesh. There is scarcely a doubt but this bright luminous meteor, after standing over the place where the child lay, came and encompassed the head of the infant; else how should these wise men know certainly that this was the very child, the subject of prophesy, and was born a king, to whom they presented gifts. The fart that the Saviour was always represented with a glory
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about his head by the ancient painters, is a corroborative proof that the meteor did rest upon his brow at that time.
But the wise men, after they had bestowed their gifts, and bowed and worshipped their Maker in the person of this child, returned to their country another way, which is supposed to be in the kingdom cr country of the Sabeans or Saba, and also Arabia Felix, who are supposed to be the descendants of Abraham, by his wife Keturah, who received their portion of their father, and departed for a country lying east from Abraham. See Gen. xxv. 6. "But unto the sons of the concubines which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived eastward in the east country."
Perhaps in this place, though it be a digression from our subject, it would not be unacceptable to the zzzcurirous, if I give an account of Herod the great, whose son beheaded John the Baptist.
Herod the great, the son of Antipater, reigned thirty seven years in Judea, reckoning from the time he was created king of that Country by the Romans. Our blessed Lord was born in the last year of his reign, and at this time the sceptre had literally departed from Judea, a foreigner being now on the throne. As there are several princes of this name mentioned in the New Testament, it may be well to give a list of them here, together with their genealogy
Herod the great, married ten wives, by whom he had several children. The first was Doris, thought to be an Idumean, whom he married when but a private individual.
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By her, he had Antipater, the eldest of all his sons, whom he caused to be executed five days before his own death. Another of his sons was slain when the infants at Bethlehem were destroyed, which caused a certain writer of the day to say, "It is better to be Herod's hog than his son." The point in this saying, consists in this: that Herod, professing Judaism for his religion, forbade his killing swine, or having any thing to do with their flesh; therefore, his hog would have been safe where his son lost his life.
His second wife was Mariamne, daughter of Hircanus, the sole surviving person of the Asmonean, or Maccabean race. Herod put her to death. She was the mother of Alexander and Aristobulous, whom Herod had executed at Selastia, on accusation of having entered into a conspiracy against him. Aristobulous left three children, whom I shall notice hereafter.
His third wife was Mariamne, the daughter of Simon, a person of some note in Jerusalem, whom Herod made high priest, in order to obtain his daughter - She was the mother of Herod Philippus, or Herod Philip, and Salome. Herod, or Philip, married Herodius, mother to Salome, the famous dancer, who demanded the head of John the Baptist. -- Mark vi. 22. Salome had been placed, in the will of Herod the great, as second heir after Antipater; but her name was erased, when it was discovered that Mariamne, her mother, was an accomplice in the crimes of Antipater. son of Herod the great.
His fourth wife was Malthake, a Samaritan, whose sons were Archelaus and Philip. The first enjoyed
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half of his father's kingdom under the name of tetrarch. He reigned nine years; but being accused and arraigned before the Emperor Augustus, he was banished to Vienna, where he died. This is the Archelaus mentioned in verse 22. His brother Philip married Salome, the famous dancer, the daughter of Herodius. He died without children, and she was afterwards married to Aristobulous.
The fifth wife of Herod the great, was Cleopatra, of Jerusalem. She was the mother of Herod, surnamed Antipas, who married Herodius, the wife of his brother Philip, while he was still living. Being reproved for this act by John the Baptist, he caused him to be imprisoned, and afterwards, to be beheaded, agreeably to the promise he had rashly made to the daughter of his wife Herodius, who had pleased him with her dancing. He attempted to seize the person of Jesus Christ, and to put him to death. It was to this Prince that Pilate Sent our Lord. -- Luke xiii. 31, 32. He was banished to Lyons, and then to Spain, where both he and his wife Herodius died.
The sixth wife of Herod the great was Palas, by whom he had Phasaelus. His history is in no way connected with the New Testament.
The seventh was named Phaedra, the mother of Roxana, who married the son of Pheroras. The eighth was Elpida, mother of Salome, who married another son of Pheroras. With the names of two other wives of Herod, we are not acquainted, but they are not connected with our history any more than are Pales, Phaedra and Elpida, whose names I merely
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notice, to avoid the accusation of historical inaccuracy with reference to the Herod family.
Aristobulous, the son of Herod the great, by Mariamne, a descendant of the Asmoneans, left two sons and a daughter, viz. Agrippa, Herod, and Herodius, so famous for her incestuous marriage with Antipas, in the life time of his brother Philip.
Agrippa, otherwise named Herod, who was imprisoned by Tiberius for something he had said against him, was released from prison by Caligula, who made him king of Judea. It was this Prince who put St James to death, and imprisoned Peter, as mentioned in xii. of Acts. He died at Cesarec., in the way mentioned in the Acts, as well as by Josephus. He left a son named Agrippa, who is mentioned below.
Herod, the second son of Aristobulous, was king of Chalcis, and after the death of his brother, obtained permission of the emperor to keep the ornaments belonging to the high priest, and to nominate whom he pleased to that office. He had a son named Aristobulous, to whom Nero gave Armenia the lesser, and who married Salome, the famous dancer, daughter to Herodius.
Agrippa, son of Herod Agrippa, king of Judea, and grandson to Aristobulous and Mariamne; he was at first king of Chalcis, and afterward tetrarch of Galilee, in the room of his uncle Philip. It was before him, his Sister Berenice, and Felix, who had married Drusilla, Agrippa's second daughter, that St. Paul pleaded his cause, as mentioned Acts xxvi.
Herodius, the daughter of Mariamne and Aristobulous,
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is the person of whom we have already spoken, who married successively the two brothers, Philip and Antipas, her uncles, and who occasioned the death of John the Baptist. By her first husband, she had Salome, the dancer, who was married to Philip, tetrarch of the Trachonitis, and son of Herod the great. Salome having had no children by him, she was married to Aristobulous, her cousin-german, son of Herod, king of Chalcis, and brother to Agrippa and Herodius: she had by this husband several children.
This is nearly all that is necessary to be known relative to the race of the Herods, in order to distinguish the particular persons of this family mentioned in the New Testament. See Dr. Clark.
But to return. The last sign which I shall notice of the coming of the Messiah, is, that while some shepherds were guarding their flocks, in "the country not far from Bethlehem, there appeared, in the night season, just in the heaven above them, a company of celestial beings; their glory, it is probable, was as if a sun had suddenly burst upon the gloom of night and shot his bright light all around them. But the glorious sight was not sooner seen, than music, such as earth cannot afford, swelled its loud and thrilling sounds upon the charmed skies, but mixed with the overwhelming song, was distinctly heard the gladdening news, that in the city of David, Christ the Lord was born, and laid in the manger of a stable. But to their song, around the dreadful throne of God in Heaven, was heard the deep unutterable response of "Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth good will to
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men." This song the angels sung, then vanished from their sight; but the shepherd's hastened to see if the thing was true, and found him lying in the predicted manger, wrapped in swadling bands, A. M. 4000. At this time there was a universal peace; for we have the fact of history, that Csesar Augustus, the Roman Emperor, had shut the temple of Janus, as a token that then there was a universal peace.
Sit as if they knew their sovereign Lord was by. -- MILIOS.
[ 79 ]
Having now passed through some of the signs which went before the flood, and before the advent of Christ, I shall, therefore, next attempt to show the signs of our own times, which indicate the Millennium not very remote; but must be preceded by an effect of the power of the great God, such as man has not witnessed since the world began.
Till the six number'd days are quite absorb'd --
Till the great week of time, six thousand yearn,
Shall waft us from this soil of groans and tears
Then multiply ye signs of millennial days,
Till earth's in glory rob'd and songs of praise.
It is hoped that the reader is now, in a measure, prepared to view the subject in a more propitious light, having seen that God does afford signs and forerunners that men should be admonished of the things which he intends to accomplish on the earth. Which signs we now shall bring forward, as being more intimately connected with the present age, and past ages of the Christian Church.
The great success which has marked the progress of the gospel, from its author to the present day, is a sign which may be seen of all people; though its way has been opposed by kings and emperors, and the great ones of the earth; though the depravity of the whole race of men, has lifted up a standard against it, yet has it through seas of blood, oceans of flame, forests
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of swords, gulfs and dungeons, a world of deceit and wickedness, urged its gentle way: though enemies more to be dreaded than these, and of a subtler kind, have assailed the blessed Gospel, yet have they not prevailed. Though a Voltaire has said that he was weary of hearing that twelve men had propagated the Gospel, yet he presumptuously and arrogantly boasted, that he would show to the world that he could destroy the whole alone. But his death was marked with dreadful horrors; his pitiful cryings and cowardly behaviour at that extremity, showed him but poorly qualified to conquer the Son of God, or to put to flight the least of his disciples. Though with him a host of infidels, in every age, have assailed the Gospel with all the powers of their pandaemonian compact, and have poured upon it a flood of scorn and contempt, yet the Gospel shines in all its glory of simplicity and truth.
Although a Constantine thought to add to its strength by his feeble prop of law, because he knew not its nature, yet it stood on its own foundation, gloriously independent.
I would here remark, that the manner of Constantine's conversion to Christianity, does not carry with it any convincing proof, that he was regenerated by the grace of God, at that time.
The manner of his conversion was as follows: When Constantine the great was in Gaul, A. D. 312, there appeared in the sky, a little after noon day, above the sun, a splendid luminous cross, with this inscription on it: "By this conquer;" in consequence of which,
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he was convinced that if he espoused the Christian cause, he should conquer his enemies, and win the whole empire to himself.
Accordingly, in A. D. 324, he totally defeated Licinus, who had shared the empire with him, and became sole emperor, which was the summit of his ambition. -- See Clark, on Daniel.
Though the Popes of the Roman Church have wrested, from age to age, the salutary words of the Gospel, and have, since the time they became anti-christian, supported their doctrines and power, by keeping their adherents in total ignorance the most pitiful, and by coercion the most cruel; yet there has been, and still are millions who dare confess Him, in the very face of death, "of whom Moses and the prophets did write."
But the preaching and writings of eminent and holy men, in various nations, from the time of the great reformation in the days of Luther till now, have, by the providence of God, been sapping the foundation of that enormous BOHON UPAS, the Roman Papal Church in Italy: and ere long its trunk will fall, and the region where it grows, and has for ages poisoned with its effluvia distant nations, shall be destroyed and not healed, but shall be given to salt, the salt of eternal burning.
The great means by which God has, and is effecting the emancipation of those who are bound in darkness and ignorance, is by the scriptures of truth being put into the hands of every man. Yet many have been the attempts to suppress this most holy book, but still
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it prevails, and will prevail. The union and zeal which is now manifest among al! the evangelical sects, to send this book to all nations, is a notable sign, in this our day, that the time is not very far off, when a universal and individual knowledge of the Bible shall be possessed by every bosom.
The monsters, bigotry and prejudice, are passing away like the shades of night before the rising sun, and a union of energy among the Churches is taking their place, of whom there is forming a vast army, who shall press onward to certain victory. Worldly grandeur and a religious monopoly is not their object: but to send the Scriptures to all nations, tongues and languages, and to instruct the ignorant, are their highest and only aim.
There are, at the present time, three thousand Bible Societies in the world, and all formed within twenty years. The annual income of these is about four millions five hundred thousand dollars, which will naturally increase from year to year. This vast annual sum, without any additional increase will amount, in twenty years more, to the immense sum of ninety millions of dollars. It is easy, therefore, to see, that in a hundred years, if God continues to bless this means, there will be put into the hands of all heathen nations, the holy Scriptures, the words of life; yes, and it is probable this will be done much sooner than a hundred years.
More than three millions of Bibles have already been distributed among these nations, who are the objects of commiseration, and are read in a hundred and
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forty different languages, at the present time. And in addition to this, the Missionaries of all the evangelical Churches, are flying upon the wings of the wind, to the very ends of creation, not to build up sectarianism, but to inform them of the way of life and salvation, in the most simple and easy manner. This is benevolence indeed.
Already the following countries are visited by the angel, whom John saw flying through the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth: -- Western Africa, South Africa, African Islands, Mediterranean, Black and Caspian seas, Siberia, China, India beyond the Ganges, and India within the Ganges; Ceylon, Indian Archipelago, Australasia, Asia and Polynesia; South American States, Guiana, West Indies, North American Indians, Labrador and Greenland. In those countries, in 1825, there were 283 stations, 585 Missionaries, 394 native assistants, and 37,919 communicants; all snatched from the gulf of heathenism, by that angel of mercy and light, the Gospel.
Sunday Schools, too, follow in the hallowed train, which gracious and glorious plan strikes at the root of the matter, takes the infant from the parents' heathen bosom, and informs the tender mind, and rears it up for God.
The tract societies too, for the distribution of free and candid thoughts upon all sorts of vice, and the easy way of reformation and happiness pointed out, and the horrors which absolutely await the impenitent, in a future life, plainly shown.
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The Bible in its free circulation -- the Missionary to inforce and explain it -- the Sunday Schools and Tract Societies, are the mighty bolts of Heaven, with which he is smiting the nations, and breaking in pieces all the strong holds of Satan -- all combinations of wicked men, till all enemies shall be subdued and saved by grace, or destroyed from the earth by judgments from Heaven.
Such then, are the signs of our own times, which streak the horizon of our world with spiritual light, like the bright lights of the night that illume the northern skies, when the Aurora Borealis flashes there; or such light as the sun affords before his rising, when his beams shoot athwart the Atlantic sea, and tip with gold the Rocky Mountains. Such are the certain tokens, that a brighter sun will soon arise to set no more, till a thousand years of holy rest to the saints shall complete the great week of time.
The signs of the times which went before the birth of Christ, were not sufficiently looked into; otherwise the Jews would have known the Messiah, by the tokens foretold by the prophets.
But we are too apt to let pass the notable signs of Heaven, without bestowing upon them that pious attention they demand. The antediluvians- thought nothing of the signs of their times, but were heedless, until the flood came and took them all away. But let it not be the guilt of this nation, to be blind to the signs of the times, nor of the Churches; but to look, expect and pray, for the coming in of the great sabbatical year and jubilee of Heaven, the Millennium
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Was there ever a time when the different sects have been so united as at the present, to promote the same cause. Of them it may now be said with great propriety, see how these brethren love one another. Is this not a token that the watchmen shall soon see eye to eye?
Was there ever a time when benevolent combinations of talent, and appropriations of money, (having for their ostensible object, the amelioration of suffering humanity) so pervaded all Christian sects, all refined society, all Christendom, as at the present? -- never. Witness the struggles of philanthropy in the Court of St. James, with the powers of avarice, for the emancipation of slaves. Witness the arm of pity in this country, which is bared to the shoulder, to snatch from the bloody lash, and from ignorance the most horrible, the groaning African. That arm is the growing energies of the Colonization Societies. Angel of mercy! brood over its being, and say, be strong! Tarry not in all the plains of the Northern and Southern States, till thou hast whispered in the heart of all slave holders.
Nor speak the name of slave in North America,
Then fly thee to the Isles of the Atlantic sea,
There wave thy wand of love -- ye slaves, be free!
Then hasten from that clime, O 'tis mercy speaks,
O'erwhelm the Ottoman power, but save the Greeks.
O, the glory of that day, when Slavery, the foulest blot on the politics of men, shall be wiped off; and where the fatal stain was recorded, there write the radiant word, Liberty.
But the signs of Heaven, that the Millennium is
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nigh, may be expected to be multiplied with the passing years. The means now in operation to spread the gospel, in a short time will effect wonders not yet conceived of, in reference to a preparation for the introduction of the seventh Chiliad of the world. The Lord hasten it in his time, the time to cleanse the sanctuary, the time to give to the saints the kingdom, the great jubilee, the Sabbath of creation, the victory of Christ, the time to bind Satan a thousand years, the renewal of the paradisiacal state, the glory of Messiah's kingdom on earth.
