The Theocratic Kingdom - Part 3

George N H Peters

Published 1884 - George N H. Peters (November 30, 1825-October 7, 1909) "was an American Lutheran minister and author of The Theocratic Kingdom. His premillennial views were in conflict with the majority of Lutherans who held amillennial beliefs.[1][2]

“Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures: then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.”—Proverbs 2:4–6.

THIS VOLUME IS Respectfully Dedicated TO W. H. CONLEY, ESQ., AND DR. J. T. McLAUGHLIN,

To whom the author is deeply indebted for sympathy and pecuniary aid in the prosecution and publication of the work.*

The divine assurances (as e.g. Prov. 11:25; 19:17; Matt. 5:7; Isa. 32:8; Matt. 10:42, etc.) of an ultimate repayment given by God Himself, indicates THE COGNIZANCE OF ONE abundantly able to fulfil His promises. May an ample realization of His faithfulness be their happy experience. Faith in the same “blessed Hope,” in the same Theocratic Kingdom, influenced them to give their needed assistance, and, therefore, it is but proper for me to express, in this form, the desire and prayer, that the mighty Theocratic King—whom they thus honored—may honor them in His Coming Kingdom.


Source: Chart by Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice - click to enlarge - Millenium on Right Side


  PROP. 165.—The doctrine of this Kingdom enables us to form a correct estimate of human governments

  PROP. 166.—The rudimentary reorganization of the Kingdom will be made at Mount Sinai

  PROP. 167.—The re-establishment of this Kingdom embraces also the reception of a New Revelation of the Divine Will

  PROP. 168.—This Kingdom has its place of manifested royalty

  PROP. 169.—The Theocratic Kingdom includes the marriage of Christ to the New Jerusalem

  PROP. 170.—This doctrine of the Kingdom fully sustained by “the Father’s house” of John 14:2

  PROP. 171.—This Kingdom is connected with the Baptism of the Holy Ghost (Spirit) and of Fire.

  PROP. 172.—This Kingdom, when restored, does not require the re-introduction of bloody sacrifices

  PROP. 173.—The Kingdom of the Lord Jesus may be near at hand

  PROP. 174.—This Kingdom of the Messiah is preceded by, and connected with, signs

  PROP. 175.—The doctrine of the Kingdom is greatly obscured and perverted by the prevailing one of the conversion of the world prior to the Advent of Jesus

  PROP. 176.—Our doctrine of the Kingdom embraces the conversion of the world, but in the Scriptural order

  PROP. 177.—This doctrine of the Kingdom will not be received in faith by the Church, as a body

  PROP. 178.—This doctrine of the Kingdom, and its essentially related subjects, are so hostile to their faith, that numerous organized religious bodies totally reject them

  PROP. 179.—The doctrine of the Kingdom, or essentials of the same, are directly allied by various bodies with doctrines that are objectionable, and hence are made unpalatable to many

  PROP. 180.—This doctrine of the Kingdom will not be received in faith by the world

  PROP. 181.—Our doctrinal position illustrated and enforced by the Parable of the Ten Virgins

  PROP. 182.—This Kingdom embraces “the One Hope”

  PROP. 183.—The doctrine of the Kingdom, and its related subjects, have a direct practical tendency

  PROP. 184.—In this Kingdom will be exhibited a manifested unity

  PROP. 185.—This doctrine enforces that of Divine Providence

  PROP. 186.—This doctrine of the Kingdom sustained by the Analogy of Scripture, the Analogy of Faith, and the Analogy of Tradition

  PROP. 187.—This doctrine of the Kingdom gives coherency to the Gospels, and indicates the unity of design in each of them

  PROP. 188.—This doctrine indicates the unity of the Epistles

  PROP. 189.—It is only through this doctrine of the Kingdom that the Apocalypse can, or will, be understood and consistently interpreted

  PROP. 190.—Our views sustained by the addresses to the Seven Churches

  PROP. 191.—Our doctrine enforced by the general tenor of the Apocalypse

  PROP. 192.—This doctrine of the Kingdom greatly serves to explain Scripture

  PROP. 193.—This doctrine of the Kingdom meets, and consistently removes, the objections brought by the Jews against Christianity

  PROP. 194.—This doctrine of the Kingdom materially aids to explain the world’s history

  PROP. 195.—This doctrine of the Kingdom may, analogically, give us a clew to the government of other worlds

  PROP. 196.—This doctrine of the Kingdom gives us a more comprehensive view of the work of Christ for Redemptive purposes

  PROP. 197.—This Kingdom, although visible with a world-dominion, being Theocratic, is also necessarily spiritual

  PROP. 198.—The doctrine of the Kingdom confirms the credibility and inspiration of the Word of God

  PROP. 199.—This doctrine of the Kingdom materially aids in deciding the great Christological question of the day

  PROP. 200.—While the Kingdom is given to Jesus Christ as “the Son of Man,” He becomes thereby the actual Representative of God, manifesting God in the person of One related to humanity

  PROP. 201.—If a Kingdom such as is covenanted to “the Son of Man,” David’s Son, is not set up, then God’s effort at government, in and through an earthly rulership, proves a failure

  PROP. 202.—If the Kingdom of “the Son of Man,” as covenanted, is not established, then the earth will lack in its history the exhibition of a perfect government

  PROP. 203.—The exaltation of the Christ is not lessened or lowered by thus referring the promises of the Kingdom to an outward manifestation in the future

  PROP. 204.—Such a view gives definiteness and a continued exaltation to the human nature of Christ, and indicates the majestic relationship that it sustains throughout the ages to the race of man

  PROP. 205.—The doctrine of the Kingdom materially aids us in preaching “the Christ,” the distinctive “Messiah”

  PROP. 206.—This earth will yet witness the re-establishment of a glorious Theocracy—a Theocracy in its perfected form



  PROPOSITION 165. The doctrine of this Kingdom enables us to form a correct estimate of human governments.

This already appears from the contemplated cessation of all Gentile domination, the complete overthrow of all kingdoms and states, and the bringing of all nations directly (by the rule of the saints, etc.) under the one great central Theocratic authority. For, whatever purposes the institution of human government, in the past and the present dispensation, may subserve, it is distinctly announced that so much of imperfection and evil is attached to it In all its varied forms that it is incompatible with the new order of things which shall be presented in “the age to come.”

Obs. 1. In the consideration of this subject men have been apt to rush to extremes, presenting conclusions which are not warranted by Scripture. One party lauds and magnifies human government, as it has existed and now exists, as a Divine institution, speaking loudly of “the divine rights of kings,” or of “the sovereignty of the people,” etc.—so numerous writers of the past and present. Another party, only regarding the threats, etc., against such government, and misapprehending the time, manner, etc., of God’s kingdom to replace it, undertake to break down such government by substituting one of their own; so the Anabaptists, Fifth Monarchy Men, in the days of the Reformation, the Mormons, etc. Still another party so decry all human government, that they insist upon it, that it is the duty of believers to avoid having any personal connection with them in any official capacity, or in upholding them in any form as a participator; so e.g. Quakers, Christadelphians, some Adventists, Seventh Day Baptists, etc. We avoid all such extravagant deductions by allowing the Scriptures to testify to three things pertaining to human government, viz., (1) its necessity; (2) its character; (3) its ultimate destiny. The necessity of having such government is grounded in the constitution of man, and is a legitimate outgrowth of his relations to society, finding its support in the proposed protection and maintenance of mutual rights, privileges, etc. As such, it is an ordinance of God (just as man himself, society in its simplest form, the family relation, etc., are ordinances or appointments of God, resulting from established law), and so expressly declared in Rom. 13:1–5, while the particular form in which it is specifically manifested is also the ordinance or appointment of man (growing out of the former) and so designated 1 Pet. 2:13. In the absence of the contemplated. Theocratic Kingdom, it is God’s will and pleasure that men should, in order to avoid anarchy and greater evils, be placed under government, which, more or less, exerts a restraining influence—arising from moral law—upon the outbreaks of depravity. Therefore obedience, excepting only when God’s law (Acts 4:19 and 5:29) is to be directly violated, is enjoined as a duty. But while this is so, and necessarily follows from the laws which God has established, it does not by any means assert that the character of such government is acceptable to Him, for the very power which Paul tells us is thus ordained by God is at the same time, so far as its character is concerned, described by the Spirit as “a Beast,” exceedingly dreadful, etc., in Dan. 7:7, 19, 23; Rev. 17:4, 16, etc. Instead of being divine, it is beastial and wicked; its conduct is denounced, and its doom declared. The same is true of the Babylonian and of all other kingdoms delineated in the Word of God, and the destiny of all of them is to perish; but at the time, in the manner, and by the agencies, which God has also ordained. Man is not to assume that which God has placed in the hands of His own Son to accomplish, when the ordained “Times of the Gentiles” have come to an end. The visible Sovereignty of this world only becomes the Sovereignty of our Lord at the expiration of a pre-determined period, and for that we must patiently wait. In reference to the participation of believers in such government, the Word also gives a clear utterance; while preserving integrity and indorsing it only in so far as it does right, we are to accept it, rendering obedience, as a necessity for the protection of society. When the Theocracy was overthrown the righteous Daniel and his companions found it justly compatible with the laws of God to hold official stations under the Babylonian monarchy. Before the Theocracy was established, the pious Joseph was thus associated in the Egyptian kingdom. After the Theocracy was delayed and the Times of the Gentiles announced, obedience is enjoined, the support of the government by the payment of taxes enforced, the protection of the government (as in the case of Paul) invoked, submission even under injustice recommended, the whole embraced by the general and yet special affirmation: “Render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.”*

Obs. 2. This doctrine enables us to detect the fallacy in the writings of some devoted men (Fulton, etc.) when they assume the existence of Christ’s kingdom as already established, believers being its subjects, etc., and then reason from this assumption that believers being already the subjects of an instituted kingdom, they must stand aloof from all human government. Our whole argument utterly disproves such premise, demonstrating that the kingdom is postponed, and that believers, in virtue of their relationship to Christ, are only now “heirs of the Kingdom.” The Kingdom of the Messiah not being set up, and yet the relation of man to civil society making some form of government an absolute necessity, the believer is directed to conform to the present arrangement of things, without sacrificing his Christian principle or violating the commands of God, until the time that the King Himself comes. This is done too by way of trial and to prepare him, as well as the race, to appreciate more fully the Divine government of the Messiah when manifested. Man, as a punishment and a test, is left to work out his ideas of government practically in order, as the end will prove, that depravity in the highest exhibition of man’s relations (i.e. in the civil) will gain the ascendency, and that human nature in the mass, when prosperity or greatness is attained, cannot withstand corruption. Hence it is, that these “heirs of the Kingdom” to come, are exhorted not to place their affections upon these things, and that eulogies of such human governments are lacking in God’s Word; for the Spirit ever keeps in view—whatever excellent and virtuous actions may be performed—the great predicted fact that the character and destiny of earthly kingdoms, as exhibited, at the time of the Sec. Advent, renders them utterly unworthy of them. They become the instruments of persecution and cruelty (as even an inchoate fulfilment in the past evidences), culminating in one great combined confederation against God’s people. The Spirit in forming His estimate looks at human government, not as it may present itself at this or that particular favorable crisis in history, but, at the general spirit and tendency which finally assumes full sway at the end. This leads us to add: while it is true that government is necessary, notwithstanding its past or future unfriendliness to the Church, it is owing to this manifestation of character that believers are exhorted to hold themselves in patience, and to anticipate for the future an increased wickedness, which will be severely afflictive to them; to discharge their duties as far as possible and to suffer, if needs be, for the sake of the truth. This also gives a satisfactory answer to Shaftesbury, etc., who objects to the New Test. that it does not enjoin “patriotism” or an expression of love and esteem for the government under which believers may live. While it does give precepts, etc., which if followed out will largely contribute to the welfare of any government; while it insists upon that which is right and just, and enjoins the same upon all, yet this distinctive point is indeed lacking, and the reason is only additional evidence of the Divine inspiration of the Word, seeing that the ultimate-end of such government is contemplated, and in view of the facts in relation to it, it would be against both the character and destiny of such government to enjoin “the heirs” of a future nobler government to come, and withdraw their hopes and affections from the latter, and set them upon that which is fated to miserably perish. Shaftesbury’s objection is taking a mere transient view of government; the Bible considers its culminated wickedness and end still future. The simple truth is, as the Church will yet most painfully experience (Prop. 162), that this very government, for which unbelief calls for patriotic demonstrations, will yet most bitterly persecute her, so that the silence of Scripture complained of is fitting and just. Therefore, at present, we indorse Luther’s position (Kurtz, Ch. His.) “that the Gospel secured spiritual liberty, but did not subvert civil government and social institutions,” but enables us under such government to exemplify Christian character.

Obs. 3. This estimate and end of human government not only enables us to discard the Utopian notion of its development into a state of Perfectibility, but the attempted union of Church and State during the “Times of the Gentiles.” The character and destiny of the State forbids such a union. The State, as now constituted, is selfish, and for the sake of self-interest, as the history of the past painfully illustrates, and as the history of the future predicted shows, will sacrifice the Church. The State, in the very nature of the case, cannot be safely attached to the Church, seeing that the sanctifying Theocratic element, which alone can elevate it to the position of a truly Christian organization in perfect unity with the religious, is lacking. The feeling, however, is greatly to be respected which would endeavor to bring about such a union with the idea that the highest interests of mankind in the highest form of organization should be the Protector and Advancer of truth and happiness. This feeling, so honorable, will be realized but not now; humanity, owing to depravity, is not prepared for it, and will not be, as predicted in this dispensation; it can only be verified under the Christ personally in the covenanted Theocratic Kingdom.*

Obs. 4. The student, in corroboration of our position, will observe a singular feature, viz., that although the Roman Empire (and its divisions) has loudly proclaimed its profession of religion, appealed in laudation to its conversion under Constantine, praised itself as “most Christian,” and even pronounced itself as a “Holy Empire,” yet God, in view of no radical change, takes no notice whatever of all this boasted profession, and by this very significant silence (excepting in Rev. where the Empire is still recognized to be, as in Daniel, a “beast”) places over against the extravagant eulogies of men His own estimate of such conversion and profession. The same is true of England, Germany, the United States, and others, for, notwithstanding the professed claim of “Christian nation,” none of these receive the slightest recognition as such in the Word. The reason for such omission is self-evident.*

Obs. 5. It is a fact, as various able writers on the laws of the Theocracy have shown, that the nearer governments adopt, and carry out, the great principles underlying the Theocracy, the purer and more elevated is the civil polity, and the greater strength, security and happiness is imparted to all classes, rulers and ruled. The reverse of this holds true as exemplified in the history of nations; for the greater the departure from those principles, the more oppressive and ruinous has been the result. But while this is so, the reader will not fail to notice that a mistake—serious—is made by supposing, that the Theocracy is merely given as a pattern—an enunciation of principles—for other governments to follow because it is to be superseded by others, instead of its being, as the Bible plainly predicts, for a time held in abeyance, owing to depravity, until the proper material is gathered out for its overwhelming inauguration.*

  PROPOSITION 166. The rudimentary reorganization of this Kingdom will be made at Mt. Sinai.

The organization of the Theocracy was affected before the Jewish nation entered Palestine. The appointment of officials, the giving of laws, the commandments to destroy the enemies of God, etc., were issued at Mt. Sinai. It is eminently suitable that the reorganization of the same should be effected in the same place. The reasons will be adduced in the following observations.*

Obs. 1. Taking it for granted that the Theocracy will be again reorganized in its Theocratic-Davidic form, so that God in the person of David’s descendant (inseparably connected) again condescends to dwell with the Jewish nation, and act in the capacity of an earthly ruler, we may suggest, that if such is the divine order, no place on earth could be selected more suitable or better adapted for such an arrangement than Mt. Sinai, and its adjoining territory. It is a place so isolated, separated from other countries, that such a work undertaken would, for a time, at least, attract but little attention among other nations. It lies at the same time contiguous to the inheritance of David’s Son, which at the time will be sorely pressed by the Antichrist with its confederated power. The Holy Land occupied, as it then will be, by the forces of enemies, and all other lands having their kingdoms or civil power in full sway, forbids in them a peaceful, previous arrangement as indicated; and hence this locality, surrounded by its sandy deserts, under no special civil jurisdiction, occupied only by wandering tribes, is well adapted to secure, as it once did before, uninterrupted facilities for a preliminary national organization. Besides this, it is a place already highly distinguished, having enjoyed the presence of God, and having witnessed the entrance of God and people into the desirable Theocratic relationship, being honored by the camp of the elect nation, and the manifestations of the King, made memorable by the giving of the law, and expressly pronounced, in view of its associations, to be “holy.” In all respects, therefore, considering that the nations will then be hostile to the Saviour (in fact arrayed against Him), it is of all places the one most suitable to be used for such a purpose. The question is, do the Scriptures give us sufficient intimations to believe the Proposition? We shall present the reasons for holding to such a belief, premising (1) that they are not nearly so indistinctive as predictions relating to the First Advent; and (2) that, if mistaken in this particular, it cannot affect our main leading argument, which is independent of the discussion of minor points relating to the order or introduction of the Kingdom, upon which differences of opinion are reasonably to be anticipated.*

Obs. 2. In considering this subject, some preliminary matters must be duly regarded, viz. (1) That the most prominent students of prophecy are now agreed that the Second Advent, to be appreciated, must be comprehended in its several phases, being at first secret, hidden to carry out certain purposes, and finally open, revealed. The reasons for this belief are given under Prop. 130. (2) That the First Advent, embracing within itself about thirty-three years, teaches us not to limit the acts of Jesus at the Second within a brief period of time; and that His preparatory private life of about thirty years before His open manifestation to the nation, should lead us not to circumscribe His Second Advent to an immediate open Revelation, unless comparison of Scripture makes it absolutely necessary. (3) That if it be admitted that the establishment of the Theocracy at Mt. Sinai was a pattern of something that should follow in the future (which nearly all writers confess however much they may differ in the ultimate fulfilment), then an open door is at once presented for the introduction of our Proposition. (4) That the passages bearing on this subject are to be considered in their general scope, in their connection with context and analogy, and shall involve no contradiction of Scripture.*

Obs. 3. The Bible seems to declare that Jesus, the Messiah, at His Second Advent, will especially exhibit two acts or phases in this Coming, and between these two, He and His saints will pass the intervening period at Mt. Sinai. That he comes “as a thief” for the removal of the saints is clearly taught, and that He also openly comes with these saints on the Mt. of Olives (Zech. 14:4) is unmistakably announced. But He and His saints are also represented as being at Mt. Sinai. A comparison of Scripture shows, that when the saints are removed by the power of resurrection and translation, they do not remain in “the air,” but are conveyed to Mt. Sinai, where, as at the establishment of the Theocracy, positions are assigned, the kingship and priesthood inaugurated, the instructions given preparatory to the ushering in of “the dispensation of the fulness of times.” After all the preparations are completed, and the time has come for “the manifestation of the sons of God,” the deliverance of the Jewish nation, the destruction of Antichrist, this associated body of Rulers with the King of kings at their head (Rev. 19) present themselves to the confusion of all enemies, and to the joy of the ancient elect nation. Let the reader ponder the 68th Psalm, and its references to Mt. Sinai. This Psalm, allowing its prophetic character, was never fulfilled, as is generally supposed, at the appearing of God in the wilderness at the institution of the Theocracy. The reasons are the following: (1) the description is too exalted to meet the facts as they transpired in the wilderness, in the march to Canaan, and in obtaining possession of the land. The comparative feebleness and repeated transgressions of the nation; their inability, owing to sin, to extend their power as here predicted; the continued existence of their enemies; their final subjection to other nations, etc.—all this is opposed to the spirit of the Psalm. (2) The Psalm is Messianic, and relates not to the past but to the future. This is proven by the direct reference and application of a portion of the Psalm to Christ. This is done by Paul in Eph. 4:9, where he applies it as significant of results produced by the resurrection and ascension of Jesus. The Spirit thus gives us a key to its interpretation. (3) Its reference to the future is evinced by its allusion to the resurrection (v. 20); the great slaughter and complete overthrow of all enemies (v. 1–3, 14, 21–23, 30); the restoration of the Jewish nation (see v. 22 and notice force of “again”) although oppressed by a multitude (“sea”); the restoration of Theocratic rule (v. 24–32); the kings of the earth bringing presents, and the extended, world-wide dominion exerted (v. 29–32). On the other hand, what is here delineated to occur corresponds fully and accurately in every respect with the predictions pertaining to the ushering in of the Millennial age or Christ’s Kingdom. Then, we know, the enemies will indeed be removed as here described; then the exaltation, the purity, beauty, rejoicing, safety, and power of the righteous will be witnessed as here portrayed; then the dwelling of God with man, the exertion of supernatural power, the power of delivering from death, the restoration of the people, the universal dominion, the re-organization of the nation under rulers, kings coming to present their allegiance and worship at Jerusalem, nations submitting themselves, the praise and glory manifested—all this, as here predicted, will come to pass. Hence seeing that the general tenor of the Psalm does not suit the history of the past, in the non-fulfilment of large portions of it, but faithfully describes the future, it is not an arbitrary act to interpret verses 8 and 17 as also realized in the future, and this the more readily because this Advent accords with what is ascribed to Christ at His Second Coming. Let the mighty King come as predicted in other places, and there is nothing in these verses, unless it be the locality designated, which differs from the others. But why object to the specified locality? Can a reason be assigned for the rejection of it in such a connection? No, we are content to receive it as it reads, believing that as Sinai at the inauguration of the Theocracy witnessed the presence of the Theocratic King, so when God’s Son comes to restore the Theocratic rule “even Sinai itself is moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel” (v. 8.), and in view of His surroundings it can be said (v. 17) “the chariots of God are twenty thousand (myriads) even thousands of angels (even many thousands or thousands of heavenly powers); the Lord is among them as in” (or simply, “in” or “so Sinai among the holy mountains,” as rendered by Lederer) “Sinai in the holy place.” Accepting of the Psalm as a prophetic announcement of the future, it is impossible, without violence, to rid ourselves of the persuasion that at the future Advent the Messiah will appear not only on the Mt. of Olives, but antecedently on Mt. Sinai, where evidently the gathering together occurs, with which gathered body Christ is afterward accompanied. In all this, there is eminent propriety, if we but consider that this Theocratic Kingdom is to be restored and manifested through the Seed of David, and hence in its relations to humanity and to the Jewish race, necessarily requires an outward exhibition of its earthly reinauguration. There is also a peculiar fitness in the choice of place where this is done, inasmuch as Sinai itself is identified with the organization pertaining to Theocratic rulership.

Obs. 4. If this deduction were founded simply on one passage it might suggest doubt, but we find it sustained in other places. Thus take Deut. 33:1–2, which embraces the blessings pronounced on the several tribes, and which from other predictions we know shall only be fully realized at the restoration of the nation at the Second Coming of its King. Now these blessings are introduced by a description which, however applicable in some particulars to the giving of the law, was never verified in the past. For we read: “The Lord came from Sinai and rose up from Sier unto them, He shined forth from Mt. Paran, and He came with ten thousands of saints; from His right hand went a fiery law to them,” etc. Such a Coming with myriads of saints is only predicated of the still future Advent. We have no account of any other, and this correspondence with what will occur at the predicted Second Advent of Jesus (when myriads of saints are with Him) is indicative of its intended application. In Hab. 3:3 we have another allusion. Intending to refer to the chapter at length in another place, it is sufficient to say that the opinion so generally held that it refers to the past manifestation of God at Mt. Sinai and in the wilderness, is utterly untenable. Aside from various considerations, the simple fact that the prophet himself locates it in the future and prays (v. 16) that he may find deliverance when it takes place, is ample to remove the prevailing interpretation. It most certainly—if we preserve its unity and compare with other Scripture—pertains to the future Advent. The prophet tells us “God came from Teman (or the South) and the Holy One from Mt. Paran,” at a time when an overthrow of enemies and a deliverance is experienced on a scale so great that the past sinks into insignificance before it. Even Judges 5:4, 5, may in the mind of the Spirit be far-reaching; and many predictions respecting “the wilderness” may have a deeper, more significant meaning than is usually attached to them. Let there be such a restoration of Theocratic rule inaugurated at Mt. Sinai, and it imparts new force to Isa. 35:1 “the wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them and the desert shall rejoice,” etc., or to Isa. 32:15, 16 “the wilderness (shall) be a fruitful field,” “then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness,” or to Isa. 35:6 “for in the wilderness shall waters (i.e. people) break out and streams in the desert.” In view of the apportionment of the stations, etc., in the Kingdom at such a time and place, it may even be questioned whether the planting in the wilderness of those several trees mentioned by Isa. 41:19, 20 is not to be interpreted of the assignments of rank, etc., in this Theocracy, seeing that the Spirit likens in other places the saints to “Trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord” (Isa. 61:3), and men and rulers are thus designated. The specific mention of rejoicing, shouting, singing, etc., in the wilderness at some period still future is seen, if this idea is accepted, to be highly appropriate, and what under the circumstances is to be anticipated. Surely “the grace in the wilderness,” Jer. 31:2, which is yet, as the prophecy indicates, to be realized by the Jewish nation in an unexampled restoration; the pleading in the wilderness, Ezek. 20:35–36) still future with that people; the speaking comfortably to His people in the wilderness, Hos. 2:14—this, with similar intimations, should teach us that the wilderness, just as in the beginning, is an important feature strikingly associated with the re-establishment of the Theocracy.

Obs. 5. Isa. 63:1–6 cannot possibly, without the grossest inconsistency, be applied to the First Advent of Jesus. For, aside from other reasons, it is not true that He then came in anger, fury and vengeance, and shed the blood of His enemies, until His own garments were stained, seeing that His mission was one of love, mercy and submission to death. But at His Second Advent numerous passages expressly mention wrath, vengeance on enemies, and a fearful slaughter and supper. It is therefore a description only applicable to the Second Advent, as the early Church taught (see Prop. 121). But the prophet in vision sees Him Coming from the direction of Mt. Sinai, asking: “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah?” Indeed, when we come to compare Scripture with Scripture, we have the route taken by the mighty King from Mt. Sinai until He arrives at Jerusalem clearly pointed out. Prophecy distinctly mentions Mt. Sinai, Paran, the Wilderness, Mt. Seir, Edom, Teman or the South, Bozrah, giving us a direct route from Sinai northward to Palestine. This does not occur by chance, but is descriptive of what shall truly take place. Having the Mighty One with His Saints manifested at Sinai, and also by way of the wilderness of Paran on through Idumea, it seems to us faithless not to accept of these things. Especially when we find an under-current of prophecy, which serves to bring them out in more distinctive proportions. Thus, e.g. in “the new thing” (Isa. 43:18–21), which God is to perform, He “will even make a way in the wilderness, rivers (notice its figurative meaning) in the desert. I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the deserts, to give drink to my people, my chosen. This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise.” Here we have intimated under impressive figures the blessings that will result from a reformation of Theocratic rule out of a people expressly raised up (and gathered) for this purpose, and this is done in the wilderness, the very place where the Theocracy was originally instituted. If such a restoration as the Proposition states is really contemplated and intended, could the language of the prophet be more expressive of the fact? The saints, that body of “peculiar people” and engrafted, thus constituting the “holy nation” (and thus forming “a river,” etc., in the figurative language of Scripture), gathered to Mt. Sinai, and associated with Christ in the formative reorganization of the fallen Theocracy, would fulfil in the most impressive manner such predictions. Then again, if we turn to Isa. 40:3, it is extremely doubtful whether we have more than a mere typical fulfilment in John’s mission. And, when the prediction is carefully studied in the light of other predictions, the doubt resolves itself into a certainty that this also (whatever inchoate fulfilment there may be) refers to this period of time. Let the reader notice (1) that this cry in the wilderness, etc., is taken as commentators, Barnes, etc., inform us from the approach of a mighty Conqueror, and is expressive of irresistible power and a triumphant march; (2) that the preparations are suitably completed, and “the glory of the Lord shall be revealed” so that “all flesh shall see it;” (3) that before the march of Jehovah, all flesh being as grass, opposition shall be overcome; (4) and the results of this triumphal appearance in deliverance and rule. To say that all this was strictly fulfilled at the First Advent, having before us the rejection of John, and Jesus, in the triumph of enemies, and no such experience of deliverance of the nation, etc., as delineated, is certainly a lowering and altering of the prophecy. On the other hand, the offer of the Kingdom at the First Advent necessitated a typical representation of this act in the wilderness (and hence applied to John), but owing to the foreknown unbelief and sinfulness of the nation both the Kingdom and the real preparatory acts here predicted were postponed. Jesus did not exhibit Himself as the King; His glory was concealed under humiliation; the time had not yet arrived for such a triumphal passage; He Himself locating it in the future at His Sec. Coming. Admit such a re-establishment of the Theocracy at Mt. Sinai in the wilderness—consider the route from there through the wilderness to Judea, and then the prophecy shines forth with a clearness and vividness that is startling. “The Voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God”—the completeness of the preparation, the majestic march revealing the glory of the Lord, the helplessness of His enemies contrasted with His power, the reward bestowed, the blessed rule and safety experienced; all evince such an exalted condition of manifested Kingly authority, etc., and connected with, as a starting point, the wilderness, that it is only to be fulfilled in the future. At least such a fulfilment accords with the glory of the Lord, and His work as connected with the Second Advent, and we can see no valid reason to reject its indentification, in some way, with the wilderness, as the place from whence this King of kings comes, and before whom “a highway,” like that of a mighty conqueror, shall be opened. Such passages include the idea, that the authoritative manifestation of Theocratic rule is exhibited, before it issues forth from the desert. It is a form ready for action before it emerges from the wilderness. Considering the formation of the Theocracy with its added hosts of kings and priests in so isolated a place, secluded from the observation of the nations, and its sudden and overwhelming appearance, it may be a question whether Christ had not this initiatory stage in view when He told the Pharisees, “the Kingdom of God cometh not with observation,” seeing that it is not only divinely instituted, but this is done in a secluded manner and place, so that when it appears it is already so organized as to be irresistible, etc.

Obs. 6. This view instead of conflicting with the other predictions, serves to illustrate and enforce them. Take, e.g. Dan. 7, and there is something remarkable in the structure of the prophecy, which on any other hypothesis baffles interpretation. The investiture (Prop. 83) of the Son of Man, David’s Son, with the Kingdom, and the bestowment of judgment or rulership upon the saints associated with Him, is done by the Ancient of Days, for the Kingdom is given by Him to the Son of Man and His saints. But this is done here on the earth—as the representation in its entire scope demands—even while the Antichristian power, so arrogant and hostile, is in existence and holds sway over the nations. A difficulty at once presents itself, how could such an investiture which presupposes an order of arrangements, etc., take place without exciting immediate attention and attack from the enemy if conducted within his territory and in a public manner. The prophecy implies on its face a perfectly free unembarrassed, and even unexpected by the enemy, accomplishment of preliminary arrangements pertaining to the Kingdom. Admit that Sinai and the wilderness is the locality where the Ancient of Days invests David’s Son and His own with Theocratic power, and bestows upon Him and the saints the convenanted dominion, and the difficulty vanishes. The prophet looks in vision at the horn, and then, looking away from him, turns to gaze upon the prophetic picture presented at Mt. Sinai without specifying the locality; thus passing from one to the other without a commingling of them. Although the investiture (i.e. the public official recognition in the presence of holy intelligences) is on the earth, yet it is effectually concealed from the interference and annoyance of the powerful enemy which it is to destroy. Such an explanation, to say the least, is more natural and reasonable—if the Theocracy is indeed to be restored in David’s Son—than that usually given, which, against the Coming of the Ancient One and the evident description of scenes witnessed on earth, makes this a transaction in the third heaven. When the Theocracy was originally established, it was done amid the most solemn and glorious manifestations, and Mt. Sinai was purposely selected for the same; now when the same Theocracy is to be reorganized in the most august manner under the leadership of the King specially provided, is it not reasonable that (instead of the third heaven or the air, etc.) it should be effected in precisely the same place and with exhibitions of splendor and power far more impressive than any hitherto given. Is it not also suitable that such an arrangement when taking place on earth, should receive the most solemn outward official sanction of the Most High God?

Obs. 7. Other intimations are to be found, which, owing to their obscurity, have greatly perplexed critics. Let the student carefully examine the structure of Isa. 16:1–5, and it is self-evident, however we may give it an inchoate fulfilment, or make it typical, that it has not yet been fulfilled, seeing that in the immediate connection (v. 5) the throne is to be established, the Ruler is to sit upon it in the Kingdom of David, producing righteousness by His reign, which has not yet been verified. Seiss (Apoc., Sec. 10, p. 282, footnote) corrects our version (which reads: “Send ye the Lamb to the Ruler of the land from Sela to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion”) by giving, as the Vulgate, Luther, and other translations, the following: “Send ye (or, I will send) the Lamb, the Ruler of the land, from Sela of the wilderness unto the mount of the daughter of Zion.” The Chaldees makes it allude to “the Messiah, the Anointed of Israel.” This, with the hiding of certain ones, the overthrow of the oppressor, the establishment of the Kingdom of David with the Ruler (after He has come “from Sela of the wilderness” to Jerusalem) reigning in it makes it to coincide with the other Scripture adduced. The Lamb is put for Jesus Christ, and the Word fully indentifies, in the future Coming of the Lamb, in His wrath, His marriage, His war, His throne, etc. (comp. Apoc.), this Lambhood with the Rulership that He shall exert over all the earth from the established throne and Kingdom of David.*

Obs. 8. This removal to Mt. Sinai, and the union there consummated of Theocratic relationship (likened owing to its intimate, enduring, and permanent character, to a marriage), satisfactorily explains some allusions to the future marriage, which many writers ignore or fail to conciliate. Notice: In Matt. 25:1, the Bridegroom is Coming and the invited ones who are watching go with Him to the marriage, the rest being left; in Luke 12:36, the exhortation is to wait for the Lord “when He will return from the wedding;” in Rev. 19 a marriage is announced preceding this overthrow of Antichrist; in Rev. 21, a marriage follows the removal of God’s enemies. And how reconcile the exhortation to watch for the Bridegroom Coming to the wedding and the warning to watch for Him Coming from the wedding, and both these with Rev.? If we keep in view how (as explained Props. 118 and 169), the figure of the marriage relation is employed to denote a variety of unions, and then notice this Theocratic union formed at Mt. Sinai previous to the open Advent of Jesus and His saints, and previous (as was observed e.g. Prop. 130, and Obs. 4) to the overthrow of the Antichristian powers, we have the key of an easy solution. The one (Matt.) refers to the thief-like Coming followed by the union at Mt. Sinai; the other (Luke) to the Coming of the Lord after this union at Mt. Sinai (likened to a marriage) and specially addressed to Jews and others; the one (Rev. 19), refers to the union at Mt. Sinai, and is the same explained under “the married wife” Prop. 118; the other (Rev. 21) follows the overthrow of Antichrist, and is the union delineated under Prop. 169. Thus several phases in the Sec. Advent, with respective unions entered into, are presented before us; the reconcilation being found complete in the order as presented to us.*

  PROPOSITION 167. The re-establishment of this Kingdom embraces also the reception of a New Revelation of the Divine Will.

This necessarily results, for while the Theocratic-Davidic Kingdom is restored, its restoration is accompanied by great and wonderful changes. The inaugurated rule of the Theocratic King, as predicted, the participation of the saints in such rule, the world-wide extent of the Kingdom, the supremacy of the Jewish nation, the entering upon a new age or dispensation, the change that will result in the condition of believers in this Kingdom, etc., calls for a revelation by which not only the official position of the saints is to be governed, but that of the Jewish and Gentile nations is to be controlled.*

Obs. 1. The reader will observe that our entire argument insists upon the present and continued sufficiency of Revelation down to the Sec. Advent, over against St. Simonians, Friends of Light, Swedenborgians, Mystics, Mormons, Spiritualists, etc. The Scriptures, as we now have them, are not only the highest but the last Revelation down to that period; and, hence, we reject all others, no matter by whom presented or by what argument enforced. Until the arrival of the Bridegroom, there is a sufficiency given to gather out and guide the elect. Nothing is lacking to meet the Divine Purpose respecting this dispensation, either in the way of instruction, motive, encouragement, etc.; and, therefore, it is unreasonable to anticipate another Revelation until we enter another and more glorious dispensation. Our position protects us against all vagaries, all pretended Revelations, on the one hand, and likewise against that assumed by some few, viz., that they are called upon to organize a Theocratic Society similar to the Mosaic and amalgamate Mosaic and Christian ordinances, etc. We gratefully accept of the apostolic arrangements for our present good, and await the arrival of Him, the Christ, who alone has the authority to institute the changes deemed necessary. Before we are enticed into any of the schemes which so largely prevail under the garb of piety, zeal, increased knowledge, bestowed gifts of the Spirit, etc., we are content to “occupy” with the things that are legitimately given to us until He, the King, comes.*

Obs. 2. The Theocracy under David’s Son and Lord, being God’s own ordering, will embrace in some formal manner God’s Will in regard to it. Thus, e.g. the assignment of the positions in the coming Kingdom, as intimated by Jesus, Matt. 20:23, will call forth an expression of the Divine pleasure. The entire structure of the Millennial predictions or prophecies pertaining to this Kingdom, assume or intimate such a Revelation. In Isa. 2, and Micah 4, (which refer, as we have shown, to this period), it is said that in that day, “out of Zion shall go forth the law and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem;” in various predictions (as e.g. Zech. 14:16, etc.) the nations shall send their representatives to Jerusalem, to ascertain and perform the Will of the King; in that dispensation so largely shall the Spirit be poured out that many shall prophesy Joel 2:28, 29 (comp. Prop. 171); at that time the Lord shall instruct, so that “all thy children shall be taught of the Lord,” Isa. 54:13, filling the earth with the knowledge of the Lord Isa. 11:9; in Ps. 68:11 (which, Prop. 166, also is fulfilled at this time) it is said: “The Lord gave the Word: great was the company (or Heb. army) of those that published it;” in brief, so permeated are the promises pertaining to this era with the idea that God shall then specially and more abundantly reveal His Will, that it is made the matter of praise and rejoicing. The saints who inherit this Kingdom, i.e. are rulers in it, are designated as Priests, whose office can only be explained by referring it chiefly to an official position (Prop. 156) in which they make known the Will of God. The removal of darkness, the closing of the mystery of God, the impartation of perfect knowledge, the bestowal of “a pure language,” etc., is indicative of the same, and is fully implied in the tabernacling of God again with man, etc., in Rev., chs. 21 and 22.*

Obs. 3. The Revelation respecting the Theocratic ordering, (viz., the manner of organization, etc.) originally was given outside of Palestine at Mt. Sinai. So also the special Revelation concerning the restored Theocratic arrangement will again be given at Mt. Sinai (See Prop. 166).*

Obs. 4. This feature enables us to meet an objection urged by some against our view, viz., that Revelation as now existing, would not be adapted (as e.g. in its requirements) to such an age and kingdom as we advocate. This is freely admitted; for Revelation as now given only brings us down to the restitution of things under Christ, and when the forfeited blessings are restored, then, of course, another Revelation of the will of God pertaining to the order of that age is to be anticipated. Now the condition thus future is only expressed in the most general terms; now the Bible appropriately begins with the fall and ends with the rescue, without giving a detailed account of “the world to come” in its governmental, civil, and religious aspect; then the fulfilment of those general statements will require specific orderings, and then the developments of that age will demand, to carry it out, a more extended Revelation of the Divine Purpose, both in its administrations and dispositions, and in the end which it is to subserve. The reason why such details are not now given is not merely because it would be premature and unnecessary, but evidently, judging from the sad perversion of that already given, to avoid its being grossly misapplied, and even caricatured by the most shabby imitations.*

  PROPOSITION 168. This Kingdom has its place of manifested royalty.

If the Kingdom is such a Theocratic-Davidic one here on earth; if it claims the Throne and Kingdom of David as its central basis; and if this Throne and Kingdom is, as promised, to be re-established; then, if the reign of David’s Son is described, there should be undoubted references to His reigning in the place, and exhibiting His royalty in the very place where David’s throne was located, viz., in Jerusalem.

Obs. 1. This has already been largely met in showing how David’s Son inherits the throne, the Kingdom, and the land (see Props. 49 and 122); but the prophets are even more explicit in particularizing the place of manifestation. Leaving the New Jerusalem and its connection with the earthly for future notice (see Prop. 169), attention is now only called to that class of passages which predict that the Christ shall reign in Jerusalem and on Mt. Zion. Thus, e.g. just at the time “the high ones” and “the kings of the earth” are punished (comp. Rev. 19, etc.), and “gathered in the pit and shut up in the prison,” then also “the Lord of hosts shall reign in Mt. Zion and in Jerusalem, and before His ancients gloriously,” Isa. 24:23. So also Jer. 3:17, Joel 3:17, Zech. 2:10–13, etc., for, as all admit, the references to the Christ reigning in Mt. Zion and in Jerusalem are numerous. But in the application of these passages we are met, at the start, with the objection, that they are typical, or figurative, of something else, either of the Church, visible or invisible, or of the Gospel, or of God’s reign in the heart, or of heaven. Aside from the arguments already presented which amply answer this objection, there is another provided by the Spirit, and, in a way too, that certainly should arrest attention. Briefly stated, it is this: the very same Jerusalem that was overthrown, and made desolate and oppressed, is the one to which this Jesus comes and in which He is to reign. The proof is decisive. Take e.g. Zech 8, when the Lord will be “jealous for Zion” with “great fury,” when He will “return unto Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem shall be called, a City of Truth: and the Mountain of the Lord of Hosts, the Holy Mountain.” That the earthly Jerusalem is denoted follows, not only from the affirmation of a restoration of the Jews to it, and an astonishing multiplication and longevity of the people in it (designated as “marvellous,”) but in verse 13, 15, 22 this is designated as the identical Jerusalem once deprived of its inhabitants and suffering ill, so that God says: “as I thought to punish you when your fathers provoked me to wrath, saith the Lord of Hosts, and I repented not: so again have I thought in these days (i.e. when He returns and dwells in Jerusalem) to do well unto Jerusalem,” etc. Or, let this same prophet speak in the 14th. ch., and the same Jerusalem overthrown is the one to which the Lord and the saints will come; in which, after it is restored and exalted, the Lord is King, for the nations come to it to worship Him, and tender their allegiance. The Lord “shall choose Jerusalem again.” The same contrast is preserved in Micah 3 and 4. For the identical Zion that was “ploughed as a field” and the same Jerusalem that “became heaps,” is to be re-established and exalted, and “the Lord shall reign in Mt. Zion from henceforth, even forever.” Isaiah frequently represents this, as e.g. in chs. 1:1–26, 4:3, 4; 60:14, 15; 62:1–4; 65:19, etc., and in view of such plain statements that the place from whence God withdrew, and which met with sore, heavy, prolonged disasters should be restored and elevated into the very position assigned to it by a solemnly given covenant, it does appear a matter of amazement that learned men should close their eyes to this constant reiteration and its meaning. The “babes” (so esteemed by many) of the early Church verify Matt. 11:25 and 21:16, for they received with faith the plain covenant promises, and did not believe what wise men now so confidently assert, that the prophets and ancient worthies grossly misapprehended the predictions of God and walked in darkness respecting Messiah’s inheritance and Kingdom. No! they placed “the thrones of the house of David” (Ps. 122:5, Isa. 2:3, etc.) where God has ordained them, viz. in Jerusalem; and they trusted that “the Lord doth build up Jerusalem,” Ps. 147:2, and that when He “redeems Jerusalem,” causing the “waste places of Jerusalem” to “break forth into joy,” it is (Isa. 52:9, 10) because “the Lord hath made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” God’s faithfulness and honor is pledged in this matter; and, therefore, we also hope in Him to see “Jerusalem comforted” in the abundance of God’s people in her, and in the worship, praise, and glory that shall yet be witnessed there.*

Obs. 2. This Kingdom follows an overthrow of Jerusalem, and is identified with its restoration. By merely observing the former, multitudes have made a mistake, constituting the Church the Kingdom and the Church a Jerusalem. But such forget what the prophets unitedly testify, that the Messiah’s Kingdom cannot possibly exist here on earth while the city the special inheritance of David’s Son, lies desolate. The covenant and Millennial descriptions positively forbid it, and demand its restoration as the seat of the Theocratic-Davidic government. The Kingdom then and a contemporaneous desolation of Jerusalem, is in the very nature of the case, impracticable. Yet, as Olshausen and numerous writers have remarked, in Matt. 24, etc., the Kingdom follows the destruction of Jerusalem, and fixing the attention only on the destruction of the city by the Romans in the first cent., great perplexity is felt in showing how this was accomplished unless the Church is admitted to be the promised Messiah’s Kingdom. To-day it is an exegetical question of importance (Van Oosterzee, Theol. N. T., p. 121, Schmid, Bib. Theol. N. T., p. 265, etc.) why Christ associates the last times, the ending of the age or dispensation with the destruction of Jerusalem. If we allow the prophecies to throw light on the subject the question is easily answered. 1. The predictions of Christ directly teach a long continued destruction and desolation of Jerusalem, viz., that it shall be trodden down during the times of the Gentiles. This is still in the course of fulfilment. 2. When the times of the Gentiles end it shall be restored. 3. But during this allotted, appointed period the city is in a sadly reduced condition, in the hands of the Gentiles. 4. Now, if we turn to other predictions it is declared that Jerusalem just previous to the Sec. Advent of Christ—also embraced by Matt. Mark and Luke—shall experience in a remarkable manner the animosity (after a partial return of Jews to the city, probably under the auspices of some nation, or from love to it, or desire to restore and elevate it) of Gentile nations. 5. This last adverse is part of the imposed tribulation; and it is only when this is accomplished that the open Advent occurs, and the Kingdom is established. 6. This is satisfactorily presented in Zech. 14, taken in connection with Christ’s prophecy. For, after the times of the Gentiles have nearly run their course, just before the end of it, the gathering of the nations against Jerusalem, described by the prophet takes place—an event very different from that under the Romans, as the subsequent occurrences show. Just when the city is at the last extremity, God interferes, the Saviour comes to this very city, the saints come with Him, His Kingship is manifested over the earth, Jerusalem is the metropolis of His power, etc. 6. It is true then, that the Personal Advent is connected with the destruction of Jerusalem, but not with that under the Romans, or other Gentile powers until we come to the period when it shall, still under Gentile domination as the closing scene proves, come to a final end. Then, as our whole argument involves, He comes as the prophets describe.*

Obs. 3. Perhaps the reason why Jerusalem itself fell into the hands of unbelievers, and remained but a brief period in the power of professed Christians at the time of the Crusades, was to prevent the laudatory and extravagant expressions respecting the supposed set up Kingdom of God, and to avoid the false inferences respecting the fulfilment of prophecy, arising from a possession of the city. Let the reader recall the eulogies passed by flatterers on the Emperors and the Empress Helena that adorned the city, and that the city itself was called “the New Jerusalem.” Let him consider the expectations excited in Popes and others at its possession, the feeling evidenced to some extent in Tasso’s Jerusalem Delivered, and the believer in Divine Providence will feel that the failure of Christian nations, after fearful struggle, to secure Jerusalem, lies deeper than mere history records; in brief, not only a desire to vindicate and fulfil prophecy, but even to remove the impediments to an understanding of the Word that would inevitably have arisen if Jerusalem would have become a noted Christian city, prevailed in this marshalling of hostile races around the ancient city of God.*

Obs. 4. Indeed, it would be difficult to identify this earthly Jerusalem more decisively than God has done. In Ezek. 16, Jerusalem is personified under the figure of a woman, taken when a child, and finally married, i.e. most intimately related to God. As if to meet the very mistake now so current, even among theologians, of changing this into the Church, etc., it is said that her habitation is “the land of Canaan,” that her “father was an Amorite” and her “mother a Hittite” (a parentage that cannot be given to the Church), and then after describing her adulteries, her prolonged punishments, God still professes that He will remember “His Covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant.” That is, the same Jerusalem joined to God in a Theocratic relationship, severely punished for her sins, shall again be restored to this relationship under the surety afforded by the covenant. When the covenant is, after long delay, finally realized, Isa. 26:1, “in that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city,” etc. It shall become “the city of righteousness, the faithful city,” Isa. 1:26, “A city of truth and the Mountain of the Lord of hosts, the Holy Mountain.” This last expression, the city, owing to its being the capital, etc., called “the mountain” opens a field of references to the student corroborating our view of “the city of habitation” (Ps. 107) into which go “the redeemed of the Lord,” yea those “He hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy,” when they are “gathered from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south,” being “brought out of darkness and the shadow of death.” The removal of the wicked out of the land that “wicked doers may be cut off from the city of the Lord,” Ps. 101:8 (as delineated in Ps. 48: compared with other Scripture, when “kings are assembled” against “the city of the great King,” but meet with a terrible overthrow), also confirms our doctrine. If we take any other view, then we make the prayers (Isa. 62:6, 7) of the ancient saints for, the longings and hopes inspired by the promises relating to, Jerusalem merely great blunders; and God, Himself, the Truth, becomes chargeable with misleading the most holy of desires, on the ground that the language, as all admit, in its natural, grammatical sense plainly leads to the hope of a literal restoration of “the beloved city.” If the prevailing view is the correct one, then consistency requires, that Origen, with inspired credentials, ought immediately to have followed the giving of the covenants, so that man might have apprehended them.*

Obs. 5. The most bitter of our opponents, who on this very ground also reject a large portion of the Scriptures, frankly admit the teaching of holy men in this respect. Thus, e.g. Westm. Review, Oct. 1861, art. 5, declares that the Apoc. asserts that “the great battle which is to determine whether the monarchy of the world shall be Christ’s or Antichrist’s is fought within the circle of his (John’s) native hills, and the conquering King, during His Mill. reign, has the metropolis of the old Hebrew princes, endeared by a thousand glorious memories, for His imperial residence.” The same is repeated by numerous writers, evincing how the language itself arrests unbelievers, and, in consequence, leaving them inexcusable in rejecting the truth as given. The same objections urged against the incarnation of Christ, the life and death of Jesus, are also presented against this doctrine, not one of them daring to look at the foundation of all this in the covenant, and, at the general agreement of centuries of Revelation on the subject.*

Obs. 6. The student is reminded that if the Ch. Church is to be comprehended under Mt. Zion, it is singular that Mt. Moriah where the temple stood, and the highest religious worship was exhibited, was not substituted, by the prophets, for Mt. Zion. Why should Zion have this peculiar and distinctive preference over Moriah? The answer is found in the covenanted relation of Zion, as the place where the Messiah, David’s Son should reign. If these things are merely typical, as our opponents allege, why this careful avoidance of Moriah? The reply is, that these promises are not typical but blessed realities, to be verified at the Second Advent. God, foreseeing the lack of faith induced by the prevailing spiritualistic typical application, leaves it utterly inexcusable by the uniform utterances on the subject, combined with circumstances (as we have shown) which cannot possibly be applied to the present Church. Simple faith in God’s promises should prevent the substitutions which are to-day offered in place of Mt. Zion and Jerusalem.*

Obs. 7. How simple, child-like, but grand was the faith of the early persecuted Church in these promises of inheriting the earth! They believed God because He plainly promised, and with the hope inspired by such promises, laid down their lives for Jesus’ sake. Thus, to illustrate the faith of the early martyrs, and to show how Scripturally it was founded, we quote Irenæus (the disciple of Polycarp, the pupil of St. John, and martyred about A.D. 203): “Thus, therefore, as God promised to Abraham the inheritance of the earth, and he received it not during the whole time he lived, it is necessary that he should receive it, together with his seed, that is, with such of them as fear God and believe in Him, in the resurrection of the just.… They will, undoubtedly, receive it at the res. of the just: for true and unchangeable is God; wherefore He also said, ‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.’ ” Surely, martyr faith thus expressed, ought at least, to secure the respect of believers. (Comp. Prop. 142.)*

  PROPOSITION 169. This Theocratic Kingdom embraces the marriage of Christ to the New Jerusalem.

This is so evident from reasons given in preceding Propositions, such as the identity of the new heaven and new earth of Isaiah, Peter and John, the marriage of Christ with the city being announced just previous to Millennial age, the incorporation of precisely the same language and ideas in describing the New Jerusalem state that is found in Millennial predictions, etc., that we need not repeat the arguments proving the marriage to be Pre-Millennial. Our object under this heading is merely to show who the Bride is, and to explain what is meant by the marriage relation.*

Obs. 1. The Bride is the city New Jerusalem, for a city is in prophetical language, (as well as in that of other writers), personified by a woman or virgin. Eminent and pious writers entertain different views respecting the city. One party makes it a figurative or symbolical representation of the Church, but still (as Barnes’s Com.) speak of it as “a residence,” “habitation” or “abode,” which contains “its inhabitants.” Another, (as Lord, Expos. of the Apoc.) rigidly confines it to a symbolical meaning, indicative of the risen and glorified saints. One view is that (as Dwight, Theology) it is a magnificent emblem of the future state—including residence—of the redeemed, differing very little from the first one stated. Another is (as Crit. Eng. N. Test) that which makes it a figurative representation of this Church, and also includes the literal, i.e. a literal city or habitation. One opinion is (as Kurtz, Sac. His.) that it denotes a restored Eden or Paradise, God again dwelling with man. Another is, that (as Prop. 170, Obs. 2 footnote) it means the third heaven or a scene or place in heaven, being “eternal in the heavens” (thus ignoring the coming down, etc.) Whitby (Quest. in Eschat. by Seiss, p. 47) makes it “the Jewish Church and nation”). One party (as Swedenborgians) make it symbolical of a renewed state of the Church as represented, e.g. by themselves, etc. Another (as Fraser, Key to Proph.) applies to it the meaning of its adumbrating, “the national polity of the Jews during the Millennium.” And still another (as early Church, etc.) hold that it represents a literal city. Slight modifications (Eichhorn, etc.) of these exist, but do not vary to any extent. Two extremes are noticeable in the interpretation of this New Jerusalem; the Ebionistic, which, if we are to credit some statements (for the matter of Ebionism is involved in obscurity and dispute) applied these predictions too exclusively to the earthly Jerusalem, and the Gnostic, which either spiritualized it or applied it to heaven itself. The truth seems to stand between these two extremes; the heavenly and the earthly being united in the earth at the time of restitution. The idea most prevalent is, that the New Jerusalem is the Church, and consequently the saints in their associated, aggregate capacity forms the Bride. This conception arises from the fact that the Church is in different places represented under the figure of a woman, the woman in the wilderness and in sackcloth, and as a chaste virgin, presented to Christ. Husbands are exhorted to love their wives as Christ also loves the Church, etc. The Israelites are held forth as “the Fathers to whom God was a husband,” and as backsliding children to whom He was “married,” and who acted as a treacherous wife. These beautiful and forcible figures (2 Cor. 11:2, 3, Eph. 5:23, 24; Jer. 3:14 and 31:32; Hos. 2:19, etc.) drawn from the marriage relation—like those of building, planting, etc.—convey the idea of Christ’s love for, union with, and care over the Church. This has led many—owing to the phraseology used in connection with the city, viz., that of Bride and Lamb’s Wife—to believe that the Church is here also designated the Bride. But this does not necessarily follow; for just as the earthly Jerusalem to which God is represented as married is spoken of as distinct and yet including the Jewish nation as her children (owing to her Theocratic position,) so also the New Jerusalem, while including her children, is spoken of as something with which they are associated, indicating also its distinctiveness. Indeed the Church is (as we shall show hereafter) married, i.e. brought into intimate and endearing union with Christ, even in a higher and nobler sense than this city, inasmuch as a glorification after the pattern of Christ, and co-heirship with Him in the Rulership, etc., of the Kingdom is greater and more closely related to Christ than that of being wedded to the capital city. Let it be also understood, in all our remarks, that while advocating a literal city, we necessarily include, because the city is specially designed for them, the union of the saints with Jesus Christ, and their abiding with the King in this same city. But while the happiness, honor and glory of the Church is inseparably connected with the New Jerusalem—while the Church of the first-born is intimately and permanently united with the King in the New Jerusalem—it does not follow from the figure of marriage used, that the Church is the Bride here intended. Before presenting the reasons why this city is not the Church, but a literal city, a singular feature connected with the subject may be noticed. Namely: That whatever opinion may be theoretically applied in the interpretation of the city, the expectations of the Christian heart (abstractly, perhaps, advocating a mere “state” or “condition”) favors the opinion of a literal city. For, from the days of the apostles down to the present, believers look forward to the New Jerusalem as “a place,” “an abode,” “habitation,” “dwelling-place,” “the bridal city,” “the royal dowry,” “the King’s Palace,” etc. Even those most inclined to spiritualize it, speak and write of it as of something literal, as e.g. Prof. Stuart (Com. Apoc., vol. 1. p. 190), “The New Jerusalem comes forth in all the splendor of the upper world, a dwelling-place fit for the habitation of God and the saints.” Some of the views mentioned, identifying it with a restored Eden or earth, or symbolizing a place, of course, give it materiality in the application. Multitudes, who make it figurative, still admit, that it also represents a place of residence, a locality, etc. Writers, who at great length have applied it to the Church, still acknowledge that it is to be regarded as a habitation for the saints, a Paradise regained, a glorious city having mansions, i.e. places of abode, for the righteous, and in which Christ shall personally dwell. In sermons, prayers, hymns, in our conversation, hopes and longings we generally present this literal aspect, as the one most naturally suggested, and the most consonant with our desires and anticipations. Hence, the advocacy of a literal city is not so far removed from Christian feeling, longing and concurrence, as many suppose.

Obs. 2. The reasons which indicate that the New Jerusalem is a literal city are the following. 1. In the usage of the east when a king entered his capitol to rule therefrom, or a prince ascended the throne, it was represented under the figure of a marriage, i.e. he was wedded, intimately and permanently united to the city, or throne, or people. The use of the figure in the Scriptures shows that we are not to limit it unless specified to the Church. While employed to denote Christ’s union with the Church, it has been used to mean other unions. It designates the permanent union of a people with the land, as in Isa. 62 where in the Millennial description the land is called “Beulah,” that is “married” (marg. read.), and it is said: “thy land shall be married, for as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee,” etc. Then the figure rises still higher, including God’s marriage (i.e. dwelling again with man on the earth) with the land, for it is added: “as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.” The earthly Jerusalem is personified as a woman, and God, when dwelling there by a visible representation, is declared to be married to her, i.e. to the city itself. But just as soon as the city was filled with wickedness, she is represented as an adulterous woman, and God withdraws from her. In Ezek. 16, is such a description of marriage, which, in view of the alleged birth, parentage, etc., can only be applied directly to the city, which becomes by virtue of this relationship the representative of the nation (see Prop. 118 on Barren Woman). Then again, God is spoken of as married to the nation, because abiding with them, as Ruler in a special manner. Now, considering that (Prop. 170) Jesus has gone before to prepare a place for us to be incorporated into the Father’s house, that this place or inheritance is “ready to be revealed in the last time” (so context demands, including saints); that when the last time does come it is represented as descending from God out of heaven upon the new earth, that the figure of marriage is applied to a literal city (as the old Jerusalem), there is no impropriety but rather eminent fitness that the union of the King of kings with His metropolitan city should be designated under the same figure, implying the most intimate and permanent relationship. Thus the figure of marriage, which to many is the main objection to the idea of a literal city, serves rather to indicate it. 2. For, the figure itself is explained in the description of the city in so significant a manner, and in such complete contrast to the use made of it formerly in reference to the earthly Jerusalem, that it cannot possibly be applied to any other but a literal city. It is expressly declared that “the throne of God and the Lamb,” is in this city. This affirms its Theocratic position, as the capitol of the Kingdom. Covenant and promise, as we have seen, make David’s Throne the Throne of God, for God adopts and incorporates it into His Theocratic arrangement, and promises that David’s seed who is to occupy it forever, etc., is to be His Son, to whom He is the Father. The Throne of David then is the Throne of God and that of the Lamb, and this Throne is to be set up in this very city, the New Jerusalem. (The union of the heavenly and that of the earthly, thus making one city, will be noticed below—the locality where David’s throne was in existence is implied.) Hence, at this period and the identification of the earthly Jerusalem with this descended city, “at that time they shall call Jerusalem the Throne of the Lord, and all nations shall be gathered into it, to the Name of the Lord to Jerusalem,” etc. Thus we have the metropolitan character, the royal precedency of the city designated. The only throne that covenant and prophecy recognize in its Theocratic ordering (for the Divine Sovereignty is something separate and distinct, and even sets up this Throne, Props. 79, 84), is the Davidic and, in the very nature of the case, if restored as predicted and sworn to by God, it necessarily embraces, in view of its relationship to the elect Jewish nation and through them to the Gentiles—the notion of a material city which contains it. Now the setting up of this Throne in it, is the act of marriage; it is that which makes the union. For, just as God was formerly married to the earthly Jerusalem when His Theocratic Throne was there, so, carrying out the same beautiful prophetical figure, He is again married, when the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven upon the earth, by the very act of erecting His Theocratic Throne there and ever abiding in it in His glorified humanity, as David’s Son, “The Christ.” 3. The dwelling-place of God, the place where He tabernacled among men always, in former days (as in the tabernacle and temple) assumed a material form adapting it not only to the actual requirements of humanity, but looking forward to the period when a glorified humanity, united to the divine, in its accessibility, etc., should again dwell with man. Now materiality in the Theocratic sense and relationship is always associated with the dwelling of God with the Jewish nation; they are not and cannot be separated without violence. The place was a specific one to which the nation could come to worship and honor the Mighty Ruler. Now when the prophet announces (Rev. 21:2) the coming down of “the holy city New Jerusalem,” a great voice is heard saying: “Behold the tabernacle of God is with men and He will dwell with them,” etc.—thus designating the city itself as the tabernacle or special place where God shall manifest Himself. That dwelling-place which was once a tent, then a temple, now is exhibited as a city, but still designated “the tabernacle of God,” as if purposely to associate with it the idea of locality—of a place to which the nations can go to honor and worship the King. In view of God and David’s Son being united as the One Theocratic Ruler; in view of the body of Saints being associated as joint Rulers; in view of the extent, majesty, and glory of the Kingdom inaugurated; and in view of the restoration of forfeited blessings and the grand Redemptive process going on, a tent, and a temple, and even earthly surroundings as were attached to the Davidic Throne, must give place to a city, which includes in it the glory of the tent, and of the temple, and of Paradise, and of the heavenly world. 4. In the portraiture of the city, the saints or inhabitants of it and the righteous are represented as separate and distinct from it, as in Rev. 21:24, 25, 26, 27 and Rev. 22:2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 14, 19. That is, they are permitted to enter and enjoy, or to witness and participate in its splendor and glory; so that the city, which one of the brethren (Rev. 22:9) shows is portrayed as a place into which, and to which the righteous come, and not as the saints themselves. This distinction the apostle Paul closely makes in Heb. 12:22, 23 between “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” and “the general assembly and Church of the first-born,” as admitted by numerous commentators (as Barnes, Bloomfield, Stuart, etc.) thus according with the discrimination made by the prophets (as e.g. Isa. 65:17, 18 in which God promises, “to create Jerusalem a rejoicing and her people a joy”). The same contrast is presented by Paul in Gal. 4, where he speaks of the earthly Jerusalem and then of her inhabitants, and of those related to her as her children, and preserves the same distinction in speaking of the heavenly Jerusalem and her children. 5. The declaration (Rev. 21:22) that the city had no temple (such as the earthly Jerusalem) excepting that constituted by “the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb” (with which the temple formed by the saints is associated because of their co-heirship with Jesus Christ), can only be predicated of a material city. While indicative of the visibility of the Mighty King, the whole city being become “a holy of holies,” the language expressive of seeing no one building separated specially as a temple has only force when applied to a literal city. 6. The distinction between the saints and the city, also implying the literalness of the latter, is evidenced by a large class of passages which speak of the ancient saints “looking for a city,” of all believers “seeking a continuing city,” and of God “having prepared for them a city,” etc. We have only to open the commentaries of our opponents, and there we find numerous interpretations which declare that this “city,” held in reserve for these saints and believers, and which God prepares, is a place, an actual, real abiding dwelling-place, etc., for them. Hence, taking their own comments concerning “the city” in other places of the Scriptures, we certainly are justified in applying them to the city when it is revealed from heaven. If a locality, etc., in the third heaven, the descent from thence, surely does not change its nature; while its coming down confirms the relationship that the saints sustain to it in the renewed earth, etc. 7. This again corresponds with another class of passages which describe Jerusalem as putting on her beautiful garments, binding the saints or righteous upon her, as a bride putteth on her ornaments, arraying herself in the righteousness and glory of the saints, making herself a glorious city by reason of the number, holiness and happiness of her citizens, etc. Now, while some of these prophetic announcements refer more particularly to that earthly portion of Jerusalem which will be rebuilt, yet it includes that portion (the new) which will be added to or joined with it. The descriptions are too lofty and grand, the phraseology and ideas are so similar to that employed in the delineation of the New Jerusalem, that they cannot be separated; both are embraced by the prophets. If the student will e.g. compare Isa. 54:11, 12 and Isa. 60:14–20 with the description of the city by John, he can see how the Spirit recognizes the descending city, which John long after more minutely describes, as forming a magnificent portion of the great metropolis of the Messiah. 8. But that the saints are not denoted, and that the reference is to a material city, is found in the fact that the saints are represented (Rev. 19:9) when the marriage (i.e. this setting up of the Theocratic Throne) takes place as guests, the called or invited, who enjoy the marriage supper, the feast that the prophets describe. They cannot be, in this case, the Guests and the Bride at the same time; and, as we have shown in several places, the Spirit is careful, even in the employment of figures, not to introduce a violation of propriety. Hence, in reference to this wedding—this particular union also represented by the marriage relation—believers are the invited guests, the called, who are virgins waiting for the Bridegroom and Bride, and who have on the wedding garment not as the Bride but as guests who now participate in and enjoy the unbounded blessings resulting from this splendidly restored Theocratic enthronement in a city prepared for the King. The appropriateness and exquisite delicacy of calling the result of this union “a feast of fat things,” “a marriage supper,” etc., fully appears when we come to understand what is meant by the Bridegroom, the Bride, the Marriage, and the Guests. Need we wonder at the exalted language held by prophets, when attempting to describe either of them separately or all of them conjoined. The grandeur, unspeakably great—the blessings, beyond imagination—the glory, exceeding the conceptions of man, spring from the pre-determined, continuously held, and finally triumphant manifested Theocratic plan. 9. Allow this Theocratic ordering, accept of the Covenanted Throne and Kingdom as specifically given to David’s Son, and reason itself dictates, in view of the glorification, greatness, and majesty of this King, that in His enthronement here, a city commensurate with the august Personage should be provided. Instead of the splendor of the city reflecting doubt upon its materiality, it is just such a city as is worthy of the now exalted, stately Son of David. It is the most reasonable thing to expect, that the dwelling-place of the King of kings, where His own glory and that of the Redeemed is to be displayed in a striking manner to the eyes and hearts of the nations, should be exceedingly beautiful, rich and abounding in that which man regards precious. It is reasonable to suppose that a King with such power and wisdom will highly adorn the place of His throne, or, as the prophet says: “beautify the place of His Sanctuary, and make the place of His feet glorious.” The pearly gates, the golden streets, the foundations of costly stones, etc., which stagger the faith of some, are only what the immediate material surroundings of such a Monarch, uniting God and Man in an earthly rule, should possess as proportionate to His dignity and station. Therefore, the babes and the wise in Christ not only exhibit their faith in the city, but likewise in the ability of God to create, and in its suitableness for the intended purpose, when they hope to enter such pearly gates, walk such golden streets, etc. The partial particularizing, and the “like unto,” are of such a nature that the reality may greatly exceed even the description. At least, Jesus will give us His idea of what a city ought to be when destined to be the metropolitan city of the renewed earth. The city which God would not allow man to build (Gen. 11) to make unto Himself a name (significant of unity and exaltation over the earth) instead of seeking to praise and exalt God, He now, when the proper time has arrived, establishes upon earth, the centre of knowledge, power, honor, and riches, and the expression of existing unity and exaltation—the city above all cities, “the perfection of beauty” and “the joy of the whole earth,” literally and truly “The city of the Great King.”

Obs. 3. The immense size of the city forms in the minds of many the most formidable objection to the reception of the description as representative of a real, literal city. This is increased by many commentators making the extent of the walls three hundred and seventy-five miles, and then, as our version, “the length and the breadth and the height of it are equal,” some make a height of nearly ninety-five miles and others of three hundred and seventy-five. The latter consideration causes Barnes (Com. loci) to pronounce it “absurd” to entertain “the idea of a city literally descending from heaven and being set upon the earth with such proportions—three hundred and seventy-five miles high, made of gold.” It is exceedingly doubtful whether such a criticism is just to the meaning of the description, for even persons who make the city a symbolical representation (and hence have no reason for introducing such a definition) make the same to denote simply uniformity. Thus e.g. Lord (Expos. Apoc.) says: “that the length of the city is equal, and its breadth and its height denotes not that its length, breadth, and height are the same, but simply that its length is the same at all points, its breadth the same at all points, and its height at all points the same.” (This then implies that this city has not a number of streets, or a portion of the place, grandly built, and the rest, like our cities, of an inferior quality, but that all the mansions, from centre to circumference, are all magnificent and glorious.) While the precise measurement of the city according to an announced standard is also in favor of a literal city, we are not specially concerned in advocating either of the views here expressed—although the latter appears to be the meaning of the angel. For we anticipate remarkable things, quite beyond the course of nature, to take place at the Second Advent. This city is not more incredible than that a virgin should bring forth a Son, that angels can fly as quickly through great distances as Daniel makes them, and a number of other things recorded requiring for their fulfilment the intervention and support of the supernatural. Therefore, while the objection has a certain propriety coming from the unbeliever in the Supernatural, it certainly is illogical and unscriptural coming from a believer in the Word, and in the attributes of the Mighty God presented by the Word—seeing that it virtually limits the power, wisdom, and skill of the Divine Architect.3 Behold the Builder of this city place this ponderous earth in its orbit, suspended on nothing, swiftly passing along its allotted course; then see Him place a massive body in its orbit around the earth, and other earths or worlds each in their orbits around the vast planted sun and thus on and on in the immensity of space exhibiting illimitable power, etc.—and then doubt if you can, the ability of the Almighty to produce a city so vast in extent, so grand in its proportions. The question, in this case, is not whether we can comprehend how such a city can be erected, etc. (for like Abraham we are to receive the promise if we cannot tell how God will accomplish it,) but whether it is really promised. If it can be shown that such a literal city is not required by the Theocratic ordering, or that its production would conflict with the moral attributes of God, or that it is opposed by previously given Revelation—in brief, by an appeal to reason proving it to be unreasonable outside of an appeal to our limited comprehension and a lessening of the Divine power (which is itself unreasonable), then indeed an argument would be formed worthy of serious consideration. We may well leave the height, which is a matter of controversy, with the Builder, who will give it that proportion and that extent best adapted to contain the mansions of the saints, and to manifest His own glory. It manifests “the Glory of God,” verifying Jno. 17:22, etc.

Obs. 4. The restoration of the Davidic throne and the occupation of it by David’s Son, necessarily includes the fact, so plainly predicted by the prophets, that when the Messiah comes to reign, He will set up His throne at the same place formerly occupied by David’s throne. This throne was not “in the third heaven” and not “in the air above the earth,” but was located on the earth, in Palestine, at Jerusalem. Any theory that locates that throne away from the locality it once possessed, is certainly defective, being contrary to the predictions and the desire expressed by the Theocratic King Ps. 132:13, 14. The covenant made with David, if faithfully carried out as sworn to, requires His immortal Son to reign gloriously in the same place formerly occupied by David Himself. Therefore to make the New Jerusalem to be heaven itself, as some do; or a place forever in the third heaven, as others do; or that it will not come down (as declared), but that a communication, typified by Jacob’s ladder, will alone exist between the New and the Old, as others hold; or that there is no Jerusalem, a city, which comes down, as still others maintain—is utterly irreconcilable with the entire tenor and spirit of both covenant and prophecy which insists upon a literal, personal manifestation of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, upon the throne of David, in David’s city and in the midst of the restored Jewish nation. The Theocratic relationship is not fully restored without this feature, and the inheritance of David’s Son is not possessed unless Zion’s hill is again occupied by Him. Indeed we cannot help being surprised at the eminently consistent and scriptural statements on this point contained in the Confession of Faith presented to Charles II. A.D. 1660 (Crosby’s Hist. of the Baptists, Appendix) signed by John Bunyan and forty others; in which after declaring that Christ will come and “take to Himself His Kingdom, and will, according to the Scriptures, reign on the throne of His Father David, on Mount Zion, in Jerusalem, forever,” the following occurs: “We believe that the New Jerusalem that shall come down from God out of heaven, when the tabernacle of God shall be with them, and He will dwell among them, will be the metropolitan city of this Kingdom, and will be the glorious place of residence of both Christ and His saints forever, and will be so situated as that the Kingly palace will be on Mount Zion, the holy hill of David, where His throne was.” Now, while it is extremely difficult, owing to our having no detailed explanation but only general statements respecting its location, to explain all the particulars concerning it, yet the Scriptures give us hints which serve to confirm the interpretation that the New Jerusalem will embrace in its area the locality of Mount Zion. While discarding the explanations given by some (Begg and others) derived from Ezekiel’s description (for the reasons assigned under Prop. 172, making that arrangement conditional on the repentance of the people) yet those very explanations are valuable, because they fully evince that God allies the enthronement of the Prince, David’s Son, in this same locality—that Mount Zion, David’s hill, and the restored throne of David are not to be separated. Let the reader carefully consider that in the description of the rebuilding and adornment of the earthly portion of ancient Jerusalem such rebuilding is only directly affirmed and described to extend from a certain part of the city northward, westward and eastward, and for a particular reason southward is omitted. Thus Zech. 14:10 (comp. Jer. 31:38–40) which has so greatly preplexed commentators specifies an enlargement of the old Jerusalem northward, extending to Geba and Rimmon (south from them to Jerusalem), and then in the rebuilding appears only to include a portion of the city, leaving out the city of David proper, for a straight line running across from the point of the city mentioned to where the king’s wine-presses are usually located, would leave out David’s part of the city. Whatever may be thought of such an interpretation of the passage; whether admissible or not, it is certain that Zechariah by the Spirit includes the conjunction of the New Jerusalem with the rebuilt Old in “the waters that go out of Jerusalem,’ as compared with Rev. 22:1, 2. At least it is entirely consistent with the spirit of prophetical delineation to make the New Jerusalem planted with its north side within the bounds of the old Jerusalem, taking in David’s city, and then extending southward, etc., embracing a portion of the desert. The prominence that is given to Mount Zion above the rest of the city, the descriptions of it so characteristic of the New Jerusalem, the making of Judah’s territory especially holy, the inheriting (Zech. 2:12, etc.) of the Messiah of His portion in the land, the changes that are attributed to the rejoicing desert, the constituting Jerusalem “the throne of the Lord,” the astonishing transformations that are to be witnessed, the linking it with the new heaven and earth, the inexpressible glory attributed to the restored Davidic throne, etc.—these things considered connectedly, relating to the same period of restitution and enthronement, leave a strong and irresistible impression that the Old and New Jerusalem are permanently united; the one part specially designed for the King and the saints into which the kings of the earth, the representatives of the nations, enter, and the other part intended for the restored Jewish nation, as a kind of suburb or extension of the city embracing some of its subjects constantly living in the light and beholding the glory of the former. To this there may be an allusion in Ps. 122:3, “Jerusalem is built as a city that is compact together” which is rendered by others (as e.g. Crit. Eng. Test., by Blackley & Hawes, p. 872) “Jerusalem that is built as a city that is coupled or joined together to itself.” Instead of making the Old rebuilt the New (as even e.g. Eusebius in flattery to Constantine and his mother, Helena), or constituting two Jerusalems in that age (as many do) the prophets, whom we endeavor to imitate, speak of them as one, sometimes describing one portion and then again the other, because of the immediate close conjunction existing between them, for the New is added as an addition, most glorious and suitable for such a David’s Son, to the Old, thus making it (Isa. 62:3, Hebrew) “a diadem of a Kingdom.”

  PROPOSITION 170. This doctrine of the Kingdom fully sustained by the “Father’s House” of John 14:2.

It is important to consider this Scripture referred to, since it is supposed by many to form an objection to our doctrine of the Kingdom; whereas correctly apprehended according to the analogy of Holy Writ, it forms an additional proof in behalf of our position.

Obs. 1. Probably no passage of Revelation has received in modern times such extravagant interpretation as John 14:1–3. The early Church well posted in the meaning of the “Father’s house,” and assigning to it only its scriptural definition, had no difficulty with it (seeing that none is intimated). It was described to them by covenant and prophecy; it was handed to them by inspired teachers; it was so universally comprehended by them, as a result of the general instruction and belief in the Theocratic Kingdom, that it required centuries before the theories, now so prevalent, found an entrance into the Church. Those early believers more logically consistent than many eminent moderns, rested satisfied with the description of the house as given in the Old Test., and hence were protected against those interpretations afterward fastened upon the passage. They instead of isolating these verses and explaining them independently of all others, interpreted them in the light of previously given Revelation. We are mainly indebted again to Origen for a departure from the primitive faith. He (in De Princip., B. 2, ch. 11) makes out the Father’s house to mean “spheres, i.e., globes” or “heavens,” and (in B. 11, S. 6) he speaks of it as follows: “I think, therefore, that all the saints who depart this life will remain in some place situated on the earth which Holy Scripture calls Paradise” (comp. with Justin) “as in some place of instruction;” then, after certain progress, these saints ascend to “spheres” or heavens, reaching the Kingdom of heaven; and in proof of their passing through various places, he directly quotes: “In my Father’s house are many mansions,” etc. Origen’s progeny has been prolific. This notion of his entirely adopted by some and extended into imaginary details, finds its indorsement in popular commentaries, as e.g. Barnes (Com. Jno. 14:1) who says this “house” “may include the Universe,” and speaks of “removing from one apartment of God’s universal dwelling-place to another.” Imagination has painted this “house” in as many varied forms and hues as either fancy, or the astronomical knowledge of the parties could suggest, as e.g. that it was the universe, the mansions being the planets or worlds; or, that it was the central part of the universe around which all planets and systems revolve, etc. Others, more soberly, define it to be “the third heaven” without indicating its position. Numerous works, such as Our Eternal Home, Our Heavenly Home, Heaven, Meet for Heaven, Gates Ajar, etc., etc., while containing much that is interesting and valuable, embrace this change of interpretation suggested by Origen, adopted by the faithful forerunners of the Papacy, incorporated by the Popish doctors viz. that this “house” is either “the third heaven” or some place “above or beyond the stars,” which is “the special dwelling-place of the Father” or “the Palace of God.” Eloquence, poetry, hymnology, theology, etc. endeavor—without the least proof and resting solely on mere assumption—to elevate this into the truth of God. Men of eminence and ability, of earnest and devoted piety, resting in the misconceived notion of the covenanted Kingdom and inheritance, accept of these changes as in accord with their conceptions of the Kingdom and inheritance, and hence do not stop to examine the passage as it stands related to both covenant and prophecy. Some, unnecessarily perplexed by the numerous suppositions unauthorized by the Word, have fallen into another and equally untenable position, viz. “that where the place (i.e. Father’s house) is, cannot be determined,” and that “it becomes us to be silent when Divine revelation is so”—thus taking it for granted that the Bible is silent on the subject because they fail to compare Scripture with Scripture, and to regard the phraseology of Christ in its Jewish or rather Prophetical aspect. As intimated, the cause of all such departures lies in the misconception of the Kingdom that is covenanted to Jesus Christ, and in which the saints are to have their inheritance.