That the times in which we now live, signify the near approach of some great event, is evident from the character the two grand principles of CHRISTIANITY and Infidelity are now assuming. For these two are taking a decisive stand against each other, aiming to push their success to the climax; victory over all the earth: for while the Bible principles and the soul-saving power of those principles, are sweeping the world as the early and the latter rains of heaven; -- so also, Infidelity, from horrid atheism down through all its varied modifications which are not a few, is unaccountably insinuating itself among all ranks of people, deceiving and being deceived; fulfilling doubtless the view of St. Peter 2d. iii. 3. who has said, "that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts?" This is now therefore eminently fulfilling, which is a prominent sign among many others, that the present dispensation of the government of heaven over the earth and its inhabitants, is about to be changed -- even so -- Amen.
[ 87 ]
Will represent the probable state of the incorrigible and wicked part of mankind, just previous to the commencement of the Millennium. In this division will be given an account of Pagan Rome and of Papal Rome, which subjects are hinted at by the Revelator, in his 13th and 17th Chapters.
Men gloried in their crimes and in their rage --
So they in after times, when Jesus came,
Were impudent and bold in heathen shame
Much the same plight the world will then be ID,
When Christ from Heav'n shall come to end its sin.
It is probable that the most popular idea about the commencement of the Millennium, is, that there will be a gradual reformation, from year to year, until the whole of mankind, generally speaking, shall be favourably disposed towards religion; when a general morality shall prevail throughout the world. Such a state as this, is also supposed by many, will be the condition of the world during the Millennium. But if Christ, relative to the Church, in the days of St John, expressed himself as abominating all luke warm souls, and threatened to spue them out of his mouth, or cast them down to hell, as I understand it to mean; how, then, in the Millennium, when it is expressly stated that all shall be holy, can it be consistent that there then shall be any mere moralists to nauseate the bosom of
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the millennial Church? Again, if it is at all scriptural to expect there will arrive a time, when the sanctuary, which is nothing else but the Church of God on the earth, shall be cleansed, then we may calculate from this, as from an immoveable data, that all such as are merely moral only, shall be cast out at the time of that cleansing. If this shall not be the fact, how is it that Mount Zion is to become finally the joy of all the earth? How is it that this Zion, which is the king's daughter, is to be all glorious within, if there shall, in the Millennium, be any sinners at all? The very genius and nature of salvation, commenced by a competent Saviour, contemplates such an effect over his enemies. If such shall not be the fact, how then are the saints to take the kingdom, if a part of the inhabitants, at that time, belong to the kingdom of Satan.
But we resume the other idea, which is, that it is not probable the millennial state is to be brought on by the slow advances which real piety is supposed will make, so as to overcome all opposition. Far enough from this, it is to be feared, will be the horrible fact.
Man is a free agent, and we have no precedent, in the dealings of God with man, to fix upon, as data, from which to calculate a suspension of that free agency, so that lie should become incapacitated thereby, to follow the will of his own mind. Hence, we conclude, that such shall not be the fact: therefore, man shall continue to exercise this power, (given) till the final period arrives, when all free agents, who are sinners,
shall have that gracious, yet wonderful gift taken away. See Matt. xxv. 28, 30.
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Therefore, I perceive no peculiar reason, why the whole world shall absolutely become more religious this side the Millennium, than at any period which is past. But that while the Gospel shall pour itself like a river, over all heathen countries, and lift them up from their low and degraded state, it is much to be feared, that infidelity will follow hard after, to subvert the gracious designs of the Gospel.
This has been the constant procedure of Satan, the destroyer, ever since the promise to the woman was made, that of her seed a Redeemer should arise. Of this John, (Rev. xii. 12.) had a view, when he cried, Wo to the inhabitants of the earth, and of the sea, for the devil is come down zzzimfo you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time; who will not cease his opposition till he is shut up in the bottomless pit. -- See Rev. xx. 3. Of this spirit, who had passed from a holy and happy nature, to a vile and sinful one, it is said, that when he saw he was cast out in the earth, he persecuted the woman who brought forth the man child. This man child by some is supposed to mean the Christian Emperors, beginning with Constantine the Great, who espoused the Gospel, and were caught up to God and his throne; i. e. caught up to sit on the throne of the Roman Empire, and from thence to rule the nations with a rod of iron: this, say they, the Christian Roman Emperors have done. Others suppose the child to mean Jesus Christ, who would have been devoured by the dragon, Herod, when an infant, but was finally caught up to God and his throne at his resurrection, and from thence rules the
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wicked nations with a rod of iron, or signal judgments. But the vile spirit called Satan, soon seduced to his purposes the whole race of man, with but few exceptions, which is evident when we examine the history and end of the nations before the flood.
And afterward, when the race of man was renewed from the family of Noah, the same wicked spirit all along till Christ, by corruptions and abominations among the people, manifested himself to be the enemy of God and his Church in the earth.
He prevailed among the nations to adopt the vile and unnatural service of dumb idols; and animals, with many kinds of reptiles, the sun, moon and stars, and herbs of the field were the objects of their adoration: and mingled with these, in their assemblies, were the abominable rites of obscenity.
But notwithstanding all the opposition of a combined world, the promised seed of the woman, step by step, came on, conquering and to conquer, till he stood, finally, on Mount Calvary and made expiation for sin. Since that time, the modes of attack practiced by Satan, have been extremely various; among the Jews he has ever been malicious and cruel towards this seed of the woman; among the heathen he has been the blackness of darkness, confusion and error, that they zzzslii>uki not see this seed, who is the desire of all nations; for such is the fact, there has been no nation but in some way have looked for a Mediator. Sometimes he has been seen upon the throne of nations; with sceptre and crown, as in the person of Constantine the Great, who espoused the Christian cause from
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no other design than to increase his popularity and power, which saved the shedding of much Christian blood at that time. Here, no doubt, was manifest the extreme subtlety of the devil, who, when he saw that the gospel of the Son of God was becoming popular, thought it a good expedient, in order to counteract its holy healing influence upon the souls of men, if he could get its support incorporated with the affairs of state, and its ministers recognized among the great ones of the earth; when thus corrupted with ambitious desires of riches and worldly glory, its holy converting designs would be frustrated. Because when once the corruption is fastened on so firm a rock as the secular government, its ministers no longer under the salutary discipline of exposure to persecution, become idle and wicked; consequently, could not teach the truth, and did not hesitate to supply its place with fables. Such is the fatal tendency of privileged orders. Such has been, and is the fact in many countries where the abominable power of a clerical monopoly has obtained; in whose gripe the consciences of men are so firmly holden, that nothing less than the arm of God can break the chain.
A history of which we shall now exhibit as given by Dr. Clark, which will not fail to strike the mind with wonder, when we contemplate this monster in its convolutions, rolling its snaky folds in undescribed postures of horror, and is called a beast rising out of the sea. -- Rev. xiii. 1.
Verse 1. And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea. Before we can proceed
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in the interpretation of this chapter, it will be highly necessary to ascertain the meaning of the prophetic symbol beast, as the want of a proper understanding of this term has probably been one reason why so many discordant hypotheses have been published to the world. In this investigation, it is impossible to resort to a higher authority than Scripture; for the Holy Ghost is His own interpreter. What is, therefore, meant by the term beast in any one prophetic vision, the same species of thing must be represented by the term whenever it is used in a similar manner in any other part of the Sacred Oracles. Having, therefore, laid this foundation, the angel's interpretation of the last of Daniel's four beasts need only be produced, an account of which is given in the 7th chapter of this prophet. Daniel being very desirous to "know the truth of the fourth beast which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, and the ten horns that were on his head," the angel thus interprets the vision: -- "The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise," fee. In this Scripture it is plainly declared that the fourth beast should be the fourth kingdom upon earth; consequently, the four beasts seen by Daniel are four kingdoms: hence the term beast is the prophetic symbol for a kingdom.
As to the nature of the kingdom which is represented by the term beast, -- we shall obtain no inconsiderable
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light in examining the most proper meaning of the original word chaiyah, which signifies what we term a wild beast; and is thus used by St. John in the Apocalypse. In this sense, it is fully evident, if a power be represented in the prophetical writings under the notion of a wild beast, that the power so represented must partake of the nature of a wild beast. Hence an earthly belligerent power is evidently designed. And the comparison is peculiarly appropriate; for, as several species of wild beasts carry on perpetual warfare with the animal world; so most governments, influenced by ambition, promote discord and depopulation. And, also, as the carnivorous wild beast acquires its strength and magnitude by preying upon the feebler animals: so most earthly monarchies are raised up by the sword, and derive their political consequence from the unsuccessful resistance of the contending nations. The kingdom of God, on the other hand, is represented as" a stone cut out of the mountain without hands;" and is never likened to a beast, because it is not raised up by the sword, as all other secular powers are; but sanctifies the persons under its subjection, in which last particular it essentially differs from all other dominations.
This beast is said to rise up out of the sea, in which particular it corresponds with the four beasts of Daniel; the sea is, therefore, the symbol of a great multitude of nations, as has already been proved; and the meaning is, that every mighty empire is raised upon the ruins of a great number of nations, against which h has successfully contended, and incorporated with its
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dominions. The sea, here, is doubtless the same, against the inhabiters of which a wo was denounced chap. xii. 12. for St. John was standing upon the sand of the sea, when the vision changed from the woman and the dragon to that recorded in this chapter. It therefore follows that the kingdom or empire here represented by the beast, is that which sprung up out of the ruins of the Western Roman Empire.
Having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns -- The beast here described is the Latin Empire, which supported the Romish or Latin church; for it has upon his horns ten crowns; i.e. is an empire composed of ten distinct monarchies in the interest of the Latin church. -- See the heads and horns, fully explained in the notes on chapter xvii. 10, 12, 16.
As the phrases Latin church, Latin empire, &c. are not very generally understood at present, and will occur frequently in the course of the notes on this and the 17th chapter, it will not be improper here to explain them. -- During the period from the division of the Roman empire into those of the east and west, till the final dissolution of the western empire; the subjects of both empires were equally known by the name of Romans. Soon after this event the people of the west lost almost entirely the name of Romans, and were denominated after their respective kingdoms which were established upon the ruins of the western empire. But as the eastern empire escaped the ruin which fell upon the western; the subjects of the former still retained the name of Romans, and called their dominion the Roman empire; by which name this monarchy
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was known among them till its final dissolution in 1453, by Mahomed II. the Turkish sultan. But the subjects of the eastern emperor, ever since the time of Charlemagne, or before, (and more particularly in the time of the crusades, and subsequently,) called the western people, or those under the influence of the Romish Church, Latins; and their church, the Latin church. And the western people, in return, denominated the eastern church the Greek church, and the members of it Greeks. Hence the division of the Christian church into those of the Greek and Latin. For a confirmation of what has just been said, the reader may consult the Byzantine writers, where he will find the appellations Romans and Latins, used in the sense here mentioned in very numerous instances. The members of the Romish church have not been named Latins by the Greeks alone: this term is also used in the public instruments drawn up by the general popish councils, as may be instanced in the following words, which is a part of a decree of the council of Basil, dated Sept. 264 1437, zzz "copiosissimam subventionem pro unione GR/ECORUM cum LATINIS," a very great convention for the union of the Greeks with the Latins.
Even in the very papal bulls this appellation has been acknowledged, as may be seen in the edict of Pope Eugenius IV. dated Sept. 17, 1437, where in one place mention is made of "Ecclesiae LATINORUM -- quaesita unio," the desired union of the church of the Latins: and in another place we read, "Nev superesse modum alium prosequendi operis tam pii, et servandi LATINAE ECCLESIAE honoris" that no means might be
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left untried of prosecuting so pious a work, and of preserving the honour of the Latin church. -- See Corps Diplomatique, Tom. III. pp. 32, 35. In a bull of the same pontiff, dated Sept. 1439, we have "Sanctissima LATINORUM et GRAECORUM unio," the most holy union of Greeks with the Latins. -- See Bail's Summa Conciliorum, in loc. By the Latin empire is meant the whole of the powers which support the Latin church.
And upon his heads the name of blasphemy. -- This has been variously understood: Jerome and Prosper give it as their opinion that the name of blasphemy consists in the appellation urbs ceterna, eternal city, applied to Rome; and modern commentators refer it to the idolatrous worship of the Romans and papists. Before we attempt to ascertain the meaning of this passage, it must be first defined what the Holy Spirit means by a name of blasphemy. Blasphemy, in Scripture, signifies impious speaking, when applied to GOD; and injurious speaking, when directed against our neighbour. A name of blasphemy is the prostitution of a sacred name to an unholy purpose. This is evident from the 9th verse of the second chapter of the Apocalypse, where God says, "I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan." These wicked men, by calling themselves Jews, blasphemed the name, i.e. used it in an injurious sense; for he ONLY is a Jew who is one inwardly. Hence the term Jews applied to the synagogue of Satan, is a name of blasphemy, i. e. a sacred name blasphemed. A name of blasphemy, or a blasphemous appellation, is said to be upon all the
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seven heads of the beast. To determine what this name is, the meaning of the seven heads in this place must be ascertained. If the reader refer to the notes on chap. xvii. 9, 10, 11. he will find that the heads are explained to have a double meaning, viz. that they signify the seven electorates of the German empire, and also seven forms of Latin government. As this is the first place in which the heads of the beasts are mentioned with any description; it is reasonable to zzzexprf that this signification of the heads which is first in order in the angel's interpretation, chap. xvii. 9. must be what is here intended. That is, "the seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth:" the name of blasphemy will, consequently, be found upon the seven electorates of Germany. This, therefore, can be no other than that which was common not only to the electorates, but also to the whole empire of Germany, or that well known one of SACRUM Imperium Romanum, "The SACRED (or HOLY) Roman empire." Here is a sacred appellation blasphemed by its application to the principal power of the beast. No kingdom can properly be called holy but that of Jesus; therefore it would be blasphemy to unite this epithet with any other power. But it must be horribly blasphemous to apply it to the German empire, the grand supporter of antichrist from his very rise to temporal authority. Can that empire be holy which has killed the saints, which has professed and supported with all its might an idolatrous system of worship? It is impossible. Therefore its assumption of sacred, or holy, (which appellation was originally given to the empire
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from its being the main support of what is termed the holy Catholic church, the emperor being styled, on this account, Christ's temporal vicar upon earth: see Casarini Furstenerii Tractatus De Suprematu Principum Germanise, cc. 31, 32.) is, in the highest sense the words can be taken, a name of blasphemy. The name of blasphemy is very properly said to be upon the seven heads of the beasts, or seven electorates of the German empire, because the electors are styled SACRI Imperil Principts Elcctores, Princes, Electors of the Holy empire; SACRI Romani Imperil Electores, Elec tors of the Holy Roman empire.
Verse 2. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard -- This similitude of the beast to a leopard appears to be an allusion to the third beast of Daniel, which is well known to represent the empire of the Greeks. The Latin empire greatly resembled the modern empire of the Greeks; for, that the power of the Greeks was still said to be like a leopard, even after its subjugation by the Romans, is evident from the 12th verse of the seventh chapter of Daniel, "As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time." The Latin empire was, in the first place, like to its contemporary, because both adhered to an idolatrous system of worship, professedly Christian, but really antichristian; and it is well known that the Greek and Latin churches abound in monstrous absurdities. Secondly, both empires were similar in their opposition to the spread of pure Christianity; though it must be allowed that the Latins far outstripped the
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Greeks in this particular. Thirdly, both empires were similar in respect to the civil authority being powerfully depressed by the ecclesiastical; though it must be granted the authority of the Latin church was more strongly marked, and of much longer continuance. The excommunication of the Greek emperor by the patriarch Arsenius, and the consequences of that excommunication, afford a remarkable example of the great power of the Greek clergy. But the beast of Saint John, though in general appearance it resembles a leopard, yet differs from it in having feet like those of a bear. The second beast of Daniel was likened to a bear, and there can be no doubt that the kingdom of, the Medes and Persians, was intended; and it is very properly likened to this animal, because it was one of the most inhuman governments that ever existed; and. a bear is the well known Scripture emblem of cruelty. -- See 2. Sam. xvii. 8. and Hos. xiii. 8. Is not cruelty' a striking characteristic of the papal Latin empire? Have not the subjects of this empire literally trampled to death all those in their power, who would not obey their idolatrous requisitions?
In Fox's Book of Martyrs, and other works which treat upon this subject, will be found a melancholy catalogue of the horrid tortures and most lingering deaths which they have obliged great numbers of Christians to suffer. In this sense, the feet of the beast were as the feet of a bear. Another particular in which the beast differed from a leopard, was in having a mouth like a lion. "It is," says Dr. More, "like the Babylonish kingdom (the first beast of Daniel, which,
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is likened to a lion,) in its cruel decrees against such as will not obey their idolatrous edicts, nor worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Their stubbornness must be punished by a hot fiery furnace; fire and fagot must be prepared for them that will not submit to this New Roman idolatry."
And the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. -- It was said of the dragon in chap. xii. 8. that his place was found no more in heaven; the dragon here cannot, therefore, be the heathen Roman empire, as this was abolished previously to the rising up of the beast. It must then allude to the restoration of one of the DRACONIC heads of the beast, as will be seen in' the explanation of the following verse, and more fully in the notes on chap, xvii.
Verse 3. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death -- This is the second and last place where the heads of the beast are mentioned with any description; and, therefore, the meaning here must be forms of government, as these were noticed last in the angel's double explanation. The head that was wounded to death can be no other than the seventh draconic head, which was the sixth head of the beast, viz. the imperial power; for "this head," as Bishop Newton observes, "was, as it were, wounded to death, when the Roman empire was overturned by the northern nations, and an end was put to the very name of emperor in Momyllus Augustulus." It was so wounded that it was wholly improbable that it could ever rise again to considerable power; for the western empire came into the possession of several barbarious nations of independent interests.
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And his deadly wound was healed -- This was effected by Charlemagne, who, with his successors, assumed all the marks of the ancient emperors of the west, with the titles of Semper Augustus, Sacred Majesty, First Prince of the Christian world, Temporal Chief of the Christian people, and Rector or Temporal Chief of the Faithful in Germany: Mod. Universal History, Vol. XXXII. p. 79. But it is said in ver. 9, that the dragon gave the beast his power, his armies, or military strength; i. e. he employed all his imperial power in defence of the Latin empire, which supported the Latin church. He" also gave his seat, literally, his throne, to him; that is, his whole empire formed an integral part of the Latin empire, by its conversion to the Roman Catholic faith. He also gave him great authority. This is literally true of the Roman empire of Germany, which, by its great power and influence in the politics of Europe, extended the religion of the empire over the various states and monarchies of Europe; thus incorporating them, as it were, in one vast empire, by uniting them in one common faith.
And all the world wondered after the beast. -- As the original word signifies earth, and not world as in our translation, the Latin world, which is the earth of the beast, is here intended; and the meaning of the passage consequently is, that the whole body of the, Roman Catholics were affected with great astonishment at the mighty sway of the Latin empire, considering it as a great and holy power.
Verse 4. And they worshipped the dragon -- Worshipping the dragon here evidently means the voluntary
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religious subjection of the members of the Latin church to the revived western empire, because of the eminent part it has taken in the support of their faith. And they worshipped the beast -- Not only the dragon or revived western empire was worshipped; the beast, the whole Latin empire, is a partaker in the adoration. The manner in which it is worshipped consists in the subjects of it --
Saying, Who is like unto the beast? -- Is it not the only holy power in the universe? Is it possible for any person not a subject of it to be saved?
Who is able to make war with him? -- Can any nation successfully fight with it? Is not the Roman empire, which is its most principal bulwark, invictissitmum, most invincible? Invictissimus, most invincible, was the peculiar attribute of the emperors of Germany. See Modern Universal History, Vol. XXXII. p, 197.
Verse 5. And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things -- That is, there was given to the rulers of the Latin empire, who are the mouth of the beast, (and particularly the Roman emperors of Germany,) power to assume great and pompous titles, indicative of their mighty sway over many subjugated countries, (see the imperial instruments of the middle centuries in the Corps Diplomatique:) and also to utter against their opponents the most terrible edicts.
And blasphemies -- The system of worship supported by the beast is a system of blasphemy; as there will be occasion to show presently.
And power was given unto him to continue forty and two months -- As these forty-two months are prophetic,
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they must mean so many years as there are days contained in them, viz. 1260, each month containing 30 days. The beast, therefore, will continue in existence at least 1260 years." And I will add, the termination of this period will doubtless be accomplished at the end of the next century, having commenced his existence A.D. 740.
Verse 6. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name -- The Latin empire is here represented as a blasphemous power in three respects: first, he blasphemes the name of God. This has been most notoriously the case with the different popish princes, who continually blaspheme the sacred names of God, by using them in their idolatrous worship. The mouth of blasphemy against God cannot be more evident than in the following impious words which form a part of the Golden Bull published by Charles IV. in January, 1356: 'But thou, envy, how often hast thou attempted to ruin by division the Christian empire, which God hath founded upon the three cardinal virtues, faith, hope, and charity, as upon a holy and indivisible Trinity; vomiting the old venom of discord among the seven electors, who are the pillars and seven principal members of the holy empire; by the brightness of whom the holy empire pught to be illuminated as by seven torches, the light of which is reinforced by the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.'
And his tabernacle -- Tabernacle is any kind of dwelling-place; and, in an eminent sense among the Jews, was a kind of tent to take up and down, as occasion required; which was, as it were, the palace of the Most High, the dwelling of the God of Israel. It was
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divided into two partitions, one called The Holy Place, and the other The Most Holy Place; in the latter of which, before the building of the temple, the ark of the covenant was kept, which was a symbol of God's gracious presence with the Jewish church. All this the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, in the eighth and ninth chapters, explains to prefigure the human nature of Christ. The beast's blasphemy of the tabernacle of God is, therefore, as Dr. More and others properly observe, his impious doctrine of transubstantiation, in which it is most blasphemously asserted that the substance of the bread and wine in the sacrament, is literally converted by the consecration of the priest, into the very body and blood of Jesus Christ! This doctrine was first advanced among the Latins, in the tenth century; and in 1215 fully received as an article of the Roman Catholic faith. It is for the pages of ecclesiastical history to record the incredible numbers which have been martyred by the papists for their non-reception of this most unscriptural and antichristian doctrine. zzzace,
And them that dwell in heaven. -- By heaven is here meant the throne of God, and not the throne of the beast, because it is against God the beast blasphemes. This must, therefore, allude to his impious adoration of the saints and angels, whose residence is in heaven. He blasphemes against God, by paying that adoration to the celestial inhabitants, which belongs to God alone. That this sort of worship has been, and still is, kept up among the Roman Catholics, their mass-book is a sufficient evidence.
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Verse 7. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them -- "Who can make any computation," says Bishop Newton, "or even frame any conception, of the numbers of pious Christians who have fallen a sacrifice to the bigotry and cruelty of Rome? Mede upon the place hath observed, from good authorities, that in the war with the Albigenses and Waldenses, there perished of these poor creatures, in France alone, a million. From the first institution of the Jesuits, to the year 1580, that is, in little more than thirty years, nine hundred thousand, orthodox Christians were slain, and these all by the common executioner. In the space of scarce thirty years, the inquisition destroyed, by various kinds of torture, a hundred and fifty thousand Christians. Sanders himself confesses, that an innumerable multitude of Lollards and Sacramentarians were burnt throughout all Europe; who, yet, he says, were not put to death by the pope and bishops, but by the civil magistrates." The dragon, in a new shape, or Roman empire of Germany, acted a very conspicuous part in this nefarious warfare against the remnant of the woman's seed, who kept the commandments of God, and had the testimony of Jesus Christ. -- See the imperial edict of Frederic II. against heretics, in Limborch's History of the Inquisition.
And power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. -- As the book of the Revelation is a prophecy of all that should come upon the Christian world till the end of time; all kindreds, and tongues, and nations, must imply the whole Christian
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world. That the Latin empire, in the course of its reign, has had the extensive power here spoken of, is evident from history. It is well known that the profession of Christianity was chiefly confined within the limits of the Greek and Latin empires, till the period of the Reformation. By means of the Crusades, the Latins extended their empire over several provinces of the Greeks. In 1097, Baldwin extended his conquest over the hills of Armenia, and the plain of Mesopotamia, and founded the first principality of the Franks, or Latins; which subsisted fifty-four years, beyond the Euphrates. In 1204 the Greeks were expelled Constantinople by the Latins, who set up an empire there which continued about fifty-seven years. The total overthrow of the Latin states in the East soon followed the recovery of Constantinople by the Greeks: and in 1291 the Latin empire in the East was entirely dissolved. Thus the Latins have had power over the whole world professedly Christian: but it is not said that the whole world was in utter subjection to him; for we read in the following verse --
Verse 8. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb -- The earth here is the Latin world, as has been observed before in similar cases. The meaning, therefore, is, that all the corrupt part of mankind, who are inhabitants of the Latin world, shall submit to the religion of the empire, except, as Bishop Newton expresses it, "those faithful few,whose names, as citizens of heaven, were enrolled in the registers of life."
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Slain from the foundation of the world -- That is, if of the Christian world; for this has been shown to be the meaning of all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. The year of the crucifixion is properly the commencement of Christianity, as the apostles then first began to promulgate the religion of Christ with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. But as Jesus Christ was in the Divine purpose appointed from the foundation of the world to redeem man by His blood, He therefore is, in a very eminent sense, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, i. e. from the creation.
Verse 9. If any man have an ear, let him hear. -- These words are evidently introduced to impress the reader with the awfulness of what has just been spoken, all shall worship him whose names are not written in the book of life; as well as to fix his attention upon the following words: --
Verse 10. He that leadeth into captivity, shall go into captivity -- The Latin empire here spoken of must go into captivity, because it has led into captivity, by not only propagating among the various nations its abominable antichristian system, but also in compelling them to embrace it under penalty of forfeiting the protection of the empire.
He that killeth with the sword must be killed by the sword -- The Latin empire must be also broken to pieces by the sword, because it has killed the saints of God. This prophecy will not receive its full accomplishment till the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.
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Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. -- By these words, as Dr. Mitchell observes, "God calls upon His saints' to keep in view, under all their persecutions, His retributive justice: there is no violence that has been exercised upon them but what shall be retaliated upon the cruel and persecuting government and governors of the Latin empire."
Verse 11. And I beheld another beast corning up out of the earth -- As a beast has already been shown to be the symbol of a kingdom or empire, the rising up of this second beast must, consequently, represent the rising up of another empire. This beast conies up out of the earth; therefore it is totally different from the preceding, which rose up out of the sea. Earth here means the Latin world, for this word has been shown to import this already in several instances; the rising up of the beast out of this earth must, consequently, represent the springing up of some power out of a state of subjection to the Latin empire: therefore the beast, here called another beast, is another LATIN empire. This beast is the spiritual Latin empire, or, in other words, the Romish hierarchy; for with no other power can the prophetic description, yet to be examined, be shown to accord. In the time of Charlemagne, the ecclesiastical power was in subjection to the civil; and it continued to be so for a long time after his death; therefore the beast, whose deadly wound was healed, ruled over the whole Latin world, both clergy and laity; these, consequently, constituted but one beast or empire. But the Latin clergy kept continually gaining more and more influence in the civil affairs of the
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Empire; and in the tenth century their authority was greatly increased. In the subsequent centuries the power of the Romish hierarchy ascended even above that of the emperors; and led into captivity the kings of the whole Latin world, as there will be occasion to show in commenting upon the following verses. Thus the Romish hierarchy was at length entirely exempted from the civil power, and constituted another beast, as it became entirely independent of the secular Latin empire. And this beast came up out of the earth; that is, the Latin clergy, which composed a part of the zzztarth, or Latin world, raised their authority against that of the secular powers; and, in process of time, wrested the superintendence of ecclesiastical affairs from the secular princes.
And he had two horns -- As the seven-headed beast is represented as having ten horns, which signifies so many kingdoms leagued together to support the Latin church, so the beast which rises out of the earth has also two horns, which must, consequently, represent two kingdoms; for, if horns of a beast mean kingdoms in one part of the Apocalypse, kingdoms must be intended by this symbol whenever it is used in a similar way in any other part of this book. As the second beast is the spiritual Latin empire, the two horns of this beast denote that the empire thus represented is Composed of two distinct spiritual powers. These, therefore, can be no other, as Bishop Newton and Faber properly observe, than the two grand independent branches of the Romish hierarchy, viz. the Latin clergy, regular, and secular. "The first of these
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comprehends all the various monastic orders; the second comprehends the whole body of parochial clergy." These two grand branches of the hierarchy originally constituted but one dominion, as the monks, as well as the other clergy, were in subjection to the Bishops: but the subjection of the monks to their diocesans became by degrees less apparent; and in process of time, through the influence and authority of the Roman pontiffs, they were entirely exempted from all episcopal jurisdiction, and thus became a spiritual power entirely independent of that of the secular clergy.
Like a lamb -- As lamb, in other parts of the Apocalypse, evidently means Christ, who is, the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world," it must have a similiar import in this passage: therefore the meaning here is evidently that the two horns of the beast, or the regular and secular clergy, profess to be the ministers of Christ; to be like him in meekness and humility; and to teach nothing that is contrary to godliness. The two-horned beast, or spiritual Latin empire, has in reality the name, and in the eyes of the Latin world the appearance, of a CHRISTIAN power. But he is only so in appearance, and that alone among his deluded votaries; for when he spake,
He spake as a dragon -- The doctrines of the Romish hierarchy are very similar to those contained in the old heathen worship; for he has introduced "a new species of idolatry nominally different, but essentially the same, the worship of angels and saints, instead of the gods and demigods of antiquity."
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Verse 12. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him -- In the preceding verse the two-horned beast was represented as rising out of the earth, that is, obtaining gradually more and more influence in the civil affairs of the Latin world. Here he is represented as having obtained the direction and management of all the power of the first beast, or secular Latin empire, before him. That the Romish hierarchy has had the extensive power here spoken of, is evident from history: for the civil power was in subjection to the ecclesiastical. The parochial clergy, one of the horns of the second beast, have had great secular jurisdiction over the whole Latin world. Two-thirds of the estates of Germany were given by the three Othos, who succeeded each other, to ecclesiastics; and in the other Latin monarchies the parochial clergy possessed great temporal power. Yet, extraordinary as the power of the secular clergy was in all parts of the Latin world, it was but feeble when compared with that of the monastic orders, which constituted another horn of the beast. The Mendicant Friars, the most considerable of the regular clergy, first made their appearance in the early part of the thirteenth century. These friars were divided by Gregory X. in a general council which he assembled at Lyons in 1272, into the four following societies or denominations, viz. the Dominicans, the Franciscans, the Carmelites, and the Hermits of St. Augustine. "As the pontiffs," observes Mosheim, allowed these four mendicant orders the liberty of travelling wherever they thought proper, of conversing with persons of all ranks, of instructing the
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youth and the multitude wherever they went; and as these monks exhibited, in their outward appearance and manner of life, more striking marks of gravity and holiness than were observable in the other monastic societies, they arose all at once to the very summit of fame, and were regarded with the utmost esteem and veneration throughout all the countries of Europe. The enthusiastic attachment to these sanctimonious beggars went so far, that, as we learn from the most authentic records, several cities were divided, or cantoned out, into four parts, with a view to these four orders; the first part was assigned to the Dominicans, the second to the Franciscans, the third to the Carmelites, and the fourth to the Augustinians. The people were unwilling to receive the sacraments from any other hands than those of the Mendicants, to whose churches they crowded to perform their devotions, while living; and were extremely desirous to deposit there also their remains after death; all which occasioned grievous complaints among the ordinary priests, to whom the cure of souls was committed, and who considered themselves as the spiritual guides of the multitude. Nor did the influence and credit of the Mendicants end here; for we find in the history of this (13th century) and the succeeding ages, that they were employed not only in spiritual matters, but also in temporal and political affairs of the greatest consequence; in composing the differences of princes, concluding treaties of peace, concerting alliances, presiding in cabinet councils, governing courts, levying taxes, and other occupations not only remote from, but absolutely
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inconsistent with, the monastic character and profession. We must not, however, imagine that all the Mendicant Friars attained to the same degree of reputation and authority; for the power of the Dominicans and Franciscans surpassed greatly that of the two other orders, and rendered them singularly conspicuous in the eyes of the world. During three centuries these two fraternities governed, with an almost universal and absolute sway, both state and church; filled the most eminent posts, ecclesiastical and civil; taught in the universities and churches with an authority before which all opposition was silent; and maintained the pretended majesty and prerogatives of the Roman pontiffs against kings, princes, bishops and heretics, with incredible ardour and equal success. The Dominicans and Franciscans were, before the Reformation, what the Jesuits have been since that happy and glorious period, the very soul of the hierarchy, the engines of state, the secret springs of all the motions of the one and the other, and the authors and directors of every great and important event in the religious and political world." Thus, the Romish hierarchy has exercised all the power of the first beast in his sight, both temporal and spiritual; and, therefore, with such astonishing influence as this over secular princes, it was no difficult matter for him to cause --
The earth, and them that dwell therein, to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. -- That is, he causes the whole Latin world to submit to the authority of the Latin empire, with the revived western empire at its head; persuading them that such submission
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is beneficial to their spiritual interests, and absolutely necessary for their salvation. Here it is observable that both beasts have dominion over the same earth; for it is expressly said, that the second beast causeth the earth and them that dwell therein to worship the first beast: therefore it is, as Bishop Newton and others have observed, imperium in imperio, "an empire within an empire." We have,-consequently, the fullest evidence that the two beasts consist in the division of the great Latin empire, by the usurpation of the Latin clergy, into two distinct empires, the one secular, the other spiritual; and both united in one antichristian design, viz. to diffuse their most abominable system of idolatry, over the whole earth, and to extend the sphere of their domination. Here we have also an illustration of that remarkable passage in chap. xvi. 10. the kingdom of the beast, i. e. the kingdom of the Latin kingdom; which is apparently a solecism, but in reality expressed with wonderful precision. The fifth vial is poured out upon the throne of the beast, and HIS KINGDOM is darkened, i. e. the Latin kingdom, in subjection to the Latin kingdom, or the secular Latin empire.