Obs. 2. Let us endeavor to ascertain the scriptural meaning of “Father’s house.” The word “house,” with Father, or God, or Lord, attached, in some places denotes the tabernacle; in other places the temple; and still in others the Church, because God is specially present, and these in a special manner belong unto Him. So Jerusalem, owing to its Theocratic relationship, containing the throne of David, being the capital of the Messianic King, being the place where God will dwell again, etc., is called “the house of the Lord,” Ps. 122, Zech. 8, etc., just as Nebuchadnezzar designated the city Babylon (Dan. 4:30) “the house of the, Kingdom.” It is His “habitation” or “dwelling-place,” because specially covenanted to Him, Ps. 132:13, 14 “For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest forever; here will I dwell for I have desired it,” etc. Here it is that God will again through His Son—who is also the promised seed of David to occupy (according to oath) David’s throne—manifest his rulership. In the prophetic delineations, this idea of “a house,” “a dwelling-place,” etc., is inseparably connected with that of the Kingdom; that is, it is the house of the Kingdom in which the regal representations are exhibited, and to which all must look for the central place of dominion. It must not be separated from the Kingdom; it being the head of the Kingdom and designed for its establishment and perpetuation. So closely are the two united, that the Kingdom itself—flowing out of this “house”—is called “the house” that was found and left desolate by Jesus (Matt. 23:38 etc.) “the tabernacle of David fallen” and in ruins, or the royal house of David (called “house” and “mine house” i.e. adopted as God’s in 2 Sam. 7:1 seq. and 1 Chron. 17:11–27) in an abject condition. Or, to express ourselves more accurately, “the house” of David becoming God’s “house” in virtue of His Son being incorporated to constitute the Theocratic King contemplated, it and the Kingdom are associated (comp. even Gen. 41:40) ideas, with which Jerusalem as the place of special royal manifestation and residence is annexed; the one virtually and necessarily recalling the other. This, therefore, explains why in the prophecies they are interchangeably used; the one suggesting and being contained in the other. The word “house” linked with God, naturally suggests a particular relationship; that He in some manner is identified with it; and this is fully sustained in the position that Jerusalem will occupy (as e.g. Zech. 8:3) in the restored Theocratic arrangement. This accounts for the praises, etc., lavished upon Jerusalem, the exalted place it becomes in the eyes of all nations, etc., but as these have been presented under Props. 168 and 169, nothing more need to be added. (The only objection, derived from Christ preparing a place, will be noticed below Obs. 5, and under Prop. 152, etc.) It now becomes necessary to verify the meaning that we have attached to “the Father’s house.” Let us closely follow the guidings of Scripture and see the result. Turn e.g. to Micah 3:12 and Zion shall “be ploughed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.” Here the once favored city of God and the Kingdom is described as fallen. “But (Micah 4:1–3) in the last days” all this is to be changed; a restoration is asserted of the same Zion, the identical Jerusalem and mountain, and notice, it is expressly affirmed, when this restitution takes place, to be God’s “house,” in the expressions, “the mountain of the house of the Lord,” the house of the God of Jacob,” with the location definitely fixed in the words: “for the law shall go forth of Zion and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (comp. Isa. 2:1–4 “the mountain of the Lord’s house,” etc.) No wonder that Jews acquainted with prophecy understood Jesus by “the Father’s house” to refer to these very predictions where it is geographically portrayed (for evidence, see, e.g. the opinion of the disciples, who heard Jesus, indirectly or rather directly given Acts 1:6) Just as Jerusalem is called “the throne of the Lord” (Jer. 3:17), being “the city of the great King,” “the city of our God” (Ps. 48:1–2) “the holy mountain” and “the mountain of the Lord of hosts” (Zech. 8:3) “a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God” (Isa. 62:3) because “the delight” of God and married to Him (i.e. intimately united to Him)—so Jerusalem is designated “the house of God,” etc. The word “Father” joined to it specially recalled the fact that God the Father is there as promised; that the Father (privately acknowledged) is the One that bestows (Dan. 7) “the throne of the Lord” upon the Son; that He (by covenant) acknowledges David’s Son as His Son ruling in His might so that Theocratically the Kingdom then established is properly named the Kingdom of the Father and also of the Son (comp. e.g. Matt. 26:29; Rev. 11:15; 2 Pet. 1:11, etc.). Hence the apostles and early Christians, placing these predictions in the future at the Second Advent, and well knowing that God the Father would again dwell in and “rejoice in Jerusalem” when “the new heaven and new earth” (Isa. 65:17–19) were created, thus making it His Habitation or House, could not interpret Christ’s language in any other way than as applicable to that period. It was only when the direct prophecies relating to God’s House in this sense were alleged to be fulfilled in this dispensation and Church (against existing fact, viz. that such supremacy, deliverance from war, suffering, etc., are not witnessed, and will not be down to the Sec. Advent), that men found it necessary to seek out another meaning for the predicted “House of the Lord.” Let the student notice that John gives this promise of the Father’s house after the determination of Judas to betray Him, and in view of His approaching death; now if we turn to Luke, we find substantially the same promise given in other phraseology which corroborates our interpretation. In Luke 22:29, 30, Jesus appoints unto them a Kingdom as the Father appointed unto Him, etc., which when compared with Matt. 19:28 and other Scripture is, “when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of His glory.” The spirit or intent of the promise is thus confirmed, and this will be strengthened by considering the numerous promises given to the righteous of inheriting, dwelling in, abiding in Jerusalem, this Lord’s house in the future, and of their securing such extraordinary exemption from evils and the reception of positive blessings such as can only be attributed to the state of believers after the Advent. The Father and the Christ being One, as John proceeds to state in the words of Jesus, shows—if faith is willing to accept of it—that “the Father’s house,” and “the Lord’s house” established at the Second Coming by the Mighty King, are one and the same. An overwhelming stream of prophecy indicates the identity; and Jesus sustains it in the most delicate manner by calling it, in view of the relation that He sustains in the Theocratic order, “the Father’s house,” which the prophets, in their relationship, did not directly employ, but substituted “The house of the Lord,” “The city of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel,” etc. The only correct method of dealing with the passage under consideration is to regard it as in unison with the previously given statements concerning “the Lord’s house,” which is to be witnessed and realized in all its glory in the renewed earth.

Obs. 3 In this “house” are “many mansions.” Commentators inform us that the word translated “mansions” may denote either the act of dwelling, or the place where one dwells, or a station or position occupied therein. It is of little consequence which idea is intended, for either one of them imply that in this house the saints will dwell possessing stations of honor and glory. How this accords with the descriptions relating to the capital of the Coming Theocratic Kingdom, need not be repeated after the intimations already given. But the reader will notice that these disciples are encouraged with the hope of being specially near to Him in the very place of royal manifestation, which is explained in other passages as sitting upon thrones and judging the twelve tribes of Israel, agreeably to the Theocratic ordering. “Many” gives an assurance of sufficiency, and, perhaps, as some think, of “grades” agreeably to 1 Cor. 15:40, 41.*

Obs. 4. “If it were not so, I would have told you.” Here Jesus appeals to His own truthfulness. The student will please observe the force of this reference. (1) It takes for granted that the disciples after having preached this Father’s house, after having identified it with the Theocratic-Davidic Kingdom—understood the nature of this house and anticipated places of honor and glory in it. Hence the expressive: “If it were not so,” i.e. if you believed wrong—if your faith and hope were erroneous, etc. (2) Jesus confirms them in their expectations of the ultimate restoration of this Theocratic “Father’s house,” in the words: “I would have told you.” By this expression He affirms that He would not, as a faithful Teacher, leave them, if misapprehending the truth, under a mistake. He would enlighten them. The honesty of Jesus is involved in this matter. If the disciples were wrong in their view of the Father’s house, then it was the place of the Divine Teacher not to leave them in the continued (see Acts 1:6) belief that it related to the Theocratic ordering. (See this matter discussed, Props. 43, 69, 70, 71, etc.) (3) If the modern notions engrafted on this passage are correct, then it follows that there ought to have been a complete revulsion in the views of the disciples, seeing that the popularly received interpretations of the Father’s house are utterly antagonistic to the idea of a restored Theocratic-Davidic house—once under the special relationship of the Father. But such a change of meaning never resulted under apostolic preaching (Props. 70, 71) as seen in the belief (Props. 72, 73, 74, 75, 76) of the early Church. Our interpretation vindicates, therefore, the integrity of Jesus, the knowledge of inspired teachers, and the belief of the Primitive Church.

Obs. 5. “I go to prepare a place for you.” By this going Jesus embraces His death and ascent to heaven; and includes the provision made for salvation, such as securing His own power over death (i.e. becoming David’s immortal Son, capable of meeting and fulfilling the terms of the covenant) to rescue others, His acknowledgment by the Father in exaltation, etc. By thus preparing a place for you, He evidently refers to the same inheritance that Peter speaks of (1 Pet. 1:4–7) “reserved in heaven,” but “ready to be revealed in the last time,” “at the appearing of Jesus Christ;” or, to the New Jerusalem, the special home of the ransomed, which John tells us (Rev. 21) at the creation of “the new heaven and new earth,” “comes down, from God, out of heaven,” and which, as we have shown (Prop. 169) is most intimately connected with, joined to, the earthly Jerusalem, giving to the latter its inexpressibly great glory. No one doubts that the New Jerusalem state, whatever it denotes, is related to this “Father’s house.” But in strict conformity with our doctrine, when the time comes for this Father’s house (Theocratic capital) to be restored in its contemplated grandeur and predicted splendor, this New Jerusalem “descends out of heaven from God,” upon an earth from which the curse is repealed, forming—owing to its preparation—the great object of attraction, power, honor, and magnificence identified with that “house.” The stations, places, or mansions, determined previously, are bestowed upon those who are worthy of them. But this by no means exhausts the meaning of the word “prepare.” The careful student of the Word well knows how the Spirit—to whom time is nothing—in the largeness of his comprehension links things together which we, shortsighted and fettered by time, are apt to overlook. Jesus is not only the Divine Architect of the New Jerusalem, but in the full and complete preparation of the place for the Redeemed is included the creation of the New Heaven and New Earth, the restoration of the Theocratic Kingdom, the making of all things new. By going in the way appointed, He is the recognized authority to receive the Kingdom for which He makes preparation in heaven itself and completes it at His return. He is even engaged in preparing, i.e. qualifying, testing, etc., the believers for the places intended for them in the Father’s house. The phraseology appears to intimate that the preparation is not immediately complete, but continuous, extending even to His Coming again.*

Obs. 6. We now come to the clause which is supposed to militate the most against our view, viz. “I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am there ye may be also.” Some commentators tell us that by this Coming again, etc., is meant His Coming by death to remove saints to this “house.” But this is opposed not only by the spirit of the passage and by parallel passages but even many of our opponents themselves refuse to accept it owing to its harshness. Being present personally, speaking of departing personally, the Coming again must also allude to a personal Coming or return (“I am to come back,” so Bloomfield). That He will come again personally is abundantly attested (Prop. 121). Jesus does not come in or through death; death being an enemy and penal in its character. Hence even Barnes (Com. Acts 1:11) while intentionally silent on the Coming again on John 14:3, quotes it as a Coming “at the Day of Judgment. So also Bloomfield rejecting the notion of a Coming at death, indorses what he calls the interpretation “maintained by most ancient and earlier moderns, viz. as referring to the period of the Sec. Advent, and which he adds: “Is placed beyond doubt by 1 Thess. 4:16, where the language of the apostle is the best comment on that of his Lord.” The changing of the text, also to make it read: “I will return and take you with me” (Campbell’s Transl. Four Gospels), thus making the impression that they are removed from this earth, is not sustained either by critics or the analogy of Scripture. When Jesus comes again, He remains upon this earth; the Bible closes with leaving Him, the saints, and the New Jerusalem here, and it is an unwarranted adding to the Word, a violation of an oath-bound covenant, a removal of Him from His inheritance, throne of glory, and Theocratic Kingdom, to say that He is taken away, or goes away again from this “New Heaven and New Earth.” Jesus comes again to restore the Theocratic Kingdom, and as the saints are associated with Him in rulership, they then receive the portions assigned them in this “Father’s house.” Hence, 2 Thess. 2:1, 2, etc., “the Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering unto Him,” are united. This Coming is itself dependent upon the completion of certain preparatory measures, such as: until the last one of the chosen, elect, determined number of saints is gathered out of this dispensation who are to be kings and priests in the Coming one; until the decreed consumption of the land and people has culminated to its closing; until the ordained times of Gentile domination are about accomplished. Then when all things are ready, “The Christ” comes, sent by the Father, One with the Father, to accomplish and perfect the Father’s will, and in the place, selected in preference to all others, where the Theocratic Presence alone is vouchsafed, there will he receive His believing brethren that they may ever be with Him. The possession of this “house” is conditional on that Coming—so all the prophets, all the sacred writers. In the intermediate state the saints are waiting for the period of manifestation, when the reward, the crown, the inheritance, etc., is bestowed by the Theocratic King and they forever enter the enjoyment of their several “mansions” in “the everlasting Kingdom,” of which the glorious “Father’s House” forms the crowning head, adorned and ennobled by the descended New Jerusalem with which it is evermore One. Thus the Scriptures harmonize, making (instead of several and many localities and worlds, etc.) covenant promises, predictions, and doctrines consistent one with the other, referring to one period, one place, one great Kingdom, one magnificent royal city (the Old and the New in union) and one mighty King of kings swaying lordly dominion, as David’s Son and Theocratic Ruler, over all the earth restored to the favor and blessing of the Father.

Obs. 7. To indicate the line of argument adopted by others, we present an epitome, with added remarks of ours in parenthesis, from the more recent and interesting work of Dr. D. W. Clark, entitled Man all Immortal. In the chap., ‘Heaven’ (chap. 16) after correctly insisting upon it “that heaven is real as earth is real,” he directs attention to what he calls, the “types of heaven.” These are (1) Eden; (if Eden is a type, then Eden is not to be regained, and Satan has succeeded in defrauding the race of its original grant. A substitution of something else, is not Paradise restored. Henco the Bible begins with an earthly Paradise lost, and ends with the same restored with added blessings). (2) Canaan; (but this is pure imagination; it is nowhere asserted, excepting by men mystically inclined. More: Canaan is expressly promised (Prop. 219) to the Patriarchs and their seed; they are to be raised up to inherit it; this dispensation closes with Jesus and His saints in it, as the central part of the Kingdom.) (3) Jerusalem; (but this is never proclaimed as a type; what is said of Canaan in a great measure applies here.) (4) “Heaven is typically represented by the temple and the Church” (but the temple and the Church only represent an ordering or future arrangement). (5) “In an especial sense was the Holy of Holies a type of heaven; (yes but only of the third heaven as it stands related to the sacrificial work, Heb. 9:24, to Christ, and not to the inheritance of the saints; the saints were never allowed to enter it, etc.). (6) “The house and the family are also used as types of the heavenly place and relations;” (they simply afford illustrations to indicate future relationship in the inheritance but are no types of the inheritance itself). (7) “The Sabbath is also made to symbolize heaven;” (this is a mistake; it does not symbolize the place, but only the time of inheritance, the coming rest in it, and the worship and enjoyments pertaining to it). Next Clark presents what he calls “figures employed to represent heaven.” Here again he falls into error; for among these figures he designates “Place” “City,” “Building,” “Kingdom,” “Country,” “Inheritance.” But these actually and really describe what exists, for heaven is “a place,” Clark himself calling it “a local habitation;” it contains “a City,” the “Building” of God; it really possesses “a Kingdom,” located in “a country,” and which is actually “inherited.” Thus taking his own admissions, these are not figures, i.e. a mere tropical representation. When he comes to discuss the locality of heaven, he adopts Dr. Dick’s notion of making “heaven the astronomic centre of the material universe,” and this view, he admits, is based solely on probability, saying: “the exact locality of heaven, in relation to the earth, the Scriptures do not fix; but they do refer to it as occupying a place in the universe.” Dr. Dick and others are approvingly quoted. Now in relation to a mere admitted supposition, let it be suggested: (1) that a confounding of two things is apparent. The central part of the universe, which may indeed be the special place of the manifestation of the Father, is mistaken for the inheritance of the saints, forgetting that from this heaven of the Father the holy city comes to this earth, and that the Father is represented by, and seen in, His reigning Son when here; (2) that while the exact locality of the third heaven is not given, the exact locality of the future inheritance of the saints is presented; (3) that the Primitive Church for three centuries had no doubt respecting their inheritance, believing that the Scriptures did locate the place, even here on earth; (4) that this theory ignores the promises pertaining to this earth, the promises made to Christ, the promises based on the covenants; (5) that it is derogatory to the Word to believe, that Christ’s inheritance and that of the saints, so specifically given, cannot be ascertained i.e., in locality. Dr. Clark briefly refers to our view (p. 445) quoting Dr. Griffin as teaching that this earth purified and refurnished shall be the inheritance of the saints, saying: “It has received the sanction of many learned and pious men.” But he adds: “It is in many respects a grand idea, and it is countenanced by some beautiful analogies; but, after all, it is unproved.” The objections he urges in the briefest manner against us as “insuperable” are the following: (1) “The surface of the earth would be insufficient for the habitation of so great a number;” (all this is fully answered elsewhere; besides the reader will notice that it is a mere human deduction). (2) “Then, too, heaven is represented as the home of not only the saints, but also of the angels of God, and of Christ and God Himself;” (this scarcely needs a reply, seeing that all Millenarians, ancient and modern, have the renewed earth and the third heaven intimately united, Jacob’s dream verified, and God ruling in Christ). (3) “Then again, it is referred to as a building, a city, a Kingdom already prepared;” (this is overlooking (1) what may be prepared and what is in course of preparation, placing together in time what God has separated; and (2) that things still future in view of their certainty, are spoken of as present or realized by anticipation; and (3) that God’s determination to accomplish a certain thing, in view of His all sufficiency, etc., is alluded to as an accomplished fact.) We are profoundly glad, in view of the covenants, the promises to inherit the earth, the deliverance of creation from the curse, etc., that such a talented writer as Dr. Clark could not urge stronger objections. In the light of the Word, they are of no moment. These have been answered under various Props., so that a refutation, at length, is unnecessary.*

  PROPOSITION 171. This Kingdom is connected with the Baptism of the Holy Ghost and of Fire.

That, at the time this Kingdom is established and during its continuance, the saints will be under the special influence and power of the Spirit, is clearly taught in many predictions. Even many of our opponents frankly admit that the Millennial descriptions can never be realized without a remarkable, astounding and even miraculous outpouring of the Spirit, exceeding everything that the world has ever witnessed. The careful student, weighing the promises on this subject, must, from a consideration of the passages teaching this, come to the same conclusion. It is reasonable, too, that the same Spirit, which exhibited its power in all great events, in periods of transition, should in the establishing of the Theocracy be eminently conspicuous in this the culminating era of its own glorious predictions and works.*

Obs. 1. To avoid misapprehension in what follows, it is proper to say, that we cordially adopt the doctrine that the Holy Spirit is the renewer and sanctifier, through the truth, of all who are redeemed, and that such renewing influences are necessary unto salvation. While accepting of the ordinary work of the Spirit in enlightening and sanctifying men, we do not find that this comes under the phrase “baptism of the Holy Ghost,” which rather denotes the bestowment of all other gifts, even the miraculous, in connection with the ordinary. The very phraseology evinces such a lavish bestowment of the Spirit, that the gifts which the apostle enumerates, as often more or less divided (1 Cor. 12:7–11), are bestowed upon the person thus “filled” or “baptized,” to an unusual degree. Passing over the Record, and carefully noticing the cases of such baptism with their results, will prepare us to appreciate the Proposition and guard us against the misapplication of language and facts so prevalent at the present day.*

Obs. 2. John the Baptist predicts that the One Coming after him, even Jesus Christ, “shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire” (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5). Leaving the baptism of fire for a following observation, and confining ourselves to that of the Holy Ghost, it may be stated that according to Acts 1:5, whatever influences and power Jesus bestowed upon the disciples and His apostles from the time of John to His ascension, this specific baptism of the Spirit was not supposed to be conferred, for it is asserted that to fulfil this promise of John’s, and to be endued with power from on high, they must remain at Jerusalem until the Comforter came,” for John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” Hence the phrase is only used by way of promise in the Gospels. The apostles who were to be favored with this baptism had previously experienced the ordinary operations of the Spirit, for as Christ’s prayer indicates (John 17:16–20), they were already renewed men, worthy believers, who having “received,” “kept,” and “believed” the Word were acknowledged as His brethren, and who in their preaching and labors had been remarkably sustained by the Spirit, before obtaining this special baptism on the day of Pentecost. The baptism then must include something more than the production of “piety,” “worship,” “religious principles”—in brief, than the characteristics of a divine life. In turning to the account of the actual reception of this baptism, it is found to embrace the reception of miraculous gifts and powers, such as the imparting supernaturally the understanding of truth, the prophetic spirit, the speaking with other tongues, the working of miracles, etc. Of course, with such a portrayal of what constitutes the baptism of the Holy Ghost, we dare not limit it to anything less than such an experience. And in this we are sustained, if we find all other instances, in which such a baptism is mentioned as given comporting with the one realized by the apostles. In Acts 8:5–24, we have another account of other persons who were already believers, having been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and afterward obtained this baptism through which they received miraculous power, it being a special, added blessing. So in Acts 10:44–46, the Holy Ghost fell on the believers bestowing supernatural power, and this Peter, Acts 11:15–17, calls the baptism of the Holy Ghost, saying: “then remembered I the Word of the Lord, how that He said: John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost,” etc. The uniform testimony of Scripture, wherever the baptism itself is described, is, that it was not designed for the renewing of the heart and conferring of Christian graces (whatever influence it may have exerted in confirming faith and its fruits) but for the bestowal of supernatural power and endowments. The reader, if he wishes more proof, can find additional instances in Acts 19:6; Heb. 2:4; Acts 5:32; 1 Pet. 1:12; Acts 15:8; Rom. 15:18, etc. The fact is indisputable that believers who had been baptized and were acknowledged Christians had by this baptism supernatural power added to their other attainments. It is therefore equivalent to the conferring of such power.

Obs. 3. The question arises whether this Baptism of the Holy Ghost as promised by John, was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost and afterward. The answer is that it was a fulfilment of Acts 1:5 containing a promise given personally to the apostles but only a partial inchoate fulfilment of the other seeing that the Lord manifested in comparatively a few persons what He proposes hereafter to bestow upon all the believing brethren associated with Him. The Baptism of Pentecost is a pledge of fulfilment in the future, evidencing what the Holy Ghost will yet perform in the coming age. The proof of its inchoate nature is seen in the following: (A) John’s promise extends to the believers baptized by himself, and some of these, but not all, experienced this peculiar, distinguishing Baptism. For if narrowly scanned it embraces the idea of universality as given by Joel in his prediction. The Baptism of the apostles and others was indeed a realization of Joel’s prophecy, but only in a few individuals thus leaving out the universality predicted. Many of our opposers admit that Peter in Acts 2:15–20 cites Joel “only in the way of application,” but we, conceding even more than application, viz., a real fulfilment on a smaller scale than delineated by the prophet, view this as an earnest of what is yet to come. God’s Word will be fulfilled, every prediction will find its mate, and with this principle, it is impossible to regard Joel’s prediction exhausted, or fully mated in the events of Pentecost. For the prophecy embraces events, that we know never took place when the apostles received this baptism, such as a continued prediction relating to one period of time demands. Thus, e.g. there was no complete overthrow of anti-Christian powers, no such restoration of the Jews to their own land, no such fruitfulness of the land, no unexampled peace and prosperity, no blessedness of Millennial glory as Joel presents in connection. The reverse of all this followed: enemies triumphed, the nation was overthrown, the saints were persecuted, calamity and barrenness succeeded. The declaration that the Spirit shall be poured out “upon all flesh” includes more than was realized. For, fully admitting that the word “all” is used sometimes in a restricted sense, yet the notion of universality, or at least of generality, is combined with it owing to this flesh including “sons,” “daughters,” “the old men,” “the young men,” “the servants,” and “the handmaids.” The outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost was confined, at most, to a few (how many were gathered is not known, Beza and others, following some MSS., think that the apostles were alone included; others embrace more), and afterward only a small proportion comparatively, of the increasing number of believers received these miraculous powers. Hence if fulfilled at all in the spirit and general affusion promised, it must relate to the future. In addition, Joel predicts that when this takes place, “I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.” Now it is admitted, even by those who are disposed to regard the baptism of the Holy Ghost as that given to all believers in the renewing and sanctifying influences, that if these wonders are “to be limited to the day of Pentecost, it is certain that no such events occurred at that time” (so e.g. Barnes, Com., Acts 2:19), and they likewise acknowledge that these astonishing displays of God’s power have not been witnessed down to the present day, and will only be seen at the period of the Sec. Advent. Admissions like these so fully sustain our position, that it is unnecessary to show that such wonders, etc., are related to the day of the Son of Man, or Lord Jesus, at His Sec. Coming. To separate the baptism, a part of the prophecy, from the rest, and have it fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, and the remainder at the Sec. Advent, is simply an evasion and dislocating of what the prophet has joined together. The reasons given are amply sufficient to show, that both John’s and Joel’s predictions still look onward to a far more striking and illustrious fulfilment. (B) This baptism was predicted (as by Joel, etc.), by the prophets before John (the latter only more concisely stating and applying to Jesus, and thus confirming what the former announced), to occur in connection with the restoration of the Theocracy and the ensuing Millennial era. This opens a wide field which we can only indicate. Take the context of Ezek. 36:27; Isa. 32:15; Ezek. 37:14; Isa. 44:3; Ezek. 39:29; Isa. 59:21, etc., and we invariably find the eye of faith pointed to a period still future when an extraordinary baptism of the Spirit shall be experienced. The distinctive landmarks (such as association with the restored nation and kingdom, and reign of David’s Son, etc.), by which we recognize the occurrence of the outpouring, are so clearly given, that even a host of writers who differ from us, frankly confess, that these prophecies, as they stand related, are not yet fulfilled, and that we are fully warranted to look for a Pentecostal baptism, immensely superior in all respects still future and connected with the Millennium. This necessarily involves, seeing that the Pentecostal baptism is referred to by Peter as an earnest or a specimen of what the prophets predicted, a widely diffused and happily experienced supernatural power. No student, who examines the ancient prophecies, and notices the partial fulfilment, regarding the latter as explanatory of the meaning intended by the former, can come to any other conclusion. (C) This again is confirmed by the analogy of faith. The apostle in 2 Cor. 1:22; Ch. 5:5; Eph. 1:14, tells believers that they have “the earnest of the Spirit,” which implies that what they now realize through the Spirit is only a kind of first-fruits or pledge of what this same Spirit will perform in “the day of the Lord Jesus.” For, in that day both body and soul shall experience this remarkable baptism of the Spirit; the body in the Spirit’s resurrecting, quickening, glorifying power (comp. Rom. 8:11; 2 Cor. 5:15; John 6:63; Eph. 1:13, and 4:20; 1 Pet. 3:18, etc.), and the soul in the Spirit’s conferring wisdom, knowledge, utterance, prophecy, miraculous gifts, etc. And what is remarkable—observing that the ministrations of this Spirit varied in imparting to some more and to others less of this supernatural power—this outpouring of the Spirit is not to be confined to the saints who have “the earnest” (although their position, etc., indicates, as their glorification effectively proves, that they will be specially honored), for it extends to the Jewish nation (of which individual members were favored with a foretaste), and to the spared Gentile nations (of which Cornelius, and others, obtained the pledge), but even to the earth and its creatures in removing the curse, renewing and augmenting the original condition and destination of all things. The Spirit, as a creating and renewing agent, will be experienced as widely as the curse extended, the only exception being in the case of those who “rebelled against and vexed” this Spirit. (D) This feature is also noticeable, that, in the predictions relating to the Millennial period, this outpouring attains to a perspicuity and outward prominence so as to be witnessed by all. The fulfilment in part on the day of Pentecost, being distinctly regarded as of the same kind, unmistakably proves the correctness of this interpretation, and in every recorded instance of its reception the same is directly or indirectly affirmed. It was of such a nature that the persons under its influence were impelled to exhibit its power publicly, or in a manner to make it cognizant to others. It even in many cases manifested itself in a way that the very mode of influence was indicative of something supernatural. The baptism was bestowed in a special manner, and was regarded as a special favor added to the ordinary ones given by the same Spirit. God directly favored some with its communication, but others could not possibly receive it without special provision. Thus e.g. Philip preached in Samaria, and, having himself experienced this baptism, performed miracles in attestation of the truth. Now although he possessed these gifts, and many became believers through his instrumentality, yet he could not (and God did not), confer this particular baptism without the special mission and prayers of Peter and John—thus indicating that it was something widely different from the ordinary operations of the Spirit given to form and develop Christian character, and showing, when received, that it was of a nature which arrested attention and produced astonishment on account of the outward characteristics belonging to it. Hence, Acts 5:32; Heb. 10:15, not the apostles alone are witnesses but the Holy Ghost Himself. This alone then, when the prophecies relating to the future are verified, satisfactorily explains some of the wonderful exhibitions of power and glory which are connected with this Kingdom.

Obs. 4. As intimated, the phrase “baptism of the Holy Ghost” conveys the idea of a copious, abundant, remarkable bestowment of the Spirit. It is a being “filled with Spirit” so that some of the wonder-working power of the mighty Spirit manifests itself through the person thus filled. We see this stated wherever in the Bible such a representation of being filled with the Spirit is given. Does the Spirit rest on the Elders (Num. 11:25, 26), then they prophesy; does it come upon Balaam (Num. 24:2), upon Saul (1 Sam. 10:10), or even upon his messengers (Num. 19:20), or upon David (2 Sam. 23:2), or upon the prophets (Acts 28:25; Neh. 9:30; Ezek. 7:12, etc.), then they predicted; was John filled with the Holy Ghost (Luke 1:15), or Elizabeth (Luke 1:41), or Mary (Luke 1:35), or Zecharias (Luke 1:67), or Simeon (Luke 2:25, 26), or Agabus (Acts 9:28, or the disciples (Luke 12:12), it in every instance exerted a supernatural influence in imparting knowledge of the future, etc. But in all this must be considered the fact, that in these cases the Spirit was given “by measure” (John 3:34), i.e. restricted to one or several particulars only, while the specially promised baptism, still given “by measure,” included more in the same persons than had been previously bestowed, as seen in the case of the apostles and others, who not only predicted, not only understood their own predictions, not only obtained visions and constant instructions, but were under such a continued influence that they performed “mighty signs and wonders by the power of the Spirit of God,” (Rom. 15:18); so that God bore to them “witness with signs and wonders and with divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost” (Heb. 2:4). In the case of the disciples, it is expressly intimated, that whatever of supernatural power was communicated by the Spirit previously to the day of Pentecost, it was not the bestowment of that “measure” of the Spirit’s power afterward received. This then leads the student, if wise, to consider, that if the Spirit is given by “measure” to men to suit certain exigencies, etc. (Christ only being excepted, John 3:24); and if that “measure” was increased to such an extent that it can be truly called “a baptism,” surely then when those stupendous events connected with “the appearing and the Kingdom” are regarded, it is most reasonable to anticipate, as holy men have predicted, an increase of measure, a far more extended manifestation of the Spirit’s almighty energy, etc.*

Obs. 5. The Kingship and priesthood of the saints who inherit the Kingdom, implies such a reception of the outpouring of the Holy Ghost. The glorification that they experience; the promises given to them; the exalted position that they occupy; the work that they will perform; the intimate association with, and likeness unto, Christ—all this involves a baptism of the Spirit, by which they realize such a measure as will perfectly qualify them for their rulership. Indeed, if we take a comprehensive view of this baptism or the day of Pentecost, and consider how it relates to the Divine Plan, it will be found that, aside from the ordinary reasons assigned for its occurrence, it was given to fill out the signs or evidences of what is to be seen and experienced when the prophecies are verified in the Coming of the King and the establishment of the Kingdom. The supernatural, as we have shown (Props. 6, 7, 120, etc.), is absolutely necessary to accomplish this work, and while it was manifested previously, as e.g. in the miracles of Christ, yet its distinctive association with the Spirit and with the company of believers, as predicted, was not before brought out with prominence. This premonitory sign or evidence is thus, if we will but receive it, presented. It indicates how the pious wish of Moses (Num. 11:29) may be realized, “would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them.” It becomes thus not only a proof that Christ’s sacrifice has been accepted, that His exaltation and intercessorship is prevailing, that the apostle’s mission and authority is attested, that certain qualifications are bestowed, but it also becomes evidence of the ample fulfilment of prophecy on the scale, the very extent announced. Indeed, when we regard the promises of Christ given in this direction to believers, it is impossible to confine them to the present dispensation, seeing that they have not yet been fully realized. Thus e.g. the promise is to everyone that believeth (John 14:12, 13), “the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do,” which in its amplitude undoubtedly extends to the period of this still future predicted outpouring of the Spirit, by which we know, from the evidence already presented in a limited extent, that it is not only possible to be, but that it will be, actually fulfilled. To be made equal unto angels, to possess the power attributed unto saints, etc., in the very nature of the case, requires the conferring of the Spirit through whom alone those great wonders are performed. When the body of Christ, the elect Church, is completed, then the Oneness, now existing by faith and grace through the Spirit, will be perfected by this superior baptism, in the bodies being made like unto Christ’s, and in the souls possessing divine power, and in their union with Christ as associated rulers and priests performing similar offices and acts. This opens up before us the most astonishing and enrapturing views of the honor, power, and glory of the saints; explaining the source from whence derived; showing how it can be verified, and teaching us that these promises are not exaggerated but sober, joyful realities. The whole is connected with the Coming of the King and of the Kingdom; to this period belong the promised Kingship, priesthood, equality with angels, extended wisdom and knowledge, power to work signs and wonders, unbounded influence with the Father, through Christ, ability to perform all things requisite to rulership, etc. Such is the lofty and unspeakably great destiny offered to the heir of the Kingdom through the Spirit. When this baptism is realized, then indeed may the heir say with Micah, only in a more extended sense, because verified in his beautiful glorified body and in his greatly endowed spirit: “But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord and of judgment, and of might.” It is Christ, who will thus baptize His brethren, the Spirit being His co-operator and the executor of His will. Christ has the Spirit without measure, and it is simply to be faithless to doubt His ability to produce through the Spirit, thus working in harmony with His will, all the glorious things predicted by this same Spirit.*

Obs. 6. Hence it is not correct to distinguish this dispensation as one of the Spirit exclusively, or even as pre-eminent over all that shall be given. The very same Spirit manifested His renewing, sanctifying, and even inspiring and miraculous power under the Antediluvian, Patriarchal, and Mosaic dispensations, and now in the Christian He has done this in a still more striking manner. But to limit His work to these, is to ignore a multitude of blessed predictions, which declare that “the day,” or “the age,” or “the world to come,” is to be emphatically the great dispensation in which the Spirit will, in the most extraordinary manner, exhibit his power, so that what has preceded is a mere earnest of that which shall follow. His supernatural power will be felt in recreation, in delivering a groaning creation, in raising and quickening the bodies of believers, in qualifying them for their position of kinghood and priesthood, in bestowing Pentecostal gifts, etc.; and hence, seeing that the perfection and completeness of His work is only to be witnessed in the coming age, we must attribute the most remarkable outpouring of the Spirit to that future period, thus making it pre-eminently a dispensation of the Spirit.*

Obs. 7. This inculcates the avoidance of those extravagant appropriations of this phraseology, and applying it to the individual experience of every believer. If we were to credit the professions of multitudes at the present day, then they also have experienced this “baptism of the Holy Ghost.” But the credentials belonging to it are lacking, viz., that of having received supernatural power. In many instances, this self-appropriation arises from confounding the extraordinary manifestations of the Spirit given under this phrase for the ordinary; and those who thus profess it, do not mean the conference of unusual or extraordinary gifts and powers; but in other cases, it is done with the annexed idea of being thus specially favored with gifts above their fellows. It is really sad to observe in looking over the past that, notwithstanding the distinctive description of this baptism and what it confers, it has been claimed by a great company, and it has become fruitful of misunderstanding, perversion, and extravagances. It is to be regretted that able writers, unaware of its real import, have aided to perpetuate this error. This is true even down to the most recent, as, e.g. Reuss (His. Chr. Theol. Apos. Age, p. 123), says: “it is precisely for this reason that the least of those who enter the Kingdom of Christ” (i.e. the Church) “having received the baptism of the Spirit, is greater than John the Baptist.” In another place (Prop. 39), is shown how unjust to John such a representation is, and it may well be asked, in this connection, whether it can be said of “the least” in the Church that like John he was “filled with the Holy Ghost” (Luke 1:15). Reuss himself calls John “a prophet,” thus indicative of his having had the Spirit in an extraordinary degree, which of itself is sufficient to set aside his extravagant eulogy of weak Church members.*

Obs. 8. This may throw light upon the disputed point, when authentic miracles ceased, or when this special baptism of the Spirit no longer transpired. The Roman Church, and various sects, parties, and individuals, even down to the present day, not only claim the perpetuation and possession of supernatural power given by the Spirit, but insist upon it, that it is an essential characteristic of the true Church. Others claim that it ceased to be experienced not long after the apostolic age, and that the accounts transmitted long afterward are to be received as fabulous. Unbelievers not only judge all the earlier by the later, but ask when and why miracles should have ceased and the later ones should not be credited. The usual reasons assigned for their cessation are these: that they were discontinued because the design originally contemplated of qualifying the early ministers, attesting to their mission and the truth, was duly accomplished, and that afterward they were not needed; or, that they were taken away on account of grieving the Spirit by the abuse, perversion, or denial of those gifts, or by the falling away from the faith of the Church, etc. But we hold to a better reason, viz., that if continued on, perpetuated on in the Church without intermission, the Baptism of the Spirit would have failed in its significance as a sign, a pledge of the future fulfillment. It was eminently suitable at the beginning of this dispensation, as illustrative of Christ’s power and will to manifest this baptism as predicted by the prophets, to give to a limited extent an evidence of its exhibition. This is a sign that the prophets will be fulfilled in this very particular; but had the sign been perpetuated (as many claim it ought to have been, and was), then it would have defeated itself in causing the mistake (which was made, and is now so tenaciously held by the multitude), that all that the prophets predicted related to the present dispensation, and that we need not look for any better here on earth. Besides this, its continuance was unsuitable both to the predictions of the prophets and to the times that ensued. Fully admitting the ordinary operations of the Spirit, and that, as in previous dispensations, the Spirit is not limited, but can and does, even in an extraordinary manner, in certain cases respond to faith in the believer and work in Providence, yet this is no equivalent to this Baptism of the Spirit, which affects believers and communities of them continuously and conspicuously as evidenced in the apostles and others. Now the prophecies associate this peculiar outpouring of the Spirit with the Jewish nation—it is not isolated from it, but inseparably joined with its restoration, and the period of the restored Theocracy. While it was suitable to exhibit even the signs or pledges of future fulfilment when the temple, city, land, and people were prospered, the propriety ceased after the destruction of the temple and city, and the captivity of the land and the people. The consideration due to the prophets inspired by the Spirit itself (who locate the period), the respect due to Jerusalem, etc., which the Spirit itself expresses in the Word (owing to its relationship to David’s Son and God Himself), now prevents the repetition of those signs so long as Jerusalem is trodden down by the Gentiles. A perfect realization of this baptism as described by the prophets is an utter impossibility so long as the Jewish nation remains unrestored, because it is linked with the period of restoration; and to have continued the prelude to, or earnest of, better things, would have not only contradicted the prophets, but would have made a kind of imperfect fulfilment take the place of the true and perfect one. As it is, this dispensation, so exceedingly precious especially to us Gentiles, has been by many, exalted out of all proportion in comparison with others; and if this baptism had continued, then under its influence, an antagonism between prediction and fact would have at once existed, and this dispensation would have been greatly magnified to the exclusion of any such gifts being connected with the Jewish race—with the loss of them, Gentiles have become so “high-minded” that anything distinctively “Jewish” is obnoxious—with the retention of them they really would possess an argument against our being “too Jewish,” for then they could triumphantly point to the very prophecies pertaining to the Jews and claim that they too realized them without having arrived at the period designated. This baptism then ceased from the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, both that it might be a sign during the prevalence of “the times of the Gentiles,” and that the Spirit might preserve the integrity and consistency of His own glorious and truthful predictions.

Obs. 9. It also aids in our interpretation of other Scripture. Thus e.g. the sin against the Holy Ghost which cannot be forgiven (Matt. 12:31, 32; Mark 3:29; Luke 12:10) obtains a peculiar significancy and enormity, when it is considered that this baptism of the Spirit was regarded and so pronounced (Acts 5:32), as a direct witnessing and testifying of the Spirit, and hence to mock, deride, or falsely ascribe such signs or evidence proceeding from the Spirit, was to vilify the mighty Agent itself through which humanity, yea the Son of Man Himself (regarded as David’s Son), was to experience the fulfilment of covenant promises and predictions. The inexcusableness of the sin arises from the conspicuous manner, powerful manifestations (above nature), and character of the Agent. And, it may well be considered whether this sin can be committed now as it was in the days when these special gifts were bestowed, by mocking at the record of them. The culpability of those who witnessed these wonders (for Jesus addressed those who were to see them, and we are told that some mocked and others derided them), is of course greater in one respect than that of others who have not seen them, and yet the record itself is so interwoven with additional evidences that the guilt of those who now ridicule them is certainly great. Again, take the promise (Matt. 6:33), “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” If we consider that this was said before the postponement of the Kingdom when the Kingdom was offered on the condition of repentance, we see at once how this would have been fulfilled just as given. For, if the nation had repented and the Kingdom would have been re-established then under the marvellous influence of the Spirit, just as predicted by the prophets, “all these things” would have been added, seeing that under this Spirit’s influence abundance and plenty for all classes is expressly promised. Aside from the grace of God which now even in response to faith so often inchoately verifies the promise, it still points us on when the Kingdom itself shall be attained and there will be no lack, owing to the power and manifestation of the Spirit.*

Obs. 10. If the reader will turn back to Props. 126–128, and notice what is said respecting the being “born of water and of the Spirit,” he will see that its meaning extends (whatever application may be made of it to the present) to this very future outpouring of the Spirit. Without repeating what has already been suggested, it is sufficient to say to the student, that Christ’s appeal to Nicodemus that he ought to know these things, evidently because recorded in the Scriptures, indicates that reference is made to the prophecies which predict the sprinkling with “clean water,” the obtaining of “a new spirit,” the putting of God’s Spirit “within” them, and the raising up of the dead out of their graves by the power of the Spirit, all of which is represented as essential to the introduction of the Kingdom, and its blessings, and as related to the glorious reign of David’s Son. The language of Christ is, therefore, far from being exhausted in the experience of believers in the present dispensation.

Obs. 11. The reader is reminded how this view at once completely removes the ungenerous objection urged against us, that we do not make out a spiritual but “carnal” Kingdom. When the King has this Spirit without measure; when He baptizes His associated body of rulers in a large, wonderful measure, and the subjects in a measure indicative of the variety of the Spirit’s ministrations; when the Spirit exerts His Almighty energy in every direction extending even to the material creation; surely the government swayed under such imparted and revealed power, must be also pre-eminently spiritual. So plain is this, that it needs no additional remarks.

Obs. 12. Let us now return to the consideration of another baptism to be experienced at the same time, viz., the baptism of or with fire. The explanations usually given of this baptism are evidently incorrect. Fire being used as a figure of afflictions, trials, etc., it is supposed by some commentators to denote a baptism of such afflictions. But this is harsh for John was undoubtedly predicting a blessing and not trial. Others again make fire the emblem of judgment, wrath, or vengeance (for it is thus employed), and pronounce this a baptism of vengeance upon the enemies, while that of the Holy Ghost is one of blessing upon the friends of God. But this is arbitrarily dividing the promise and making part of it a curse. Others even make the fire to mean “the fire of hell torment” which Reuss justly calls “a very unskilful exegesis.” But Reuss, and others, do not mend the matter, when they make the fire only to be the symbol of the Spirit, for that introduces a harsh redundancy, causing the promise to read: “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with the Holy Ghost.” Others think that it denotes that the ministry of Christ would be refining, trying, powerful, purifying, etc., but this does not accord with the spirit of the prediction, which, as it is linked with the previous prophecies, indicates a special blessing added to the one conferring miraculous or supernatural gifts. To ascertain its meaning, we have only to allow scriptural usage to give us the key which enables us to interpret this promise consistently with the analogy of Bible promise, thus avoiding the making it a mere emblem of the Spirit or of His presence, or of His purity and power, or of the reception by believers of affliction instead of happiness, dishonor instead of honor, pain instead of pleasure, and punishment instead of triumph. Fire is employed to denote the power of judging, or rather of executing judgment upon others. Such passages as Deut. 4:24; Heb. 12:29; Amos. 1:4, and 5:6, etc., show that such a power is intended. Now in reference to the saints, the chosen elect body, who shall reign with Christ, we find Rev. 19:14; Jude 14, etc. (see Prop. 154), that they are united with Christ in executing judgment, that Rev. 2:26–27, they shall have “power over the nations” to “rule them with a rod of iron;” and hence it is written, Ps. 149:9 that “this honor have all His saints” “to execute the judgment written,” etc. Those who are familiar with the Scriptures need scarcely be told that Rev. 14:18; Isa. 10:17; Isa. 1:27; Isa. 62:1, etc., relate to this time. As to the Jewish nation, such predictions as Zech. 12:6; Zech. 14:12–21; Micah 7:16–17, etc., give us a clew to the power that they shall possess, when (Micah 4:8 see Prop. 114), “the first dominion” among nations is granted unto it. At this period such a bestowment of baptism is indispensably necessary, owing to the plain predicted fact, that the anti-Christian power will be dominant and must, before the Theocracy is firmly re-established, be overthrown. Hence in the spirit of this promised baptism, Christ and His messengers come “in flaming fire” (2 Thess. 1:8), and these “messengers of His power” or “ministers” of His pleasure shall be so many “flames of fire” possessing, in virtue of this baptism, the ability to pour out “the consuming fire” that God has threatened against the ungodly, the rebellious, and the enemies of His people. Let the reader turn to Props. 115, 161, 162, 163, and he will see what a fearful time this will be, and how the saints and Jewish nation participate in it; and here he finds the link in the chain which tells him how they are qualified for this particular agency. That we are not mistaken in this interpretation is proven by the limited, partial fulfilment on the day of Pentecost. The “cloven tongues like as fire” which “sat upon each of them” is an emblem of this power, it being added to the other gifts as expressive of the promised baptism of fire which was to be associated with that of the Holy Ghost; it being virtually an outgrowth or adjunct to it. But owing to its enormous power, and to the danger of its being perverted even in the hands of good men, it was purposely circumscribed or limited to a very few persons. It was sufficient to give “a sign” that it was imparted, and then to exhibit the reality of its conference by actual performance. The power thus designated by “fire” (also indicated John 20:23 after the previous symbolic act stated in verse 22) the apostles rarely used, it being more specially intended for the coming age. Hence only in the cases of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5), of Elymus (Act 13), of the incestuous person (1 Cor. 5), and a few others, was it really exercised. We may rest assured, however, that the time is coming, when it shall be exerted on a scale that will confound the enemies of God.*

  PROPOSITION 172.—This Kingdom when restored does not require the reintroduction of bloody sacrifice.

The Theocratic arrangement binds together into one the Church and State, manifesting in wonderful condescension God ruling as earthly Ruler in and through David’s Son. This by no means demands the restoration of Mosaic sacrifices, seeing that the King, in virtue of His sinlessness, perfection, etc., made one sacrifice which is amply sufficient to cover all redemptive purposes in the past, present and future. Heb. 7:22–27. The perfection and completeness of the sacrifice is insisted upon, as e.g. Heb, 10:1–18. There is nothing, therefore, in the Kingdom itself, i.e. in a Theocratic rule, which should cause us either directly or by implication, to advocate a return to sacrifices, which “could not make perfect” (Heb. 9:9), which were “a shadow of good things to come” (Heb. 10:1), and which would seem by their restoration to lessen the value and perfection of Christ’s offering of Himself. Indeed, if, as our argument indicates, this Kingdom, by virtue of Christ’s work and the efficacy of His blood in sealing and fulfilling the covenant, is a bringing the world back into its Edenic state as it would have existed without the introduction and results of human depravity, then such a restored state, to exhibit justice to the merits which brings in its restoration, should be one in which bloody sacrifices do not exist.*

Obs. 1. Attention is called to the question of sacrifices in this form, seeing that Dr. Brown (The Sec. Coming, etc.), Dr. Hodge (Sys. Div.), Dr. Rice (Signs of the Times), etc., make the advocacy of a return to sacrifices (as is done by some Millenarians, e.g. D. N. Lord, Tyso, Shimeall, Begg, etc.), a serious objection to the reception of our doctrine. They allege that such a restoration would be a return to “bondage,” “beggarly elements,” etc., and that it invalidates the sufficiency of Christ’s offering. We are free to admit, that if our system necessarily involves such a restoration of sacrifice it would indeed form a grave objection against our view in the light of Galatians and Hebrews. The argumentation of its advocates that such sacrifices are merely “commemorative,” “retrospective,” etc., do not help the matter very much, so that while the objection is not sufficiently strong in itself to set aside all the other truths pertaining to this subject, yet it is ample enough to cause hesitation and doubt in the minds of many. Fully agreeing with the idea that if such a return is clearly taught, it should not hinder us from accepting it, even if we cannot reconcile its readoption; fully persuaded also, that if taught, it would not be essential to our doctrine being connected with the revelations and arrangements of “the world to come;” yet the question naturally arises whether such a restoration of sacrifices is really taught. After carefully regarding the prophecies and weighing the reasoning assigned in its behalf, we are forced to the conclusion, that it is nowhere taught in the Bible; that, therefore, no such apparent “contradiction,” as our opponents allege, can be legitimately forced upon our system; and that as some of our friends have supposed, the sacrifices are not necessary to “illustrate the great work of Redemption,” and to bring out more “significantly” faith in Christ’s offering. The reasons for taking such a position follow.*

Obs. 2. It is universally agreed that the main, leading argument in favor of a return to sacrifices is found in the last chapters of Ezekiel. If this portion of Scripture can be reasonably explained so as to satisfactorily remove the notion of such a return, the difficulty itself disappears. How are we to understand Ezekiel? The theories given are the following: 1. That the whole is to be spiritualized, i.e. another sense than that conveyed by the language is to be given to it. This leaves it at the mere fancy of the interpreter, and results in various inconsistencies. The latest effort in this direction by Cowles, is a sufficient commentary. 2. That it relates exclusively to the future, and that all will be fulfilled as written. But against this we have (a) the utterances of Paul in Galatians and Hebrews, (b) contradictions evolved, as e.g. respecting the Prince, which render it untenable. 3. That it pertains to the future, and that sacrifices with some other particulars are omitted in the fulfilment. But this is an arbitrary and dangerous interpretation, seeing that the prophecy stands or falls as a consistent whole. 4. That it was mere human prediction, and the prophet was mistaken in his conjectures. No believer of the Word can accept of so unworthy an opinion. 5. That it relates to the future and involves an apparent contradiction, which we cannot reconcile but will be fully cleared up in the new dispensation. This view takes it for granted that only a difficulty of comprehension, i.e., how this will be done (as in the case of Isaac), exists, while in reality there is much more connected with it, viz., a real contradiction with other Scriptures. 6. That like all prophecies pertaining to the Jews, it is conditional, and that the mention of sacrifices sufficiently proves its conditionality. Whatever our opinion may be concerning this particular prediction, the conditionality of it must be based on other grounds than those thus expressed, for (a) all prophecy is not conditional Prop. 18, and (b) the mention of anything in a prediction which may not suit our ideas of the fitness of things, is no proof without additional testimony of its being conditional.*

Obs. 3. Taking the position that this prophecy is conditional, we must present other reasons than those last alleged in order to keep within the limits assigned under Prop. 18. For, no prediction ought to be regarded as such, unless it contains within itself, or in the context, or future explanation, the elements clearly indicative of conditionality. Ezekiel’s prediction unmistakably contains the requisite evidence, which places it clearly among the conditional prophecies. The key to it is found in ch. 43:7–11 where the re-establishment of the Theocratic rule is conditioned by “now let them put away their whoredom and the carcasses of their kings, and I will dwell in the midst of them forever,” “if they be ashamed of all that they have done,” etc. It is expressly asserted that this prediction is given, “that they may be ashamed of their iniquities” in order that what is promised may also be verified. The simple question to be asked is this: did the Jewish nation after the prophecy was given repent of its sinfulness and manifest by its shame that it was worthy of such a reconstruction of the government? Let the facts as given in history witness, and we are forced to the conclusion that the reason why no such Theocratic restoration (compare Jer. 17:25 with context—same conditionally expressed) was affected, was owing simply to the lack of a national repentance commensurate with a bringing it into operation. The repentance and acknowledgments of individuals and of a portion of the nation, is not sufficient to bring back this richly forfeited blessing. If it be asked, why does God give this lengthy prediction foreknowing that it will never, in the shape given, be realized owing to continued national sinfulness and unworthiness, the answer is plain: judging from other portions of the Word, it is done in necessary accommodation to the free agency of man. Let the reader consider, that this prophet predicts this previous to a partial restoration of the nation to its own land. Now in connection with even such a foreknown restoration, it is eminently proper for God to offer also (conditioned by repentance, as at the First Advent, see Props. 57, 58, etc.), a restoration of the Theocratic government. This, as every student admits, is done here, and we may reasonably conclude, that if the conditions imposed by God had been accepted by the nation, then all would have been abundantly verified. Hence as the conditions were not complied with—only in a very imperfect manner and which never resulted in a widespread and continuous reformation—the prophet gives us a sad representation of blessings that were lost, and most fully answers the question, what the state of the Jewish nation would have been provided it had on its restoration been obedient to God. Taking this view of it, the prediction is necessary in filling out what otherwise would prove a blank in Jewish history. It teaches us in what form the Theocracy would have been restored, had the Jews been “ashamed,” etc., thus manifesting God’s willingness to bless and His love for His people and land.*

Obs. 4. Having thus shown the conditionality of the prediction fairly expressed within itself, we may now add, that the entire structure of the prophecy indicates that it by no means refers to the final fulfilment of the covenant, but is also preparative to such a fulfilment. Persons have been misled into the idea that it must refer to the predicted, covenanted reign of Jesus Christ, owing to a kind of correspondence between the Theocratic rule, the city, temple, worship, etc., and that of the future under Christ, which caused the hasty conclusion that they were identical, thus overlooking (1) the points of divergence; (2) the utter inaptitude of applying some things to Christ’s reign; (3) the inapplicability of certain statements concerning the Prince to the person and character of Christ; (4) the unfitness of a portion to describe either the characteristics of the Mill. era, or the nature and employments of the glorified saints associated with Christ. Similarity of description in some respects—which the Theocracy, the same inheritance, throne, kingdom, etc., necessarily includes—is no evidence of identity. This will be seen by passing over some of the statements contained in the prophecy, which prove, that it is not intended to describe the reign of the promised seed, David’s Son and David’s Lord. This will, of course, be corroborative of its conditionality as shown under Obs. 3. Notice: 1. This Prince is a mortal man; for to him are ascribed “sons” to whom he may give gifts etc. (Ch. 45:16–18), and he is exhorted not to do wrong. 2. This Prince being thus mortal and unglorified, is subject to sinfulness, for he is exhorted to offer “a sin-offering” in behalf of “himself” as well as for all the people, which cannot be applied to Christ, see Ch. 45:17–22. 3. The entire tenor of the prediction in its relation to the Prince, the Priests, the Sacrificers, etc., makes a decided impression that it describes a continuation of the Mosaic ritual, not retrospectively or commemoratively but prospectively in the form instituted under Moses and retained by David (e.g. Ezek. 45:17–25). 4. The priesthood of the Prince, is not allowed (Ch. 46:2), while Christ is a Priest forever on His throne. 5. The priests are mortal men, for they are subject to marriage and death (Ch. 44:22), which is very different from the priesthood pertaining to the saints in the Mill. era, and who are associated with Christ in His reign. It is true, that other priests, aside from the saints, might be introduced, yet in the Mill. descriptions we find only the saints specifically denominated the priests, and if this were a Mill. prediction then the exalted priesthood of the saints would be entirely passed by. The spirit of the prophecy does not accord with the predictions relating to the Millennium or reign of Christ. 6. The character ascribed to the Princes, a strong tendency to exactions (Ch. 45:9), does not correspond with that given to the Rulers (as e.g. apostles ruling over twelve tribes), who, immortal and ever holy, reign with Christ over Israel and the world. 7. The extent of the dominion, power, and glory of the Prince and of his Theocratic rule, is too circumscribed and limited to meet the requirements of Mill. portrayals. From such considerations as these, it is simply impossible, with any degree of consistency, to apply and interpret this prophecy as relating to the promised Messiah’s reign. To do this, is to violate the intent of this Scripture, the sublime descriptions of the character and perfection of Christ, and to fasten upon our doctrine an unnecessary, and unbelief producing, interpretation. The Theocratic rule here delineated, is very different from that exhibited under Christ and His associated body of rulers; and before we can accept of it as Messianic, i.e. descriptive of the future reign of Jesus Christ, it must be shown, that the reigning Prince here presented is identical with Christ. The only answer that might be given is this: that this Prince is a mortal, ruling over the Jewish nation at its future restoration under—subject to—the reign of Christ. But this reply only increases the difficulty, for then (1) we have a lengthy Mill. description without Christ being introduced; (2) a Theocratic rule without the real Theocratic King being noticed; (3) a King seated on David’s throne and ruling over David’s Kingdom (Christ’s special inheritance, as David’s Son), without the covenanted King who shall do this being mentioned; (4) a mortal man thus exalted to rule over the twelve tribes of Israel over and above the apostles who are specially designated in other places; (5) a lodgment of Theocratic rulership in a person who is liable to sin and corruption, which is opposed to the Plan of God now carried on to secure a government which in its rulers is far beyond all evil influences.

Obs. 5. The highly significant phraseology combined with this prophecy, such as “the name of the city from that day shall be, the Lord is there,” etc., has led many to suppose that this alone is applicable to the era after the Second Advent when Christ shall personally come and reign, and thus “the Lord is there,” etc. As a matter of course, when the Theocratic rule under Jesus Christ is restored, such will be the fact, and the language applies, but it must not be overlooked that it would be equally applicable to the Theocratic rule under any of the seed of David, if it had been reinstated by the acceptance of the conditions imposed by God. In the very nature of the case, when God condescends to act as earthly Ruler over the nation in and through David’s throne (which He has called His own), “the Lord is there” in His anointed one. Much of the language is expressive of Theocratic Rule and its results, and must be explained in its relationship to the peculiar and distinctive stage of it that is here meant. The fact, that similar language can be used in reference to Christ’s reign, does not prove identity, but only shows, that His rule is also Theocratic in its nature and results. Even the city with its similarity of gates named after the twelve tribes, is only a pattern of the restored Theocratic city (Rev. 21:12) under Christ.*

Obs. 6. The conditionality of this prophecy, by no means can be adduced as proof (so Waggoner, etc.), that the Jews will never be restored and the Davidic kingdom will never be rebuilt. If it indeed referred to the covenanted reign of Christ, then an argument might be formed against us, on the ground of the conditional terms embraced in the prediction. But it must first be shown that it has such a connection. Being strictly in the line of conditional prophecies, and delineating only a provisional, preparatory stage (not realized owing to sin), it does not fall within the category of predictions relating to the fulfilment of the covenant in the person and the rule of Jesus Christ.

Obs. 7. Ezekiel’s prediction, owing to its circumstantial relation of sacrifices, being the almost exclusive proof presented against us—if this is satisfactorily explained there can be but little difficulty with other passages. Indeed all else is more or less inferential, as is seen in Isa. 2:3; Isa. 60:1–22; Isa. 61:6; Isa. 66:21; Jer. 30:17–22 alleged by some to teach it, but which are susceptible of an easy and natural explanation, thus avoiding an unnecessary antagonism. These, as well as the more serious ones of Jer. 33:18, 21, and Zech. 14:16–21, are to be interpreted by the principle laid down by the apostles, and intimated even by the Spirit in the Old Test. For, aside from the simple fact that a change in the priesthood is reasonably to be anticipated in view of the change (more exalted, etc.), in the king, in the form of government, in the priests adopted specifically for the Kingdom in place of the old order, etc., it is sufficient to call attention to a mode of speech introduced into the Word which solves all such difficulties. It is a figure of speech called by Lord and others “hypocatastasis” by which one thing is employed as a substitute or equivalent for another. This figure is employed by the prophet to portray a future existing priesthood, using for this purpose the priesthood then known, just as future enemies of God are presented under the names, Moab, Babylon, etc., of enemies then existing. That this is to be thus understood appears evident from the sacrifices themselves (which these priests are to offer) being used to denote another and differing form of offering or act of worship. Thus, e.g. Christ is the Paschal Lamb and the Lord’s Supper is called the passover; sacrifice denotes the offering of ourselves Rom. 12:1, the worship or tender of the Gentiles in reception of the Gospel Rom. 15:16 marg. read., the devotion of faith Phil. 2:17, acts of benevolence or love Phil. 4:18, praise as the fruit of thanksgiving Heb. 13:15, etc. This usage of the word, “sacrifice” shows that it is employed as an equivalent for worship or religious conduct in this dispensation, and to place the matter beyond all dispute it is expressly affirmed by Peter (1 Pet. 2:5, 9), that the design of this new order of priests, when thus gathered out and forming “a holy priesthood” “a royal priesthood,” is “to offer up spiritual sacrifices” and not bloody ones. This again is confirmed by what is stated in Mill. descriptions, and in promises pertaining to this future priesthood. Nowhere, including the last testimony given by Jesus (Apoc.), do we find these priests represented as offering to God the victims of a Mosaic ritual. Hence those isolated passages which speak of worship and sacrifice, even if they are clad in language which at first sight might suggest a return to the Mosaic ritual, are to be interpreted in the light of the more extended predictions, of the changes that are to be introduced in the coming dispensation, of the express affirmations concerning the future priesthood, and of the examples given in the usage of the word “sacrifice.” Otherwise an antagonism is raised, which is altogether unnecessary, and which leads to unfriendly doubt, and to rejection of other truths. If the ancient sacrifices were typical, if they were only “a shadow of things to come,” then we are fully warranted to regard such passages as presenting under a tropical sense (customary to all language) another kind of sacrifice, suitable to the then existing dispensation, and that a new order of priests, under the name of the old because a prolongation or continuation of a priesthood, are introduced as forever associated with Jesus in the age to come. Hence Heb. 9:28 will be realized.

Obs. 8. The typical application, or the substitution of equivalent phraseology, is also seen in the use of the word “temple.” Admitting that in the earthly Jerusalem a temple will be rebuilt in order to manifest in a public manner the worship of God, yet much confusion of ideas is found in not noticing that the way in which the word is employed fully shows, that it does not necessarily involve the notion of a restoration of sacrifices. The temple can exist without the introduction of the Mosaic ritual. Besides this, it has a latitude of meaning; for, e.g. in John 2:19 it denotes Christ’s body; in 1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Cor. 6:16, it represents the saints; in Rev. 21:22 it denotes the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb, etc. In the latter passage John says he “saw no temple therein,” excepting as God and the Lamb formed one. In Rev. 3:12 “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God,” and in Rev. 7:15 the saints shall “serve Him day and night in His temple.” Such expressions, as commentators abundantly show, involve no contradictions, simply indicating under the substitution of a word an equivalent denoting either a permanent union with God or Christ, or the body of the elect who are holy and worthy of honor. This teaches us, that if we are not to press the word “temple” beyond its legitimate use in the Word, so also ought we not to press the word “sacrifice” which is associated with the temple. Figures of speech, lawfully drawn from the structure of language, and indicated thus by the Spirit, should have due weight in our interpretation. Thus, e.g. much that pertains to the dispensation still future, being beyond our present experience and knowledge, must necessarily be presented to us through the medium of things of which we have cognizance. But when the idea presented by the figure is legitimately drawn, it is a violation of language to engraft upon it another and additional sense, Prop. 4.

  PROPOSITION 173. This Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ may be near at hand.

To the Spirit, speaking with that comprehensiveness mentioned by the Psalmist (Ps. 90:4), and Peter (2 Pet. 3:8), it is near; to man, with his ideas of the vastness of incoming ages, it is, preceded by comparatively a short period, also near; to the student, who carefully studies the Divine Plan, comparing the duration of dispensations, the typical hints, etc., it is near at hand; and to the inquirer, who considers the various predictions and intimations relating to its Coming, it is always nigh at hand. Before entering into the discussion of signs, etc., which (following Prop.) indicate its nearness, we may appropriately allude to some general reasons that lead to the same result.*

Obs. 1. The precise time for the Kingdom to be established is not given. Men may assume this, but the language of Scripture is too precise (Mark 13:32, 33): “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray; for ye know not when the time is, etc. With this compare Matt. 24:36, 42–51 and 25:13; Luke 12:40, and 21:35, and consider that such declarations accompany or follow directions to observe the signs of the fulfilment of prophecy as indicative of nearness. Jesus directs us to signs to show us the time in which we live, and how near we may be to the end, and not to definite time, and this is also true of the apostles. The Spirit does not contradict Himself; if it were possible to obtain accurate, definite time, then e.g. Luke 12:40 would be incorrect; because some would then really know, and be thinking of the time, etc. But this very indefiniteness and uncertainty in regard to exact time, can be justly claimed as favoring the expectation of its nearness. If those who rely solely upon this class of passages can deduce from them the notion that the time of the Sec. Advent is distant (as multitudes do), we certainly, when coupling such Scripture with those referring to signs given for guidance, are not guilty of any impropriety, when we deduce the opinion that the same event may be near. The lack of knowledge respecting the definite time does not in itself determine either the remoteness or the nearness. If it is an extreme to set aside the passages referred to, and fix upon definite time, it is also one to infer from them, that that time must be in the distant future. It being beyond our ability to give the date, prudence, if nothing else, ought to dictate to us that, for aught we know to the contrary, it may be near. The fact, too, as Gildas, Luther, etc., remarked, is, that as every succeeding year and day brings us nearer to that which the Spirit pronounced “nigh at hand,” so the lapse of many (1800) years has certainly brought the Sec. Advent and Kingdom so much the nigher to us. This is confirmed by the signs to which the Saviour directs us that have been constantly fulfilling, accumulating, and intensifying. It is reasonable, then, to conclude, and say, as we now do, that it may be near at hand.

Obs. 2. The postponement of the Kingdom is indefinite as to time, for where it is specifically stated it is always in connection with phraseology (such as “the times of the Gentiles,” or until he comes again, etc.) which gives no regular chronological date or succession. While this is so, it is reasonable to suppose that a Gentile domination so long continued, a Jerusalem so long trodden under foot, an elect people so long scattered, a coming so long delayed, is evidence, at least, that a large portion of time included in such a postponement has already passed, and that therefore the Kingdom is proportionately near. Contrasting the respective duration of dispensations, materially aids in impressing the same idea.*

Obs. 3. This Kingdom as we have seen in previous Propositions (as e.g. Props. 64–65) is dependent upon a certain number of elect ones that must previously be gathered out. After the rejection of the Jewish nation for a set time, a seed must be raised up unto Abraham to inherit the promises; this seed is now in process of adoption, and when a determinate number has been thus engrafted—a sufficiency to fill out the Divine Theocratic purpose—then will the Kingdom come. This number requisite, God only knows; it is one of the secrets that pertains to Himself alone as the bestower of the Kingdom to David’s Son, and His Co-heirs, and which He has purposely clad in symbolic vesture, and in the most general expressions. To make up this pre-determined number, is assigned as a reason why God is delaying His promises (as e.g. 2 Pet. 3:9, etc.). So that by the exercise of long-suffering, men may be led to repentance, and become of the number of the elect, chosen ones. Hence, while this necessarily forbids the fixing of a definite time, owing to man’s utter inability to fathom the Theocratic ordering of the Kingdom in its appointments, etc., yet, at the same time, the thoughtful student will feel, when looking at the number already gathered during eighteen centuries of contest and trial, that, at least, a very large advancement has been made in gathering out such a seed for Abraham to be co-inheritors with the Christ. Therefore from this even, it is reasonable to think that the Kingdom is not far distant, seeing that already so much has been done to secure such a class.*

Obs. 4. This Kingdom is dependent upon the Coming of the King, but the Advent of this King, in its several aspects, is nowhere positively conjoined to the ending of any chronological period, and, in view of this fact, may be near—indeed may occur at any time. It is true, that very many prophetical writers have presented us with chronological data, the closing of certain years (as e.g. 1260, 1290, 1335, etc.) as respectively the time of the Sec. Advent, but in every instance as pure inference. For no one has yet ventured to assert, that such dates have positively connected with them the Sec. Advent; such dates have been supposed to imply such an event, and the supposition has been too easily accepted as a fixed fact. Now without discussing the merits of the literal day or year day fulfilment of such dates, it is sufficient to say, that in neither case is the Advent (in the sense we use it, viz. as embracing dif. stages) said to occur at the end of such dates. So far as the period and the closing of such dates is concerned, they all are stated to embrace the history or events of either the Jewish nation, or of the Church, or of some hostile power during a certain, thus specified, time. The Sec. Advent, so far as particulars are given, and the immediate connection it may sustain even by implication to such dates, may take place some time before or after their close; and in reference to some even a length of time before they commence. It is true, and this is the reason why the mistake is made by numerous writers, that one stage or act of the Sec. Advent is directly joined to the close of some of those periods (being allied with the destruction of Antichrist and the deliverance of the Jewish nation, etc.), viz. His visible open Coming with His saints. But this is very different from His previous Coming for those saints, who participate with Him in the destruction of Antichrist, and thus leads us to allow an interval (short or long, as the case may be) before such a Coming in “vengeance.” This teaches (see Props. 130, etc.) us not to limit the Sec. Advent by dates; it is not bound by them only as the last grand act of Coming for the overthrow of the Confederation is concerned; for, as previously intimated, Scripture surely points out that even before this last Confederation is formed (so e.g. Rev. 14, etc. Comp. preceding Props.), and the great tribulation is entered, that saints are removed in a manner which can only be attributed to the Sec. Advent, being specifically joined to it by the Spirit as a result. This conclusively instructs us that this Advent—concealed to the world and known only by experience to the favored ones—precedes for a time—not given by such dates—the visible world manifestation and destruction of Antichrist. If any one asks, why is it not then more prominently set forth also in connection with such chronological dates, the answer is plain—such a method would defeat the posture of constant watching enjoined, and would, in a great measure, relieve it of a characteristic purposely designed, viz. that it shall come as “a snare.” A sufficiency is given to instruct us, if we will only compare Scripture: if the exact time of this first secret Coming were given, it would invalidate the express declarations that no one shall be cognizant of it. Hence it is, that this Coming—this Advent embracing from its first stage to the last a distinctive interval of time—is represented as one that may happen at any time; one that we are to watch for constantly; one that we are to look for without placing anything intervening (to be yet fulfilled) between it and the present, seeing that the stage or manifestation (to saints) at its beginning is never included in dates, but always enshrouded in mystery; always represented as coming unknown to all men and to the angels. From this it follows, not knowing the length of this interval, and not having definite events (for those are embraced in this interval) to guide us into a recognition of the time when the Advent really begins, that such a Coming and its resultant (the Kingdom) may be near, so near that we dare not positively assert that it shall be delayed a single day, week, year, etc.

Obs. 5. While this is so, chronology itself teaches us that the Kingdom may be near. We admit that chronology is subject to difficulties (owing to several small chasms and uncertain dates, bringing in therefore probability, etc.); that it is so uncertain that the exact date of Christ’s birth is a subject of dispute (for some extend the time from A.D. 4004 to 4128 or 4132, owing to an alleged error in Judges, etc.); that scarcely two chronologists are agreed in all respects, and that they differ in reference to the present age of the world, etc., yet one thing that their valuable labors in this perplexing field has clearly stated, is the fact, that we at this day are living on the very border of the ending of the sixth Milliad. As to the general result, chronologers differ by a comparatively few years, one having more and others less, but the substantial agreement amid a diversity, brings forth the remarkable feature that we are not distant from the close of the six thousandth year. We believe that this very diversity—this inability by a unanimity to fix the exact closing of the sixth Milliad—the introduction of those chasms, and the obscurity of certain dates, is intentional in order to place us in the commanded position of watching. Now let the reader consider, that it was upon this ending of the sixth Milliad that the Church has so often through its greatest representative men fixed her eye as the important crisis of the world’s history; let him ponder what Prop. 143 has presented, and its relationship to our present chronological position; let him even consider that from the analogy of the past it is most reasonable to anticipate some great movements and changes in the dispensational orderings—and from such reflections he must conclude not only that we live in a period when great changes are to be expected, but in one not very distant from the introduction of the predicted Kingdom of God. But in addition to this, chronology reveals another matter which forces us to the same conclusion, viz. that all writers whether Pre-or Post-Millenarians, who undertake to give us chronological calculations (we say nothing respecting their correctness) regarding the incoming Millennial age unite in asserting that that age is nigh at hand. In commentaries, prophetical treatises, etc., this is presented as something undoubted; and numerous writers, while giving only approximative dates, declare that a study of chronology in its application to prediction necessarily and inevitably leads to such a conclusion. The reason for this lies in the circumstance, that all the prophetical dates are of such a limited duration that no matter what plausible beginning is assigned to them, the end, in any case, cannot be far distant. While such dates refer to the rise, progress and overthrow of enemies, or to the struggles of the Church and her ultimate triumph, yet we find from a comparison of Scripture that to bring about the last (that is, the overthrow and triumph), the Advent of Christ is connected with the same before such a result is accomplished, leaving the time preceding it unknown, and that the same is also witnessed at the time of overthrow and triumph introductory to the Kingdom itself. Therefore linking the Advent and Kingdom to the Millennial age as accessory, prerequisite and indispensable, the admissions thus made are all of a tenor to show us that, according to the views expressed by the most intelligent and able students of various Expositions (Pre-and Post-Mill.) the Kingdom, as prophesied, is not very distant from us.

Obs. 6. It is important to notice that this indefiniteness as to the exact time is to the thoughtful not only evidence of the inspiration of the Word, but a reason why the end should always be regarded as near. Let the student compare the chronological dates, and see how they are presented, purposely in a form so obscure or hidden, that the wisest of scholars admit a degree of uncertainty appertaining to a decided apprehension of the same; and yet so framed in with the text of prediction given by various prophets that they harmonize with it and each other, and he must conclude that men, separated from each other by ages, etc., could not unaided have given to us such a wonderful combination, so indefinite as to exact time, and yet so definite as in the general course to point each age to a future that was imminent. Such a framework, which caused the early Church, the later Fathers, and able men in every successive century to apprehend the nearness of the Advent and events following, is not accidental. It is designed by the Spirit in order to bring forth the commanded posture of believers, viz. to be constantly looking (Phil. 3:20; Heb. 11:28; 2 Pet. 3:12, 14, etc.) for such a Coming in view of its practical influence (as e.g. Phil. 3:20; Col. 3:4, 5; 1 Tim. 6:14; 2 Tim. 4:1, 2, 8; 1 Pet. 5:4.) of its being the great hope of the Church (as e.g. Tit. 2:12, 13; 1 Pet. 1:13; Col. 2:4) etc. Suppose that a precise unmistakable date were given; then many commands (as e.g. Matt. 24:43–51 and 25:13; Mark 13:33–37, etc.) could not be observed; then those exhortations to be in constant readiness for it (as e.g. Luke 12:35, 36, 40, and 21:34, etc.) would lose their force; because it would be impossible to watch, etc., as the Spirit enjoins (for our personal good) until the time stated definitely had come. (Therefore well-meaning persons who give positive dates in so far violate Scripture, and do injury to others, because instead of watching every day they wait for specific time, etc.) Now the singular and most striking feature in the matter consists in this, that while the Spirit gives us certain chronological data, yet they are presented in such a manner as not to conflict with the assigned posture of constant watching. Hence, we have not only a defence for the logical position of the Primitive Church (aided too, no doubt by the use of the Sep. chronology which made the end much nearer) but an excuse even for that class of writers (as Bengel, Wesley, Elliott, etc.) who approximatively fixed the period and failed in definite time; because they maintained the scriptural injunction of constant looking for the Advent, etc., and gave their views as to time simply as an opinion, not proven but uncertain, without denying the possibility of an instant, immediate Coming. Surely it is to the honor of commentators (as e.g. Barnes) that while approximatively fixing the time of the ushering in of the Millennial age (as an expression of opinion when dealing with chronological dates), yet, they deem even such an approximation so liable to mistake that in other portions they exhort to an observance of the attitude of watching, freely and fully admitting the possibility of Christ’s Coming at any time. From the arrangement, therefore, of the Scriptures in that chronology and the command to constant watchfulness sustain each other, and which is confirmed by the experience of the past, it would be unreasonable and unscriptural if we did not acquiesce in maintaining such a position; and, in view of our want of definite knowledge, insist upon it, that the Advent and Kingdom may be nigh at hand. When the apostolic Fathers wrote (as e.g. Clement) “Let us every hour expect the Kingdom of God;” When the Reformers (as e.g. Luther) long after said: “Though the signs may seem uncertain, yet no man can despise them without danger; seeing there can be not only no danger, but also great profit, if, reckoning them as true, thou shalt prepare thyself to meet thy Saviour; that is, if, bidding farewell to present things, thou shalt be wholly taken up with the desire of the Kingdom of God that is Coming;” when eminent men in Europe, America, etc., at this day proclaim that “the Coming of the Lord draweth nigh;” all these only occupy the position and maintain the attitude assigned to believers.*

Obs. 7. It is suitable in this connection to advert to the methods by which the scripturally enjoined posture of watching for the Advent (which precedes the Kingdom) is violate (1) This is done by those who either locate such an Advent in the past (as e.g. at destruction of Jerusalem, etc.) or else spiritualize it away as something constantly taking place in the Church, or as something very different from the biblical descriptions of it. It is not necessary, in view of previous Propositions, to dwell upon this point. (2) Others interpose between this and the possible occurrence of the Advent a definite date. Cheerfully admitting that in Commentaries, Expositions, etc., in which prophetical dates are necessarily involved, it is eminently proper to discuss and explain them within the limits of probability, yet this is very different from that positive, dogmatic assertion that such or such a date is the correct one, and that consequently the Advent can only take place at such a fixed time. It will be found, too, that the more positive this class is, the less credence are we to bestow upon them, because they evidently are unacquainted with the difficulties pertaining to their subject. Nearly all writers upon chronology and prophetical dates have manifested commendable modesty, and while giving in their judgment an approximation to the truth, do not conceal from themselves or readers the difficulties connected with the subject. To this class our remarks do not apply, for it is only the former, who, by such positiveness, do injury to the truth: first, by leading men away from a daily looking for the Advent to a particular time for such watching; and, secondly, by causing those who have but a slight knowledge of prophecy to turn away from the whole subject through disgust, etc., induced by the failures in positive time. If moderation should characterize writings upon any subject whatever, it certainly ought to be upon this one. (3) Others again interpose between us and the Advent the fulfilment of certain events as prerequisites. We are thus led to watch for these events instead of looking for the Advent; and the latter instead of being liable, as the Scriptures represent, to come at any time (so to us on account of the lack of definite knowledge, but to God a definite time), cannot possibly take place without the previous arrival of forerunning events. Having already shown how this mistake arises (viz. by looking only at the last stage of this Advent before the ushering in of the Mill. age), it is sufficient now to say, that it virtually neutralizes commands directly appertaining to the Advent, and for this Advent substitutes other particulars. This is misleading (however, honestly and sincerely intended), and causes many to interpose several events, as certain to happen between the present time and Sec. Coming, thus delaying the latter. It is significant, and we most gladly record it, that writers of ability in this and other countries, are so impressed with this point, that they insist upon it, that no event whatever is to be thus interposed lest it prove “a snare” to put us off our guard. Indeed, we may add, that the Coming of Eljiah as promised in Mal. 4:5, 6—upon which some lay so much stress as a positive interposition of a coming event before (as a Forerunner) the Sec. Advent—is something that follows the first stage of the Advent. It cannot precede for a number of reasons, among which are these: that it would be inconsistent with the secret, concealed Advent of Christ; that it would be contrary to the state of faith and unpreparedness, etc., of the Church and world; that it would violate the order of events alleged as preceding the Advent, as e.g. in the actual condition of the Jews, etc. The truth seems to be, that Eljiah is a Forerunner of Jesus, not to the Gentiles but, as John, to the Jewish nation; his mission pertains to them exclusively, and has no reference whatever to the Church as now constituted. Hence, observing the condition of the Jews down to this first stage of the Advent, which shows that no such mission has to that time been undertaken among them (the proof is that they are to suffer fearfully under the Antichrist, being also left for this purpose), we conclude, that Eljiah’s Coming is at some period during the interval between the first and last stages of the Advent (and we strongly incline to the opinion but a short time before the last stage) in order to prepare the Jews for the open visible manifestation of the King with His saints. This is confirmed by the nature of the first stage of the Advent, which is designed specially for the Church, and is only preparative for what follows respecting the nation. Thus, in brief, it will be found, by comparison of the Word, that every event which is alleged to precede the Advent, and is really sustained by Scripture as something to take place, finds its appropriate location during this interval. (4) Others, however; not content with simply interposing a few events between the present and the Advent, actually include the entire Millennial era as elapsing before the Sec. Advent can be reasonably expected. As this is a popular view and extensively prevailing, it will be proper to illustrate the inconsistency which it entails in interpreting the Scripture relating to the last things. For this purpose we again select Barnes’s Com. (because of its popularity and the high standing, correctly too, of its amiable author), directing attention e.g. to his comments upon Phil. 3:20. After describing it as “one of the characteristics of the Christian that he believes that the Lord Jesus will return from heaven, and that he looks and waits for it:” that this was the firm belief and attitude of the early Christians—a leading doctrine resultant in good—and that “it may be asked, with great force, whether Christians in general have now any such expectation of the second appearing of the Lord Jesus, or whether they have not fallen into the dangerous error of prevailing unbelief, so that the expectation of His Coming is allowed to exert almost no influence upon the soul,” he proceeds to contrast such unbelief and refusal to look for the Advent with the early Church, and then adds: “So we should look,” but neutralizes the whole by asserting that this relates only to looking for a Sec. Advent without reference to the time of that Coming. For, his Com. develops the theory of an intervening Millennium followed by the Sec. Advent. Such a passage, therefore, he correctly explains but shifts it in order to fit, if possible, his Millennial theory. There are, however, passages which he cannot thus reconcile, and the attempt is not made to do this, as e.g. 1 Thess. 5:5, 6, “But let us watch, that is, for the Coming of the Lord. Let us regard it as an event which is certainly to occur; and which may occur at any moment,” etc.; Tit. 2:13, “we are to be in a posture of expectation, not knowing when He will come,” etc. (comp. his comments on 2 Pet. 3:12 etc.). Accepting of his comments thus given it is simply impossible to expect the Advent to take place “at any moment” with the reservation of at least an intervening one thousand years. The same exhortations to watch, etc., for the Advent, while a Millennial age is advocated to precede it, is to be found in various commentaries, and not one of them endeavors to reconcile or remove the involved self-contradiction. This much, however, we learn from the admissions and concessions forced upon writers, who would gladly for the sake of theory not make them, that the Kingdom of the prophets is not so distant but what the events preceding it may suddenly burst upon us “at any moment.”