Verse 13. And he doeth great wonders -- That we may have the greatest assurance possible that the two-horned beast is the Latin empire, it is called, in chap, xix. 20. a passage illustrative of the one now under consideration, the false prophet, "than which," as Bishop Newton observes, "there cannot be a stronger or plainer argument to prove that false doctors or teachers were particularly designed; "for prophet, in the Scripture style, is not unfrequently used for a preacher
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or expounder of God's word. See 1. Cor. xiv. It hence follows that the two-horned beast is an empire of false doctors or teachers.
In order to establish the Latin church upon a foundation that can never fail, the false prophet doeth great wonders; he attempts the most wonderful and prodigious exploits, and is crowned with incredible success. He has the art to persuade his followers that the clergy of the church of Rome are the only true ministers of Christ; that they have such great influence in the court of heaven as to be able not only to forgive sins, but also to grant indulgences in sin, by paying certain stipulated sums. He persuades them too that they fan do works of supererogation. He pretends that an incredible number of miracles have been wrought, and are still working, by the Almighty, as so many evidences of the great sanctity of the Latin church; and the false prophet has such an astonishing influence over his flock, as to cause them to believe all his fabulous legends and lying wonders. He pretends also (and is believed!) that his power is not confined to this world; that he is able by his prayers to deliver the souls of the deceased from what he calls purgatory, a place which he has fabled to exist for the purification of sinful souls after their departure from this world. His wonderful exploits in being able to induce men, possessed of reasonable faculties, to believe his monstrous absurdities, do not end here; he even
Maketh fire come down from heaven -- in the sight of men -- Fire, in Scripture, when it signifies wrath, represents that species of indignation which is attended
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with the destruction of whatever is the cause of it. Thus the wrath of God is likened to fire, Psa. xviii. 7, 8. Jer. iv. 4. -- Therefore the fire which the false prophet bringeth down from heaven upon the earth, is the fiery indignation which he causes to come down from the heaven or throne of the Latin empire upon all those of the earth or Latin world who rebel against his authority. All this has been fulfilled in the Romish hierarchy: the Latin clergy have denominated all those that oppose their authority, heretics; they have instituted tribunals to try the cause of heresy; and all those that would not submit to their idolatry, they have condemned to various kinds of tortures and deaths. It is said of the false prophet that he bringeth fire from heaven upon the earth; that is to say, he will only try the cause of heresy, and pass the sentence of condemnation; he will not suffer an ecclesiastic to execute the sentence of the court; the destroying fire he causeth to come down from the heaven or throne of the Latin empire; secular princes and magistrates must execute the sentence of death upon all that are capitally condemned by the spiritual power. He maketh fire come down from heaven; he compels secular princes to assist him against heretics; and if any rebel against his authority, he immediately puts them under the bond of the anathema, so that they are deprived of their offices, and exposed to the insults and persecution of their brethren. Thus the false prophet deceives die Latin world by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast. Under the appearance of great sanctity, he persuades men to believe all
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his lying doctrines; and enforces his canons and decretals with the sword of the civil magistrate.
Verse 14. Saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast which had a wound by the sword and did live. -- The image of the beast must designate a person who represents in himself the whole power of the Latin empire: therefore it cannot be the emperor; for though he was, according to his own account, supremum caput Christianitatis, the supreme head of Christendom, yet he was only the chief of the Germanic confederation; and, consequently, was only sovereign of the principal power of the Latin empire. The image of the beast must be the supreme ruler of the Latin empire; and as it is through the influence of the false prophet that this image is made for the first beast, tins great chief must be an ecclesiastic. Who this is has been ably shown by Bishop Newton, in his comment on the following verse:
Verse 15. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killied. -- The influence of the two-horned beast, or corrupted clergy, is further seen in persuading and inducing mankind to make an image to the beast which had the wound by a sword and did live. This image and representative of the beast is the pope. He is properly the idol of the church. He represents in himself the whole power of the beast, and is the head of all authority, temporal as well as spiritual. He is nothing more than a private person,
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without power and without authority, till the two-horned beast, or corrupted clergy, by choosing him pope, give life unto him, and enable him to speak and utter his decrees, and to persecute even to death as many as refuse to submit to him, and to worship him. As sooti as he is chosen pope he is clothed with the pontifical robes and crowned and placed upon the altar, and the cardinals come and kiss his feet, which ceremony is called adoration. They first elect, and then they worship him; as in the medals of Martin V. where two are represented crowning the pope, and two kneeling before him with this inscription, Quern crcant adorant, Whom they create they adore. He is the principle of unity to the ten kingdoms of the beast; and causeth, as far as he' is able, all who will not acknowledge his supremacy to be put to death. The great ascendancy which the popes have obtained over the kings of the Latin world by means of the Romish hierarchy, is sufficiently marked in the history of Europe. As long as the great body of the people were devoted to the Roman Catholic idolatry, it was in vain for the kings of the different Roman Catholic countries to oppose the increasing usurpations of the popes. They ascended, in spite of all opposition, to the highest pinnacle of human greatness; for even the authority of the emperors themselves was established or annulled at their pleasure. The high-sounding tone of the popes commenced in Gregory VII. A. D. 1078, commonly known by the name of Hildebrand, who aimed at nothing less than universal empire. He published an anathema against all who received the investiture of a bishopric or abbacy
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from the hands of a layman; as also against those by whom the investiture should be performed. This measure being opposed by Henry IV. emperor of Germany, the pope deposed him from all power and dignity, regal or imperial. See Corps Diplomatique, Tom. I. page 53. Great numbers of German princes siding with the pope, the emperor found himself under the necessity of going (in January, 1077) to the bishop of Rome to implore his forgiveness, which was not granted him till he had fasted three days, standing from morning to evening barefooted, and exposed to the inclemency of the weather! In the following century the power of the popes was still further increased; for on the 23d of September, 1122, the emperor Henry V. gave up all right of conferring the regalia by the ceremony of the ring and crosier, and that the chapters and communities should be at liberty to fill up their own vacancies. In this century the election of the Roman pontiffs was confined by Alexander III. to the college of cardinals. In the thirteenth century the popes (Dr. Mosheim observes) "inculcated that pernicious maxim, that die bishop of Rome is the supreme lord of the universe; and that neither princes nor bishops, civil governors nor ecclesiastical rulers, have any lawful power in church or state but what they derive from him. To establish their authority, both in civil and ecclesiastical matters, upon the firmest foundation, they assumed to themselves the power of disposing of the various offices of the church, whether of a higher or more subordinate nature, and of creating bishops, abbots, and canons, according to their fancy. The first of the pontiffs who
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usurped such an extravagant extent of authority was Innocent III. (A. D. 1198 -- 1216.) whose example was followed by Honoring III. (A.. D. 1216,) Gregory IX. (A. D. 1227.) and several of their successors." Thus the plenitude of the papal power, (as it is termed,) was not confined to what was spiritual; the Romish bishops "dethroned monarchs, disposed-of crowns, absolved subjects from the obedience due to their sovereigns, and laid kingdoms under interdicts. There was not a state in Europe which had not been disquieted by their ambition. There was not a throne which they had not shaken, nor a prince who did not tremble at their presence." The point of time in which the Romish bishops attained their highest elevation of authority was about the commencement of the 14th century. Boniface VIII. who was pope at this time, outstripped all his predecessors in the high-sounding tone of his public decrees. According to his famous bull, Unam Sanctam, published Nov. 16, 1302, "the secular power is but a simple emanation from the ecclesiastical; and the double power of the pope zzz'\uded upon Holy scripture, is even an article of faith. "God," said he, "has confided to Saint Peter, and to his successors, two swords, the one spiritual, the other temporal. The first ought to be exercised by the church itself, and the other by secular powers for the service of the church, and according to the will of the pope. The latter, that is to say, the temporal sword, is in subjection to the former; and the temporal authority depends indispensably on the spiritual power. Finally, he adds, it is necessary to the salvation of every human
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creature to be in subjection to the Roman pontiff." The false prophet SAID "to them that dwell upon the earth, that they should make an image to the beast that had the wound by a sword and did live" that is the Romish priesthood preached up the pope's supremacy over temporal princes; and through their astonishing influence on the minds of the people, the bishop of Rome, at last, became the supreme sovereign of the secular Latin empire; and thus was at the head of all authority, temporal and spiritual.
The papists have, in their various superstitions, professed to worship God. But they are said, in the unerring words of prophecy, to worship the dragon, beast, and image of the beast; and to blaspheme God: for they received as holy those commandments of men that stand in direct opposition to the Sacred Scriptures, and which have been imposed on them by the Romish bishops, aided by the secular powers. "God is a Spirit, and they who worship Him must worship Him in SPIRIT and in TRUTH."
Verse 16. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond to receive a mark -- To ascertain the meaning of the mark which the two-horned beast causes all orders and degrees of men in the Latin world to receive, we need only refer to chap. xiv. 11. where the mark imposed by the two-horned beast is called the mark of his name. The name of the beast is the Latin empire; the mark of his name, must, therefore, be his LATIN worship; for this very reason, that it is the two-horned beast, or false prophet, who causes all descriptions of persons to receive it. Now it
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is well known that the continual employment of the Latin clergy is to enforce the Latin idolatry upon their flocks. The mass and offices of the church, which are in Latin, and contain the sum and substance of their idolatrous worship, are of different kinds, and abound in impious prayers to the Virgin Mary, and the saints and angels. In a word, the LATIN worship is the universal badge of distinction of the LATIN church, from all other churches on the face of the earth; and is, therefore, the only infallible MARK by which a genuine papist can be distinguished from the rest of mankind. But the two-horned beast causes all to receive this mark --
In their right hand, or in their foreheads -- Right hand, in Scripture language, when used figuratively, represents the physical power of the person of whom it is spoken; and, when applied to God, designates a signal manifestation of Divine power against His enemies, and in behalf of His people. -- See Psa. xvii. 7. xx. 6. xxi. 8. xlv. 3, 4, zzz8sc. The reception of the mark in the right hand must, therefore, mean that all, so receiving it, devote the whole power of their minds and body for the propagation of the Latin worship, and in the eradication of all they denominate heresies out of their church. But some receive the mark in their foreheads. By any thing being impressed upon the forehead, is meant the public profession of whatever is inscribed or marked upon it: see Rev. ix. 4. xiv. 1. xxii. 4, &c. The mark of the beast being received on the forehead, therefore, means that all those so marked make a public profession of the Latin worship;
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whereby it is evident to all that they form a part of the Latin church. Many may be marked in the right hand, who are also marked on their foreheads; but it does not follow that those marked on their foreheads are also marked in their right hand; that is to say, it is not every individual that complies with the Latin worship, who, to the utmost of his power, endeavours to propagate his religious system. Hence the propriety of the words. "He causeth all -- to receive a mark in their right hand, OR in their foreheads."
Verse 17. And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark -- "If any," observes Bishop Newton, "dissent from the stated and authorised forms, they are condemned and excommunicated as heretics; and in consequence of that, they are no longer suffered to buy or sell; they are interdicted from traffic and commerce, and all the benefit of civil society. So Roger Hoveden relates of William the Conqueror, that he was so dutiful to the pope that he would not permit any one in his power to buy or sell any thing whom he found disobedient to the apostolic see. So the canon of the council of Lateran, under pope Alexander III. made against the Waldenses and Albigenses, enjoins, upon pain of anathema, that no man presume to entertain or cherish them in his house or land, or exercise traffic with them. The synod of Tours in France, under the same pope, orders, under the like intermination, that no man should presume to receive or assist them, no not so much as to hold any communion with them in selling or buying; that, being deprived of the comfort of humanity, they may be compelled to repent
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of the error of their way." In the tenth and eleventh' centuries, the severity against the excommunicated was carried to so high a pitch, that nobody might come near them, not even their own wives, children, or servants; they forfeited all their natural legal rights and privileges, and were excluded from all kinds of offices. The form of excommunication in the Romish church is to take lighted torches, throw them upon the ground with curses and anathemas, and trample them out under feet to the ringing of the bells. It is in this, and similar ways, that the false prophet has terrified the Latin world, and kept it in subjection to the secular and spiritual powers. Those interdicted by the two-horned beast from all offices of civil life, are also such as have not -- the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Having thus far described the beast rising out of the sea with seven heads, ten horns and ten crowns, and the beast coming out of the earth with two horns, we proceed to give an account of the great whore which sat upon many waters; her description, name and conduct, as signified by the Revelator, Chap. xvii. -- See Dr. Clark.
Verse 1. And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither, I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters. -- That idolatrous worship is frequently represented in Scripture under the character of a whore or whoredom, is evident from numerous passages which it is unnecessary to quote -- See I Chron. v. 25. Ezck. xvi. I
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xxiii. &c. The woman mentioned here is called a great whore, to denote her excessive depravity, and the awful nature of her idolatry. She is also represented as sitting upon many waters, to show the vast extent of her influence. -- See on ver. 13.
Verse 2. With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. -- What an awful picture this is of the state of the religion of the world, in subjection to this whore. Kings have committed spiritual fornication with her, and their subjects have drunk deep, dreadfully deep, into the doctrine of her abominable errors.
Verse 3. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness -- This wilderness into which the apostle was carried, is the desolate state of the true church of Christ, in one of the wings of the once mighty Roman empire. It was a truly awful sight, a terrible desert, a waste-howling wilderness; for when he came thither, he --
Saw a woman sit upon a scarlet-coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. -- No doubt can now be entertained that this woman is the Latin church; for she sits upon the beast with seven heads and ten horns, which has been already proved to be the Latin empire, because this empire alone contains the number 666. -- See on chap. xiii. This is a representation of the Latin church in her highest state of antichristian prosperity; for she SITS UPON the scarlet-coloured beast, a striking emblem of her complete domination over the secular Latin empire. The state
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of the Latin church from the commencement of the fourteenth century to the time of the Reformation, may be considered that which corresponds to this prophetic description in the literal and extensive sense of the words: for during this period she was at her highest pitch of worldly grandeur and temporal authority. The beast is full of names of blasphemy; and it is well known that the nations, in support of the Latin or Romish church, have abounded in blasphemous appellations, and have not blushed to attribute to themselves and to their church the most sacred titles; not only blaspheming by the improper use of sacred names, but even by applying to its bishops those names which alone belong to God; for God hath expressly declared that He will not give his glory to another, neither his praise to graven images.
Verse 4. And that woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand, full of abominations and filthiness of her fornications -- This strikingly represents the most pompous and costly manner in which the Latin church has held forth to the nations the rites and ceremonies of its idolatrous and corrupt worship.
Verse 5. And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots, and Abominations of the Earth. -- This inscription being written upon her forehead is intended to show that she is not ashamed of her doctrines, but publicly professes and glories in them before the nations; she has, indeed, a whore's forehead; she has refused to be
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ashamed. The inscription on her forehead is exactly the portraiture of the Latin church. This church is as Bishop Newton well expresses it, a mystery of iniquity. This woman is also called Babylon the Great, she is the exact antetype of the ancient Babylon in her idolatry and cruelty; but the ancient city called Babylon is only a drawing of her in miniature. This is, indeed, Babylon the Great. "She affects the style and title of our Holy Mother the Church; but she is, in truth, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth."
Verse 6. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. -- How exactly the cruelties exercised by the Latin church against all it has denominated heretics correspond with this description, the reader need not. be informed.
Verse 7. And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast which carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. -- The apostle was greatly astonished, as well he might, at the woman's being drunk with the blood of the saints, when the beast which carried her abounded with sacred appellations, such as, holy, most holy, most Christian, sacred, most sacred. The angel undertakes to explain to St. John the vision, which had excited in him so great astonishment; and the explication is of such great importance, that, had it not been given, the mystery of the dragon the beast could never have been satisfactorily explained
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in all its particulars. The angel begins with saying --
Verse 8. The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition -- The beast is the Latin kingdom, consequently the beast was, that is, was in existence previously to the time of St. John, for Latinus was the first king of the Latlns, and Numitor the last; is not now, because the Latin nation has ceased long ago to be an independent power, and is now under the dominion of the Romans; but shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, that is, the Latin kingdom, the antichristian power. or that which ascendeth out of the abyss, or bottomless pit, is yet in futurity. But it is added --
And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder (whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world,) when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. -- By the earth is here meant the Latin world; therefore the meaning is, that all who dwell in the Latin world shall adhere to the idolatrous and blasphemous religion of the Latin church, which is supported by the Latin empire, except those who abide by the Sacred Scriptures, receiving them as the only rule of faith and practice. These believe in the true Sacrifice, and keep themselves unspotted from the corruption that is in the world. But the inhabitants of the Latin world, under the dominion of the Romish religion, shall wonder when they behold the beast, or Latin empire; that is, as Lord Napier remarks, "shall have in great admiration, reverence, and estimation, this great monarchie." They shall
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wonder at it, by considering it the most sacred empire in the world, that in which God peculiarly delights: but those that so wonder have not their names written in the book of life, but are such as prefer councils to Divine revelation, and take their religion from missals, and rituals, and legends, instead of the Sacred Oracles; hence they are corrupt and idolatrous, and no idolater hath inheritance in the kingdom of God. In the preceding part of the verse, the beast is considered in three states, as that which was, a«d is not, and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit; here a fourth is introduced, and yet is. This is added to show that, though the Latins were subjugated by the Romans, nevertheless the. Romans themselves were Latins; for Romulus, the founder of their monarchy, was a Latin; consequently that denominated in St. John's days the Roman, empire, was, in reality, the Latin kingdom, for the very language of the empire was the Latin; and the Greek writers, who lived in the time of the Roman empire, expressly tell us that those former-" ly called Latins are now named Romans. The meaning of the whole verse is, therefore, as follows: the corrupt part of mankind shall have in great admiration the Latin empire yet in futurity, which has already been, but is now extinct, the Romans having conquered it; and yet is still in being, for though the Latin nation has been subjugated, its conquerors are themselves Latins. But it may be objected against the interpretation here given, that these phrases are spoken of the beast upon which the apostle saw the woman, or Latin church, zzzsit.; for the angel says, the beast that thou sawest,
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was and is not, Sac,; what reference, therefore, can the Latin empire, which supports the Latin church, hare to the Latin kingdom which subsisted before St. John's time, or to the Roman empire, which might properly be so denominated? This objection has very great weight at first sight; and cannot be answered satisfactorily till the angel's explanation of the heads and horns of the beast have been examined; therefore it is added --
Verse 9. Here is the mind which hath wisdom -- It was said before, chap. xiii. 18. Here is wisdom; let him that hath a mind or understanding, count the number of the beast. Wisdom, therefore, here means a correct view of what is intended by the number 666; consequently, the parallel passage, Here is the mind which hath wisdom, is a declaration that the number of the beast must first be understood, before the angel's interpretation of the vision concerning the whore and the beast can admit of a satisfactory explanation.
The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sitteth. -- This verse has been almost universally considered to allude to the seven hills upon which Rome originally stood. But it has been objected that modern Rome is not thus situated; and that, consequently, pagan Rome is intended in the prophecy. This is certainly a very formidable objection against the generally received opinion among Protestants, that papal Rome is the city meant by the woman sitting upon seven mountains. It has been already shown that the woman here mentioned is an emblem of the Latin Church in her highest state of antichristian prosperity;
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and, therefore, the city of Rome, seated upon seven mountains, is not at all designed in the prophecy. In order to understand this Scripture aright, the word mountains must be taken in a figurative and not a literal sense, as in chap. vi. 14. and xvi. 20. See also Isa. ii. 2, 14. Jer. li. 25. Dan. ii. 35, &c. In which it is unequivocally the emblem of great and mighty power. The mountains upon which the woman sitteth, must be therefore, seven great powers; and as the mountains are heads of the beast, they must be the seven greatest eminences of the Latin world. As no other power was acknowledged at the head of the Latin empire but that of Germany, how can it be said that the beast has seven heads? This question can only be solved by the feudal constitution of the late Germanic league; the history of which is briefly as follows: -- At first kings alone granted fiefs. They granted them to laymen only, and to such only who were free; and the vassal had no power to alienate them. Every freeman, and particularly the feudal tenants, were subject to the obligation of military duty, and appointed to guard their sovereign's life, member, mind, and right honour. Soon after, or perhaps a little before the extinction of the Carlovingian dynasty in France, by the accession of the Capetian line, and in Germany by the accession of the house of Saxony, fiefs, which had been entirely at the disposal of the sovereign, became hereditary. Even the offices of duke, count, margrave, &.c. were transmitted in the course of hereditary descent; and not long after the right of primogeniture was universally established. The crown-vassals usurped the
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sovereign property of the land, with civil and military authority over the inhabitants. The possession thus usurped they granted out to their immediate tenants; and these granted them over to others, in like manner. Thus the principal vassals gradually obtained every royal prerogative: they promulgated laws, exercised the power of life and death, coined money, fixed the standard of weights and measures, granted safe-guards, entertained a military force, and imposed taxes, with every right supposed to be annexed to royalty. In their titles they styled themselves dukes, &c. Uei gratia, by the grace of God, a prerogative avowedly confined to sovereign power. It was even admitted, that, if the king refused to do the lord justice, the lord might make war upon him. The tenants, in their turn, made themselves independent of their vassal-lords, by which was introduced an ulterior state of vassallage. The king was called the sovereign lord, his immediate vassal was called the suzereign, and the tenants holding of him were called the arrere vassals. (See Butler's Revolutions of the Germanic empire, pp. 54-66.) Thus the power of the emperors of Germany, which was so very considerable in the ninth century, was gradually diminished by the means of the feudal system; and, during the anarchy of the long interregnum, occasioned by the interference of the popes in the election of the emperors (from 1256 to 1273,) the imperial power was reduced almost to nothing. Rudolph of Hapsburgh, the founder of the house of Austria, was at length elected emperor, because his territories and influence were so inconsiderable as to excite no jealousy
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in the German princes, who were willing to preserve the forms of constitution, the power and vigour of which they had destroyed. -- See Robertson's Introduction to his History of Charles V. Before the dissolution of the empire, in 1806, Germany "presented a complex association of principalities, more or less powerful, and more or less connected, with a nominal sovereignty in the emperor, as its supreme feudal chief." There were about three hundred princes of the empire, each sovereign in his own country, and might enter into alliances, and pursue, by all political measures, his own private interest, as other sovereigns do; for, if even an imperial war were declared, he might remain neuter, if the safety of the empire were not at stake.
Here then was an empire of a construction, without exception, the most singular and intricate that ever appeared in the world; for the emperor was only the chief of the Germanic confederation. Germany was, therefore, speaking in the figurative language of Scripture, a country abounding in zzzhillt, or containing an immense number of distinct principalities. But the different German States, (as has been before observed,) did not each possess an equal share of power and influence; some were more eminent than others. Among them there were also a few which might, with the greatest propriety, be denominated mountains, or states possessing a very high degree of political importance. Bat the seven mountains on which the woman sits must have their elevations above all the other eminences in the whole Latin world; consequently, they can be no
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other than the seven electorates of the German empire. These were, indeed, mountains of vast eminence; for in their sovereigns was vested the sole power of electing the head of the empire. But this was not all; for, besides the power of electing an emperor, the electors had a right to capitulate with the new head of the empire, to dictate the conditions on which he was to reign, and to depose him if he broke those conditions. They actually deposed Adolphus of Nassau in 1298, and Wenceslaus in 1400. They were sovereign and independent princes in their respective dominions, had the privilegium de non appellando illimitatum, that of making war, coining, and exercising every act of sovereignty; they formed a separate college in the diet of the empire, and had among themselves a particular covenant, or league, called Kurvercin; they had precedence of all the other princes of the empire, and even ranked with kings. The head of the beast, understood in this way, is one of the finest emblems of the German constitution which can possibly be conceived; for as the Roman empire of Germany had the precedence of all the other monarchies of which the Latin empire was composed, the seven mountains very fitly denote the seven PRINCIPAL powers of what has been named the Holy Roman empire. And, also, as each electorate, by virtue of its union with the Germanic body, was more powerful than any other Roman Catholic state of Europe, not so united; so was each electorate, in the most proper sense of the word, one of the highest elevations in the Latin world. The time when the seven electorates of the empire were first instituted, is
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very uncertain. The most probable opinion appears to be that which places their origin sometime in the thirteenth century. The uncertainty, however, in this respect, does not in the least weaken the evidence ot the mountains being the seven electorates, but rather confirms it; for, as we have already observed, the representation of the woman sitting upon the beast, is a figure of the Latin church in the period of her greatest authority, spiritual and temporal; this we know did not take place before the commencement of the fourteenth century, a period subsequent to the institution ot the seven electorates. Therefore the woman sits upon the seven mountains, or the German empire in its elective aristocratical state: she is said to sit upon them, to denote that she has the whole German empire under her direction and authority and also that it is her zzzchiel support and strength. Supported by Germany, she is under no apprehension of being successfully opposed by any other power: she sits upon the seven mountains, therefore she is higher than the seven highest eminences of the Latin world; she must therefore, have the secular Latin empire under her complete subjection. But this state of eminence did not continue above two or three centuries: the visible declension of the papal power in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries occasioned partly by the removal of the papal see from Rome to Avignon, and more particularly by the great schism from 1377 to 1417, though considered one of the remote causes of the Reformation, was at first the means of merely transferring the supreme power from die pope to a general council, while the dominion of
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the Latin church remained much the same. At the Council of Constance, March 30, 1415, it was decreed "that the synod being lawfully assembled in the name of the Holy Ghost, which constituted the general council, and represented the whole Catholic church militant, had its power immediately from Jesus Christ; and that every person, of whatsoever state or dignity, even the pope himself, is obliged to obey it in what concerns the faith, the extirpation of schism, and the general reformation of the church in its head and members." The council of Basil, of 1432, decreed, "that every one of whatever dignity or condition, not excepting the pope himself, who shall refuse to obey the ordinances and decrees of this general council, or any other, shall be put under penance, and punished. It is also declared that the pope has no power to dissolve the general council without the consent and decree of the assembly." -- See the third Tome of Du Phi's Ecclesiastical History. But what gave the death-blow to the temporal sovereignty of the Latin church was the light of the glorious Reformation, which first broke out in Germany in 1517; and in a very, few years gained its way not only over several of the great principalities of Germany, but was also made the established religion of other popish countries. Consequently, in the sixteenth century the woman no longer sat upon the seven mountains, the electorates not only having refused to be ruled by her, but some of them having also despised and abandoned her doctrines. The changes, therefore, which were made in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries in the number of the
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electorates, will not affect in the least the interpretation of the seven mountains already given. The seven electors were the archbishops of Mentz, Cologne, and Triers, the count palatine of the Rhine, the duke of Saxony, the marquis of Brundenburgh, and the king of Bohemia. But the heads of the beast have a double signification, for the angel says,
Verse 10. And there are seven kings -- Before it was said, they are seven mountains; here, they are also seven kings, which is a demonstration that kingdoms are not here meant by mountains; and this is a further argument that the seven electorates are represented by seven mountains, for though the sovereigns of these states ranked with kings, they were not kings; that is to say, they were not absolute and sole lords of the territories they possessed, independently of the emperor; for their states formed a part of the Germanic body. But the seven heads of the beast are also seven kings; that is to say, the Latin empire has had seven supreme forms of government; for king is used in the prophetical writings for any supreme governor of a state or people, as is evident from Deut. xxxiii. 5. where Moses is called a king. Of these seven kings, or supreme forms of Latin government, the angel informs St John.
Five are fallen and one is -- It is well known that the first form of Latin government was that of kings, which continued after the death of Latinus 428 years, till the building of Rome, B. C. 758. After Numitor's decease, the Albans or Latins, instituted the form of a republic, and were governed by dictators. We have
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I only the names of two, viz. Cluilius and Meteus, zzzFufetius or Suffetius; but as the dictatorship continued at least eighty-eight years, there might have been others, though their names and actions are unknown. In the year before Christ 665, Alba, the metropolis of the Latin nation, was destroyed by Tullus Hostilius, the third king of the Romans, and the inhabitants carried to Rome. This put an end to the monarchical republic of the Latins: and the Latins elected two annual magistrates, whom Licinius calls dictators, but who are called praetors by other writers. This form of government continued till the time of P. Decius Mus, the Roman consul; for Festus, in his fourteenth book, informs us, "that the Albans enjoyed prosperity till the time of king Tullus; but that Alba being then destroyed, the consuls, till the time of P. Decius Mus, held a consultation with the Latins at the head of zzzFerentina, and the empire was governed by the council of both nations." The Latin nation was entirely subjugated by the Romans B. C. 336, which put an end to the government by praetors, after it had continued upwards of three hundred years. The "Latins from this time ceased to be a nation, as it respects the name; therefore the three forms of government already mentioned were those which the Latins had during that period which the angel speaks of, when he says, the beast which thou sawest WAS.
But as five heads, or forms of government, had fallen before St. John's time, it is evident that the two other forms of government which had fallen, must be among those of the Romans; first, because though the Latin
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nation so called was deprived of all authority by the Romans, yet the Latin power continued to exist, for the very conquerors of the Latin nation were Latins; and, consequently, the Latins, though a conquered people, continued to have a LATIN government. Secondly, the angel expressly says, when speaking to St. John, that one is, that is, the sixth head, or Latin form of government, was then in existence, which could be no other than the imperial power, this being the only independent form of Latin government in the apostolic age. It therefore necessarily follows, that the Roman forms of government by which Latium was ruled, must be the remaining heads of the beast. Before the subjugation of the Latins by the Romans, four of the Roman or Draconic forms of government had fallen, the regal power, the dictatorship, the deccmvirate, and the consular power of the military tribunes; the last of which was abolished about 366 years before the commencement of the Christian area; none of these, therefore, ruled over the whole Latin nation. But as the Latins were finally subdued about 336 years B. C. the consular government of the Romans, which was then the supreme power in the state, must be the fourth head of the beast. This form of government continued, with very little interruption, till the rising up of the triumvirate, the fifth head of the beast, B. C. 43. The dictatorship of Sylla and Julius Caesar could not be considered a new head of the. beast, as the Latins had already been ruled by it in the, persons of Cluilius and Fufetius. The sixth head of the beast, or that which existed in the time of St. John,
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was, consequently, as we have already proved, the imperial power of the heathen Caesars, or the seventh draconic form of government.