Obs. 8. That interpretation of the Scriptures is the only correct one, which can truly and freely accept of all the divine utterances without the least attempt to soften them, or to explain them away, or to receive them with a sort of mental reservation. The test in this case is the incorporation of and using without contradiction, the identical phraseology of the Bible. Any theory which cannot do this, is most certainly defective, and open to the gravest objection; especially is this true of the last things in view of the mighty issues resulting therefrom. An Eschatology which leaves out the biblical exhortations respecting the nearness of the day of the Lord Jesus Christ, and our duty to watch for it, really takes the life out of the subject, and gives us but a cold dead body for faith and hope to grasp. Those who do this, strive to make amends by so exalting the intermediate state and the condition of the saints, that if we were to credit them, the Advent itself is of comparatively little consequence so far as the increased happiness and honor of the saints is concerned. This however is anti-scriptural, and hence we reject all theories which would disparage or lower, or set aside “the blessed hope,” and the language employed in reference to it. Our position is one that cordially embraces the exact phraseology of the Bible, and glories in the same. It is precisely the one exemplified in the history of the early Church, so that to-day we can say with Clement (First Epis., Ch. 35): “Let us therefore earnestly strive to be found in the number of those that wait for Him, in order that we may share in the promised gifts,” or, (Sec. Epis. Ch. 12) “Let us expect, therefore, hour by hour the Kingdom of God in love and righteousness, since we know not the day of the appearing of God.” The adoption of Scripture phraseology with hearts of faith, the cordial reception and belief in the language given by inspired men, leads us to the same logical position occupied by the primitive Church.*

Obs. 9. The student who passes over the history of the Church, keeping in view the utterances of her eminent leading minds respecting the nearness of the end, will be surprised at the lengthy catalogue presented. Indeed we have books (such as Taylor’s Voice the of Church, The Time of the End, by a Congregationalist, Bickersteth’s Guide to the Prophecies, Seiss’s Last Times, etc.), which give us hundreds of names, taken from all denominations, proclaiming this nearness. The reader is referred to such works for extracts indicative of the same. Having alluded to many under the Props. pertaining to the history of Millennial doctrine, we may briefly say here that such an expectation is far from being confined to Millenarians. Thus e.g. even many of those who make the Millennium in Rev. 20 spiritual and already past, still hold to the view expressed by Bishop Hall (Bickersteth’s Guide, p. 184): “For my part, I am persuaded in my soul, that the Coming of our Saviour is near at hand.” Many also who rigidly hold to the teaching of Luther, or to that of the Fathers as Augustine, Chrysostom, Jerome, etc., still declare with Luther (Walch’s Luth., 13 vols. Cols. 34–43 on Luke 21:25–36) “the Lord admonishes us Christians not to place the date of our lives here upon the earth, but to know that our Lord and Redeemer shall come from heaven, and thus be prepared every hour to expect His Coming; likewise, that we should be but half, and with the left hand, in this world, while with the right hand, and with the whole heart, we are in waiting for that day when our Lord shall come in His glorious majesty and power, which no man can describe.” “Let us have respect to the words of Christ and expect His Coming,” etc. (Comp. Barnes’s Notes on Rev. 10:6.) Besides this large class, there is another still larger, who, while spiritualizing the Millennium and locating it in the future, yet, frankly admit the possibility of the nearness of the Advent, etc., by exhorting to a constant watchfulness for the same. Having already illustrated this feature from the writings of Albert Barnes, the reader is directed to another drawn from Dr. David Brown (the more valuable, since he has specially written against the Millenarian doctrine), in his work, Christ’s Sec. Coming. In this work we are expressly assured (p. 27–29) that in reference to the Millennial period, “the same uncertainty overhangs this as all the great periods of the Divine economy;” and he informs us (p. 32–33) that it is a plain Scriptural injunction to look, wait, watch and pray for the coming of Christ, quoting Wodrow approvingly: “Hence we are commanded to be looking for and hasting unto the Coming of the day of God; hence it is the closing prayer of the Church, ‘Even so, come, Lord Jesus;’ and hence it should be often the prayer of believers, individually and collectively, ‘Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountain of spices.’ ” Literally, volumes could be filled with the testimony given by able divines and scholars upon this subject. The commentaries of greatest ability such as Bengel’s Gnomon, Olshausen, Alford, Lange, Meyer, Stier, Greswell, Ebrard, and others, now in general use, are so well known to be in sympathy with our views in this respect that it is unnecessary to quote passages from them. The same is true of the class in a measure superseded by others, but still containing much that is valuable, such as Clarke’s, Gill’s, Coke’s, Calvin’s, Benson’s Henry’s, Wesley’s, and others, which present exhortations to a constant watching for the Advent, that can only be grounded (also expressed) on a belief in its nearness, or that it may take place at any time. It would be a pleasure, had we space, to present extracts from these, and many others, whose praise is in all the churches. The intelligent reader, no doubt is aware, that the ablest of scholars and divines both in this country and Europe, have expressed the decided opinion that we are rapidly nearing the end of this dispensation, or approaching the greatest crisis in the world’s history. In recent books, tracts, and periodicals, lengthy communications and extracts appear from such men as Candlish, Newton, Hitchcock, Spurgeon, Duff, Archd. Browne, Bh. Tillotson, Tyng, Bonars, Bh. Chase, Krummacher, Elliott, Faber, Bh. McIlvaine, Wilson, Duffield, Stephenson, Bh. Henshaw, in brief, from hundreds representing various denominations and forms of belief, but all united in the proclamation of the nearness of Christ’s Coming, and insisting upon our occupying the posture of watching servants. Many of these extracts, etc., we have verified by actual reference; others we receive upon the authority of reliable writers. The time has gone by, in view of such unanimity among the intelligent and learned, for any one to discard the subject as one confined simply to a party or sect, or as one the result of ignorance and folly. When authors like Auberlen, Delitzsch, Kurtz, Hofman, Luthart, Van Oosterzee and others, do not hesitate to express themselves decidedly as favoring the shortness of time between us and the Advent; when leading preachers (as Cummings, Tyng, McNeile, Noel, Cox, Dallas, Gordon, Demarest, Forsyth, etc.), pointedly preach the speedy Advent; when able popular writers (as Ryle, Trench, Birks, Stier, Brookes, Margoliouth, Tregelles, McCaul, etc.), make the nearness to the Advent “the generation truth;” when ecclesiastical bodies (as e.g. Pan-Anglican Conf. held at Lambeth and embracing such biblical scholars, etc., as Trench and Bhs. Ellicott, Wilberforce, Browne, Selwyn, Talbot, Lay Quintard, etc.), solemnly in a synodical letter declare, “Brethren beloved, with one voice we warn you; the time is short; the Lord cometh; watch and be sober;” when many of the faithful sons of the Church plant themselves on the Scriptural basis announced by Candlish (Lect. on Genesis, Lect. 17): “Looking for Christ now is waiting for Him with ‘loins girt and lamps burning.’ It is watching also, as not knowing at what hour the Master may come; but yet ‘knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep,’ (Rom. 13:11)”—surely oven the gathered testimony of so many of God’s people, running continuously from the early Church down to the present, and becoming within the last twenty years intensified (as evidenced by the numerous books, pamphlets, tracts, periodicals, etc., published in order to uphold it), corroborates our position—being in accord with Bible language and command—viz., that the Advent and, as a result, the Kingdom may be nigh at hand. As already intimated, the lapse of time, since this expectation was excited in believers, should certainly cause us to infer, that we living at this period ought to feel that “the little while” of Paul (Heb. 10:37) has certainly been greatly diminished, and this, adopting the inference of the same apostle (Heb. 10:25), “so much the more as ye see the day approaching.”

  PROPOSITION 174.—This Kingdom of the Messiah is preceded by signs.

This, intimated in the last Proposition, has been so clearly announced in Scripture and has been so constantly the belief of the Church (as related to the Sec. Advent, which, as we have shown, necessarily precedes the Kingdom), that it deserves separate and careful notice owing to its importance in confirming the nearness of the Kingdom, and in urging us to occupy the commanded position of watching servants.*

Obs. 1. Storr (Diss. on Kingdom), justly says, that Jesus “is ready and prepared to make the exhibition of His Majesty whenever it pleases Him,” and then in a footnote referring to Christ’s Coming unawares to some, adds: “But as this time was to be unknown; teachers merely human could not exhort to watchfulness those during whose lifetime the destined period for retribution will be just at hand, unless they gave this advice to men of all periods of the world.” But this is only giving us part of the truth, viz., that it is also the pleasure of Jesus that men should attentively consider and ponder the signs preceding the exhibition of His Majesty, and that men should be exhorted to watchfulness by the concurrent signs around them. While the exact time is known only to God, yet in accommodation to our weakness, and to urge us to the attitude so honorable toward Himself and so provocative of piety, He graciously points out to us approximative signs indicative of its nearness. That some, or even all, of these signs are characteristic, more or less, of every succeeding generation, forms no valid objection to their rejection, seeing that they fall in with the Spirit’s design that all the godly shall, in every age, thus watch; that faith and hope shall be tested; that the apprehensions of unbelievers shall be quieted; and that the discerning shall observe their due force in the increased energy, etc., manifested through them as the end draws nigh. Hence the propriety of Martensen’s (Ch. Dog., s. 279), utterance: “But though believers ‘know neither the day nor the hour;’ though it is not for them ‘to know the times and the seasons which the Father hath put into His own power;’ yet they are commanded to mark the signs of the times; and certain prognostications are given to them.” It is remarkable that in the very connection with the declaration that man cannot know the exact time of His Coming (which the experience of the past corroborates), Jesus points believers to certain signs as preceding His Coming, saying in Matt. 24:32, “Now learn a parable of the fig-tree: When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: SO LIKEWISE YE, when ye shall see all these things, KNOW that it is near, even at the doors;” and in Luke 21:27 the phraseology includes a direct reference to the Coming of the Son of Man with power and great glory, adding: “And when these things begin to come to pass, THEN look up and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh,” to which the same parable is appended: “Behold the fig-tree and all the trees: When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of yourselves that summer is now nigh at hand; so likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand” (Mark 13:28, 29 also gives the parable and lesson). These signs are to be cognizant to every believer, and are observable independent (Olshausen on phrase, “know of your own selves,”) of another’s guidance. After such explicit directions; after an appeal to the reasonableness of so doing; after rebuking (Matt. 16:3) the Spirit which refuses to “discern the signs of the times;” after implying (which is elsewhere plainly taught) that many would neglect such signs and suffer loss thereby; surely it would argue disrespect to the Saviour, want of attention to our own interests, as well as folly, if we refused to look at and consider the signs presented. Aside from the obligation to receive all that God has revealed, aside from the duty of performing His commands, the simple fact that these are graciously communicated not only to sustain the Church in her fighting, struggling condition, not only to prepare her for a season of severe trial, but to enable the believer himself to watch, to exhort others to watchfulness, and to receive the blessings promised to him who thus watches—this ought to make them exceedingly precious to us. God, before the introduction of those stupendous events pertaining to the last times, will not leave Himself without some witness, which shall reach the hearts of the discerning, and excite a powerful testimony in behalf of an all-pervading Providence ratifying what Omniscience has previously described. Indeed, love, fervent love, for an absent Saviour, a deep longing for His pleasure-bestowing Presence—an earnest desire for perfected salvation, should cause the believer to ponder those signs with an interest such as a heart, anxious for deliverance and imbued with the strongest attachment for “the Christ,” can possibly prompt.

Obs. 2. The intelligent student of the Bible will be profoundly impressed with this feature of the Word, viz., that as the Old Test. points to a Coming Messiah, so also the New Test. directs us to a Coming Messiah; that as the Old Test. prophecies declare that men will not believe when the Messiah comes, so the New predicts that men will not have faith when the Messiah comes; that as the brightest prospects of the Old Test. cluster around a Coming Messiah, so the most glorious promises are continued in the New related to a still Coming Christ; and that, while Old and New join in urging belief in, and looking for, a Coming Saviour, both also present signs by which that Coming shall be recognized as nigh at hand. Leaving for the present the signs referring to the Sec. Advent, the Old Test. gives as signs pertaining to the First Advent, e.g. an existing Gentile domination, a time of peace, a time of corruption and unbelief which would lead to the Messiah’s rejection, etc., including a chronological hint derived from the seventy weeks of Daniel, and a longing of the pious for His Coming. But mark it well, not one sign of a startling or Supernatural nature—only signs falling in with the natural, ordinary development of the times, and yet, if carefully scrutinized, sufficiently distinctive to arrest attention. The startling signs, the Supernatural, all appeared after the birth of Jesus, in the interval or space from His actual birth to His ascension, such as the announcement of angels, the star, the descent of the Spirit, the public acknowledgment from heaven, the miracles, etc. So will it be again. Men wonderfully deceive themselves if they think that the Sec. Advent will be preceded by such signs of astonishing magnitude and Supernatural power, that the attention of the world will be arrested, and that all men will be forced to acknowledge their existence. It is true, that such signs will appear before the final open manifestation of Christ with His saints, and that they will occur in the interval between His secret Coming for His saints and His public Coming with them for “vengeance” and “salvation.” Not distinguishing between the two stages of the Advent, not discerning the space of time existing between the two, and blending what is separate and distinct into one, has led to the prevailing theorizing on the subject. A little comparison, when attention is once drawn to this point, abundantly confirms our view, as already shown in the Proposition on the Translation (130). Indeed, the parallels given by Jesus Himself, as exactly descriptive of the period immediately before His Advent, would fail in correspondence, if the world was to be aroused by antecedent miraculous and astounding signs. The days of Noah and of Lot, as described by Jesus (Luke 17:26–30, etc.), are representative of the days when the Son of Man comes, but in them are no signs which arouse fear and consternation, only a pursuing the ordinary avocations of life with a sense of security, and an ardent attachment to the things of this world. If such signs were to appear and produce the effects upon the world as many contend, it would be difficult to explain the statements, that this Coming is to be “unawares,” as “a snare,” as “a thief,” etc., seeing that men would, in the very nature of the case, apprehend something important, etc., to occur. The only signs vouchsafed in the days of Noah and Lot, were those which sprung from the general corruption of the world, and from the faith of Noah and Lot themselves, running in the channel of regular, natural development. There was nothing Supernatural until the time had arrived for Noah’s and Lot’s withdrawal and for God’s judgments. Thus, we may rest assured, it will be again; signs will indeed exist, but in such a form that the world will not lay them to heart, will “know not” until the pent-up floods of God’s wrath are ready to overtake them in a deluge of tribulation utterly unexpected. The passage which some suppose militates against our view, is easily and satisfactorily explained in consistency with it, viz., Matt. 24:29, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days,” etc., an openly manifested Coming of the Son of Man is designated, and hence it is inferred that the miraculous and startling signs precede the Advent. Correctly, however, they only precede this particular, public manifestation of the Advent, and not the Advent considered as a whole, i.e. embracing several stages and a considerable interval between these. If stress is laid upon the words “immediately after the tribulation,” this objection proves too much, for the Advent itself is productive of great tribulation; the expression therefore has undoubted reference to a particular tribulation and not to tribulation in general. While it is proper—as we have done in previous Propositions—to employ this phraseology to prove in a general way that the Sec. Advent is not to be confined to the past destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, and that it is Pre-Millennial, yet when we come to explain the Advent itself, descending from the general to the particular, we have to discriminate what belongs to this or to that stage of it (just as we do in the prophecies of the Old Test. respecting His First Advent, in His Coming as a child, in His Coming in the temple, in His Coming riding upon an ass, etc.); and this is done by carefully collating the Scripture on the subject. A comparison thus instituted incontestibly proves that a certain tribulation is spoken of, viz., the Jewish (beginning with the overthrow of Jerusalem and the scattering of the nation down to the closing of the times of the Gentiles), seeing that the Advent of Jesus, as numerous plain predictions declare, will bring most terrible tribulation upon the Gentiles confederated together. Now it is a fact, corroborated by Zech. 14, etc., that when the last treading down of the Jews is accomplished by the Antichrist, when their cup of sorrow is completely filled, and when believers, engrafted as Jews, i.e. the seed of Abraham, have passed under the same Antichristian scourge, that then Jesus thus comes with His saints; and it is to this open Coming after the Jews are smitten and the martyrs have been sacrificed by Antichrist, that Jesus reveals Himself to pour tribulation and anguish upon him and his allied hosts, followed by a gathering of His elect people the (Jewish nation as the prophets all predict—His own special inheritance), thus previously smitten, from all parts of the earth. This Coming is distinguished by remarkable signs which take place between its occurrence and the concealed (from the world) stage of the Advent. And in view of this prediction being specially given in reference to the Jewish nation, its downfall and continuance under Gentile domination for a long period, it was eminently proper for Jesus to designate that particular stage of His Coming, which is to be exhibited in a marked manner in its behalf when the final blow has befallen it. The perfect accuracy of prediction, in its agreement, one with another, is thus vindicated; no conflict arises either in the prescribed order of events, or in the stated condition of the world preceding the Advent, or in the prophecies pertaining to the manner of the Advent. (Comp. remarks on Advent, Prop. 130.) Therefore it is, that, departing from the usual course pursued, we divide the signs relating to the Advent into two classes; one pertaining to those which precede the entire Advent or the first stage of it; and the other relating to the last stage of the Advent or embracing the signs in the interval between the two stages; the one stage occurring when even the righteous “think not,” being suddenly “in that night;” and the other taking place when the righteous know that it must and will happen.

Obs. 3. The signs preceding the first stage of the Advent are all of such a nature, that they appear, more or less, in every generation; and hence in view of their continued existence, have caused men in the various succeeding centuries to hold (as e.g. Gregory the Great, Luther, and many others), that the end was very near, because the signs indicative of the same were really present. These men too were not mistaken—as misapprehending and faultfinding unbelief would have it—in the signs; many of them were indeed painfully present, and it is to the honor and piety of these believers in the Word that they recognized them, and assumed the posture of servants looking for the Coming of the Master. Having already alluded to the practical reason for presenting signs, thus testifying before every succeeding generation, it may be added: that it is reasonable to suppose that such will assume a greater magnitude as the time of the end draws nigh, or, at least, that they appear in such proportions that the believing (for whom alone they are intended) cannot mistake in their presence and import. The signs to which the Spirit calls our attention are the following:

1. The world will be in a comparative state of peace and prosperity; at least to a degree that it fondly hopes for “peace and safety,” so that at the Coming of Jesus for His sleeping and living saints the usual routine of the world shall be going on, men claiming that (2 Pet. 3:4) “all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” Men’s thoughts and affections will be fixed on the things of the world, unapprehensive of the evil nigh at hand. Jesus gives a vivid picture of the time when he says (Luke 17:26–30), that men shall be engaged in “eating, drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage, buying, selling, planting, and building”—a representation not only of fancied security, but of a period of trust and confidence in the stability and perpetuity of a then existing state of things. Now while this has been the actual condition of the world, more or less, since the first century, is it not true that this feeling, this confidence in the endurance of the present ordering of nature is at the present time greatly intensified? When intelligent, scientific men send forth a multitude of books, when leading periodicals and journals go forth among the masses, all teaching with a bold exaggeration the past and the future stability of things under the garb of “the unalterable laws of nature,” etc., it does not require any answer. No age before this has ever exhibited such extraordinary activity in producing a Noahic condition of man in this direction. And so much are the minds and the affections of the people taken up with the world, that not only are the things mentioned by Jesus made the special subjects of books, tracts, periodicals, organizations, etc., but they are the engrossing subjects of life for the immense majority. So patent is this, that it needs no additional remark; for thoughtful men, of all classes, have sufficiently commented on this feature. Things in themselves not sinful become such when allowed to reign supremely over the heart of man, and the trust, which God justly demands, is placed in them.

2. The existence of widespread unbelief in the warnings and words of God were characteristic of the days of Noah, and Jesus informs us that it will be equally so at the time of His Coming, for “when the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). While unbelief has been evermore largely found in every age, yet it is more intensive and commanding now than ever before, resulting not merely in the vast numbers thus given to unbelief but in the sad fact that multitudes of the leaders of society, scholars, statesmen, lecturers, etc. (see Props. 177 and 180), are moulding society into such a Noahic condition. Unbelief has its able and earnest advocates by the thousand, and counts its hosts by the million: it has, amid its varied forms, enlisted into its service vigorous intellects aided by a powerful press, who are pushing on the assault against the Bible and Christianity with a boldness and a success (because acceptable to human nature), that is astonishing. One hundred years ago it would scarcely have been credited, if any one had foretold what we see to-day, so swift and abounding has been the inroad of an unbelief which Antediluvian-like ridicules the idea of believing in God’s commandments and threats, and even dares to call into question His divine character and existence. The substitution of nature, or law, or humanity, or science, etc., in the place of the God of the Bible, is only too favorable in producing the predicted result and sign.

3. This unbelief, however, leads to the rising up of “scoffers” and to a direct denial of a certain truth. Peter after exhorting us to “be mindful of the words spoken” (2 Pet. 3:3, 4), adds: “Knowing this first” (“as one of the predictions which demand your special regard”—so Barnes loci) “that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying: Where is the promise of His Coming?” Noah warned the people of coming wrath against ungodliness, so now the Word warns the world of coming judgments at the Advent of the Son of Man, but men perversely ridicule both. However true this has been in the past, to-day it is specially manifested. Books and papers are abundantly circulated, which regard the Deluge as “a huge joke,” and scoff and sneer at a Coming Saviour as “an idle dream,” fit only for weak, superstitious minds. Men in the highest ranks of intelligence and society lend themselves to this scoffing, and broadly record it in the current literature. The very plea, too, which Peter foretells, is now employed by them, viz., that the prophets were mistaken; that the proof of their mistake lies in the fact that the world has existed ever so long without their predictions being realized, so that, judging from the past, the uniformity of law forbids such Supernatural interference, and that those who confidently looked for those things were miserably deceived, etc. The general reader needs not to be told how extensively such views are circulated and embraced, and how offensively, scoffingly, they are uttered among the high and the low of the earth. And, the manner in which this objection is uttered, the spirit in which it is urged, also shows what Peter declares, viz., that they “are willingly ignorant,” i.e., that they desire to hold such an opinion, that it suits their pleasure or will to be thus ignorant. How this is exhibited at present in hatred to the Bible, in a wilful procedure to undermine its authority, etc., is only too evident.

4. This injunction of Peter’s to notice “first,” as important evidence, how scoffers will arise and deny the Lord’s Coming, implies not only that such an Advent is “the blessed hope,” but that it is largely dwelt upon, prominently brought to public notice and represented as near, when the end approaches. Good and great men in the past centuries have thus held up the Coming of Jesus; and it is a most significant truth that Eschatology has never been so intently studied; that the nearness of Christ’s Coming has never been so widely and presistently proclaimed; that the cry: “Behold the Bridegroom Cometh,” has never been so loudly sounded in the ears of the Church and the world; that the warnings of prophets, apostles, and Jesus, to be constantly on the watch have never been so urgently pressed upon the attention of others, as within the last few years. While the number of advocates, compared with the multitude of unbelievers, are comparatively few yet they can be counted by the hundred and thousand; they can be found in all our leading churches, and have among them many who are noted for learning, ability, piety and usefulness. Periodicals specially devoted to the subject, books and tracts in various languages enforcing the same, are scattered over the earth, so that the sign becomes exceedingly significant.8

5. But the most saddening sign is that this questioning and unbelief respecting the reality and nearness of the Coming of Jesus is not confined to the world but is to be found in the Church, among professing believers. The urgency and frequency with which Christ points out that those who declare themselves to be servants shall neglect to watch for His Coming and shall suffer loss—the repeated exhortations to watchfulness implying the neglect of it in the Church, and the startling question (Luke 18:8) respecting faith in His Coming from which our best critics and commentators have inferred, rightfully that there will be but little—all this finds its mate in the Church of to-day. Large bodies of professing Christians (e.g. Swedenborgians, Unitarians and others) have spiritualized the Advent away; ministers in high standing (as e.g. recently Desprez in John or the Apoc.) recommend the ruling out, as unreliable and false, of everything relating to this Second Advent; Christian authors of celebrity (as e.g. Prof. Stuart, Dr. Brown, etc.) insist upon it that the Millenarian doctrine of the speedy Coming of Christ is to be rejected as folly, etc.; while thousands of others, leaders too, either entirely ignore it, or reproachfully allude to it as “fanatical” etc. It is but too true, that now men substitute death, or providence, or Jerusalem, or spiritual gifts, or something else, in the place of the Advent; and that as Mather aptly expressed it, “the sleeping medicine” is profusely administered and gladly received. The Advent is placed so remotely in the distance, or is so indefinitely regarded, that its practical influence (comp. Olshausen Com., vol. 2, p. 260) is lost. Even “the wise virgins” are affected thereby until the cry arouses them betimes.

6. The Church shall be under trial. At no period in her history down to the Advent, shall she be entirely freed from the testing and suffering prescribed for her, as can be seen in the epitome of events from the First Advent down to the Sec. Advent given in Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; 2 Thess. 2, and in the positive assertions of the Spirit that the world shall always hate, etc., the godly. This has always been true in the past; even in the most prosperous external condition of the Church has she been compelled to fight against her enemies from within and without. This is true to-day: her enemies are numerous, they assault her from all sides, and however outwardly prosperous in some countries, in others her condition is feeble, and she finds herself overwhelmingly oppressed. The saddening reports of delegates at the last Evang. Alliance at New York tell, in part, the sorrowful story. We have only to look at the once favored Germany, at Austria, Spain, etc., and the truth of God’s Word is apparent. And yet there are intimations in the Word, that men shall overlook the imposed condition of trial, and shall prophesy “peace and safety,” increased prosperity, and extended influence, etc., just as we now see the most eminent men, over against the most explicit declarations to the contrary, predict a most glorious future, world wide to the Church in its present ordering. These things thus conjoined, and practically witnessed, make careful students the more confirmed in the wisdom of constant watchfulness.

7. The Church under trial shall (like the Primitive Church, etc.) continue to proclaim the Gospel until it forms “a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come,” Matt. 24:14. (Not to convert the nations but to be a testimony to them, see Prop. 175, and also consider how the word “all” “in all the world” etc. may, according to Scripture usage, denote a large portion, etc., of it.) We have here a very extensive, general proclamation of the Gospel predicted, but nothing said that the testimony will be received; indeed we do know that while the Gospel saves them that believe, it also condemns those who reject it. Here, however, the preaching of it widespread among the nations over the earth, is given as a sign of the approaching end of this age or dispensation. This sign has always, more or less, existed even in the apostle’s day (Col. 1:6, 23, etc.), but never as it presents itself to-day. The astonishing missionary labors over the globe, the Bible and Tract Societies with their astounding publications scattered over the earth, the remarkable revivals of religion (such were at Jerusalem before its destruction) in various countries, the union of prayer and effort, the Sunday-school interest, the Christian Alliances bringing into fraternal converse brethren of all climes, the extended work of the various individual denominations through their several Boards, Institutions, etc.—these are things so pertinent in fulfilment that they bring out this sign to the observant with great and thrilling distinctness. Melville, Newton, and a host of able writers, have aptly said: “that the Gospel preached for a witness, conveys the idea of rejection rather than of acceptance,” and this is abundantly corroborated by other Scripture, making it true down to the end itself that “many are called but few chosen.” This then is a sign, not as many take it, of the conversion of the nations, but of the approaching end, just as the entire early Church, instructed by the inspired preachers of this same Gospel, held and taught. Jesus expresses this sign in the most general terms, so that as the amount of witnessing to each nation or to all of them combined is not stated definitely, it may, for aught we know to the contrary, close almost any day. The leading nations of the earth have long had this witness, and it has been borne to almost every tribe upon the face of the earth, how much more before the Sec. Advent is yet to be done God alone knows.

8. While the Gospel is preached as a witness, while the devotion of those who love Jesus leads to advocacy of the truth, another sign is the condition of the Church itself. It is not merely the continued mixture of the tares with the wheat but a fearful preponderating of the tares over the wheat. Outward prosperity, the building of massive churches, the increase of riches, the influx of numbers, etc., is no criterion of piety as the Word and the history of the past shows. The Laodicean state has been too often repeated (which has often led good men to think that the end was near) to mislead us. Now, aside from the Scripture which teaches us that the Gentiles shall become “high-minded;” that there will be a woful lack of faith; that “many,” who prophecy, etc., in His name shall be rejected; that the Church as a body, shall be unprepared for His Coming, it is sufficient to direct the reader to the simple fact, that something of the kind must necessarily precede the end, because the Church must endure the last great tribulation under the Antichrist. If worthy and pure, she would escape it, but in view of her moral condition she is to pass through its purifying fires. Seeing then what is before her, as the end draws nigh we ought to behold in her that evil which will bring the heavy predicted infliction upon her. Alas! looking around and contrasting the Church with the positive requirements of the Word, what do we behold? Admitting the piety and fervent love and labor existing in all denominations (for if it were not for this, the time would be shortened in judgment), yet do not godly men in all Churches deplore the existing divisions—bigotry—intolerance—mere nominal profession—undue elevation of the Sacraments—exaltation of creed above the Bible—substitution of tradition for Revelation—yielding up of inspiration and truth to science—faith exchanged for reason—ignoring of vital doctrines and practical truths—the lowering of the Supernatural to a more natural basis—neglect of prayer and worship—the feasting, etc., to procure Church and benevolent funds—aping after fashion, extravagance of dress, and exhibition of pride—fashionable music and accommodating preaching—the spirit of covetousness, together with the ostentation and parade in giving—the ostentatious eulogy of past benevolence—greater attachment and love for measures and reforms outside of the Church—the puffing of institutions, men, books, and sermons beyond truth—the non-confessing of Christ during the week—the advance of infidelity among the ministry and laity—sensational preachers—the use of scriptural terms while the reality is denied—the debasement of duty to policy—the direct Romanizing tendencies—the fanaticism and sectarianism on the one part and a broad tolerance upon the other—the coldness, even deadness manifested—the study of human systems, etc., to the neglect of the Bible—the softening and toning down of God’s rebukes—the lack of family religion—the straining at a gnat and swallowing of a camel—the trust in self-righteousness—the confidence in man’s ability and regenerating power of humanity—the seeking after earthly things to the neglect of the spiritual—the returning evil for evil—the envy, contention, want of charity, slandering, etc., too often manifested—the intemperance, impatience, murmuring arrogance, flattery, boasting, etc., exhibited—the form of godliness, but denying the power—the merely sentimental, poetical, philosophical, scientific preaching—the spirit so prevalent to entertain or amuse the people by the introduction of novelties, etc.—in brief, through the whole category of things forbidden by the Word. It is eminently true to-day, that while “many” profess and loudly too, the real followers of Christ are “few.” Hence judgment may come at any time.

9. But this is not all: while the immense majority of the professing Church is only nominally Christian, and given to mere formalism (often propagated with mistaken zeal), it is a significant sign of the present day, that overlooking the real condition of things and mistaking the mission of the Church, so many of its representative men looking only at the riches and increase in goods, at the professing numbers, etc., stand up and, imitating the example of others in the days of Constantine, predict continued and ever growing prosperity. Blinded by the magnificent and numerous churches, by the revivals of religion, by the vast operations of the institutions, etc., they prophesy, not of coming tribulation, not of a nearness to the end, not of God’s coming controversy with the nations of the earth, but of peace and triumph through existing instrumentalities. The Jubilee Hymns, thousands of books, periodicals, etc., are full of it; we hear it in singing, prayer and preaching all over the earth. Now if the Advent is really as predicted, to come upon the Church unawares, unexpectedly, when both “wise and foolish virgins” are asleep, reason teaches us that preliminary to such a Coming and condition of the Church. there must be a course of teaching, a popular representation of doctrine to bring the Church into so false and dangerous a position. And well, too, may we suppose this cannot and will not be accomplished unless, men of eminent ability and devotion—acknowledged leaders—perform this saddening work of influencing the minds of the masses. The student, whose faith is in God’s predictions, accepts this as a sign remarkable in this age.

10. There is another sign attached to the Church, the worst of all, and the most significant, viz., the fearful apostasy witnessed in her. The reason why Paul so guardedly expresses himself, e.g. 2 Thess. 2, concerning the falling away and the rise of Antichrist is, that in every generation such apostatizing and (as John says even existed in his day) Antichristian powers should be witnessed, so that the believing might be influenced to occupy the position of watchfulness. We see how it did this in the past, and surely it ought, in view of what we behold, have the same, and even greater, tendency to-day. See how vast, the most powerful organizations have fallen away from truth; how bodies counting their millions of adherents are in direct opposition to Bible doctrine and primitive belief; how hundreds of smaller sects, communities, etc., in the aggregate swelling to a great multitude, deny the most fundamental truths, dishonor the Christ by their views and practices, and elevate their own human derived revelations, etc., above the Scriptures. Bad and extended as the apostasy was in the past, yet it is a fact, undeniable that so far as mere numbers or the variety of form is concerned, that to-day more of mankind are enthralled at one time in the meshes of apostasy than ever before. Behold the Papacy (crippled indeed in her temporal power but as vigorous as ever in apostatizing as witnessed recently in the promulgation of the immaculate conception, infallibility of the Pope, etc.), the Greek Church (in its exaltation of sacraments, etc.) the Mormons, and, in brief, a large number out of the hundreds of conflicting systems of belief now extant in the world, and is it not true that while old forms of heresy and antagonism are retained and revived, new forms have sprung up in all directions. Seeing this state among the professing people of God, a state to which infidelity (not recognizing how God’s spirit has predicted it as a result of human nature) sneeringly points as indicative of the unreality of Christianity, a state in which is fearfully realized Paul’s (2 Tim. 4:3, 4) prediction: “For the time will come, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth and shall be turned unto fables.” Alas! how true in the past, and how true at the present time. The thoughtful may well ponder it, when witnessing the wonderful activity of all connected therewith. Such a condition, however painful, is a prerequisite to the development of the culminated Antichrist.

11. Another sign is the continued conversion of some. No matter how great the apostasy, how mighty the defection, yet as the design of this dispensation is to gather out them that believe, to call and save some in order to form a chosen body in the Theocratic ordering, there always must, and will be, a true and faithful people of God; not indeed, as some foolishly and arrogantly claim, all belonging to this or that body of professing believers, but found in the various denominations, God-obeying and fearing men and women who have heartily embraced the Saviour provided for them. The preached Word now, as ever, will find its different classes of hearers, but among them is one, the minority it may be, which receives the truth in honest hearts and develops the fruits of righteousness pertaining to it. This has always been so, even in the darkest period, but it is eminently the case now. While the tares are numerous, tall and great, there is more wheat to-day in the field than ever before at one time. In all countries it is growing, ready to fill the garner. This encourages us to believe that the end is near, for it shows the present success in gathering out that elect number who are to inherit the Kingdom, and that the number is being rapidly completed. The recent successful labors of ministers and laymen are encouraging amid the widespread lukewarmness, coldness, deadness and apostasy of the Church, and like the remarkable success of apostolic preaching in Jerusalem, may be the immediate forerunners of the speedy Coming end. God is graciously and mercifully working, not willing that any should perish, but such grace and mercy must not be received as indicative of the non-fulfilment of His own predictions. The past dealings of God show, that just before the infliction of righteous judgment He has been most kind and condescending, and thus it may be again.

12. Another sign is the present recovering strength of the Papacy. Men, in view of the loss of her temporal dominions have predicted her continued diminution of power among the nations, but this down to the concealed or first stage of the Advent cannot and will not take place. The mistake has arisen from confounding the culminated Antichrist with the Papacy, a mistake that is now generally avoided by prophetical writers (see Prop. 161, etc.). It is distinctly predicted that the Papacy (the only body existing that fully meets in every particular the prophetical description) shall exist down beyond the gathering of the 144,000 (Rev. 14:8), and shall come to an end before (Rev. 17:16) the battle of the great day (Rev. 19:19, 20, for the “false prophet” is thus unmistakably shown to be different from the Papacy). It is yet to play an important part, and to experience a terrible ordeal from the nations whom it has seduced, even after the resurrection and translation of a chosen body. Hence it is reasonable not to look for its destruction, but rather for increased vigor and renewed claims. These are accordingly found in it, for notwithstanding the blows it has received, it is yet the most powerful in numbers, and its influence is widening in England, America and other countries. Its recent dogmas give it a certain maturity that in this age is significant; its ancient spirit is revived and is manifested in extraordinary missionary efforts and a propagandism that is successful in gaining converts among the influential and powerful, as well as among the weak and lowly. Anticipating her doom as delineated in prophecy, her present struggles to regain a supremacy over the nations of the earth, are of deep interest, inasmuch as they indicate precisely that state of affairs which, by the revival of Hildebrandic claims, etc., will inevitably bring upon her that hatred of nations resulting in her final and total ruin. Therefore the position and assumptions of the Papacy are way-marks of nearness that the thoughtful will do well to consider. She invites the storm, and it will come in due time with overwhelming fury.

13. “The confidence in the flesh,” or the schemes for the regeneration of Society through the development of Humanity, is a noted sign of the present day. While the spirit has always, more or less, existed, it is only more recently that it has been wonderfully developed. Socialism, Communism, Harmonial Philosophy, Pantheism, Rationalism, Politics, etc., are all endeavoring to show how the world is to be reformed. It is not simply unbelief in the Word that exists, but such confidence in the ability of man to elevate himself to the highest state of perfection, that multitudes of the intelligent and able are suggesting and advocating plans for the amelioration and exaltation of the race, independent of, and esteemed far better than, God’s plan. Some present an Eclectic scheme which even praises Christ as a model of humanity while denying His being a Redeemer; others cut loose from the Bible entirely and give us new plans of “Reform,” “Rights,” “Liberty,” etc. All agree in denying what God says respecting humanity, and the necessity of having a Mediator and Redeemer. Its advocates are to be counted by the thousand, and embrace leading writers of all classes, from those who endeavor to make their views as little offensive as possible to Christian belief to those who are most outrageous blasphemers. Now let the reader consider the state of the world as predicted immediately before the end; the world arrayed in hostility to Christ and His Word, confederated against Him, and surely if we are drawing near to that period, it is reasonable to see the elements already working preliminary to such a result. Hence, this condition is the very one that ought to be anticipated, viz. that men under the plausible pleas of perfectibility, etc., should be led astray.

14. The most insidious forms and elements are used, to lead to a practical unbelief of the Word, and to induce a spirit of worldliness. Thus e.g. the cry of toleration raised in many quarters. While intolerance is manifested in some directions in sects and in the world (and infidelity rejoices in holding up the intolerance of the old Genevan, Scottish and Puritan state, without any effort at considering the motives and the age), yet, so far as the Church is concerned, the leaven of toleration, as now advocated by leading minds, is far more dangerous. Cheerfully admitting the unity of believers in Christ, and the fraternal feeling and association that should characterize such, our remarks are not intended for that toleration of others who hold to the fundamental truths pertaining to Christ, and who in faith receive Him as the Saviour; and we exclude not the allowing to others the liberty of worshipping God according to the dictates of conscience and knowledge possessed. They apply to that looseness of doctrinal position, which pretends to make life all and doctrine nothing; which is willing to receive into fraternal union and cordial sympathy those who deny the necessity of repentance and faith, of having a sacrifice for sin, of having a divine-human Saviour, etc. It is painfully evident that many truths clearly taught in the Bible, and always esteemed as fundamental in forming a Christian, are now discarded by ministers and laymen. A “Broad Church” embracing the reception of, and affiliation with, virtual unbelievers, denying or explaining away inspiration, rejecting long portions of the Word as impracticable at this day, exaggerating the knowledge of the present day over that of inspired men, etc., is advocated by large numbers of scholarly men. A “blood bought” Church, is to them a superstition of the past; an humble trust and reliance upon all Scripture as given by holy men, is to them evidence of folly; the limiting of the capabilities of human nature, making a direct divine interference necessary in Salvation is to them an exploded theory; and thus, through a large category. They pride themselves in a man-devised Reformation with a sufficient interpolation of Scripture and religious phraseology to give it a Christian coloring, and to conceal the false views of man and of the Gospel entertained, and often eloquently expressed. This fraternizing with and acknowledging of those as brethren in Christ who deny the claims of Christ, not only paves the way for the condition of unbelief at the Advent but prepares many for the spirit of antagonism and intolerance which is to be fearfully exhibited.

15. Thoughtful men too will ponder a remarkable feature presented in our day, viz. the earnest desire for union upon a truly scriptural basis. The impending struggle with unbelief, the diversity and dangers existing within and without the Church, the threatening aspect of multitudes, has led pious and devoted men of various creeds to long for, and inaugurate, measures which should bring true believers, throughout the world, into closer connection and fraternal interchange. The General Alliances as well as the more particular, indicate this feeling and the extent to which it is carried. So also the Week of Prayer in which so many participate. In view of what is in store for the Church, viz. the terrible persecution so clearly predicted, and which must infallibly come, it is significant that godly men—no matter how they are regarded by intolerant brethren confessionally or sacramentally bound—everywhere feel the importance and necessity of movements in this very direction. Indeed, it is precisely what we ought to anticipate, being preliminary to the encouragement that the Church will need and the work she will have to perform when the hour of trial shall come. 1 Cor. 13 is fulfilling on a scale never before witnessed.

16. The existence of widespread corruption, just as it was in the days of Noah, is characteristic of the period preceding the Advent. Such corruption has, more or less, continuously existed, and at certain intervals, when specially manifested, has called forth, from the godly, belief in a speedy Advent. But it is to be noticed that such wickedness is always proportionate to the amount of light enjoyed, and if the advantages, privileges, testimony, etc., of the present day are regarded, the wickedness is far greater than at any other time, being the more inexcusable. Consider the crime annually committed; the awful statistics of our towns and cities; the arson, robbery, adultery, fornication, rape, prostitution, divorce, freeloveism, swindling, fraud, strikes, profanity, drunkenness, violence, murder, assassinations, etc., reported by our newspapers (and which really is but a small portion of what is actually done), and all this committed where the Gospel is accessible, and who can estimate the enormity of such sinfulness. So great and widely spread is it too, that many even of the secular press direct attention to it as something deplorable, indicating a state of morals which must, if not in some way checked, lead to disastrous consequences. Can we take up a newspaper without seeing evidence of such a state? Admitting the good, at the side of it stands an immense amount of evil. And this is only introductory to that which is yet to come. If the sinfulness of the world, of our cities and towns were steadily diminishing; if the statistics of crime would indicate a constantly lessening number; the sign would fail, but as the end is approaching when an overwhelming flood of evil springing out of corrupt human nature is to be experienced, the evidence of such corruption, if we are near, in its preliminary forms must be existing. That they do so, no believer in the denunciations of sinfulness by God can possibly deny. Hence we hold them, as the Spirit has taught us, a sign of approaching judgments.

17. But this is not all, for while the Saviour has in general terms directed us to the days of Noah and Lot, the Spirit has more particularly described the time preceding the Advent, and we have only to compare such predictions with the present to satisfy ourselves that they are painfully manifested. Thus e.g. 1 Tim. 4:1–4, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from meats,” etc. However applicable this may be to Socialistic and other theories; however prevalent in some of its features here and there, yet more recently a system has arisen, which in view of the number and respectability of its defenders is a significant fulfilment of the prediction. While Spiritualism has existed in some of its forms before (even table-rapping, etc., practised by the Jews, p. 369 Delitzsch’s Sys. of Bib. Psyc.), yet it is only recently that extensive works, numerous writings, etc. have perfected it into a sort of religious system, claiming a large host of adherents. However much the Papacy, etc., has invoked the aid of demons (i.e. the souls of men who have died, in prayer, or of Mary as a kind of goddess, or of supposed divine agents), this is pre-eminently characteristic of Spiritualism—its leading, fundamental doctrine. “Doctrines of Devils,” or rather “of demons,” has been by the best of interpreters and by numerous critics, in view of the meaning of the original, applied, and justly, to doctrines respecting or derived professedly from the souls of departed ones. The word “demons” translated “devils” may denote “a god or goddess, or a divine being, or the souls of deceased persons, forming tutelary divinities, geniuses, or teachers, and lastly a demon in the Jewish sense, a bad spirit subject to Satan”—so Barnes Com. loci, and many others. The fulfilment determines what meaning is to be applied, and this we find in the system now arising, viz., the teaching of doctrines pertaining to, and professedly derived from, the souls of deceased persons. A system so exclusively based upon this feature is certainly a sign that ought to arrest attention. Departing from the faith as laid down; giving heed to seducing spirits; such doctrines are received in place of divine Revelation. The briefest summary of some of these doctrines will sufficiently illustrate the anti-Christian nature of it. It claims to be a “New Dispensation” (Judge Edmonds); a “new way of religious Light” (Hare); its authority to be superior to that of the Bible (Harris); which teaches that there is no Divinity in Christ (excepting as belongs to all men in common), and that He was only a medium (Harris); that there is no atonement in Him and no salvation by faith (Harris); that there is no resurrection of the dead and no eternal judgment (Owen); that sin is an impossibility and rightly considered vice is virtue. It is taught by some that “nature is God” and that “all things originate in nature” (Harris); that all men irrespective of character will be saved (Harris); that we can even pray to the devil (so Miss Doten, Banner of Light, Dec. 21, 1861, and March 1, 1862, etc.); and that marriage as now constituted and enjoined is a curse and should be abrogated for “spiritual affinities” (Spear, Banner of Light, Spi. Telegraph, etc). The sickening list could well be extended as held by extremists, and more or less connived at by the moderates, but this will suffice to show how accurately God’s Holy Word is fulfilling before our eyes, and in things too which are said to be given as “expressly” illustrative of “the last times.” But in connection with these things, so many others are added adapted to the longings and spiritual cravings of man, that a large number influenced by the boasted “life and immortality brought to light” by it, accept of the system without seeing or appreciating the depths of iniquity. Now the careful student of the Word, who sees it clearly predicted, that, as the time of the end draws nigh, there must be a powerful spirit of “man-worship” gradually introduced to pave the way for the great Antichrist, looks around, as an evidence of the approaching end, for this spirit. He beholds it, alas, fearfully predominant not only in Rationalism, Socialism, etc., but again lifted up in this widespread delusion extending to the pulpit and the pew, to all classes and professions, and so fascinating in its appeals to the heart, that men of intelligence and high position become its willing converts and defenders.

18. The Spirit widens the evidence or signs by giving us a cluster of them in 2 Tim. 3:1–9: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come,” etc. Now while the characters following have always more or less, existed, it is also true—as needs be for a sign—that they are abundantly manifested to-day. Let us briefly survey them. (a) “For men shall be lovers of their own selves”—selfishness is eminently characteristic of these times, so much so that it needs no corroboration. (b) “Covetous;” the love of money is another marked feature of the age, evidencing itself in a thousand ways. (c) “Boasters;” how much this is exhibited in the arrogation of things, in inordinate self-conceit, etc., we leave the reader to judge. (d) “Proud;” unreasonable self-esteem, an overweaning conceit of supposed superiority in wealth, position, talents, beauty, dress, accomplishments, station, knowledge, etc., is so abundant on all sides that it needs no proof. (e) “Inventors of evil things;” behold the various devices to gratify passion without discovery, the introduction of new forms of luxury, new modes of gratification, new arts and plans to practice evil, etc. Some things are of so dark a nature that a hint alone must suffice. In the moral, religions, social, physical, such things exist, and to so great an extent that statesmen and eminent jurists have directed attention to it as exceedingly lamentable. (f) “Disobedient to parents;” how largely this is indicative of the age has been the complaint of many writers, witnessed as it is in a disregard to home influence, and congregating in places of public resort, in idleness, wilfulness, vanity, want of honor in speech and attention, etc., that it has become common to speak of “young America,” “fast young men and women,” etc. The saloons, numerous public entertainments, etc., foster this spirit. (g) “Unthankful,” i.e., manifesting ingratitude—how this is made apparent, needs no commentary, both toward God and man. (h) “Unholy,” i.e., are regardless of duty to God and man, possess no piety and are irreligious. The multitudes in this sad condition and boasting even of it, is the mate to the prediction. (i) “Without natural affection,” i.e., a want of regard for children. It is, aside from other considerations, amply sufficient that the most eminent medical men have pointed out as a crying sin of this and other nations the child-murder in the womb and the preventives (so boldly advertised and circulated in books) employed. Statistics of decrease in some localities perfectly startling are presented. (j) “Truce breakers,” i.e., those who violate compacts or agreements. A disregard of one’s word, an aversion to be held by a given compact, a violation of trust, is undoubtedly a characteristic of the age as evidenced in the frequent failures of trust, the swindling operations, etc. (k) “False accusers;” that is, those who are (marg. read.) “makebates,” given to exciting contention and quarrels. Society suffers greatly, in all its relations, from this class. (l) “Incontinent,” i.e., without strength to resist the solicitations of passion. How mightily this is evidenced in intemperance, sensuality, places of assignation, etc., is self-evident. (m) “Fierce;” i.e., harsh, severe toward others. The lack of gentleness, mildness, meekness, and the exhibition of harshness and cruelty is so general, that scarcely a newspaper can be read without containing its illustrations of the fact. (m) “Despisers of those who are good;” how largely this is characteristic of the times is loudly proclaimed in the multitude of books and papers which speak disparagingly and contemptuously of the ministry and all upholders of Christianity. (n) “Traitors”—persons who are willing to betray friend and country—to betray the trust of friend, employer, and company—to betray the confidence even of wife or husband, etc., are but too abundant. (o) “Heady,” i.e., precipitate, rash. There is no enterprise or project, however foolish and inconsiderate, but what crowds are hurried into it, even if it leads to disturbing the order and peace of society, and ultimately to ruin. Every day is this tendency illustrated the world over. (p) “High-minded,” i.e., puffed up, inflated with pride. Men, not merely proud but overbearing in pride, esteeming themselves better than all others in attainments, wisdom, knowledge, etc. are but too frequent. (q) “Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;” how true is this of the multitude, who are willing to sacrifice God and His truth for the sake of pleasures, gratification, and dissipation. (r) “Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof;” many profess religion, make a parade of the forms of some religion, but practically allow true piety to have no controlling influence upon the heart and life. Alas, we have this noticeable in the most bigoted adherence to, and show of, forms. Thus far this Scripture corroborated by others, and as all these characters are existing—not one missing—and that too in large growing numbers, no wonder that godly men esteem such a fulfilment before our eyes evidence of nearness.

19. The continued unbelief of the Jewish nation down to the Advent. Some infer the contrary and promise us a great previous conversion of the Jews. The fig-tree putting forth its leaves is taken for a figurative representation of the nation (but it proves too much as Luke 21:29 adds “and all the trees,”) in this transition state, while the parable is simply illustrative of our ability to discern the signs of the times. Aside from other considerations, the continued unbelief of the nation is made apparent from two things: first, the miserable condition it will be in just previous to the open manifestation of Christ and His saints, as e.g. portrayed in Zech. 14, which state is the result of their unbelief. Second, the manner of their conversion is specifically made concomitant with the Advent itself—unbelief continuing down (Prop. 113) until they shall see Him whom they pierced. The 144,000 in Rev. alleged to be Jews, are indeed such, but engrafted ones—with some natural Jews with them—into the Jewish stock. If Jewish tribulation, or Jewish unbelief, were to cease before the Advent, then one of the signs would fail us, but being seen, and having now already extended over a dreary eighteen centuries, well may we ask, how long yet? Surely the time elapsed, has very materially, greatly shortened what yet remains. The unbelief of the Orthodox and Liberal Jews is sufficiently manifested.

20. While this is so, yet another sign, which a comparison of prophecy develops, is important, viz., that as there shall be a restoration of a portion of the Jews to Jerusalem before or when the last great Antichrist (who attacks them) arises, if we are really nearing the end, a special interest should be taken by the Jews in the Holy Land with a view toward its ultimate recovery. How this has been recently exhibited by prominent Jews in Europe and other countries is well known; how earnestly they desire to be there is still apparent from their pilgrimages to the city, the high esteem in which they hold it, and the fervent prayers uttered in behalf of it. The amelioration of their condition in leading countries, the wealth possessed, and power exerted, by them, etc., are all requirements requisite to bring about a speedy fulfilment of the Word.

21. In addition to this one, if the Jews are again to return and occupy Jerusalem, then in the nature of the case, such a wasting or weakening of the Ottoman power which holds the Holy Land, should be witnessed as to make it comparatively easy, when the full time comes, for them to regain it. It is contrary to all precedent that Turkey would yield up such a province, so contiguous and advantageous, without a struggle. But crippled and gradually exhausted, the enterprise becomes less and less difficult. Now if we really are approaching toward the end, are nigh to it, we ought to see this process of demolition going on, converting one of the most powerful of empires into so weak a power as has happened, that for many years its civil and political integrity was preserved mainly through foreign powers, and Turkey has been proclaimed “the dying man.” All prophetical writers, without exception, find it a truly significant sign.

22. Another is, that we are not only living under the divided form, the disintegrated condition of the Roman Empire, the lower part of the image representative of Gentile times, amid the mingling and commingling of nations, etc., but during the headless condition of this empire, a condition which, as Revelation teaches, is not far removed from the end, Prop. 160. The chronological position that we to-day occupy in its history, is intensely suggestive to the careful prophetic student. No intelligent man can study it, and the connection that it sustains to the whole, without being deeply and powerfully impressed with a sense of nearness to the end. From the days of the distinguished Mede to the present, every writer on the subject has expressed this conviction necessarily growing out of it.

23. In view of the fact that nations shall be confederated against the Christ, the student of prophecy in connection with the evils enumerated, will not forget to notice the signs in the political horizon. The political intrigue and corruption, the vast indebtedness, the tax of standing armies, the elements of discord in sectional interests, the strife between capital and labor, the monopolies so largely fostered, the ineffectiveness of law, the bribery in elections and high places, the lobbying of legislative interests, the national sins of the past and present, the direct antagonism of existing parties, etc., we see giving abundant fuel already prepared for the fiery outburst of that wild and destructive storm which is to revolutionize the nations, and make them confederate in anti-Christian policy and attack. It is true, that the prophecy points us more directly to the old Roman earth, but all nations shall, more or less, feel the incoming whirlwind. The unsettled condition of European nations, the social agitation, the destructive elements (again and again pressed down by force), the revolutionary spirit within them, the imperial and republican, the ultramontane and liberal forces, etc., are things so well known that a mere mention will suffice. Yet these are the very things that nearness indicates.

24. Another sign is the vast activity of the press in behalf of evil. Gratefully acknowledging the amount of good that it has done, the millions of Bibles, religious books, papers, tracts, etc., that it has printed, yet it is a fact that we ought not to conceal from ourselves that it is still more powerfully used in behalf of evil. We leave a man, who has no sympathy with our doctrinal position, and who fondly predicts continued progress merging into a Millennium, give us the statistics of one country. John Angell James (Church in Earnest, p. 89), gives some lengthy statistics of the press in Great Britain, the footing of which shows, that, while in one year the issues of absolutely vicious and corrupting literature was 28,826,000 that of Bibles, Testaments, tracts, newspapers, and periodicals of all kinds pertaining to religion, amounted to 24,418,620, leaving a balance of 4,407,380 in favor of pernicious papers. To this startling balance, we are assured that millions more can be safely added. Since then such publications have multiplied, catering to the corrupt passions of man. It is simply appalling and has become so glaring even in this country, that at times the government had to interfere, in forbidding the circulation of the worst forms through the P. O., and in seizures. Places like New York, Boston, Chicago, etc., send forth daily and weekly an enormous amount. Now if evil is to be predominant as soon as we anticipate; if it is surely and steadily drawing nigh; such an element of power as the press ought to be wielded with telling force in its interest. Alas! this too is already accomplished.

25. The astonishing increase of knowledge (Dan. 12:4), is another sign. If this refers, as many believe, to knowledge respecting prophecy, then is it verified in the diligent and successful labors of life-long prophetical students within the last fifty years, and, especially, in the recent efforts of European and American writers on the same subject. But if (to which we now more specially direct attention) it includes an increase of knowledge in general, connected with a general activity, etc., then let this age with its marked progress in all the sciences, wonderful discoveries and inventions, etc., be considered, and is it not strictly true, that, with the facilities now enjoyed, there is a rapid and constant advance among the nations in the dissemination of knowledge of all kinds. The multiplication of educational advantages, institutions, and the devotion of multitudes to varied branches of learning, as well as the astonishing increase of books on all known subjects brought within easy reach of all, is doing wonders in this direction. If it were sanctified, it might be a sign of good, but unsanctified as the mass is, it becomes a sign of approaching evil. Mere knowledge and progress, is not holiness, but adds greatly to responsibility; instead of being regenerators of the world (as many dream) they are mercifully designed to lead us to the only Regenerator, the Christ. The thoughtful ponder such things, in view too of steam and electricity bringing the nations into daily communication and removing the effect of distances, as a state necessarily preparative to the mighty changes which still await the world.

26. Even what men regard as the ordinary outgrowth of nature, or as incidentals in the history of nations, are signs, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, pestilences, wars, famines, floods, hailstorms, cyclones, meteors, plagues, etc. Such things are indeed continuously to exist, more or less, down to the end itself as a part of the entailed curse. And, if they should fail, if any one of them should fail, then God’s Word would fail. Being connected with the curse, standing related to the moral, it is reasonable to anticipate, that as we reach toward the end, and especially when humanity is boasting itself in progress and hopes of deliverance that God would continue these, if not intensify them, both as a sign to those who fear Him, and as evidence to the worshippers of nature that her hidden forces are beyond man’s control to regenerate. Naturalists and Scientists, unbelieving, laugh at our credulity in believing such things to stand for signs, when they themselves within the grasp of these terrible messengers are compelled to admit their inability to cope with them, and are as helpless to avert the evil as the babe. Oosterzee (Ch. Dog., vol. 2, p. 796) says: “Considering the inseparable connection between the natural and moral world, which is made manifest in many a word and fact of saving Revelation, it cannot sound incredible to us that inanimate nature also shall feel the thrill of the shocks, which cause the heart of the animate to quail; although we hold ourselves utterly incompetent to determine what in this part of the Eschatological proclamation, is to be taken literally and what is not.” This is true; hence while abstaining from particularizing, yet there is a sufficiency given to show that the feeling so universally held by the Church in the past, that nature itself, as a sufferer and as a witness of God’s would participate in testifying to coming wrath, is undoubtedly a correct one. Material forces have constantly in the past been employed by God to subserve moral ends, and it is the most reasonable to conclude that He will specially do so as the end of this dispensation draws nigh; which is corroborated, not only by the past understanding of the great and good but, even by an instinctive dread which thus anticipates them, both being founded on the correct idea that they are forces under God’s control and command. Now let the reader consider the events of the last twenty years, the constantly recurring evils and inflictions over all the earth, the lack of no former ones with the introduction of new ones, and with all that is past and present history, consider the constantly recurring wars—as if purposely to show how vain the hopes of humanity—the present attitude and warlike attitude of nations in their heavy armaments, etc., and all these instrumentalities for the destruction of human life and property on an enlarged scale, are evidences not merely of the continued corruption of human nature but of approaching wrath. They teach a lesson if we will hearken to it, of the long delayed vengeance coming which even now occasionally gleams across the bosom of nature and fitfully plays with the wrath of man. If the thunderbolts shot forth from disturbed nature upon helpless man; if the woes and horrors of cruel war springing from depraved human nature, cannot and do not arrest the attention of proud man leading him to acknowledge that God must come to remove them if ever removed, and to pray to Him to speedily come and perform so glorious a work (according to His Word), then indeed the lessons intended by Providence and enforced by sad experience fail in inspiring the faith and hope which God mercifully intends by them.

27. Another sign is the distinct “peace and safety” cry. We do not refer to that resulting from the denial of the Supernatural, or the rejection of the nearness of the Second Advent or the spiritualizing of Scripture, or the dreams of progress and the ultimate conversion of the world, but to that significant utterance given by “Peace Societies.” Such are organized with a large membership of eminent ministers and laymen, publishing periodicals, pamphlets, books and tracts in behalf of their predictions and dreams of “Peace and Safety.” Refusing to accept of God’s delineation of this dispensation down to the end (including war and rumors of war, etc.), and placing in this age the “peace and safety” that only results from the personal Advent and reign of Jesus and His glorified saints, they present a glorious (but false) representation of the future, that is eminently calculated to mislead many. (Comp. 175 and 176.)

28. The wealth of the Church is another sign. She is now saying, “I am rich and increased with goods” (Lange, “yea, I have become exceedingly rich”), Rev. 3:17. Whatever it may include respecting professed spiritual riches (Lange, etc.) the language itself decidedly refers to riches literally, so much so that some (Stuart, Wetstein, Vitringa, etc.) confine it thus to earthly wealth, while others (as Barnes) include both ideas. Even such as favor the one idea do not exclude the other, for as Lange (loci) remarks: “the connection between external riches and the danger of an inward conceit of riches cannot be ignored.” The immense endowments, the costly churches, the large investments looking to perpetuity, the boasted incomes, the parade of vast yearly contributions, the large salaries, the societies with established funds, the educational and publishing interests, etc., all evidence a state of prosperity and riches which is more and more becoming the pride and boast of the Church—so much so, that it is taken as evidence of substantial progress to Millennial glory, and the cry is virtually raised, we “have need of nothing,” i.e., we are indeed rich, having enough of everything. Having wealth, with a spirit of self-complacency, they deem themselves elevated to a high and favored condition.

29. The almost universal desire to become rich, the methods resorted to in order to increase wealth, the gigantic monopolies arising, the hoarding of riches, the aggressiveness of capitalists (James 5:1–3, etc.) is not the least sign of approaching nearness to the end. Mammon worshipping, a determination to be rich without regard to principle, encroachments upon the poor, oppressive measures to secure opulence and luxury, these are characteristics of the last days. How prevalent they are to-day is self-evident, since movements (England, Ireland, Russia, France, United States, etc.) are on foot on a fearful scale protesting against the power and usage of wealth.

30. Another sign is found in the conferences of believers in the nearness of the Second Advent and the reign of the Messiah and His saints, strikingly verifying Mal. 3:16 as it stands related to the sparing and the lust period of the age. These have been held publicly in England, Canada, and this country; more private all over the world. Thus faith in God, the covenanted Messiah, the utterances of the Spirit, is manifested to sustain the believer amid the prevailing unbelief and godlessness.

31. The prophetical student finds a feature pertaining to the present period exceedingly suggestive. As the time is approaching for the ending of “the times of the Gentiles,” it is evident (in view of nearness) that, because of the predicted arraying of the nations against the Messiah, there should be a wide prevailing interest taken in Jesus of Nazareth as a Person. This is apparent by the large number of “Lives of Jesus” issued within the last few years, both Rationalistic and Christian, in which He is prominently portrayed either from an infidel, liberal, or believing standpoint. It is a matter of grave importance to find that the former have been most extensively circulated—edition after edition being rapidly exhausted—thus moulding multitudes to regard Jesus simply as a man of mistaken genius, or a liberal Reformer, or a dreamy enthusiast (made so by the prophecies of the nation), or a harmless fanatic, or even a downright deceiver. This becomes a suitable preparation of heart and mind for the drama that is to be enacted against Him and the Church.

32. The remarkable prominence given to the Scriptures is indicative of the same nearness. The cheap publication and extended circulation in almost every language of the globe, the numerous aids to its comprehension, the varied versions and translations, the revisions and their discussions, the works in defence of, or against them, etc., has had a tendency to bring the Word of God before the people with such startling conspicuousness, that God justifies Himself in first warning before bringing upon the nations the terrible threatened judgments. The nearer we are to the end, the more prominent should be this interest in the Scriptures.

33. A growing sign is the exceeding bitterness of unbelief. If nearing the persecution still future, the spirit of intense hostility, manifesting itself in threats—the mutterings of the incoming storm—should also appear. We have already in another connection, exhibited by quotations and extracts this desire to crush Christianity by persecution. The hatred, intense and unrelenting, is already fully exhibited, and, when the time for organized action comes, will find its victims ready for its vengeance.

34. The turning away from the true Messiah, Jesus the Christ, and invoking another Coming Messiah, is a sign of the times. If the coming of Antichrist, the culminated head is near, we should find men already expressing their faith and hope in the Advent of some false Messiah. In the schemes of self-regeneration and progress, we are called to “the Coming Man” (of whom Coleridge, Mill, Kant, Compte, and others, are designated “forerunners” and “harbingers”) who shall “renovate society” and bring “a redemption of the world.” In the eulogy of unbelief, in contrast with the Christian Messiah, some kind of a future Messiah is spoken of, and urged to “a cordial reception.”

35. A continuous sign is the raising up of false Messiahs; not merely the proclamation of a Coming one, as in the preceding sign, but the actual claim by persons that they are such, calling for adherents. They have been in the past, and they exist at the present time.

36. The moral and religious condition of our great cities is a significant sign of the end. In view of their position, influence, privileges, etc., they ought—if the notion of progress is correct—to be great centres of religion, morality, virtue, justice and piety. The special advantages that they have possessed, the highest talent and ability, the leading ministers, the religious organizations and churches, the missionary operations, the publications of a Christian character, etc., all should tend to make them better, more devoted to God, more free from vice and crime. But what are the facts as reported by various classes of writers? We have already shown that they are noted for wickedness of all kinds, for irreligion and impiety, for all the evils that curse depraved humanity.

37. The great stress laid on secular education, as a means of improvement and progress; its extensive usage under State patronage to elevate the ignorant, insure refinement, and secure the welfare of its recipients; its eulogy as a grand instrumentality to stem vice, immorality, and crime—is a sign of the last times in the actual fruitage that it produces. Accomplishing good, especially in giving the advantages of education and intelligence to the poor, yet it must be sorrowfully acknowledged that it is becoming more and more separated from the religious and moral teaching, and that it is falling into the hands of thousands who infuse their own spirit of unbelief into their pupils. Education is not morality or religion, for, as the history of the past and the present abundantly evidences, intelligence can exist with lawless principles, impurity of heart, and atrocious crimes. Thousands of educators are religious, or moral, or sincere in advancing the highest interests of pupils, but thousands, on the other hand, are irreligious, or immoral, or bitter in covert and open hostility to the Bible and Christianity.

38. The signs are varied, and some are not as distinctive as others, and yet they are worthy of mention. (1) If we are allowed to take, as many do, the mixing of the clay and iron of Dan. 2:43, as symbolic of the union of constitutional governments with a popular element, more or less pervading, or a commingling of Aristocratic and Republican forms, this is astonishingly manifesting itself among the nations. (Or, if it be applied to the intermingling of nations by marriage, amalgamation, etc., this has received and still receives a striking fulfilment.) (2) The extraordinary answers to prayer and faith. In nearing the end, judging from analogy, it is reasonable to suppose that God would specially exhibit His favor to His people of strong faith. This is done in a remarkable manner, as if purposely to rebuke the existing unbelief, as e.g. exemplified in Müller and others. (3) The treatment of prophecy by unbelief in and without the Church. Its neglect, scornful allusions, contempt, etc., evidence that we are nearing the end. (4) The renewed attention paid by scholars and theologians to an intimate and abiding relationship existing between the Old and the New Testaments, and the numerous works recently published urging this upon our attention. For as “the time of the end” draws nigh, it is reasonable to expect that—in view of speedy fulfilments—special prominency be given to it. (5) A clear and distinctive idea of the original and true conception of the Messianic Kingdom is becoming more and more prevalent. Books, tracts, etc., are issued which revive and restore to its prophetic position and nature the glorious Kingdom of God. Such writings, as e.g. Dr. Craven’s Excursus on the Basilea (Lange’s Com. Rev. p. 93), are becoming witnesses, which we ought to anticipate as the Kingdom itself again draws nigh. (6) Pre-Millenarians are beginning to realize, as they have never before (unless we except the quite early Church) that the foundations of their faith rest on two everlasting covenants, the Abrahamic and Davidic. This, as the day is rapidly approaching, we ought to expect. (7) The very large number of works which have been recently published on the Theology of the New Testament, giving, without bias, the actual views held in the Apostolic age (and which we freely use and quote), are not an insignificant sign, recalling the Church, if she heed the call, to the Primitive belief, before the catastrophe comes. (8) The astonishing number of works particularly directed to the history of the Roman Empire (the fourth Beast of Daniel), and tracing its varied career and changes, as if purposely to direct attention to its connection with the end. (9) The Lord’s table which is a sign (1 Cor. 11:26) has not only been a continuous one, urging to the posture of constant watching, but having been such for eighteen centuries, and now set forth all over the earth, indicates the nearness of the Lord. (10) The great riches heaped together for the last days (James 5:3) is regarded as a sign, no period exhibiting such numerous vast fortunes, such gigantic wealthy companies etc.

Such are the signs which precede the first stage of Christ’s Advent. Not one of them (just as there was none before the First Advent) shall be of a strictly Supernatural nature; all of them are connected with the natural, or are regularly produced in an onward course of development. If men look for other signs, they will wofully deceive themselves; they must be in order to preserve the consistency of constant watching, etc., all of this very class. They do not intervene anything between the present and the Advent; they were present in the days of the Primitive Church and led the faithful to watching; they were present, more extended, in the days of the Reformation, and caused the Reformers to hope in a speedy Coming of the day of Redemption; they are present to-day still more intensified, and should cause us, if wise and prudent, to occupy the same position. We know not the day or the hour, but the signs are here; men of intelligence and ability have failed in their approximative dates but this matters nothing (being what ought to be expected), for the signs are what we are particularly directed to observe, and they are present; men of eminence and piety predict a long delaying of the Lord, a long continued absence of the Bridegroom, and tell us that the cry raised that He speedily cometh is vain, but we take to our hearts of passionate love and desire the signs that are here; others ridicule our hope, hold it up as “Jewish error,” “fanaticism,” etc., but these reproaches fade away in the light of a Saviour’s command and present existing signs. Let a cautious writer instruct us: Dr. Kurtz (His. of the Cov., vol. 1, p. 101, taken from his Bible and Astrom.) says: “Reasoning from Scripture, it is scarcely possible to conceive that the end should be so delayed. If we think of the incarnation as taking place in the middle age of the world, if we consider the increasing distinctness in the signs of the times, and the approach of those signs and harbingers of the end, we cannot but feel that the termination of the present dispensation must be at hand.” And, if we but reflect, that the first stage of the Advent precedes this termination by an interval of time unknown to us, it may therefore occur at any day for aught we know. We have long felt whatever truth there is in the year-day fulfilment of the Apocalypse (and the Apoc. has been most remarkably constructed to induce watchfulness, and afford a kind of inchoate fulfilment—in fact to impress each century with the idea of a Coming One), yet its main fulfilment, the leading features of portions of it at least, are to be realized during this interval between the two stages of the Advent (and with this view, there cannot be sufficient caution in the assignment of time, seeing that the time specified in the Book itself is not connected with the whole but only parts of it). Even those writers who have advocated and confine themselves to a year-day fulfilment coincide in asserting the nearness of the Advent from their point of view, as e.g. two of the most recent, prominent and able writers, Dr. Elliott, author of the Horæ. Apoc., says: “Our present position, we have been led, as the result of our investigations, to fix at but a short time from the end of the now existing dispensation, and the expected Second Advent of Christ,” etc., and D. N. Lord, former editor of the Theol. and Lit. Review, author of an Exp. of the Apoc., etc., gives it as his decided impression from long and close study: “Christ is within a brief period to come from heaven in person.” Such testimonies, from scholars and leading divines in the various churches, could be multiplied, but are unnecessary, because every one can see for himself that there is not a sign but what is already fulfilled, not a token but what is even to-day abundantly verified, so that whenever it comes God’s Word is fully vindicated and His truthfulness made manifest. Scientists, unbelievers, and those weak in the faith demand a Supernatural sign, the exertion of direct miraculous power, but all in vain, because the very signs are intended to test faith.

Obs. 4. Now we come to consider, in the briefest manner, the signs which follow the first stage of the Advent, and which being more particularly confined to a distinctive interval, and embracing far greater ones will be readily recognized by all the believing children of God. 1. The first sign indicative of the Coming open manifestation of the Son of Man will be the Translation of living saints (Prop. 130) in connection with a secret resurrection of saints. This will be recognized by many as a sad (to them that must remain to endure tribulation), but still joyful (because verifying approaching deliverance) sign of a Saviour already present and observant of the interests of His own. 2. While this is recognized by those who accept of God’s Word, and leads to a correspondent recognition and assertion of the Advent, the denial of such an Advent will become the more emphatic and ardent over the world. “Where is the promise of His Coming?,” will proceed from multitudes of “scoffers” to neutralize the effects of what has taken place. 3. Notwithstanding the opposition and bitterness of unbelief, we are assured in Rev. 14, that after the removal of the symbolical number 144,000, there will be resulting from the given signs, a specific preaching over the earth of two messages most appropriate for the times, viz. the proclamation to “fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come,” and in view of the incoming worship of Antichrist, “and worship Him that made heaven,” etc. This will be a simultaneous, powerful preaching preparing the Church for the terrible Antichristian struggle before her, and with such success that “a multitude” shall pass through the great tribulation, willingly sacrificing life rather than yield up faith and hope in the Christ, Rev. 8:9, 13 and 20:4. 4. While this energetic work of the Church, now fully recognizing her chronological position, and that the time is short, is going on, at the same period, increase of corruption in all the varied forms previously described will be experienced; the perilous times will become more perilous; the characters delineated will become more and more determined in their hostility to the good; human efforts at regeneration will be more boldly proclaimed and accepted at the side of a witnessing Gospel. The moral and religious signs, given under the previous Observation, will become more sharply defined and intensified. 5. Without giving the order of events, we notice next, the rise of the last great Antichrist and the formation of a confederation of nations under him, Prop. 160, 161, etc. 6. The fall of Babylon under his influence and power, which includes the Papacy and all State Churches, as well as all Hierarchical institutions; the hatred of the Antichrist even finally extending to all ecclesiastical organizations that professedly or otherwise favor Christ. We need not enter into the mooted question how much is comprehended under the term “Babylon,” and what is meant by “her daughters,” because in the ruin of Babylon herself, that of “her daughters,” whoever they may be, as well as that of the overthrow ecclesiastically (i.e. as outwardly organized) of the Churches will also be affected at the same time. While the Papacy will meet her doom, State Churches, and all others will most cruelly suffer at the hands of the Antichristian Confederation. The former, however, preceding the latter in point of time. 7. For, after the downfall of Babylon, Rev. 14:9–13, comes the fearful persecution of all true believers and their heroic martyrdom, Prop. 161 and 162. The demand made for worship will be a sign so striking and particularized in fulfilment, that it will be unmistakable to the believing. The requirement to worship the beast and his image, will be withstood by faithful souls whom God will also honor for a triumphant exhibition of faith. The “wise then will understand” and wisdom will preserve them indomitable. 8. An astonishing sign will be a return to idol worship. Even now the Pantheistic, Naturalistic current is sweeping in this direction, and no doubt to meet the fulfilment, the plea will be made, that worship will be aided in the masses by and through material objects, and that in such an outward expression the adherents of the new faith will be known. Men may now sneer at this as ridiculous, but even hatred to Christ is sufficient, when the time comes, to introduce it as a test and the most certain method by which to make the weak succumb and place themselves in a positive unchristian attitude. The alarming reintroduction of heathen doctrine and leaning upon Naturalism, even already makes thoughtful men see the entering wedge by which this can be effected in the laying down and advocacy of principles that naturally develop the idea. One thing is certain, let men acknowledge it or not, that it is predicted (as e.g. Rev. 13:4, 14–17 and 9:20, 21, etc.) to take place before the last stage of the Advent. The degradation of humanity, after all its boasted enlightenment, after all its vaunted efforts at regeneration, shall be manifested (as in the French Revolution) in a pitiful return to heathenism somewhat refined under modern Pantheistic manipulations. Forsaking the God of the Bible for Nature, it partakes the nature of a just retribution. 9. A sign which the student ponders with a feeling of awe, because of the influence for destruction that it will exert over multitudes, weak and credulous enough to be entrapped by it, is the performance of miracles, the exercise of miraculous powers as stated, e.g. Rev. 13:13, 14, and 16:14, and 19:20. 2 Thess. 2:9, etc. It appears a just punishment that unbelief now so bitterly opposed to Revelation because of its connection with the Supernatural and miraculous, should at the time of the end, to secure its supposed victory over Christianity, lay hold of and exhibit to the admiration of its hosts “signs and lying wonders.” What these miracles consist in, that period must determine; the outlines of some of them are sufficiently given to make them recognizable when they are proposed for acceptance. Even now the leaven may, for aught we know, be creeping in, if we are to credit one half that Spiritualism gives us now of wonders performed by their distinguished mediums, and which many distinguished men profess themselves unable to explain. Let the present indications in this direction be what they may, it is revealed, that when the set time has come, the nations of the earth will be wofully deceived by pretended miraculous power, given evidently as proof (now declared by many to be impossible) of the correctness of their faith. It is a wonderful ordering, that the line of final punishment comes in that of long continued previous denial. 10. The restoration of a portion of the Jews to Palestine, whom Antichrist will attack and overwhelm, is a significant sign. The condition of the Jews and of Jerusalem at that time—which implies also the previous loss or grant of Palestine by Turkey—will be carefully noted by the believing that may be spared. 11. The wars of the Antichristian power, its success, its march to the Holy Land, etc., will all find their mates in prophecy and be thus signs, one following the other, of the rapidly approaching catastrophe. 12. But even before this, the unsettled condition of nations, their perplexity, distress, etc., preparatory to their confederated capacity must be witnessed, and all those commotions, revolutionary movements, the preliminary overthrowing of thrones, etc., will meet with corresponding awakened interest in the mind of the prophetic student. 13. Before, probably but a very short time before, the open Revelation of Jesus with His saints in behalf of the Jewish nation (Zech. 14), Elijah the Prophet will be sent to the Jews as predicted (Mal. 4:5, 6), being unto them a forerunner as John the Baptist at the First Advent—comp. Prop. on Antichrist. The early Church (as e.g. Justin in Dial. with Trypho.) and many teachers have correctly held to this coming of Elijah before the Second Advent, but more definitely it pertains to this stage of it, and is designed only for the Jewish nation. 14. For the reasons already given, nature may be expected now to greatly increase her signs. In comparison of Scripture, the student will become impressed with the idea of Oosterzee (Theol. of N. Test.) that the Sec. Advent will be ushered in with impressive signs, accompanied with stupendous changes in the cosmical and moral spheres. Whatever of figure may be connected with the description of these last times, yet the past belief that nature itself will sympathize in the last great struggle by the giving forth of terrific tokens in violent earthquakes, etc., is one that commends itself as eminently suitable for those who have again returned to nature’s worshippers. That which they esteem their god, shall be employed against them; so that event after event, in the heavens above and in the earth beneath, shall occur which unbelieving science, with all its inflation, shall be unable to recognize and explain as the result of natural law. The curse will press the more heavily; groaning creation nearing deliverance will, as tokens, enter upon her last throes, as if acknowledging the secret presence of her King and Liberator. 15. Then, too, will appear the sign of the Son of Man following, and perhaps in some way connected with, the translation, etc., either at its occurrence or afterward at Sinai. If it takes place shortly before the open Revelation and not in the way suggested (Prop. 130), as related to the removal of the saints, or to their appearance in clouds, etc., afterward, then it may, probably, refer to some such sign as Amos 8:9; or Joel 3:15; or 2:31, etc. Whatever it is, for at present we can only conjecture, it will be found so significantly predicted in the Word that there will be no difficulty in recognizing it in fulfilment as a sign of the Christ. 16. Other signs are found scattered here and there, which will then be duly considered by the faithful, such as the formation of a confederacy, a great contest by Antichrist and his hosts with some other power preliminary to the final one with Christ and His army; the union of the false prophet with the Antichrist (for whatever inchoate fulfilment there may be found in the Papacy according to prophetical writers, it must be borne in mind that this prophet endures to the bitter end, is in the last battle, while the Papacy has been previously destroyed, Rev. 17:16); the incoming of certain plagues and woes, of developments and contests, the three unclean spirits, etc., all couched in figurative or symbolical language and pertaining to that period still future, so that it would be mere conjecture to attempt an elucidation of the same in the way of particularizing who or what is really designated. It is for the developments of that time of the end to bring these forth distinctively, when they shall be duly appreciated and mated by the observant, watching ones.

Obs. 5. Here then are the main, leading signs which precede the Coming Kingdom of God; those that pertain to the first stage of the Advent and its preliminary ordering at Mt. Sinai, and then those that relate to the open manifestation of the King at Jerusalem and the re-establishment of the Davidic throne and Kingdom, embracing also the conversion and restoration of the Jewish nation. These are the warnings that the Spirit has given, but however earnestly and faithfully presented by any one, they are unheeded by the multitude, like the warning of Lot or the preaching of Noah, and to many the believer in them (Gen. 19:4) “seems as one that mocked.” Excuses abundantly suggest themselves why they should not be regarded, but childlike Abrahamic faith sees in them the strongest possible motives for increased, constant watchfulness. When not only the signs preliminary to the Coming of the saints are here, but when even these throw their shadows forward into the fearful interval between the first and second stages, then indeed is it inexcusable to be faithless. When, e.g. rejecters of the Divine Plan of Redemption, under the teaching of professed spirits of the dead, give us another sustained by “signs and wonders”; when this is a spirit largely at work in various bodies (i.e. professing wonder-working power, revived again; also e.g. in Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, etc.); and when this is associated with a prevailing Naturalistic tendency, we can readily see the elements already existing and moulding men’s minds and hearts for the wonder-working period still future. When a time of abounding demon worship, of idolatry, and of corresponding corruption, is surely coming, and if we are indeed nearing it, then the things specified are precisely those which ought to appear. They are present; growing too by the fostering care of many able minds into a fruitage, such as the Omniscient Spirit has portrayed. It is simply folly to close our eyes to existing facts; and the denial of them does not lessen the danger, but may greatly mislead ourselves and others. The sign that the signs themselves will be neglected is a sad one, and will not be overlooked by the wise. Calvin’s remark on Luke 18:8 ever remains true: “Christ expressly foretells that, from His ascension to Heaven till His return, unbelievers will abound; meaning by these words that if the Redeemer does not speedily appear, the blame of the delay will attach to men, because there will be almost none to look for Him. Would that we did not behold so manifest a fulfilment of the prediction!” A positive denial of His Coming is pronounced (2 Pet. 3:17) to be “the error of the wicked;” while a refusal to watch for His Coming or the declaration that “my Lord delayeth His Coming,” to say the least, is a violation of enjoined duty. Esteemed men of ability and usefulness, are certainly assuming grave responsibility in this matter, when in books, etc., they teach that Christ’s Advent is not to be watched for as He commanded, but that it is still postponed for many, many long centuries, and that, instead of incoming wrath and tribulation, the Church is to anticipate triumph and continued progress. The signs given for faith do not startle them; the position assigned for watching does not move them (for they conveniently substitute death or Providence, etc.); the announcement of a sudden, unexpected Coming upon a faithless Church does not affect them; what then will arouse them? The event itself secretly occurring, and making itself known and felt by the removal here and there of a small minority of watching ones! That, that will so startle, move, and deeply affect them that they will proclaim, with mighty energy, the long neglected signs connected with a Second Advent. Brethren must not censure us for plain writing; with such views, impressed by a sense of duty and responsibility, it would be a violation of them not thus to express them. A deep interest in the welfare of others, and a sincere desire to promote the happiness of our brethren, influences us to write these things. Allow that we are mistaken; yet a consideration of honesty upon our part in giving what we hold to be truth, will prevent the honest from getting angry at our words. We gratefully acknowledge their intelligence, piety, and usefulness, and it only grieves us the more that so much that is excellent should be weighted against some of the plainest truths in the Bible. A surprising feature connected with these signs, and precisely that which ought to exist provided the injunction of constant watching is to be observed, is, that they all previous to the first stage, are of a nature observable from the early Church down to the present day. It is, therefore, doing injustice to believers in the past to say, that they were credulous and foolish to look for the Advent, seeing that they were mistaken, etc.; on the contrary, it evinces their faith in God’s Word and their conscientiousness in occupying the commanded position when beholding the signs existing around them they believed, thus showing love and desire for “the blessed hope,” etc. Let them indeed be mistaken in their apprehension of its nearness, yet the observance of such faith, the practical results attained by it, the honoring of Christ evinced by it, the hope and prayer elicited by it, etc., will not—as little as the cup of water—fail in its reward at the Revelation of Jesus. The shortness of time in the Spirit’s comprehension, is indeed brief; these preparatory dispensations, when compared with the eternal ages that follow, are but of short duration; and since these utterances were given, and these worthies thus believed, the length of this dispensation has been so materially shortened that prudence alone dictates, aside from other considerations pressed, the faith, hopes and longings inspired by these signs—thus constantly augmenting, accumulating, and becoming more and more distinctive—as ever presented by godly men who “love the appearing.” Better, a thousand times better, be mistaken as to time, than to ignore those signs and be caught faithless, unobservant, and worthy of rebuke.*

Obs. 6. It is to us, whatever it may prove to others, cheering evidence of the inspiration of the Word that it is so formed, that, instead of giving positive certainty as to time, it points us to signs which are calculated, eminently so by reason of a continuous fulfilment, to impress and lead us, if only considered, to watch. This indefinite and yet sign impressing imminency is to decided proof of the Divine wisdom; man could not—as man’s failures and man’s precipitancy evidence—have so presented the matter as to cause every succeeding age to respond more or less to the practically intended result, viz. to preserve, in view of a constantly recurring contingency indicated by constantly recurring witnessed signs, a constant state of vigilance. In conclusion: let the frequency with which the Spirit presents the Sec. Advent, and the signs preceding and connected with it, be regarded; let the mighty issues related with the same bearing heavily upon the individual believer (in cautions respecting personal responsibility in watching), the Church (multitudes in it being taken unprepared and unobservant of Divine direction) and the world (scoffing at the whole subject) be contemplated; let the happiness and reward of the watching servant, and the rebuke and loss of the unvigilant be pondered; and surely we are not wrong in thus urging all to occupy this believing position. If the Word makes it so prominent and important; if so much that is desirable is identified with it; if the neglect of it is both an act of disobedience and dangerous; if a completeness of Christian attitude and character requires it; surely we cannot make it less prominent and desirable. Here then is our apology, if in the estimation of any one an excuse is needed, for holding forth upon these scriptural topics, and urging the warnings given by Christ and the apostles.*

Obs. 7. We again insist that, for the reasons already fully assigned, we should occupy the commanded posture of expectancy, and allow no event to intervene between us and the Advent. As Calvin declares in 1 Pet. 4:7: “Moreover, it must be laid down as a first principle, that ever since the appearing of Christ, there is nothing left to the faithful, but with wakeful minds to be always intent on His Sec. Advent.” The signs are all present—not one is omitted—and it becomes us, as believers, to recognize the fact, and correspondingly, look, watch, and pray.*

Obs. 8. The commanded position of constant watching given by Jesus and the apostles, throws light on the reason why we have the extraordinary omission of a directory or form of Church government. Such an avoidance is intentional, because it alone accords with the spirit of looking for the Saviour’s speedy return and the proof is found in the historical fact (Props. 76 and 77), that just so soon as men devised codes and forms of government—aside from the few simple directions given for guidance—then, in view of the idea of permanency entailed, the looking and watching for the Advent was relaxed, and finally almost ignored.*

Obs. 9. These signs, so saddening because of the evil unfolding, should not unduly depress the believer. They should rather confirm his faith, urge to increased watching and prayer, influence to a firm and vigilant occupying until He comes, and fill him with renewed hope and love at the speedy Coming of the Beloved One. Yea, as the Master declared (Luke 21:28) we should “look up and lift up our heads, for our redemption draweth nigh.” For these purposes they are given, and hence a practical application of them to heart and life is designed, and not a mere theoretical acquiescence without a corresponding influence.*

  PROPOSITION 175. The doctrine of the Kingdom is greatly obscured and perverted by the prevailing one of the conversion of the world prior to the Advent of Jesus.

The Whitbyan theory of the conversion of the world previous to the Second Advent is, probably, in the minds of many the chief obstacle to the reception of our doctrine. It may, therefore, form the subject of additional remarks.

Obs. 1. Those who hold that the Church, being the covenanted Kingdom, is to extend itself until it embraces within its fold all nations, ought to be able to explain how it comes that none of the churches founded by the apostles and their immediate successors believed in such a conversion of the world. Surely if a scriptural doctrine, it ought at that time, and under such auspices, to have been, by way of encouragement, presented. It too would have been eminently calculated to remove (see Prop. 98, Obs. 3), limited views of the Divine Purpose. The nature of the Kingdom believed in, their belief in a speedy Advent, their doctrinal position, positively forbid the entertaining of the opinion that the world is to be converted prior to the Advent (see e.g. Prop. 73). “The vivid hope of the speedy return of Christ to the earth of the first Christians” (so Schlegel, Philos. His., Lec. 10), alone prevented such a doctrine from being received (see Props. 74 and 75). When a change was gradually introduced (Props. 76 and 77), and the Origenistic theory was advocated by which a triumph of the Church was predicted running almost parallel with the dispensation, Neander tells us (His. Ch., vol. 1, p. 129), “such an anticipation was foreign to the thoughts of the older teachers of the Church. They could conceive of the Pagan state in no other relation than one of constant hostility to Christianity, and expected the triumph of the Church only as the result of a supernatural interposition at the Second Coming of Christ.” It is not necessary to detain ourselves on a point so universally conceded, viz., that the Apostolical and Primitive Fathers only looked for Millennial blessedness through the Second Advent of Jesus. Their utterances of “the last times” (Ignatius) of evil, of an “unrighteous age” (Lactantius) to give place to “a Sabbath” only at the Advent, etc., and the expressed hope of deliverance, etc., for themselves and the race at that period, are too definite to be denied. Neander (comp. Prop. 74, Obs. 2) hence (His. Dog., p. 247) says: “In the first age the earnest gaze of the believers was directed only to the last Coming of Christ,” and he informs us that “this anticipation of the end was, perhaps, necessary for that age.” But why should such an “error” (so pronounced) be necessary? Was not truth equally as well adapted to the early Christians as to Origen, or Augustine, or Whitby? Such a plea is derogatory to the founders of Christianity. In another place (Prop. 74, etc.) it has been shown that the belief in the Kingdom which was linked with the Advent was the cause of those ardent longings for the Advent, thus preserving due consistency between the doctrine entertained and the hope expressed. Their faith, however explained, shows how believers, instructed by inspired men, understood the commission to preach the Gospel, and comprehended the covenants and prophecies. But we go a step farther back, to the Apostles themselves, who did not, and in the nature of the case could not, teach the conversion of the world prior to the Advent. We will allow a scholarly opponent, who would only have been too glad to avail himself of a teaching in support of his own theory if it had existed, to tell us what the Apostles believed and taught on the subject. Neander (Ad. to His. Ch. Church, vol. 2, p. 65, Bohn’s ed.), after reiterating that the Apostles did not look for the conversion of the world, but rather for the Advent of Christ (saying: “Every unprejudiced reader of the New Test. cannot fail to perceive that such an expectation filled the souls of the Apostles”), adds: “It was not the idea of a renovated time that Christianity endeavored to realize, but everything appeared only as a point of transition to a new, heavenly, and eternal order of things which would commence at the Second Advent.” Schmid (Bib. Theol. New Test., p. 510) speaks of Paul’s teaching in such a way that the idea of a conversion previous to the Advent cannot be maintained, for it includes a constant conflict going on between the Church and the world until it culminates in the Antichrist and the Advent. Thus numerous writers. If the reader will turn to Propositions 70, 71, 72, 73, 74 and 75, reasons are given in detail for our position on this subject. With the views of the Kingdom entertained, the manner of introduction, etc., it was simply impossible for them to preach a doctrine like the Whitbyan, now so fashionable and prevailing. In an argument like this, bearing upon the great burden of prophecy, it is no small matter that our doctrine accords so remarkably and fully with that of the first centuries.

Obs. 2. Let the reader carefully notice a feature (that is overlooked even by men of ability) which shows how deeply rooted some portions of the early Church doctrine remained. However much the Origenistic and Augustinian views (which allied the Millennial predictions with this dispensation, commencing with the Advent of Christ or the day of Pentecost, etc.) prevailed and the prophetic delineations of the Kingdom in its glory were—especially after Constantine’s conversion—applied to the Church as her predicted triumph and dominion, yet even then the adherents of such opinions never advocated such a conversion of the world that all evil would cease, etc. For we find in their writings the most abundant evidence that they anticipated more or less evil down to the Advent, the culmination of Anti-christian power before the Advent, etc., thus retaining in a great measure the early characteristics. Even men of eminence, who greatly assisted the development of the Papacy and quoted the Millennial prophecies as applicable to the existing Church, had no conception of the Whitbyan doctrine, for even Gregory the Great (A.D. 590, Neander’s Mem. of Ch. Life, p. 387) said: “As the end of the world approaches, the times are full of disquiet and evil increases.” The universal feeling of anxiety, etc., caused by the partial rejection of the early Church view and the adoption of a spiritualistic interpretation of prophecy, in the year A.D. 1000 and succeeding dates (supposed to be the closing of the Millennium of the Church) forms the best evidence that a general conversion of the world prior to the Advent was not adopted. The student needs no extracts from this period to verify the statement, seeing that the universal consternation (of which historians speak at the ending of the successive periods supposed to embrace a spiritual Millennium) is abundant proof. Even when the Popish doctors settled down into the conviction that the thousand years was merely a round indefinite number indicative of an indefinite period embracing this dispensation; and when in accordance with this opinion Millennial predictions were unhesitatingly adopted as descriptive of the Papacy, and the Popes with faithful adherents dreamed of, and claimed, an universal monarchy, yet even then all this was done under the assumption—not that the Millennial state was future but—that the Millennial era was then existing, had existed from the first Advent, and would exist down to the Second Advent preceded by the Antichrist. Such views even were still greatly modified and restricted by the utterances given at various times by advocates of the Papacy, who claimed the nearness of the Advent, the continued wickedness of the world, and the corruption constantly manifested in the Church itself. It would be interesting, although foreign to our design, to present the warnings, faithful rebukes, etc., that came not only from the protesting Albigenses and others, but from even those regarded as the faithful allies of Rome.

Obs. 3. The Reformers and their immediate successors still more or less under the influence of the Augustinian method of applying the prophecies, refused to believe in a Millennium still future prior to the Advent of Jesus. However contradictory they may have been in some of their expositions of Scripture, one thing is certain, from the positive statements made and opinions entertained at the close of life, that they could give no encouragement to a triumph and deliverance of the Church previous to the Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. A few references may be in place. In commenting on John 10:11–16 (Walch’s Luther, vol. 2, cols. 1082–83): “This is not true and is really a trick of the devil, that people are led to believe that the whole world shall become Christian. It is the devil’s doing, in order to darken sound doctrine and to prevent it from being understood.… Therefore it is not to be admitted, that the whole world, and all mankind shall believe on Christ; for we must continually bear the sacred cross, that they are the majority who persecute the saints.” His belief in the nearness of the Advent (Prop. 78), as evidenced in his Exp. of Dan. 12, (comp. also Walch’s Luther’s Schriften 22, col. 21, Table Talk, ch. 2, etc.), and as Bengel noticed: “he believed also, with many others, that the duration of the world” (as at present constituted, see Prop. 146), “from its commencement, would be only 6000 years; and hence considered its end so near, that he could see no space for a future Millennium” (see Prop. 143). Calvin is also outspoken, as e.g. Com. on Matt. 24:30, “There is no reason, therefore, why any person should expect the conversion of the world, for at length—when it shall be too late, and will yield them no advantage, they shall look on Him whom they have pierced.” So in his comments on Matt. 13:24–43; Luke 18:8; John 15:18; 1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Tim. 3:1–7; 2 Pet. 3:3 (quoted by Dr. Seiss in A Question in Eschatology) and in his Psychophannychia, p. 55 (quoted Time of the End, p. 3), Insti., B. 3, ch. 9, etc., we have it distinctly announced that the Church down to the Second Advent will be a mingled body of good and bad; will be “burdened with the reprobate to the end of the world;” will have “unbelievers to abound,” so that “there will be almost none to look for Him;” will find it “never possible for its godly teachers to avoid the hatred of the world;” will have reason to expect “that as false teachers formerly gave annoyance to the people of Israel, so they will never cease to disturb the Church;” and “that there will not be even under the Gospel, such a state of perfection, that all vices shall be banished and virtues of every kind shall flourish; and that, therefore, the pastors of the Christian Church will have quite as much to do with wicked and ungodly men as the prophets and godly priests had in ancient times” (adding: “this is the lot of the Church”). Those who desire individual testimony can find the earnest and emphatic declarations of several hundred of the most eminent men in the Church from the days of the apostles down to the present, given in works specially devoted to the subject.3 As an indication, all sufficient, of the feeling at the Reformation, it is sufficient to point out the fact that the great leading Confession of Faith, the Angsburg Confession, positively forbids the entertainment of a belief in the conversion of the world prior to the Second Advent (see Prop. 78, Obs. 2, (4), (b)). The Anabaptists, as evidenced by history, attempted to set up the predicted universal Kingdom of Christ, and the Seventeenth Article of the Confession, specially designed against them, “condemn those who spread abroad Jewish opinions, that, before the resurrection of the dead, the godly shall occupy the kingdom of the world, the wicked being everywhere suppressed” (Müller’s Symb. Books, p. 43), and in the Twenty-third Article the Reformers evince no hope in a future Millennium before the Advent by stating that they were then living in “the last times and days foreshown in Holy Scripture, in which the world is to become ever more and more degenerate, and mankind more sinful and weak” (Müller’s Symb. Books, p. 50). Nothing need be added to such plain statements.

Obs. 4. While the opinion of such a conversion of the world was suggested, and at once opposed (as e.g. by Luther, Calvin, etc., in preceding Obs.) no writer of any prominence, or theologian, or commentator, appeared to advocate a Millennium still in the future before the Advent of Christ, until Daniel Whitby (an English commentator, born A.D. 1638, died 1726), appeared, unless we except the dreams of aggrandizement suggested by some of the Jesuits (see Prop. 78, Obs. 19). Bh. Henshaw, Drs. Lillie, Duffield, Seiss, and others, have doubted whether a writer could be found before the time of Whitby who suggested such a Millennial period still future and prior to the Advent; and after years of research on subjects pertaining to Millenarianism we can find none unless we except the ravings of some Anabaptists or the schemes of some ardent followers of Loyola. Whitby himself, being no mean scholar but well posted in Patristic learning and Church history, calls his theory of a Millennium (spiritual) still future to be introduced by Gospel means, a “New Hypothesis” (a mere new supposition), which he could and would not have done if such a “hypothesis” had previously been propounded. Many Anti-Millenarians (as e.g. Bh. Russell, Dis. on Mill., Archd. Woodhouse On the Apoc., Prof. Bush On Mill., and others) have, while criticising the theory, never called into question Whitby’s claim to newness of a hypothetical Millennium. Now it is this theory, adopted by able and pious men (as e.g. Edwards, Hopkins, Scott, Dwight, Jay, Barnes, and many others), which in a short time, has deeply and almost universally intrenched itself in the Church. Its advocates differ somewhat among themselves as to the means and instrumentalities by which it is to be ushered in (thus e.g. some simply advocating present means; others, increased and marvellous outpourings of the Spirit; others, some remarkable divine spiritual interposition of Christ; and recent writers, even miraculous and supernatural interference), but still substantially agree in the outlines of the “hypothesis.” The influence of such a theory upon the reception of our doctrine can be readily seen; for it is hostile to it, being in direct conflict with it. Locating the Kingdom in this dispensation and prior to the Advent, having no need of a Pre-Millennial Personal Coming of Jesus, spiritualizing the throne, the Kingdom and the prophecies pertaining thereto, it conceives, from its “hypothetical” Kingdom thus spread over the earth, that no such Kingdom as is covenanted and grammatically expressed in the Word is to be established after the Advent of Christ. Such a spiritual fulfilment of prophecy is all, they think, that we are to anticipate, and the early Church belief on the subject is, therefore, discarded as “an idle dream,” or “a Jewish fable.” What the immediate followers and churches of the Apostles could not possibly entertain on account of their “Jewish prejudices,” and “the materialistic husk,” is at last presented and elucidated in Whitby’s “New Hypothesis.” It becomes necessary consequently for the sake of completeness in our argument to notice the unscriptural character of this theory, so productive of widespread unbelief in the doctrines of God’s eternal Word.

Obs. 5. Let us direct attention to some of the reasons already assigned which are opposed to the Whitbyan theory. For the sake of brevity and to avoid undue repetition, reference will be made to Propositions giving details, and the reader is solicited, if desirous to investigate the subject, to turn to them for additional information. 1. The principle of interpretation adopted, viz., the grammatical, Prop. 4, is the only one that is proper for a doctrinal position upon this subject. But if the literal interpretation is acceded to, then, as our opponents themselves admit, our doctrine is clearly and unmistakably taught. For the difference between us and the followers of Whitby, is not whether the Word contains our doctrine in its literal sense, but whether such a sense is to be retained. Let the reader decide this question, and in how far it is consistent with the honor of God to present such a sense that has led a host of ancient worthies and Christians to believe in our doctrinal position. If the literal sense is accepted, of course, then the interpretation of prophecy utterly forbids the adoption of the Whitbyan “hypothesis.” 2. The prevailing theory is based upon and is the logical outgrowth of, the notion that the Church is the covenanted Kingdom of David’s Son. This has been fully met in Propositions 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, and 109. 3. The scriptural idea of the Messianic Kingdom, as covenanted and prophesied, is strictly that of a Theocracy—overthrown, Prop. 32, but again restored, Props. 33, 34, 35, etc., fully identified with the restoration of the Davidic throne and Kingdom. Props. 48, 49, 51, 52, 118, etc. The conversion even of all nations could not restore the Kingdom. 4. The following particulars are all opposed to the Whitbyan doctrine (a) It overrides and degrades the hopes of the pious Jews, Props. 20, 21; (b) it ignores and lowers the preaching of John the Baptist, Props. 22, 38, 39, 40, 41, and of the disciples, Props. 43, 44; (c) it overlooks the fact that the Kingdom of God to be established is the ancient Theocracy acknowledged by God to be His special Kingdom, Props. 25, 26, etc., into which the Davidic line is incorporated, Prop. 31, and which was not in existence when Jesus came, Props. 41, 56; (d) the unmistakable postponement of the Kingdom, the previous gathering out of a people to whom the Kingdom is given, the consequent preaching of the Apostles, Props. 54 inclusive to 73, is all passed by as unworthy of notice, although specifically presented; (e) it is opposed to the distinctively announced facts (which show that piety, conversion, etc., are not denoted), that the Kingdom belongs to Christ as the Son of Man (see Prop. 81), that it is a visible restoration of forfeited dominion (Prop. 82), that it is given by the Father to the Son as the result of obedience (Props. 83, 84, 90), and that it is promised to the saints as an inheritance (Props. 89, 90). 5. The Millennial glory which is to follow in the restoration of the Barren Woman after the married wife, Prop. 118, is against its reception. 6. The Visible external organization of the Kingdom, Props. 116 and 117, and its introduction alone by the power of Christ, Prop. 120, forbids such a view of the Messianic Kingdom as is now prevalent. 7. The visible reign of Christ, Prop. 131; the visible reign of the saints, Prop. 154; the Judgeship of Christ, Prop. 132; the Judgment Day, Prop. 133; “The World to come,” Prop. 137; “The Day of the Lord Jesus,” Props. 138 and 139; the “Rest,” Prop. 143; “The End of the age,” Prop. 140; “The New Heavens and New Earth,” Props. 148, 149, 150, 151, 144, 146; the transfiguration, Prop. 153; the manner of the Jewish restoration and its design, Props. 111, 112, 113, 114; the mixed condition of Church evinced in the parables, Prop. 118; all present phases of argument converging from different points against the Whitbyan notion. 8. Besides all these, the doctrine of the Pre-Millennial Advent, Prop. 121; of the Pre-Millennial resurrection, Props. 125, 126, 127, 128; the destruction of the Antichrist by the Personal Advent of Jesus, Prop. 123; the marriage of Christ, Prop. 169; the perpetuity of the Kingdom when once established, Prop. 159, etc., are all of a nature irreconcilable with a conversion of the world prior to the Advent. To accept of the Whitbyan theory demands that all these several Propositions, with a large number of related evidences, be logically set aside—an undertaking that can alone be performed by seeking refuge in the Origenistic system of interpretation. The advocates of such a theory forget how clearly and distinctly the design of the present dispensation, Props. 86 and 87, is pointed out in Scripture, representing the Church as a preparatory stage, Prop. 88, to the ushering in of the glorious Messianic Kingdom. It is remarkable that for the complete success of our argument not one link, essential to its perfection, is missing in the Scriptures.*

Obs. 6. It seems scarcely requisite to add anything to what has preceded, and yet a few additional remarks may aid in bringing out the matter more clearly. 1. The exhortations given respecting the nearness of the Second Advent and the constant duty enjoined in looking for it, is irreconcilable with a Millennium prior to that Advent. So also the same incorporated into Confessions, as e.g. Westminster exhorting us owing to the uncertainty of the same to “be always watchful, because they know not at what hour the Lord will come.” The advocates of the Whitbyan theory, locating an intervening one thousand years definitely before the Advent, palpably contradict themselves when commenting on such scriptural injunctions. Thus, e.g. Barnes in various places in his Commentary urges it as a duty for believers to be looking and expecting the Second Advent, telling us even (1 Pet. 4:7) that “No man can tell certainly at what time it will come; no man can demonstrate that it may not come at any moment,” etc., and yet in the face of these and similar explicit statements he endeavors by the adoption of the Whitbyan “hypothesis” to “demonstrate” that it is at least a thousand years from us. A theory which involves such inconsistencies is certainly wrong. 2. The inability to meet the demands of Scripture and constitute an agreement between theory and Holy Writ is met with in the writings of the ablest of the Whitbyan class. We give two illustrations. Dr. Brown in Christ’s Sec. Coming, unable to rid himself of the passages which speak of a mixed condition even in the Church, of good and bad down to the Advent, advocates a Millennial period in which the preponderating mass, the large majority shall only be righteous, and then taxes us with a kind of exaggerating the Millennial descriptions. But this is directly antagonistic to the predicted universality of righteousness given in Heb. 8:11; Jer. 31:34; Isa. 54:13; Isa. 11:9, etc. Which are we to credit, the Spirit or the imperfect Millennial era thus presented? Again: Dr. Neander (Life of Christ) ably and elaborately presents his development theory (derived from the leaven) until he has (as in Sec. 52) the whole world, universally subdued and there is “a real world-dominion,” “a perfect world-dominion of Christ and of His organs; a world purified and transformed, to become the seat of His universal empire.” All this is done morally and spiritually through the agency of the Church. But when we come (Sec. 214) to his interpretation of Luke 17:22–37 (into which Jerusalem, the Romans, etc., could not be conveniently crowded), then he admits—although he must have felt how contradictory to his favorite theory—that there will be “a corrupt world,” and that “the glorified Son of Man” must appear and “precede the consummation of the Kingdom.” The leavening process, according to his own confession, is acknowledged to be a failure, and that world-wide dominion, which Daniel says is ever-enduring, he either must bring to a downfall through this corruption or must postpone until after the Advent of Christ. 3. The Spirit’s description of this dispensation (as e.g. in 2 Thess. 2:1–14; Dan. 11 and 12; 1 Pet. 1:1–25; 2 Pet. 3:1–14; Matt. chs. 24 and 25, etc.) abundantly evidence the fact that down to the Second Advent wickedness shall constantly exist and finally culminate into widespread infidelity, etc. Satan, instead of being bound, is busily engaged in sowing tares down to the period of the harvest, or the end of the age. Wicked men are represented as ever attached to the Church, the “few” out of the “many” only being the really faithful obedient believers. Now a development theory or conversion “hypothesis,” which engrafts itself upon the parable of the leaven and of the mustard seed, but ignores the teaching of the parable of the tares and wheat and of the drag-net and the statements, positively given, of a continuance of evil and evildoers down to the Advent, is certainly one-sided and sadly defective. The retrogressions, relapses, continued mixed condition, etc., of the Church itself, shows what confidence can be placed in this leavening process. This is so sensibly felt that recent writers against us (as e.g. Waldegrave, New Test. Mill.) frankly admit that the antichristian powers will exist down to the Second Advent; that the Church will continue to struggle on against wickedness down to the same period, and oven proceeds to the revolting acknowledgment—forced by these Scriptures and by his placing the Advent after the Millennium—that wickedness will so abound during the thousand years that martyrdom itself shall be experienced by believers. Others, however, like Brown, Barnes, etc., are content with giving a mixed Millennial period sufficiently pervaded with wickedness to make a revival of the martyr spirit a necessity. How such statements can be reconciled with those of the prophets relating to the same period, we cannot comprehend, unless the inspired man is to give place to the uninspired. 4. The blessings allied to the Millennial era, associated with the Messianic reign are of such a nature that the simple moral and spiritual means of the Gospel, even if the whole world were converted, cannot introduce them (this has been pointed out in Props. 120, 6, etc.). Knowledge, piety, material prosperity, etc., cannot remove the suffering and evils attendant to human nature, for what Froude (Shorter Studies, p. 272) says specially of the latter is still true of all: “Let us build our streets of gold and they will hide as many aching hearts as hovels of straw. The well-being of mankind is not advanced a step.” Knowledge, wealth, and piety cannot remove the curse with its consequent ills. If the predictions of the Prophets are received, it is impossible to see how they can be fulfilled by existing means. This is beginning to be realized by our opponents, so that the most recent of them (as Fairbairn, On Proph., pp. 465, 451, etc.) frankly admit that to introduce and continue the Millennial blessedness and glory predicted, additional means of an extraordinary character, supernatural and miraculous, are necessary and will be employed. 5. While we do not concede that the “Variations of Protestantism,” or the disagreements of churches, or the “denudation” or retrogressive periods, can be urged against the claims of Christianity (for such a state is foretold and is a consequent of human freedom), yet it must be admitted that it has force against the notion of a conversion of the world. While there is progress arising from the Divine Purpose to save them that believe and to gather out a certain number of pre-determined ones (pre-determined in relation to His Kingdom), and from the intellectual activity, etc., incident to man, yet, account for it as we may, there have been periods of depression of the truth and these have been caused not only by direct persecution but even by that which humanity so highly prizes—reason, philosophy, etc. This, at least, should make us cautious in deducing such a conversion as many do, from the establishment of Christianity and the history of the past. And this cautious handling of the subject should be increased by considering that the preaching of the Gospel and even its success is no criterion whatever that God’s judgments, if predicted to come, will not be poured out upon the world. For although Jerusalem was the centre of great missionary operations and multitudes were converted (Acts 2:41; 6:7, etc; 21:20), and the Gospel was successfully preached over the known Roman world, yet all this did not prevent the vengeance of God from being poured out at the appointed time. Hence, the lack of success, or even success itself, is no just criterion of the ultimate design of the Almighty in reference to this dispensation; for the object intended by both the one and the other must be gathered from direct specifications pertaining to them. 6. This age or period is denominated an “evil age,” i.e. “marked by sin and misery, this world, as compared with the future and heavenly one” (so Blomfield, etc.), and hence the very name bestowed upon it is indicative that it will never become the good and blessed age that many dream. The language of Gal. 1:4 that Christ “gave Himself for our sins that He might deliver us from this present evil world (or age”), and of John 15:19; 17:14–16; 1 John 5:19, etc., is plainly significant of the fact, evidenced by the sad experience of nearly nineteen centuries, that this age is evil, and continues to remain such, from which we can only expect deliverance through Christ. 7. The fighting, struggling condition of the pious and of the Church, as presented in numerous passages as well as the promises of encouragement under persecution, etc. (2 Tim. 3:12; Acts 14:22; 1 Cor. 15:19; 1 Thess. 3:3, etc.), so clearly evince the continued and often triumphant existence of wickedness down to the Advent, that the same is irreconcilable with the previous fulfilment of the Millennial predictions. 8. The condition of the world at the time of the Advent is one of such extensive, prevailing wickedness that, in the very nature of the case, it shows that it is only the outgrowth of previously long-continued wickedness. For so widespread, cumulative a state of evil does not exist without a preparative course. For days to return like “the days of Noah” and “the days of Lot” (Luke 17:26–30), when but little “faith” will be found “on the earth” (Luke 18:8), when “perilous times” (2 Tim. 3:1–5) will come, when men shall be “mockers,” etc. (Jude 18), when a mighty confederation of wickedness (Rev. 19, etc.) shall exist, etc., etc.—all this demands a previous course of evil training, which is consonant only with other descriptions pertaining to this age. 9. The representations given concerning the ministry; the endurance of hardship and trial; the being a savor of life unto life to some and of death unto death to others; the rejection of them by those who cannot “endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall heap to themselves teachers,” etc., etc., are all of a nature correspondent only with a mixed state in the Church and of extensive wickedness in the world. Even the charge of preaching and faithfulness in the ministry is based by Paul, in perfect agreement with our position on the simple gathering of the elect and not upon the conversion of the world. In the charge given to Timothy to make “full proof of his ministry” in “doing the work of an Evangelist,” there is not the remotest allusion to an anticipated success in being instrumental in converting the world, but a direct reference—as if to crush such a notion if it should arise—to “His (Christ’s) appearing and His Kingdom” (2 Tim. 4:1–5). 10. Thus many incidental reasons might be adduced confirmatory of our doctrinal position, such as (1) the existence of “the times of the Gentiles,” by which Gentile domination during this period is denoted; (2) the fearful persecution to which the Church is to be exposed at the closing of this period; (3) the harvest (because the “wickedness is great,” Joel 3:13) precedes the Millennial era, Rev. 14:14–20; (4) the instruction imparted by analogy in the ending of former dispensations so expressive of human depravity; (5) the conversion of the Jews induced by “looking upon Him whom they have pierced;” (6) the delineation of the dispensation by John. 1 John 2:18, 28; (7) the bestowal of the sovereignty of this world upon Christ is linked with the resurrection and rewarding of the saints, as e.g. Rev. 11:15–18; (8) the Millennial era is preceded by the overthrow and destruction of the kings of the earth, as e.g. Rev. 19:18, 19, compare Ps. 110:5, 6; (9) the gathering out of the people in place of the Jewish nation which rejected the truth, is followed by the terrible vengeance of God, first upon the Jewish nation and then at the close of their tribulation upon the Gentiles, as e.g. Deut. 32:21–43; (10) the nations shall come and worship God when His judgments are made manifest, as e.g. Rev. 15:4; Isa. 26:9; Zeph. 3:8–20; Zech. 14:16, etc.; (11) the conversion of the world is nowhere given as a sign (followed by an apostasy) of the approaching Advent of Christ; (12) the large class of passages which speak of the removal of the wicked at a set time out of the earth by “a consumption,” “destruction,” etc., as e.g. Mal. 4; Ps. 37; Ps. 104:35, etc.; (13) the manner in which the Apostles quote Millennial predictions identifying them with the period of the Advent and resurrection of the saints, as e.g. 1 Cor. 15:54; (14) the elect body of saints, converted and thus gathered out of the nations, are represented (James 1:18) to be “a kind of first fruits of His creatures” (comp. Eph. 1:12 with connection); (15) the waiting position of the martyrs (Rev. 6:10, 11), and of the saints (Heb. 11:39, 40, etc.), corresponds only with a depressed and not a triumphant condition of the Church; (16) the Jewish tribulation, now witnessed, is to extend down to the personal Advent of Jesus as e.g. Matt. 24; Zech. 14, etc.; (17) at the Coming of the Lord to plead with all nations, nations are represented as unconverted and some even as not conversant with the rudimentary knowledge of Him, as in Isa. 66:15–19; (18) the continued use of the Lord’s prayer down to the end of the age; (19) the fact that individual believers and not nations are elected; (20) the believers are “witnesses” set to testify to the truth before others, and of these comparatively few are found, for “many are called but few are chosen,” etc.; (21) the narrowness of the way and straitness of the gate is the same down to the Advent, and it always remains a truth to that period that “few there be that find it;” (22) the saving of “some” of “them that believe,” of a certain pre-determined number corresponds with the difficulties often entailed upon the ministry (the Apostles not being exempt) in proclaiming the Gospel and in the facilities afforded for the same; (23) the finishing of “the mystery of God” under the seventh trumpet (Rev. 10:7) includes a preceding time of trouble and wrath with a Pre-Mill. Advent (Rev. 19) and incoming Kingdom, vindicating God’s procedure in redemption; (24) the Kingdom is established at the very time “the nations were angry” (Rev. 11:15, 18) linked with a time of resurrection (which even some of our opponents, as Prof. Stuart, Com. Apoc., admit to be literal); (25) the conversion of the nations is positively asserted to follow the pouring out of the judgments of God, as e.g. Rev. 15:4; Zeph. 3:8–20; (26) the conversion cannot possibly precede the persecution of the Church and the downfall of the Antichrist whose overthrow is effected by Christ and His army (comp. Props. 162, 163): (27) Christ’s delineation and opinion of the Church, taking the seven churches of the Apoc. as prophetic (comp. Seiss’s Lects. Apoc., No. 2, p. 174, etc.): (28) the consternation of the world at the open Parousia of Jesus, Rev. 1:7; Rev. 6, last seal; Matt. 24:30, etc.; (29) the multitude destroyed at the Sec. Advent, Joel. 3; Zech. 14; Mich. 4; Rev. 14; Isa. 66, etc.; (30) the continued apostatizing in the Church down to the Advent itself, 2 Thess. 2; Matt. 24, etc.; (31) the comments and concessions of our opponents on such passages as 1 John 2:18; 2 Thess. 2:8; Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21, etc.; (32) Jesus, John 17:9 (comp. 1 John 5:19) not praying for the world, but for His own gathered out of the same; (33) the parable of the sower, applying, as prominent critics of all classes affirm, to the present dispensation, indicates that down to the Second Advent there will be, as Christ portrayed, a constant rejection of the Gospel (some writers, as e.g. Brookes in The Truth, vol. 2, No. 12, declare that “only one fourth part of the seed will take effect,” Matt. 13:1–23, but we are not prepared to press the parable so closely, but, to say the least, it is significant, that Jesus makes only a small proportion effectual); (34) the Jewish view of the non-conversion of the world previous to the personal Messianic reign, confirmed by Jesus and the Apostles in the language employed, so that all the early converted Jews retain—as we have shown—the same views; (35) the positive evidence afforded by Isa. 66:19, etc., that, at the Sec. Advent, not all the world have heard the Gospel; (36) this world not to be converted but condemned, 1 Cor. 11:32, owing, as numerous passages assert, to its wickedness; (37) if the world were converted, then the saints would reign because a world dominion would be theirs, but they reign only after the Second Advent (Prop. 154).

Obs. 7. Our argument might by some be deemed incomplete if we did not, at least briefly, indicate how the passages usually quoted in favor of the conversion of the world are to be explained. 1. The favorite text of many is found in Ps. 2:8 “Ask of Me and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” This wrested from its connection, is supposed to be conclusive proof. But leaving the context and parallel passages to have due force, it is found that this is fulfilled, (a) when “the nations rage” (comp. Rev. 11:18); (b) when a confederation of “the kings of the earth” and “the rulers” is formed against Christ (comp. Rev. 19:19); (c) when the scorn and derision, the wrath and sore displeasure of the Lord shall be manifested (comp. wrath of, Rev. 11:18 and 14:10, etc.); (d) when the Mighty King shall be at Jerusalem (comp. Zech. 14:4, 5, etc.); (e) when instead of being converted, “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel; (f) and when “the Son” shall be “angry” and, if not repentant, they shall “perish.” It is folly to make this ruling with a rod of iron, a converting process in the light of such parallel Scripture as Rev. 19:15 and 2:27 which not only locate the time of its fulfilment to be after the Advent, but express the process as one terrible in its results to the enemies of God thus threatened. 2. Another, often quoted, text is in Isa. 2:18, 20 “And the idols He shall utterly abolish.” “In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats.” But the context unmistakably shows that this is the result of the fearful manifestations of God’s judgments. Particular emphasis (as if the Spirit foresaw the deceptive interpretation fastened upon the passage) is laid upon the fact (repeated) that this is done “for fear of the Lord and for the glory of the Lord” (“before the terrible look of Jehovah,” so Delitzsch, with which comp. Rev. 19:12, etc.), “when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth” (or, “to put the earth into terror,” so Delitzsch, with which comp. Rev. 1:7, etc.). It is simply a perversion of language to make that which plainly describes a period of terror and awe to mean the gracious influences of spiritual converting power, etc. 3. Still another frequently employed is found in Isa. 11:9 “The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” The context informs us when this shall be fulfilled. In the 4th verse it is said: “He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked.” Now this instead of being a converting process is described in Rev. 19:15 at the Advent of the King of kings, as an act of vengeance, for “out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations; and He shall rule them with a rod of iron and He treadeth the wine-press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (see what follows). The Spirit thus locates the period of fulfilment, and to confirm it gives us a beautiful Millennial prediction (vers. 6, 7, 8) which is repeated in Isa. 65:17–25 as taking place when “the New Heaven and the New Earth” are created (see Prop. 148). 4. Isa. 25:6–12; Micah 4:1–4; Isa. 2:2–4 or portions of it, are quoted as sustaining a conversion of the world prior to the Advent, but that this is a perversion of these Scriptures is evident from the context and texts. For these passages stand related to the terrible punishment inflicted upon the kings of the earth, the resurrection of the saints (as e.g. Isa. 25:8 comp. with 1 Cor. 15:54) the restoration of the Jews, the reigning of the Messiah in Mt. Zion, the removal of all suffering, war, etc. (comp. with Rev. 21:4, etc.). They fall into correspondence with numerous Propositions already presented. 5. Isa. 60 and 54 are largely appropriated in behalf of the Whitbyan theory, but how erroneously can be seen in Props. 148, 151, 146 and 118. 6. Dan. 2 and 7 are also thus applied, but wrongfully as is evident from Props. 121, 123, 126, 127, 128, etc. 7. Zech. 2:11 “And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day and shall be my people;” Zech. 9:10 “He shall speak peace to the heathen, and His dominion shall be from sea even to sea and from the river even to the ends of the earth;” Zech. 8:20–23 and Zech. 14:9 “The Lord shall be King over all the earth; in that day there shall be one Lord and His name One.” But if we allow the same Spirit which gives such gracious promises to locate their fulfilment, it will be found to be at the restoration of the Jewish nation when the fearful vengeance of God is poured out upon its enemies who have oppressed it—when the Lord will come and dwell again with man, “choosing again Jerusalem” and “inheriting Judah His portion in the holy land”—when “His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mt. of Olives,” “the Lord my God shall come and all the saints with Thee,” and the wicked shall be utterly destroyed out of the earth and “the left of all the nations” shall come and worship the mighty King. 8. Zeph. 3:9 promising the bestowal “to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one consent,” is realized only when as context shows, “I (the Lord) rise up to the prey; for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the Kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger; for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.” The context points to this preceding vengeance, and then to the restoration and safety of the Jewish nation, and to the dwelling of “the King of Israel, even the Lord in the midst of thee.” 9. The parable of the Leaven is a favorite with many, but we only need to remark that whatever interpretation is given to it, one thing is certain that it does not contradict the parables of the tares and wheat and of the drag net (see Prop. 108). The small, definite measure in which the leaven is placed shows that it is not applicable to the world. 10. Isa. 27:6 “Israel shall blossom and bud and fill the face of the world with fruit.” But this follows the destruction of “the Leviathan,” corresponding with numerous other predictions, such as Rev. 19; Joel 3, etc. 11. Rom. 11, has been examined in detail (Props. 112, 121, etc.), and the conversion of the world is shown to be identified with the ending of the times of the Gentiles, the Advent of Jesus (verse 26 comp. with Matt. 23:37–39; Zech. 12:10, etc.) and the restoration of the Jewish nation. 12. Isa. 59:19 “So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west and His glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” Having already shown that the Spirit has worked in all dispensations and that His most glorious displays belong to the coming age (Prop. 171), it is only necessary to direct attention to the context of this passage. This state of things predicted is preceded by the “coming in of the enemy as a flood” (viz. the last great Antichristian confederation) and the Coming of the Lord clad in “the garments of vengeance” and pouring out “fury to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies.” “The Redeemer shall come to Zion,” and then the Spirit and truth shall evermore remain with the Jewish nation. The outpouring of the Spirit, Joel 2:28–32 connected with Joel 3, is allied with the day of the Lord, the presence of the King, the overthrow of confederated enemies and the glory of restoration, which is abundantly confirmed by various parallel passages. 13. The position occupied by some (as e.g. Stearns, Proph. Times. Dec. 1866, p. 186) that the Coming of Christ and the outpouring of the Spirit “are one and the same thing,” needs no refutation in the light of such declarations contained in John 16:7, Luke 24:49, John 14:16, Acts 2:33, etc. 14. Rom. 5:20 “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound,” is adduced to prove the world’s conversion before the Advent, but it proves too much for if the deduction drawn from it is just, then the Jewish nation instead of being rejected, etc., ought to have been converted, and so all other nations who have heard the Gospel. This passage only shows the marvellous grace of God toward sinners, the freeness and largeness of profferred salvation, but this grace, such salvation, can be refused. 15. Ps. 72:7, 8, 9, 10 expressive of a world-wide dominion, takes place when the King judges (Prop. 132) the people, having broken “in pieces the oppressor,” having “come down,” and the nations are situated as represented in Isa. 60, and Rev. 21:16. The ending of the Priesthood of Christ (and hence no more salvation, etc., for the race) with this age, has been noticed, Prop. 155, etc., as opposed to Scripture. 17. The non-perpetuation of the race (and hence no more probation, etc.) at the Sec. Advent received due attention under Prop. 152. 18. The commission as given in Mark 16:15, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature” (or, as Sirr, Lit. vol. 3, p. 151, “going into the whole world announce the glad tidings for the whole creation”) and Matt. 28:19 “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them” etc., is supposed by many to embrace the conversion of the world. But it says nothing of such conversion; only enjoining the duty of preaching the Gospel, and plainly declaring that only some shall be saved in the attached language: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” 19. Eaton and others lay much stress upon the cosmopolitan nature of the doctrines of the Gospel, their adaptability to all people, etc. But this does not prove that they will be universally received, seeing that with all their suitableness to make man happy, etc., the large number have thus far rejected them, and that even communities and countries that once possessed the Gospel (as Asia Minor, Egypt, etc.) have it only to-day by renewed missionary effort. However well adapted to promote man’s welfare, man, owing to the duties enjoined and self-denial required, can reject it. 20. The same is true of the argument based on the permanency and duration of Christianity, this only indicating the constant carrying out of the Divine purpose in saving some. The present arrangement is wholly dependent upon the Will of God, and what that Will contemplates in reference to continuation, etc., must be ascertained, not from the establishment and perpetuation thus far of the present ordering, but from the design He has in view respecting it. 21. Finally, some refer us to Matt. 24:14 “This Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations,” etc. Without showing how largely this has been already done (even in apostolic days, Col. 1:6, 23, etc.) without the conversion of the world following, it is sufficient to say that the passage itself limits this preaching “for a witness unto all nations.” That is, the truth is to be testified to whether men accept of it or not, so that when God’s judgments come a reasonable and seasonable warning shall be given. It is only a witness (comp. Lange’s Com. loci, and remarks of Alford, Nast, Gerlach, etc.) and, if we were to take the limited sense applied to it by Barnes (Com. loci) was amply fulfilled before the destruction of Jerusalem. Extending it down to the end of this age it is still a witness for the truth, implying by the very phraseology that some reject the Gospel. So that even Chrysostom on this passage says: “Attend with care to what is read. He said not when it hath been believed by all men, but when it hath been preached to all. For this cause he also said, ‘for a witness to all nations,’ to show that He doth not wait for men to believe, and then for Him to come, since that phrase ‘for a witness’ hath this meaning—for accusation, for reproof, for condemnation of those that have not believed.” Horne (Introd., vol. 1, p. 137), in answer to an objection drawn from the possession of the Gospel by countries that afterward fell into gross unbelief, aptly remarks: “we conceive that the prophecies are fulfilled when all parts of the world shall have had the offer of Christianity.”

Obs. 8. On a subject of this kind, in view of the influence exerted, it may be in place to add the testimony of some additional witnesses to aid the student in forming a judgment respecting the same. Having already alluded to the early Church, Reformers and Confessions, the declaration of the Latter Confession of Helvitia (1566) may be annexed. After, in the eleventh article, saying that Jesus shall return again “even then when wickedness shall chiefly reign in the world,” etc., the Confessors proceed: “Moreover we condemn the Jewish dreams, that before the day of judgment there shall be a golden world in the earth; and that the godly shall possess the Kingdoms of the world, their wicked enemies being trodden under foot: for the evangelical truth, Matt. 24 and 25, and Luke 21, and the Apostolic doctrine in the 2d Epis. to the Thess. 2, and in the 2d Epis. to Tim. 3 and 4, are found to teach far otherwise.” Olshausen, Com. vol. 1, p. 117, and in various places is very decided in rejecting the Whitbyan theory, advocating “that with the arrival of this reign of peace there will be connected on the one hand, the appearance of Jesus Christ and a resurrection of many saints and pious men, and on the other, a previous mighty struggle on the part of evil,” etc. Nissen in his Lectures on Luther’s Smaller Catechism on the doctrine of the Millennium, pointedly rejects the conversion of the world before the personal Advent of Jesus, saying: “It is a false widespread idea to which we yield quite too readily, that the Gospel once introduced into the world and embodied in the Church, must now even more and more impregnate and pervade everything with its blessing: state, art, science, and civilization; and that just in this way a universal renovation of the world is to be brought about. But the Holy Scriptures everywhere and throughout, in all the prophecies, as well in the Old Test. as in the New, present a very different conception of things.” He advocates the continued existence of evil powers, which shall culminate in intense hatred toward the Church and the exaltation of Antichrist, until Christ personally comes, remarking: “When the pride of Antichrist, and the self-security and fearful sins of the world, as the straits and griefs of God’s people, have reached their highest point, then shall Jesus Christ be revealed from heaven, to make an end of the course of this world and to establish His glorious Kingdom upon the earth.” Dean Alford’s (Crit. Com. on New Test.) sentiments are well known, and hence we only need to quote one passage illustrative of the same: “The Lord will come in person to this earth; His risen elect will reign here with Him. This is my firm persuasion, and not mine alone, but that of multitudes of Christ’s waiting people, as it was that of His Primitive Apostolic Church. before controversy blinded the eyes of the Fathers to the light of prophecy.” Dr. Marsh, after many years of prophetic study, declared (Mem. by his daughter): “The complete victory of truth I do not expect until the Second Advent of our blessed Lord. I have no hope of a general or universal spread of Christian knowledge till He comes.” “When He has taken out of the Gentiles a people for His name and called a remnant of the Jews according to the election of grace, then He will return and convert the Jewish nation, put down all rule and all authority and power opposed to His Gospel, and cause the knowledge of Himself to cover the earth. So I read in every passage of Holy Writ, and long for the day; for then Satan will be bound and Creation will cease to groan.” “Not till then will the enemy be bound and error be banished, and Jew and Gentile form one flock, under one Shepherd.” Such extracts might be multiplied from Lange’s Com. (Especially from the Expos. of 1st and 2d Thess. and 1st and 2d Peter by Dr. Lillie), Bengel’s Gnomon, Ryle’s Expos. Thoughts on the Gospels, Tholuck’s Writings, Kelly’s Commentaries, Auberlen’s Works, Pridham On the Psalms, Jones’s Notes, Demarest’s Com. Second Peter, Delitzsch’s Works, and many others, indicative both of the retention of the primitive faith by some able men, and that, on the score of advocacy, it has no lack of talented defenders. Indeed the latter is so much the case that Dr. Ed. Beecher, a sympathizer with the Whitbyan theory, calls attention to the fact in the Independent of Aug. 24th, 1871, and declares that “their power seems to be increasing,” that “the more recent Commentaries are tending to undermine the views” of the Whitbyan hypothetical advocates, and adds: “this is true of Alford, Ellicott, Lange and his co-laborers, especially Drs. Lillie, Auberlen, and Riggenbach. To these we must add the writings of English and American Millenarians, the older and the more recent. And there is at present no adequate counterpoise to the weight of the authority of the commentators whom we have mentioned.” This frank confession is followed by warnings to urge his party to renewed efforts to meet this “undermining” process. Alas, prophecy teaches that the multitude will only too eagerly follow the same. Very few, comparatively, are willing to investigate the subject as Bh. Henshaw, who says: (Epis. Recorder, 1845) “Although we have formerly advocated the popular theory (viz. Whitbyan) ourselves—the common belief that there will be a conversion of all nations to the faith of Christ, and a state of universal peace and holiness throughout the world for the space of a thousand years before the Sec. Advent of our Lord, is, to our view, utterly irreconcilable with what the Scriptures teach.” Many too, convinced of the untenableness of the prevailing opinion and of the soundness of our deductions, instead of proclaiming their views and enjoying the happy consciousness of having warned and encouraged Church (as e.g. Rev. John King Lord, on his death-bed) hold them back from the public, and at the close of life express their regret for such reticence (as e.g. the talented Rev. Hall, see Duffield Diss. on Proph. p. 259).

Obs. 9. Attention may be appropriately called to a number of particulars connected with this subject. 1. Various parties have noticed that the very name given (in Greek) to the Church, is significant of a part being taken from the whole. “Ekklesia,” as critics assure us, denotes a calling forth out of, or from among, others, meaning therefore a body separated from others or the mass; these form the company of believers, the assemblage of the faithful. Therefore, the name chosen to designate God’s people in this dispensation being applicable down to the end of the age, itself intimates that it always, to the end of this dispensation, will only compose a portion taken out of the nation. This is confirmed by the applied terms “elect” “chosen,” etc., which in themselves convey the idea that others remain outside of this favored body. 2. The preaching of the Gospel and the acceptance of the same has always more or less been accompanied by the division predicted by Christ, Luke 12:51–53, and the hatred prophesied John 15:19. Innumerable instances from the days of the apostles to the present evidence its continued truthfulness. But comparatively few families are all believers, while no city, town or village, however great the advantages but has its unbelievers, and such in the majority. The cities, too, that have been the most highly favored by able preaching, possessing the highest talent of the Church, and being the centres of great missionary societies, have an overwhelming majority on the side of evil, thus teaching us that the true sons and daughters of God always, in comparison with the mass around them, compose a “small flock.” 3. The conversion of the world, at some period of time, is most certain, for God has sworn to bring it about. Thus e.g. Isa. 45:23, “I have sworn by Myself, the Word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” But in strict accordance with our argument, Paul quotes this Rom. 14:10, 11 as applicable to the time when Christ is seated upon the judgment seat or throne after His Advent (see Props. 176, 132 and 133). 4. Taking into consideration the efforts made at Christianizing the nations, the amount of success, the losses and retrogressions, the millions in heathen darkness, the millions only nominally Christian, the millions in unbelief, the appliances of evil, etc., we are not surprised that some advocating the Whitbyan opinion, express themselves (misconceiving the design of the dispensation), as Dr. Lyman Beecher (Taylor’s Voice of the Church, p. 9.), “It would take to all eternity to bring the Millennium at the rate that modern revivals progress.” Dr. Leask states in Happy Years that an eminent missionary made a calculation how long it would take the world to be converted and gave “as the result the astounding answer of a million of years.” Numerous calculations, some exceedingly sanguine, exist, but the Millennium is not dependent upon any such anticipated results. It solely depends upon the number of the elect that God has determined to gather out, and when the number is completed, no sooner or later, then will it come. Hence missionaries, ministers, and others, engaged in proclaiming the Gospel have no reason to be discouraged at the apparent want of success; for whether men accept or reject the truth, the appointed work of procuring these elect ones is going on, and also that of making the Gospel a witness. 5. No important creed or confession of faith has incorporated the Whitbyan hypothesis, while a number of them employ language which is irreconcilable with its adoption. This indicates both the more ancient faith and the more recent origin of the prevailing view; and, may we add, the modern departure from the spirit of the older confessions, 6. The limited chronological periods, no matter from what point we may reckon their commencement, are opposed to the Whitbyan theory. For they are connected in their ending with events which can only transpire at the Advent of Christ, such as e.g. the resurrection in Daniel 12; Rev. 11, etc. These periods embrace the depression of the Church under Antichristian influence. 7. The declarations respecting an incoming dispensation are ignored by the advocates of this theory, as e.g. the facts adduced under Props. 133, 137, 138, 139, 140, and 143. 8. This is a subject of prophecy. When the pulpit, platform, and press describe, in glowing terms and with beautiful figures of speech. the Whitbyan golden age, few men stop to think that the speaker or writer is entering the region of unfulfilled prophecy. The stale objection that prophecy can only be understood after its fulfilment, levelled against us, is no more thought of, and the utmost positiveness is manifested. Such, however, are predicting and as the prediction happens to harmonize with the popular view, no feeling is excited against it, but it is greeted with the heartiest approbation. We could point to numerous, and really finely executed, sermons, hymns, etc., on this subject that are highly esteemed but which do not contain one solitary scripturally derived proof in favor of the position maintained, and yet they are favorites. Just so soon as our view is stated and defended, then, owing to its opposition to popular conceptions, and the humilating facts connected therewith, it is immediately felt to be one relating to unfulfilled prophecy, and some—overlooking their own confident entrance into the identical field of inquiry—are ready to censure us for discussing the matter. Wisdom and prudence dictate that both are dealing with the future, and as that future can only be ascertained in so far as God has revealed it, he only is correct, whose view is the most solidly based on the Word of God. 9. How widely the two views differ in the instruction which they impart to the people. The one tells them that they are to look for peace and prosperity; for wars to cease; for a universal spread of holiness and happiness—in brief—for “the year of Jubilee” to come in this dispensation through the preaching of the Gospel. The other flatly contradicts this, saying that instead of peace and prosperity to the nations of the earth, they must expect the future to bring forth war, distress, and perplexity; that unbelief and wickedness will exist down to Christ’s Advent and just previous to His Coming will greatly increase; that instead of happiness widely extended and universally diffused, we must await, before the Mill. age is introduced, the most fearful calamities to befall the earth. The Whitbyan view takes the Millennial predictions and applies them to this dispensation, promising that, by the Gospel and the outpouring of the Spirit, evils shall be rooted out and “the glory of the latter day be brought about.” The Primitive Church view makes no such vain promises, telling the people that apostatizing from the truth shall prevail; that the awful scenes predicted by Daniel, Isaiah, and John must first be witnessed; that the time of trouble to come upon the nations mentioned by all the prophets must first be realized, and the last great earthquake convulsing the earth must first be felt; that the terrors and the joys of the Second Advent, the fearful tribulation, the terrible treading of the wine-press, the dreadful supper of human flesh must first come to pass before this world is ever converted to God, and King Jesus will introduce the promised blessedness. The contrast between the two views is great. The one prophesies “smooth things,” administering to the Church, what Mather called “the sleeping medicine,” until, as predicted, not merely the foolish but also the wise virgins slumber and sleep not looking for the Coming of the Bridegroom. It lauds and magnifies the Church until it deems itself “rich and increased in goods and having need of nothing,” not knowing that it is “poor and blind and naked;” for ignoring faith in the Coming of the Master, and in the events connected therewith, it is utterly unprepared. It places that Advent into an indefinite, distant future, that it loses all practical force. Denying the literal fulfilment of the covenants, and of prophecy based upon the same; rejecting the power of a first resurrection, and the tremendous issues related thereto; refusing to warn the people; putting death in the place of the Advent, etc., it soothes nations, corporations, bodies ecclesiastical, and individuals into the complacent and fatal idea that present institutions, means, etc., are to be prepetuated for ages to the gradual and final exaltation of the race. The other prophesies both joyful and terrible things—joyful to him who can embrace “the blessed hope,” but fearful to him who cannot hope for salvation when Christ comes. It faithfully, amid compassionate expressions of pity and affected wit at its ignorance and folly, warns the Church and world of coming events, exhorts to be constantly watchful and prepare for the return of the Lord, and encourages the faithful to observe the thickening signs of approaching deliverance, and “to look up and lift up their heads for their Redemption draweth nigh.” It tells, pointing to Holy Writ for proof, them that Jesus and His co-heirs are to introduce, after smiting and overthrowing all confederations of wickedness, the knowledge and glory of the Lord which is to fill the whole earth, earnestly cautioning every one to stand in awe and sin not lest they perish under coming wrath. 10. Notice, briefly, the individual responsibility we are under in holding the one or the other of these views. If accountable to God for our doctrinal position, and the manner in which we understand and treat His Word, especially is this true of a doctrine involving such important matter and results. If our doctrine is wrong, we are held responsible for it, and must render an account for holding it. But in the last day, we at least can put in two pleas before the Judge that would largely palliate our error, viz., that our doctrine was contained in the plain grammatical sense of the Word; and that we injured no man in urging him to live soberly, righteously and godly, because of an impending Advent, because of frightful judgments soon to be poured out, because the coveted first resurrection was nigh at hand, because the wicked would be destroyed, this earth be renewed and Christ and His saints reign. We can justly claim that the entire tendency of our view, thus given in the literal sense of Scripture, was to preserve men from sin that they might inherit with Christ and participate in His glory. But what if our doctrine is true and the opposite is an error? Will not God hold such accountable for the error entertained? Undoubtedly so, as Jesus Himself declared Matt. 5:19. See the tendency of the doctrine as noticed in Obs. 9, and consider that if those fearful scenes of tribulation shall come upon the Church, as predicted, then multitudes that have been deceived by “the peace and safety” cry, when aroused from their Whitbyan dream of security by the persecuting and bloody demands of a culminated Antichrist, will accuse the ministry of having blinded them to the truth. To lead men on and on by a false hope until it gives place to appalling despair and martyrdom under Antichristian power is no trifling affair. Alas, that good and learned men should engage in such a work, urging on by their vivid and flattering portrayals of the conversion of the world, the even now generally accepted opinion, “My Lord delayeth His Coming,” etc. The best of motives, and the plea of ignorance, may indeed lessen to some extent the weight of censure, but the plainness. with which such things are recorded in the Word, the testimony on this subject in the Church, and the apparent neglect of a careful comparison of Scripture bearing upon it, do not clear the parties who entertain and proclaim it. In kindness, this personal accountability is presented for consideration, in the light of such passages as Ezek. 33:6, Acts 20:26, 27, etc., illustrative of the duty of proclaiming the truth as God has given it. 11. The advocacy of the early Church view by so many and prominent men in the Church, thus bringing the subject to the attention of believers, is not merely a coincidence, but, if we read Providence correctly, just what we ought to anticipate. As the prophetical periods are drawing to their close and the time is rapidly approaching for the astounding events preceding and accompanying the Advent of the mighty King, it is reasonable that God should revive in His believing people the ancient faith to serve both as a source of warning and encouragement. 12. The pervading extent and intrenchment of the Whitbyan hypothesis in the Church is a matter of amazement. Modern in its conception, yet with such favor has it been received that it is firmly planted in the minds and hearts of the multitude. Our view is regarded under its influence, with such disdain that thousands do not consider it worthy of serious attention; that few papers venture to publish our communications; that few pulpits are willingly opened to admit discussion; that books, hymn books, etc., favoring our doctrine, in reprints have the same omitted; and that we are classed with heretics, fanatics, etc. 13. But this is precisely the state of things that we ought to expect to find as the end draws nigh. If the entire Church would receive our view, if it were the great popular doctrine, all recognizing it as scriptural, etc., then indeed we might doubt its truthfulness. For one of the evidences that the world will not be converted before the Advent, is the predicted sign that the Church, under the influence of delusive hope (just such an one as the Whitbyan theory presents) will be in a state of fancied security and prosperity not looking for the Advent of Christ. Relying upon the Prophetic Word, it would be foolishness for us to imagine that our doctrine should become the popular one, like the Whitbyan. All that we anticipate is, that it will be received by the faithful few, until the time arrives when the sad and awful tribulation of the Church will open the blinded eyes of the Church. 14. The primitive view alone enables us to accept and adopt the exact language of the Bible, such as e.g. “The Coming of the Lord draweth nigh,” “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man Cometh,” “The end of all things is at hand,” and kindred passages. The Whitbyan theory can only receive these in consistency either by referring them to something else (as Providence, death, etc.), or by spiritualizing them into something indefinite. 15. The Whitbyan theory is one cause why prophecy is so greatly neglected by many. The prosperity and continued progress of the Church and the world toward Millennial blessedness is taken for granted, and it is not regarded essential to investigate the subject. Indeed in a multitude of instances investigation is most unwelcome.

Prophecies in antagonism to the prevailing view are called “dark,” “hidden,” “mysterious,” etc., and they are avoided on the alleged ground “that they cannot be comprehended until after the fulfilment.” In place of a personal consideration and comparison of Scripture relating to the subject, reliance is placed upon some theological work or commentary—however contradictory—and the labor of study thus prevented. Men, whose special business it is to proclaim the Word of God, are found in large numbers, who have never made the prophecies a careful and serious study. 16. No Millenarian, owing to the distinctive design of the Gospel now preached (viz., to save them that believe) has ever pronounced it “a failure.” It was no “failure” when preached by Jesus and the apostles and it has been none since, for it goes on steadily and unweariedly in accomplishing the object intended. 17. Hence all Millenarians, if true to their own avowed sentiments, must take a deep and lively interest in the proclamation of the Gospel of the Kingdom. For, it is only by the preached Word, or by the acceptance of the truth in Christ Jesus, that “the elect” are gathered out, and it is only when these elect are all gathered that the Advent of Jesus and the resultant glory follows. That such is their feeling is evidenced by the acknowledgments—perhaps undesigned—of our opponents, who praise the missionary efforts and Christian labors of the first centuries. A recent notable example of the kind is found in “An Appeal to the Churches” favoring a General Revival of Religion, etc., issued from Boston 1867, and signed by sixty clergymen, headed by Albert Barnes. In this “Appeal” the first three centuries are lauded for the zeal, etc., manifested, and a decline in the fourth century noticed, and the significant sentence occurs: “It is also abundantly evident that the conversion of the world was advancing far more rapidly during the first three centuries, and was prospectively much nearer its final completion fifteen hundred years ago, than it is to-day.” Discarding the notion that the Church then labored for the conversion of the world, which is contradicted by the writings of the Fathers, we accept of this impartial testimony to the faithfulness, activity, and piety of those who were Millenarian in doctrine, and labored earnestly to call the elect, and hasten the day of the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who, perhaps unguardedly, have so much to say about “the injurious tendencies” of our doctrine and “the weakness of intellect” allied with its reception (notwithstanding the large number of eminent and scholarly men who have entertained it) would do well not only to consider the missionary spirit and success of the early Church but also the motives which urged them on in their labor of love and devotion—motives grounded in the doctrines advocated in this work.

Obs. 10. This idea of the conversion of the world, or development theory, under existing instrumentalities and law, has been seized by semi-infidels and infidels, the advocates of “The Absolute Religion,” and in their hands resolves itself into a gradual education of the world, the earliest ages being compared to infancy with its delusions, the middle to childhood with its follies, the later to manhood with its riper deductions, and the present, if we are to credit them, is bringing forth the matured man with his intellectual strength and wisdom. The wisest men of all generations live now, and will, it is assumed, leaven the mass until all possess full moral and religious truth through a generally diffused and constantly abiding inspiration equal to, yea, superior to, that of Paul or any of the prophets. To give an idea of the swelling words issuing from these “inspired” men, we give an extract from Frothingham’s Sermon “On the New Religion of Nature.” “Nature’s seers, running their eye along the line of the moral law, catch vistas in the future brighter than those that now are fading from the Old Test. page; and Nature’s prophets, putting their ear to the ground, hear the murmur of nobler revelations than were ever given to the old oracles now moving their stiffened lips in death.” If this were the infatuated ravings of a few men, it might be passed by in silence, but unfortunately it forms the belief of a growing multitude, including men eminent in science and literature. The utterances of Parker, Carpenter, Draper, and a host of others are so well adapted to human nature, calling for no Christian repentance and self-denial, and so pleasing and acceptable to the natural inclinations and desires, demanding no Christian’s cross to be borne, that human depravity eagerly seizes upon their prophecies, and exalts them as the hope of humanity. Such is the progress made in this direction that the predictions given by Guizot (His. of Civ.), Hutton (Essays), Eaton (Perman. of Chris.), and others are superseded by later and more extravagant ones, which, owing to their disrespectful allusions to Christ, etc. (which even a decent literary regard for the relation that Christianity has sustained in the past to literature and men of learning, if not respect for the opinions and feelings of a large class, ought to have prevented), we omit repeating. We select one or two of the more respectable class to illustrate the predictions given. A liberal writer, Johnson (Oriental Religions), presents us with “the delusive” hopes entertained by positive religions through an “instinct of universality,” which contain a germ of truth, viz., that the emancipation of the race will be brought about by the natural development of human nature, and then predicts that in this developing process all existing religions must fall before the Free, Liberal, Universal Religion of human nature. He speaks of “the Religion of religions, whose Bible shall be the full Word of Human Nature,” produced mainly through physical and mental science, having its basis in the axiom, “the stability of law is the guarantee of universal good.” He says: “In their natural impatience to count these unknown millions as converts to Christian theology, the churches but feebly comprehend the seriousness of the situation” (which we can well believe, seeing the number of “Free Religious Associations” organized in many countries and even extending to India, as mentioned by him). “Christianity, as well as heathendom, is on the eve of judgment.” “I firmly believe that in making the worship of Jesus as ‘the Christ’ a prescriptive basis of faith, it will strike against a mass of outside human experience so overwhelming as to put beyond a doubt the futility of pressing either this or any other exclusive claim as authoritative for mankind.” “The change from distinctive Christianity to Universal Religion is a Revolution compared with which the passage from Judaism to Christianity itself was trivial.” This he holds forth as “a promise of Science and a consequence of Liberty.” Alas! turning to the Bible, it will be found that these predictions concerning the future agree with those that the prophets themselves give, viz., that men, forsaking the truth, shall lay such stress on the stability of nature, that scoffingly they shall ask, “Where is the promise of His Coming?”—that there shall be such a self-glorification of man, such a deification of the same, that it shall result in the fearful confederation of the nations against “the Christ.” This revamping of the old Pantheistic theory, and urged from a humanitarian standpoint, is performing its predicted work, preparing the way for the downtreading of the Church and the fatal overthrow of the fondly cherished Whitbyan theories. Works designed for popular reading, and sent broadcast into the world, eulogize this coming religion which all shall embrace, as e.g. Figuier (The To-morrow of Death, p. 341, etc.) tells us that it is a religion as yet in its embryotic state, “until the growth of reason in the popular mind has helped to create the religion of science and nature;” and “this new religion will be the work of the twentieth century.” The development theory, so unguardedly seized by Christian apologists to gloss over the supposed errors of the Apostolic Church, becomes in the hands of the infidel a formidable weapon against Christianity itself, making the latter only a stepping-stone in the advancement of the race under the present ordering of the world. Our doctrine, on the other hand, makes no concessions and affords no arguments of which unbelief can avail itself and turn against the truth.*

  PROPOSITION 176. Our doctrine of the Kingdom embraces the conversion of the world, but in the Scriptural order.

While rejecting the Whitbyan theory of a future conversion of the world previous to the Second Advent of Jesus as unscriptural and misleading, we at the same time firmly hold to a future blessed and glorious conversion of the Jews and Gentiles after the Sec. Advent, as plainly taught in the Word.*

Obs. 1. Such Scriptures as Ps. 72:8–11; Zech. 9:10; Isa. 60:11–22; Dan. 7:14, 27; Hab. 2:14; Isa. 11:9, etc., are undoubtedly to be fulfilled, being the legitimate outgrowth of covenant promises, and pertaining to the promised Kingdom, honor, and glory of the Redeemer. The certainty of realization is apparent not only because given by the Omniscient Spirit conversant with “the deep things” of God, but by its being bound up with the fulfilment of the Divine Purpose. Hence it is that the prophecies bearing on this point are among the unconditional (comp. Prop. 18), for such a state of things is connected with the sway, extent, splendor, and glory of the Theocracy itself. The completeness of redemption, the perfection of restitution, the greatness of an Almighty Redeemer, cannot and will not be satisfied with anything less. The Theocratic ordering aims to bring all into subjection, and when established in its might will proceed in this glorious undertaking. This conversion is so interwoven with the descriptions of the Theocratic Kingdom, its extent and greatness, and with the Theocratic King, His sway over the nations and majesty, that it cannot possibly be ignored, or be removed, without a serious flaw. Therefore it is that God has affirmed it to be as sure of realization as that He Himself existed (Numb. 14:21). “But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord,” which glory, as numerous parallel passages (e.g. Isa. 60) show, is identified with the restoration of the race as such, to its former Edenic holiness and happiness.*

Obs. 2. This Prop. is the more necessary, since—notwithstanding the Primitive Church teaching, and the reiterated statements of numerous Pre-Millenarian writers—works are circulated, like The Kingdom of Grace, which boldly misrepresent our doctrine, making us to teach, like themselves (i.e. Anti-Millenarians), or like the Millerites, some Second Adventists, and Seventh-Day Adventists, that after the Second Advent there is no more probation, no salvation for the race, and no “increase of the Kingdom of the Messiah.” These are their own deductions and not ours, being discarded by almost every Pre-Millenarian from the early Church down to the present. The objection is only plausible by classing men with us, who, aside from expecting the speedy Advent, have no special doctrinal affiliation with us, but entertain the popular views respecting the judgment, conflagration, and consequences of the Advent in its relation to the race. Such misconceptions of our belief might be passed by without notice, if they were not repeated in respectable reviews, journals, etc., as e.g. in The Presbyterian Quarterly Review for 1853. Those not conversant with our doctrine, finding the most positive declarations respecting such a conversion, and God’s own existence pledged for its ultimate verification, at once conclude that we are in gross error, and thus become prejudiced against us.*

Obs. 3. The Eschatology, in systems of belief, which rejects this future conversion of the Jews and Gentiles—as e.g. in Millerism, Second Adventism, Seventh-Day Adventism, Anti-Millennial, etc.—is most certainly defective. It is alike derogatory to the Word which plainly predicts it, to the completeness of salvation which requires it, and to the honor and glory of the Redeemer which, in view of the promises associated with the same, demands it. Fettered by their Kingdom theory, or by a class of passages dislocated from their dispensational connection, they see no place for such a Millennium as the Scriptures present, in which the nations are brought into subjection to the Messiah’s reign and saints’ rule. Some even take the Millennial predictions, interwoven with the perpetuation and subjection of the race, which describe an era of blessedness here on the earth, and without the least authority transfer the whole to the third heaven. This is a most arbitrary way in disposing of Scripture, and indicates clearly that the central doctrine of the Kingdom is entirely misapprehended.*

Obs. 4. We make the conversion of the world, when it does occur, a sublimer, more enduring and exalted transaction than that proposed by other theories. Instead of making it a mere Constantinean era or a Gospel dispensation, or one in which Antichrist and wicked confederations exist, or one of a mixed condition subject to the curse, etc., we, under the direct auspices of Christ and His co-rulers, and with the wonder-working aid of the Holy Spirit, have the age ushered in, and continued on, realizing in all its fulness the ample and complete fulfilment of the Millennial prophecies, just as they read, embracing a world-wide dominion and the richest blessings. While this, at the close of the thousand years, gives place to a brief rebellion, yet this dominion, this subjection of the nations, this supreme acknowledgment of the King, is ever afterward secured.*

Obs. 5. The position that we thus occupy is a sufficient answer to those who declare that we dishonor the Spirit by not admitting that the work of universal conversion will be performed in this dispensation. For we honor the Spirit in first receiving what He has said on the subject, and, secondly, in showing that His work will be accomplished more fully and perfectly in the age to come than, as our opponents are willing to admit, it will be in this age. He is now doing His work in the process of gathering a people for God, and this, we contend, is only the earnest of a greater still to come. (Comp. Prop. 171.) May we say to our opposers that, peradventure, in their efforts to glorify the Spirit, they may, unconsciously, dishonor the Lord Jesus, for as one (Dr. Cummings) has well said: “The Spirit is not a substitute for Jesus.” The Spirit points us to the Christ and teaches us what to await for at His Coming, and in implicit trust our hearts accept of the same.*

Obs. 6. Our doctrine making no imperfect conversion of the world, but allying with it a restoration to a former Paradisaical condition, augments the glory of the Redeemer. It gives Him no hesitating, or even general, possession of the world, but an entire possession. It gives Him no world still groaning under the works of the devil, and feeling the direful effects of a constant pervading curse, but a world out of which all evil shall be rooted, in which the works of the devil are destroyed, the curse repealed, all things restored and made new. Our view, therefore, is far from being, as alleged, “derogatory to the power of God and of the Holy Ghost,” and “a lowering of Christ,” because it demands and exalts this power and Christship. We honor the same now in the measure hitherto graciously experienced, but we look for far more in that which is yet to be realized, and to a degree, so vast in extent, by manifestations of power, of royalty, of the supernatural, that our opponents dare not venture to assume. Our whole trust is in the revealed and abiding Theocratic Ruler, the mighty Restorer.*

Obs. 7. Our doctrine makes the saints, counted worthy to inherit the Kingdom with David’s Son, happy participants in this process of converting the nations of the earth. This opens before us a bright and beautiful aspect of saintly agency in the future, when “the elect” are manifested as the revealed kings and priests of the earth.*

Obs. 8. Our doctrine of the conversion of the world coincides with the general tenor of the Word, seeing that nowhere do we find the language and appeals so prevailing in modern addresses, sermons, and books pervaded by the spirit of the Whitbyan theory. The Apostles, the first preachers and missionaries, nowhere encourage the Primitive Church in its trials and persecutions by the hope of ultimate and complete success. If it be a truth, as our opponents allege, it certainly was the very one needed in their circumstances. The absence of it strongly corroborates our position.*

Obs. 9. This doctrine of ours prominently holds forth, as a cardinal point, the design of the present dispensation, and insists upon it that wherever the design is specifically mentioned, it is “to gather out a people for His name,” “to save them that believe,” or to bring appropriated salvation to “the few” in contrast to “the many” who reject it—a process which has been going on uninterruptedly for eighteen centuries.*

  PROPOSITION 177. This doctrine of the Kingdom will not be received, in faith, by the Church as a body.