And the other is not yet come -- Bishop Newton considers the Roman duchy, under the eastern emperor's lieutenant, the exarch of Ravenna, the seventh head of the beast. But this cannot be the form of government signified by the seventh head, for a head of the beast, as we have already shown, is a supreme independent form of Latin government; consequently, the Roman duchy cannot be the seventh head, as it was dependent upon the exarchate of Ravenna: and the exarchate cannot be the head, as itself was in subjection to the Greek empire. The Rev. G. Faber has ascertained the truth exactly, in denominating the Carlovingian patriciate the seventh head of the beast. That this was a supreme independent form of government is evident from history. Gibbon, in speaking of the patriciate, observes, that "the decrees of .the senate and people successively invested Charles Martel and his posterity with the honours of patrician of Rome. The leaders -- of a powerful nation would have disdained a servile title and subordinate office; but the reign of the Greek emperors was suspended: and, in the vacancy of the empire, they derived a more glorious commission from the pope and the republic. The Roman ambassadors presented these patricians with the keys of the shrine of St. Peter, as a pledge and symbol of sovereignty; and with a holy banner, which it was their duty to unfurl in defence of the church and city. In the time of Charles Martel, and of Pepin, the interposition
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of the Lombard kingdom covered the freedom, while it threatened the safety, of Rome; and the patriciate represented only the title, the service, the alliance, of these distant protectors. The power and policy of Charlemagne annihilated an enemy and imposed a master. In his first visit to the capital, he was received with all the honours which had formerly been paid to the exarch, the representative of the emperor; and these honours obtained some new decorations from the joy and gratitude of Pope Adrian I. -- In the portico Adrian expected him at the head of his clergy; they embraced as friends and equals: but, in theiv march to the altar, the king, or patrician assumed the right hand of the pope. Nor was the Frank content with these vain and empty demonstrations of respect. In the twenty-six years that elapsed between the conquest of Lombardy and his imperial coronation, Rome, which had been delivered by the sword, was subjected, as his own, to the sceptre of Charlemagne. The people swore allegiance to his person and family; in his name money was coined, and justice was administered; and the election of the popes was examined and confirmed by his authority. Except an original and self-inherent claim of sovereignty, there was not any prerogative remaining which the title of emperor could add to the patrician of Rome." The seven heads of the beast are, therefore, the following: The Regal power, The Dictatorship, The power of the Prators, The Consulate, The Triumvirate, The Imperial power, and The Patriciate.
And when he cometh, he must continue a short space --
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The seventh form of government was only to remain a short time, which was actually the case; for from its first rise to independent power to its utter extinction, there passed only about forty-five years, a short time in comparison to the duration of several of the preceding forms of government; for the primitive regal government continued at least four hundred and twenty-eight years; the dictatorship was in power about eighty-eight years; the power of the praetors was in being for upwards of three hundred years; the consulate lasted about two hundred and eighty years; and the imperial power continued upwards of five hundred years.
Verse 11. And the beast that was, and is not, even lie is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. -- That is to say, the Latin kingdom that has already been, but is now no longer nominally in existence, shall immediately follow the dissolution of the seventh form of Latin government; and this dominion is called an eighth, because it succeeds to the seventh. Yet it is not an eighth head of the beast, because the beast has only seven heads; for, to constitute a new head of the beast, the form of government must not only differ in nature, but also in name. This head of the beast is, therefore, one of the seven. Consequently, the form of government represented by this head is the restoration of one of the preceding seven. The restored head can be, therefore, no other than the regal state of the Latins, or, in other words, the Latin kingdom, which followed the patriciate, or seventh head of government. But the beast, in his eighth state,
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or under his first head restored, goeth into perdition. No other form of Latin government shall succeed; but the beast, in his last or antichristian condition, shall be taken, together with the false prophet that wrought miracles in his sight, "and cast alive into a lake of-fire burning with brimstone."
It is observable, that the eighth Latin power is called by the angel the beast, and also one of his heads. This apparent discordance arises from the double signification of the heads; for if we take the beast upon which the woman sits to be merely a representation of that secular power which supports the Latin church, then the seven heads will represent the seven electorates of the Germanic empire; but if by the beast we understand the general Latin empire from first to last, then what is, according to the angel's first interpretation of the heads, called the beast, is, in this case, only one of his heads. -- See zzzon ver. 18.
Verse 12. And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet, but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. -- The meaning of horns has already been defined when speaking of those of the dragon. The meaning is, therefore, as follows: though the Latin empire be now in existence, the ten horns refer to ten Latin kingdoms yet in futurity, and consequently they have received no dominion as yet f for that part of the Latin domination now in power is the sixth head, or imperial government of the heathen Caesars. But the ten states of the Latins receive dominion as monarchies, at the same time, with the beast, or that which ascendeth out
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of the bottomless pit; consequently, the Latin empire here intended, is the one which was in futurity in the apostolic age.
Verse 13. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. -- Therefore the ten horns must constitute the principal strength of the Latin empire; that is to say, this empire is to be composed of the dominions of ten monarchs, independent of each other in every other sense, except in their implicit obedience to the Latin church. The beast, in this and the preceding verse, is distinguished from its horns, as the whole Latin empire is distinguished in history from its constituent powers. -- See on ver. 16.
Verse 14. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he Is the Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. -- The ten powers of the beast must compose the secular kingdom of antichrist; for they make war with the Lamb, who is Christ Jesus. This is perfectly true of all popish states; for they have constantly opposed as long as they have had any secular power, the progress of pure Christianity. They make war with the Lamb by persecuting His followers; but the Lamb shall overcome them, for he is the Lord of lords, and King of Icings; all lords have their authority from Him and no king can reign without Him; therefore the ten Latin kings are God's ministers, to execute His vengeance upon che idolatrous nations. But when these antichristian monarchies have executed the Divine purpose, those that are with the Lamb, the called, the chosen, and the
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faithful, those who have kept the truth in the love of it, shall prevail against all their adversaries, because their battles are fought by the Lamb, who is their God and their Deliverer. -- See chap. xix. 19, 20.
Verse 15. And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. -- "So many words," Bishop Newton observes, "in the plural number, fitly denote the great extensiveness of her power and jurisdiction: -- She herself glories in the title of the Catholic church, and exults in the number of her votaries as a certain proof of the true religion. Cardinal Bellarmin's first note of the true church is, the very name of the Catholic church: and his fourth note is, amplitude, or multitude, and variety of believers, for the truly Catholic church, says he, ought not only to comprehend all ages, but likewise all places, all nations, all kinds of men.
Verse 16, And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. -- Here is a clue to lead us to the right interpretation of the horns of the beast. It is said the ten horns shall hate the whore; by which is evidently meant, when connected with what follows, that the whole of the ten kingdoms in the interest of the Latin church, shall finally despise her doctrines, be reformed from popery, assist in depriving her of all influence, and in exposing her follies; and in the end consign her to utter destruction. From this it follows that no Roman Catholic power which did not exist so
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late as the Reformation, can be numbered among the horns of the beast; the horns must, therefore, be found among the great states of Europe at the commencement of the Reformation. These were exactly ten, viz. France, Spain, England, Scotland, The Empire, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Hungary, and Portugal. In these were comprehended most of the minor states, not styled monarchies; and which, from their first rise to the period of the Reformation, had been subdued by one or more of the ten grand Roman Catholic powers already named. Consequently, these ten constituted the power and strength of the beast; and each minor state is considered a part of that monarchy under the authority of which it was finally reduced, previously to the Reformation.
But, it may he asked, how could the empire, which was the revived head of the beast, have been at the same time one of its horns? The answer is as follows: horns of an animal, in the language of prophecy, represent the powers of which that empire or kingdom symbolized by the animal is composed. Thus the angel, in his interpretation of Daniel's vision of the ram and he-goat, expressly informs us, that "the ram with two horns are the kings of Media and Persia." One of the horns of the ram, therefore, represented the kingdom of Media, and the other the kingdom of Persia; and their union in one animal denoted the united kingdom of Media and Persia, viz. the Medo-Persian empire. In like manner the beast with ten horns denotes that the empire represented by the beast is composed of ten distinct powers; and the ten horns
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being united in one beast, very appropriately show that the monarchies symbolized by these horns are united together to form one empire; for we have already shown, in the notes on chap. xiii. ver. 1. that a beast is the symbol of an empire. Therefore, as the horns of zzz an' aiiimai, agreeably to the angel's explanation, (and we can give no higher authority) represent all the powers of which that domination symbolized by the animal is composed, the Roman empire of Germany, as one of those monarchies which gave their power and strength to the Latin empire, must, consequently, have been A HORN of the beast. But the Germanic empire was not only a LATIN power, but at the same time was acknowledged by all Europe to have precedency of all the others. Therefore, as it is not possible, to express these two circumstances by one symbol, it necessarily follows, from the nature of symbolical language, that what has been named the Holy Roman empire must have a double representation. Hence the empire, as one of the powers of the Latin monarchy, was a horn of the beast, and, in having precedency of all the others, was its revived head.
Verse 17. -- For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled, -- Let no one imagine that these ten Latin kingdoms, because they support an idolatrous worship, have been raised up merely by the power of man, or the chances of war. No kingdom or state can exist without the will of God; therefore let the inhabitants of the world tremble, when they see a wicked monarchy rise to power;
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and let them consider that it is raised up by the Lord to execute His vengeance upon the idolatries and profligacies of the times. It is said of the kings in communion with the church of Rome, that God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will. How is this divine will accomplished? In the most awful and aflictive manner! In causing ten Latin kings to unite their dominions into one mighty empire for the defence of the Latin church. Here is a dreadful dispensation of Jehovah; but it is such as the nations have most righteously deserved, because when they had the truth, they lived not according to its most holy requisitions, but loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. Therefore hath "the Lord sent them strong delusion that they should believe a lie, that they might all be damned who believe not the truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness." But this deplorable state of the world is not perpetual; it can only continue till every word of God is fulfilled upon his enemies; and when this time arrives, (which will be that of Christ's second advent,) then shall the son of God slay that wicked "with the spirit of His mouth, and shall consume him with the brightness of His COMING."
Verse 18. And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth. -- It has already been shown that the woman sitting upon the seven-headed beast is a representation of the Latin church; here we have the greatest assurance that it is so, because the woman is called a city, which is a much plainer emblem of a church, as the word is used unequivocally
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in this sense in so many parts of Scripture that we cannot well mistake its meaning. -- See chap, iii. 12. xi. 2. xxi. 10. xxii. 19. and also Psa. xlvi. 4. Ixxxvii. 3. Heb. xii. 22, &tc. The woman therefore, must be the Latin church; and as the apostle saw her sitting upon the beast, this must signify that she hath A KINGDOM over the kings of the earth, i. e. over the kings of the Latin world, for that this is the meaning of earth, has been shown before in numerous instances. That KINGDOM which the woman has over the kings of the Latin world, or secular Latin empire, or in other words, the kingdom of the Latin church, is the numbered Latin kingdom, or, Romish hierarchy. -- See on chap. xiii. 18. The woman is called a great city, to denote the very great extent of her jurisdiction; for she has comprehended within her walls the subjects of the mighty dominations of France, Spain, England, Scotland, The Empire, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Hungary, and Portugal. What an extensive city was this! Surely such as to justify the prophetic denomination that great city.
Having now gone through the whole of the angel's interpretation of St. John's vision of a whore sitting upon the seven-headed and ten-horned beast, it will be essentially necessary to examine a little more attentively the eighth verse of this chapter. It has already been shown that the phrases was, is not, shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and yet is, refer to the Latin kingdom which existed before the building of Rome; to the Roman empire in the time of St. John; and to the Latin empire which was in futurity in the apostolic age.
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But as the words was, is not, Sic. are spoken of the beast upon which the apostle saw the woman, or Latin church, sit; how can it be said of this beast that it had an existence before the date of the Apocalypse, when the woman, whom it carried, was not in being till long after this period? And what connexion has the Latin empire of the middle ages with that which derived its name from Latinus, king of the Aborigines, and was subjugated by the ancient Romans; or even with that which existed in the time of the apostle? The answer is as follows: -- St John saw the beast upon which the woman sat, with all his seven heads and ten horns. Consequently, as the angel expressly says, that Jive of these seven heads had already fallen in the time of the vision, it therefore necessarily follows, that the apostle must have seen that part of the Latin empire represented by the seven-headed beast, which had already beeu under the emblem of five heads. Therefore, the woman sat upon the beast that WAS. But it is plain, from the angel's interpretation, that the whole of the seven heads fell, before the beast upon which the woman sat, arose; and yet, the woman is represented as sitting upon the seven-headed beast, to denote, as we have before observed, that it is the Latin kingdom in its last estate, or under one of its heads restored, which is the secular kingdom of antichrist. The beast is also said not to have any existence in the time of the vision; from which it is evident that the monarchy of the Latins, and not that of the Romans is here intended: because the latter was in the time of the vision. Again the beast which St. John saw had not ascended out of
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the bottomless pit in his time; consequently, the whole seven heads and ten horns were in futurity; for all these heads and horns rose up out of the abyss at the same time with the beast. How is this apparent contradiction reconciled? In the most plain and satisfactory manner, by means of the angel's double interpretation of the heads. For if the seven heads be taken in the sense of seven mountains, (head, in the Scripture style, being a symbol of precedency as well as supremacy,) then the beast with all his heads and horns was altogether in futurity in the apostle's time, for the seven heads are the seven electorates of the German empire, and the ten horns the ten monarchies in the interest of the Latin church. Finally, the beast is said to exist in the time of the vision; therefore, the Roman empire, which governed the world, must be here alluded to; and, consequently, the phrase and yet is, is a proof that as the beast is the Latin kingdom, and this beast is said to have an existence in the time of the apostle, that the empire of the Caesars, though generally known by the name of the Roman, is in a very proper sense the, Latin kingdom, as the Latin was the language which prevailed in it. Hence the seven-headed and ten-horned beast is at once the representation of the ancient Latin power of the Roman empire which succeeded it; and of the Latin empire which supports the Latin church. Here is then the connexion of the ancient Latin and Roman powers with that upon which the woman sits. She sits upon the beast that was and it not, because three of his heads represent the three forms of government which the ancient Latins had before
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they were subjugated by the Romans, viz. The Regal Power, The Dictatorship, and the Power of the Praetors. She sits upon the beast which shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, because all his seven heads, taken in the sense of mountains, were in futurity in the apostolic age. She sits upon the beast that yet is, because four of his heads represent four forms of government of the Roman or Latin empire now in existence, vii. The Consulate, The Triumvirate, The Imperial power, and the Patriciate. It is hence evident that the beast, in the largest acceptation of this term, is a symbol of the Latin power in general from its commencement in Latinus, to the end of time; its seven heads denoting seven kings, or supreme forms of Latin government, during this period, king or kingdom, as we have already observed, being a general term in the prophetical writings for any kind of supreme governor or government, no matter by what particular name such may have been designated among men. Thus the Latin power, from the time of Latinus to the death of Numitor, was the beast under the dominion of his first head; from the death of Numitor to the destruction of Alba, it was the beast under the dominion of his second head; from the destruction of Alba to the final subjugation of the Latins by the Romans, it was the beast under the dominion of his third head. And as the four Roman forms of government which were subsequent to the final conquests of the Latins, were also Latin dominations, the Latin power under these forms of government was the beast under the dominion of his fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh heads. The beast of
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the bottomless pit which followed the fall of all the heads of the sea-beast, or general Latin empire, is, according to the angel's interpretation, an eighth king, i. e. an eighth species of Latin power, or, in other words, a supreme form of Latin government essentially differing from all the foregoing: yet as it is nominally the same with one of the preceding seven, it is not accounted an eighth head of the beast. The first beast of chap. xiii. is a description of the eighth or last condition of the general Latin empire, and is said to arise out of the sea, because the heads are there taken in a double sense, sea being a general term to express the origin of every great empire which is raised up by the sword; but when (as in verse 11.) one of the heads of the sea-beast (viz. that secular power which is still in being, and has supported the Latin church for more than a thousand, years) is peculiarly styled the beast, the Holy Ghost, speaking of this secular Latin empire, exclusively declares it to be FROM the bottomless pit.