This is distinctly announced in the declarations pertaining to the period immediately preceding the Advent. The Church, instead of developing into that condition of knowledge and faith which so many writers confidently predict, is represented as occupying a position the very opposite. Jesus significantly (Luke 18:8) asks: “When the Son of man cometh shall He find faith (the faith) on the earth?” i.e. will the Church be in such a condition of trial, of testing, that it will fail to exercise faith in the very provision made for deliverance? Faith in a variety of things may indeed be found, but will it believe in and pray for that “blessed hope” which alone can bring in glorious salvation?

Obs. 1. The reply is found in various predictions. Even the parable of the ten virgins, united as it is by the word “then” with the time of the Second Advent, plainly teaches us how the ignoring of the Coming of the mighty King affects not merely the foolish (i.e. the unprepared), but even the wise (i.e. those otherwise morally qualified): and this state arises from a want of faith in “the things concerning the Kingdom”; seeing that a proper conception of the Theocratic Kingdom, as still future, and an understanding of the manner of its re-establishment could not possibly bring them into the situation assigned. A believer in the Kingdom, as covenanted, predicted, preached, postponed, connected with the Sec. Advent, etc., in the very nature of the case occupies the position of the Primitive Church, and looks, longs, and prays for the Coming One. The faithlessness of the Church—manifested by a disregard to the speedy Advent, by a lack of interest in, and a positive dislike to, the subject, by an unwarranted substitution of other things (as e.g. death, providence, etc.) in place of the appearing of Jesus Christ, by the interposition of a long definite period between us and the Advent, by decrying the position of watching, study of these things, etc., in others;—clearly springs from a total misconception of the nature of the Kingdom that David’s Son shall establish here on the earth. Engrafting a mystical or spiritualistic interpretation, in place of the grammatical, upon the Scriptures; rejecting the belief of pious Jews and of the early Church as erroneous and unworthy of the enlightenment of this age—a Kingdom is set up which being in existence, of course, does not require the faith once the distinguishing feature and characteristic of the saints.*

Obs. 2. Believers in the Word ought to be startled by the solemn, most terrible descriptions of the state of the whole world, as found in the context and text of Millennial predictions. The fearful strife, and antagonism with the doom annexed, is stated to arise from “a gross darkness,” a perversion of God’s truth. Take even that splendid prediction of Isa. 60, and when the glory of the Lord comes (which cannot be confined to the First Advent as the context and parallel passages show) it is added: “Behold, the darkness shall cover the earth and gross darkness the people.” The mighty confederation of wickedness, the utterly subdued condition of the few faithful ones, the warnings of sore trial, tribulation given to the Church and exhortations to be faithful, etc., evidence the extent and the time of this darkness. Such a state of darkness, of unbelief in Go way of procedure, etc., cannot be suddenly produced; it takes time and in view of the intellectual and moral nature of man must call to its aid reasoning, eloquence, and eminent ability. The opposition that Jesus meets at His Coming, an opposition already previously organized and terrible in persecution, is of such a nature that it cannot arise without a long introductory process. Now it is not only infidels and semi-believers who prepare the way for the final culmination of unbelief, but men whose piety and integrity (wise virgins) we would not for a moment question; men of great learning whom we highly esteem for the knowledge imparted on many subjects, men whose praise is deservedly high in the Church, are also engaged, whether consciously or not, in producing this unfaithless condition. They by their spiritualizing system are bountifully sowing the seeds which will surely spring up into an abundant harvest of unbelief. The first-fruits of it are already beginning to appear in the scientific and intellectual world: the dreadful harvest is still future. It is saddening to read works, written by talented and good men and containing much that is excellent, which endeavor to explain away some of the most precious truths and the most terrible realities, either by confining themselves to one portion of the Word and ignoring another (thus violating the unity of Scripture); or, by engrafting another sense not recognized by the laws of language (thus without proof making the Bible an exception to such laws); or, by regarding the things predicted, etc., as exaggerated expressions induced by the state of mind in which the writer then was (thus making the communication a human instead of a divine one through human instrumentality); or, by assuming that due allowance must be made for the elevated style of poetry, the vivid imagination, and fanciful language of the Oriental mind (thus ascribing its utterances to human origin); or, by declaring that all things must be received and explained according to the teaching of present reason and experience (thus setting up within themselves the standard by which the Word is to be measured, and overlooking that many things relating to the past and future are beyond present personal experience), etc. It is not merely the destructive critic like Strauss, Bauer, or Renan, who undermines the authority of the Bible, but multitudes who would shrink from such a charge, are virtually doing it by the principles of interpretation adopted, the doctrine of the Kingdom received, etc., which, when contrasted with the teachings of the Book and reception of the truth by those who had the special privilege of being taught by the Apostles and their immediate successors, lead to a proclamation of a “Gospel of the Kingdom” widely different from that contained in the Bible and the early Church. Multitudes, who are no professed unbelievers, reject the plain; contained grammatical sense, and insist upon giving a sense which shall harmonize with their own ideas of the fitness of things, thus paving the way for unbelieving license, forging the weapons for unbelief, and preventing the use of a consistent, manly Apologetics. Numerous works are issued from the press which swell the unbelieving ranks and sustain the unbelieving attacks upon the primitive Church. by openly and directly ridiculing the early hope of the Church in its view of the Theocratic Kingdom. Able and honest writers, under the influence of misconception and prejudice, have sent forth works the most insidious and dangerous, pre-eminently adapted to crush what little faith exists in various denominations respecting this Kingdom. Such writers make the prophecies conditional; heap the curses on the Jews and the blessings upon the Gentiles; hesitate not to mutilate and transfer predictions directly associated with the Jewish nation; make God’s throne in the third heaven to be represented by David’s; spiritualize all, only so that it can be applied to the Church; scoff at what they are pleased to call “a Jewish Kingdom;” ignore the personal Advent of Jesus Christ, etc. Many of these works are regarded, owing to the reputation of the authors, as standards, and the writers are loudly lauded and loaded with titles of honor. Alas, that friends of Jesus, and not enemies, aid in the destruction of faith in the promises of God; alas, that friends as well as enemies, are engaged in administering the soporifics which must inevitably lead to the sleeping, unbelieving, lamentable state which is predicted. Let no one censure us for the plainness of speech employed, for the time has arrived when faithfulness to the Word and Church demands a frank and candid statement of facts and their dangerous tendency.*

Obs. 3. This want of faith is also caused by reason wrongfully rejecting the past and the future of this Kingdom. In reference to the past, it forgets the primary step of noticing when it was established, how it progressed and incorporated the Davidic line, why it was overthrown, and how constantly the Prophets predicted its (same Kingdom) restoration in a glorious form under the Messiah, and in immediate relationship with the Jewish nation. It closes its eyes against the preachiug of this identical Kingdom (indisputably proven, see e.g. Props. 70–75), and the valid reasons assigned for its postponement until the times of the Gentiles are ended. The past, even in its naked historical connection, is not received, but in place of it reason is put under the guidance of an Origenistic rule of interpretation which makes the Old Test. say one thing respecting the Kingdom but mean another; and which causes the Prophets to predict, in the grammatical sense, one thing (believed in by the ancients) concerning the Kingdom but which must be understood differently. Again, in reference to the future, this Kingdom being still the subject of prediction and promise, and hence must be received by faith (for all that we can possibly know of its re-establishment is only found in the Word), we have eminent writers objecting to the reception of the plain grammatical meaning of the promises precisely on the same ground occupied by the most ultra unbelief, viz., that it brings forth too much of the Supernatural element. Reason they tell us cannot accept of this doctrine, for it is not credible that such occurrences as are related to the restoration of the Kingdom can possibly take place. Fully indorsing (as we have shown in the previous Proposition) Dr. Alexander’s saying (Evid. of Christianity, p. 10) that “truth and reason are so intimately connected that they can never with propriety be separated,” yet at the same time things which refer to the future must be accepted solely because God announces them, and their reasonableness must be observed by the connection which they sustain to the Divine Purpose, to the divine ability to perform, and to the necessity of their occurring in order to fulfil God’s prophets, and to secure redemption in the form needed by the world. In relation to things still future, it is to be regretted that the leaven of infidelity has pervaded the Church to such an extent that in this particular, many exalt reason above faith. While reason has its appropriate sphere in the investigation of truth, and is necessarily allied with faith, yet in things pertaining to futurity we are entirely dependent for knowledge on Him who is omniscient, and reason must occupy a subordinate place, willing to accept of and to be guided by, divine revelation. It is sad to reflect that Christians refuse to believe in the fulfilment of prophecy, in its true grammatical sense, in this Kingdom, because in their estimation it involves a mode of procedure which seems to them incredible and contrary to the nature of things. Having already met the objection urged by reason against the Supernatural and miraculous, it is sufficient to direct such a class to the fact that in no other way is it possible to fulfil the Millennial descriptions. How can the curse be repealed; how can death be overcome; how can all the fearful evils pertaining to man and nature be removed; how can the unspeakably great blessings be obtained: all of which are to be realized in this Kingdom under Messiah’s reign, without a mighty display of Supernatural power beyond anything that the world has ever witnessed, and beyond the understanding of weak, mortal man with his limited powers. If there is a truth conspicuously displayed in Holy Writ, it is, that this Kingdom, the tabernacle of David now in ruins but then gloriously rebuilt under David’s Son, cannot be manifested without the most wonderful displays of Almighty energy. Strange to say, many who refuse credence in this Kingdom and ridicule it, are willing to accept of the Supernatural in the birth of Isaac and of Christ, of the miracles of the Old and New Testaments, but unwilling to accept of the Supernatural and miraculous pertaining to this Kingdom. From whence springs this reluctance which involves an inconsistency of position? Do they simply believe the former because the past is fulfilled and has become history, and do they reject the latter because being unfulfilled it is an open question whether it ever will be in the manner grammatically expressed? Is this trust in the Word of the Lord? Is it even reasonable, seeing that faith in the past fulfilment is based on the same antecedently given Word, and should lead to implicit and extended faith in the things relating to the future. How painful it is to find e.g. such a talented writer as Fairbairn (On Proph., p. 820, etc.) tell us respecting Zech. 12, that God’s providence with the Jews has rendered the fulfilment of the prediction “manifestly impossible,” and that “it does violence to reason” to expect a restoration of the families indicated by the prophecy. And this from one who believes that (as recorded Matt. 3:9) God would have been able, if requisite, “of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” The same line of reasoning would hold equally good in the case of Sarah, of the Virgin Mary, etc. No! with belief in the truthfulness and Almighty power of God, as evidenced in the past astonishing provisions for carrying out a definitely stated Divine Plan, we can surely stay ourselves in faith, that the same power—which now so amazingly for over eighteen hundred years preserves the Jewish nation (as Moses thousands of years ago foretold), and keeps Jerusalem itself (as Jesus predicted) under continued Gentile rule—will be equal to the fulfilment of every prediction. Such lack of faith, such a process of reasoning is dangerous; for it invalidates whatever apologies or accommodations may be presented to excuse the non-fulfilment, the truthfulness of the Word, and brings it down to a human level. Numerous illustrations might be adduced of this method of dealing with the Word, of receiving just as much as suits the taste, opinions, system, etc., of the interpreter, or of explaining it most arbitrarily to accommodate it in some way with a theory. In the eagerness to maintain the position of an advocate, seeing how largely this Kingdom relates to the future and is consequently the subject of prophecy, one of the most prominent of our opponents (Dr. Brown, Christ’s Sec. Coming, p. 60) lays down the faithless principle “that doctrines are not to be built upon prophetic or symbolical Scripture” calling it “an old maxim in divinity.” He thus perverts the old maxim, “Theologia prophetica non est argumentiva” (prophetic theology is not argumentative), which confirms our position that we are to receive the specific announcements of prophecy respecting the future as given by God and beyond our power to discern; and he rejects by its one-sided adoption, if logically carried out, some of the most precious doctrines pertaining to Redemption, as the Sec. Advent, resurrection, reign, glory, inheritance of the saints, renewal of the earth, etc., all of which are subjects of prophecy. While this is so, yet in relation to the Kingdom itself and the Advent which is to introduce it, reason, if it desires to know something of the expediency and reasonableness of the establishment of such a Kingdom under David’s Son, will fall back upon the preliminarily given Theocracy, study its nature, design, connections, and then regard the utterances of the Prophets in the light of the Divine Purpose previously indicated and determined. Prophecy thus finds itself confirmed by a solid foundation of noteworthy facts, which calls for unbounded faith in the things still future. Past and present fulfilment, in behalf of a divinely ordained Plan, insures future fulfilment in the interest of the same purpose, and hence the extraordinary consistency (now by many called “weakness”) of the early Church in its belief based upon a union of reason and faith, of knowledge and trust.*

Obs. 4. The Old and New Testaments describe the same Kingdom—the same Theocratic arrangement under David’s Son. All the writers, separated by centuries, independent of each other, residing in various countries but still under the influence of the same Spirit, locate this Kingdom in the future, link it with the Sec. Advent, and agree in portraying its distinguishing peculiarities and blessings. In a comparison of their writings, entering even into details, there is no contradiction between them. Even the diversity of style, the different modes of relation and shades of character, only increases the value of the testimony, indicating an essential quality in witnesses, that of entire independence from others in giving evidence. The disagreement is found in the interpreters and not in the writers of the Bible: for the latter all start from the same point, holding up the same covenant as an everlasting one under which we receive the promises, and all declare the same provisionary and preparatory process, and all insist upon the same literal fulfilment. Harmony of design, unity of purpose is seen throughout their writings, but only so long—as the infidel even has forcibly stated and proven—as the plain grammatical sense is retained. Forsake this sense, and then, notwithstanding all the protests to the contrary, this harmony is violated, this unify is destroyed to the confirmation of unbelief. If, as multitudes do, we reject the literal and engraft a spiritual meaning foreign to the common usage of language, it may well be asked how it comes that all the writers employ language which in its literal adaptation distinctly teaches the Kingdom that we advocate: and that they did not use the language, ideas and reasonings now so prevalent and first introduced about the third century. Why this disruption of a marvellous unity? Is it really necessary for the sake of the truth that such a transformation of meaning—so hostile to these “Jewish conceptions”—should spring up and be cherished in “the consciousness of the Church?” Is it requisite that such an antagonism should exist between the plain language of the Bible and that of the dominant Theology? No! never, for this would at once argue imperfection in God’s Word, a mere accommodation to human weakness, and that He, the God of all truth, purposely led a host of believing people (both Jews and Christians) into gross error pertaining to the leading doctrine of the Bible. Before such a change of meaning can be adopted, it must be shown that God Himself directed such a transformation of the import and signification of language; that He cancelled the covenant made with David and the elect position of the Jewish nation; that He recalled the predictions of prophets, and that He altered the Divine Plan originally proposed. When we ask why this introduction of a sense so radically diverse from that entertained for thousands of years (and which, the latter, was a source of confident hope and joy to so many believers), the answer is given, that as the Kingdom as predicted by the prophets was not literally established at the First Advent, the Christian Church being then instituted; the Church must be the Kingdom intended. Upon this presumption—seized and used against Christianity by the destructive school—the superstructure of a Kingdom now present is reared, and the language of covenant, prophet, Jesus, and Apostle is spiritualized to fit the assumed theory. And in the contest it is strange to find that men materially differing in the use they make of it (as e.g. the author of Ecce Homo on the one side, and the writer of Ecce Deus on the other) still agree in taking for granted a premise utterly unproven, actually resisted by the Word, and which in its nature and tendency makes the Scriptures and Theology irreconcilable. Did the Jewish nation obey the condition of repentance upon which the Kingdom was offered to them? Did the disciples preach a Kingdom which was, in their ignorance, “a mere chimera?” Did Jesus predict the continued desolation of the Kingdom until His return the Second time? These and numerous other questions suggested by our previous Propositions must first be reasonably and scripturally answered before the far-reaching and destructive premise, now so confidently paraded and intrenched in the Church, can be received by the careful student of God’s Word. With such a sandy foundation to stand on, with conclusions drawn from a false construction of the leading doctrine of the Bible: with a host of inferences derived from such source making the faith of pious Jews, of John the Baptist, of the disciples of Jesus, misconceptions of the real truth—need we be surprised at the want of faith in this Kingdom of the Messiah. A most fruitful source of infidelity in Church and world is the making the Church the predicted Kingdom of God instead of a preparatory stage for the revelation of this Kingdom. Apologetics has not, and cannot, fairly meet destructive critics so long as it retains such a theory, for the latter triumphantly points to the plain teachings of the prophets, the equally plain belief of the early Church, and contrasts it with present teaching and belief, and justly claims an irreconcilable antagonism. The Church has not and cannot have faith in the Kingdom so long as it holds to a view which of necessity destroys all hope of its ever being realized. This lack of faith in a firmly covenanted and oath-bound Kingdom is based on a false premise, and then sustained (as it only can be) by a mystical or spiritual interpretation. It is so arbitrary and unscientific that it cannot even define the Kingdom without having a variety of meanings or definitions. It claims, in order to make its conclusions the stronger, to be guided by the Spirit. But a change has taken place; for in the contest now waging between destructive criticism and the friends of the Bible, the original sources of Christianity are laid bare and examined as they perhaps were never before studied. The lofty claims of divine origin in theories are sifted, and where antagonism is found and proven, these very claims create a revulsion in the thinking portion of the community. Rationalism properly insists upon the Bible being explained in its doctrinal aspects, etc., by the universally received laws of language, but the immense mass of the Church has cut itself loose from the plain grammatical sense, and this has led to a state of uncertainty in the minds of many, which the accumulated theological learning of generations, drifting in the same channel, has been utterly unable, with all its eloquent pleadings, beautiful thoughts, metaphysical ability, and incorporated truths, to remove. Leaving the well-beaten path trodden by believing Jews and early Christians as entirely “too Jewish” for Gentiles; ignoring “the letter” as “too carnal and sensual” for spiritual reception—the Kingdom itself is dwarfed down from the magnificent proportions given to it by the prophets to make it fit the fighting, struggling, suffering Church. From this standpoint it is not surprising to read the introductory sentence of the Duke of Somerset to his recent work (Christian Theol. and Mod. Scepticism): “It is humiliating to be obliged to confess that after eighteen hundred years of Christian teaching, man has made no advance in certainty of religious knowledge.” The duke, whose language has been unduly censured, evidently bases his utterance upon the palpable differences now existing between the prevailing theology of the day and the belief once so prevalent in the early Church. The degree of certainty that we now possess is solely derived from the plain grammatical sense of the Scriptures, and so long as there is a continued rejection of this sense and the substitution of others, just so long will uncertainty continue and increase. We believe the Word because the astonishing Plan, so well adapted to secure the redemption of the world, has been all along verified by facts, attested by history and the experience of man, just as they stand recorded. The doctrine of the Kingdom, being the burden of the Word and including the blessings of salvation, is no exception to such faith, as is shown by past and present fulfilments and provisions. To exercise no faith in a Kingdom once firmly believed in by saints and proclaimed by them under divine sanction, is at once, with the weak and often contradictory reasons assigned, sufficient cause to many for denying the authority of the Scriptures. The large body of the Church is occupying this very position: the Kingdom believed in and so highly eulogized is the direct opposite of that once universally received by the faith of the Church. The predictions, therefore, which intimate such a change of faith in the Church are rapidly verifying before our eyes, and correspondingly no interest is felt in the Advent of the great King by whom this Kingdom is to be re-established. The extravagant claims set up for the Church as the Kingdom is bearing its fruit in the denial of the blessed covenanted Kingdom of David’s Son, under the mistaken notion that by so doing they really honor the Son. But no one who ventures upon such a method has been able to designate in what particulars this supposed Kingdom meets the requirements of the covenant which specifies the Theocratic throne and Kingdom of David as the one denoted, excepting only by employing the most arbitrary exposition which by acceptance degrades the ancient faith to the lowest level of error and fanaticism.*

Obs. 5. Another serious cause of unbelief in this Kingdom arises from the infirmity of human nature, its reliance upon authorities outside of the Bible. With perverted ideas of the real position and design of the Church and this dispensation, they will accept of the formularies of some denomination, or the doctrinal basis of some reformer, or the theological system of some prominent divine or school, and with scholastic dogmatism lay more stress on these than upon the Scriptures (although professing that the same are based on them), and make them the standard of appeal and of faith; and because these ignore the Kingdom, designate it as “Jewish,” and accept of the Church-Kingdom view, they do the same. Admitting the great value, the priceless influence of many human compositions, yet in our search after the truth they should not stand between us and God’s own revelation; for as the tree, however lovely and fruitful, standing between us and the sun will cast its shadow, so, more or less, will be the shading, the interception of light when humanity, however sincere and honest, is placed between us and the divine truth. The source of all true knowledge of the Kingdom is found alone in God’s Word, and to that Word, if wise and prudent, we should come for instruction and guidance, seeing that the words of God are weightier and more truthful than those of men, however pious and learned. Indeed, in not a few cases, the lack of faith can be traced to a certain disposition of the heart, mentioned by Jesus (John 5:44), “How can ye believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor which cometh from God only?” In this day of unbelief and reproach cast upon our doctrine, it requires courage to oppose the sweeping popular current of belief on the subject. Especially when a return to the early Church faith causes the charge of “credulity,” “fanaticism,” “heresy,” etc., to come from the multitude, and even from brethren united by the same denominational ties. How many have had their attention directed to this subject, have promised investigation, have been persuaded of the truth, but have recoiled, fearful of the loss of reputation, influence, honor, and preferments. No one, either in this country or in Europe, who has prominently held to the primitive faith, has escaped the censures of numerous writers, while some ecclesiastical bodies have even suggested, under the ascendency of confessional faith, excommunication. Strange, indeed, that those who make so much of Church confession and authority should forget that our doctrine, if it is to be judged by such criterions, has decidedly the greatest weight upon its side, owing to the universality with which it was received and perpetuated by the Jewish and Gentile churches established by the Apostles and their immediate successors. If honest, however, with ourselves and with God, human approval, however desirable and agreeable, should weigh nothing against truth, especially when warned that there will be a great departure from the truth as the times of the Gentiles draw to a close. The injury that error may do to others, the use to which it may be applied by others, should deter us from its known embrace, should urge us to a free examination of the Word lest we be found entertaining it. Error is far from being harmless to ourselves, for our future elevation and corresponding happiness largely depends upon our acceptance of and faith in all the truths given to us. The test is stated by Jesus (Matt. 5:19), and it follows that we cannot be too careful in our doctrinal position, especially when it has respect to so vital a point as the Kingdom of God, the Gospel of which we are to preach and receive. So perverse, however, is human nature, that while a party occupies the attitude assigned in the first part of the observation, another will take directly the opposite one, viz., that they care little for doctrine being satisfied with practical piety. To this class, who do not want doctrine but piety, it may be said that two extremes are to be avoided; first, theoretical Knowledge of doctrine without practical application of the same, or personal piety conjoined; second, piety isolated from doctrine, just as if it could exist without a previous knowledge of the truth. The persons who make this objection against our doctrine are the very ones who deal largely in doctrine concerning the Church-Kingdom, Millennium, etc., in prayer, preaching, writing, etc., but as soon as something is said in conflict with their own doctrinal position then we need no doctrine. Besides this, the fact is overlooked that piety has regard only to the personal qualifications of the individual for the Kingdom, it cannot change or alter the Divine Purpose respecting the Kingdom. It may, if wanting, postpone the Kingdom as was the case with the Jews; it may, if it is to be possessed by all who shall become inheritors or rulers, delay the Kingdom until the number of the chosen, elect body is completed, but it cannot affect the nature, design, etc., of the Kingdom itself. The doctrine of the Kingdom is the teaching of God concerning it, and is not derived from the piety of men, but from God’s Word.

Obs. 6. Many refuse faith in the doctrine of this Kingdom because of the claimed piety, sanctity, prayerful spirit, gifts of the Holy Ghost, etc., bestowed upon those who have turned away from the ancient belief. Multitudes are swayed by this sentiment, and numerous illustrations might be adduced where it is gravely offered as a motive for the rejection of this Kingdom. Alas, history gives but too many instances which prove that eminent piety, or goodness of heart cannot be substituted for Knowledge, for it has been too often allied with error (e.g. various denominational doctrines in direct opposition to each other, etc.); and with severity, injustice, and persecution (e.g. Luther and Zwingli, Calvin and Servetus, Knox and Balfour, etc.). If this is to be the criterion of the doctrine of the Kingdom—while making no claims to extraordinary sanctity, but realizing that after all that we can do we still remain unprofitable servants, and while making no great professions of humility, seeing that to God we stand or fall, and that professions are no index of character, yet—we may point to the faithful believers in this Kingdom who suffered persecution and death, to the long list of distinguished confessors, etc., who have manifested a consistency of life, integrity of character, love to God and man, etc., which has endeared them in the memory of the Church. Without calling into question the undisputed piety of many of our opponents, without making (although numbering many martyrs among us), martyrdom illogically a proof of doctrine, without denying that doctrine and piety ought to be connected to make the former more efficient, it is sufficient to say that piety itself may become enlightened by additional truth or become deformed by ignorance and superstition. More than this: this claim is often put forth—more pretension—in behalf of dangerous error and systems the most antagonistic. We see it existing in every heresy from the earliest ages down to the present—towering forth in Roman Catholicism and lifting its head in the latest development of fanaticism (as e.g. Mormonism)—appealing, in order to gain strength, to a natural, honorable feeling in man. It is a cheap claim, easily produced, and if persistently pressed by numerous names and quasi authority, it will impress the minds not only of the ignorant but even of the learned. While not disputing, in many cases, the sincerity and honesty of the parties who present it, yet a dispassionate view both of them and the contradictory results flowing from them, evidence to us that it is no criterion of the truth, being frequently imaginary and often designedly—from misconception—advanced to protect the weakness of a doctrinal position. Gratefully acknowledging the connection that holiness, prayer, and divine influence with the truth has in our study of the Bible—that they are necessary to a comprehension of the whole truth (for the meek He will guide, etc.), yet we positively object to our making the experience of man the measure by which we are authoritatively to judge the Bible. Experience whatever it may be, moral qualifications however they may aid in understanding the truth, do not and cannot change the doctrines as contained in Holy Writ. Admitting the piety and goodness of others, their statements respecting the contents of the Bible are to be accepted (as e.g. Prop. 11), only in so far as they accurately and fully correspond with the Book. Hence, e.g. we must reject as utterly untenable that philosophical gloss which is so boldly and ably advocated by a class of Apologists (in order to apologize for the early Church belief against the Rationalistic party), that the real truth respecting the Kingdom was to be developed “in the consciousness of the Church:” And again: this is a virtual indorsement of the semi-infidel and infidel statement that “doctrines are of little importance if the life is only right.” How can the teaching of things which God alone knows and therefore reveals, be transformed into truth by mere human agency; and how important is the most valuable life in comparison with the Divine Purpose which involves the truthfulness and honor of God and the glory of His Son? Yet to produce unbelief or indifference to our doctrine, it is asserted by many that it is, in comparison with other things, unessential and unimportant. The great leading doctrine of the Bible is thus designated, but only (for their own theories of the kingdom, with varied meanings and definitions are alleged to be essential and important), to frame an argument and excite prejudice against us. We freely admit that so far as the individual personally is concerned, he might know all truth, and yet without a personal appropriation of the same, it would do him no good. In this respect, of course, it is more important to experience the power of truth, and it is precisely for this reason that we also urge others to accept of this doctrine, because by so doing they increase their own appreciation of God’s truth, confirm their hope in covenant promises, open the Scriptures to a better understanding, give due prominency to the Sec. Advent, encourage themselves to cultivate the Christian graces to secure an inheritance in the Kingdom, accept it as a motive to patience, mortification, comfort, etc., and place themselves in the commanded position of servants looking, watching, praying, loving, desiring the appearing of the King and Kingdom. Alas, how often are we asked, “what is the practical worth of your doctrine,” just as if God’s utterances are to be measured by man’s practice. Fortunately, even to meet such an invalid objection, aside from the numerous (see App. to Dr. Seiss’s Last Times, ch. 1, sec. 10, for Scripture references), declarations of its practical value, the very fact that it is pre-eminently designed to warn and guard us against placing ourselves in the position stated in the Proposition—this alone is amply sufficient to vindicate its preciousness to the believer. Can the man who holds firmly to such a Kingdom, himself feel so little interest in the coming Bridegroom as to fall asleep, to neglect preparation for His coming, to urge others not to expect His Coming, to tell the world that it is still distant, etc.? Can such an one aid in advancing unbelief until it finally bursts in fury upon a Church unprepared for a terrible persecution? The time will surely come when the neglect of this doctrine will be bitterly regretted. In the mean time, no effort is spared to make it something of little estimation and even contemptible. Men tell us that it is not “the Gospel,” and that it ought not to be preached from the pulpit. Such forget that the Gospel is “the Gospel of the Kingdom;” that the early preachers as Philip “preached the things concerning the Kingdom;” and that all the Apostles proclaimed the same, so that the greatest of them (Paul) said: “I have gone preaching the Kingdom of God.” To leave out the Kingdom and substitute the means for obtaining the Kingdom for the Kingdom itself, is only a small part of “the Gospel.” The insincerity, however, of the objection, urged only to palliate lack of faith, is seen by the parties, who present it, proclaiming without stint their own views and theories of the Kingdom. Ministers tell us, as if it were an ample excuse for neglect, that they are to preach “Christ and Him crucified,” and “win souls to Christ.” The Apostles did this, and at the same time preached “the Kingdom.” It is very doubtful whether those who thus object really appreciate the deep significancy of the word “Christ,” the name pointing to “Thy Kingdom come” in His being “the Anointed One,” the covenanted King. To preach “Christ” as the prophets and Apostles announced Him demands a knowledge of this Kingdom (Prop. 205), for which He is the appointed, ordained One; and thus having the proper understanding of His covenanted relationship to it as “the Anointed One,” we can the better appreciate Him as “the crucified One,” through whose perfect obedience and sacrifice the requisite provisions are made by which the Kingdom can be most gloriously re-established under an immortal David’s Son, and by which we can become “heirs of the Kingdom.” Glorying in the cross of Christ, exulting in the crucified One, as essentials in the Redemptive process, we receive these, like Paul did, as important parts of the Gospel, but not as the whole Gospel, for without the Divine Purpose exhibited in the Kingdom the death of Christ would lose much of its significance. Paul by no means confined himself to the name and death of Jesus Christ but showed, as his writings abundantly evidence, the relationship that these sustained to our obtaining the Kingdom and to the Kingdom itself. Besides this, let us remind the reader that there can be but one Gospel of the Kingdom, the same proclaimed by the prophets, preached by John the Baptist, Jesus, the seventy disciples, and the twelve Apostles. Now the Gospel of the Kingdom that we hold is precisely the one held by the Primitive Church; and its good news is dependent upon the covenants confirmed by oath, the predictions of the prophets, the declarations of Jesus Christ and His Apostles, and the provisions made by God in Christ for the Kingdom. “The Gospel of the Kingdom” as now generally entertained is diverse from that once held by the Church, and it really becomes a serious question, no matter how much even of life imparting power by faith in Christ etc., there may be attached to it, whether men are not amenable and will not suffer loss by such a perversion of “the Gospel.” Especially since there is no difficulty in understanding what the Gospel of the Kingdom is, if we only allow the Scriptures to speak in their naked, natural, grammatical sense, and receive that meaning so apparent upon its surface as did the early Church. Indeed when tracing the preaching of this Gospel and seeing how many varieties of Gospels have been introduced through a mystical and spiritual interpretation and with them corresponding faith and hopes, the warnings of the New Test. against the foreseen innovations obtain special force. The truth is, that the very plainness, the remarkable simplicity of “the Gospel of the Kingdom” is its chiefest obstacle in the minds of many, for while it may do for ignorant Jews and unlettered fishermen, etc., as “a harmless error” adapted to their capacities and circumstances, it is not sufficiently refined, etc., for the enlightenment afterward bestowed. Do we exaggerate or are we too severe when such a scholarly and amiable man as Prof. Bush (On the Mill.) influenced by theory, can represent the early Church faith in the Kingdom as such?

Obs. 7. What must we say then to that large class of professed believers, who establish unbelief in themselves and others by denouncing our doctrine of the Kingdom (under the garb of superior piety, spirituality, etc.), as “sensual,” “carnal,” “fleshly,” etc. Do they not see that by so doing they not only caricature the faith of the early Church at the expense of Christianity, but direct a deadly blow at the preaching of the Kingdom as given in the opening of the New Testament by which the knowledge, integrity, etc., of the first preachers, specially and divinely sent forth, are sacrificed? A definite Gospel of the Kingdom was proclaimed by John the Baptist, disciples, etc., and this is the identical Gospel that we still hold to, sealed and attested by the death and resurrection of Jesus, confirmed by the predictions of postponement fulfilled before our eyes. Now if this Gospel of the Kingdom is thus stigmatized, what is it else but denouncing holy men of old who were specially commissioned to preach it? What is it, but the denouncing of the faith of saints, who had particular instruction and divine guidance, and whose message concerning the Kingdom was confirmed by miraculous power? What must we think of a doctrine of the Kingdom which is erected only by invalidating the character of the first ministers? It is amazing, and illustrative of the power of preconceived opinion and unrelenting prejudice, that men of the greatest ability and piety, are engaged in this destructive work when heaping such terms upon us. If Jesus, as He Himself states, was sent to preach the Kingdom and preached it through His disciples; if the good things predicted by the prophets are contained in the Kingdom thus forming “the Gospel or good news of the Kingdom,” let such before they censure us, or refuse to believe, explain how it comes that all at that period held to the Kingdom as expressed in the grammatical sense of the Old Test., and that such a belief continued to exist uninterruptedly for centuries? When this explanation is rationally given, without reflecting upon God who gives the Gospel and commands all men to receive it (which can only be just if the sense alluded to is the true one), without calling into question the respect and reverence due to persons who ought to have known what they preached, then it will be time to sit in condemnatory judgment over us. Considering the foundation of our doctrine, established upon the plain grammatical sense of covenant and prophets, the consistent historical account of the Theocratic order, the belief and preaching of the early Church, those men (accepting the Bible) certainly assume a heavy responsibility who speak and write concerning it so disrespectfully and reproachfully. What if it should after all be God’s own arrangement—as we have shown it is—how can they excuse the terms of dishonor heaped upon His own Divine Plan? Surely prudence, if nothing higher, should cause such to avoid offensive epithets (which are always indications of weakness and lack of solid argument) to a doctrine thus contained (in the sense we maintain and admitted even by our opponents), in the Bible, and once the faith and hope of the churches, lest peradventure they be found resisting the truth of God. The sarcasms against “the Jewish,” “degrading,” “worldly” faith of the Primitive Church come with bad grace from religious writers; and if the evil were confined to them alone might not result in much injury, but such terms prejudice the multitude against the Kingdom. When found in systems of Theology, etc., used as text-books, need we wonder at the influence and extent of unbelief. The Jews misapprehended how and when the Kingdom was to be brought in, but it is left to Gentiles—also professing faith in the Scriptures—not only in their “high-mindedness” to misconceive the how and when, but to deny the Kingdom itself. Wiser than Jews divinely guided, more enlightened than disciples who preached under the great Teacher the Kingdom, claiming more understanding of the Kingdom than men who were directly taught by the Apostles, they profess in a meridian blaze of light, that that which God has plainly promised and sworn to He does not mean but something else which the ingenuity and wisdom of man attaches to it. It is surely surprising that intelligent men (as e.g. Prof. Garbett in Bampton Lectures), when endeavoring to make the Personal reign of Jesus on the earth (although admitting it to be “venerable from its unquestionable antiquity,” and traceable to the apostles,”) degrading and a Coming again in “a new humiliation” (the Bible says “in glory,”) with “a secular kingdom” (i.e. the covenanted Kingdom, the Theocracy), should declare that “those carnal interpretations of the Kingdom of the Messiah, which formed in the Jewish mind the great obstacle to the reception of the Lord, and which nothing but the searching fires of persecution and the gradual opening of their eyes to the spirituality of Christ’s Kingdom, seems to have eradicated from the heart of even the Apostles themselves.” What satisfaction such a passage must afford to the infidel, for here we have the acknowledgment that our view was at one time at least entertained by the Apostles, who preached it under Christ, and that it was eradicated (?) not by the truth, instruction, but by persecution which gradually opened their eyes although inspired teachers. In what a position of weakness, etc., this places inspired men; and if persecution had this effect upon them how comes it that their churches and successors who also endured persecution should fail to have their eyes opened? It is a line of argumentation unworthy of enlightened piety, seeing that it undermines the teaching and authority of the divinely commissioned and instructed Apostles, and brings into contempt the fervent faith of the churches established by them. Any theory, no matter by whom advocated, that introduces so fatal an antagonism between primitive and present faith, is to be discarded as irreconcilable with the truth. But instead of this, the masses follow such reasoning and the substitutions intended, led by the authority, reputation, etc. of others, and swayed by the reproach cast upon our faith.

Obs. 8. But to insure the demolition of our doctrine, to make it unpalatable to others, argument is laid aside and recourse is had to personal abuse. We are sorry even to be compelled to notice these attacks, but since the most eminent and pious men, through weakness, have in standard works, histories, etc., referred to us as “weak,” “unbalanced,” “credulous,” “fanatical,” etc., and have linked us with Cerinthus, Montanus, Anabaptists, etc., it is proper to indicate it as a fruitful source of unbelief. For multitudes who cannot be reached by an argument appealing to reason, will permit themselves to be influenced by invectives. When, e.g. the author just alluded to, Prof. Garbett says of our doctrine, “few opinions have in feeble minds, created more extravagance, or even in our own time taken more unhappy possession of powerful though unregulated intellects;”—this is remembered against us while the antidote given by the same writer—when he says of our theory that it “has always had and now has sober and learned advocates—pious ones it has never wanted; and antiquity it may certainly plead,” etc.—is forgotten. Whitby’s scornful allusions are paraded while his manly admissions of universality, etc., are carefully avoided; Mosheim’s uncandid and unhistorical criticisms are carefully presented, while his scholarly testimony to the antiquity and generally received doctrine, and the ability and position of its advocates, is as carefully suppressed. Numerous illustrations of this mode of attack might be given, but the student does not require them, since reason teaches him that the proof of a doctrine does not exist in the persons who advocate it, or in the extravagances, error, etc., that may be engrafted upon it. For, if the latter is the criterion, then there is no doctrine of the Bible but what might be justly cast aside, seeing how all of them have been allied, in persons entertaining them, with fanaticism, etc. Indeed the wise man will have his suspicions aroused by the very abuse heaped upon advocates, seeing that it savors of a lack of scriptural argument. When the testimony of the Bible can be adduced, no necessity exists for personal defamation. We freely and frankly admit the learning, piety, and eminent ability of our opponents, and by so doing not only perform an act of simple justice but elevate the importance and necessity of our defending the ancient faith against them. The more honorable our opponents, the more honorable the contest with them. It is to be remarked, however, that in some recent works issued against us there has been a marked change; our doctrine is treated with respectful attention, and its advocates are spoken of as “able, pious, learned,” etc., which must inevitably be the result if the writer is scholarly and well posted in the history of our doctrine. For, if the men who have believed as we do are denounced in the way indicated, it then follows as a natural sequence, that the Church itself can for centuries only be traced through “weak intellects,” through “Cerinthian-heresy advocates,” and that many of the brightest ornaments and strongest writers of the Church are “credulous,” “fanatical,” etc. The fact is that the charge is too sweeping and endangers the integrity of the Church itself; and intelligence, seeing this, avoids such a prejudicial mode of procedure. Having already in the brief history of the doctrine shown (Props. 73–79), how incorrectly our doctrine is associated with heresy and fanatical bodies; leaving the honored names of its advocates to speak for themselves; having given in detail the arguments upon which we rely in favor of our position;—we may justly claim that the upholders and defenders of this doctrine have been protected against fanatical and unscriptural views of this Kingdom. The early Church with our faith resisted Cerinthus and others, and this has been a characteristic of its followers to protest against all such views, even if they have incorporated some of the truth concerning it. For, instead of having the word of man, or professed revelations of pretended sanctity and divine guidance to give. us proper conceptions of the Kingdom, we take God’s own Word and accept of the declarations concerning it as contained and repeated on the surface of revelation’s stream. This, at once, protects us against mystical, allegorical, hierarchical, spiritualistic, and rationalistic conceptions. We see, in view of its nature, characteristics, and manner of introduction, that it has not been re-established, and this, at once, sets aside the multitude of clamorous claims of the past and present. It has not been erected under the Papacy or by Protestants, or sects, or fanatics. Not merely Koller’s (Stilling’s Theobald,) feeble attempt to build the New Jerusalem and act, with his wife, as Vicegerent; not only the Anabaptist effort in the same direction; not merely that of the Papacy to build up a splendid, universal Kingdom; not only that now made to erect a spiritual New Jerusalem with men in it as rulers; not only all these are rejected as contradictory to the truth, but every effort, from whatever source it emanates, to constitute a Kingdom of Jesus Christ different from the one expressly covenanted to Him. The attitude thus assumed shields us against giving place to impressions, feelings, spirit communications, human inspiration, etc., bearing upon the subject, so that while not claiming freedom from errors in some things or from the failings of human infirmity, yet with this reliance and trust in a plainly revealed Kingdom—this firm foundation of covenant and prophecy in its grammatical sense—we are guilty of far less extravagance, less varied interpretation, etc., than our numerous opponents. Differing in details, we are at least a unit on the subject of the Coming Kingdom at the Sec. Advent, while our opponents present us differing and antagonistic kingdoms. According to our previously announced principles, such unity, etc. is no evidence, however, of the truthfulness of a doctrine, and it is not presented as such, but only to indicate that if the charge urged against us has any force in the eyes of some, it may be applied against themselves. In reference to this Kingdom, against the most plausible speculations and assertions of unbelief, against the profound sophistry of a faithless philosophy, against the epithets bestowed upon us, we can say with those of old: “It is written,” and what God causes to be written is true. If the Kingdom is ridiculed, and our “ignorance and folly” is deplored, we have at least the great satisfaction of knowing that, “It is written;” that the meaning we contend for is plainly and unmistakably contained in the text, while our opponents infer theirs at the expense of the first preachers of “the Gospel of the Kingdom.” We hold to this Kingdom, because we receive as an axiomatic truth, “the Scriptures cannot be broken” (John 10:35), and implicitly rely upon the saying of the Saviour, “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matt. 5:11). We may indeed be “ignorant and foolish” in many things, but we are not so ignorant and foolish as to set ourselves up against the grammatical sense of the Bible, to deny the former existence of the same Kingdom of God, to tear the predictions of the prophets away from their connection with the Jewish nation, and to make out that God’s effort to act in the capacity of an earthly Ruler will forever prove a failure, and to erect a plan of Redemption which leaves out some of the forfeited blessings and gives us in so far an imperfect Redeemer. The reasons for all this are given in the previous Propositions, and do not need repeating, so that we may conclude by saying, that no truth of importance has ever existed which has not had its opposers. Opposition is to be looked for, and is predicted, as a constant companion to the truth. This withstanding, often bitter, is frequently bestowed under the specious plea of glorifying God (see e.g. Isa. 66:5) and of honoring Christ, but whatever the plea, the only test applicable to judge of its real merits is to be found in Holy Writ. Hence it is, that no one should stumble over the varied and contradictory definitions, meanings, and interpretations ascribed to this Kingdom. If the truth exists, its opposite, error, will also be found, and the latter more widely diffused than the former. God tells us this Himself, and warns us distinctively, that such will be especially the state of things, just previous to the Advent of Christ, among all the nations of the earth, when, if the prevailing theories are correct, we ought reasonably to expect through development, etc., the contrary to occur. Diversity of view must not be mistaken for the opposition we speak of for, as Bickersteth, Bh. Van Mildert, and others, have shown, it is reasonable to expect the former when the great extent of prophecy, the wonderful details, the conciseness of statements, etc., are taken into consideration; and our remarks do not include a fair hearing and examination of the opinions of others under the influence of justice and love for the truth, but are directed against that distortion of facts, misrepresentation of statements, ascription of unworthy motives and personal attacks, which characterize so many productions of the day. Every writer should feel willing and desirous that his work should be subjected to rigid examination and criticism, but only in the spirit inculcated by the Divine Master, and in the light of the Holy Scriptures. The doctrine of the Kingdom, so essential and leading, should not be obscured or rejected, because of the errors in interpretation, prophecy, covenant, etc., by others; and such errors should not be joyfully held up as evidence of their being no truth in the system upheld, but true wisdom and scholarship suggest that the truth by due examination and comparison with Scripture be separated from error. Infallibility does not belong to man, and hence the best of men—as if to encourage us in our own efforts—give us evidences of weakness and imperfection in some things. Fortunately for us, our destiny is in God’s hands, and as He is more merciful and pitiful than man, we can rely upon Him in our labors, imperfect as they are, provided they are the result of a sincere search after, and desire for, the truth, and are not merely the production of personal feeling, contention, etc. This does not forbid the use of plain and decided language in reference either to the statements made by others, or the doctrines promulgated, or the tendencies that they may have (no author can object to this if correctly given) with the proof attached drawn from Scripture, and the facts of history. Therefore it is, that the mode of controversy, so long maintained against our doctrine and its advocates, is to be deprecated as not only unjust, but wrongfully calculated to prejudice the multitude against us without a hearing. It is in a great measure due to this feature that so many are unwilling even to examine the subject, and see what foundation it has in the Scriptures, and through it largely the professing Church has lost faith in the Kingdom, once the hope and joy of the pious Jew and devout early Christian.

Obs. 9. Not content with the motives presented to cause disbelief in our doctrine, it is remarkable (owing to its contradictory nature) that a prevailing one urged by the most respectable writers (e.g. Rev. David Brown in Christ’s Sec. Coming, etc., Steele’s Essay on Christ’s Kingdom), handed down from one to the other (and evidently adopted without examination), and found in nearly every one of their books is the following: viz.—that such a belief in the Kingdom, and of necessity in the Pre-Mill. Advent of King Jesus, paralyzes efforts for the salvation of others, and is an obstacle to missionary labor. Those who make the objection forget the activity and missionary labors of the early Church so extensively Millenarian in view; they overlook the large number of missionaries and friends of missions who have been and are Millenarians; they pass by and condemn some of the noblest men in their respective denominations (Episcopalian, Lutheran, Reformed, Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, etc.), who have been Millenarians, and yet noted for abundant Christian work; they ignore the numerous practical writings, the preaching, the success, the founding of missionary organizations, etc., by Millenarians, and are utterly unable to designate a single writer of them who has ever expressed a word against missionary effort. Indeed the doctrine we hold cannot, in the nature of the case, produce the effect thus confidently proclaimed. Let them show how it can paralyze activity and zeal, when its entire tenor and scope is to present us with motives to increased earnestness, etc., in behalf of the truth. Let them prove that a servant who watches for the speedy return of his master is more likely to prove unfaithful and inactive than he who believes that the master will not return for a long time. Is the proclamation of the truth hostile to the Kingdom or the Advent? Do the Scriptures urge diligence, piety, etc., grounded on the fact that the Lord may come at any time? Do those who unreflectingly persist in loading our faith with such an accusation, even think that by so doing they are virtually sitting in judgment over and condemning the motives that the Spirit has given? How can this even be reconciled with the frank concessions in our behalf made by opposers in sympathy with themselves, as e.g. Waldegrave (Lec. on N. T. Millenarianism, p. 6) tells us “that the advocates of the Pre-Millennial Advent are found, as they most certainly are, among the best men of our day, and the most faithful sons of the Church.” Desprez (John, or the Apocalypse), while totally rejecting our doctrine, still frankly admits that “it was the impelling power of the first missionaries, which won all the grand victories of early Christianity” (see Proph. Times, p. 172, Nov. 1870). In “An Appeal to the Churches,” issued in 1867, from Boston, subscribed by sixty clergymen with Albert Barnes at the head of the list, reference is made to the first three centuries as a model for revival and missionary exertions—the very Church so diffused with the Millenarian leaven. This obviously intended objection may well be dismissed with the remark, that a proper understanding of this Kingdom, the manner of its introduction, the gracious purposes involved in its postponement, the fearful displays of wrath and the wonderful exhibitions of faithfulness and mercy accompanying it, etc., are amply sufficient to subdue the heart of the believer into a glad willingness to occupy the posture of a waiting, watching and laboring servant, who feels the importance of redeeming the time and working while it is day—who desires to hasten the restitution by gathering the people required—who knowing the night, is not discouraged by a lack of success, but testifies to secure God’s approval.

Obs. 10. In giving the causes which produce in the Church such want of faith in the Kingdom, prominently may be noticed the Whitbyan hypothesis” of the conversion of the world by the Church, through which it is hoped this Church Kingdom will finally assume the proportions and attain to the characteristics of the Kingdom as predicted. Even a Bampton Lecturer, and others, under a vivid imagination, can apply Isa. 60, as already “magnificently” verified in the history of a struggling persecuted church. Having already (Prop. 175) briefly examined this theory, it may be well to suggest, that before it is made into an argument against us, it would be well first to establish its scriptural foundation, and show how it can be reconciled with the expectations and hopes of the apostles and Primitive Church. Yet many, assuming it to be true, ground their entire opposition against us upon its truth. The Roman Catholic idea, indorsed by some Protestants, viz., that Christ’s Kingdom is in the third heaven, that saints are transported to it, that it ever will remain there, and that a branch of that Kingdom under a Vicegerent or Hierarchical rule exists here on the earth for a time—is so flatly contradicted by our doctrine, and by the postponement of the Kingdom, and is so condemnatory of the powers and rule claimed, that it is no wonder the doctrine is so bitterly opposed by them. It is utterly impossible for a Millenarian to become a follower of a Church which assumes in its head the titles and prerogatives of a King over the Church, and it is equally impossible for that Church, as Chillingworth long ago pointed out, to reconcile its belief with the Millenarian faith of the Primitive Church. The Swedenborgian notion that the New Jerusalem state is already introduced and is destined to spread over the earth; in brief, all the various theories running down to Shakerism, Mormonism, etc., have by their distinctive teachings of the Kingdom as now existing in some form, visible or invisible, outward or inward, a decided authority and influence in the minds of many to cause them to turn a deaf ear to the scriptural delineations of the Kingdom. No matter what the covenants say, what the prophets describe, what the disciples preached, what the early Church believed, these live in a new era of enlightenment, and have nothing to do with “the old paths.” Without seeing how all this saps the foundations of the Scriptures, making them unreliable and untrustworthy, they tell us to accept of their mode of interpreting the Bible, and then we shall see as they themselves perceive. Others, not caring how it will fare with God’s Word, boldly declare that a man now with the accumulation of the past, knows more of doctrinal truth than the apostles. To preserve the sinking credit of the Papacy, infallibility is proclaimed to sustain the faithful in their belief in the Kingdom governed by the Pontiff. Many, who can ridicule this claim in Popery, are no better when they claim an infallible guide in some Confession, prophet, teacher, in short, anything outside of the Bible. The reflection follows: when we behold all those theories and systems of faith—all hostile to our doctrine—with numerous, learned, powerful, adherents, and these actuated by party attachments and associated inclinations and regard, it seems impracticable to hope for any large additions to our number. Indeed, taking Holy Writ for our guide, we dare not anticipate it, for if there were a revulsion in the Church making our doctrine as popular as it once was in the early Church, then the Bible would lose one of its landmarks of prophecy and prove untrue to itself. All that we can reasonably expect is, that, as God will not leave His truth without witnesses, a few, here and there in all denominations as now, will test their theories by the plain grammatical sense of the Word, as advocated by us; and under its guidance return to the blessed faith and hope characteristic of the Church in apostolic times. But in the utmost candor and with due respect to our opposers, may it be suggested, that, in all probability, the secret reason for rejecting faith in our doctrine lies with some in dislike to the humbling features of the doctrine, viz., that it utterly discards all human schemes and plans for “the regeneration” of society and the world. This Kingdom that we teach, being God’s own Theocratic arrangement for the government of the world, repudiates all human organizations; it will completely set them aside and put in place of them the Theocracy under Jesus Christ and His associated Ruler. This takes such a low estimate of things that men prize so highly; this abases what so many now pride themselves in; this so degrades the boasted advancement and development of the race; this so debases the pet theories, hierarchical tendencies, claims of superiority, etc., advanced by multitudes—that it is too humiliating to their own dignity and the loftiness of humanity to accept of it. A doctrine which threatens the perpetuity of institutions, organizations, etc.—which teaches that they are all imperfect, and must give place to a divine revelation of the Theocracy, is far from being acceptable to powerful bodies, to partisan adherents, to wealthy corporations, to laborers for the conversion of the world, to ecclesiastical rulers, etc. The Kingdom requires a radical change, resurrection and glorification in its inheritors, a complete conversion and revolution of faith and practice in the Jewish nation, and an entire submission and consecration of the Gentiles to its dominion. Its rulership, its Theocratic guidance, its fountain head of authority and power, is committed to a body of resurrected and glorified ones, Jesus being the Chief, and its very nature, design, accomplishment being for the Redemption of the race, all mere human systems, whatever their merit for the present dispensation, must give place to the new ordering, the renewed Theocracy. Men, instead of studying and appreciating God’s plan for “regeneration” and “restitution,” hug their own delusive plans and existing forms for the salvation of the race and world. Overlooking the sign of the present dispensation, which is not to convert the world, but to gather out them that believe to form the irresistible body of rulers in the Coming Theocracy, men engraft upon it their own faith and hopes and correspondingly act. If there is a truth distinctly taught in connection with this Kingdom, it certainly is, that all existing forms of polity, government, etc., shall give place to the new ordering when Messiah’s Kingdom is set up as covenanted and predicted. Hence, this doctrine instructs us to think less of the present world and more of “the world to come”—less of existing organizations and more of the mighty, all-prevailing One to come. This doctrine condemns man; finds fault with his projects for reforming humanity; makes him entirely dependent for the amelioration of the race on God and His Coming Son; tells him that his lofty fabrics shall be overthrown, that his expected reformation shall be a failure, that his anticipated prosperity shall end in ruin, that his alliance with the world in hope of gain and ascendency shall be met by a destruction; and therefore it is, that this doctrine is so hated by many, so abused by others, and regarded with unfriendly hearts by the mass. It is a protest against human nature in man, society, ecclesiastical systems, Church and State—that depravity exists in them all, and that, whatever good each and all may subserve under the present order, they are not fitted for “the Kingdom of Heaven” without radical and sweeping alterations (beyond human ability to effect) which shall fit them for the happy Theocratic ordering. There is no hope in humanity developing itself by its projects, allied as it may be to systems which contain more or less good, and this is proven by the position it occupies just previous to, and at, the Second Advent as delineated by the Spirit.

Obs. 11. This lack of faith in this Kingdom is the more inexcusable since it is not only protested against in the plain grammatical sense of the Word, but God has raised up men, in all denominations, to direct special attention to it. It is true that in many instances in the past some have fared very much as Jeremiah (20:10), yet like the prophet, urged by the commands of the Saviour, the importance of the subject, and the welfare of others, they continued to testify. In strict analogy with the past dealings of God, it is reasonable to expect, that, as the time approaches for the times of the Gentiles to end, and for the setting up of this Kingdom, the simple early Church view should be revived. It is with gratitude that we notice some of the most profound scholars and theologians of Europe and this country indorse the Primitive Church doctrine, while others are veering more and more in that direction. It is significant (in reference to the latter) e.g. that Van Oosterzee seizes upon the doctrine of the Kingdom as the basis of theology, embracing the Divine Purpose, and accords, in his way, a Pre-Mill. Advent of Jesus Christ, etc. It is expressive, that some of our recent opponents, forced to it by prophecy (as e.g. Fairbairn, etc.) leave the former line of argument, and frankly admit that the Kingdom as represented in Millennial descriptions can never be realized without a special Divine interference and manifestation of Supernatural power, etc. Taking our leading commentaries (as e.g. Lange, Alford, Bengel, Crit. Eng. Test., etc.)—expositions of portions of the Scripture (as e.g. Elliot, Lord, Ryle, etc.)—sermons on the subject (as e.g. McNeile’s, Cumming, Cox, etc.); books written in defence (as e.g. Bickersteth, Shimmeall, Birks, Brookes, etc.); periodicals published in behalf of the doctrine (as e.g. Bonar’s, Leask’s, Seiss’s, etc.) besides a large number of publications giving no uncertain evidence, it is certain that sufficient testimony has been given to arouse an unwilling Church and world to consider this doctrine. This very testimony fills a landmark of prophecy, fulfilling the cry, “Behold the Bridegroom Cometh,” reiterating the apostolic warning, “the Coming of the Lord draweth nigh,” and holding forth the last communication of Jesus: “Behold I come as a thief,” “Surely I come quickly,” etc. If it were wanting, a link in the chain of evidence would also be missing. Being present—however it may have been used by some for mere sensationalism or excitement—and held by witnesses of probity and learning, who find it authoritatively in the Scriptures, and give the reason for the faith that is in them based upon Holy Writ it—thus accurately corresponding with the waiting, longing position of the Primitive Church, with the apostolic cautions, and with the admonitions of the Master Himself—commends itself to the reason and heart of, alas, the comparatively few. When Whitby enumerates the noble list of Fathers in the Eastern and Western Church who held and taught our doctrine; when Albert Barnes (Com. Rev. p. 467) tells us that “the opinion (i.e. Millenarianism) here adverted to was held substantially by Papias, Justin Martyr, Irenæus, Tertullian, and others, among the Christian Fathers, and, it need not be said, is held by many modern expositors of the Bible, and by large numbers of Christian ministers of high standing, and other Christians;” when various opponents pronounce it even, “a splendid, magnificent phantom” (the very reproach forcing an indirect admission of its desirableness, adaptedness, completeness, etc.)—it is proof that the attention of the Church has been duly called to it, and that the responsibility of its rejection does not cling to the skirts of its advocates. There is not an objection or argument urged against it, that has not been duly met by an appeal to the Word; and there is scarcely a proof text in the Bible that has not, in some form, been presented in its behalf, always appealing to the grammatical sense. Notwithstanding this, it is a sad fact, that too many in the Church have measured the ways of God as exhibited in our doctrine by the same standard employed by infidels. The latter tells us that the test applied to Abraham in the proposed sacrifice of Isaac was unworthy of God, that the Incarnation is derogatory to the Deity, that the Mosaic law was degrading, etc., and precisely—after all our appeals to its being literally expressed in the Scriptures and to its having been believed in under apostolic teaching—the same rule is applied to this Kingdom—reiterated in many works as the culminating objection—and it is rejected as unworthy of God. Reason sits in judgment over the reasoning, the testimony assigned, and thus far correctly, but when she assumes to measure the fitness, the worthiness of God’s plans, she transcends her mission. If it can be shown that the plan is unreasonable in its adaptation to secure the result aimed at, then, of course, a logical argument is raised against us to which we must yield. The objection must not cover God’s ability to perform what He has promised. Let us ask, where is the opponent of our doctrine who has ever vindicated the charge thus urged against us by showing that the Theocratic Kingdom thus restored under the Messiah and risen saints is not adapted to secure the Redemption of the race, etc.? If honest to themselves and to us, they must admit that there is not a feature distinctively relating to this Kingdom, but what if carried out as our doctrine portrays, will result in producing the blessing predicted. If so—and this is unquestionable—why then urge an excuse for unbelief which necessarily reflects upon the character and ability of God, and sets man over Him as the judge of the worthiness of His Divine Purposes? True reason, allied with faith, cannot present it, without doing violence to the abundant testimony given; and hence the root of it must be found in things previously mentioned and to a desire to crush, if possible, the doctrine by loading it with corruption. As an indication of this spirit, it is only necessary to recall what we find gravely presented by many writers in view of our doctrine being so largely allied with prophecy, viz. that prophecy cannot be understood until after the fulfilment, etc. The insincerity of this pretext for unbelief is abundantly witnessed in their professed ability, over against us, to comprehend these same predictions, apply them to their own Church-Kingdom and to their notions respecting the future. Prophecy has no difficulties and can be readily comprehended when related to their own theories, but just so soon as we insist upon the grammatical sense being retained and their connection with the Jewish nation, and the overthrown Theocracy being observed, then, owing to the apparent antagonism which this gives to their doctrines, prophecy is fearfully obscure. Does not this evince that disposition has more to do with the matter than reason. The Jews, because they did not deal faithfully with prophecy, were pronounced by Jesus Himself guilty of hypocrisy, and how narrowly some escape the same censure is evidenced by the manner in which they employ it. Surely it is no small matter to have the prophets, all testifying to this Kingdom, in our hands; and God justly holds us accountable for the manner in which we receive and understand them. This He does, not because of the mystical, spiritual, rationalistic senses which must be learned in the writings of men, but, because the unequivocal sense brought out by the generally received laws of language, is the one accessible to all. We are not required to wade through the volumes of the Schoolmen, the folios of Swedenborg, etc., to find out the meaning of the prophets, the Word—it is found upon its very surface. Therefore it is, that notwithstanding the plain predictions of unbelief in this Kingdom, its mode of re-establishment by the personal Advent, etc., the Kingdom itself (caused either by a neglect or perversion of the prophecies and the testimony given) will be preceded by a general incredulity for which God will hold men strictly responsible, as evidenced by the outgoings of His wrath at that period. It is in view of this (aside from the personal honor and happiness, the special promises to, and blessings bestowed upon believers) that we should give this testimony due and most candid examination, without allowing the reproaches or theories of men to affect our judgment, lest, peradventure, we find ourselves answerable for a faith which God will not recognize as a proper one. In such an investigation every step should be founded upon Scripture, not upon isolated passages from which inferences can be wrongfully drawn, but upon the general connection as found in covenant, history, prophecy, preaching, fulfilment, etc., lest in making our deductions we be found to be “wise in our own eyes and prudent in our own sight.” The question to be decided, is not what the Bible may mean, what it ought to mean, what this or that church says it means, but what it really and honestly means; and this of course again involves the principle of interpretation as fundamental which is the basis of our doctrine, otherwise the Book may assume any shape, any meaning at the pleasure of the Interpreter. The inspiration (not of a recondite but) of the plain sense of the Bible is with us an established fact (proven by the Divine Unity, etc.) and upon it we advance, in confirmation of our doctrinal position, chapter and verse, confidently relying upon what it teaches. That a sense, not contained in the express language (as e.g. converting David’s throne into the Father’s in the third heaven, etc.) is inspired, must first be proven. Warned that men will reject the truth, will not endure sound doctrine, will turn to fables etc., we are gratified with our position, which accords with the charge made by Paul to Timothy (2 Tim. 4:1–5, see entire connection) that he should be faithful to the Word because of Christ’s “appearing and Kingdom,” when He comes to judge “the quick and the dead.” Thus cautioned, we cling the closer to “His appearing and Kingdom,” and proclaim the Word in its light, persistently refusing all that may interfere with this relationship. This “appearing” and the Kingdom following, as Dr. Auberlen justly remarks, “does not rest upon isolated passages, but is essential to a right understanding of the entire body of the Old Test., and is the fundamental idea of the New, in which the sum and substance of Messianic Prophecy is concentrated.” It may be that such a course may result in others calling us “alarmists,” “croakers” (although none are more cheerful and hopeful in faith than such believers) because of the attitude of protest against the worldly spirit, of warning against unbelief and its sure tendency, of entreaty against the danger incurred, of great hope only in Christ’s Coming, etc., but we are satisfied if it secures from the Saviour the approval and blessing of the watching servant (e.g. Luke 12:37–49, etc.), the designation of “a good minister of Jesus Christ” (1 Tim. 4:6, context), the removal of unfaithfulness (Ezek. 33:6, etc.), the bestowal of blamelessness (1 Cor. 1:5–8), etc.

Obs. 12. While it is unnecessary to exhibit in detail the declining of faith—so triumphantly paraded by one party, so sadly lamented by another, so weakly denied against existing facts by still another class—it may be in place to illustrate out of the abundant material, by a recent and striking case, the practical workings of unbelief. Let us take, for example, a work (already alluded to, being highly indorsed) John, or the Apocalypse of the New Testament, by Rev. Desprez. This is a singular book, owing to its copious concessions to our doctrine up to a certain point, and then to its sudden turning to unbelief, casting itself into the embraces of a destructive criticism. The honesty and candor of the writer is conspicuously displayed in numerous statements, and affords in consequence painful evidence, in its contrasts, of the influence of no faith in Divine utterances. The author fully sustains our position, and proclaims it incontrovertible, that our doctrine is fully and explicitly taught in the Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Apocalypse; that it was held by “the first two or three centuries,” that it is so interwoven in the New Test. and so incorporated with motives to obedience, salvation, etc., with every form of Christian expectation, hope, doctrine, etc., that it cannot be denied by lawful interpretation, exegesis, reasoning, and attention to facts. Although hostile to our views, he fully, freely, unreservedly admits that they exist in the Word just as we claim, and that we cannot be confuted from the standpoint of Scripture or history. He takes precisely the same view of the early preaching of “the Gospel of the Kingdom” that we advocate in this work, and asserts it to be impregnable, etc. Finding our doctrine so firmly fixed in the grammatical sense of the Word and in the history of these times; ascertaining by examination and comparison that it cannot be logically and consistently eradicated, being part of the Bible itself, he coolly, most deliberately proposes, in the spirit of the Tübingen school, to cut out of the Scriptures all that pertains to this doctrine, on the ground, that such a Kingdom never was realized as preached and believed in, and hence cannot possibly be true. Even words put into the mouth of Jesus (as e.g. Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21, etc.) must be discarded or else, because the events spoken of did not soon after take place, Jesus is convicted of error. What a destructive theory! Suppose all the allusions, references, direct teachings, etc., upon the subject are removed (being incorporated with and permeating the New Test. as he admits) what is left of the New Test., and what becomes of the authenticity, credibility, and inspiration of the Apostles? Does not the whole Bible then become what he pronounces, from his sweeping procedure, the Apocalypse to be “a grand chimera of the approaching Kingdom of God”—“the offshoots of a pious yet wayward imagination, the creations of a loving, trustful, yet fevered and heated brain”? The New is based upon the Old Testament, and this criticism sweeps away the Covenant that God swore should be fulfilled; blasts like a simoon the inspiration of prophets; convicts the apostles, or at least the writers, of gross error, weakness, and imposition, and naturally leads (because this and that is not true) to a rejection of the whole. What reliance can be placed in a Book, which then (according to this author) contains such palpable falsehoods, which misguided multitudes by shameful fabrications, and which is crowded from beginning to end with fiction and untruth. This distructive work, this effort to get rid of our doctrine is not the performance of Strauss, Bauer and Renan, but of a clergyman of the Church of England, indorsed by high names in England and this country. It is simply the judgment of this writer that our doctrine is a mistake; and as it cannot be logically taken out of the Bible, every portion containing it must be rejected as unworthy of credence. But let us remind him, his indorsers and readers, that our doctrine has other evidences besides those which he produces. These are stubborn facts which cannot be set aside, and which prove that the writers of the New Testament knew of the things which they affirmed. Look at this covenanted Kingdom as it once existed, as it was overthrown, and then notice how the prophecies embrace that which was and is a reality. Trace the historical connection and behold the fulfilment. Then notice, what Desprez takes wrongfully for granted, that Jesus and none of the Apostles teach that the Kingdom shall be immediately set up, but that they unite in locating it indefinitely in the future at the Sec. Advent. Especially observe, that the first preaching of the Kingdom was conditioned by the repentance of the Jews, and that Scripture and history attest that the nation did not repent, and that as a result of non-repentance the Kingdom was expressly withdrawn and postponed during a period called “the times of the Gentiles.” The duration of this era is dependent upon the gathering out of an elect people, while the evidence of such postponement is found in the express language of Jesus (see for proof Props. 58, 66, 67, 68, etc.) conveniently overlooked by the author, in the terrible fall and continued scattered (yet preserved) state of the Jewish nation, in the Gentiles treading down Jerusalem, in the establishment of the Church and the gathering out of a people. Such evidences accumulated for many centuries, the positive outgrowth of the postponed Theocratic Plan, and yet in some respects preparatory to its accomplishment, must have their due weight in deciding upon the credibility, etc., of the writers of the Bible, and yet in the entire argument this author most carefully avoids them, just as if they had no existence. Surely before judging in so important a matter, prudence, if not wisdom, ought to suggest the reception of the entire testimony, without the suppression of the leading, essential part which gives the key to the understanding of the remarkable change in the offer of this Kingdom, and of the reason why it was not established. While the book cannot injure a believer in the doctrine, yet it will fall into the hands of others who cannot detect the fallacy underlying its argumentation. Yea, more, forming an opinion from a comparison of prophecies relating to the last times, it seems more than probable, that the method by which multitudes will refuse faith in the Coming Kingdom, is indicated in the manner and style employed by the author, involving a denial of “the blessed hope,” the inheritance of David’s Son, and the faith and hope of apostles, martyrs, confessors, and others.*

Obs. 13. Will our opponents receive in all kindness some suggestions of the mode of argumentation that is required to fairly meet our doctrinal position. We desire light; and if we point out what difficulties are to be explained, and what objections are to be removed, it may enable some one to deal with the subject in a way that will at least commend itself to us as a sincere and honest method of answering us. The works issued against us thus far, will never influence a single believer in our doctrine (however much they may establish unbelievers) for the reason that in many cases they do not answer the objections urged against them by us in the interpretation of Scripture, but chiefly confine themselves to their own interpretation, and then take it for granted that we are answered. We on the other hand, give fearlessly our own and theirs, and compare them. Take e.g. the struggle over Rev. 20:4, 5, 6,—now in every exposition of theirs we are told that “souls” cannot possibly mean persons, etc., and no notice is taken of the proof to the contrary alleged by us. Indeed their exegetical comments are given on the passage without venturing to contrast ours alongside of it, for fear of exposing their own weakness. On the other hand our leading expositions boldly contrast the two, and show by the very contrast which is most worthy of credence. This line of thought was suggested by the fact too, that all the recent works contain without exception the same formula of proof without the least effort to show in what respect our interpretation of Scripture is defective, saving only that it does not correspond with their own. It was reasonably expected that such a writer as Dr. Hodge, especially in view of the opinions of prominent men in his own denomination, would meet the questions at issue in his Sys. Theology in a new and interesting manner, but to the surprise and disappointment of not a few, he gives but a reproduction (unworthy of his ability) of Dr. Brown’s Christ’s Sec. Coming, and Barnes’s Revelation. Let it be understood by all that the old and oft-repeated statement (harmless to us, but perhaps weighty to the ignorant) that Rev. 20 contains the foundation (some say the only recital) of our doctrine must be proven or recalled. Mere assertion—in the face of the early Church, and all believers since, appealing to the covenants and prophecies, to the gospels and epistles as containing the doctrine—cannot produce conviction; the mere distinctive mention of the one thousand years (measuring the interval between the two resurrections and the binding of Satan) or of the resurrection and reigning of the saints (for these are contained in other Scriptures) does not make it such. Our appeal, with Barnabas and all other Millenarians, for our foundation is in the covenanted Theocratic Kingdom. To show that we are fundamentally incorrect, to get at the root of our doctrine, let them go to the Davidic Covenant and prove that the grammatical sense of that covenant is not meant; that another meaning is to be engrafted upon it; that they have an express authoritative Scripture for making such an alteration; and that a covenant sworn to be fulfilled can be ignored or explained away. Let our opponents, in this connection, proceed to indicate how we are wrong in cleaving to the grammatical sense of the Bible in doctrine; and, if wrong, let them produce the unvarying rules of a spiritual or Origenistic interpretation to be a guide to us so as not to leave us at the pleasure of the expositor. The common resort, when we bring forward the grammatical sense, is to pronounce it wrong, then to assert that it may have another meaning, and adopt the latter without first showing that it is the true meaning, the very thing at issue. If the spiritual interpretation is safe and reliable, then it certainly ought to have fixed, definite rules, accessible to all, by which we can be governed and protected from error. Where are they, and who will lay them down? Our rules can be found in every grammar and rhetoric, and are common to all languages. In addition, let such inform us why the covenant does not yet specially pertain to the Jewish nation; why it is not still the elect nation owing to its Theocratic relationship, and why the prophecies, which declare that the fallen, ruined, scattered but still preserved nation shall ultimately be restored to its lofty Theocratic position with the Gentiles engrafted, shall not be fulfilled. Let them inform us by what process they can logically apply predictions given exclusively (as the fulfilment of the curses evince) to the Jews—and which declare that the identical people, land, and capital afflicted, oppressed, and downtrodden, shall be restored again under Messiah’s reign in the re-established throne and Kingdom of David—to the Gentiles in their Church relationship. Will they point out by what authority they divide Millennial descriptions of this Kingdom, and refuse credence to a literal resurrection joined with them when Paul expressly quotes them and locates the resurrection of the saints at that period, as e.g. 1 Cor. 15:54? Will they tell us why the most of them admit two literal resurrections under the last trumpet (as in 1 Cor. 15 and Rev. 11:18), and refuse to believe in the portrayal of another (Rev. 20:4, 5, 6) under the same trumpet; and why the same word used in the last passage named, to denote the corporeal resurrection of Jesus is not adapted to mean that of His followers in the same sense? Will they attempt to reconcile, without degrading them, the preaching of John the Baptist, of the disciples, of the early Church, with their theory of the Kingdom? It would afford us great pleasure to see it tried without involving them, although specially sent forth and supported, in error. Can they explain Acts 1:6 consistently with the previous preaching of the Kingdom, and with the subsequent faith of the churches under the preaching of the same apostles. Will they inform us how it was possible for inspired men to believe in the Kingdom as now upheld, when their constant expressed hope was in the Advent of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom, for which they exhorted all believers to look, pray, and watch. Instead of simply clinging to the Popish view of the judgment and judgment day and insist from it that they are right, will they follow our scriptural proof as to the meaning and representations of these, and show that we are wrong, and wherein our argument is defective? This is the more important since Brown, Barnes, Hodge, etc., reiterate the old objection without the least attempt to prove that their interpretation is correct, or that ours is erroneous. To test the matter between us, will they inform us whether our application of the fire in Matt. 25:41, to the lake of fire in Rev. 19:20 (comp. after Millennial era, Rev. 20:10) is incorrect, and if so, why erroneous? (Here is suggested the cause of just complaint upon our side, viz., that reasons assigned why certain passages—test ones between us as the one now indicated—are to be understood in a certain sense and assigned to a certain period of time, are entirely ignored, and the passages triumphantly claimed, as if such reasons were never repeatedly presented and urged. On the other hand, no reason has been given by them, but what has also been duly considered by Millenarians. While some of us may have been more or less guilty of the same procedure, yet, as a perusal of our leading works on our side abundantly evidence, the rule is to acknowledge and reply to all the reasons given by our opponents either in general or in particulars. Feeling the solidity and importance of our doctrine, we are only too anxious to meet, for the sake of inquirers and others, the proof given for interpretation and application of texts, etc. Common justice in argumentation, aside from other considerations, demands this, and it is to be hoped that it may be more practised.) Will they tell us what Coming of the Lord and saints is denoted in Zech. 14:5, and how this Coming can be reconciled with the remainder of the chapter; what Coming is meant in 2 Thess. 2:8, and how this Advent and the context can be made to correspond with a previous Millennial period; how the Coming of the Sun of Righteousness, the utter destruction of the wicked, and the exaltation of the righteous in Mal. 4:1–3 can be reconciled with their interpretation of numerous passages, as e.g. the parable of the tares and wheat; how the Advent of the Lord in Hab. 3 can be transformed into a Coming of God to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt, etc., when the prophet in verse 16 expressly locates it in the future; how the Coming of the Son of Man, Matt. 24:29, 30, “immediately after” the tribulation spoken of can be a Coming before the same; how even the Coming of a man can be a spiritual Coming, etc.? Will they prove that there is no priority in the resurrection, in the judgment, in the gathering of the elect, in the position of nations in the Kingdom; that they understand the ordinary use of language better (see many comments on Rev. 20, and the declarations that it “cannot possibly mean” what we contend for) than men who wrote and spoke it as the early Church; that Christ’s Second Advent, instead of fulfilling the Scriptures in bringing salvation, through a glorious Kingdom, to saints and nations, really “exhausts the object of the Scriptures;” that the unchanging Priesthood of Christ comes to an end at the Sec. Advent? In advocating the ending of the Kingdom given to Jesus Christ, will they tell us what to do with the passages predicting its perpetuity; in applying Isa. 63:1–6 to the First Advent, will they explain how this blood, etc., of His enemies can be transmuted into His own blood; in interpreting Dan. 7, will they inform us by what reasoning they make the Coming of “the Son of Man” to precede the divided form of the Roman Empire, the rise of the horns and the little horn; in postponing the Second Advent until after the definite Millennial era still future, will they show how it is possible to occupy the posture commanded of looking, watching, and praying for that Advent; in asserting that the Old Testament must only be viewed through the New, will they teach us why this is preferable to our saying that Old and New (containing the Will of God) must be considered as embracing a whole so that one serves to illustrate the other; in adverting to differences (although in essentials a unit, viz., as to the covenanted Kingdom) of opinion on some points as an objection to the doctrine itself, will they make known to us why such a rule of judgment should not be even more applicable to themselves, seeing that they cannot agree in defining the Kingdom? If the mixed condition of the Church, if the Antichristian powers, are to exist down to the very Advent, let them inform us how the Millennial descriptions that “all shall be righteous,” etc., can be realized before that Advent; if all the blessings forfeited by sin are not restored, can they tell us in what the completeness of restoration and restitution consists? These and similar questions we earnestly desire to be answered and to be answered by a direct (not inferential) appeal to Scripture, and to the same grammatical sense (unless this is shown to be invalid) which they employ to sustain other great, cardinal doctrines of the Word. They defend the birth, life, death, etc., of Jesus Christ, the rest of the doctrines of Salvation, the character, attributes, etc., of God, the sinfulness of man and necessity for Redemption, etc., by this sense; they deem their position on any other point impregnable if sustained by this sense, and hence when we find ourselves so amply sustained by it, we are justified in maintaining it until it is clearly made manifest that this sense opposes our doctrine. (We present the following as a fair specimen of the style of argumentation adopted: Dr. Swartz (Luth. Observer, Feb. 10th, 1882) insists that the world is far better and cannot possibly fall back into its old sins, as follows: “Those pessimist Millenarians who are evermore prophesying evil days, and are telling the world that before the Millennium it will be as in the days of Noah, prophesy of evils which Christianity has made impossible.” Then Jesus and His Apostles were also “pessimists,” and grossly mistook the design of the present dispensation, for we take their own words and believe in them. Ten thousand just as unscriptural declarations are popularly proclaimed and received, indicative of the prevailing lack of faith in some of the plainest teachings of the Word.)

  PROPOSITION 178. This doctrine of the Kingdom, and its essentially related subjects, are so hostile to their faith, that numerous organized religious bodies totally reject them.

These doctrines, once so precious to the early Church, have not, and cannot have, a place in their expressed systems of belief. Simple consistency forbids their incorporation, seeing that they stand opposed to their fundamental tenets respecting the covenants, the Christ, the Church, Redemption, etc. (comp. previous Prop.).

Obs. 1. While in the aggregate Pre-Millenarians form a respectable body, and are found (as e.g. evidenced in the Proph. Conferences in England and America) in various denominations, yet in comparison with the immense body which rejects our doctrine they form a small minority, thus according with the Spirit’s prediction. The fact is, that large religious organizations exclude it from their respective systems of faith; that many sects condemn it as “an exploded superstition;” and that even those who may tolerate it in individual believers, as a body do not give it any official sanction, but rather seek to crush it. Works on Systematic Theology, designed for general guidance, either entirely omit any references to our doctrine, or, if mentioned, give it in a brief mutilated form with a lengthy rejoinder, without allowing our main reasons to appear.*

Obs. 2. Under the plea of Church authority (by which is understood the confessional standards, or the utterances of distinguished writers, etc.) our doctrine is repudiated because at variance with the systems of faith elaborated. And this is the more amazing when these same advocates of the alleged faith of the Church pass by as unworthy of credence, and as utterly unauthoritative, the expressed belief of the Apostolic and Primitive Church. Surely if Church authority has any special weight in establishing the true faith, it certainly ought to be found in the Church which had the advantage of the teaching of the apostles, elders, and their immediate successors.*

Obs. 3.Ecclesiastical bodies in their general meetings totally ignore the commanded posture of watching. Indeed if any one. should have the temerity to offer a resolution recommending the Scripture attitude, and presenting the imminency of the Sec. Advent, he would be ridiculed by the large majority. The tender of such a resolution, or one in reference to the covenanted Messianic Kingdom, would be offensive, since the spirit, business, and tendency of such meetings, confidently look for perpetuity, continued prosperity, the conversion of the world, an extension of a present Messianic Kingdom through their instrumentality.*

Obs. 4. One feature alone evidences the spirit and aim of the Church, and that is the endowment system so largely adopted by individual congregations, synodical bodies, religious organizations, etc. Investments in real estate, mortgages, bonds, and stocks are made in a manner so declarative of perpetuity, of the Lord delaying His Coming, of faith in the conversion of the world, etc., that it manifests a wide departure from the scriptural injunction and the primitive belief. These endowments, tending to the support and ease of many able men, rivet the prevailing unbelief by the personal interest involved in their continuance. It is hard to make the sacrifices which the simple truth demands. It is noteworthy that the richer the endowments, the more extended the investments, the less inclination is there to return to the early belief of the Church.*

Obs. 5. In many of our congregations this doctrine is an interdicted subject (as the writer knows from personal observation and experience), and what a writer (Proph. Times, vol. 6, p. 176) confessed, many can truthfully declare: “Although trained and educated in the—Church. I know no more about the Second Coming of Christ and His reign on the earth than a heathen in the jungles of India knows of the story of the Cross.” Indeed such regard the doctrine as fanaticism and heresy, and do not desire their pulpits to announce the warnings of Jesus, or to exhibit the primitive faith and its scriptural foundations.*

Obs. 6. The religious press, which has such a powerful denominational influence, is almost en masse against us. Quarterlies, monthlies, weeklies, and reviews not only refuse to publish articles from us, but delight to insert anything that may cast detraction upon the doctrine. They cater to the taste and bow to the influence of the preponderating majority, and thus secure their patronage. It is felt that our doctrine is so antagonistic, to the prevailing views of the various denominations, that the press avoids giving our views in detail, and contents itself with presenting articles opposed to us, or in quoting that which may bring ridicule upon us.*

Obs. 7. The mass of the Church, both in ministry and laity, is so leavened with the spirit of unbelief and opposition, that threats of excommunication, deposal, etc., are boldly announced, notwithstanding the antiquity, antecedents, reception, scriptural foundation of the doctrine. Not satisfied to meet us in argument, to deny our “hope,” to make it ridiculous, to pervert or ignore history, to brand us as guilty of “heresy,” etc., the antagonism must culminate in threats, as e.g. illustrated recently in Prof. Briggs of New York, whose spirit and that of the Romanist Baronius (whom he approvingly quotes) correspond.*

Obs. 8. The faith of multitudes is influenced by that expressed by pious and useful laborers of the Church, and when our doctrine—which evidently has never been studied, either in its historical or scriptural aspects—is curtly dismissed by them as unworthy of credence or attention, the reputation, the godly life of such sways many to treat it with indifference and even with contempt. Misrepresentations, perversions, detractions, expressed or implied disdain, coming from such a source become measurably authoritative in the eyes of not a few, forgetting, as the history of the Church abundantly proves, that error may exist in connection with great piety, fervor, zeal, and usefulness.*

Obs. 9. It is not merely the controversial books and articles (such as Brown’s, Waldegrave’s, etc.) that tend to this rejection of our doctrine, but a multitude of works are issued, either by private individuals or societies, which take the opposite for granted, and predict in a dogmatic form “smooth things” for the Church. These are extensively circulated and read, and thus by precept and example confirm the existing faithlessness. Indeed, it is a fact that many are so familiarized to such a “Church Literature,” that they are utterly unacquainted with our doctrines, and the scriptural reasons assigned in their behalf.*

Obs. 10. The state of no faith, the indifference to the subject, the interposing of long periods, etc., is also in a measure produced by the long-delayed return of Jesus. Good men like Luther, etc., expected His return in their day, and able men like Bengel, etc., fixed upon approximative dates, but these expectations and data passed by without His return, and many, because of the non-fulfilment, remain sunken in a state of apathy and unbelief—just as if the event depended on man’s estimate or measuring of time, and not on God’s own appointment. More than this: such disappointments are made the subject of scoffing, in order to heap ridicule upon the whole subject.*

Obs. 11. Many writers, like M. Guizot (Med. upon the Chris. Relig., etc.), seeing the predictions relative to an ultimate exaltation of the Church, take it for granted, by utilizing a philosophical idea of progress, that the Church will be universally dominant in the present dispensation. No effort is made to establish this by an examination of Scripture or of the early Church view, but we are left the option to accept of it, because in accordance with philosophy, the deductions of reason, and the wishes of human nature—thus occupying the same ground and urging the same considerations presented by the extreme Liberal party. Many intelligent and able men, leaders of others, indorse this development theory, and extend the prevailing unbelief.*

Obs. 12. It may probably be asked, Why is it that God allows so many prophets to arise and predict “peace and safety,” and make the Church, as a body, complacently look forward to continued prosperity, increased wealth and power, and wide extended dominion? The reason was long ago assigned by Moses (Deut. 13:3) in the words: “for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” It is done to test the love of His people, to discriminate between those who reverently receive all that He has spoken and honor His Son, and those who will follow the views and doctrines of men, giving the honor which exclusively belongs to the Son’s work to men. When persons wilfully ignore oath-bound covenants, ridicule “the Blessed Hope,” even the Coming of Jesus, and mock at the inheritance of Jesus and His saints, then it is but just that they should put their trust in smooth but false predictions instead of the Word of God.*

  PROPOSITION 179. The doctrine of the Kingdom, or essentials of the same, are directly allied by various bodies with doctrines that are objectionable, and hence is made unpalatable to many.

It is a sad fact that many persons not being able to discriminate between truth and error, reject both because they happen to be thus connected in the faith of some denomination or sect. Truth is not vitiated by error, for if it were, then there is not a single doctrine of the Bible but what would have to be rejected, seeing that they have been more or less connected with erroneous doctrine.*

Obs. 1. The Christadelphians, owing to a union of Pre-Millenarian views with other doctrines, are seriously injuring the former in the estimation of others because of the latter. Wherever they find a lodgment, their hostile attitude toward, and denunciations of all others, directs attention to their opinions, and in the feeling of opposition and repulsion excited against them, our doctrines being supposed to belong to them distinctively and exclusively, suffer an unjust condemnation. A little reflection ought to convince any one, even from an historical position, that this conclusion is highly erroneous. Christadelphianism is very modern; its founder, Dr. Thomas, only died a few years ago. It is impossible in the history of the Church (with which Jesus promised to be continuously from His First Advent) to find any writer or any document which brings forth the Christadelphian faith as exhibited by Dr. Thomas and his followers. The shielding of themselves under the plea that they have no creed, that the Bible is their creed, and hence nothing but the Bible is required, does not meet the case, for nowhere do we find the formulated statements of belief, which they assert as essential to salvation and to constitute a Christadelphian, until we come to Dr. Thomas. Surely a faith so essential as asserted, ought in the history of the Church for eighteen centuries have found some one to formulate it sufficiently indicative of its existence. Pre-Millenarianism, on the other hand, is found prominently in the Primitive Church, and has a history to sustain it as a Church faith centuries before Dr. Thomas lived. Even in the discussion of the doctrine of the Kingdom, no acknowledgments are made of the previous holding of the truth by a line of positive witnesses, but the impression is made, designedly or undesignedly, that Dr. Thomas by his superior enlightenment presented the doctrine after it had been totally ignored by all others.
Pre-Millenarians are to be found in the early Church, and in all Protestant denominations, whereas Christadelphianism is a small body with a system of formulated (i.e. as given by writers) doctrines which must be held as essential to salvation. Jesus, the Christ, is not “very God,” but only inhabited by the Father through the Spirit (and even that was only accomplished at His baptism); the Holy Spirit is only the instrumental power of the Father; while the devil is only a personification of sin in the flesh (so that was a striking illustration, when they went into the swine). Unable to explain the union of spirit, soul, and body in man, they dogmatically explain all that refers to the personality of the Deity, of Satan, etc., and those who may differ from them are stigmatized as “ignorant,” “errorists,” “unbelievers,” etc. Baptism is so completely hedged around by a series of doctrines, including the grossest materialism, that whosoever does not believe their precise system of theology cannot be baptized, and consequently will inevitably be damned. As their system of faith embraces a variety of features, and is complicated, taking days of patient study to understand, an unbeliever naturally feels surprise that such large numbers could be converted and baptized in one day by the Primitive Church, and that Philip so hastily baptized the eunuch, etc. Such facts, however, have no weight with them, for their distinctive faith and baptism are made essential unto salvation, and by this exclusiveness they debar all others, asserting it boldly and arrogantly.

The grossest materialism, such as the wildest unbelief has suggested, is characteristic of the system, so that soul and body are material, or rather the former is a simple product of the latter and dies with it. Such passages as Matt. 10:28, Stephen’s prayer, etc., cannot repress the extreme dogmatism expressed. The logical outgrowth of the whole is found in the horrible doctrine that infants and little children utterly perish by death; that the heathen and infants, at least, will never be raised from the dead. Pre-Millenarians, whatever their private views may be respecting immortality (either natural or acquired) and the ultimate destiny of the wicked (either preserved in positive punishment or given over to ultimate destruction), do not put forward such unbelieving materialism, which neutralizes a class of passages indicative of the soul being something higher and nobler than the body. They do not regard the belief, one way or the other conscientiously held as essential to salvation, for they elevate neither ordinance nor doctrine to the level of a faith appropriating, even amid weakness and imperfect knowledge, Jesus as the Saviour who died for us, and our obedience sincerely rendered to Him according to the knowledge imparted.4

The intense and selfish bigotry actuating this body is a sad commentary on human infirmity. Without the least compunction, all outside of themselves are condemned; no one can be saved but themselves. Taking no warning from Jesus’ rebuke to the disciples, they denounce as worthy of damnation those who supremely love the Christ and labor—let it be in weakness—for Him; ignoring what the apostles say of charity, they elevate knowledge—such as they possess—far above it; overlooking the caution of the Spirit, they sit in judgment over all who differ from them and threaten them with endless destruction. Let the same graces of the Spirit, which they themselves profess to possess, appear in others, and it is nothing but the workings of the flesh; let the Church of the past be appealed to, its martyrs, its confessors, its missionaries, its eminent and noble men, and if not Christadelphians their love, sacrifices, toil, life, etc., are nothing but the developments of the flesh; let them be reminded that weak brethren with imperfect knowledge may exist—that men may through lack of proper understanding build imperfectly on the foundation and suffer great loss and yet be saved—that such a diversity may exist so that some are fed on “milk” and others on “strong meat”—it is nothing except they be Christadelphians. An unchristian spirit, an imprudent and arrogant claim of superior holiness and special enlightenment, cannot be pressed beyond this one. Now Pre-Millenarianism from the Primitive Church down has constantly repudiated such a selfish and unwarranted attitude. Its writers, numbering hundreds, scorn such an uncharitable manifestation.

Obs. 2. The Seventh-Day Adventists uniting the doctrine of the nearness of the Second Advent with their peculiar, distinctive views, injure it in the minds of those who overlook the fact, that no sect has ever existed which has not mingled some truth with its error. Pre-Millenarianism especially is thus judged by the prejudice engendered by Seventh-Day Adventists, when the truth is, that so little of our doctrine is entertained by them, and so hostile are they to our essential views, that they cannot be classed with Pre-Millenarians, since they do not in any sense hold to a Millennium here on the earth during the thousand years. This is seen in the restoration of an old monkish idea, that during the 1000 years or Millennium, this earth is to be a fiery hell in which the wicked, the mortal race, and all things are to be destroyed, and then at the end of the thousand years Jesus, the Christ, and His saints, who during the 1000 years were in the third heaven and reigned there, return to this earth which has been renewed.2

This organization is of very modern growth; its founders and leaders, Mrs. White and her husband, are still living. Ecclesiastical history records the existence of no body like them, with their peculiar formulated faith (as presented by their writers), although it gives persons and parties who arose now and then, and insisted upon the observance of the Seventh Day. Their system, like Mormonism, is eclectic, and a variety of doctrines are incorporated, such as a gross materialism as taught by the Storrites and Christadelphians, a speedy Advent with the exegesis attached to it as presented by the Millerites, a non-perpetuation of the race, and a non-restoration of the Jews as taught by some of the Sec. Adventists, a denial of the unchangeable priesthood of Jesus, co-existent with His own existence, as affirmed by Post-Millenarians, a special adherence to the doctrine of meats and drinks (e.g. pork, coffee and tea) as illustrated by the Jews, a lack of charity toward all who refuse to receive their system of faith, hedged in by a declarative baptism, as in turn enforced against them by various other sects in a spirit of exclusiveness. They claim for themselves a particular mission (as we shall show) and introduce things in support of it not only new but astounding, as shown in the wonderful interpretations given to prophetic Scripture in support of their special claims as God’s people. Ignoring the everlasting Davidic Covenant in its plain grammatical sense, and the prophecies in vindication of the same, they spiritualize the same, and hence have no correct conceptions of the Theocratic Kingdom. Their theory makes it a purely spiritual Kingdom—like that of Post-Millenarians. They have but little in common with Pre-Millenarians.

The prophetism of Mrs. White is highly objectionable, because the falsity of her alleged ability to prophecy is made palpably evident by her interpretation and application of Scripture, thus showing that her predictions are only the result of her own imaginings, probably of a diseased mind strongly affected by religious ideas. One illustration of her interpretation under prophetic influence will suffice, and this is selected because it serves to show both her mission (and that of her followers), and the manner in which all things must be bent to subserve the Seventh-Day interest. Let the reader turn to Rev. 14, and she has the audacity to claim that the Seventh-Day Adventists at present compose those 144,000 thousand. That, which so many interpreters apply to the glorified saints, they refer to themselves in their present mortal and imperfect state. Surely the pride that can thus exclusively appropriate this select band with its new song and distinguishing blessings to one sect, is not to be envied. She violates the conspicuous contrast presented by the “first-fruits” as a part previously taken away from “the harvest” that follows, making their sect continuous down and preparative in effect, to the harvest; and she destroys the order of the fulfilment in making such an arrogant claim, because she makes the first angel message to symbolize the Millerites and the third angel message to denote the special mission of the Seventh-Day Adventists, thus virtually making—if the order is to be followed—the Millerites to follow chronologically after the rise of the Seventh-Day Adventists (which is not the fact) and thus assuming that the 144,000 are identical with the party symbolized by the third angel. The entire interpretation of the passage and its connections is so formed as to exalt the Seventh-Day Adventists and the Seventh Day.

Adventism is linked with the Seventh Day, the latter being regarded as essential to the former (hence the name) for they declare that if the assumed truth of the Seventh Day is presented to any one and he rejects it, then there is no salvation for him, although he may otherwise bring forth the fruits of the Spirit. In view of this connection it is, probably, advisable to consider, briefly, this Seventh-Day question. The line of argument adopted by them is exceedingly plausible, and most admirably adapted to impress the unwary and ignorant. Indeed, since many who oppose them admit some of their premises, they cannot logically or consistently meet them in a discussion without defeat. They assert the following: that the Seventh Day alone was instituted as a Sabbath; that this was incorporated in the ten commandments; that these commandments were never abrogated, and hence are binding upon us; that Jesus only kept the Seventh Day, and we are exhorted to follow His example; that unless we keep the ten commandments as given we have no right to enter the New Jerusalem; that the New Test. contains no passage affirming a change to be made from the seventh day to the first; and that the change from the seventh day to the first is due to the Papacy. These are the salient points urged by them. Now the only position from which they can be met, is the one occupied by the Reformers. The Sabbath, i.e., the Seventh Day, or day of rest instituted at creation, was incorporated directly in the Theocratic government established at Mt. Sinai, and was made obligatory upon the Jewish nation; it was kept down to the day of Pentecost when the Christian Church was erected, and partly down to the destruction of Jerusalem by Jewish converts; Jesus as a minister of the circumcision and to qualify himself for His work by obedience, had to keep this commandment; but the death of Jesus, His sacrifice, abrogated the entire Mosaic law as given to the Jewish nation, and this included the ten commandments in the form presented to that nation; but as the ten commandments contain moral duties which are eternal as to their nature, we have these fully repeated and inculcated in the New Test. writings given after the sacrifice of Jesus; nine of the commandments are thus directly enforced, but the one respecting the keeping of the Seventh Day is not repeated. If the keeping of that special day is so essential as the Seventh-Day Adventists affirm, surely it is excessively strange that so remarkable, so striking an omission has occurred. On the other hand we have positive assertions which show that the omission is designedly done, and that we are no longer bound by the Seventh Day observance, as found in Col. 2:16; Rom. 14:5–6; Gal. 4:10. The question then may be asked, Why was Sunday substituted for the Seventh Day as a day of public worship? The answer is found in this: worship, and the assembling of ourselves together for public worship, is required; a time must be set aside for its observance. This was done in the Apostolic age and under Apostolic sanction, and was perpetuated. Ecclesiastical history shows that down to the destruction of Jerusalem (which demonstrated the removal of the Mosaic observances) the Jewish congregations observed the seventh and the first day; the Gentiles observed the first day, and this latter became the universal custom—a custom which God has signally blessed in the conversion, spiritual improvement, etc. of multitudes of believers.

They elevate the observance of a day to an essential of salvation, making it virtually as requisite as the reception of the blood of Christ, and the favorite passage levelled—by perversion—at the observers of the first day or Sunday is Rev. 22:14. Allowing the text to stand as it is in our version (for the Sinaitic MSS. reads “are they that wash their robes,” Tischendorf’s N. T.), a sufficient reply is found in John 14:15, 21, 23, and 15:10. If they can point to a commandment given by Jesus or His inspired Apostles in His name, to keep the Seventh Day, then their bigoted and spiritually proved interpretation might hold good.

Obs. 3. “Millerism” is most frequently associated with Pre-Millenarianism, when the simple truth is this: it has more points of association in belief with Post-Millenarianism than with Chiliasm. The proof is found in the doctrines proclaimed, as e.g. they agree with Post-Mills. in ignoring the Davidic Covenant, in denying the restoration of the Jews and the same Davidic Kingdom overthrown, in not discriminating between the first and second resurrection, in refusing the perpetuation of the race after the Advent, in holding to the dissolution of the earth, in the views of judgment, the Judgment Day, the world to come, etc. The only points of contact between Millerism and Pre-Millenarianism are the nearness of the Sec. Advent, and the duty of constant watchfulness. It evidently had pious and sincere advocates, and is not characterized by that intense exclusiveism and bigotry, observed in those preceding. But the idea of a blessed Millennial age over the spared nations of the earth under the personal reign of Jesus and His saints, was not entertained, the Popish views of Eschatology being generally retained, just as they exist prevailing in the churches of to-day. According to their doctrinal position, they cannot be called Millenarians, because the Sec. Advent was “a winding up of all sublunary affairs.”*

Obs. 4. “Second Adventism” is the outgrowth of “Millerism,” and is far more systematic in its statements, and contains more scriptural truth relating to Eschatology. But strictly they cannot be called Pre-Millenarian. They have more views in common with us, but on the essential points of a Millennial Messianic Kingdom over the Jewish nation and spared Gentile nations under the personal reign of Jesus and His saints, they are defective (some, however, are coming closer and closer to us in doctrine). In the art. “Second Advent Believers” (Rupp’s Orig. His. Relig. Denominations), written by a “Second Adventist” (N. Southard, editor of the Midnight Cry) it is seen that Millenarianism as held by the Primitive Church and by many eminent men in various denominations, is not taught by them. The Scriptures relating to the Millennium they either make conditional, or locate them after an Advent which ends this world by a universal conflagration. The new creation that they advocate, and the reign of Christ and His saints in it, is equivalent to that taught by many Post-Millenarians. While they discriminate more in the doctrine and order of the resurrection, insist upon the speedy Advent, the non-conversion of the world prior to the Advent, the restitution of the earth to its paradisaical state, its ultimate possession by Christ and the saints, they omit vital doctrines which would, strictly, mark them as Pre-Millenarian, viz., they reject the future literal fulfilment of the Davidic Covenant upon which the future Messianic Kingdom is based; they deny the restoration of the Jews and the prophecies relating to them (applying the latter just as Post-Millenarians); they refuse the perpetuation of the race after the Second Advent, thus making a Millennium as described impossible; they largely incorporate the Romish (but now prevailing views) ideas of the judgment, Judgment Day and its accessories, etc. (compare arts. on, in Buck’s Theol. Dic.; M’Clintock and Strong’s Cyclop., etc.). They are earnest, pious, and devoted; numbering, perhaps, near thirty thousand. They have some excellent writers, who have done good service in presenting doctrines essential to the Chiliastic system, and they are not characterized by a spirit of exclusiveism and lack of charity, but cordially recognize as brethren all who love Jesus and His appearing.*

Obs. 5. A number of small bodies, that may be illustrated as follows: “Storrites” or “Destructionists” (the followers of Storrs, who publishes a paper in New York), which is a mingling of Materialism and Second Adventism, the complete and final destruction of the wicked being the leading characteristic of their faith. “One-Faith People” being a mixture, as far as we can understand them, of Storrism, Sec. Adventism, Christadelphianism, etc. “Barbourism” or “Restitutionists” (the followers of Barbour, who published the Three Worlds, etc.) which is a revival, in part, of Rellyism (see preceding Prop. and note), for the ultimate restoration of the wicked is advocated by pressing “all things” to an extreme, and rejecting the general analogy of Scripture in behalf of a few passages which are susceptible of a different explanation. “The No-Age People,” some of whom are connected with these and others, while others stand independent and prefer to be thus designated. They are characterized by two peculiarities, viz., materialistic views, and a denial that the Sec. Advent is to be succeeded by an age to come. All these ignore the fundamental positions upon which Pre-Millenarianism rests, viz., the Davidic Covenant and the resultant Messianic Kingdom, making it (excepting, I believe, “the One-Faith People”) a purely spiritual Kingdom, very different from the one covenanted. The Gnostic, mystical, spiritualistic reasons assigned for such a view have been and will be noticed and answered under previous and following Props. The distinctive peculiarities associated with some of our views, make the whole subject to be ignored by many, who either are incapable, or refuse, to distinguish. Amiable, sincere, and pious men are connected with these, as is evidenced by their writings.*

Obs. 6. Chiliasm is frequently allied with the following: “The Anabaptists” at the time of the Reformation. But a reference to their doctrines shown conclusively that they are far more in sympathy and unity with the Post-Millenarian view than with ours, because they believed, as the Whitbyans do, that they themselves, without the Second Advent and prior to the res. of the saints, could introduce the promised Mill. glory. A candid perusal of Mosheim, Kurtz, Neander, Hase, Gieseler, and other ch. historians (comp. e.g. Dorner’s His. Prot. Theol.; Lord’s Apoc., arts. in Encyclops., etc.), will show that they sought, by arms and force, to secure the supreme power and install themselves in the government of the earth, making the Church under themselves the covenanted and predicted Messianic Kingdom. Their views are in direct antagonism to Millenarianism, and to associate us with them is to manifest either ignorance of Church history or malice. “The Fifth-Monarchy Men,” that arose later in England, entertained precisely similar views, believing that they themselves were called—without a prior Advent or res.—to set up the Fifth Universal Monarchy predicted by Dan. (comp. Hists. of England, Hume’s, Pictorial, Burnet, etc., etc., and arts, on, in Cyclops,). What Millenarians attribute to Christ’s Coming and His reign (and that of the saints), they, like Post-Millenarians—thought they could perform, or the Church through them. The only difference between Whitbyanism and these two classes mentioned—we admit a great one—is this, that the former seeks to gain its dream of conquest through moral and spiritual means, while the latter invoked violent measures to aid them. The dream, however, is common to both, making a Millennium without Christ a possibility.*

Obs. 7. We mention two bodies with reluctance, because they contain eminently pious and able men, and yet in view of the direct prominency given to Chiliastic views in connection with doctrines that are regarded as erroneous by the large majority of Protestant denominations, they prejudice many against the truth. The “Catholic Apostolic Church. (the offshoot of Irvingism) is Chiliastic, but in connection has an extreme hierarchical and liturgical formalism, having revived (as the Mormons) the Apostolate, and claims the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit perpetuated in their Church, thus having prophets, etc., in their midst. The “Plymouth Brethren,” or “Believers,” or Darbyites, are just at the opposite extreme; being noted for their absolute Independentism. While strongly Chiliastic, they prominently set forth that all clericism and ecclesiastical forms are evil—Romish and Protestant Churches alike are Babel—that there is only one office, the spiritual priesthood of all believers, and every one has a right, as the spirit moves him, to preach, administer the sacraments, discipline, etc. They also claim the special gifts of the Spirit, and have a mystical tendency.2

Obs. 8. The differences between Pre-Millenarianism and Post-Millenarianism, Anti-Millenarianism, Spiritualism, are numerous in the interpretation and application of Scripture. These are pointed out in detail as we proceed, arising from the principle of interpretation adopted, and relate to the manner of understanding the Abrahamic Covenant, the Davidic, the renewal of the covenant, the inheritance of the Christ, the Pre-Mill. Advent, the non-conversion of the world before the Advent, the first and second resurrections, the Judgeship of Jesus, the Judgment Day, the world to come, the Rest, the reign of Jesus and His saints, the restoration of the Jewish nation and their supremacy, the Antichrist and results, the Theocratic Kingdom, the Supernatural introduction of the Mill. age, the perpetuity of the earth and race, the design of this dispensation, the nearness of the Advent, the commanded posture and duty of believers, the prominency of “the blessed hope,” and various related subjects. Of course the correctness of belief must be decided by an appeal to Scripture, and the student must determine for himself which party obtains the strongest support from Holy Writ.*

Obs. 9. Pre-Millenarians differ among themselves as to details, and this is seized by some opponents and paraded (as e.g. by Brown) as if fatal to the doctrine, overlooking the simple fact that no doctrine (not even baptism, the Lord’s Supper, etc.) exists, to which its adherents do not give a diversity of explanation and application. The weakness and imperfection of human nature in its comprehension of truth is not to be made the standard by which to measure the truth itself. In the grand outlines of Millenarianism, all Pre-Millenarians are united. Thus e.g. they all hold to a future Millennial age; this age to be preceded by the personal Advent of Jesus; this Millennial period to be bounded by a literal first and second resurrection, the former at the beginning and the latter at its ending. They all believe in a still future covenanted Messianic Kingdom introduced by the Sec. Advent, the resurrection and translation of the saints, and the restoration and repentance of the Jewish nation. They all teach the same design respecting this dispensation, the non-conversion of the world before the Sec. Advent, the same Judgeship of Jesus, the same Judgment Day, and related subjects. They differ as to the exact nature of the Kingdom, the manner and duration of the reign, the stages of the Sec. Advent, and in the interpretation and application of passages and predictions of Scripture; and this difference arises solely from the removal of the everlasting, oath-bound covenant of David out of their system (a fundamental neglect, inevitably leading to misapprehension) and from a spiritualizing interpretation incorporated, more or less, notwithstanding the plain grammatically expressed sense.*

Obs. 10. We may add: when regarding the history of this doctrine, how it has been treated; how it has been perverted; how it has been held in bigotry; how believers in it are held apart by incorporated erroneous doctrines; how bitterness, malice, and presecution have arisen concerning it; how on the one hand it is hated and abused, and on the other loved and cherished, we are sad at heart, and feel to say, “How long, O Lord.” Its history impresses the view that we need our infallible Head, Jesus, to come, so that He Himself may vindicate His own truth, verify His own promises, and bring His brethren into the promised unity. How, then, men will rejoice; how, then, men will be ashamed.*

  PROPOSITION 180. This doctrine of the Kingdom will not be received, in faith, by the World.

Whatever the force of argument presented, whatever the intellectual or moral aspect relating to it, whatever the historical attestment bearing upon it, however even desirable it may be in its meeting the wants of humanity, etc., this same Word teaches us that it never will find acceptance with the multitude; that it will be opposed by successive unbelief, which will finally culminate, at the time this Kingdom is to be manifested, in asserting its sway (Rev. 19, etc.) over the nations and mighty men of the earth. The faith required, from its inception to completion, in the Supernatural, is alone sufficient to ostracize it in the estimation of a host. But even our opponents must concede that with the guide we have received, the implicit trust evinced in its teaching thus far, the evidences adduced in support of our faith in the final accomplishment of the Plan proposed, it would argue inconsistency or insincerity in us if we did not also earnestly receive and believe in the predictions which portray the extraordinary state of unbelief universally prevailing just before the ushering in of this Kingdom. Especially so in a day when it is so widely intrenching itself in the hearts and minds of able, learned, and eminent men, and from thence reaching for and extending over the swarming armies of invited followers.*

Obs. 1. Let no fault be found with us by true intelligence, when honesty, to the principles avowed and to the Book, compels us, aside from lower considerations that could be urged, to assign the true reason for such unbelief. This Theocratic Order covenanted can be seen in its historical standing, its design, etc., and may even be appreciated in its adaptability to secure the end contemplated, but unfortunately for the multitude—fortunately for the few—it sustains more than an intellectual relationship, viz., a moral or religious, and demands in view of the latter certain qualifications for entrance into, and enjoyment of, the Kingdom which requires a preparation that is humiliating to man, such as repentance and a faith which appropriates the Gospel of the Kingdom in its gracious provisions, manifested by acceptance of and obedience to them. This necessarily leads to a confession of sinfulness (which the truth of God, adapted to the receptive powers of man, if received, enforces by self-consciousness) that is so distasteful to the natural man, so derogatory to the high praises of Humanitarian ideas respecting the dignity of man, that we are gravely told by Parker and others that Christianity “degrades man.” The very Plan designed to restore man, the race and the world to forfeited blessings, to remove the curse oppressing nature, to bring humanity into the most intimate and endearing relations with the Creator Himself, to introduce the long-desired relief by the world-wide dominion of the Theocratic King with the first-born of past generations glorified and reigning with Him; all this, and more (including the love and mercy displayed in the gift of Jesus Christ and His death), is an alleged degradation of man! Why this express charge against the noblest design of Redemption and the most glorious manifestation of love that the world has ever witnessed? The naked truth, which this same Word gives, respecting the unwillingness of men to receive Divine Revelation in its totality, arises not so much from dislike to representations made concerning the Plan of Redemption and its blessings as evinced in the Theocratic arrangement, but in the demands made upon the heart and life. Pride revolts at the humiliation that must precede exaltation; pride rebels against the duties that are enforced before victory is attained; pride turns away from a cross that must be borne before the wished-for glorification can be received; the heart inclined to love evil, to cherish selfishness, to seek pleasure and gratification, rejects the denial of self and of evil imposed by the Word, and hence seeks, in order to escape the obligations thus presented, to invalidate the Word itself. Admitting that some (as we have repeatedly intimated) are swayed by other motives—are honest and sincere in their convictions against the truth (perhaps moved by surrounding influences, education, etc.), yet it is also true (even of all when once brought into contact with the truth) of a large class—the immense majority—that “this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil, hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved,” John 3:19, 20. Here a masterly hand in a few sentences lays bare the leading cause of opposition to the Bible. The condemnatory nature of both law and Gospel, the requirements of the Bible from the individual, the humbling doctrines associated with Redemption—alas, these form the great stumbling-blocks to the Christian religion. These, as the Spirit teaches us, form the cause why not only the Biblical idea of God, of the world, of the means of Redemption, but even the most gracious help afforded through the life and death of Jesus Christ, are, notwithstanding the appeal made to our necessities and to a responsive consciousness, set aside for mere theories, often the most antagonistic and condemnatory of each other. If the opposition, so natural to man, and for which he is held responsible, had developed itself into one grand systematic method—the boasted offspring of pure reason, etc.—then it might in virtue of its unity at least, commend itself for strength, and thus inspire respect, but let any one read the history of the diversified views, successive philosophies, hostile to the Bible, and he must be struck with a marked feature in them all, viz., a lack of cohesion, a positive difference forbidding combination, a palpable contradicting of each other, etc., so that the only bond that really unites them is the same spirit of hostility to the Bible evinced by each of them. The differences of Christians are alleged (and often with force and a degree of justness, forgetting, however, that it is predicted by the Word, and is a resultant of free moral agency) a reason for rejecting the truth, and if a reason proper to receive as a rule for guidance, its application to our opponents ought to be even more forcible, seeing that their differences are immensely greater and more irreconcilable, extending from Atheism and Theism and Optimism down through every grade of opinion to its latest revived forms of Pessimism and Nihilism, affording an index of the heart as well as of the reason. And in this wide range we have the professedly higher scientific and philosophical attacks which busy themselves with questions pertaining to man, the world, and the universe (assuming man to be the umpire of truth, present nature to be the measurer of the past, the Supernatural to be impossible, what the Absolute only can do, the eternal unchangeableness of nature’s laws, etc.) down to those lower attacks (which the former with us utterly condemn) upon the moral character of Jesus, of God, of Christianity, outraging all feeling of propriety, and prostituting the moral sense. For, as caricatures of Christianity exist, so, in justice to even our opponents of intelligence and refinement, we must say that caricatures of their higher opposition exist in a way that they themselves repudiate with deserved indignation. But candor requires us to add that the highest even to the lowest criticism which (as e.g. Modern Christianity a Civilized Heathenism, which ignores Jesus in His social aspect, etc.) makes, against experience, etc., it impossible to live the life required by Christ, originates mainly from the cause just assigned. Hence, the Bible challenges each one to test the truth by an experimental knowledge of it: “if any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself,” John 7:17. It is owing to this simple fact, the adaptedness of the truth to man’s moral nature and needs, and upon its acceptance the resultant effect upon himself, that the unlearned believer, ignorant of many things, and even holding to things which are erroneous, is so well fortified against unbelief; for against all adverse argument which he cannot answer he has one that triumphantly meets the same, viz., personal experience of the truth. Intellectual unbelief (i.e. unbelief derived from reason), while it may and does exist independently, is greatly prompted and influenced by what the Word calls “an evil heart of unbelief” (Heb. 3:12), i.e. an unbelief springing more directly from our sentient nature, the affections, desires, etc.—and the reason why so much stress is laid upon the heart in the question of receiving and rejecting the truth of the Word (as e.g. Rom. 10:9, 10; 6:17, etc.) is because it is the great prompter (as experience shows) of human action, too often overriding the understanding and will, crushing conscience and judgment beneath its ascendency. Reason has witnesses, the understanding has demonstrations, the judgment has evidence, all given by God, to testify to the truth, but the heart is unwilling to be bound and controlled by them. God, who knows what is in man, warns us that right here is the main, leading difficulty, and sincere faith in His wisdom leads us unhesitatingly to adopt this view, corroborated by the united testimony of all who have ever received and obeyed the truth against the pleadings, promptings, and dislikes of the heart. The fact is that this very constant appeal to the heart, constituting it the main factor of belief, laying open its power and influence, is in itself evidence of a divine knowledge of human nature exceeding that of mere man.

Obs. 2. There is no doubt that unbelief is largely generated by the opinion, entertained in various quarters, that the expression given by the Church in formularies, etc., in different periods of the Church, must be “unconditionally accepted,” and that the Bible itself “can only be understood in the light of that faith which we receive from the Church.” This assumption is built upon the arrogated premise of a universal faith expressed in these formularies. Admitting a few general truths, as e.g. those pertaining to God, Christ, etc., to exist in them all, yet when the premise is tested even by fundamental truths it is found to be incorrect and unverified in the history of the Church, and the diversity of doctrine pertaining even to the admitted general truths disclose the same. Thus, to illustrate: take the leading subject of preaching, that of “the Gospel of the Kingdom”—the main doctrine of the Kingdom—and contrast the prevailing views—said to be derived under this fostering light of the creeds, etc.—respecting these things, with the faith exhibited by pious Jews and the early Christian Church, and the wide contrast between ancient and modern faith is seen at once. The multiplicity of meanings given to the Kingdom of God alone indicates how much reliance can be placed in a “universal Church faith” which places itself first and the Bible second; which contends that the Word of God cannot be properly understood without first receiving the word of man. The faith of others, however valuable and precious, is only corroborative and not a foundation; confirmative, but not positive proof. It may, or it may not, be in unison with the Bible. This, too, is based on an exaggerated view of the Church, constituting it the covenanted Kingdom of David’s Son and continuing and manifesting prophetic, priestly, and kingly offices of Jesus Christ in the ministry, etc. The man of intelligence with the Bible before him, with the history of the apostolic and primitive Church, with the evidences of human infirmity in the dogmatic formulation of Biblical statements, with the changes, modifications engrafted, with the assumptions of Church authority, etc., feels that if he accepts of the faith as now generally expressed, with the variations as existing, he must exercise a belief in a great measure the very opposite of that entertained by ancient worthies; and hence, without endeavoring to account for such substitution on the ground of human weakness, without considering that such differences do not alter the contents and doctrines of Holy Writ, without regarding the predictions which describe such a state as certain to follow, owing to man’s imperfection, without reflecting that amid these differences a bond of union on the practical, experimental side (finding its responsiveness in the moral nature) still exists—he unfortunately rejects both the ancient and modern faith, both the Bible and the formulated creeds, both the Word and the Church. And the feeling that there is such an antagonism between the old faith and the new is deepening and widening, finding its expression in numerous works, which triumphantly point, e.g. to the Jewish belief and the primitive Christian, and then to the one introduced later and now so prevailing, concerning the Church and Kingdom. The Apologetics, instead of fairly meeting this question of change by directing attention to the predictions and passages which teach it, finding no Scripture to sustain the alterations of belief, while admitting the early belief (forced to it by historical necessity) apologize for it in a manner (as an accommodation, as justifiable error, as still containing a germ to be developed into the produced truth, etc.) which not only excites the ridicule of our opponents, confirms them in unbelief, sustains their critical deductions, but actually makes out the multitude of ancient pious believers to have lived in the grossest misconception of the leading burden of prophecy, that of the Kingdom.*

Obs. 3. Some late writers (as e.g. D. H. Olmstead in a Lec. on the Protestant Faith), to vindicate their position of unbelief, have endeavored to show (philosophically) that faith is involuntary, and that hence man is not responsible for what he believes. Without entering into a discussion whether faith is voluntary or not, whether the product of reason, or of reason and the will combined, whether the result of evidence or intention, or divine aid annexed, it is amply sufficient for our purpose to merely indicate a few things which clearly demonstrate that God justly holds us responsible for our belief. Take the extreme ground that it is involuntary in any sense, yet it is properly demanded from us in view of its being in some way (explain it as we may) the outgrowth of our nature, so that the moral sense of the world has always held man accountable for faith resulting in corresponding action. While human law does not take cognizance of faith, of belief in the abstract, it does so when either faith or unbelief evinces itself in action contrary to the law. Thus e.g. refusal to obey law because of unbelief is never excused; the commission of crime under the plea of faith is never admitted. It is true that the faith required by God, in its gracious appropriating power, may not and cannot be exercised without a certain amount of truth, to which the moral nature responds, being brought to bear upon the heart, just as intellectual faith cannot be produced without the evidence adduced which persuades reason to accept of the same. But in this case, faith being the resultant of a condition in which man can, and is invited to, place himself, so long as he refuses to place himself in the position favorable to receive faith and experience its power, man is responsible for the lack of faith. Faith is both a necessity and an elevator of man, for while knowledge may and does precede, yet faith is the producer of action. Truth may be without us, objective, and it may even be coldly received by reason, but faith makes it subjective, living within us, appropriating it and sending it forth in action, in works, in teeming volumes, etc. Besides this, the faith which God calls for and with which alone He is satisfied, is created by things which God alone can present. Let, e.g. the truth respecting man’s sinfulness find (by meditation, etc.) a response in man’s self-consciousness, then comes the divine plan, which God has given, through Christ for deliverance from such a state, commending itself by its adaptability to meet our necessities and to bestow the promised blessings, which the heart, softened by the truth through the Spirit, receives, gratefully accepts and conscientiously applies, thus forming (Heb. 9:1) “the substance (ground, confidence) of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen,” in its corresponding effect upon the individual. The Bible, without any scientific definition of faith, or nice philosophical distinctions respecting its rise in man, certainly teaches that in some way faith is voluntary (we do not say necessarily or directly, but at least indirectly), seeing that it is commanded (e.g. 1 John 3:23, etc.), that men can refuse to believe (John 20:27, etc.), and that they are condemned for the lack of it (John 3:18; Heb. 10:38, 39; Rev. 21:8, etc.). Whatever God may do to produce it either in the bestowal of our mental and moral constitution, or in bringing the truth in contact with our hearts, etc., it is also said to be excited by the evidence presented in the Word (John 20:31), and by the proclamation of the truth (Rom. 10:8–17), evincing that reason or the understanding (Acts 8:30–37, and Paul with the Jews, etc.) and the will (John 5:39, 40) are concerned in it. From all this it is proper to infer that such is the constitution of man, that he is impelled to believe when the proper evidence is given and it receives due attention, and that, therefore, it is folly for any one to deny the faith God asks for before he has actually placed himself in the position requisite to secure the evidence. The difficulty with the multitude, who hold with Lord Byron that “man is not responsible for his belief,” is, that the responsibility arises from a deliberate rejection of the evidence, from a wilful choosing not to pay attention to it, from an unwillingness to place themselves in the only position favorable to its attainment, because it makes self-sacrifice imperative. The position of the faithless man is well represented in Rev. 3:20; Jesus stands at the door and knocks, i.e. waiting patiently and calling attention to His gracious presence; now “if any man hear My voice and open the door, I will come in to him,” etc., i.e. the door will not be forced, but man himself must “hear,” regard the invitations, and manifest willingness to receive the Saviour, and then the blessings will follow. With these prefatory remarks the reason why so many (as the writer alluded to) excuse themselves from the exercise of faith in God’s Word becomes apparent; and to confirm the same, claim the right of being the supreme judge in matters of faith and of thus making the Bible submit to their own judgment, because of a universal moral law which is antecedent to revelation. But admitting the antecedency of morality, instead of elevating man to a supreme judgeship and of giving to him the absolute authority to receive or reject, it places him in a subsidiary position. For the very conformity of revelation to the demands of the moral sense, to the dictates of conscience enforcing morality, is not merely a proof of the prior existence of the moral nature, and that an appeal is thus made to it, for judging of its correctness, but proof, in virtue of its adaptability or suitableness to meet the conditions of such a nature, of the divine origin of revelation. It evinces also the claim of Revelation that God has implanted the moral nature, and that having made it responsive—constitutionally—to certain truths, when the latter are presented and duly considered, the former will be duly affected. The relationship between the two, evidenced by the effects produced (as between the seed and the means of fruitage, the eye and light, etc.) shows that both proceed from the same Almighty Maker and Governor. The lowest form of unbelief denies the power of conscience, but latterly numerous writers, realizing that it was utterly untenable, take the higher form of admitting it, but constituting it the supreme judge over all things, including the Bible itself. But this, in connection with what has been said, is disproven by the fact that, judge or monitor as it may be, its monitions or judgments, its sense of moral fitness and obligations, are frequently overridden; that its judgments may by repeated violations, etc., become imperfect, weakened, and defective, which makes it unsuitable to occupy the position of an absolute judge, seeing that the decisions are trampled upon and remain unenforced. The feelings of self-consciousness, arising from obeying or violating the moral sense or conscience, indicate in self-approbation or self-abasement the sense of accountability to a higher power. To this God appeals in the approval of a good conscience and in the condemning of our own hearts, in the accusing or excusing process. The authoritative decisions of conscience stand related to both man and God—to man as a guide if properly received, and to God as a means of enforcing an acknowledgment of His supremacy and man’s accountability to Himself. The possession of such a monitor is decisive proof that man is under moral government, and the correspondence between the demands of the moral law as given in the Word of God and the untrammelled dictates of conscience confirm man’s responsibilities by pointing out the Being under whose government he lives, and to whom he is accountable. But to make man’s conscience or reason the supreme, sole, absolute judge under the controlling influence of a will which, after all, may choose to obey or disobey its dictates or reasoning, is to say that man is under moral obligation, but only to himself, and that after all the only law which is binding upon him is that of his own will. The Word of God takes still higher ground when it assumes and enforces its authority over conscience, reason, will, etc., by its declarations of moral obligation existing unimpaired—however violated by man—in virtue of the relationship that man sustains to God and to his fellow-men, and to which man’s consciousness bears conclusive evidence in the eulogies bestowed upon the unchangeableness of moral law. Besides this, in making up a decision in reference to this matter, the experience of the individual in the heartfelt reception of the Bible, ought to be taken in account, seeing that, as the Word challenges every one to the test, the influence of the truth upon the heart, the evidences of its perfect adaptedness and adjustment to man’s nature personally experienced, the relationship that the moral and spiritual sustain to one definite Divine Plan, elevates the Bible at once into the supreme arbiter and sole rule of faith and action. The attack, insidious as it may be; the excuse, flattering as it is to man, is inexcusable, because based on part of the truth only, considering man’s capabilities only, and then ignoring man’s experience and man’s relationship to a higher Being. Hence, owing to the moral aspect of the Word, its moral demands and requirements, men seek to justify their non-acceptance of it on various and often contradictory grounds. And this is not confined simply to one portion of the Word, for with its moral side rejected, of course everything else falls with it. Therefore it is, that this doctrine of the Kingdom will find no favor, not because of the Theocratic order assigned, or the blessings included in it, or the glory of the reign predicted, etc., but because of the moral fitness, moral requirements, the believing Christian life that is so imperatively, so authoritatively demanded by God before it can be inherited by us. The life of faith required before entrance into it, is not a life of blind faith, but of seeing faith, of appropriating faith, of faith resulting in corresponding action; and such a faith being unpalatable to man, forms the secret spring of opposition.

Obs. 4. Hume stated, what is now so often reiterated, that “Our holy religion does not rest on reason, but faith;” and some of the Apologists of Christianity, overlooking that revelation itself by its very bestowal, indicates the capability of man to examine, learn, and know its contents; that it appeals to and makes demands upon reason, have conceded that Hume is correct, and have endeavored to confirm it by hypotheses concerning the limits of reason, making all truth subjective, etc. This, however, is unjust both to the Bible and the experience of true believers. The Word of God introduces both reason and faith as essential to a true Christian life, to a correct reception of the truth. Theoretically, i.e. in its doctrinal aspect, it depends on reason, and hence we are urged to use reason; practically, i.e. personal experience of the power of truth, it depends on faith, and faith is enforced. To comprehend the nature, design, necessity, etc. of the Divine Plan, reason is required; to realize its application to ourselves individually, faith, leading to personal acceptance and corresponding works, must be conjoined; to test the whole truth in its objective and subjective relationship, both are needed, both are commanded. Disconnecting what God has joined together, is the cause why so many are “ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” The Bible is not afraid of reason; for it confidently appeals to reason, knowing that its sacred truths, its Divine Plan, if apprehended by reason as it should be, will, by the very laws controlling the intellectual nature of man, commend themselves to us. It is true that reason may be restrained, turned aside, or its decisions be rejected by the love of self and darkness, by the contraction of Bible utterances to the preconceived prejudices entertained or to the limits of some confessional standard, human system, etc. It is also true that reason may be so sanctified, brought under the influence of the truth, that it will still more clearly apprehend the truth through a personal practical experience of the same. But in the very nature of the case, as Revelation is a communication to man in his own language, appeals to sinners in the usage of their own language, it follows that reason is not to be discarded as some teach, who (as e.g. Mansell, Miller, etc.) manifest this to be an extreme by their cogent reasoning on other points, and even in presenting such a conclusion through a process of reasoning. The application of the laws of language, the comparing of Scripture with Scripture, the criticism of the text, the study of analogy, etc., are all evidences of the intellectual inseparably connected with faith, fostering and cherishing faith, and assigning reasons for the faith within us. Moral qualifications, so precious, cannot dispense with the intellectual; purification, so valuable, cannot cast aside but includes reason. It is owing to the constitution of man in this respect and his ability to understand God’s Word by using the capacity, the faculties, given to him, by interpreting the Book according to the universally received laws of language, that God justly holds him accountable for its rejection, and declares that the truth thus refused—owing to his capacity to understand it—shall judge him in the last day. While reason is not the rule of faith (as shown by numerous writers, e.g. Prof. Loy, Evang. Quart. Review, Jan., 1871), it is also true that faith is not the rule of reason; for they are sisters, going hand in hand and mutually supporting each other, making the Word of God alone the rule, the guide, as received by them. Where reason fails, as in things beyond its comprehension, faith steps in and aids reason to settle down into the reasonable conviction (yea, even to make it an evidence of the divine), that as there are things in nature utterly inexplicable, etc., so in “the things of God,” we ought to expect things beyond our power to fully explain. As Pascal said: “the last step of reason is to know that there is an infinitude of things which surpass it.” For, the supreme authority of Scripture over both reason and faith is found, not only in its adaptability to man’s necessities, but in the fact that man, with all his powers, is utterly incapable of presenting a Plan and devising the means for the removal of the evils and the bestowment of the blessings longed for by humanity as they are given in God’s Word. A consideration of our needs and that of the world, and then of the remarkable Divine Purpose in Redemption which so accurately meets and provides for these, in connection with an earnest of experimental knowledge, the historical evidences, the past and present fulfilment of prophecy, etc., form such a combination of proof, such a union of necessity and provision, that reason and faith acknowledge it as immensely superior to anything that humanity can produce. Faith, with its practical results, its invigorating influence, its blessed fruits, confirms and strengthens reason in its deductions; reason, in turn, by searching the Scriptures (Acts 17:11), by proving all things (1 Thess. 5:21), etc., enlarges the scope of faith and establishes more firmly its power over man; while both together recognize, impelled by the unity existing between the intellectual and moral, and between seeing and experiencing, the authority of God’s Word. Hence, when we say that this Kingdom of God is a subject of faith, that it can only in its entirety be received by faith, we do not at the same time discard reason. The meaning simply is that it is a matter exclusively of Divine Revelation, Procedure, and Consummation. Man could not plan, reveal, prepare for, and finally establish it. This is seen by the divine incorporated with it and forming its earthly Ruler, and by the Supernatural elements mingled with it. It is above reason in inception, provisions, establishment, etc., and at the same time it is not opposed to reason, but, on the contrary, when we regard the Scriptural statements respecting it, the Kingdom appeals to our reason as most desirable, as perfectly adapted to secure complete restoration from all evil and as being pre-eminently fitted to bestow, through such a David’s Son, the blessings promised. Reason, bowing before its covenanted equity, happiness, and glory, gratefully recognizes the authority expressing it, while faith appropriates those things, affecting the heart and life, urging on to such an obedience as insures the hope of ultimate participation in it. Many things pertaining to the Kingdom, yea, even the Kingdom itself as still future and to be re-established at the Advent of Jesus Christ, are matters of promise, and therefore can only be received by faith in God’s promises. Such faith, however, is confirmed by reason, tracing the Theocratic order as laid down in the Word, seeing its connection with the initiatory and preparatory measures instituted (of which he himself is a living witness, if believing), and in beholding the evidences of a progressive and ever advancing Divine Purpose in the past and the present. Those who exalt reason to the disparagement of faith, who constitute reason the supreme judge (as e.g. Frothingham in Religious Aspects of the Age)—telling us that “the only real infidelity which is a sin in the sight of God is a disbelief in the primary faculties of the human soul; disbelief in the capability of man’s reason to discriminate between truth and error in all departments of knowledge, sacred and profane,” etc.—will not receive the doctrine of the Kingdom, because they, disliking the requirements attached to it, assign to humanity the capacity of working out its own destiny and of becoming its own Saviour through the mediumship of reason. The Kingdom, together with the Theocratic King so mercifully provided, will be to them a source of ridicule and contempt, a return to “the error” of the Primitive Church and “to cast off Jewish forms,” because reason—rejecting the authority of God’s Word, refusing to regard the Divine Purpose as a grand whole, declining to consider the evidences in behalf of, and the provisions made for, the Kingdom, repelling all union with co-operative faith, stubbornly resisting the conditions requisite to know practically the divine truth—regards itself as eminently qualified to construct a plan for alleviating the sufferings and removing the evils incident to humanity. Making reason the infallible guide, man the absolute judge—only so that he is cut loose from the Scriptures as the authority—is followed, not by uniformity, not by union of plan, sentiment, etc., but by a whirlpool of varied opinions, making man the mere plaything of a shifting mass of human theories. Behold to-day the opponents of Christianity and of the Bible, and we can scarcely find two prominent leaders among them who are agreed even in the fundamentals of a system, much less in the details. What reason will do, unrestrained by any authority outside of itself, uninfluenced by a purifying and self-elevating faith, is evidenced to-day by the vast number of theories propagated by unbelievers of all classes, forming more sects (if they may thus be named) than Christianity in its unauthorized divisions has created. While the latter have still a bond of union by their faith in and love for Christ, the former possess only a bond of affiliation in their common dislike to the authority of the Bible and in their present exaltation of man. If the believers may, by way of reproach, be designated “Bibliolaters,” indicative of their profound reverence for the supreme authority of Holy Writ, surely it cannot be a matter of discredit to call the others Reason or Man-worshippers, seeing that such a phrase is expressive of the elevation of man and the praise bestowed upon him in the theories presented. In justice to another class (also divided in opinion), however, it must be added that some manifest no belief either in the Scriptures or in man; neither possess any authority, neither can produce anything to ameliorate the condition of the world; both of them are merely the products of an irresistible destiny. Everything is bound by unyielding Fate or by a dreamy Idealism, or by an all-devouring Pantheism, etc., but still humanity is manifesting itself, in spite of its philosophical speculations, in the utterance of yearnings that cannot be suppressed (Fichte, Goethe, etc.), and in shrinking back from its own strictly logical conclusions (as in Nihilism and Pessimism), still heart-hoping against reasoning that something better is in store for man. There is nothing so sad under the sun as intelligence fettered by unbelief, as reason bound by pride, as the intellectual nature held irresponsive to the moral, as man attempting to stand alone without the counsel and aid of his Maker. In looking over the writings of such, how often does the heart, knowing the truth through peaceful obedience, bleed at the utterance of longings that are irrepressible and at the expression of hopes which must forever remain unrealized, unless a Saviour who can control nature and nature’s laws is accepted. These significant declarations are more or less common to all unbelievers in the Scriptures, showing that however they may deny the authoritative voice of God, they cannot entirely crush the outgoings of the nature, which God gave, after a still future good. Thus, e.g. Hennell (An Inquiry Concerning the Origin of Christianity, p. 489), after discarding the testimony of Scripture as unreliable, concludes by “indulging the thought that a time is appointed when the cravings of the heart and of the intellect will be satisfied, and the enigma of our own and the world’s existence be solved.” It is a remarkable feature that many in their unbelief, still holding to some First Great Cause, to an intelligent Creator, anticipate in some unexplained way a Revelation, or a manifestation, that will explain this enigma and satisfy these cravings, but they dare not enter into explanations or details, for the moment they do so, every sentence would condemn their opposition to the Bible, seeing that it would evince reliance upon, and faith in, the Supernatural, miraculous, etc. Tied by their own previous confessions of unbelief, an intelligently expressed faith in the divine interference in behalf of man and the exertion of creative power in removing the evils of a groaning creation, would be so hostile to their assumed position that consistency, if not pride, forbids its indulgence to any extent. Having given some general features pertaining to unbelief, it is unnecessary to enter into particulars or to specify the varied classes, ranging from professed Atheism to Spiritualism. The last, scorning the authority of the Bible, finds its authoritative utterances in a spirit world, given in detached and often contradictory messages, out of which a scheme promising deliverance, etc., is manufactured very different from the detailed Plan of the Word. Yet it concedes the Supernatural and the miraculous, in its own way, which makes it consequently the more inexcusable and dangerous. Inexcusable—because, admitting the necessity of aid outside of man and nature, instead of receiving that which God has provided through His Son Jesus Christ, it seeks it in spirits; dangerous—because it draws nearer by its admissions of the Supernatural, etc., to the nature and wants of man than many other systems of unbelief do, and hence binds him the more effectually in its embraces. The characteristic common to almost all forms of unbelief is, that denying the authority of the Bible, they endeavor to find an authority outside of it, either in man or in nature, or in a philosophical conception of the universe, or in the invisible, unseen, spirit world. It is a serious question how largely believers in the Word have aided in producing such unbelief, when they have discarded reason, when eminent men have incautiously and unwarrantedly declared that no one can possibly understand the Bible without a superadded aid directly given by God. Forgetting that Revelation denotes revealed truth; mistaking the influence of the moral upon the intellectual for the intellectual itself; misapprehending the relationship that reason and faith must always sustain to each other; overlooking the fact that whatever advantages and power the practical experience resulting from faith may impart, it does not close the Bible to reason—they make the Bible a sealed book to all others but themselves. Making the theoretical and practical identical, causing the knowledge of special truths to cover the understanding of all, they lay down a criterion which they themselves constantly violate in appealing to the reason of the unconverted and in presenting the evidences of Christianity to the disbelieving. Having treated of this feature under the Prop. pertaining to the interpretation of Scripture, it is only necessary to add, that unbelief is not excused by the standards set up by man, since God’s appeal and commands are to each one individually (having so constructed us that every mind and heart when brought into contact with the truth will respond to it) to study His Word, not in the light of mere human interpretation, but according to the universally received principles of language. This is based upon the fact that the Bible is designed for all classes and conditions of men, is adapted for the mind and heart, and finds a corresponding adaptation in man, which is only true when it is studied in accordance with the laws of language with which all men are more or less conversant and under which the processes of communication, reasoning, etc. are conducted. The simplicity of such a procedure—a simplicity gratefully accepted by the ancient pious Jews and by the Primitive Church—is not suited to the mystical, spiritualistic tendencies of the age. It is too commonplace, fitted indeed for the unlearned, but scarcely accommodated to that professedly higher intelligence which seeks the transcendental, mystical, mysterious. Hence the persistent ignoring of this Kingdom—the simplicity of its government (although connected with the divine), its union with a despised nation (although its union with humanity ought to form a plea in its behalf), its provisions, design, order, establishment all referring to this world (although standing related through its Ruler to the universe)—all this is so widely different from the theorizing which undertakes, in its wisdom and sovereignty, to describe what is expedient or proper for God to adopt in Redemptive purposes, that the doctrine of the Kingdom is set down, without examination, as an exploded “Jewish conception,” originating in, and carried out by national prejudice and superstition.

Obs. 5. Having already alluded to the unnecessary conflict raging between science and faith; having pointed out the connection existing between reason and faith; having shown that the highest proof of divine communication in the Bible is found when that Book is approached and studied in the way science is apprehended, viz., by a strictly logical process of reasoning; having repeatedly intimated that the relationship of truth to the whole as one great system can never be satisfactorily solved by confining ourselves to one department of knowledge, or to one side of man and the world—it may be proper to notice, briefly, the charge of “credulity” brought against believers. Having already given the evidences, the process of reasoning, and the fundamental laws upon which our alleged “credulity” is based, it is but reasonable that we should require the same from our opponents. Instead of negation, assumption, hypothesis, speculation, etc., our position advances the most positive proof in its support by appealing to facts in the past and present; facts existing in the nature of man and of truth; facts appertaining to a developing Divine Purpose which in its totality, design, progress, etc., evince the intelligent guidance and control of a Creator; facts which when united the one to the other form a connected chain of Divine Procedure in the attainment of a definite specified Plan; facts too, which any one can verify by personal application of the truth; and facts which appertain both to reason and experience—thus manifesting the reasonableness of the same. In comparison with the deductions of science, as given by Darwinism, Büchnerism, etc., we certainly cannot be charged with “credulity,” provided our deductions are reasonable. To believe that all creatures are sprung from some low form of organism, that all have their common origin in some ancient unknown formation of matter and force, that man himself is thus originated from a lower bestial form, that homologous structure and common instincts in man and lower animals necessarily prove a common descent, that mental and moral faculties were given by gradual progression, etc., etc., this certainly makes a greater demand on faith than the Bible statements. Dr. Dawson (before Evang. Alliance of 1873) expressed this fully: “When you talk of Darwinism you talk of theories that make vaster demands on our faith than on our science.” We confess to incredulity in these accepted theories of natural development, when ten thousand facts multiplied by thousands exhibit its extreme ultra reasoning (as e.g. in the continued smallness of the atomical intelligent brain or head of the ant, the lack of poisonous fangs in the black-snake, etc.) based on assumptions (as e.g. hundreds of thousands of years being assumed as requisite for certain processes of development, successive formation of strata, accumulation of debris, etc., which more recently are cut down greatly in figures) founded on reasoning in a circle (as e.g. man was formed by naturally slow processes; these processes being slow, the time was necessarily great, embracing long ages, etc.), and established upon data the mere result of hypothetical speculation (as e.g. in the intervention of enormous ages between certain supposed definite periods, the origin of life, instinct, intellectuality, moral sense, etc.). Because we do not forsake the Bible with its Divinely attested Plan, and receive in its place mere conjectural statements from which conclusions (as in Craniology) are drawn hostile to the Book, we are called “credulous.” Let it be so then, when it is a credulity which speaks to the heart, meeting its necessities and longings; which provides food for the intellectual and moral nature of man; which gives a Saviour in all respects adapted to the need of humanity; which supplies a Kingdom fitted to secure the blessings desired, and to remove all the evils so long deprecated, by man; which restores to us a God again dwelling with man, and brings us into intimate and endearing relationship with Himself. How much is this to be preferred to that process of reasoning which cannot lift us above nature; which binds us to inexorable law; which introduces us to a great “Perhaps,” to a probably Intelligent, but distant, cold, and unfeeling First Cause; which seeks relief only in the comprehension of natural law and the appropriation of physical forces; which casts no light into the grave, affords no comfort to the mourner, bestows no mediation to a self-accusing moral sense, and finds the only Saviour in doomed man himself, or in enthralled nature. Which is the most reasonable, that which unites, or that which separates, the Creator and the created; that which makes law the final cause, or that which gives the maker of law continued power over His creatures; that which makes the being of God a great central truth, or that which continually tries to obscure it through that which is created; that which insists upon the ability of God to communicate His Will as He pleases, or that which asserts that to do so would argue imperfection; that which views man as having the capacity, intellectually and morally, to receive Divine truth, or that which makes both intellect and morality to proceed from some unknown source; that which makes man from the very constitution of his nature the subject of moral government, or that which makes him merely the creature of progressive circumstances, releasing him. from moral obligations to a Higher Power; that which declares that man’s necessities, subjection to evils which fall upon all alike, imperatively demands Divine assistance, or that which calls upon man to work out destiny in his own strength; that which allies the Supernatural with salvation, or that which proposes that it is not needed? Such contrasts abound and can be supplied by the reader, and a mere comparison of them will at once go far to prove why it is that the Bible takes such a firm hold upon even the unlettered man of faith. It is because Divine Revelation in its adaptation to man finds a response in man’s nature, need, and experience, which stamps it as God’s truth. Admitting that some are led in their opposition to the Scriptures by the fascination of some favorite theory (connected with a low view of Christianity as exemplified in history), yet of many and even partially, at least, of those just mentioned, it can be said, as Peter states (2 Pet. 3:5), that “they willingly are ignorant” of the truth as evidenced both by Creation and Redemption, and as enforced in the Bible. This is evinced by three things. First, by the amount of faith that is required to cover the missing links in their systems; to fill up the gaps between matter and life, and the material and intellectual; to receive the wholesale conclusions derived from the induction of a few facts; to accept of hypotheses, suppositions, conjectures, as demonstrated truths—all of which indicates such a strain on reason, such a demand upon belief, that it can only be explained, as the Bible does, on the ground that men willingly—as suited to their purpose—accept of it, and reject the Word as antagonistic to their claims. Secondly, by the special delight and pains manifested whenever it can introduce any fact or point as a departure from Scripture, without the least regard to the faith, hopes, feelings, etc. of others, thus exhibiting a wilfulness, a hostility to Holy Writ, which by the very spirit and tenor of their writings only proves how willing and ready they are to be ignorant of a Word which makes such disliked (to them) practical requirements. Thirdly, by the unwillingness of each and every one of them—taking the explanation given by the Word of God as our guide—to place themselves in the position to really know and appreciate the power of the truth. Coming to the Bible with prejudice; rejecting the means of grace instituted as useless in their case; refusing to acknowledge as a primary condition the corruption of sin, and consequently the necessity of some mediation; elevating themselves into judges, instead of being impartial, teachable students; scorning to bow the knee in supplication, and to evince that humility which is a prerequisite to a fair testing of the whole truth; declining to view the Bible as containing a Plan of Redemption, and therefore to notice the perfect adaptability of it and the provisions made; confining themselves to detached portions, separated from their connection with the Divine Purpose; repelling the Saviour who (as they themselves admit—if it were true) possesses the power to save—all this certainly denotes an unwillingness to allow the unbiassed trial which the importance of the Book solicits. Let any one read the works that proceed from those who reject the Supernatural and miraculous in the Bible, and many sentences show forth far more than mere indifference, mere reasoning, for on the very surface appears a delight in being thus antagonistic, a dislike, and, in not a few instances, positive detestation of Bible statements. Even the most courteous of our opponents, who cannot, and do not, condescend to the lower gross criticism, manifest the same spirit in the evident gratification that their theories, hypotheses, etc. afford to them in lessening the authority of the Bible among the multitude. Flattering as this may be to the intellectual power of eminent and talented men—to the believer in the Word, it gives evidence of a willingness, arising from moral considerations more or less concealed, to remain ignorant of the main proofs underlying Christianity. Let such give us credit for honest adherence to the Book, and not censure our plainness of speech derived from it, if we also announce to them, that inspiration foretells, that in this conflict between unbelief and faith, between reason alone and reason and faith in harmony, between the authority of man and the authority of the Bible, etc., the former will be triumphant. Unbelief, led by talent, eminent ability, eloquence, etc., will gain its adherents until they form a mighty host. The condition of the world as delineated in the Word just previous to the Second Advent presents to us the nations under the influence of an unbelieving Naturalism and self-glorified Humanity, arrayed in open hostility to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Church, largely leavened with the spirit of the age, shall feel most disastrously the incoming flood, and the pious shall endure the bitterness of a sifting, terrible persecution. The picture tendered to us by faithful prophecy is dreadful to contemplate; for it indicates the loosening of moral obligation, the outgoing of the worst passions in man, the formation of a vast confederation to crush Christianity, and the putting forth of bloody efforts to effect its destruction. The very last words of Jesus teach us, what man will yet attempt to perform in his hatred to the Bible and its divinely appointed Saviour. Having abundantly given scriptural proof to sustain this view of the ultimate (but short-lived) triumph of infidelity over the Church, may it not be in place to appeal to a class of opponents who engage in this work of undermining the Bible without desiring the overthrow of Christianity (which they still regard as exerting, with all its faults, a restraining moral influence), without wishing harm to society, or any member of it, without even considering the tendency of their speculations when once they fall into the hands of the masses? Those attacks, if only confined to a class of scholars, if only regarded as hypotheses worthy of consideration by the intelligent, would do comparatively little harm, but when directed by another class who advance them in a popular form for the multitude, they become a destructive social power, for the masses (caring little for scientific and philosophical reasoning) are only too glad to avail themselves of anything that will deliver them from the moral and religious requirements imposed by the Word of God, that will excuse the violations of the moral sense within them, and that will palliate in any degree their self-indulgence. The real responsibility of shaping society in this direction and of the destructive fruits resulting from it, rests upon men, who—if they ventured to accept of the experience of the past (as e.g. French Revolution, Communism, etc.), to receive the portraiture of the future as given in the Word, to weigh the inevitable fruitage that corrupt human nature will produce when fostered by a release from authority—would themselves shrink from their self-imposed labor. It seems to the writer that the taking away of a faith which sustains in trouble, bereavements, death, etc., without being able to substitute anything better (that only which cannot comfort, etc.), is bad enough, but in connection with this to remove the moral restraints and responsibilities arising from relationship to a Creator and His revealed Will, and thus making man the supreme authority—this, with the awful history of human depravity, given in the pages of history, from the earliest period to the present, is most dangerous and ruinous in tendency and results. Clinging to the words of the holy men of old, we must believe, that works are written, which will exert such an influence in directing the coming outburst of corruption and violence, and which will introduce by the ascendency of principles promulgated, such scenes of misery and horror that the writers, if they could foresee them, would stand aghast at the appalling spectacle and most bitterly regret their agency in creating it. Standing upon the sure prophetic Word and surveying the future, this representation falls far short of the stern reality. Let the sincere, candid, honest doubter read for himself the delineations given by that Word, and even the possibility of being in the remotest degree instrumental in bringing forth such a state of things will cause him to hesitate long before he will lend himself to the work. If such would consider that the Word predicts the triumph of itself, and of the Church, not through the power and labor of man, but through the power and mighty works of a Coming Redeemer (the very opposite of what man would naturally suggest if he were giving a revelation); that it makes both the Word and the Church at the last time struggling under a fiery trial from which it is delivered by the appointed Son of Man, they may in such extraordinary announcements find a reason why the Bible is given in its present form, grandly simple and unyielding, exhibiting traits most admirably adapted to allow intellectual pride and presumption to stumble and fall—forming a pit and a snare for the intellectual as well as the moral—in order to reveal what is in man, and to what lengths humanity will reach in opposition to the sublimest Plan of Redemption, that the love and mercy of a God could furnish. If men desire to find objections to the Word, its very construction and simplicity, its ignoring of scientific and philosophical preciseness, the gradual unfolding of the Divine Plan and its details given at different periods and by various writers, etc., afford them all the opportunity needed. It is left optional with men to receive it as a blessing, or to convert it into a curse; God Himself will justify it in due time, when every jot and tittle (Matt. 5:18) shall be fulfilled. In the mean time the believer, sustained by “the blessed hope” and taught by Holy Writ, confidently looks for the raging flood of infidelity which shall sweep nearly all—excepting a few faithful ones—before it; which shall introduce a systematic and stern hostility provocative of martyrdom; which shall strive with fury to set aside Jesus Christ as the Redeemer of the world; and which shall be guilty of unbounded wickedness and blasphemy; but he as confidently looks beyond this to the sudden Coming of the glorious, mighty King of kings, when these raging waters, this destructive, persecuting career, shall be stayed; when these Antichristian hosts shall be utterly crashed; and when the foe, so jubilant and proud of numbers and fancied success, shall fall panic-stricken under the wrath of the same Lamb whose mission, sufferings, death, warnings, and entreaties they have despised.

Obs. 6. No faith, aside from other reasons, will be exercised in this Kingdom because of the manner of its introduction through Supernatural intervention, and of the Personage Jesus Christ, through whom it is to be accomplished. To the student of the Word who carefully notices how this Kingdom is to be re-established at the close of the times of the Gentiles, it is significant and startling to find that, in strict correspondence with prediction, the greatest efforts are now made by the Gentiles to decry the Supernatural, to cast out the miraculous, and to bring Jesus to the level of erring, weak, fate-bound humanity. Denying the power and authority of the appointed King, as a matter of course the Kingdom is also rejected, virtually saying, “We will not have this man to reign over us.” How can He thus come and reign when His resurrection, ascension, etc., is disbelieved; when the attributes, by which alone such a Kingdom, as covenanted and predicted, can be set up, are derided? They never consider that Jesus Christ, the God-man, must be studied in the light of this Theocratic arrangement; that to invalidate His claims, etc., the Divine Plan itself, which makes the Advent of such a Person a necessity, must be logically set aside. They never regard the historical connection existing between Jesus and the Kingdom as it once existed, and as it is now solemnly covenanted to Him as David’s Son, unless it is to show (as Renan, etc.) that the Kingdom not being set up now as predicted and believed in, it will never be established, deliberately overlooking the passages which distinctly prove that after His rejection by the Jews and their conspiring to put Him to death, He proclaimed the postponement of the Kingdom to His Second Coming. We admit that if Jesus or His Apostles had proclaimed the establishment of the Kingdom, as covenanted immediately or shortly after His death, then indeed a powerful argument, owing to the patent dissimilarity between the two, would be presented, but such an establishment (which the primitive Church totally ignored) is taken for granted, and from a premise thus falsely grounded the most adverse conclusions respecting Jesus are entertained and promulgated. The existing facts, too, which materially aid, as parts of the Divine Purpose, to confirm such a postponement and hence the certainty of this Coming Kingdom, are carefully avoided and never allowed to sustain the utterances of Jesus. A painful lack of candor toward the entire truth, a specious, unsound form of reasoning, which takes just as much as suits its purpose and leaves out the most important in its bearing, characterizes the attacks upon the King and Kingdom. Such a spirit and process are necessarily unproductive of faith. How largely this is chargeable to the prevailing views in the Church—equally hostile to the true notion of the Kingdom and thus making an uncalled for antagonism between covenant, prophecy, preaching, etc., and the Church—is self-evident, seeing that a large proportion of argument is derived from the unfortunate conclusions arrived at by believers. For, if the Church is the Kingdom, then the infidel can well say, and firmly maintain his position, that it is not the Kingdom which was covenanted to David’s Son; which was predicted by the prophets, preached by John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, the disciples, Apostles, and primitive Church. Logically, historically, critically, he is correct thus far; but critically, historically, and logically he is incorrect when he assumes from this that it never will be verified, and from such a deduction endeavors to undermine the authority, credibility, etc., of the Redeemer. Our doctrine of the Kingdom cannot be accused of aiding and strengthening the unbelief thus manifested, for it receives the unanswerable grammatical interpretation of this Kingdom as given by eminent unbelievers, and instead of covering it up by pitiful subterfuges and lame apologies, relies upon it as the God-given truth. It acknowledges the propriety and the force of unbelieving argumentation respecting the preaching of this Kingdom by the Apostolic and primitive Church, and instead of making out, to the gratification of unbelief, that these ancients were entertaining a harmless and useful error, or that they were unconsciously presenting the truth in “a materialistic husk” to be developed into fruitage, it cordially adopts and defends this very preaching, this alleged error, as necessitated by the oath-bound Word of God. It admits “the Jewish conceptions” and “the Jewish expectations” incorporated with the New Test., as joyfully paraded by prominent opponents, but shows that these are demanded by the nature, design, and plan of the Divine Purpose. On a variety of points, our doctrine makes the concessions to infidelity which simple justice demands, and in so doing gains power, consistency, and unity which the prevailing Apologetics lack on account of their fundamental principles. Thus, e.g., we agree with infidelity in the principles that underlie the interpretation of the Book, viz., that it must be interpreted by the ordinary, universally received laws of language, and that when the meaning is thus obtained we are not at liberty to substitute another and differing sense, which is given as the taste, inclination, imagination, etc., of the interpreter may suggest. This is fundamental; and unbelief has a just right to object to the vast number of interpretations foisted upon the Word by its constant and flagrant violation. Unbelief occupies a proper position when it requires that every doctrine taught by us should be found in the plain grammatical construction of the language; it is not wrong when it says, that if the prophecies are truly inspired, then they cannot be conditional so far as the purpose of God is concerned; it is not foolish when it proclaims that this Kingdom is Jewish—that between the apostolical belief and the one generally entertained there is a world-wide difference—that if there is any force in election the Jewish nation ought still to be an elect nation; that the Kingdom, if manifested as the prophets describe, must have a continued revealed Supernaturalism connected with it; that the Kingdom as predicted is associated with, even founded upon, a restored Jewish nation and its subsequent exaltation; that an intimate relationship exists between the Old and New Testaments; that in our study of the Bible we should not be fettered by the alleged authoritative utterances of our fellow-men as embraced in creeds, confessions, systems, etc. Christianity, in the controversies raging, has suffered by incorporating principles indefensible (unknown to the early Church), and by endeavoring to defend much that is utterly untenable; unbelief, only too glad to seize upon such indications of weakness, has taken advantage of the incautious and unscriptural attitude assumed, and has pressed the prevailing Theology with a line of argument that, taking the naked Scripture, is wholly unanswerable and but feebly met by those who reject the early Church doctrine of the Kingdom. This feature is beginning to be seen and felt by able writers; and it is with pleasure that we notice many of the most eminent men (as e.g. Olshausen, Lange, Delitzsch. Auberlen, Van Oosterzee, last work, etc.) falling back, more and more, to the identical position occupied by the early Christian Church. It is indeed the only ground upon which infidelity can be opposed honorably (i.e. without apologizing for or sacrificing the language of the Bible), and which fairly meets its argumentation respecting the King and the Kingdom. In this way we cannot be censurable for giving unbelief so many advantages in reasoning, and thus virtually helping it on in its efforts of destructive criticism. Admitting fully and freely the weight and authority of a certain, defined, distinctive teaching in the Bible, and which cannot possibly be denied without doing the utmost violence to the Book itself, yet the same can be proven to be—instead of hostile to the truth and the claims of Jesus—essential to the Plan of Redemption as developed through the Coming King and Kingdom. But relying upon the far-seeing and sure knowledge of the future as contained in this Book, it is certain that this return to the primitive faith will be accepted by the few; and that the protestations of these, however logically and forcibly presented, will utterly fail—for reasons previously given—to stem the torrent of unbelief which now receives its already swollen tributaries from all sides. God’s glorious Plan for the deliverance of the world through a divinely instituted Theocratic arrangement will be rejected by the wisdom of the world. David’s Son, so admirably qualified to bring about “the golden age” of prophecy and human longings, will be despised and treated with contemptuous scorn. Human nature will again exhibit itself in its nakedness, its inherent corruption. Analogy, pointing to the past teaching that every great providential movement in the progressive advancement of the Divine Purpose was met by a corresponding condition of unbelief, teaches that when the last. which finishes “the mystery of God,” shall be made, then it is reasonable to anticipate a period of unbelief—and, may we add, being the final one introductory to the Kingdom itself, will be answerably great. The warning that the Apostle Paul gives to the Gentiles, and his portrayal of the Antichristian power that will arise before, and only to be destroyed at, the Personal Advent; the fearful portraiture of the corruption of mankind just previous to the Advent like in the days of Noah and Lot (Matt. 24:39, “knew not until the flood came,” etc.) making a divine personal interference imperative; the openly hostile attitude of the nations, the exaltation of reason and humanity, the oppressed condition of the pious, the lamentable state of the Jewish nation, the formation of a vast confederation and its merciless acts toward witnesses of the truth; and all this at the closing of this dispensation evinces such a state of unbelief, such a fruitage of the seeds now sown broadcast in a too favorable soil, such a continuation and powerful development of infidelity, such a turning away from God’s Redemptive Purpose in Christ Jesus and trust in humanity, that it is impossible to entertain any other opinion, consistent with faith in the Word, than that, whatever may be said in defence of the truth, men will resist it and gain adherents until the time arrives for a violent outburst engendering a revolution most disastrous to the Church, most ruinous to the moral interests and eternal welfare of the multitude swayed by it, and most fatal to those who shall in that day venture to testify in behalf of the truth. Indeed, so fully persuaded is the writer of the certainty of this—judging simply from past and present fulfilment—that the hope of writing for that very period—of warning the weak in faith not to yield, of encouraging the believing to suffer and endure to the end, of cautioning the doubting how to decide, and of admonishing all, friends and foes, what they must expect—has greatly sustained him in his labor.