But when the light of the great Reformation had began to shine, and, in the progress of ages, to detect the errors and expose the labarynths and ramifications of the above described Pagan and Papal powers, it would seem the arch seducer had in reserve another expedient of opposition to the Gospel. For when, in the process of a few centuries after the aggrandizement of the Roman Church, after it had thrown its spells of darkness and clouds of superstition over many countries, their arose from their midst and out of their own filth, a monster, the direct effect of their own errors, and which fell upon their own mother like
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Milton's hell-hounds, and destroyed-her for the time being in that place. This was done when the Atheists destroyed all the clergy of France in the time of their revolution. Here again is evident the depths of satan, in the upraising of this infidel beast, who, notwithstanding it hated the whore the Roman church; it laid a foundation for heresy, which may exist when its own parent has lost her power among the nations; which probably will not be till after Italy is destroyed by fire. This heresy is atheism, and has been, and will be propagated in four different ways, or rather by the means of four certain sects, which I forbear to name. These sentiments in their effects respecting the true character of Christ, have been, and will continue to be, in their teachings, the same that Mahomet taught of Him, namely, that he was only a finite being. But undoubtedly it is all one with satan whether the great red dragon, the ancient heathen Roman power, or the scarlet coloured beast of Papal Rome, or the atheistical beast of France, or the scintillations of that last meteor of hell rule among the nations; any thing with satan is equal; if the direct effect of the true faith be prevented. These errors which I call the scintillations of that last meteor of hell, are they which are now spreading to an alarming extent, in a very secret way, and will probably be the last distinguishing marks of the wicked before the second Advent of Christ.
Atheists deny the being of a God, Deists deny the Son of God, and some there are who deny the Divinity of the Son of God; and others, who, while they allow Him to be Divine, deny his equality with the God-Head;
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others again lower the standard of penal law against sin, and say, the good and the bad shall all finally be happy in heaven together. Atheists have a thought very similar to this; they say there is no real difference between good and bad actions, but are only relatively so. From which it appears to me that there is but little difference, whether a man denies the being of God, or denies the Son of God, or denies the true character of the Son of God, or denies the penal laws of God, or denies their being any real difference between what is called good or bad actions; for all these streams flow finally into that dead sea of error, some how or at some period (so pretended) get rid of the eternal punishment threatened against finally impenitent sinners, in the Scriptures.
At the head of all infidelity stands the horrible Voltaire, who is justly considered the, great chief of all false theology; and on the account of his unparallelled industry and struggles to destroy Christianity, should be considered as the head, under satan, of all infidels, of every shade whether before his time or since; and till time shall end. He was always urging his adherents to strike, and to strike deep, but conceal the hand; i. e. in their writings and labours to stnb the cause of the Son of God; but keep themselves hid from the public, lest their books should be undervalued, and their invectives lose their force.
In the time of the French revolution in 1790, it is probable that this sect of infidels arrived to their zenith, at which time they usurped the reins of government, and abolished all religion that had any relation
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to a Supreme Being, and murdered by tens of thousands its adherents, and abolished the Sabbath, created a new week consisting of ten days, and thus endeavoured to change the times which was established from the beginning.
This body of self-styled philosophers, in common council decreed that there is no God, and that death is an eternal sleep, and endeavoured to revive the Pagan worship, by actually dressing in a fantastical manner, an infamous woman kept by Herbert the Atheist, by the name of Mormoro, whom they inaugurated the Goddess of Reason, and was led at the head of a grand procession to the church of Notredame, the Cathedral of Paris, where she was solemnly placed on a throne of turf and flowers, to whom the atheist multitude burnt incense on an altar before her.
Voltaire, towards the end of his time, made in writing to a friend of his the following remark: "You bury your talents; you only contemn whilst you should abhor and destroy the monster;" meaning Christ, and then calls upon him to comfort him in his old age by so doing. Notwithstanding Voltaire so violently opposed the Christian religion, he was a great friend to the Socinian church as well as all the French infidels, for in their war against Christianity, they "considered the Socinians their worthy allies:" they knew the sentiment would lead directly to deism; hence Voltaire expressed himself to the king of Prussia, persuading him to patronise that church; which leads me to suspect that he belonged to that communion. Under such a cloak, as being most congenial -- he might shoot out his envenomed shafts of infidelity, which continue to corrupt
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to the present day; for it is a fact, however incredible it may appear, that now there are many Atheists who are as sanguine as any other grade of infidels are of their opinions. *
This same spirit of infidelity, such as was propagated by Voltaire and his coadjutors before that tremendous explosion, the French revolution, from bad to worse, has continued to foment and insinuate itself into the hearts of many countries; and will finally, some time in the next century, become the direct cause of wars and persecutions the most horrible against Christianity. This power will probably act in unison with the great Roman monster, (as once Pilate and Herod became friends to kill Christ) who about that time will be occupied in its last struggle for power, when Italy shall be sunk into the depths beneath and "utterly burned with fire."
If in the times of Voltaire, Atheism taught that there is no moral difference between the actions of men, it teaches the same now: this I have learned from personal debates with Atheists to be the fact. As they taught then, that God is nothing, that government is a curse, and authority is a usurpation, that civil society is the only apostacy of man, that the possession of property is robbery, that chastity and natural affection are mere prejudices; and that adultery, assassination, poisoning, and other crimes of a similar nature, are lawful, and even virtuous: abstractly considered from all relation to political society; so they teach now. This doctrine has been propagated under the auspices of a certain society, styled the Illuminati, which originated in.
* Witness the present publication of Voltaire's atheistical pamphlets at New York
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France in the days of Jacobinism, and has, in the most secret and subtle manner, accomplished the creation of many societies of the same kind in several countries, and even in America, covering themselves with the sacred cloak of Free-Masonry. See Smith on the prophecies, page 174. And it is greatly to be feared, that even now, Atheism, with its accompanying' satellites, is rapidly increasing, especially in Christendom, under the specious titles chosen by certain sects, who ascribe to the Son of God all honor, except that which is wholly his due, which is, that men should honour the Son even as the Father; but by not so doing, they bring Him down as equal only with the finittzzz which he Created. This is unquestionably a continuation and kindred of that mystery of iniquity, which was foretold by St. Paul should arise; and, as I have before observed, it is quite equal, with Satan, what errors men embrace, so that Christ is not so believed on, as to save the soul by faith. So I say again: it is equal with Satan, whether, in Pagan countries, idolatry prevails, or in other countries, if the woman, sitting on the scarlet coloured beast, prevails; or in others, if barefaced atheism prevails, as once in France; or if any other doctrine prevails, which does not exalt Jesus Christ to the throne of Omnipotence, and equality with the Father, with whom he existed from everlasting, but became incarnate, and shall exist to everlasting, one indivisible God, Father, Word, and Holy Ghost.
Arianism, which is justly considered a heresy, had • n early commencement, and came to its greatest strength and popularity about the year, A. D. 600. It
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had spread into many countries. Emperors and kings embraced the scheme, and became its furious advocates, and enforced their doctrine by the arms of Goths and Vandals, and persecuted the church in opposition to them with great severity. Smith on the Prophecies, page 449. This monster has, from time to time, lifted its gorgon head since the days of Arius, for acceptance among men; and it is a fearful fact, that even now that sentiment poisons all ranks of irreligious men to an alarming degree. Notwithstanding it has been from age to age refuted as unsound, yet it lives, and will live, deceiving and being deceived, till the time arrives when God shall arise in his might, and destroy infidelity in all its ramifications, by a destruction of its adherents before the time of the Millennium. But in the midst ot all this increase of wickedness, the gospel will also prevail, and be carried into all heathen nations of the earth; but the numbers who shall be saved thereby, it is feared, will be small in comparison of the immense numbers of sinners, who will reject it or neglect it; for while thousands, tens of thousands, and hundreds of thousands, will be converted by the gospel all along till the Millennium, there will be found millions who will despise it.
But a small minority of mankind, since the first promise of a Saviour, has accepted of him, there were but few who were ready to enter into the ark when the flood came, and but few received and believed in the Messiah when he appeared at Jerusalem; and but few, in comparison of the great mass of men who will be on the earth when the Millennium shall have nearly arrived
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will be ready to enter into its joys and immunities when the trumpet shall sound. The days of the trial of the inhabitants of earth is now drawing to a close, for God has said that his spirit shall not always strive with man. The time will soon come, when God will say, All the zzzthe day long I have stretched out my arm, but no man regardeth it. Ye have set at nought all my counsels, and would none of my reproofs. I also will laugh at your calamity, and mock when your fear cometh. When your fear cometh as a desolation, and your destruction as a whirlwind, then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer.
In the beginning, God was six days in making the solar system, but he rested on the seventh: wherefore it is said, six days shall thou labour, but the seventh is the Sabbath. Now God has labored, when the Millennium shall have come, six thousand years with the great family of man, rising up early, and crying, O, do not this abominable thing that I hate -- offering to all the race of man grace and mercy, in the dispensation of his wisdom and providence.
From the view I have given of my fellow man, I am led to believe that they will increase in wickedness, as the years draw nigh to the close of the great week. It is probable that before that time arrives, there will be a tremendous and dreadful persecution, which will arise in every part of the world nearly at the same time, as the allied powers of Satan have once before arose, for the Mahomedans, Arians and Roman Catholics came into being about the same period of time.
It will be needful, therefore, in order that the Millennium
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may sustain the character of rest, peace and holiness, for God to remove all the wicked from the face of the earth, at the same time when Satan shall be bound and shut up. For if the father of sinners is taken away, why shall not his children share a similar fate? And that this shall be the doom of Satan is certain, because the evangelist John has said, And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand. This chain should be considered only as descriptive of the power of God to bind or curtail, effectually and totally, the evil influence and power of Satan, who will be undoubtedly confined and located to the place which was prepared, (and therefore created) for the devil and his angels, when first they fell from heaven, or from their first estate, and is situate somewhere in the great field of space, where he, with all his demoniac companions, who fell from heaven with him, shall be confined. See Rev. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil and satan, and bound him a thousand years.
[ 162 ]
Considers the way and manner in which it is probable God will remove the wicked from among the living, for they shall not enter into that land of promise.
Were drown'd, because they sinn'd against their God;
And when the Egyptian king, and tawny host,
The Jews pursu'd, were in the Red Sea lost:
So in the.last great war, through all the world,
From life to death the wicked shall be hurl'd.
The dealings of God with notorious sinners in former ages, is a criterion by which we can be guided to a tolerable degree of certainty, relating to the above supposed total destruction of all the wicked just previous to the Millennium.
Our first instance shall be the case of the antedeluvians, of whom it is stated in the Scriptures, that they had wholly corrupted their way before God -- their crimes and abominations cried to the very heavens, and howled through all the habitations of men. Violence,, bloodshed, rapine and plunder, was doubtless their universal character: Therefore, God said concerning them, The end of all flesh is come before me. zzzConse- he brought, the flood upon the whole earth, in
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the year of the world 1656, in which perished all the race of men, Noah excepted, and his family.
A second public testimony, which God has exhibited against sinners, though not so fatally accompanied as to produce death among the offenders, was the case of the builders of the tower and city of Babel.
The particular sin of which this great compact were guilty, was, their intention of placing, at the very pinnacle of their tower when finished, an idol, with a sword, which idol was to be to them a talisman, to whom they intended to look for protection and success in war. See Clark on Genesis.
This great tower stood on the river Euphrates, in the country where was built the city of Babylon in after times on the plains of Shinar, and is spoken of by several historians. It is stated that Nebuchadnezzar beautified and adorned it for idolatrous purposes, an account of which, and of the confusion of tongues, is given by several ancient authors. Herodotus saw and described it. A Sybil, whose oracle is yet extant, spoke both of it and the confusion of tongues. A history of this tower, and of many remains of ancient facts respecting it, is found in the Chaldean writings and records.
But for building this tower God was displeased, and manifested his displeasure by confounding their language, and scattering them abroad in the earth. I shall here insert an extract from the Chaldean history, (copied from Clark) concerning this tower, by BOCHART, who observes, that these things are taken from the Chaldeans, who preserved many remains of ancient
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facts, and though they often add circumstances, yet they are, in general, in some sort dependent on the text. 1. They say, Babel was builded by the giants, because Nimrod, one of the builders, is called in the Hebrew text gibbor, a mighty man, or, as the Septuagint has it, a giant. 2. These giants, they say, sprang from the earth, because in Genesis 10, 11, it is said, he went minhaarets hahie, i. e. out of that earth; but in the English translation it is, Out of that land went forth Ashur; but this is rather spoken of Ashur, who was another of the Babel builders. 3. These giants are said to have waged war with the Gods, because it is said of Nimrod, Genesis 10, 9, he was a mighty hunter before the Lord; or, as others have rendered it, c warrior and a rebel against the Lord. These giants are said to have raised a tower up to heaven, as if they had intended to have ascended thither. This appears to have been founded on, and its top shall reach to heaven. 4. It is said that the Gods sent strong winds: against them, which dispersed both them and their work. This appears to have been taken from the Chaldean history, in which it is said their dispersion was made to the four winds of heaven, be arba ruchey schemyia, \.zzz e. to the four winds of the world. 5. And because the verbphuts or naphats, used by Moses in the original, signifies not only to scatter, but also to break to pieces, whence thunder. Isa. 30, 30, is called nephets in the original, a breaking to pieces; hence, they supposed the whole work was broken to pieces, and overturned. It is probable, from this disguised representation of the Hebrew text that the Greek and Roman
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poets took their fable of the giants waging war with the Gods, and piling mountain upon mountain in order to scale heaven.
Concerning their language, which was spoken at the building of Babel, it is likely it was one, and was composed of monosyllables -- that each had a distinct ideal meaning, and only one meaning; as different acceptations of the same word would undoubtedly arise, either from compounding terms, or when there were but few words in a language, using them by a different mode of pronunciation to express a variety of things. Where this simple monosyllabic language prevailed, and it must have prevailed in the first ages of the world, men would necessarily have simple ideas, and a corresponding simplicity of manners. The Chinese language is exactly such as this; and the Hebrew, if stripped of its vowel points, and its prefixes, suffixes, and postfixes, separated from their combinations so that they might stand by themselves, it would answer nearly to this character, even in its present state. In order, therefore, to remove this unity of sentiment and design, which I suppose to be the necessary consequence of such a language, caused them to articulate the same word differently, to affix different ideas to the same term, and, perhaps, by transposing of syllables and interchanging of letters from new terms and compounds, so that the mind of the speaker was apprehended by the hearer in a contrary sense to what was intended.
A third and more terrible overthrow of sinners is demonstrated by the destruction of the four cities, which were in the vale of Sodom and Gomorrah. The
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tract of country called Sodom and Gomorrah, was eighteen miles wide by seventy long, but is now filled with water, and is called the Dead Sea.