  PROPOSITION 181. Our doctrinal position illustrated and enforced by the Parable of the Ten Virgins.

In view of the important teaching of this parable, it deserves, however occasionally mentioned under several Propositions, special consideration, seeing how strongly it corroborates our doctrinal conclusions.

Obs. 1. The linking of the parable by the word “then” to the preceding context, and the tenor of the parable itself, has led a multitude of able writers, including our opponents, to interpret it as illustrative of the attitude of the Church at the Sec. Advent. Consistency forces such an application because of the express mention of the Sec. Advent (Matt. 24:30, 31), and the admonitions and warnings to be watchful adjoined (vs. 32–51), so that the parable itself is properly regarded as illustrating and enforcing the previously given instruction. The succeeding context, in the parable of the talents, and in the judgment of the nations, warns us in reference to the ultimate reward dispensed at the Sec. Advent. The context, therefore, as well as the parable, enforces the importance and duty of watchfulness and faithfulness.*

Obs. 2. The application of it, therefore, to the Romans at the destruction of Jerusalem, to death, to divine providence, etc., is foreign to the intent of the parable. The previous references to the Coming of “the Son of Man” (expressive of personal humanity), the manner of His Coming (sudden and unexpected, etc.), the time of His Coming (as in the days of Noah), the translation united with it (one taken and the other left), the power and glory, the angels connected with it, the gathering of the elect, the fate of the unwatchful—all as well as the succeeding ones, show that the same future Advent so repeatedly mentioned afterward and embodied in the expressed faith of the Church, is the one intended.*

Obs. 3. In the interpretation of the parable, its parabolic form must constantly be observed; and hence not every particular expression, introduced to fill out the figure or image introduced, is to be pressed to denote a corresponding relationship in the Church or future.*

Obs. 4. This parable is prophetic, being designed to express and enforce the future unexpected (because not exactly known) Coming of the great Bridegroom, the certainty of that Coming although delayed, the condition of certain parties at His Advent, and the result to themselves arising from the state in which they are found.*

Obs. 5. The force of the illustration can only be properly appreciated by the consideration of the truth which it is designed to confirm, and of the custom from whence it is derived. The doctrine to be enforced is, as the context shows, the future Coming of the Son of Man, who will come at a time when persons will not look for Him, because the exact time, the day and hour, is not known, and hence the caution (Matt. 24:4), “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” The custom from whence the parable is taken, was one familiar to the East. Jesus selects a particular time in the marriage ceremonial, to illustrate the uncertainty of His Coming, and the consequences of heeding or not heeding the cautions He already had given respecting it. It is the time after the wedding at the house of the bride’s parents (Horne’s Introd., vol. 2, p. 161, Barnes’s Com. loci, Lisco’s On the Parables, p. 183, Encyclop. Relig. Knowl., art. “Mar. Ceremony,” Smith’s Dic. Bible, Meyer’s Com. etc.), and after the wedding festival there (which lasted several days—we are told seven for a maid and three for a widow), when the bridegroom, with the nuptial guests, conducts the bride to his own house or to that of his father, that is chosen. The procession generally started in the evening or night with great pomp, having torches, songs, and music. This company with the bridegroom, was met by another, friends of the bridegroom and bride, which, at or near the bridegroom’s house, waited, ready at the first notice of approach to go forth, meet the procession, unite with it, enter the house, and participate in the entertainment or marriage supper. This last company not knowing precisely the hour or time when the procession would come, made preparation and watched for its arrival, so that it could enter in with the bridal party—its union with the other and privilege of admittance, being indicated by the bearing of lamps, or burning torches, thus showing that they were friends, and as such could properly be admitted as guests at the marriage feast. After the procession entered the house with those who actually participated in the escort and manifested their friendship and respect for the bridegroom and bride, the door was shut and admittance refused. Now Jesus takes this parabolic representation from actual life, and shows from the uncertainty of the bridegroom’s arrival and the preparedness of the company awaiting him, how it will be (as the word “then” implies) at His future Advent, and, consequently, enjoins watchfulness.

Obs. 6. The parable being prophetic, and thus delineating what shall truly take place when the Lord Jesus shall return from the wedding, it must accord fully, be in perfect agreement, with all the other predictions relating to the subject. The unity of the Word, the integrity of Scripture, the truthfulness of Jesus as a Teacher, demand such a harmony. It must, e.g. accord with Rev. 19, in which is foreshown that the marriage of the Lamb, and the calling to the marriage supper, is something that appertains to His Sec. Advent and the commencement of His glorious reign on earth. But it must do more than this; it must correspond not merely to the general statements on the subject, but to the exact order of fulfilment pertaining to that future period. Thus it has been shown (Prop. 130) that the Second Advent, like the First, is expressive of a period of years; that its beginning is characterized by a thief-like, concealed Coming and its end by an open Advent. The question, therefore, is with which stage of the Advent does the parable best correspond? To this there can be but one answer: it pertains to the last stage, the open parousia. Let the following considerations be regarded. (1) It does not relate to the thief-like Coming because that period, and the events connected therewith, do not correspond with the parable in the following particulars: (a) There is no public Coming of the Bridegroom with open pomp and splendor: (b) the resurrection of the first-fruits and the sudden translation of the little flock do not accord with such a public manifestation being secret and invisible in their nature; (c) there is no return from a wedding, the first stage preceding it; (d) believers in Jesus do not at that time all even profess to look for the Advent, much less go forth to meet the Bridegroom—the great lack of faith evidencing the contrary; (e) the midnight cry (however applied by some to the past and the present) has not been sounded, as shown by its effects both on the wise and the foolish virgins, who recognized it, and all arose and trimmed their lamps, and it will not be true at this stage that the cry, “Behold the Bridegroom Cometh” will cause all believers, wise and foolish, to arise and indicate a looking for the Bridegroom, as seen e.g. in the predictions relating to the faithlessness of the Church; (f) the cry is not raised by any of these virgins, for it comes outside of them, and hence the incongruity of persons representing themselves to be “wise virgins” and raising the cry, whom the Saviour represents with the foolish to be drowsy and asleep, being themselves aroused by the cry; it follows that the illustration does not fit the particulars of the first stage; (g) the parable does not express the condition of the Church in general as composed of believers and mere professors, or of two parties, but the image is drawn from a party who expected the coming of the bridegroom (took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom”), made preparation for his coming (with lamps and oil in them), and when his coming was announced acted in response to their previous expectation (“then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps”), and simple analogy requires that it should be fulfilled in such a body of persons. (2) But it does apply forcibly to the second stage of the Advent and to the events connected therewith as predicted: (a) the open parousia of Jesus with His saints is after the wedding (Prop. 166) at Mt. Sinai—the figure of marriage (Prop. 169) being used to indicate the intimate Theocratic relationship of the saints with the King, or the inauguration of the saints there as co-kings and co-priests with Him in His Kingdom; (b) the procession of the bridegroom after the wedding to his own house to have the marriage publicly consummated by a marriage supper, finds its exact parallel in Jesus Coming with His saints and the holy angels from the celebration of a Theocratic inauguration at Mt. Sinai; (c) the bridegroom comes after the wedding to his own house, and his friends await him there to receive the procession and participate in the proposed marriage feast, finds its precise fulfilment in Jesus, after the Theocratic ordering instituted at Mt. Sinai, taking His course to His own inheritance, to Jerusalem, where He meets a body of His “own” people; (d) those who thus waited all professed affection for the bridegroom, and thus this remnant of Jews, after experiencing the merciless persecution of the last Antichrist (whom they as a body had received in preference to Jesus) which restores them earnestly and longingly to the nation’s hope of Messianic deliverance (as evidenced by the cordial manner in which they hail His Coming and yield obedience), turn their minds (influenced by Elijah) to a looking and waiting for the Messiah; (e) those who wait expect the coming of a bridegroom (not themselves to be the bride) and a participation in the marriage feast in the bridegroom’s inheritance, which indicates a marked change in their views (i.e. of the Jews), viz., that the terrible persecution endured, the proclamation of the truth by the Christian Church during the interval, the precise realization of the prophetic announcements in their own experience, the culmination of their tribulation as foreshown by the Spirit in connection with Jesus of Nazareth, has at length caused this remnant at Jerusalem to decide favorably to Jesus of Nazareth, and to await His Coming as the promised One, even as the bridegroom; (f) the entering in with the bridegroom and participating in the marriage festivities, finds a precise fulfilment in the announced predictions that the Jews shall at the personal Coming of Jesus experience the special favor of the Messiah, and be restored to Theocratic nearness to God, having an assured supremacy over the nations; (g) the reception of some and the rejection of others, owing to that of preparation and attitude occupied, finds its exact parallel in the verifications of the predictions that a portion of the Jews will be accepted and another portion be rejected—that a sifting and separation will ensue; (h) the midnight cry, uttered by the escort with the bridegroom’s procession or by believing Gentiles, so arrests the attention of the Jews, that they, in their extremity, begin to believe in Him whom they have pierced, exemplified by their willingness then to accept of Him; (i) the posture occupied by the virgins is indicative of a belief in a Coming, expected Messiah, and this is in accord with the Jewish position then occupied, for seeing the accurate fulfilment in the distress accumulated upon them by the last Antichrist, they will also believe in the promised deliverance (as e.g. shown in Zech. 14), and some will be suitably prepared (morally) while others will neglect preparation; (j) the prophecy preceding (comp. Mark 13 and Luke 21) had a special mention of the Jewish nation, of its long-continued tribulation, etc., and it is reasonable that in the final result Jesus should illustrate the condition of the Jews, addressing Himself to them; (k) the Second Advent of the Messiah has a twofold specific relationship, as previous Propositions unfold, viz., first, to the Church which is associated with Him in the highest Theocratic relationship, in rulership, etc.; and second, to the Jewish nation which occupies a subordinate, but as to other nations a supreme, Theocratic position; in view of this, it is reasonable to suppose that the duty of watching and being prepared would be enjoined upon both; (l) the virgins are invited guests, specially called to participate in the marriage feast ushering in the Millennial era, and so numerous predictions call and invite the Jews to that “feast of fat things,” and we are assured of a response; (m) the virgins who joined the bridal procession evidently congratulated the bridegroom on his marriage and expressed their wishes in his behalf and that of the bride, as implied by their attitude, by honoring the coming with their union with it, etc., and this finds a realization in the joy of the Jews, their honoring of the Messiah, their triumph and glory at the open Parousia of Jesus, the Christ; (n) the time of Christ’s Coming, at “midnight,” i.e. at the very close of this dispensation, just when the glorious “day of the Lord Jesus” is to be ushered in, with which “day” the Jews, as we have shown, are inseparably connected, in view of their covenanted Theocratic relationship.*

Obs. 7. This application is enforced by considering the stress of “then” as connected with the preceding context. The Saviour had just referred to the translation (which we, Prop. 130, locate at the first stage of the Advent), and to the cutting off of the unfaithful and unwatching from the portion of those who look for the Coming and are prepared, and the natural conclusion follows: “then,” that is, after this removal and judgment, then shall follow the realization of this illustration.*

Obs. 8. If it were allowable to read in the first verse, “And went forth to meet the bridegroom and the bride” (as Maldonatus and others, and decidedly favored by Trench, Notes on the Parables, p. 237), it would confirm our view. However this may be, it is certain, from the usage referred to, that these virgins join the procession on the return of the bridegroom with the bride to their future abode (Obs. 5 and note). This accords with the previous withdrawal of the 144,000 (Prop. 130), with the Theocratic marriage at Mt. Sinai (Prop. 166), and with the procession of the bridegroom and bride to their future glorious abode on Mt. Zion. This agrees with the simple fact that these virgins, prepared to unite and enter into the marriage supper, are, not the bride, but guests who honor the bridegroom and the bride—virgins who follow the queen.*

Obs. 9. The personality of the Sec. Advent is decidedly implied and enforced by the parable. The previous and succeeding context clearly teaches it, and the parable is expressly designed to illustrate what will occur, in relation to certain parties, at its realization. The coming of the bridegroom and bride is personal, the entire imagery is realistic in the marriage, etc., and the simple fact that Jesus selects the same as illustrative of His own Coming, abundantly confirms our position, and shows that the same is Pre-Millenarian.

Obs. 10. “The Kingdom of heaven” is thus likened. That is, the Kingdom of heaven in its manner of introduction or realization will meet with such a reception, or bring forth such a result. The covenanted Messianic Kingdom, as we have in detail proven, pertains to the period of this Sec. Advent, and will meet such a reception by the Jews, some being prepared and others unprepared.

Obs. 11. In reference to the mooted point whether the foolish virgins are wicked, ungodly, mere professors (or, as some even designate them, “hypocrites,” etc.), or merely inconsiderate, lacking forethought; if we were to allow the particulars of the parable to have any force, then certainly the foolish virgins cannot be regarded as wicked, much less as hypocrites, or mere professors. For they go out, as friends or invited guests, to meet the bridegroom; they also have lamps which contained some oil; with the wise they awaited the Coming, and with them they slept; when they found that not a sufficiency of oil had been previously provided, they were solicitous to repair their error, and actually (for they went to buy and then returned) did furnish their lamps with oil (which, if it denotes “grace,” etc., shows their moral condition), but too late. The only marked difference between the two classes consisted in this: the wise with the oil in their lamps took oil in vessels with them to give a needed supply; the foolish neglected this precaution, and hence were not ready. The foolish, therefore, are only excluded from these marriage festivities, but will ultimately be saved.*

Obs. 12. The “door being shut” and the declaration “I know you not,” are, therefore, simply expressive of exclusion to a position which the others, because of their preparation and readiness, obtain. It is a fact, as we have previously shown, that the faithful children of Abraham, including the engrafted and adopted Gentile believers, shall through the power of resurrection and translation at the first stage of the Advent be associated with the Christ as co-heirs or rulers in the Theocratic ordering (this, owing to the intimate, endearing, and enduring relationship being also represented as a marriage). To this marriage the Jewish nation is specially invited under the figure of guests; and those who at its inauguration will accept of the invitation and qualify themselves by a previous preparation, shall also be particularly associated and honored. These filling the stations allotted to them in the Kingdom, no others can be admitted, however they may afterward enjoy the peace, prosperity and blessedness brought about by the dominion and supremacy exercised. The period of the inauguration and manifested establishment of the Kingdom, is one also in which those will be honored who honor Jesus the Christ.*

Obs. 13. The midnight cry is one that arose not before the wedding, but after; not before the procession had started, but after; not before the very last period, but just when expiring. It therefore cannot possibly be applied as many now do, viz., to the past and present condition of the Church, some arising and specifically directing attention to the Sec. Advent, seeing that the cry as located in the parable with the bridal procession forbids it.*

Obs. 14. The precise time of the open Parousia, the Epiphany, is unknown, just as the thief-like Coming is unknown as to exact time. The determinate duration of the interval is something that belongs to God alone. Approximately, as the virgins themselves did, we may conclude its approach to be near. The attitude, professions, etc., of the virgins indicates this, while the precise time of the manifestation was something which they did not know. Hence the express caution annexed: “Watch, therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour, wherein the Son of Man cometh.”*

Obs. 15. The parable enforces our position that there will be no conversion of the world prior to the Sec. Advent. The condition of the virgins, the division into prepared and unprepared, the reception of one class and rejection of the other, even at the closing period (midnight), all indicates that “all are not righteous,” etc. It evidences that even in reference to the Jews, God’s own covenanted people, there will be a period of sifting—as often predicted—in order to determine who are worthy of participating in the glorious marriage festival.

Obs. 16. No matter whether this parable be interpreted as applying to the Church at the first stage of the Sec. Advent, or to the same at the last stage, or to the Jews at the open, manifested parousia as distinguished from the previous thief-like Coming, it corroborates and enforces our doctrine respecting the attitude of watchfulness and preparation for the Sec. Advent, the certainty and personality of that Coming, and the blessed results flowing to the righteous from that Advent. Whatever our views may be respecting it in detail, yet the leading ideas are so unmistakably given that we cannot mistake.*

  PROPOSITION 182. This Kingdom embraces the “One Hope.”

Our argument presents the “One Hope” (Eph. 4:4), that actuated the ancient worthies, the pious Jews at the First Advent, the disciples, apostles, and early believers, and many an humble believer down to the present day. This hope is continuously expressed not only in this, but in the preceding dispensation. Abraham “believed in hope” (Rom. 4:18) and so do his seed; a hope expressed in the covenants, reiterated by the prophets, renewed by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and preached by the apostles; a hope centred in God (Jer. 14:8 and 17:7, 13, etc.), manifested in Jesus (1 Tim. 1:1; Col. 1:27; 1 Thess. 1:2, 3, etc.), and wrought by the Spirit (Rom. 15:13).*

Obs. 1. Much vagueness exists among believers at the present day in reference to this Hope, owing to the simple fact that the announcement of this Hope (as e.g. by the angel, Luke 1:32, 33) is spiritualized or explained away, and something else substituted in its place. Hence it is that we are taught, that in order to appreciate this Hope we must be enlightened; Eph. 1:18, “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the Hope of His calling and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,” etc. This opening of the eyes of the understanding only comes from a searching of the Scriptures. Enlightenment is necessary (hence the caution is given, as if to imply a falling away from the Hope without it), because the Hope is based upon what is past, present, and future. To appreciate it intelligently the rise and progress of this Hope must be traced—its foundation in the covenants, and its confirmation by Jesus must be particularly noticed, and then the eye of faith must look onward to the Sec. Advent for its realization. A portion of the Hope (also called Hope because firmly attached to it, as e.g. the resurrection, eternal life, etc.) must not be mistaken for the whole Hope. This caution of becoming enlightened is especially applicable to the Gentiles, to whom it is addressed, because as we have shown this is pre-eminently a Jewish Hope, i.e. a Hope connected with the Jewish nation, through covenants given to the Jews and through a King appertaining to them. The apostle, therefore, informs the same Ephesians (2:11) that, without being engrafted into the commonwealth of Israel, becoming the seed of Abraham, they can have “no hope.” Our Hope is “the Hope of Israel” (Acts 28:20), “the Hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers, unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come” (Acts 26:6, 7). This Hope is embraced in the Kingdom as delineated, e.g. Isa. 9:7; Jer. 23:40, etc., and is reiterated in our being “called unto His Kingdom and glory” (1 Thess. 1:10)—“the Kingdom which He has promised to them that love Him” (James 2:5, so inheriting, etc., comp. Luke 12:32; Matt. 25:34; 2 Pet. 1:11; Luke 13:29, etc.). And, as Jesus Christ is the One through whom this Hope is to be realized, He is called “our Hope” (1 Tim. 1:1); and as this hope is to be experienced at His Sec. Advent, His Coming is designated “the blessed Hope” (Tit. 2:13). It is highly significant, that the mighty Agent through whom Hope shall be realized is called “the Hope,” and if received by appropriating faith becomes “Christ in us the Hope of glory” (Col. 1:27); but this should not prevent us from apprehending that He is only the Introducer, Verifier, Fulfiller of “the Hope of the Gospel.” The Gospel is “the Gospel of the Kingdom,” and while it, of necessity, largely pertains to the King of the Kingdom, it is chiefly as this King shall manifest His power and glory in the Coming Kingdom as it has been covenanted and predicted.*

Obs. 2. If we are to credit a multitude of writers, this “One Hope” so long entertained by God’s ancient people, and which formed so remarkable a feature of the Primitive Church, and for which believers suffered even death, was changed to another Hope. We are gravely informed by theologians and expounders of God’s Word, that the Hope, which once so continuously existed, was well enough for the age in which it was entertained, but that it was modified to remove its “carnal” features and adapt it to “the enlightened and spiritual” age in which we live. Well may we ask, what then becomes of “the One Hope,” and what becomes of the Hope so fondly and passionately embraced by the ancient believers? Our argument clearly shows, that according to the Scriptures, no such change or modification was ever made under divine direction, and the same is fully sustained by the history of the early Church. Men, uninspired men, led by mere reason and supposing that they could improve what Scripture so plainly has given, under the mistaken notion of elevating “the One Hope” by spiritualizing its substance, tampered with it and finally modified and so changed it, that as it appears in many works it bears no resemblance whatever to “the hope of the Gospel” as recorded. The worst is, that so intrenched has this departure from “the One Hope” become in the churches, that many eminent and pious men assist in maintaining it, and take offence if the facts, as they exist, are plainly stated. Willing to make out that the multitude of pious before and after the First Advent deluded themselves with a false Hope, they are unwilling, owing to supposed superior knowledge, to acknowledge themselves to be under a delusive Hope. The redeeming feature in some, however, is, that they make their Hope (delusive as it may be in the manner and place of realization) centre in Christ, and thus honoring Christ with us, they are still accounted worthy to experience the hope of the promise made to the Fathers. Alas! so embedded is this modified Hope in the affections of many, that if we point to “the One Hope,” sustained by Scripture and Tradition, and held by men whose praises are in the churches, it is pronounced “foolishness,” or “heresy,” or “a return to carnal Jewish notions,” etc. To all such, who may honestly, from the amount of knowledge in their possession and the prejudice imbibed against our doctrine, hold such sentiments, we will only say this, that our Hope, the One Hope entertained by the ancient Church, is confirmed to us by the oath of God Himself (Heb. 6:17–19); and therefore, we cleave to it the more persistently, well knowing how, as predicted such a hope was changed through the application of erroneous principles of interpretation. Let the reader turn back to Prop. 21, and see how all admit that the prophecies grammatically understood sustain this Hope of the pious Jews; then refer to Prop. 35, etc., which shows that but one Kingdom was predicted, and is it consistent to reject a hope which is unmistakably presented in the Word of God? How can we substitute one which, as frankly admitted even by many of our opponents, was gradually, as the Church was able to bear it, developed and put in the place of the preceding one? Whatever others may do, we dare not accept of this transmutation introduced by uninspired men (who gave evidence to much weakness) and which was firmly established in the Church by the rise and progress of the Papacy. Besides this, the sanctifying (Heb. 3:6; 1 John 3:2, 3; 1 Pet. 1:13, etc.) influence of this Hope, when appreciated, as exemplified in Jewish history and in the Christian confessors of the truth, is still connected with it, seeing that instead of a vagueness and indefiniteness thrown around the promises, it brings them forth with clearness and vividness, distinctly perceiving and embracing the great object of Hope—the Kingdom.*

Obs. 3. “The Blessed Hope” is so precious, so full of comforting Redemptive meaning, that it is distinctly pointed out in its plain grammatical sense. It is not predicted “obscurely” or “uncertainly,” or “typically,” or “figuratively,” as many allege. It is not given as multitudes tell us, in such a way that we cannot possibly recognize its meaning, until after the fulfilment, for then it would be unwise for the Master to urge us to desire, pray, look, and watch for its realization. If we cannot understand its meaning, or comprehend its relationship to Redemption, it would be folly to make it so prominent in faith and promise. The Scriptures assume to teach that it is a hope so well grounded and so clearly expressed, that we can fully appreciate it.

Obs. 4. Some turn from “the Blessed Hope,” the appearing of Jesus, and make it a secondary matter, putting death in its place. But the Bible reverses all this, making the Sec. Coming with its glory the primary thing and death a subsidiary affair. The latter, at most, has only reference to the preparation of the individual, and leaves an incompleteness of Redemption, while the former pertains to all believers, brings in perfect salvation, and reveals the glory of the Saviour. In comparison with the Second Advent and its glorious consequences, its grand results, death sinks into insignificance. Nothing, so far as the destiny of man or of the world is concerned, can be compared to it. The First Advent brings the saving grace, but the Second perfects it; the First brought the earnest of Redemption in humiliation, the Second completes it in glory. Hence the intentional scope and profound interest given to it in the New Test., lest (as foreseen) men and believers should give it its modern secondary position.*

Obs. 5. Such is the preciousness of this Hope, that we are grateful to any who have expressed it, and urged others to accept of its comforting influences. There is (alas!) a tendency among some to disparage, and even unchurch others, because in some things their system of faith is defective, or contradictory, or erroneous; but making due allowance for human weakness and imperfection (which for the sake of the truth we may specify, without unchristianizing, etc.), the simple fact that this “blessed Hope” is entertained and presented, causes our hearts to warm toward them. It is a bond of union, or, at least, of interested regard, for in it we see them honoring “the Christ,” and in such honoring we rejoice, hoping that some day, when hope is realized, to see eye to eye in all things. For, if any one “loves His appearing,” he certainly loves the Lord Jesus, and we love Him.*

Obs. 6. The exceeding prominency given to “the blessed hope” in the New Test., should in view of its contents most certainly influence us to give it a like prominency in our faith. In reference to the Sec. Advent, Brookes (Bible Readings) says: “It is mentioned 318 times in the 260 chapters that make up the New Test., or if the whole book is divided into verses, it occupies one of twenty-five verses from the first of Matthew to the last of Revelation.”*

Obs. 7. Hope is entertained and expressed in the absence of the Redeemer. Having told us that He would speedily come, we believe Him; and, as we love Him, we hope. Now we are in the period affirmed by Luke 17:22, and we hope. The Bridegroom is taken away from us (Luke 5:34, 35), but He has told us that He would come soon again, and we have sweet hope.*

Obs. 8. In connection with preceding Prop. something may be added concerning the reasons, why we should be glad and rejoice in view of such a nearness. Long ago Justin said: “You see all sorts of men big with the hopes of His Second Coming in glory,” which is eminently characteristic of the present time; for well-known statesmen and humble members of the State, noblemen and the untitled, wealthy and poor, learned and unlearned, prominent divines and laymen, in brief, men of all classes and rank, look, wait, watch, and pray for the Advent of the blessed Lord Jesus and the then incoming Kingdom. And this they do heartily, sincerely, without the reservation of a definite or Millennial intervening period (for it is difficult to conceive how a person can watch and pray—much less, 2 Pet. 3:11, 12, “hasting unto,” i.e. earnestly desiring, wishing, longing—for the coming of the day of the Lord with a mind impressed with a theory which negatives such watching and praying), because it is the most desirable event that can occur. It is an event desirable to Christ (only delayed through motives of mercy and grace), because then He obtains His inheritance, and His glory is revealed; desirable to the Father, because then His oath-bound covenants are verified and His praise promoted through the Son of His love; desirable to the Spirit, because then His faithfulness and power will be specially manifested; desirable to the angels, because then the things in which they are so deeply interested will be disclosed in the glory that follows; desirable to saints, because then will come to them glorification, kingship and rulership; desirable to the Jewish nation, because then shall this King most wonderfully interpose in its behalf; and desirable to the race as such, because then shall proceed a series of acts which shall result in lifting the race itself out of its present condition into the enjoyment of Millennial blessedness. There is only one class to whom it is undesirable, viz., to the wicked—to those who are so unbelieving that they continue unrepentant, rejectors of Christ, and wilfully disobedient to the Divine commands. Hence, every one who truly loves the Saviour will (2 Tim. 4:8) “love His appearing;” even those who, either by education or prejudice, etc., may be unprepared to receive the primitive Church doctrine respecting the Kingdom, still feel that the Advent, with its blessed results (however imperfectly comprehended), is indeed “the blessed hope.” Sir Thomas Browne (ch. Morals, sec. 26) remarks: “If the end of the world shall have the same foregoing signs as the period of empires, States, and dominions in it, that is, corruption of manners, inhuman degenerations, and deluge of iniquities, it may be doubted whether that final time be so far off, of whose day and hour there can be no prescience.” After proposing the question why the world has already endured so long, he adds: “However, therefore, the wisdom of the Creator hath ordered the duration of the world, yet since the end thereof brings the accomplishment of our happiness, since some would be content that it should have no end, since evil men and spirits do fear that it may be too short, since good men hope it may not be too long, the prayer of the saints under the altar will be the supplication of the righteous world, that His mercy should abridge their languishing expectations and hasten the accomplishment of their happy state to come.” Barnes says (Com. 1 Thess. 1; Rem. 9): “It is our duty and privilege to ‘wait for the Son of God to return from heaven.’ We know not when His appearing, either to remove us by death or to judge the world, will be—and we should therefore watch and be ready. The hope of His return to our world to raise the dead, and to convey His ransomed to heaven, is the brightest and most cheerful prospect that dawns on man, and we should be ready, whenever it occurs, to hail Him as our returning Lord, and to rush to His arms as our glorious Redeemer. It should be always the characteristic of our piety, as it was that of John, to say, ‘Even so, come, Lord Jesus.’ ” Commenting on 2 Tim. 4:8, he says: “To believe in the Sec. Advent of the Lord Jesus to judge the world, and to desire His return, became a kind of a criterion by which Christians were known. No others but true Christians were supposed to believe in that, and no others truly desired it. It is so now. It is one of the characteristics of a true Christian that he sincerely desires the return of his Saviour, and would welcome His appearing in the clouds of heaven.” On 2 Pet. 3:13 he remarks (explaining the “hasting unto” to denote “to await with eager desire”): “The true Christian does not dread the Coming of that day. He looks forward to it as the period of His redemption, and would welcome, at any time, the return of his Lord and Saviour. While he is willing to wait as long as it shall please God for the Advent of His Redeemer, yet to Him the brightest prospect in the future is that hour when He shall come to take him to Himself.” (Comp. his comments on Phil. 3:20; 1 Thess. 1:10; Heb. 9:28, etc.) We give so much space to the testimony of one who, while advocating a theory which virtually delays the Coming of the Lord at least a thousand years, yet has such a love for the Saviour, such a regard for the plain injunctions of Scripture, and such a just apprehension of the blessedness resulting from the Advent, that he adopts the language and spirit of the most ardent Millenarian. Such expressions from this class could be multiplied until they filled volumes, for they are the outburst of a heart of love which clearly perceives how much depends upon such a coming, and how largely it will be productive of the highest joy and happiness. The desire, longing and prayer of the early Church is well known,2 influencing, e.g. even Gibbon to ascribe it as one of the causes of the Church’s endurance of persecution, etc., and urging a Cyprian to say concerning Jesus: “He whose speedy coming we daily desire, whose presence among us we ardently long for,” and an Augustine to exclaim of the same that this “is what we look and pray for!” True faith and fervent piety cannot help but express itself thus, as e.g. Baxter: “O my Saviour, hasten the time of thy return; send forth thy angels, and let that dreadful, joyful trumpet sound! Delay not, lest the living give up their hopes; delay not, lest earth should grow like hell, and thy Church, by division, be all crumbled to dust; delay not, lest thine enemies get advantage of thy flock, and lest pride, hypocrisy, sensuality, and unbelief prevail against thy little remnant, and share among them thy whole inheritance, and when thou comest, thou findest not faith on the earth; delay not, lest the grave should boast of victory, and, having learned rebellion of its guest, should refuse to deliver thee up thy due!… ‘Return, O Lord, how long? Oh, let Thy Kingdom come.’ Thy desolate ‘Bride saith, Come!’ for thy Spirit within her saith, Come; and teacheth her thus to ‘pray with groanings which cannot be uttered; yea, the whole creation saith, Come, waiting to be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.’ Thou thyself hast said, ‘Surely I come quickly; Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.’ ” (Conclusion of the last ch. of his Saints’ Rest). But why repeat that which is so clearly taught both in Scripture and in the experience of intelligent piety. Millenarian authors have directed attention to this feature, and justly insist upon it as a characteristic of enlightened faith and hope; because of the excellent things connected with the Advent, such as, that then death will be swallowed up in victory; that sorrow and sighing and tears shall be banished; that the enemies of God shall be removed and the Church be triumphant; that peace and righteousness shall universally prevail; that Christ’s glorious Kingdom will be established never to be removed; that the saint’s rewarding and crowning shall be experienced; that Paradise will be restored with augmented glory; that heaven and earth, God and man, nature and the supernatural shall be in open union and fellowship the one with the other; that the nations of the earth, and even creation, shall rejoice and exult in a manifested Messiah; and that the saints shall be evermore with the Lord, who bought them with His own blood, in the New Jerusalem state, intimately associated with so gracious and mighty a King, and experiencing the ample fulfilment of covenant and prophetic promise. We know (Prop. 120, 121, etc.) that until this Saviour returns the promises of inheriting the Kingdom, etc., cannot possibly be realized; that the curse will continue to press heavily upon the individual believer, the Church, and the world; and that sorrow, trial, tears, etc., are our common lot until He comes. Looking at the present and contrasting it with the blessings of “the Day of the Lord Jesus”—our present weakness and frailty with the being “fashioned like unto His glorious body,” our present imperfectly experienced salvation with completed Redemption, our present tempted, suffering condition with appearing with Him in glory, our present heirship while Pilgrims with the actual inheriting of a Kingdom, etc.—who would not desire, yea, earnestly desire the Coming of the Lord and His Kingdom, and who would not cordially respond to the language of the late Dr. Marsh (Proph. Times, vol. 5, p. 159): “Let me speak to you of the Sec. Advent, which is the Christian’s great hope, as the First Advent is the foundation of his faith; for then Christ will assume His office of King; and not till then will the great enemy of souls, the accuser of the brethren, be bound, error be banished, sin be subdued, and creation cease to groan; because at His Coming He will establish the Kingdom of truth, and righteousness, and peace. What Christian is there, who, believing this, when he hears the Saviour’s voice saying, ‘Surely I come quickly,’ will not reply, ‘Amen, even so, come, Lord Jesus.’ ”

  PROPOSITION 183. The doctrine of the Kingdom and its related subjects have a direct practical tendency.

Its practical nature and tendency is already sufficiently manifest from the preceding propositions, the history of the doctrine, the life of those who held it, the prominence given to it in the Scriptures, and its fundamental relationship to an enlightened faith and hope. But in justice to ourselves, and by way of self-defence against unfounded objections, it deserves special mention.*

Obs. 1. Constantly is the question asked, “Of what practical use is the doctrine of Christ’s Sec. Coming and of His Millennial Kingdom?” And often it is added, by way of response, “If we are saved, that is sufficient.” Ignorance of the nature and results of “the Blessed Hope” alone can produce such an interrogatory and position; an ignorance, too, utterly unjustifiable in any believer of the Scriptures.*

Obs. 2. Its decisive and far-reaching influence is seen in the fact that it materially affects the interpretations of the Bible (see e.g. Prop. 4). The covenants, prophecies of the Old and New Tests., parables, thousands of passages, and even entire chapters are understood very differently from the meaning attributed to them by others. The Kingdom, the Gospel of the Kingdom, the reign of the Christ, and a vast number of related subjects have an import very diverse to the sense usually attributed to them. Of course, any doctrine which has such an influence in determining the meaning of Scripture, its application, etc., must be of great importance.*

Obs. 3. Our doctrine deals largely in Eschatology, of which Van Ooster. zee (Lange’s Com., Luke, p. 326) says: “It lies in the nature of the case that Christian eschatology, the more the course of time advances, must become less and less an unimportant appendix, and more and more a locus primarius of Christian doctrine.” The personal relationship that we sustain to the future, the nature of the things discussed, the interest of the world, the honor and glory of the Redeemer—all indicates that our doctrine must necessarily assume a prominence and corresponding influence.*

Obs. 4. Indeed, some things connected with our doctrine are regarded so essential to the completeness of Christian character, that the true believer is represented as in possession of them. Thus, e.g. 1 Cor. 1:7 “So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Here we have undoubtedly presented a leading, distinguishing characteristic of a believer. A symmetrical character demands the heart and attitude of a waiting, watching servant. Dr. Klink (Lange’s Com. loci) observes: “This constant expectation of our Lord’s Second Coming (Rom. 8:19, etc.), when He shall be revealed in His glory unto all (Col. 3:4), is one of the characteristic features of primitive Christianity.” (Comp. Phil. 3:20; 1 Thess. 1:10; Tit. 2:13; 2 Tim. 4:8.) No matter how we may interpret the connection, it is a fact, plainly evidenced by the passage, that the believers specially trained under the apostleship had this characteristic, and are commended for its possession.*

Obs. 5. It is only requisite to point out how the New Test. uses the doctrine of the Second Advent, in order to show how essential it is to Christian doctrine, duty, and character. This we will do in the briefest manner. It is given 1, to interest us in a blessed coming, Matt. 23:39; Luke 13:35 and 21:27; 2 Thess. 1:10; Heb. 9:28; 1 Pet. 1:7, 13; Rev. 22:7, 20; 2, to encourage faithfulness by a reward, Matt. 16:27 and 24:47; 2 Thess. 1:7–11; 2 Tim. 4:8; Rev. 22:12; 3, to bring out the hope of reward in a “regeneration,” Matt. 19:28, 29; Acts 3:19–21; 4, to avoid deception, Matt. 24:23–27; Luke 17:23, 24; 2 Tim. 4:1–5; 5, to hold forth the culmination of the age, Matt. 24:30, etc.; 6, to show the condition of the world, Matt. 24:37–39; Luke 17:26–30; 1 Thess. 5:1–4; 7, to teach a translation, Matt. 24:39–41; Luke 17:34–36; 1 Thess. 4:17; 8, to urge to watchfulness, Matt. 24:42 and 25:13; Mark 13:33, 37; Luke 12:35–37 and 21:34–36; 1 Thess. 5:4–6; Rev. 16:15; 9, to influence to constant readiness, Matt. 24:44 and 25:1–13 and 22:11; Luke 12:35–40; 10, to incite ministerial fidelity, Matt. 24:45–47; Luke 12:42–44; 1 Thess. 2:19, 20; 2 Tim. 4:1–5; 1 Pet. 5:1–4; 11, to rebuke ministerial unfaithfulness, Matt. 24:48–51; Luke 12:45–48; 12, to teach the condition of the Church. Matt. 25:1–12; Luke 18:8; 2 Thess. 2:1–12; 13, to hold forth coming judgment, Matt. 25:19, 27, 31–46; 2 Thess. 1:8, 9; Jude 14–16; Rev. 1:7 and 19:11–16; 14, to show us His majesty and glory, Matt. 26:64 and 25:31 and 24:30; Mark 13:26 and 14:61; 15, to a confession of Christ, Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; 16, to incite prayer, Mark 13:33; Luke 21:36; 1 Pet. 4:7; Rev. 22:20; 17, to waiting, 2 Thess. 3:5; 1 Cor. 1:7; 1 Thess. 1:10; Luke 12:36; 18, to expectation and looking, Tit. 2:13; Phil. 3:20; Heb. 9:28; 2 Pet. 3:12, 14; Rev. 1:7; 19, to love and desire, 2 Tim. 4:8; Rom. 8:23; 2 Cor. 5:2; Rev. 22:20; Tit. 2:13; 20, to promised honor, Luke 12:37, 39; Matt. 24:46, 47; 1 Pet. 1:7; 2 Thess. 1:10; 1 Pet 5:4; 21, to occupation during postponement of Kingdom, Luke 19:11–27; Matt. 25:14–30; 22, to encourage joy and peace in approaching redemption, Luke 21:28; John 16:16–33; 1 Thess. 1:10; 23, to impart comfort, John 14:1–3, 28; 2 Thess. 1:7; 2 Tim. 2:12; 24, to bestow assurance, Acts 1:11 and 3:19–21; Rom. 11:26; Luke 21:34, 36; 25, to test character, 1 Thess 1:9, 10 and 5:4–9; 1 Cor. 1:7, 8; 26, to avoid misjudging, 1 Cor. 4:5; 27, to remembrance and celebration of His Coming, 1 Cor. 11:26; 28, to inspire hope in the resurrection, 1 Cor. 15:23; Phil. 3:20, 21; 1 Thess. 4:13–18; 29, to inculcate moderation, Phil. 4:5; 30, to excite heavenly mindedness, Col. 3:1–4; 31, to arouse brotherly love, 1 Thess. 3:12, 13; 32, to future rejoicing in successful labor, 1 Thess. 2:19, 20; 33, to sanctification, 1 Thess. 5:23; 1 John 3:2, 3; 34, to comfort in bereavement, 1 Thess. 4:18; 35, to urge steadfastness, 2 Thess. 2:1, 2; 1 Tim. 6:14; 1 Pet. 5:4; 36, to consideration of Antichrist and his doom, 2 Thess. 2:8; 37, to infuse diligence and activity, 2 Tim. 4:1–8; 2 Pet. 3:14; 38, to mortification of the flesh, Col. 3:4, 5; Tit. 2:12, 13; Luke 21:34; 2 Pet. 3:12; 39, to soberness, 1 Pet. 1:13; 1 Thess. 5:6; Phil. 4:5; 40, to regard it as the great hope, Tit. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:13; Col. 3:4; 41, to induce perseverance, Rev. 2:25 and 3:3, 11; 42, to an abiding with Christ, 1 John 2:28 and 3:2; 43, to patience under trial, James 5:7, 8; 2 Thess. 3:5 and 1:4–10; 1 Pet. 4:12, 13; 44, to patience, Heb. 10:36, 37: James 5:7; 45, to a proclamation, Tit. 2:11–15; 1 Cor. 1:4–10; 2 Tim. 4:1–8; 46, to suitable preparation, Rev. 16:15; 47, to urge men to turn to God, Acts 3:19–21; Rev. 3:3; 48, to enforce obedience, 1 Tim. 4:13, 14; 2 Tim. 4:1; 49, to bring salvation, Heb. 9:28; 50, to coming gladness and exceeding joy, 1 Pet. 4:13.*

Obs. 6. The light that it throws on single doctrines is something worthy of consideration, such as e.g. the resurrection, making a distinctive first and second resurrection; the judgment of believers, distinguishing between a judgment unto eternal life and a judgment according to works; the conversion of the world, the time, order, and manner; the future glorious baptism of the Holy Ghost, when and its extent; the Father’s house, what it is, and when established; the Gentile domination and its ending; the persecution of the Church and its results; the priesthood of Jesus and its perpetuity; the durability of the Messianic Kingdom; the nature, advantages, etc., of a Theocratic Kingdom; the restitution and its realization; the “Rest” and its definite meaning; the design of the dispensation and its practical accomplishment; the Day of Judgment and its manifestations, etc. Indeed, there is scarcely a subject in the Bible with which it is not linked, and upon which, either directly or indirectly, it does not impart information.*

Obs. 7. Notwithstanding the evidence (Scriptural) to its practical nature and tendency, and the admissions of opposers to the same, some men, not merely ask the question under Obs. 1, but flatly deny that it possesses any practical value. Such declarations evidently spring from prejudice and bitter animosity; they cannot possibly be the conclusions of a calm and impartial survey of the subject. The wholesale denunciation, the unlimited denial defeats itself by its contradiction to the express affirmations of Scripture and the testimony of believers.*

Obs. 8. It may be well to notice a few testimonials respecting its personal application and practical tendency, aside from those already given. George Müller (Sermon at Mildmay Park. June 29th, 1879), after referring to the apostles and early Christians as looking for the return of Jesus, and to the command to watch, adds; “Now, my beloved Christian friends, how is it with us? Let us honestly ask ourselves, Are we looking for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ? Are we waiting for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ? Next month, it will be fifty-three years with me that I have been waiting for the Lord Jesus Christ, and, by God’s grace, I am not less looking for Him now. I stay, waiting for His return now as I did at the first. Now, I ask my beloved Christian friends here, are you looking for His return? Do you with joyful anticipation go forward to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ? is it a pleasant thought to you that Jesus Christ is coming to you? That He is coming again, that He will return, that He will not always be absent? If the bridegroom leaves the bride, she looks for his return. The sooner the better, the bride says. So if the Church is in a right state, if there is attachment to the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, she longs for His return; she looks for His return. How is it with us regarding this?” Lisco (On the Parables, p. 183) remarks: “The believers of the old covenant looked for the Coming of Messiah, Isa. 60:1 ss. and 64:1; Luke 2:25. The believers who live under the new covenant look for His Second Coming, Phil. 3:21; Heb. 9:28; Tit. 2:11, ss. This expectation is a powerful means, in the hand of God, for raising and sanctifying the heart; it springs out of faith in the promises of the Lord, Matt. 25:31; John 14:3 and 17:24; Acts 1:9–11, and is at once the proof and the nourishment of love to Him; we look for Him because we love Him, and could not love Him if we were not looking for Him; we look for Him because we have already experienced love to Him when absent, 1 Pet. 1:8; and this expectancy toward Christ’s Coming and preparation for it, is the leading purpose and main concern of all true Christians, Col. 3:1, ss.”*

Obs. 9. Our doctrine, if entertained merely as a speculation or “splendid theory” with which reason may entertain itself, or as a basis from which to excite the curiosity of others by rash prophetical interpretations, by chronological calculations fixing the exact date of the Advent, and by dogmatical self-exclusiveness, cannot possibly be of much practical value. A man may hold the doctrine theoretically, and even present portions of it in a brilliant manner, without having his heart or life touched by it, as e.g. evidenced by his irascible, morose temper, his invectives upon all who disagree from him, his intense bigotry, his special claims of divine enlightenment. The doctrine legitimately produces love, brotherly love.*

Obs. 10. We should be thus affected not merely by the present practical influence upon the heart and life, or by the reception of it to lead (2 Tim. 3:17) the man of God to “be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works,” but likewise by the ultimate benefit to be derived from such a position, the divine approval and reward at the judgment of believers (Prop. 135 and 130). We may rest assured that a reverent reception of the commands and teaching on these subjects will not only prevent our suffering loss, but increase our ultimate reward, because those who thus honor God will eventually be honored by Him.*

Obs. 11. We insist, in view of what has been said, that our Pre-Millenarian doctrine stands forth pre-eminent as practical. The subjects, the hopes, the warnings and cautions, the attitude of watching, the heart familiarity with eschatology, the incited study of prophecy, the stimulated meditations on grand themes, the glory and blessedness revealed—all serves to make it most conducive to piety and godly love. Brookes (Address before Proph. Conference), speaking of the important relations of the Sec. Advent as specified in the Bible, well says: “It may almost be said to form the basis of every argument, to give direction to every appeal, to fill out every exhortation, to terminate every warning; so that it is to other truth as a foundation to the building, as a feather to the arrow, as ripened fruit to the bud and blossom, as eternity to time.”*

Obs. 12. One objection, constantly reiterated, notwithstanding its abundant answer, deserves special attention, as it is paraded to prove the impracticable tendency of our doctrine. It is asserted that our doctrine tends to injure missions and destroy their spirit. We emphatically pronounce this a baseless slander cast upon noble believers of the past, and which originates not merely in ignorance of the facts, but arises from a desire to make our belief odious. We have shown in another place how largely the missionary spirit pervaded the early Chiliastic believers, how missionaries, founders of missions, evangelists, ministers of extended usefulness, martyrs, etc., were express Chiliasts, and, therefore, how any one, in the face of such overwhelming testimony, can reproduce and urge such a false accusation, we leave others to judge. Look at the legitimate outgrowth of the doctrine as evidenced in the lives of men who held that the design of this dispensation was to save them (out of all nations) that believe, to gather out a people for His name; who taught that it was the duty of the Church to preach the Gospel to every creature and aid in this outgathering in order to hasten the glorious manifestation and Kingdom; who declared that, in view of the uncertainty and shortness of time, special diligence and activity were demanded; who expressed the earnest hope that, by their labors in winning souls to the Christ, they might increase their present and eternal joy; and who emphatically announced that their faith in these things confirmed them, and urged them on, in efforts to bring sinners to Jesus. Because we do not allow ourselves to be enthused with a false hope (viz., that of the conversion of the world in the present dispensation), this charge is made, when the whole tendency of our doctrine—if heartily embraced—is to make us solicitous of the salvation of others, so that they with us may reign with Christ, inheriting His Kingdom and glory.*

  PROPOSITION 184. In this Kingdom will be exhibited a Manifested Unity.

This is positively predicted, not only in reference to the Jews (Isa. 11:13; Ezek. 37:18–22, etc., excluding all envy, division, etc.), but in reference to the Gentiles, all being embraced in one great universal Kingdom to which all render obedience and homage (as e.g. Dan. 7:14, 27; Zech. 14:9, 16; Micah 4:1–7, etc.). A Theocracy so extended and realized, in the nature of the case, cannot tolerate disunion; and under the rule of the supernaturally endowed King and His co-rulers all tendencies to separation, dissent and discord will be effectually crushed.

Obs. 1. Men have sought for a present manifested unity by misapprehending two things. (1) Unity is desirable, and it ought to exist, hence God commands it, and good men advocate and endeavor to exemplify it. God can do no less than to require it (just as He demands holiness, etc.), but does God teach us that it will be perfectly manifested in this dispensation? Instead of teaching the preservation of outward unity, we are expressly taught to expect divisions, etc., even in the early Church (Acts 20:29, 30; 1 Cor. 11:17, 18, 19; 2 Tim. 4:3, 4, etc.). The condition of the Church down to the harvest, a mingling of tares and wheat, good and bad fish, foolish and wise virgins, forbids the attainment of a manifested unity however desirable to man and acceptable to God, seeing that such a mixture itself—allowed for purposes of mercy—is productive of diversity. Had an external unity been the aim of God, then undoubtedly the apostles would have presented us with a regular ecclesiastical government (something, perhaps, like the Papacy developed), Canon laws, a Synoptical Confession of Faith, etc. But we are told that, for wise purposes (as e.g. to test character, faith, life), diversity and antagonism were permitted, so that through trial and suffering, fighting and struggling, the faithful members may be perfected. God now permits many things, which in themselves are not agreeable to Him, and which form a source of sorrow to pious souls. The history of the Church is the best commentary on this subject. (2) Unity now, however, exists (not outwardly but) between Christ, the Head, and all faithful, believing members (inasmuch as all receive from Him the same blessings, spiritual life, etc.), and even between such believers when the inward religious experience is permitted to testify (for all having the same faith, the same graces of the Spirit, same experience in spite of denominational ties, the likeness in one will respond to the same in another), and, in view of this spiritual unity (the only one that is promised to exist in the present dispensation), many able and most amiable writers have supposed that it ought to be manifested outwardly in a general amalgamation of all denominations, or in some external union embracing the various churches. Here, however, we must distinguish between things that differ. The union between Christ and His members is necessarily spiritual, invisible, until the day that He appears with them, and such union is openly revealed. The union between His members, resulting from the former, and evidenced by a like experience of grace and power, is undoubtedly to be evidenced by an expression of the same (as e.g. in the present alliances, public meetings of the representatives of various denominations, etc.), but irrespective (as now done) of particular forms of doctrine, church government, etc., being founded solely upon the religious experience of the individual believer, a common Church love and adhesion to the One Messiah. Outward diversity will, notwithstanding, necessarily exist.*

Obs. 2. Dr. Nevin, in his sermon, “Catholic Unity” (attached to the Principle of Prot.), justly reasons that unity is preserved even with a certain denominational diversity. Dr. Hodge, in his address (delivered before the Ch. Alliance at New York), “Union by Faith with Christ, the Basis of Christianity,” defines this unity, pleading for its observance, and remarks that it does not exist in an external organized form or in an entire uniformity of doctrine or government. Dr. Schmucker, who wrote and labored much on this his favorite topic, correctly represents this unity, and advocated its expression (giving a detailed plan in Fraternal Appeal, etc.), without discarding a diversity, denominational organizations, which, as human nature now constituted, and as the visible church now established, could not be avoided in the freedom allowed to it. Others could be quoted maintaining the same position (see e.g. Barrows, “Dis. on the Unity of the Church”), the only tenable one; for even in single churches (as e.g. Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed, Episcopalian, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc.) much diversity exists either in doctrine or in other particulars, developing itself in direct antagonisms, so that unity at present must be placed where the Word places it, not in any outward organization, but in a common union in and with Christ. Our feelings must always be touched with the efforts of Bucer, Pareus, Calixtus, Dury, Grotius, Bossuet, and a host of others, to have, if possible, a manifestation of external unity; efforts that are at least honorable to their hearts, but, if designed to secure an outward unity, must prove futile down to the Sec. Advent. It is a painful fact that we have large and small bodies of professing believers, who, discarding a common religious experience, make their own church or sect the exemplification of the Biblical idea of unity, and therefore either ignore the professions of all others, refusing to allow them to be also believers, or else, while thoretically conceding that they may be Christians, practically refuse them the title by debarring them from the Lord’s table, etc. Numerous sad illustrations, implicating the names of excellent men actuated by sincerity and honesty, from past and present history, might be adduced to show how hopeless it is, according to the testimony of Scripture, to expect ever denominational differences to disappear in one grand outward union of the churches in this dispensation.*

Obs. 3. Infidels may parade the differences, the antagonisms, and even the hostility of the various churches, and from this deduce the unreliability of Christianity, because a unity, which they assert is promised, is not manifested; even Sir. Thomas Browne (Relig. Med.) may say: “It is the promise of Christ to make us all one flock; but how and when this union shall be is as obscure to me as the last day;” men may fondly dream of such a manifested unity still to come under prevailing instrumentalities, but the Bible gives a decided answer to all such objections, professions of ignorance, and visions of unity outwardly expressed, by directing us onward to the revelation of Christ, to the power which He shall exert in the overthrow of existing institutions, etc., and to the establishment of a new order of things in His Kingdom. If the Bible did not plainly predict the divisions, etc., of the church, then infidelity might bring in a plea; if it did not as plainly locate the period when unity is to be manifested, then ignorance respecting it might be justly claimed; and if it did not as plainly put the promised unity in the age to come, and as a result of Christ’s established Kingdom, then dreams of present outward unity might be entertained. But with the Scriptures before us, and thus far amply sustained by the sad record of history, it is impossible to locate this manifested period otherwise. Let us take the strongest passages alleged against our view, and, if properly considered, they fully sustain it. Thus e.g. the prayer of Jesus (John 17:21–26), “that they all may be one,” etc., is linked with the time when all believers are gathered, and when His glory shall be revealed. So evident is this, if the parallel passages are also examined, that many of our opponents frankly admit this, as e.g. Origen (De Prin. B. 1. ch. 6), who locates the unity prayed for by Jesus in John 17:20, 21, in the future New Heavens and New Earth; and Pressense (Early Years of Chris., p. 463) thinks that it will only be fulfilled at the return of Christ. Now, indeed, the believer is united to Christ, and feels that he is one with all God’s dear children; but when the Bridegroom comes, and a blissful unity is manifested in the marriage consummated, then shall the world believe when it beholds this wonderful unity and its resultant glory.*

Obs. 4. The Theocracy, in the King and His co-rulers, must necessarily exhibit a oneness subsisting between them; but the Bible also speaks of, embraced even in the notion of a perfect Theocratic government, a unity of the Kingdom resulting from a union of Church and State. This union men also now seek against the direct testimony of the Word; and in every instance, when attempted to be realized, with injurious results to the truth. The arguments e.g. employed by Dr. Curry (in his address, “Evils of a Union of Church and State,” del. before Evang. Alliance for 1873) are emphatically forcible, and apply to this dispensation, indicating how impossible, without direct injury, it is safely to effect the same. But in this and similar addresses three things are ignored: (1) the emphatic predictions that such a union shall exist at some period in the future; (2) that it did once exist in the Theocracy, and that if the Theocracy is restored, as numerous prophecies declare, it must again be witnessed; (3) that such a union, however, is only safe, reliable, etc., under the direct personal auspices of Christ and His associated rulers, where God places it. Such a unity is pointed out in Isa. 2:1–5; Isa. 60, etc., when, through the manifested unity of Christ and His brethren, all the relations of man, civil and religious, shall be brought under, and be directed by, a government, not only supreme, but in harmonious unity, the civil and the religious, the State and the Church being united in the same great and glorious Head.*

  PROPOSITION 185. This doctrine enforces that of Divine Providence.

God is not indifferent to the establishment of this Theocratic Kingdom, and His divine oversight respecting it is constantly made manifest, e.g. in the selection, training, and covenant with Abraham, in the selection, adoption, and covenant with David, in the selection of Mary and the birth of Jesus, in the announcements made of His Purpose, in the provisions established to carry out to ultimate completion the Theocratic conception.

Obs. 1. God has a Divine Sovereignty and exercises it (Props. 79, 80); a definite Divine Purpose and will perform it (Isa. 14:26, 27); a predetermined Theocratic Plan, which will be accomplished (Prop. 2); oath-bound designs, which will be realized (Prop. 50); an omnipotence in Providence that is irresistible (Jer. 18:2–6); an end in view that will result according to His will (Rom. 9:9–21). From the beginning to the end of this doctrine, as given in Scripture, from the inception of the Theocratic idea to its final perfect realization, God stands before us as One who is personally interested in the matter, and who, for the sake of His own honor, praise, and glory, overrules all to bring forth, at the appointed time, a glorious consummation that shall vindicate and embellish the Divine perfections enlisted and employed in this grand redemptive work.*

Obs. 2. The Providence of God, both general and particular, is sufficiently evidenced in the call of Abraham; the raising up of the Jewish nation; the distinction made between Esau and Jacob; the history of Joseph; the removal from Egypt; the establishment of a Theocratic Kingdom; the varied transactions of that Kingdom; the care of good and punishment of wicked kings; the raising up of prophets; the removal of the Theocracy; the provisions made for its re-establishment; the rejection of the nation; the call of the Gentiles; the destruction of Jerusalem, and in hundreds of particulars; so much so that the student of the Theocratic Plan is constantly impressed with it, and feels it to be a living reality in which he can evermore trustingly confide. Every step in the progress of events, every unfolding of time, every reference to the Theocratic ordering, every provision made for the future Messianic Kingdom teaches him that underlying all, and having control over all, is a Divine Providence which has occupied itself with the high and the low, the lofty and the minute, the nation and the individual, the rich and the poor, the happy and the suffering, the pious and the wicked—all tending toward the one great goal in the future.*

Obs. 3. The special Providence of God is most remarkably enforced and illustrated in the birth and life of David’s Son, and in the continuous provision made for the future re-establishment of the Theocracy under the supervision of this Son and His associated rulers. It is seen in the striking acts of that life and its results; it is witnessed in the perpetuation of the Church by which a people are gathered out for the Kingdom; it is seen in the qualified and waiting King; it is witnessed in the people, designed for associated rulers, in the process of formation. The announcement, the star, the birth, the flight to Egypt—all in the life, the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of this covenanted seed proclaim it; the call of the apostles, the founding of the Church, the gathering out of the nations—all in the work of procuring co-heirs with the Christ, announce it. We behold this Providence encircling us, embracing us, aiding us, elevating us, and finally crowning us.*

PROPOSITION 186. This doctrine of the Kingdom sustained by the Analogy of Scripture, the Analogy of Faith, and the Analogy of Tradition.

A doctrine so important and fundamental as this ought to be fully sustained by the analogy of Scripture and faith, and, subordinately to these, by the analogy of tradition. This we pre-eminently claim for it.*

Obs. 1. In relation to the analogy of Scripture, which exhibits a general connection and agreement subsisting between the truths contained in Holy Scripture, such connection and correspondence is strikingly manifested. Thus we have first the covenant with its promises; then a Theocracy with a special ordering growing out of it; then the amplification of this covenant with David, owing to the foreseen fall; then the overthrow of the Theocratic Kingdom on account of sinfulness; then the prophetic announcements, based on the covenants, of the restoration of this Theocratic Kingdom (under a new arrangement) by David’s Son and Lord; then the First Advent of the promised Messiah, David’s Son, and the tender of this Kingdom on condition of repentance; then the rejection of it by the nation and the atoning death of Jesus, with the postponement of the Kingdom to the Sec. Advent; then, to provide a seed for Abraham, the call of the Jews and Gentiles; the establishment of the Chr. Church, the connection that this Church sustains to the postponed Kingdom; the relation that the Messiah maintains toward it; the assurances that we have in Christ’s ability in virtue of His death, resurrection, and exaltation to fulfil the covenanted promises; the fulfilment of covenant and promises at the Sec. Advent; the condition of the Church during this intermediate period, and the attitude of nations during the Times of the Gentiles—are all given, so unmistakably and connectedly by the different writers, as to form a complete chain, one link firmly fastened to another. A perfect historical connection is apparent in the Word, and is repeated in verified history, showing us, if we will accept of it, an agreement of Scripture in affirming God’s purpose to raise up a glorious Theocratic Kingdom, strengthened by the present abundant provision made through Christ for its consummation. Revelation, in all its varied utterances, constantly responds to this Theocratic idea, and upholds the blessed work of Redemption that is to be perfected and realized in the Theocratic Kingdom. So naturally does this run through Scripture, that we need not depreciate or set aside any portion of the Word (as e.g. the distinctive preaching of John, Jesus, and the disciples); there is no part of it that we find antagonistic (as e.g. Zech., ch. 14); there are no promises that we need to spiritualize away (as e.g. those to the Jewish nation as such); there is no portion that we must regard with mistrust (as e.g. the Apoc., 2 Pet., etc.); there are no utterances that require toning down (as e.g. in reference to watching for the Advent, etc.); there are no sections of it that we must separate and subdivide in the most arbitrary manner (as e.g. Mill. prophecies in Isa. 25, etc.). Instead of this, one part of Scripture fully sustains another, and combined form a distinct related series from which, taken in its plain grammatical sense, we would not remove an iota either by direct denial, or by fastening upon it a sense not grammatically expressed in the words. But having already shown such a connection to exist under our propositions, we only add that this feature is corroborative of the truthfulness and logical correctness of our position. If this were lacking—if such a connection were wanting (as e.g. in the announcement of the postponement of the Kingdom)—then a material flaw would be found in our doctrinal teaching, and the Analogy of Scripture (which is the foundation of the Analogy of Faith) would lead to mistrust and doubt, instead of being, as now, confirmatory of faith and strength.

Obs. 2. The Analogy of Faith (closely allied with the preceding) deals more with the connection that one doctrine sustains to another and to the whole system of truth, or to the great end designed in Redemption. While fully agreeing with Martensen (Ch. Dog., p. 42) that the Analogy of Faith, to be duly appreciative and effective, requires “a Christian mind which has come into possession of Christian truth,” etc., yet even the historical aspect and connection of doctrine must commend itself to every considerate mind; for if it can be shown that one doctrine contradicts another, it does not demand piety or faith to perceive the antagonism. But we justly claim that this doctrine of the Kingdom, instead of being antagonistic to other doctrines of the Bible, confirms, either directly or indirectly, other doctrines, or serves to explain and illustrate them, or exhibits them in their natural connection and proper relations. Take the Kingdom as covenanted and predicted, and it brings into view a large number of indispensable doctrines related to it. Thus e.g. the doctrine of election (Props. 24, 55, etc.), of the engrafting of Gentiles (Props. 61, 62, 63, etc.), of postponement (Props. 66, 67, 87, etc.), of the church (Props. 89–102), of the speedy Advent (Prop. 74, etc.), of the Pre-Mill. Advent (Prop. 121), of a Pre-Mill resurrection (Props. 124–128), of the Judgeship of Christ (Prop. 132), of the Judgment Day (Prop. 133), besides many others, are intimately united with it—in fact, showing how it can be realized, thus evincing an intimate harmony existing between them, without violating or contradicting each other in any statement. The doctrine of sin (Prop. 8), the inability of man to secure the forfeited blessings (Prop. 120), the necessity toward fulfilment of Christ’s death (Prop. 50, 84, etc.), the Divine Sovereignty, which answers ample realization (Props. 79, 80), and others are maintained in their integrity, while repentance and appropriating faith in Jesus, as the Christ, in order to secure co-heirship with Him in the Kingdom, are strongly enforced. Indeed, the Kingdom being the great end designed through which completed redemption is to be attained and manifested in behalf both of the saints (resurrected, translated, and glorified) and the Jewish nation and Gentile nations, it will be seen that the different doctrines all sustain, more or less, an intimate connection with the same. As presented in the propositions, there is no conflict between them—one supporting the other—unless we interpret unhistorically, ungrammatically, or one-sidedly. By wresting passages from the dispensation to which they belong and applying them to another; or, by building upon a single passage and isolated without allowing the general scope or the whole tenor of truth to illustrate and explain; or, by giving preference to obscure and figurative passages over against covenant and enlarged explanation and promise; or, by not permitting one doctrine to receive its due enforcement because of its relationship to another; or, by not considering all the Scripture pertaining to one doctrine and its cohesion with others before advocating it—by these and similar expedients the analogy of faith is seriously violated. This might be illustrated by appealing to various doctrines which assume prominence in their relation to the Kingdom, but a few only are selected to enforce our meaning. Thus e.g. the doctrine of a peculiar, distinguishing first resurrection is found to be conditioned, not merely by the passages which teach it (Props. 124–128), but by the fact that without it the Kingdom itself could not possibly be inherited and established as covenanted and predicted. It is a legitimate outgrowth of covenant promise, of Kingdom prediction, as well as of promise to individual believers. Then, take the doctrine of the Restoration of the Jews, and we find that it is to be received not merely on account of the prophecies bearing on the subject (Props. 111–114), but because it necessarily follows from the convenanted, elected position occupied by that nation. So also the Pre-Mill. Advent of Jesus is grounded in the Personal relationship that Jesus bears (Props. 48, 49, 81, 82, 83, etc.) to the Kingdom, and the impossibility of fulfilling either covenant or promise without it. Even the injunction to be watching for that Advent receives its consistent and proper significancy in the light of the Kingdom. Thus likewise the Judgeship of Jesus, the Day of Judgment, the world to come, and numerous other doctrines are shown to be requisite to, and in strictest accord with, the Kingdom. One of the sweetest consolations that this doctrine of the Kingdom affords, is that it thus supports, strengthens, and elucidates the other doctrines of the Bible, and binds them into a symmetrical whole, required to attain to the majestic design held by the Divine Purposes.

Obs. 3. Subordinately, we also introduce the Analogy of Tradition, seeing that some lay so much stress upon tradition, and which, to a certain extent, is reasonable and allowable. Our doctrine of the Kingdom is fully sustained by the Analogy of Tradition, by which we mean that it accurately agrees with the teaching and tradition of the Church in the formation and primitive period (Props. 74, 75, 76, 77, 78). Instead of confining ourselves to the tradition of the third and succeeding centuries (like the Roman Catholics, Puseyites, Mystics, etc.), we go back to the first and second centuries for the doctrine of the Kingdom as held by the Church. This tradition, we claim, justly, ought, so far as this leading doctrine is concerned, to be the most reliable because of its nearness to the inspired teachers and leaders of the Church. How well this tradition corresponds with the doctrine has been presented in numerous quotations from, and references to, the Apostolic and Primitive Fathers. No other doctrine of the Kingdom than that of this covenanted one, defended in these pages, finds the least support in, or agreement with, the quite early Church. This to us is a source of self-congratulation, seeing that if the doctrine is thus contained in the Bible, and if it was thus proclaimed by inspired men, then we ought—if indeed the truth—to find it distinctively taught and held by the Church at, and immediately after, the period when she is favored with the teaching and explanations of inspired men. If our doctrine is untrue, then the spiritualizing, mystical view of the Kingdom ought to have, at least, been stated and defended by the quite early Fathers. The lack of the latter—postponed to a later period, and then the product of fastening additional senses upon Scripture—is evidence, corroborative, of the justness of our position; and the prevalence of our view is testimony, additional, that we apprehend the doctrines of the Bible on this point just as the Church, favored by personal inspired direction, apprehended them. To weaken the force of this, it must be explained how our doctrine should be so universally held without, if erroneous, a protest from the apostles and the elders; and how it comes that, in reference to so vital and fundamental a doctrine, the whole Church, east and west, north and south, should—if in error—indulge in the hopes excited by a huge mistake, and that it should be left to the emasculated Origen or the Arian Whitby to develop the truth. But this must be done without charging—indirectly at least—inspired men with conniving at error (to prepare men for persecution, etc., as some say) and without tracing the Church through men guilty of error and wide-reaching mistake in the leading, most prominent, theme of the Bible. Our doctrine is the only one that receives this tradition and clears the early Church of the prevailing charge of error, etc., vindicating her veracity, purity, and testimony.*

Obs. 4. The doctrine of the Kingdom, supported by the analogies of Scripture, faith, and tradition, utterly repudiates the insidious, extreme theory of Petrine, Pauline, and Johannine theologies, the one following the other in course of development. This is advocated in order to strengthen the departure of more modern thought from the Primitive Church position. It has no foundation, in fact, Scripturally or historically, and is an idea broached by Joachim, in his famous prophecies, making Peter, Paul, and John the representatives of successive periods, and now pressed into service to indicate how, by way of apology for the change, the Church came to be removed from the early belief on this and kindred subjects. The diversity and peculiarities arising from style, temperament, etc., cannot thus be forced, without injury, into a divinely contemplated succession of Church stages. It is simply a human opinion, without the least Scriptural basis, eloquently and even forcibly expressed, and thus the more likely to mislead. Its leading idea is that the Petrine teaching was more of an accommodation to Jewish thought and forms (as e.g. prevailed in the Primitive Church), while the Pauline and Johannine are better adapted to an advanced stage (as e.g. the modern). On the other hand, the doctrine of the Kingdom insists upon it that the teaching, spirit, comprehension of the truth, etc., of the three, are not only the same in reference to the Kingdom, but that they are intended to be combined (not to represent successive stages) to bring out peculiar features pertaining to it. The analogies fully confirm this view.

Obs. 5. In view of these analogies confirming the doctrine of the Kingdom, we may well ask whether this mutual relationship of doctrine, gradually bestowed, given by various writers in different ages, and yet evincing an intimate connection, necessary for a continuous and harmonious Plan, was merely accidental? Can such a remarkable correspondence, attested to at every step historically, in upholding and developing the establishment of such a Kingdom, be accounted for in any other way than that it is the Divine Purpose, as stated in the covenants and prophets, to accomplish it? Against Wünch, Paine, Paalzow, etc., who assert that Jesus was a deceiver, mere enthusiast, we, aside from numerous other reasons to the contrary, find one in this correspondence of truth, viz., that David’s Son came in accordance to covenant promise, and the reasons why the covenant promises were not realized at the First Advent are prominently given in the New Test., but which such writers conveniently ignore, just as if they were not also recorded. Against Bahrdt, Reimarus, etc., who pronounce the Scriptures, the rise of Christianity, the life of Christ, etc., to be attributable to natural causes, we show, from this standpoint, that the agreement of one with the other in doctrinal relationship—although separated in the bestowal by centuries, etc.—testifies to an intelligent Plan beyond the power of nature or man to devise without the introduction of that which would mar its harmony of inception, unfolding, and execution; seeing that, instead of one distinctive mind controlling it, the minds of many would be engaged in its formation and development. Against Kant, Thiess, De Wette, Wegschneider, etc., who make Christianity divine and Jesus a messenger from God (doing good service against ultra-Rationalism), and yet seem inclined to do away with the manifested supernatural and the miraculous, this doctrine of the Kingdom with its related doctrines is so firmly based on the supernatural, that if the one is rejected the other falls with it, seeing that the supernatural accompanies it from the beginning to the end, as e.g. in giving of covenants, in establishment of Theocracy, in the birth, etc., of Christ, in the provisions made for accomplishment, etc. The analogies which exist forbid mere abstraction and half-way measures in the reception of the Scriptures; they either contain a Divine Plan supported in its Theocratic manifestations and provisions by exhibitions of the supernatural, or else they are grossly deceptive in pretensions, etc. Against another class, Döderlein, Morus, Ammon, Bretschneider, etc., who reform the Word to accommodate it to reason; and hence (while professing even that Revelation may contain some things above but not against reason) guage all things pertaining to the future by reason (i.e. by their ideas of fitness, etc.), and make it (i.e. reason) virtually the tribunal before which to judge God’s purposes and manner of accomplishing them—this doctrine of the Kingdom with its remarkable correspondences of necessity, in order to secure the Redemption contemplated, must contain things that unaided reason (incapable of devising and executing such a Plan) could neither reveal, and cannot even, when revealed, explain how they are to be accomplished; as e.g. the person of Christ to constitute Him the covenanted Theocratic King (i.e. God-man), the resurrection, the glorification, the renewal of creation, etc. For what such writers overlook is clearly presented by these analogies, viz., that all such wonderful works, which reason cannot explain, are legitimate outgrowths from, and conditioned by, the design intended by the Kingdom of God (which reason itself declares otherwise cannot be realized), and that, if thus performed, will secure the great end contemplated—an end which reason itself not only commends as desirable and noble, worthy of God, but the heart longs after.

  PROPOSITION 187. This doctrine of the Kingdom gives coherency to the gospels, and indicates the unity of design in each of them.