From the bottom, it is said by Dr. Clark, arises frequently large lumps of a bitumenous matter, from which a foetid odour escapes. A phenomenon also of the same nature, though more surprising, is frequently seen in these dreary waters, which is, the rising up of large hemispheres of this bitumen, which, as soon as they touch the surface, and are acted on by the external air, burst at once with a great smoke and noise. This happens generally near the shore; but farther out hi the deep is as frequently seen large columns of smoke to suddenly shoot up from the bottom. From this phenomena, it is supposed that beneath this sea zzz\ still a subterranean fire; hence, some authors have asserted, that Sodom still continues to burn, and has burnt from the day of its ruin till now: From which circumstance, I should certainly suppose that those cities, and the territory on which they stood, was destroyed by the eruption of subterranean fire, rather than by lightning, which some have thought, in glancing along on the surface of the earth, might have caught accidentally, and fired the bitumenous substance of this plain, of which it was chiefly composed. But undoubtedly it was a storm of fire just then created for that express purpose; for in that case, it was as easy for God to pour down from the atmosphere, a shower of fire and brimstone, as it was for him, at the request of Elijah the prophet, to send a flash or great flame of fire from heaven, twice in succession, and destroyed at each
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time a captain and his men. And if we may rely upon the sacred word, those cities were destroyed in a supernatural way, for the sins of their inhabitants, who were equally involved in the tremendous overthrow. Their numbers were unquestionably very great, for they inhabited four cities in the vale of Sodom, besides those who dwelt in villages and country seats. One hundred thousand persons would be quite as small a number, as is reasonable to suppose.
A fourth instance of God's severity against flagitious sinners, was the universal death which was effected at midnight by the destroying angel in all the families of the Egyptians -- the number of whom, though not spoken of in the Scriptures, must have been very great, for at that time the Egyptians were a strong and numerous people. Also the destruction of Pharaoh's great army in the Red Sea immediately after.
A fifth, is the case of Korah, Dathan and Abiram, who conspired against Moses and Aaron about the priesthood; but God ended the contest by causing the earth to open and swallow up all that appertained to them in a moment; and with them there was two hundred and fifty men who had favoured this project, and had, according to the desire of Moses, appeared before the Lord, with censers in their hands, in order that God should decide whether the priesthood should belong to the Levites, or should belong to any of the people who were capable, which was the thing Korah and his company had contended for. But against these were came out a great flame of fire from the Lord, and destroyed the two hundred and fifty pretenders to the
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sacred office. But before this thing could terminate, and the subject be at rest, and the people satisfied that the priesthood was given to Moses and to Aaron, and to the seed of Aaron forever, it was necessary that God should vindicate the fact by further severity, because on the morrow there arose a great murmuring against Moses and his brother Aaron, in which they alleged that they had killed the Lord's people, insinuating that they had done it of themselves by some art or device of which they were possessed, more than the people knew of, thinking probably it was a necromantic power by which they had effected it. But while this vile slander and mockery of God's power was fermenting among them, for they were rising en masse against Moses and Aaron, there went out from the Lord suddenly a great plague, for Moses saw that the people at a distance were melting away, and he hastened Aaron with a censer and fire in it, to the place where they were dying; and he stood between the living and the dead, and made atonement. But before this was accomplished, there was slain fourteen thousand seven hundred of the people who had thus sinned against God in this matter. Numbers, 16, 14.
We observe, as the sixth instance, that of the Israelites there fell twenty-three thousand in the wilderness at once, by the bite of fiery serpents, because they sinned by murmuring against God and against Moses, his servant.
Our seventh instance of God's severity against enormous sinners, is demonstrated in the discomfiture of (be Assyrian host, who came against the Jews in the reign
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of Hezekiah. The Assyrians had for their king Sennacherib, whose palace and city royal was the great Nineveh of antiquity, to whose inhabitants the prophet Jonah once preached repentance. But this Assyrian king, while he, with his immense army, was encamped against the oily of Jerusalem, boasted that he and his predecessors, kings of the Assyrians, had destroyed the Gods of all the earth; he, therefore, defied and reproached the God of the Jews, who is the true and only wise God. But God, in order to vindicate his name, and to impress his fear upon those heathen nations, and likewise to save Jerusalem, wherein is Mount Zion, the city of the great king, which is beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, sent out an angel in the night, and slew of the Assyrians, who had blasphemed his great name, one hundred and eighty-five thousand men. 2 Kings, 19, 35.
Many more instances might be noted, wherein God has shown, that if the inhabitants of the earth become altogether incorrigible, or a portion of them, that they stand in imminent danger of being destroyed by the angel of his power, after the same example.
The character of the era which will be ushered in at the close of the next century, demand the universal absence of all sinful persons, because it is to be a holy Sabbath to the Lord, a rest from the toils and woes occasioned by the introduction of sin -- a time when the unutterable joys of a close fellowship with the Father of Spirits is to take place. Therefore, the wicked at that moment must be removed by power divine, after the same supernatural manner as above recited. "For
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what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness, and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial, or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God, as God hath said, I will dwell with them and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." 2d Corin. 6, 14, 15,16. Wherefore it is evident a separation must then take place, of a more decisive character than could well be accomplished at the time when Paul wrote to the Corinthians; but, as it is written, the tares must grow with the wheat till the time of the harvest -- which harvest will then have arrived in the most sublime and essential manner, for then will be fulfilled these words of Christ, And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. These are the wicked who then shall mourn, not with a godly sorrow for their sins, but with horror and despair at the approach of their Judge, though at that time, when He shall thus come, we may not look for the general judgment, that cannot arrive till after the Millennium; but at that time also shall be fulfilled another communication the Saviour made to his disciples, which was, that at that time, when all the wicked tribes of men shall mourn, when they see the Son of Man coming, &c. that He will send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven
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to the other. Matth. 24,31. This then is the first resurrection.
The prophet Isaiah has spoken very similar to the view given by St. Matthew. Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at his word. Your brethren that hated you* that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified; but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed. Isaiah 66, 5. But the momentous period is rapidly hastening, it is even at the door, when God will arise to shake terribly the earth; and after the former examples of severity against incorrigible sinners, he will begin to do, but immensely more terrible and general, for now the glittering sword of his wrathful power shall be unsheathed, and the adversaries cut asunder. For the Lord shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war, he shall cry, yea roar, he shall prevail against his enemies. Isaiah 42,13. And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die, but the third shall be left therein. Zech. 13, 8 "A whirlwind shall be raised up from the ends of the earth. The evil shall run from nation to nation. The whole earth shall be devoured by the fire of my jealousy. He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. And the slain of the Lord shall be many, from one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth. According to their deeds accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompense to his enemies." For behold the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be as stubble; and the day
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that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. Mal. 4, 1. Upon which I remark, that this verse of Malachi clearly contemplates a time when the wicked shall have no abiding place on the whole globe. The only and proper place for men who are bad, to have root and branch in, is the earth; therefore from the earth, where they root their affections, and branch out their plans of happiness, they must be finally rooted out. But respecting the righteous, it is said, and very pertinently too, as I apprehend, respecting the Millennium, So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. And they shall go forth and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me, for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched. Isa. 66,24. This last verse by Isaiah as clearly points out the destruction of the wicked from among the righteous, as does Malachi; because he says they, referring to those who shall worship Him, in verse 23, shall look upon the carcases of the men who have transgressed against Him; from which it is evident, that both conditions are to be accomplished on the earth. Again, from the following remark of Isaiah, we gather, that the righteous are to have a twofold cause of rejoicing, namely, because He shall then sever ^between the good and the bad; and that it is not in relation to the great and last judgment day that the prophet speaks, we instance the qualification of his words, namely, that then their bones shall flourish, which idea may be considered as illustrative, both of the resurrection of the righteous dead,
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and the great change which at that time will doublings be effected in the constitutions and longevity of the saints, who shall then be alive on the earth, who had not died. The verse is as follows: And when ye shall see this your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb; and the hand of the Lord shall be known towards his servants, and his indignation towards his enemies. Isaiah 66, 14. The manner, there* fare, in which God will destroy the wicked from the earth, if we are correct in supposing that his former destructions of them are to be relied on as precedents, will also be chiefly by supernatural means, at that day, carried into effect by the agency of angels commissioned to destroy, who will slay with an invisible sword; such as king David saw in the hand of an angel, who stood between the heavens and the earth, just over the threshing floor of Onion the Jebusite -- which angel had slain at that, time of the Jews, for a great sin they had committed, seventy thousand men. 2 Samuel 24, 15.
The pestilence God may employ as a vengeful minister of his wrath among them, and in divers places great earthquakes, and at sea by terrible tornadoes, the waves roaring, and men's hearts failing them, for fear of the things that are now coming upon the earth These things will come suddenly upon the wicked, in a day and an hour when they think not, in the midst of buying and selling, feasting and mirth, marrying and giving in marriage -- when in the midst of pursuits of honour and ambitious designs, and oppressions of die poor -- when in. the height of impious glorying in their
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shame, saying, Where is the promise of his coming, for sins the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 2 Peter 3, 4. Such is the language of infidelity in all ages, and in all countries. But here, at this stage of the argument, I shall introduce what I conceive to be a decision, that mankind will not by slow degrees, as is supposed by many, become conformed to holiness, so that religion shall have no opposition in the earth, and in that way finally introduce the Millennium, but shall show the contrary will be the fact; though, as I have said elsewhere in this work, the gospel will spread over the whole earth, (Italy excepted) and that very speedily, because the exertions of the times strongly denote it. Yet this is no argument by which to prove all souls will become its recipients, for in our own country, where the gospel is universally known and respected in the general sense, how many are not saved by it! That the Millennium shall not be introduced in such a way, I prove by the remarks of St. Paul to the Thessalonians, 5th chapter, 1st, 2d and 3d verses. "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly, that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape."
This day of the Lord which is to come, cannot be understood of the final judgment, because in the 4th chapter of the same letter to the Thessalonians, the chapter preceding the one from which I have made the
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Quotation of the above three verses, it is announced by the Apostle, that that day of the Lord is the day in which he will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, and that then the dead in Christ shall arise -- which cannot, therefore, allude to the general judgment, but to the first resurrection only. In order, therefore, to prove, that at the commencement of the Millennium, there will be manzzz wicked on the earth, we have only to notice the third verse of the fifth of Thessalonians, which declares the fact by saying, For when they shall say, peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, Sic. It is, therefore, clear, that as destruction cometh not upon the righteous at that day, that it is upon the sinner, who shall then be cut off. This view I think corroborates all the other passages which I have quoted, to prove a general destruction of the wicked at the time of the first resurrection, when the Millennium will commence.
From the account St. Paul gives of the first resurrection, in his fourth and fifth chapters to the Thessalonians, it is certain there shall be a universal ruin of all sinners; and it is as certain, that a first resurrection implies a second, and the lapse of time between will as certainly consist of one thousand natural years, for thus it is stated by St. John, Rev. 20, 5. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. But when the time shall have nearly arrived for the glorious Millennium to commence, suddenly there shall be felt a trembling, for God will shake zzz i&Jy tii£ tart'li, till the wicked are shaken out of it.
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A dismal sound shall go forth, such as will wither the soul with terrors, such as once chased the Assyrian army, who had closely besieged the city of Samaria in the days of the prophet Elisha. 2 Kings 7, 6. For now the globe shall be encompassed by the destroying angels, such as were seen by king David Standing between the earth and the heaven, over the place of the threshing floor of Oman the Jebusite, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. 1 Chron. 21, 16. But while this trembling is felt, and this heart withering sound is heard, the wicked on all hands shall be suddenly seen falling to the ground, smote with the pestilence and by the destroying ministers, so that perhaps in one short day the work shall be done by earthquakes, by volcanoes, by storms at sea, by pestilence, and the invisible sword.
In this place, I cannot refrain from doing myself the pleasure, and also the reader, of introducing an extract from the Rev. DAVID SIMPSON'S Plea for Religion, upon the subject of the destruction of Rome, (though partially introduced before on page 36) at the end of Daniel's time, times, and a half time, which he makes to consist of 1260 years. His method of arriving at such a result is, that a time is a prophetic year, a Jewish year consisting of 360 days only; and that times signify two of those prophetic days, amounting to 720 natural days or years -- a time to 360 natural days or years, and a half time to 180 natural days or years -- amounting in all to 1260 days or years, at the end of which Rome papal shall be literally destroyed, which he Supposes will not be far from the year A. D. 2000.
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This highly esteemed author, after having examined the prophecies relative to Christ, declares that the evidence is sufficient to establish Him the predicted Messiah. He then by a fair, and, indeed, irresistible, conclusion, infers, that if the prophets have pointed out Christ so definitely, that they have therefore as definitely pointed out what shall befall the church, and also the great man of sin in the latter ages. He then notices the visions of Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel, which point out kingdoms, monarchies, and empires, which were to arise in the earth, and traces their rise and fall along the downward stream of time till the uprising of the little horn, which should so exalt itself against the Jews, and in after years against the Christian church, and makes them apply to the papal powers, which is the fact. He then observes, in reference to his destruction, that not only shall Antichrist be overthrown, but even Rome itself -- the place and city where he hath carried on his abominations for so many ages, shall be everlastingly destroyed." The language of Scripture is extremely strong, and is sufficiently clear and precise. Thus Daniel: I beheld then, because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake. I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. Thus, too, St. Paul, where he is probably speaking of Antichrist: The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in naming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction, from the presence of the Lord, and
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from the glory of his power. And again, in another place in the same epistle, where he is certainly and professedly speaking of Antichrist, he saith: And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming. Thus, too, St. John: The beast goeth into perdition. Again: Her plagues shall come in one day, and she shall be utterly burnt with fire. The kings of the earth shall bewail her, and lament for her when they see the smoke of her burning standing afar off, for fear of her torment, saying, Alas! alas! that great city Babylon, that mighty city, for in one hour is thy judgment come -- in one hour so great riches are come to nought. They shall see the smoke of her burning: And a mighty angel took up a stone, like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. And immediately after this, the inhabitants of heaven rejoice, saying, Hallelujah, and her smoke rose up forever and ever. It must be allowed these are very strong expressions, and imply a punishment extremely severe. It is as remarkable also, that all the country about the city of Rome is a kind of bitumen, or pitchy substance. And in the year of our Lord 80, a fire burst out from beneath the ground in the middle of the city, and burnt four of the principal heathen temples, with the sacred buildings of the Capitol. Italy, indeed, is a store house of fire. And when the 1260 years, or time, times, and a half time, shall have elapsed, and the time to cleanse the sanctuary come, Rome itself, imperial Rome, with all its magnificence,
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will be absorbed in a lake of fire, and sink into the sea, to rise no more at all forever." Thus far the opinion of Mr. Simpson, which is an awful but rational conclusion.
I would here remark, with humble confidence, that when Babylon is thus destroyed, the period will not be the general judgment; because the kings and merchants of the earth are represented as standing far off, and fearing her torments, and bewailing the loss of so great riches, which, it is not reasonable to suppose, they would do, if the judgment were passed by. It is probable this signal mark tf vengeance against Rome, or spiritual Babylon, will take place a little sooner than the destruction of sinners in other places, that she may be distinguished as peculiarly obnoxious to the displeasure of the great God above other sinners; and perhaps, too, that others may improve this terrible example during the short respite which may be granted, and repent, for great are the mercies of God if they will lay it to heart. But of the saints in that country, it is said, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. Rev. 18, 14. And now it may be, that what St. John saw will be accomplished literally with all sinners, (as was the fact with the ancient Gog and Magog of Syria, the carcases of whose army was eaten of the fowls and beasts of the mountains of Israel) except such as shall be destroyed by fire in the country of Rome. And I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven,
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come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God, that ye may eat of the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. Rev. 19, 17, 18. iner zzz
But in the midst of all this terror and desolation, the heart of the Christian shall not be moved, nor one of their lives shall be lost; for, if at sea, the storm that whelms the wicked in the deep, shall waft the righteous to the shore; or, if in sinking cities that go down to the pit, when the earth opens her mouth to swallow them up, a way shall be made for their escape; or, if the ' volcanoes shoot their cataracts of fire to the clouds over the heads of the righteous, the same God who was with the three Hebrews in the seven times heated furnace, will withhold the flames till they are escaped. Nor the pestilence, nor the destroying angel's sword, shall hurt them, for who can prevail against those who have in them the seal of the living God, which is holiness of heart.
Thus shall be removed from the earth all sinners, and the way prepared for the immediate commencement of the Millennium, the seventh day o( the great week from the creation, when the whole church shall rest, and shall take the kingdom and possess it forever. This is the great antetype of all the other Sabbaths -- this is that good thing which they in the law, and the prophets shadowed forth.
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