This must follow, provided the doctrine of the Kingdom is as leading and doctrinally fundamental as represented. It has been objected to the gospels that they are greatly composed of detached, fragmentary parts strung together without unity of design, presenting varied, and, in a measure, contradictory, sketches of the life of Jesus. This is effectually disproven by looking at the gospels from the Kingdom standpoint; for then it appears that each writer had a definite object in view, viz., to evince unity and a consistent development of Divine Purpose in a pre-determined Plan corresponding with the covenants and prophecies relating to the Kingdom.*

Obs. 1. In order to ascertain the design of the gospels and to comprehend the unity therein, the student must place himself, not in the modern position of thought, but in the posture of those to whom these gospels were first presented. Then, all who read the Old Test, entertained the Theocratic-Davidic idea of the Messiah and Kingdom; all believed that a descendant of David, specially related (Theocratically) to God, would appear, who would restore the throne and Kingdom of David and reign majestically as the prophets predicted. Now, in the very nature of the case, writing for such persons who received the covenants and prophecies in their grammatical construction, it was requisite, in view of what actually occurred, to show that Jesus was a descendant of David; that He was related to and acknowledged by God; that He was the powerful Messiah; that the Kingdom was tendered to the elect nation; that the nation, through its representative men, rejected the Messiah and Kingdom; that this Messiah, foreseeing His rejection and death, must give assurances indicative of the postponement of the Kingdom; and that, notwithstanding His death, He is able to re-establish the Kingdom. Now, these are precisely the points that are fully presented in the gospels; thus most admirably adapted to meet the objections that in the quite early age would be urged against the claims of Jesus to be “the Christ.” If a strictly logical history of Jesus is ever written; it must embrace something like these divisions: (1) The offered Messiah and His claims, how evidenced; (2) the rejected Messiah and His utterances from the time the representative men conspired to put Him to death; (3) the crucified and resurrected Messiah, showing how covenant and prophecy can still be fulfilled. The great lack in all previous histories has been that the writers have taken too much a modern standpoint from which to view Jesus, and have thus failed to show the intimate connection existing between previously given covenants and predictions and His life. In other words, His life has been too much considered isolated from a previously presented Divine Purpose, from covenants understood in their plain, grammatical construction, from a relationship to an elect nation, from a tender of the Kingdom, its rejection and subsequent postponement, and the result has been that, while all these are given by the evangelists as necessary to preserve the unity and claims of that life, the omission introduces defects which mar the otherwise self-evident coherency of the gospels. The more the gospels are contemplated in the light of the covenants and of the facts as they existed at the First Advent, the more logically consistent, the more connected and admirably adapted to secure the design intended, will they appear.*

Obs. 2. Briefly consider Matthew’s statements to vindicate the claims of a crucified Jesus to the Messiahship as covenanted. Matthew in the first verse recognizes the covenant relationship of Jesus in His being “the Son of David, the Son of Abraham,” and then follows the recital of His miraculous birth (ch. 1), indicative of this Jesus being related to the Divine and of His being supernaturally endowed, just as became the “born King of the Jews” “that shall rule my people Israel” (ch. 2). The tender of the Kingdom on condition of repentance by John the Baptist, the baptism of Jesus, and the assurance given of Divine recognition, are presented (ch. 3). The Kingdom is also thus conditionally offered by Jesus and His disciples (chs. 4–10, etc.). The promised Messiah is one who must, in order to fulfil the convenants and promises as given, be able to exert supernatural power; and hence this power, as an earnest, is exhibited (chs. 8, 9, 10, 11, etc.). The Jews reject Jesus, refusing to repent (ch. 11:16–24); the truth is known to some (ch. 11:25–27); the Pharisees find fault with Him, and actually “held a council against Him, how they might destroy Him” (ch. 12:14), so that He charged those He healed not to make Him known. (And here, foreseeing the result, already intimations are given of the call of the Gentiles, ch. 12:17–21.) Then we have repeated condemnations of the wickedness of the Jews (ch. 12), followed by parables illustrative that the Kingdom of heaven could not be realized until “the end of the age” (ch. 13). Although despised by His own countrymen (ch. 13:54–58), yet He vindicates His Messiahship by supernatural power exerted (chs. 14, 15, etc.), by the confession of Peter (ch. 16:13–20), by foretelling His own death and resurrection (ch. 16:21–24), by the transfiguration (ch. 17:1–10), and by specifically predicting His betrayal (ch. 17:22, 23). After the presentation of various teachings, exhortations, and commands (chs. 18, 19, 20), Jesus, to bring the matter of His Messiahship to a public test, and to leave the Jews inexcusable, makes His public entry into Jerusalem (ch. 21:1–14), which the representative men (chief priests and scribes), although enforced by the exercise of miraculous power in the temple itself, refuse to accept (ch. 21:15). This led to a collision between Jesus and the chief priests and elders (ch. 21:23, etc.), in which the latter question Christ’s authority, and are silenced by the reply of Jesus. The crisis is then nigh at hand, for He tells them (ch. 21:28–46) that they were unrepentant, and that the Kingdom so graciously offered to them, and in which they enjoyed a covenanted right, should be taken from them and given to others. Jesus speaks even more plainly (chs. 22 and 23), culminating in expressly predicting that the desolate Davidic house, the tabernacle in ruins, should remain thus until His Second Coming; that (ch. 24) the city and temple would be overthrown and the nation be smitten and in tribulation down until the Second Advent; and that at His Coining again as the King (ch. 25) the righteous should inherit the promised Kingdom. Finally comes the recital of the last tragedy—the betrayal, trial, sufferings, death and burial, with incidents connected therewith (chs 27 and 28)—followed, however, by a single fact, briefly stated, sufficiently comprehensive in itself to vindicate the ability of Jesus Christ to fulfil the covenants at His Second Advent, viz., His resurrection. Matthew’s Gospel is thus exhibited as a strictly consecutive, logical array of facts to establish the Messiahship of Jesus over against objectors who would allege the non-fulfilment of the convenanted promises in that no Kingdom, such as covenanted, was then established. The reasons for such non-establishment are pointedly given, the postponement is specifically stated, the time when it shall be restored (at Sec. Advent) is clearly presented, and then, as a climax, to assure us of the certainty of such fulfilment, the resurrection of the crucified Jesus is affirmed. Matthew, as well as the other evangelists, takes it for granted that the reader of the Gospel is previously well posted in covenant and prophecy, and hence writes for such persons. Therefore, a simple statement of facts, as they occurred, is all that is required to lead a believer in covenant and prophecy to acknowledge Jesus as “the Christ,” who will yet fulfil them, as claimed, at His Second Coming. This was the universal belief of those Christians who first received and perpetuated the Gospel, thus verifying, in the reception of it, our doctrinal position.*

Obs. 3. Mark’s Gospel follows precisely the same method. In the first verse the Theocratic relationship of Jesus is presented in the words: “Jesus Christ, the Son of God,” the Kingdom is offered conditionally, upon repentance (ch. 1), the Messiahship is indicated by His baptism and works, so that He is “the Holy One of God” (ch. 1 and 2). But the Pharisees (ch. 3:6) conspire “how they may destroy Him,” and the Scribes reject (ch. 3:22) Him. After instruction, works, etc. (chs. 4, 5, 6, 7), which show forth the wisdom, power, and treatment of Jesus, we come to plainer statements based upon His rejection by the Jews (ch. 8), to which are appended the confession of Peter, the prediction of His death and resurrection, and the transfiguration (ch. 9). Instead of a Messianic Kingdom, He again foretells (ch. 9:30, 31) His death and resurrection (ch. 10:32–34), and, after sundry exhortations, we are brought to His public entry into Jerusalem (ch. 11), which so inflamed “the scribes and chief priests” that they “sought how they might destroy Him.” The efforts of His enemies to entangle Him, and how they were silenced are given (chs. 11 and 12). Instead of the setting up the expected Messianic Kingdom, comes the foretelling (ch. 13) of the destruction of the temple and a long-continued calamity down to the Second Advent. Then we have the details of the betrayal and death (chs. 14, 15), ending with the resurrection (ch. 16), which insures the continued Messiahship of Jesus and His ability, at the appointed time, to fulfil all that is written.*

Obs. 4. Luke, writing at the time he did, must also follow the same course, viz., to meet the objections that might be alleged against a crucified Messiah and the non-appearance of the Messianic Kingdom. In the first and second chapters he shows, by the birth and office of John, and by the birth and announcements respecting Jesus, that He is the destined Theocratic King, who, while son of David, is also (v. 32, 33) “the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His Father David. And He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His Kingdom there shall be no end—” and this, too, is done in view of (v. 72 and 73) “His holy covenant,” etc. Having thus exhibited in the introduction full faith in the covenants, and that Jesus was the One through whom they were to be realized, he now proceeds in a narrative which shows why they were not then fulfilled, and why we should continue to exercise faith in Jesus that they will yet be verified. He gives us John preaching the Kingdom conditioned on repentance, John’s testimony to Jesus, the baptism and genealogy of Jesus (ch. 3), the preaching of Christ and how He was treated, the works of Christ and how He was recognized as “the Holy One of God,” as “Christ, the Son of God” (ch. 4). The supernatural power, etc. of Jesus is presented (ch. 5), and yet the scribes and Pharisees are angered (ch. 6:11) against Him, so that both John and He are rejected by them (ch. 7:30–35). Yet He continues to exhibit the Messianic attributes (ch. 8), how Christ sends forth the twelve to preach a Kingdom conditioned by repentance, brings forth the confession of Peter, describes the foretelling of Jesus’ death and resurrection, the transfiguration, etc. (ch. 9). He gives us the particulars of the sending forth and the preaching of the seventy, which is also a tender of the Kingdom of God upon the repentance of the nation (ch. 10), but comparatively few, and those “babes,” accept of the truth, for the mass are unrepentant (ch. 11:14–32), being “an evil generation” (also vs. 42–54). The position of the representative men of the nation calls forth severe rebukes (ch. 12), mingled with intimations that the rewards and the Kingdom itself are to be received and enjoyed at another, still future Advent of the Son of Man, for which Coming believers are exhorted to watch. Such intimations finally culminate in a direct assertion of the postponement of the Kingdom until, and the restoration of the desolate Davidic house at, the Second Advent (ch. 13:35). The inexcusableness of the Jews in rejecting Him is illustrated (chs. 14, 15, 16), and in consequence the postponement of the Kingdom until Sec. Coming enforced (ch. 17:20–37). (See Prop. 110.) Again Jesus foretells His death and resurrection (ch. 18:31–34), makes His public entry into Jerusalem (ch. 19), which so excites “the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people” that they “sought to destroy Him.” The triumph of Jesus over His enemies when they dispute His authority is stated (ch. 20); the destruction of the temple and the calamities connected with it, and extending during the times of the Gentiles down to the Sec. Advent, are foretold (ch. 21); the duty of watchfulness is enjoined (ch. 21); and then (chs. 22, 23, 24) comes the history of betrayal, suffering, death, burial, resurrection and ascension. Luke adds, what the other two Gospels take for granted (ch. 24:44–53), that the wonderful exhibition of the Messiah confirmed the faith of the disciples in believing, that this crucified but resurrected Jesus was indeed the Messiah, in and through whom the Scriptures would be fulfilled.*

Obs. 5. Now we come to John’s Gospel, which the Tübingen school (recently reiterated in Supernatural Religion, etc.) declares cannot be reconciled with the other Gospels, inasmuch as it describes a different personage, etc. Let us follow John’s portraiture of Jesus—keeping in view John’s idea of the convenanted Kingdom—and it is a sufficient answer to all such criticism to show that John treads precisely the same path gone over by the other Gospels, in answering the objections that might be brought against the Messiahship of Jesus on the ground of His crucifixion and the non-establishment of the Messianic Kingdom. The substantial agreement of the Gospels is readily seen by also rapidly passing over John’s Gospel; for, while John adds particulars that the others omit, he fully incorporates their statements and presents the identical line of defence. In the opening chapter the great Theocratic element at once appears, viz., that the Messiah, who is to reign as predicted, is God ruling in and through David’s Son; and therefore while He is “Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Joseph,” He is also “the Son of God,” the destined “King of Israel.” Miraculous power, divine attributes are ascribed to Him, thus holding Him forth, as in the other Gospels, to be the very Messiah who is able to fulfil the prophecies pertaining to the Kingdom. Mattthew, Mark, Luke, and John, in the conferring of supernatural power, which embraces the same ability to perform all things, hold forth Jesus as the predicted One, who, as David’s Son, is higher than the kings of the earth, the promised Theocratic King. Even the rejection of Him by the Jews (v. 11), the calling of the Gentiles intimated (v. 12), His manifestation to Israel (v. 31) because the elect nation, the ascription of the removal of all evil from the world (v. 29), which He will yet perform, the supernatural still future to be exhibited (v. 51), etc., all assume a deeper significancy if we place ourselves in John’s position when he wrote, viz., regarding, owing to the sinfulness of the Jewish nation, the Kingdom as postponed to the Sec. Advent, and now endeavoring to hold forth the characteristics, sayings, etc., in Jesus which should inspire confidence in the hope that at the Second Coming this Theocratic King will restore the Davidic throne and Kingdom. The proper humanity (ch. 2) is acknowledged, and the mere mention of the mother and brethren of Jesus, as of something well known, is indicative of an early narrative; while the power of working miracles, the manifestation of authority in the temple, the prediction of His own death and resurrection, and His refusal to commit Himself to the Jews, show that allied with Him is more than mere humanity. Next comes the discourse with Nicodemus, which, appealing to him as “a master in Israel” (i.e. one who ought to be conversant with the covenants and their requirements), who ought to know what the promises of God demanded, evinces that the Kingdom, the Theocratic arrangement, as described by the prophets, cannot be set up without provision made for its inheritors, both to purify them and to raise them up from the dead. The careful student will notice that John, in the very beginning of his Gospel, proclaims the rejection of Jesus by the Jews (so ch. 1:5, 11; ch. 2:24), and now again (ch. 3:19) repeats it, while holding Him up as the appointed Saviour, and declaring that even His death (already predicted, ch. 2:21, 22) was an appointed means (e.g. through the resurrection, etc.) to save the world. In ch. 4, after the prediction of His death (based upon His rejection by the nation), he tells the Samaritan woman that “salvation is of the Jews” (see Prop. 68), and yet, in view of the contemplated engrafting of others, gives encouragement and reception to the Samaritans, who acknowledge Him as “the Christ.” Hence the Gospel of John exhibits one trait differing from the preceding gospels (and yet also mentioned by them) which gives it a remarkable complexion, viz., it commences at once with His rejection and death, with the implied postponement of the Kingdom, and call of the Gentiles. What the other evangelists only mention after a regular series of introductory statements, John specifies at once as something well understood in his day. Here we find the true logical attachment of John’s Gospel with the others, and the perfect harmony existing between them becomes apparent. This is the more distinctive as we proceed to point out the more salient connections following. After showing (ch. 5) how salvation was offered to the Jews (an offer confirmed by the manifestation of supernatural power), and how they, instead of accepting, “persecute Jesus and sought to slay Him,” he refers again to the sublime Theocratic relationship which Jesus justly claimed, and links its manifestation with the period of the resurrection and the judgeship of the Son; thus agreeing with the other gospels which also claim that Jesus is the Messiah, but postpone His covenanted reign to the Sec. Advent. This is repeated (ch. 6), and causes many to take offence because they could not understand how the sacrifice of Himself was necessary to make Him the immortal Son of David and to give Him the power to raise up His own at the last day. The constant allusion to death and the end of the age implies as a consequence the postponement of the Kingdom. The Jews (ch. 7:19, 25) desire to kill Him, notwithstanding His doctrine and works, and make the attempt to take Him (v. 30, 45), which influences Jesus to again predict His death and the gracious results flowing from it. In the conflict with the Jews (ch. 8), the Saviour justifies His claims to their acceptance, declares His death through their instrumentality, shows that His death, instead of extinguishing or diminishing His Messiahship, only perfects the same, and that they “seek to kill” Him, which is evidence that they are not of faith as Abraham was, and that they shall experience death. The controversy between Jesus and the Jews continues (ch. 9), for after Jesus hid Himself to escape the stones (ch. 8:59) they designed to cast at Him, He again appears in His mission of mercy and love, healing the man born blind, which excites still more the animosity of His enemies. Jesus again (ch. 10) proclaims His Coming death (through which, however, being perfected as the Redeemer, ultimate salvation is attained), appeals to His works to sustain His oneness (Theocratic relationship as covenanted) with the Father, and “the Jews took up stones again to stone Him.” The reader will please notice that in this chapter Jesus, in explanation of the declaration, “I and my Father are One,” declares it an equivalent to (vs. 36, 38) “I am the Son of God,” “the Father in Me and I in Him,” and this corresponds with the covenanted language that David’s Son was also to be God’s Son, in whom the Theocracy is to be evermore established, and with the language of the other gospels, which in miraculous birth, baptism of Holy Ghost, supernatural power exerted, and the use of the phrase “the Son of God” (as Matt. 4:3; 8:29; 14:33; 27:43, 54; Mark 1:1; 3:11; 5:7; 15:39; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 8:28; 22:70), are in perfect agreement respecting the Person of the Messiah. The enmity of the Jews increases in consequence of the raising of Lazarus from the dead (ch. 11), which culminates in the holding of a council by the chief priests and Pharisees, in which it is fully determined to put Jesus to death (vs. 47–53). This death foreshown (ch. 12), is followed by the public entry into Jerusalem the foretelling of His death and resurrection and the continued disbelief of the Jews. Then comes the prediction of His betrayal (ch. 13), Peter’s denial, His coming death, with several discourses (chs. 14, 15, 16, 17) designed to comfort and sustain His disciples in the coming trial. The betrayal, trial, sufferings, death, burial, are given, crowned by the resurrection (chs. 18, 19, 20, 21), which “are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life in His name.” Thus the objections that could be urged against Jesus crucified are fully met and answered; seeing that the Messiahship of Jesus is manifested by His life, works, death, and resurrection, and that the postponement of the Kingdom is shown to result from the impenitence, unbelief and hostility of the Jewish nation. It is remarkable that, taking John’s Gospel connectedly, it enters more fully into a detailed account of the enmity of the Jews toward Christ, its manifestation and result thus powerfully corroborating the preceding gospels in their more briefly given accounts of the same, and thus presenting on all sides strong points of logical attachment. The design John had in view, necessarily introduced new material, as e.g. facts which excited such hatred, the conduct of Jesus while thus exposed, and the encouragements and promises given to His disciples while thus persecuted. The true key to the proper comprehension of John’s Gospel is to notice the first point of contact between it and the previously given Gospels, viz., that the God-given Divine Messiah was rejected by His own elect nation, and consequently the implication (afterward enforced) that the blessings of the Messianic Kingdom (as covenanted and predicted) are delayed until He is again manifested at “the last day.”

Obs. 6. Our position is abundantly confirmed by the succeeding Acts. The line of argument in preceding propositions so fully portrays this that a few remarks need only be appended. In all that was afterward recorded, the same class of objections are answered in the same manner, viz., the Messiahship of a crucified Jesus is affirmed, and is mainly supported by His resurrection from the dead and ascension into heaven; and at the same time the unbelief of the Jewish nation, the rejection of Christ by it, the call and engrafting of Gentiles, the fighting, mixed condition of the Church down to the Sec. Advent, and the postponement of the Kingdom of God (until a people are gathered out) down to the Second Coming of this same Jesus, is directly declared, and each statement directs the eye of the believer onward to that joyful period still future, when “the blessed hope” shall be realized. Such a view binds the contents of both Old and New Tests, into a unity, which no other can present, and evidences the pre-eminent logical position occupied by the first churches of believers in “the gospel of the Kingdom.” Such a view indeed leaves much for faith, seeing that it places much in the future; but our position ought to be that of faith, not blind, unreasoning faith, but of faith suggested and sustained by the accumulated evidences of the Messiahship of Jesus.

Obs. 7. The critical reader will observe that our argument respecting the Gospels brings forth new and additional reasons why the Gospels could not have been written at as late a period as some destructive critics assume. The very form in which the Gospels are given indicates an early origin; for the design manifested in answering certain objections shows that it meets the only objections that were current immediately after the death of Jesus and opposed to His claims of Messiahship. Had they been written later, the writers could not have placed themselves in complete sympathy with the early age (first century), but would undoubtedly have incorporated later objections and the then existing style of thought. The simple form of ending each Gospel with the resurrection of Jesus, the omission of any detailed statement of the call of the Gentiles, the points of contact with the Jewish position, the firm and unwavering conformation with covenant and prophecy, are all opposed to the notion of a later origin, seeing that the inevitable tendency of enlargement, apology, change, reflections, etc., from the more modern standpoint (already feeling the effects of an incorporated philosophy and division of sentiment, etc.) would have been, more or less, made manifest.*

Obs. 8. Thus comprehended, the Gospels answer the question, which unbelief has never yet been able to meet, how it comes that Jews, looking for a Messiah, as described by covenant and prophecy exalted to the restored throne and Kingdom of David, should accept of a crucified Jesus as such a Messiah. The replies usually given in answer do not fully meet the conditions of the expectant Jews. The secret for such an acceptance lies in the fact that every inspired teacher took the position that both covenant and prophecy would be fulfilled by this same Jesus at His Second Advent, and that His claims to the Messiahship were so sustained by His birth, life, death, and resurrection that we could have the strongest assurance—in a thus far fulfilled Word of God—that that which has been postponed will inevitably be realized.*

Obs. 9. This view of the design of the Gospels shows how unfounded is the assertion of Schleiermacher and others, that it is impossible to prove that Jesus is the Messiah from the prophecies. The defence of the Messiahship of Jesus in the Gospels is based upon two facts, constantly appealed to, viz., that Jesus in His manifestation, etc., fulfilled the prophets, and that by a certain determinate fulfilment He gives us sufficient evidence that the remainder will be fulfilled at the period of time designated. And such proof ought really to be stronger to-day, since reason can add to the Gospels a continuous fulfilment only announced in them, as e.g. the dispersion of the Jewish nation, the treading down of Jerusalem, the Gentile domination, the gathering out of believers, the mixed and struggling condition of the church, etc. We are even in a better position, owing to over eighteen hundred years’ continuous fulfilment, than the Apostles were, to test the truthfulness of the Messiahship of Jesus. For, we accept not merely the fulfilled prophecies in the life, etc., of Jesus pointed out by Himself (as e.g. John 13:19, etc.), or by the Evangelists (as e.g. John 19:35, 36) as pledges of His Messianic character, but in addition to these, eighteen centuries confirm such pledges by an uninterrupted verification of leading and most important statements.

  PROP. 188. This doctrine indicates the unity of the Epistles.

They all agree (1) in expressing faith and hope in the covenants and prophecies; (2) in Jesus as the Messiah; (3) in a complete fulfilment of both covenant and prophecy at the Sec. Advent; (4) in locating the covenanted Messianic Kingdom in the future at the Sec. Coming of Jesus; (5) and in urging all to accept Jesus as the promised Messiah, so that they may become qualified to enter into His coming Kingdom.

Obs. 1. Let us take Romans and see how it corresponds with a plain grammatical interpretation of covenant and prophecy. Paul asserts, ch. 1:3, 4, that Jesus was “made of the seed of David, according to the flesh,” and His power as Son of God “by the resurrection from the dead;” that, chs. 1, 2, 3, salvation is obtained by faith, “to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile,” for all have sinned and all need salvation; that all that believe shall attain unto it, provided their faith is provocative of good works, Jesus being purposely raised up for our justification. That, ch. 4, we are justified by faith like unto Abraham and become his children so that with Abraham—who is “the heir of the world”—we inherit the covenanted promises, being “heirs” with him; and reference is made to the resurrection for its fulfilment in the words “who quickeneth the dead.” That, ch. 5, being thus “justified” and at “peace” with God through Jesus, we “rejoice in hope of the glory of God,” to be realized through grace in Jesus by the bestowal of “eternal life,” which enables us to experience the fulfilment of promise. We, ch. 6, should, therefore, not live in sin or serve sin, but in holiness and newness of life, so as to obtain through Jesus “the end everlasting life.” We, ch. 7, obtain deliverance from sin and its legal results through “Jesus Christ our Lord.” Being thus, ch. 8, believing, justified, and holy, we shall experience a glorious resurrection and exaltation, because reckoned as joint-heirs with Christ (and inheriting with Jesus, implies that we participate with Him in His covenanted Theocratic inheritance), when creation itself shall share in deliverance from the curse; and for such glorification and inheritance we have the strongest possible assurances in the love of God in Christ Jesus. He shows, ch. 9, his interest in the Jews, the call of the Gentiles, and argues that those who are heirs with Jesus are the children of promise; the faithful among the natural descendants of Abraham, and the faithful among the engrafted Gentiles, for so God had pre-determined it in mercy. He follows, chs. 10 and 11, with answering the question, Who shall be saved? by declaring both Jew and Gentile through faith in Jesus the Christ; and then points out the fall of the Jews, their restoration at the Coming of Jesus, etc. (which we have already used, as indispensably necessary in order to verify covenant promises). Then come, chs. 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, practical directions, interspersed with declarations concerning the nearness of the day of salvation, the power of Jesus to save, the ability to perform the promises made to the fathers, etc. All is confirmatory of our position, for the hope is decisively expressed that at the Sec. Advent of this Messiah all the promises of God, given in covenant and prophecy, shall be abundantly verified in fulfilment. If any truth is uttered by Paul with distinctness it is this: that David’s Son now removed will return again, and that at this return of the Messiah (through whom we can now entertain the hope of salvation) the faithful will inherit with Him, a resurrection taking place, a deliverance of the creature occurring, a certain complement of Gentiles being gathered, a restoration of the Jews from their fallen condition being experienced because the Deliverer comes.*

Obs. 2. With this accord all the Pauline Epistles. In 1 Corinthians he makes the return of this Messiah to fulfil the promises exceedingly prominent, speaks of the still future “day of our Lord Jesus Christ,” urges to preparation for it that we may be rewarded, declares that we shall then “inherit the Kingdom of God,” exalts the judgeship of the saints in that day, and shows how it is introduced by a resurrection of the righteous, fulfilling Millennial predictions. In 2 Corinthians precisely the same strain is kept up respecting the future “day of the Lord Jesus,” the then fulfilment of God’s promises, the resurrection introductory to that day, the glory to be revealed, all of which should influence us to faith and holiness. Galatians, as we have shown, is pre-eminently in advocacy of our doctrine, seeing what stress it lays on the continuance of the covenant and its realization at the Sec. Advent, when we “inherit the Kingdom of God.” In Ephesians he refers to the coming “dispensation” in which the Messiah, when He returns, shall “gather together all things,” and we shall obtain an inheritance in “the world to come,” so that in the ages to come He may show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Jesus, the Christ; we then being in “the commonwealth of Israel” (adopted even now) and experiencing the blessings of “the day of Redemption,” having “inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God.” In Philippians the future “day of Jesus Christ” is prominently set forth, the distinctive resurrection of the righteous is presented, and the looking for this Saviour, who comes again to subdue all things unto Himself and give glory, as “at hand” is expressed. So likewise in Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, etc., we have a necessary preparation for inheriting the Kingdom to be revealed at the Sec. Coming of this Messiah Jesus; a hope that then the covenanted promises will be fulfilled; a waiting for His Son from heaven in order to inherit the promises; the resurrection of the just at that Coming and the glory that follows; a looking for that “day of the Lord;” the loving of His appearing and constituting it “the blessed hope” in view of its results. In brief, every Epistle that Paul wrote is in perfect agreement with our doctrinal position.*

Obs. 3. The Epistle to the Hebrews being specially singled out by some as hostile to our doctrine, it deserves separate notice. The writer is largely employed in proving that Jesus is the Messiah, that His death was necessary, that the atonement by Him is valid, and that the condition of faith in Him is a requisite for forgiveness of sin and divine acceptance. But in various ways he shows his correspondence in doctrine: in “the world to come;” the salvation linked with the Sec. Advent; the Jewish view of the Rest, and its reference to the Sec. Coming; a High-Priest for the ages; the certainty that the Abrahamic covenant will be fulfilled: the qualifications of Jesus in virtue of His work and endless life to verify the promises of God; the “looking for Him to appear the second time without sin unto salvation;” the certainty that His enemies shall all be overcome; the “seeing the day approaching;” the “yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry;” the positive declaration that the ancient worthies “died in faith, not having received the promises, being strangers and pilgrims,” and expecting their inheritance promised to them through the Messiah; the “better resurrection;” the promises received by them and us at the same time; the continuing city to come; the firstborn; the everlasting covenant; the future shaking of heaven and earth; and “a Kingdom which cannot be moved.” Such statements clearly evidence the author as in perfect accord with our position.*

Obs. 4. James preserves the unity of teaching, for he makes us gathered out to be “a kind of first-fruits of His creatures” and “heirs of the Kingdom which He has promised” (by covenant and prophet and Saviour). In his short Epistle he prominently sets before us “the last days” and “the coming of the Lord as drawing nigh.” The entire tenor and spirit of his brief letter is to exhort believers, by practical deductions, so to live that when the Messiah Jesus returns again they may be rewarded in His, then, established Kingdom, obtaining “a crown of life.”*

Obs. 5. Peter is full of our doctrine, as is readily seen in his “reserved inheritance” and “salvation ready to be revealed in the last time;” in his “praise, and honor, and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ,” and “the grace that is to be brought unto us at the revelation of Jesus Christ;” in is “strangers and pilgrims” and “chosen generation, royal priesthood, holy nation, and peculiar people;” in his exhortations to piety and endurance so “that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy,” being “partakers of the glory that shall be revealed;” in his injunctions to humble ourselves “that He may exalt us in due time;” or in the solemn motive presented: “But the end of all things is at hand; be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” Or (as in the Sec. Epistle), in the “exceeding great and precious promises” to be realized in Jesus at His return, “for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ;” in “the sure word of prophecy,” “the last days,” “the thousand years as one day,” “the day of the Lord,” “the looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of the Lord,” and, “looking for, according to promise, new heavens and new earth in which dwelleth righteousness.” All this indicates the faith that actuated him—a faith grounded in the Messianic idea as contained in covenants and prophecy.

Obs. 6. Lastly is John, who presses upon us personal religion, so that we may “abide in Him: that when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed at His Coming.” The Second Advent with its resultant blessings is prominent before him, and he urges withdrawal from the love of the world and its lusts in order that we may experience the happiness and glorification that shall then be revealed. He warns of “the last time,” of “antichrists,” and insists upon our perfecting our love so that “we may have boldness in the day of judgment,” receive “eternal life,” and obtain “a full reward.” The present, in his estimation, is simply a preparatory period, designed to qualify us for the Messiah’s return, when the glorious promises of God will be realized.*

  PROPOSITION 189. It is only through this doctrine of the Kingdom that the Apocalypse can or will be understood and consistently interpreted.

The reason for this lies in the simple fact that it announces the Coming and the events connected with the Advent of the Theocratic King. Now to enter fully into its spirit and appreciate its force, to form an adequate conception of the testimony of Jesus either as a whole or in its several aspects, there must of necessity be a previous acquaintance with the covenants and a correct apprehension of the burden of prophecy based on those covenants, resolving itself into the promised Kingdom.

Obs. 1. The Theocratic idea, in the very nature of the case, must ever be kept in view, for with it the Apocalypse begins and ends. It begins with announcing His Future Advent, and delineates His Theocratical character as “the Prince of the kings of the earth,” and “the Alpha and Omega,” etc., and ends with the Theocratical rule inaugurated here on earth. The Kingdom being the goal of prophecy, it is reasonable to expect that the very last predictions would largely enter into the subject, and in such a manner as to show how the older prophecies will be ultimately fulfilled. To understand such fulfilment, however, it is requisite to carefully notice the prophecies previously given by the same Spirit, and which, without undue repetition (it being taken for granted that the reader knows them because they embrace “the Hope”), may be partially incorporated by quotations, etc. With a knowledge of the covenants and prophecies pertaining to the Kingdom, the student is placed in the only position suitable to the contemplation and study of a book, which largely deals in a restored Theocracy, as is clearly evidenced not only by the Advent of David’s Son, but by the corresponding adoption of older Theocratic predictions, and enforcing them by identifying and linking them with such an Advent.*

Obs. 2. It has been the custom of some to write of the book as if it were to be estimated isolated from all others, standing or falling on its own merits. This involves a grave mistake, and overlooks both the Divine Plan in Redemption continuously unfolded, and that a Revelation pertaining at all to such a Plan must be in full accord with previously given ones. Owing to this oversight some excellent writers, as even Barnes, Stuart, etc., have made sad work with various portions, not willing to concede, e.g. that Millennial descriptions in precisely similar language with precisely similar acts, blessings, etc., are identical with those uttered by older prophets. Others again, like Reuss, Desprez, etc., entirely ignoring the covenanted Kingdom and finding in it much that favors “Jewish conceptions,” pronounce it a sort of “Judæo-Christian” publication, very artistically put together, but unworthy of credence. Of course, with their ideas of the Kingdom of God and of what must constitute the proprieties in its establishment, the Apocalypse is already prejudged. No book, having such a weight of evidence for its retention in the Canon, has been so strangely handled. Rejected or doubted by Caius and Dionysius, on the ground of its interpretation indorsing our view of the Kingdom, it has remained for modern writers to revive the old rejection precisely for the same reason. The view entertained concerning the Kingdom will inevitably largely influence our interpretation of it; and the proper conception of the Kingdom must be entertained before the book can be consistently examined, seeing that if a Kingdom has been covenanted, predicted, preached, made the subject matter of previous Revelation, nothing in conflict with such a Kingdom can or will be found in a later one. To decide, however, that no real conflict exists, the student must be sure that he has the idea of the Kingdom as expressly given in Scripture. It certainly is unscholarly to doubt and reject a book on premises that themselves remain unproven; and yet this is precisely the position occupied by a host of writers. They either reject the book or else ignore and explain away its teachings, because they are “too Jewish,” without attempting to show that this Jewish form is not taught in the other Scriptures, or that their own view is contained in previous Revelation. And such is the perversity and antagonism of human deductions from mere reason, that what is “too Jewish” for some is not sufficiently “Jewish” for others; and the latter is, therefore, made an excuse for discarding it. But such forget, what we have already intimated, that if there are some omissions in making out all the links of a connected chain in the Divine Order, these missing links are found farther back, for the book must be viewed in the light of its connection with other Scripture. Thus to illustrate: it is objected that in the re-establishment of the Theocracy the restoration of the Jewish nation forms an important feature, and yet this is not stated in specific terms in the Apocalypse. To this we reply that a specific mention is unnecessary because numerous other predictions are already given and those in the Apoc. are inseparably joined with them by incorporating features contained also in them and requisite for fulfilling them, thus forming a bond of identity and union. When express promises taken directly from Old Test. predictions relating to Jewish restoration are adopted and assigned to a certain time and order for realization, surely there is nothing inconsistent to hold that such portions are indicative of a fulfilment of a whole, seeing that in the Old Test. they are thus related. The Old and the New Test. must be considered as indicated in Prop. 16. But there is a stronger reason why no specific mention is necessary, which does honor to the Spirit which gave the book, and which forms an indirect but most powerful argument in favor of its inspiration. An impostor would undoubtedly have followed in imitating the precise track and language of the former prophets and thus have introduced Jewish restoration as these objectors urge, and to have stated when it is to transpire. This the Spirit could not do, not only because He was describing a transition state in which Gentiles are a large party, but because He takes it for granted, what we have abundantly shown under Election and engrafting into the elect nation, that He is all the time speaking of the Jewish nation and its restoration. The Spirit only recognizes Jews as the ones that are participants in the Kingdom established. Gentiles to inherit with the Jews must be adopted, engrafted, and as such form part (Props. 61–63) of the elect nation. Hence, the Spirit rightfully and with remarkable consistency virtually describes Jewish restoration when it portrays the establishment of the glorious Theocracy, and the ancient saints with all engrafted ones participating in it. The righteous dead of the elect nation—no others are mentioned—with the living translated form already with Christ the King such a mighty Jewish restoration that the lesser one, i.e. of the nation in the flesh, follows as a matter of course. When the entire seed of Abraham, either natural or grafted in worthily, triumph in a Theocracy, it is on the already granted basis that it is a Jewish victory which includes the lesser. Certainly the Jewish King and Jewish rulers of a professedly Jewish kingdom, when such a kingdom is said to be ruled over by them, is amply sufficient to remove the objection. This necessary assumption is sustained by the direct and indirect references (Obs. following), and there can be no misconception of the matter to him who notices: (1) that the saints here exalted to Theocratic positions are really and truly a portion of the Jewish nation; (2) that the very formation and representation of a restored Theocracy in which they alone figure as associates with the King necessarily implies that the rest will follow as given in other places; (3) that the prophecy is given to show how and under what circumstances the Mighty King comes and introduces the promised Theocracy; and as it only relates in its beginning to that Jewish portion of the nation, the elect, to whom the Kingdom is specially given (as stated by Jesus Himself), it fills out a part of prophecy not before given in detail, and teaches us how the prediction of the Saviour relating to the inheriting of the Kingdom (which materially differs from the remaining restoration), is verified; (4) that the Spirit, accepting of the principle of engrafting, and recognizing every believer as a member of the Jewish commonwealth, cannot make any distinction between Jews and those grafted in, as e.g. He did not do in the prophecies of Daniel which, notwithstanding the future adoption of Gentiles, speaks of the nation as a continuous elect one, all believers in it being saints.

Obs. 3. Keeping in view the distinguishing feature, grounded in the Election and Covenants, that Jews are denoted when the saints are mentioned, we find much incidently expressed confirmatory of this position. Let the reader place himself in the position of the early believers to whom the book was given, holding firmly to the hope of a restored Theocratic rule under David’s Son at His Second Coming, and he will find abundant material for encouraging such a hope. The very titles of the Coming One were understood to relate to the Theocratic King, being previously thus used; “the first begotten of the dead” and other characteristics of Jesus were regarded as prerequisites for such a reign; the power described, adequate to remove death, was essential to the fulfilment of the covenanted promises, as anticipated; the continued designation of “Son of Man,” “the root and offspring of David,” as required; the restitution presented through Him, as predicted by the prophets; the power over all enemies and the same given to those associated with the King, as promised; the relationship to the promised Theocratic rule impressively given in His having “the key of David,” and in His being “the Lion of the tribe of Judah,” hence the covenanted King and Deliverer; the exaltation, ascriptions of praise, the saints waiting for deliverance, the judgments on nations, the wrath of the Son of Man, the harvest and vintage, the first resurrection, the rewarding of the dead, the Sovereignty given to and exercised by the Messiah, the universality of rule, the new heavens and earth incorporating Mill. descriptions, the order announced agreeing with ancient prophets, all this coincided with and fostered the notion of a still future coming covenanted Kingdom. The significant and special mention, according with Election, of “the tribes of the children of Israel,” showing that according to the Spirit the saints are regarded (whether Jews or engrafted Jews) the elect seed of Abraham, the holy elect Jewish nation. The division of these into “twelve tribes” when obtaining “salvation,” indicating the revival of the Theocratic order; this, in connection with other allusions, is amply sufficient to prove “the Jewish cast” of the incoming Theocracy and its identity with the One predicted by former prophets.*

Obs. 4. Hence it followed that all the early Christians had no difficulty in embracing the Apocalypse as a Divine Revelation, seeing that it both accorded with the previously given predictions of God, and that, owing to the postponement of the Kingdom and withdrawal for a time of the King, it filled up a void by detailing His Coming again and the measures that would be taken in effecting the restored Theocracy. Taken in connection with the covenants and prophecies, as further explanatory of the mode of ultimate realization, the Apocalypse is most admirably constructed to establish a firm faith in the Kingdom we have delineated. This is seen in the early Church and Fathers, who understood and interpreted it thus, and that its first opponents knew not (until Origen devised the remedy) how to refute it without denying the authority of the book itself. Owing to the feeling, that it necessarily taught our view, it narrowly, as various writers have observed, escaped (although more canonical as to authority than many others) proscription. To-day it is unjustly rejected by a large number because of its assigned “Judæo-Christian Eschatology.” A Kingdom awaiting the Coming of David’s Son; preceded by a first resurrection; introduced as, and containing what, the older prophets declared; incorporating a tribal division; holding forth a glorious reign hero on earth, etc., all this corresponds too accurately with “Jewish conceptions” to suit the taste of those who are anxious to rid themselves of everything distinctively “Jewish.” Let unbelief take such a position; but faith, supported by the general analogy and unity of Revelation, joyfully seizes upon the book as explanatory of the manner in which the Millennial predictions are to be fulfilled in this Coming One, and in His most blessed Theocratic rule.*

Obs. 5. The objection of Schott and others, that this reign of Jesus is too much in the Apocalypse made out to be a reign of the Son of David (Prop. 53, Obs. 9), is found to be a decided proof of its inspiration. How else, taking the covenants and the promises based on them, could this reign be represented? If the Kingdom, as we have proven, is the restored Theocratic-Davidic Kingdom in and through David’s Son, then, indeed, the phraseology objected to is entirely in place and expressive of the fact. The trouble with many writers is simply this: the manner in which this Kingdom is introduced and the Kingdom itself is presented, does not fit in with their development theory, being too much indebted to supernatural power and indicating a too close relationship to a restored Theocracy, and hence it is coolly set aside or spiritualized. Even eminent men under the influence of this theory, not knowing what to do with it, or how to engraft it into their system, deliberately turn away from it (see e.g. Neander, His. and Plant. C. Church, vol. 1, p. 396–97). This evinces the influence of preconceived opinions respecting the Kingdom, and as a test is unfairly applied to the Apocalypse, being precisely in the line of those produced by unbelief. To invalidate the reliability of the Apocalypse in this direction, it must first be shown that the Kingdom it delineates is one in opposition or antagonism to the Kingdom expressly covenanted, once existing but overthrown and predicted in numerous prophecies to be restored. Such a mode of procedure would be logical, and, if consistently carried out, will most certainly lead to a hearty reception of early Church doctrine on the subject.*

Obs. 6. This feature of a connection existing between the Apoc. and the prophets, forming a unity of Divine Purpose, is alone sufficient to set aside the expositions of that class who make the Apoc. fulfilled in the past, either in the events preceding, allied with, and immediately following, the destruction of Jerusalem, or even extending down and embracing the conversion of Constantine, etc. Such interpretation can only succeed by arbitrary handling, by a violation of unity, and by a total misconception of the nature of Christ’s Kingdom. Allowing inchoate force in the historical (Bh. Newton, Elliott, etc.) interpretation, making a fulfilment continuous from the first century down to the Sec. Advent; admitting pertinence to the suggestions (Dr. Arnold, etc.) that the historical is an imperfect, typical fulfilment foreshadowing another and higher still future; considering that there is also propriety, etc., in interpreting (as Dr. Seiss, etc.) the whole as still future, we are not now concerned with these several modes of interpretation, only as they severally bring out distinctively the Theocratic relationship that the Apoc. contains in common with previously given prophecies. That system which does this the most effectively is the most worthy of our reception; that which ignores this the most, is the most unreliable.*

Obs. 7. Whatever advances have been made in interpreting the Apoc., and whatever valuable additions have been presented by various writers, especially recent, a full, complete, and satisfactory exposition of the Book is something that is still lacking. Not one—however valuable—but bears grave defects.*

Obs. 8. While great advances have been made in interpreting this Book, we believe that God will raise up some, who, for the sake of the truth pertaining to “the Christ,” will be enabled to give in regular order a correct interpretation of the Apoc. As the time approaches for its fulfilment, as the interval draws nigh in which its most stupendous scenes will be witnessed, as a preparation to those who shall be persecuted under the Antichrist, as a source of comfort and hope to the believing, and even as a warning to the world, such will be the result. The researches of recent writers and the fulfilment of prediction before our eyes explanatory of divine utterance, paves the way for such a work. Happy the man who shall thus be favored in becoming the instrument of interpreting so glorious a Revelation.*

  PROPOSITION 190. Our views sustained by the addresses to the Seven Churches.

This is seen in one simple fact presented in all of them. Lange (Com. Rev., p. 114) has well observed: “The fundamental idea of all the seven epistles is the fundamental idea of the Apocalypse itself—the Coming of the Lord.” This is the key-note of the introductory to, and the solemn admonition and anticipation in, all of them.

Obs. 1. We cannot possibly receive the view entertained by some (Barnes, Stuart, etc.) that these Epistles are simply historic, and are only intended for us in so far as the principles laid down and the admonitions given are of general application. The fact that these representations extend to the Second Advent, while the seven historic churches have long since passed away, is in itself sufficient to set aside such an interpretation.*

Obs. 2. We cannot accept of the opinion (so Vitringa, etc.) that these seven churches are typical or representative of seven successive periods of Church history. The variety of application made (for no two advocates of this view are agreed as to the time of this succession or the parties to whom it is to be referred) evidences the inability of forming such an order of fulfilment—the same being largely influenced by the personal Churchly views of the interpreter. Besides this, not a particle of proof can be found in the Book to show such a succession, but, on the contrary, the warnings respecting Christ’s coming to punish or reward as their respective condition will be at such a Coming, clearly proves that they are not successive, being in existence at the Sec. Advent.*

Obs. 3. We are forced by a variety of considerations to accept of one or the other of the following views: 1. That these seven churches symbolize or represent the general Church and various phases in it, more or less continuous in it, down to the Advent. 2. That they are prophetic of the general Church, giving characteristics that shall prevail, but especially preceding the Sec. Advent. 3. That the seven churches historically named possessed those special characteristics, and are thus presented as typical of the Church universal in its development down to the Coming again of Jesus. 4. That these churches having such traits are representative of seven distinctive characteristic periods without making a succession (i.e. all the characteristics are co-existing), but one more prominent and that just before the Advent, they will be contemporaneous. We prefer the simple idea that the seven churches, as they contemporaneously existed, are typical, representative, prophetical of seven prominent phases or conditions of the Church. contemporaneously present, but becoming more and more intensive as we near the Second Advent. The reasons for this prophetical or representative character are the following: it is the introduction to a book of this nature; the entire book, ch. 1:4, 11, 19, is designed for the Church universal given through the medium of these seven; the Head of the Church is represented in His relation to the whole Church by these seven, ch. 1:13–19; the “mystery,” ch. 1:20, attached to these seven is indicative of a prophetic depth; the number seven, as all admit, is of symbolic import (Comp. e.g. Auberlen’s Gnomen and his Dan. and Rev.), implying completeness, perfection, etc., and hence “the seven churches represent the Church catholic in its totality;” the universality of appeal in reference to hearing, ch. 2:7, 11, 17, 29 and ch. 3:6, 13, 22; the appropriateness of the addresses to the Church universal in cautions, warnings, promises, commendations, rebukes, and encouragements; the past and present fulfilment of the conditions specified in the history of the Church (for without attempting a regular succession, it must be admitted that such phases or conditions have always, more or less, existed down to the present); that seven and only seven churches, and these by far from being the most prominent, are selected; that these churches are represented as enduriny to the end, while the literal churches have, for many centuries, fallen; the intimations within them of a futurity which cannot be confined to the period of time in which the types or literal churches existed; what was addressed to one church was designed for all the churches, showing the non-limitation implied—all which unmistakably shows that far more was intended than seven addresses to seven literal, obscure, individual churches. We have before us an address to the Universal Church, which the relation to the Christ, their names, graces, defects, etc., fully enforces.*

Obs. 4. Let us take this representative character of the seven churches, almost universally conceded by able writers, and it is in full accord with our doctrinal position. Thus, to notice only a few points indicative of this agreement, let the reader consider the following: 1. The condition of the Church itself—mixed, containing tares and wheat, tempted and tried, false profession and true love, defection and faithful adhesion—is evidence that we have properly delineated the same, and the design of the present dispensation. 2. This condition of the Church existing down to the Sec. Advent, unmistakably shows that no Millennial age can possibly intervene. The prophetic portrayal positively forbids it. It accords only with our doctrinal faith, seeing that such a conversion of the world, as multitudes advocate, is entirely removed from the description. 3. The Sec. Advent of Jesus assumes the prominence that we give it, being urged as warning, encouragement, and hope. It is the special feature, relating to Redemption and fulfilment of covenant promise, which our faith is to grasp and our hearts to respond to in order that it may be to us an inestimable blessing and not a curse. 4. The special promises to incite to faithfulness are not made dependent upon death, but upon this Sec. Coming. In consistency with our position and teaching, the honor and glory to be brought to the redemed is identified with the Coming of the Christ. 5. These epistles unite with this Sec. Advent, the restoration of Paradise and the tree of life, the Millennial exemption from afflictions, sorrow, tears, and death, the exaltation and glorious reign of the saints, the realization of co-heirship and co-judgship with the Christ. These things alone are abundantly confirmatory of our expressed belief and interpretation of the Scriptures.*

  PROPOSITION 191. Our doctrine enforced by the general tenor of the Apocalypse.

The concluding book of the Canon ought to inform us—being a revelation of the future—when and how the glorious promises, covenanted and predicted, pertaining to Christ, the saints, and the world, are to be realized. This it does in complete harmony with the previous teaching of the postponement of the Kingdom, the design of the dispensation, etc.*

Obs. 1. The simple fact—no matter how we may interpret the book as a whole or as to details—that the seals, trumpets, and vials predict such a state of things as only agrees with our teaching, is alone sufficient. Thus e.g. it is only when the seventh and last trumpet sounds that the Kingdom, universal, of Jesus is revealed, and—consider it well—linked with (Rev. 11:15–18) angry nations, a time of wrath, of resurrection, and of reward. When the Millennial age itself is introduced (Rev. 20:1–6) it is preceded by the Personal Advent of Jesus and His saints, and the destruction of a mighty confederation of wicked (Rev. 19:11–21). The great revelation of glory, sovereignty, etc., follows a series of trial and judgments, in which the Church and the world are both included. No Millennial period, no Kingdom, no triumph, until the Coming of Jesus.*

Obs. 2. This book has for its end the covenanted and predicted Kingdom of the Messiah. Dr. Lange (Apoc., p. 402) justly asserts: “That it (the Apoc.) is to be recognized as the most developed phase of the New Testament doctrine bearing upon its theme—the hope of the Kingdom of God and the advent of that Kingdom in the world—although it is couched in Biblico-artistic, allegorical, and symbolical forms.”*

Obs. 3. The great theme of Revelation is the one, “He Cometh.” This is in the introductory; this is presented in the epistles and under the seals, and under the trumpets, and under the vials; this forms the conclusion of the whole. This coming from introductory to conclusion relates only to one visible, personal Coming, answering to the promise of Acts 1:11. And in perfect accord with the constant watching posture insisted upon by Jesus and the apostles, and in complete agreement with no intervening Millennial age, the very last caution and injunction is (Rev. 22:7, 12, 20), “Behold, I come quickly;” “Surely, I come quickly, Amen.”*

Obs. 4. The introduction, continuation, and conclusion of the book is designed to urge upon every believer that the great object of his love and hope is the Sec. Coming of the Lord Jesus. That is made paramount in his faith, hope, and love; and, consequently, if he devotedly loved his Saviour, believed in His revelation of glory, hoped to inherit with Him in His Kingdom, that Coming must assume a corresponding and relative importance and confirmation in his heart and life, in his meditations, prayers, and teaching.*

Obs. 5. It follows, therefore, as the Apocalypse is the Revelation of Jesus pertaining to His Churches; His resurrected, translated, and glorified saints; His judgments; His triumph, Kingdom, and reign; His power, majesty, and glory; His bestowal of the greatest blessings in a perfected Redemption—it ought to receive our heartfelt and most careful study. The emphatic declarations of ch. 1:3 and ch. 22:7 are sufficient. Just in proportion as we love and appreciate the Appearing of Jesus, as we earnestly desire the deliverance, blessings and glory that are dependent on and related to the Second Advent, in that proportion will this book, which tells us the grandest and most sublime things of the King and Kingdom, be dear to us. It tells us so much of the Christ and His future glory, so much of the saints and their coming exaltation, so much of the Kingdom of righteousness and its manifestations, so much of the enemies of Jesus and of His people with their ultimate overthrow, so much of the incoming ages and their heavenly excellencies, that it must be—if we love the Coming—exceedingly precious to us.*

Obs. 6. This Book was specially designed to sustain the Christian and the Church under sore trial; its magnificent portrayals of ultimate deliverance, reward, and glory at the Coming of Jesus being most admirably adapted for such a purpose. It has done this in the past, comforting and strengthening the persecuted in his flight or in his dungeon, sustaining the martyr at the stake or in the presence of the wild beasts. It has, from the days of John down to the present, consoled, cheered, and confirmed in faith and hope many a depressed, discouraged, tried believer. It will again do this work during the interval between the two stages of the Advent, when the Church, enduring her most bitter and unrelenting persecution, needs special aid and strength to endure unto the end. Then this Book, so full of the events then experienced, so full of Antichrist and his doom, so full of ultimate glorious deliverance, will be studied with an interest and intensity never before realized. Then, too, it will impart the needed consolation and hope, so that a multitude, fortified by its precious promises, will come out of the great tribulation, and receive their reward for faithfulness and endurance.*

  PROPOSITION 192. This doctrine of the Kingdom greatly serves to explain Scripture.

This results from the fact that being a leading doctrine of the Bible and embracing the great end contemplated, it must necessarily serve to interpret passages that are indistinct, obscure, and ambiguous. And this it does without straining such passages into a forced compatibility with the general tenor of Revelation concerning the Kingdom, but by simply allowing the plain grammatical sense to connect itself naturally with the comprehensive knowledge respecting the ordering of the Messianic Kingdom. A few illustrations are appended to indicate our meaning, in addition to the many already presented, and to show how passages, subject to diverse interpretation and contention, can be clearly apprehended in the light of covenanted and predicted Purpose already explained.

Obs. 1. Take simple promises like that of Matt. 7:3, “But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you,” while applicable in spirit to believers now (i.e. in inculcating reliance upon Divine Providence), yet, as given, is directly applicable to the Jewish nation, and conveys a promise which would have been specially fulfilled in their case. This promise was given, at the time the Kingdom was tendered to them on condition of repentance, and had they repented and accepted of the Messiah the temporal blessings included in the “all things” would have been conferred upon them, in accordance with the prediction of the prophets. Again, take more extended promises, which are designedly so constructed as to comfort and sustain believers under all the most trying circumstances of life (even as the greater blessings include the lesser), yet many of these are specifically related to the future. Thus, e.g. Ps. 23, so well known and full of present consolation, only receives its ample and perfect fulfilment in the future. This is clearly shown by comparing Scripture and keeping in view the connection it sustains to the Kingdom. Let us briefly present this, as follows: “The Lord is my Shepherd,” completely fulfilled when Jesus comes the second time as the Shepherd, 1 Pet. 5:4; Isa. 40:11; Ezek. 34:11–23; Jer. 23:4, etc.* “I shall not want,” which is so distinguishing a feature of the Coming Kingdom that it needs no proof texts for verification. “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures (or, in pastures of tender grass); He leadeth me beside the still waters.” This figurative language, expressive of the supply, protection, and happiness of the sheep, is found in connection with His Coming Theocratic reign, as e.g. Ezek. 34:14; Isa. 23:18; 35:1, 2, 7; 40:10, 11; 41:18, etc. The preceding is fully corroborated by Rev. 7:17 being linked with Millennial predictions, as in Isa. 25; Rev. 21, etc. “He restoreth my soul;” and this, as has been abundantly shown under Prop. 126, etc., finds its completed fulfilment in the resurrection allied with the coming again of the Shepherd. The proof is found not only in the general analogy of the Word, but in the phrase itself. For “soul,” as has been proven (Prop. 126), is used to designate the person or body; and the restoration from Sheol, Hades, or the grave is thus stated, e.g. Ps. 49:15, “God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave,” Ps. 89:4, “Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave,” so Ps. 16:10, etc. Simple consistency must allow an allusion to the resurrection, because otherwise it would not be true that his soul was delivered from death, seeing that the common interpretation of verse 4 supposes a reference to the death of the believer. If it be alleged that a moral restoration is meant this is rebutted by the employment of this phraseology in describing a deliverance from death, as e.g. Ps. 116:3–8, etc., “He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake;”—this is so characteristic of Mill. descriptions that it requires no references, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.” The “shadow of death” is death itself, as in Ps. 44:19; Job 10:21, 22, and this has led multitudes to infer, wrongfully, that the saint is to experience the death here mentioned. But the allusion here is to the fearful slaughter, awful exhibition of death, in the valley mentioned by the prophets (Joel 3:2, 11, etc.) at the Advent of “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” and of His saints. Then His people will witness death, which shall approach them, in its most terrible aspect, when the slain shall be over the earth, the blood shall be to the horses’ bridles, the beasts and fowls shall have a great supper, etc. (Props. 115, 123, 161, 162, and 163.) “I will not fear;” the saint witnessing (for all shall see it) this terrific destruction of the wicked arrayed against Christ at His Sec. Coming will not fear. This is repeatedly asserted in prophecies relating to this period, and needs no additional illustration; for then will be fulfilled Ps. 3:5, 6, when, after the resurrection (represented by sleeping and then awakening). it is said: “I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people that have set themselves against me round about,” etc. “For Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me” (comp. Ps. 118:6, 7, 10, 13, 18, etc.). Jesus, then, is personally present (Prop. 121), and hence the assurances of safety, etc. (Zeph. 3:8–16; Isa. 43:2; Zech. 9:14–16; Micah 2:12, 13, etc.), are undoubted. The saints then, too, are publicly identified (the ingrafting thus acknowledged) with Israel, “the rod of His inheritance” (Jer. 10:16; Ps. 74:2). Rod and staff being emblematic of power, authority, and rulership, the allusion here is to the predicted reign of Christ, which not only sustains the saints, but in which they shall also participate (Prop. 154). Rod and staff being representative of kingly state or rule (as e.g. Jer. 48:17, 29; 2 Kings 18:21; Isa. 14:4, 5; Isa. 9:4, etc.). Christ’s kingly authority, manifested in connection with His people, is thus designated, as in Micah 7:14; Ps. 110:2. “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” The reader will notice that the enemies are present when the Lord Christ comes with His saints (Zech. 14; Rev. 19, etc.), and two tables are spoken of as being witnessed by the believer in that day, viz., the table or feast for the beasts and fowls, Ezek. 37:17–22, who shall be “filled at my table,” etc., significantly called, Rev. 19:17, 18, “the supper of the Great God,” and also the table, embracing the blessings spoken of by Jesus, Luke 22:30, and described, in connection with deliverance from death, by Isa. 25 in “the feast of fat things.” “Thou anointest my head with oil;” every student knows that this is an expression indicative of appointment or consecration to Rulership and Priesthood; and hence here denotes the Kingship and Priesthood of those who reign with Christ, Prop. 154 (comp. Ps. 92:10; Ps. 89:20; Ps. 45:7, etc.). “My cup runneth over; this needs no elucidation, it being sufficient to say that when such blessings as the resurrection, the presence of the Great Shepherd, freedom from evil, kingship and priesthood are experienced, then, indeed, the happiness of the saints will be overflowing, so great and continuous that it is added: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,” “And I will dwell in (or return to, so Clarke, Com., etc.) the house of the Lord forever (or, to length of days).” The ransomed of the Lord will, indeed, then return (Isa. 35:10, and 51:11, etc.) to the restored house (Props. 122, 131, 142, etc.), and evermore dwell in it as the anointed ones. Thus we find the Ps. descriptive of the happy lot of the saint at the Second Advent in the promised Kingdom, containing a fulness of meaning, which is only brought out in its relation to that Kingdom. Accepting of the abundant encouragement that it gives to faith and hope now (for the Shepherd now careth for His sheep and supplieth their wants), yet it would be inconsistent to limit such glorious promises of the Spirit to a present experience, when they point onward to the time when the Shepherd. Himself appears with all His gathered sheep in the presence of their (for they are also such to the saints, owing to their peculiar Theocratic calling) enemies, and rejoice in the victory, honor, power, and glory bestowed. Thus a variety of promises receive a deeper significancy and assurance of perfect fulfilment when considered as standing related to this Kingdom. Such e.g. are the passages in John 14:12–14 and 16:23, 24, for whatever application we may make of them to the present (owing to the mediatorial position of the Saviour and the invitation and encouragements given to prayer) or to the apostolic period, yet such an inchoate fulfilment is far from exhausting its promise. For, aside from its being in one place (John 14:12) a general affirmation relating to the future and in the other (John 16:22, 23) directly connected with His personal presence, we must not forget that such promises are given, as belonging to the saints, in that apprehension of time pertaining to the Spirit by which the intermediate period, so long to man is deemed but a brief period. Beside this, the day is coming, when, as numerous passages testify, such will be the honored position of the saints, such their glorification and resemblance to Christ, that, in this Kingdom, they shall, indeed, perform great works and be accounted worthy to receive from the Father the things that they request, owing to their co-inheriting with Jesus, “the Christ.” Thus promises which are, on the one hand, perverted by fanaticism and, on the other, form a stumbling-block to unbelief (ridiculing non-fulfilment), are preserved in all their integrity, fulness, and preciousness.

Obs. 2. An aptness of description, grand in conception and power, is noticeable in various predictions, provided the time of fulfilment is carefully observed. Thus e.g. if we take Ps. 93, short but inexpressibly expressive, and locate it (as analogy teaches) just at the opening of this Kingdom, at its glorious re-establishment, it will be found a song of triumph, exulting in the majesty of the Theocratic King and the overthrow of the mighty confederation (compared to a great “flood” and “mighty waves of the sea”) of wickedness at the end of the age. It is just such a victorious hymn as is suitable for the saints (more or less oppressed down to that time), saved from their enemies, to sing. The same can be said of many other Scriptures, such as Ps. 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, etc., and eminently serves to illustrate, as we have already stated (Prop. 115), those Psalms (which unbelief, owing to the rejoicing over vengeance and the overthrow of enemies, regards as inconsistent with piety), because the fulfilment of them is embraced at this period, and the Theocratic relationship of the saints of necessity, calls for the exercise of such power against the mighty confederation of wickedness which would prevent, if it could, the Theocratic arrangement. Froude (Newman’s Gram. of Assent) may say that “those who accept of the 109th (Ps.) as the Word of God are already far on the way toward auto-da-fés and massacres of St. Bartholomew;” Bunsen and learned men may recoil from “the cursing Psalms” as not “evangelically inspired;” apologetic writers may lamely attribute them to a past imperfect or degenerate age; fanatics may claim them as an excuse for persecution and deeds of violence; but if they are located at the period intended by the Spirit and connected with the last culminating outbreak of depraved humanity in open rebellion against the Divine Theocratic ordering (willingly entered into by man), then the propriety and depth of such predictions can be realized. So, in the same way, all those passages referring to the coming wrath of the Lamb are to be understood. Now, He is merciful and tenders love to all, but the result will be, as ever, that divine mercy and love will be rejected, believers will be derided and persecuted, etc., until, as the Word teaches, the forbearance of God shall cease, and vengeance (now also forbidden to the saints as something belonging only to God, and to be exerted under His authority and direction) shall, long delayed, finally come. To intensify this, against the ridicule of unbelief that laughs at all such threats as idle, it compresses it all into the astonishing phrase “the wrath of the Lamb;” thus showing how the same Saviour, who loved us even to a shameful and cruel death, will ultimately at His coming manifest His anger against those who wilfully and malignantly reject Him. If we consider what God intends to perform, viz., to set up the fallen Davidic Kingdom in the glorious manner covenanted and predicted, and then what opposition God’s Purpose will meet with at the time when it is to be accomplished, we have the key to the proper understanding of a host of passages describing this wrath, this awful vengeance, this striking through of kings and enemies, this fearful slaughter of the mighty, etc. (such as e.g. Ps. 76, 68, 46, and similar utterances,), and also to the joy of the saints (as expressed e.g. Ps. 48, 98, 113, 97, etc.)*

Obs. 3. Continuing our illustration in this direction, the grand prophecy of Hab. 3 (which, it is said, Dr. Franklin caused literary unbelievers at Paris to acknowledge as the most sublime in language) is selected. The common interpretation which would (against the prophet’s expressly locating it in the future in verse 16) locate this in the past (as e.g. at the coming out of Egypt and conquest of Canaan), or which would dwarf it by making it a kina of Oriental exaggeration, or specimen of fine writing, or allegorical representation of Divine Providence, etc., is unworthy of reception on exegetical and analogical grounds. Let us in the briefest manner point out how this prediction accurately corresponds with the things pertaining to the introduction of the Kingdom. Introductorily, however, it may be remarked, that the Jews regarded this as a prediction relating to the Coming of the Messiah, and derived encouragement (as e.g. Jon. B. Uzziel in Chal. Targum, p. 221, vol. 1, Bh. Newton’s Diss.), therefore, that the Jews would be restored; and this view, after the First Advent, was still retained (applying it to the Second Advent on account of the postponement of the Kingdom and the continued Gentile domination over the Jews) by the primitive Church, and so deeply imbedded was it in the faith then extant that even Origen in the sixth version of his “Polyglot” renders Hab. 3:13 “Thou wentest forth to save thy people through Jesus the Christ” (Horne’s Introd., vol. 1, p. 269). This belief has been, more or less, perpetuated, and corresponds with the general agreement of the Word respecting the future. V. 2. “O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and I was afraid”—afraid of the fearful manifestations of wrath accompanying this Advent described, and which is implied that the prophet should witness. “O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years,” or, as some, “as the years approach”); God’s special work, as the covenant with David testifies, is this Theocratic Kingdom in David’s Son and Lord, and which, when accomplished, the saints are to inherit as “the work of God’s hands,” Isa. 60:21. In numerous places God claims the establishment of the Theocracy, and even its overthrow, the predictions and the provision made concerning it, and its final re-establishment as His own peculiar work. The prophet having already predicted the overthrow of “the special work” that God had commenced in Israel and the subjection of the people under Gentile rule, now directs attention to the revival (comp. Ps. 85:5–7; Isa. 63:15, 17; Hos. 5:6) of this work, the covenanted and sure mercies of David. “In the midst of the years” (or, “as the years approach”) “make known (Isa. 64:1, 2; Ezek. 39:7): in wrath remember mercy.” (Augustine, City of God, B. 18, ch. 32, gives a singular rendering: “While the years draw nigh, Thou wilt be recognized; at the Coming of the time, Thou wilt be shown.”) The appeal here is for God to show mercy, inasmuch as the Jewish nation has fallen under God’s wrath, and will continue thus until the time appointed for deliverance. There also is reference to the fact, that, while wrath is manifested (even as we see it to-day), yet mercy is likewise promised (as e.g. Deut. 32:39–43), based upon the oath-bound covenant itself. Now, if the mercy promised to the Fathers is ever fulfilled and the wrath which overturned “the tabernacle of David” and made his “house desolate” is ever removed, it must be in the future and in the way we have already designated, viz., by the Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ in power and glory. That such is the hope of the prophet appears from what follows, v. 3, “God came from Teman and the Holy One from Mt. Paran;” that this relates to the future (for even the Mohammedans, p. 451, Clarke’s Ten Religions, thus claim it, referring it to Mohammed) Advent of Jesus has been pointed out in Prop. 166 and the reasons given for the same, so that instead of repeating the proofs there assigned, we shall proceed to notice how the same are supported by the remainder of the prophecy. “His glory covered the heavens (Matt. 24:30), and the earth was full of his praise,” or, as some, “splendor.” That this shall be the result of Christ’s Advent is reiterated in a multitude of predictions. V. 4, “And His brightness was as the Light;” Jesus comes as the bright Morning Star, as the Sun of Righteousness (comp. e.g. Rev. 1:13, 17, and 21:23, 24). “He had horns” (or, as some, “bright beams”) “coming out of His hand; and there was the hiding of His power.” Remembering that “horns” are emblematic of power, authority (or, if “bright beams or rays” are preferred, considering how the righteous are compared to the stars, etc.); that the horns of the righteous are to be exalted at the Second Advent; that they are represented as “hidden ones” (Ps. 83:3); that, instead of being “shut up in the hand of the enemy” (Ps. 31:8), the saints shall be in the hand. (Ps. 37:24; 31:5, etc.) i.e. under the Sovereign disposal, and identified with the might of God; that in that period they shall be “a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord and a royal diadem in the hand of God,” Isa. 62:3); and that “the hand of the Lord shall be known toward His servants and His indignation toward His enemies” (Isa. 66:14), it teaches us that the righteous shall be with Him (comp. Zech. 14; Rev. 19, etc.) and manifest power and authority (Prop. 154) through His power (Props. 82, 83, etc.); for as Christ rules the assembled nations with a rod of iron, so also do the saints. And hence, just as it is said of Jesus (Isa. 49:2), “in the shadow of His hand hath He hid me and made me a polished shaft,” etc., so saints, the brethren of Christ, those who inherit with Him, are employed (Ps. 149:9) “to execute the judgment written,” thus exhibiting the irresistible power of God. The hand that was pierced holds this power. “Before Him went the pestilence, and burning coals (marg. burning diseases) went forth at His feet;” this is eminently a characteristic pertaining to the Second Advent, for it is after the Coming of the Lord with all His saints that the pestilence, etc., of Zech. 14:5, 12, 15, 18 is experienced; it is after the wicked are “gathered together for war” (comp. Rev. 19) that “burning coals shall fall upon them” (Ps. 140:10). Ps. 11:6 refers to this time: “Upon the wicked He shall rain snares, fire, and brimstone (Rev. 19:20), and a horrible (marg. burning) tempest. This shall be the portion of their cup.” (Comp. Ezek. 38:20–22, etc.). V. 6, “He stood and measured the earth; He beheld and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains (Luther: Welt Berge) were scattered, the perpetual (or long-enduring) hills did bow; His ways are everlasting.” This gives a vivid representation of the supremacy, dominion and power exercised by King Jesus, that all things, including the whole earth and its nations, are under His control and submit to His commands. And, keeping in view prophetic usage in which Kingdoms and States are denoted by mountains and hills, long-enduring and great powers shall be overthrown, the heads over many countries shall be wounded, and a feast for the beasts and fowls shall be prepared (Rev. 19:17, 18) out of their sustainers. V. 7, “I saw the tents of Cushan (or some, Arabia, others Mesopotamia, others Ethiopia) in affliction and the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble”—indicative not only of the extent and power of the swayed “rod of iron,” but points even to localities where vengeance will be specially manifested. V. 8, “Was the Lord displeased against the rivers? Was thine anger against the rivers? Was Thy wrath against the sea?” The force of this is seen by accepting of the fact that “rivers” are symbolic of invading armies, hostile kingdoms, and overflowing invasions, as e.g. in Jer. 46:7, 8, Egypt is represented as “a flood whose waters are moved as rivers,” in Jer. 47:2, “waters shall rise up out of the north and shall be an overflowing flood;” and in Isa. 8:7, 8, the King of Assyria is called “a river” that shall “overflow” Judah. “Sea” is a prophetical word which intensifies this meaning, denoting a vast army, a mighty confederation, or a great, tumultuous gathering, as e.g. Isa. 51:23, “the sea is come upon Babylon, she is covered with the multitude of waves thereof” (comp. Nahum 1:4; Ps. 89:9; Isa. 5:30; Ezek. 23:6, etc.) We are assured that just such “rivers”—viz., “the kings of the earth with their armies”—just such a “sea”—viz., “the kings of the earth and of the whole world gathered to the battle of that great day of God Almighty”—shall arise, (vide Props. 115, 123, 161, 162, 163, etc.). “That thou didst ride upon thy horses and thy chariots of salvation.” This reminds us of the language employed in Rev. 19, descriptive of the Second Advent, in which this “King of kings” together with his army are represented as riding upon horses. This similarity of representation, together with the same result, viz., salvation, identifies the period of fulfilment. (We are also reminded of “the chariots” of Ps. 68:17, see Prop. 166). V. 9, “thy bow was made quite naked, according to the oaths of the tribes, even thy word” (Augustine renders: “Bending, thou wilt bend thy bow against the sceptres, saith the Lord”). Taking our version and the correction of Clarke (Com. loci) “according to oaths of the tribes,” then the idea seems to be that the bow made naked or uncased (taken out of its case) is declarative of God being now fully prepared to wage war (Ps. 7:12, 13; Ps. 45:17) and to fulfil the covenant and promises which were confirmed by solemn oaths to the twelve tribes (comp. Acts 26:6, 7) of Israel. Whatever version may be adopted, it is descriptive of His ability to overcome; and the reference to the tribes, recalling Zech. 9:11–17; Isa. 41:2–4, etc., implies that this Man of war is engaged for their deliverance. “Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers,” or, marg. read., “Thou didst cleave the rivers of the earth;” that is, He subjects the Kingdoms of the earth, Zech. 14, etc. etc. V. 10, “The mountains saw Thee and trembled”—expressive of the majesty of this great King, at whose glorious Presence the Kingdoms will be put to fear, Isa. 2:10–22; Rev. 6:15, 16, etc. “The overflowing of the water passed by; the deep uttered his voice, and lifted up his hands on high.” This massing of waters (i.e. confederation of people) shall be beaten back (as e.g. Ps. 93:3–5) and placed within bounds. V. 11, “The Sun and Moon stood still in their habitation.” Some think that there is here an allusion to Joshua (10:11, 12) and the miracle then performed, and that this is simply introduced to denote that by supernatural means these enemies are destroyed. But we go beyond this, viz., that it directly teaches that when He comes, far greater than Joshua, to destroy His enemies, that a miracle similar to Joshua’s will be performed. That very miracle, which above all others has been the standing jest of unbelief (which fails to see why it was wrought both in virtue of the nation’s Theocratic relationship and as an earnest of the supernatural power exerted when the Great Leader and Judge of the nation appears), will be repeated—as if in derision of man’s supposed superior knowledge—when unbelief has reached its culminated point and forms a dreadful confirmation of long-delayed but now experienced vengeance; seeing that nature itself, upon which unbelief so proudly and arrogantly relied, contributes to the certainty of their doom. In the light of various Scripture, and recognizing the similarity of these engagements, we dare not limit the direct statement of the passage, but believe, that as the Theocratic position, in the effort to overcome its enemies, was thus sustained, so it will be again, as asserted, when the same Theocratic ordering under the Mighty King Himself shall be maintained against the kings of the earth and their armies. Yea, we may anticipate even a greater miracle in connection with this one (comp. e.g. Isa. 24:23; Joel 3:15; Matt. 24:29, etc.). “At the light of thine arrows they went; and at the shining of thy glittering spear,” or, as some, “By their light, thine arrows went abroad; by their brightness, the lightning of thy spear,” comp. marg. read., etc.—holding up the idea of a mighty conqueror marching in “the greatness of his strength,” and overcoming all opposition, or performing this in the miraculous light of the sun, etc. V. 12. “Thou didst march through the land in thine indignation; Thou didst thresh the heathen in thine anger—with which it is only necessary to compare Isa. 63:1–5, Micah 4:11–13; 2 Thess. 1:7–10; Rev. 19, etc.—(Augustine has: “And in fury Thou shalt cast down the nations”). V. 13. “Thou wentest forth for the salvation (Isa. 35:10, 24:9) of Thy people, even for salvation (Rev. 12:10) with Thine anointed” (some MSS. and some copies of the Septuagint, see Clarke’s Com. loci, have “anointed ones”)—it is at this period that King Jesus comes the second time unto Salvation, Heb. 9:28, and delivers His people; and when He thus comes, He has His anointed ones (viz. the saints accounted worthy of rulership) to participate with Him in the infliction of judgments as stated, e.g. Ps. 149:6–9, Rev. 2:26–27, etc. “Thou woundest the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering (or making naked) the foundation unto the neck.” The confederation of the wicked under a leader or head is alluded to, and the utter subversion (Ps. 110:6) of the same; the house laid bare even to its foundations, destroying it root and branch (as e.g. Mal. 4) fully indicates it. V. 14. “Thou didst strike through with his staves the head of his villages: (or as Clarke: Thou hast pierced amid their tribes the head of their troops): they came out as a whirlwind to scatter me; their rejoicing was as to devour the poor secretly.” The same idea of the coming and overthrow of the last, gigantic confederation, is presented with the additional hint of the at first covert design of the house of the wicked, viz.—to overcome and root out the people of the Lord. V. 15. “Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heaps of great waters”—descriptive of the power of King Jesus, that, notwithstanding the greatness of this confederation, He can safely and triumphantly resist it, for it is expressly predicted of Him (Ps. 89:23–25) “I will beat down His foes before His face and plague them that hate him. But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with Him; and in my name shall His horn be exalted. I will set His hand also in the sea, and His right hand in the rivers.” V. 16. “When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice; rottenness entered into my bones and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble; when He cometh up unto the people, He will invade them (or, cut them in pieces) with His troops.” The prophet trembles at the description of this day of sore affliction and tribulation, of carnival, of pestilence and sword, of the vintage of blood, and prays for the “rest” (comp. 2 Thess. 1:7–8), the deliverance that Jesus will bestow (Rev. 11:18) upon His saints at His Coming with His “troops,” or “the armies of heaven.” The desire of the prophet to be among those who shall have “rest” in that day, thus showing that this Advent is future, at once disposes of a vast amount of erroneous interpretation fastened upon the prophecy. V. 17. “Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls.” This is connected with the same period of time (comp. Luther’s rendering) as something that shall also be witnessed. Nature itself shall be affected so that failures of fruit and crops, and plagues upon cattle, greatly tending to the hardships experienced, shall be sent upon the world. This corresponds with various other Scripture (Prop. 174) relating to the period of the Sec. Advent. Since men have set aside the God of Revelation and the Son of His Love, and have relied upon nature, making it their God, nature itself shall justly be employed in their signal punishment and in a manner so striking that it brings (Luke 21:25–26) “distress of nations with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.” Or, if the reader insists upon referring this verse, according to some versions, to something that the nation then and afterward was to realize, then the idea is, let all the threatenings of God relative to the Jewish nation be verified in their suffering and desolate condition yet God’s covenanted promises, after the season of affliction, shall not fail (see the connection with following). V. 18 “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation”; or as the Vulgate makes the reference: “Yet I in the Lord will rejoice, and will exult in Jesus my God—that is, either because of the “rest” obtained at this time of tribulation, or because God’s mercy, notwithstanding the evil brought upon the nation, will bring glorious restitution. V. 19. “The Lord God is my strength”—now indeed at the contemplation of those scenes in the future I may tremble through my weakness, but then God will save and strengthen me, so that I shall pass through them unscathed. Yea, more than this: “He will make my feet like hind’s feet and he will make me to walk upon my high places”—expressing the exaltation of the prophet at this day after (Rev. 11:18) the Advent of “the King of kings,” being then also a “King and Priest,” in the allotted “high places,” reigning with Christ, participating in His divine administrations and government. Thus passing over this prophecy and allowing the things pertaining to the ushering in of this Theocratic Kingdom to aid in its interpretation, we find that, instead of its referring to the past or instead of being simply a specimen of sublime writing (exhibiting “versatility of imagination, etc.), it presents us in the most forcible manner stern realities and joyful anticipations—“the treading of the wine-press” and “the salvation” of God’s people—connected with the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. The rebuke of Jesus, Luke 24:25, is applicable to many, who, with perverted notions of the Kingdom, fail to see how the prophets with one voice testify to the Coming and marvellous power of David’s Son and Lord. Dr. Keith in Harmony of Prophecy properly calls attention to this in comparing the Song of Moses, a number of Psalms, prophecies of Isa. this prayer of Hab., etc. with the Apocalypse and other Scripture, and in abundantly showing that a comparison of Scripture indicates how largely the spirit of prophecy deals with the things pertaining to the Sec. Advent.

Obs. 4. The doctrine of the Kingdom not only serves to explain what otherwise would be inexplicable (as e.g. the Married and Barren Woman, Prop. 118, references to the morning, Prop. 139, etc.), but aids materially in confirming renderings of the Scripture not correctly given in our version, in explaining the meaning of Scripture phraseology, and in interpreting passages upon which a variety of opinions have been offered. Having given examples of the first (as e.g. the end of the world, Prop. 140, etc.) and of the second (as e.g. the meaning of Judge and judgment-day Props. 132 and 133, etc.), it will be sufficient to illustrate the third advantage, viz.—that in the passages where a variety of conflicting views exist, the correct interpretation will be suggested. Thus, e.g. take the celebrated prophecy of the Shiloh, Gen. 49:10, “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come, and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be.” Amid the great diversity of renderings only a few of them, sustained also by excellent critical authority, are in correspondence with both the requirement of historical fact and of other predictions. Our version, together with many others, is not in agreement with fact, for the sceptre had departed from Judah long before Jesus came, and His First Advent occurred when the Jews were under the Roman dominion. Hence one of the following renderings, admissable according to the original must be adopted. The most preferable is given first as follows: “The sceptre shall not be removed from Judah nor the lawgiver from between his feet forever; for Shiloh will come, and to Him shall the gathering of the nations be” (so e.g. Lederer, Editor of the Israelite Indeed, Jan. No., 1863, p. 157, Rev. Wilson, Editor of Proph. Times, new series, June, 1875, p. 139). This translation is also that of the modern Jews who instead of following the masoretic notes give the signification “forever” (and which also belongs to it,) to the word usually translated “until”—the latter word being a favorite as it was supposed to point out the first Advent, etc. Taking this rendering we have still a strong Messianic prophecy (made the stronger because perfectly accordant with historical fact,) but directing the eye of faith onward to the Second Advent. It then teaches, that although (implying what really occurred, the overthrow of royalty,) the dominion or power shall be taken away from Judah, yet it should not be “forever,” i.e. perpetual, for the Messiah would come and re-establish it so gloriously that other nations would recognize and acknowledge His sway. It is simply concisely stating a fact, which Ezek. 21:26, 27 has amplified, viz. that the regal power would be taken away from Judah, and remain thus until the Christ comes to restore it: “Remove the diadem and take off the crown.… I will overturn, overturn, overturn it, and it shall be no more, until He come whose right it is and to Him will I give it.” We live in the days of fulfilment, but are directed to believe (as our entire argument from covenant, prophecy, and history proves) that this withdrawal of Kingly rule shall not be “forever;” but that the removed sceptre, and suspended law-giving authority—the crown profaned by casting to the ground Ps. 89:39—shall again be restored when the throne and kingdom of David shall be re-established by the Coming David’s Son and Lord. The next rendering is that of Bh. Newton (On the Proph. p. 50), following Bh. Sherlock, who translates: “The tribe-ship” (i.e. the rod or staff which the word usually rendered “sceptre” also denotes the ensign of a tribe, hence the tribe itself as under one rod, etc.) shall not depart from Judah, nor a Judge from between his feet, until Shiloh come and to Him shall be the obedience of the people.” This, while open to objections, yet, if it can be referred to the tribeship of Judah (comp. Bush on Gen. who advocates it), would sustain fact, viz. the distinction of being a tribe and of having expounders of the law down to the First Advent. The latter clause would only then, probably, refer to the Sec. Advent, seeing that the nation was dispersed and the saints were scattered over the Roman Empire, etc. Kurtz (His, of Old Cov., vol. 2, p. 27 etc.) gives the following: “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s rod from the place between His feet, till He attain to rest, and the nations obey Him.” Several other versions are given, varying but little from the last, and the impression is largely gaining ground among the ablest of critics, that the prophecy contains the prediction that the Sceptre shall in some way be identified with Judah, still in the future, when this sovereignty shall command the obedience of the nations. This accords fully with the general analogy of Scripture on this point; Kurtz, Baumgarten, Hävernick, in brief, a large number of able writers declare, whatever inchoate fulfilment there may be in the past, that Jacob’s predictions to his sons respecting “the end of days” have reference to “the closing period, the end of days, the time of fulfilment, in a word, the Messianic era,” and hence largely pertain to the future. Of course, Millenarians, comparing Scripture with Scripture, have always taken this position, viz. that at the future restoration of the nation these promises will be abundantly verified, and pre-eminent among them the one to Judah, owing to his special nearness to the King. Whiston (Boyle’s Lect. vol. 2. p. 311) presents the general opinion when thus referring the fulfilment to the Sec. Advent and restoration of the nation, because if we limit these prophecies to the past then indeed history does not sustain their grandeur and extent, and especially because in the prophecies—more detailed—respecting this nation (Props. 111, 112, 113, 114), precisely such an exalted fulfilment is again and again declared to await it in the future.

Obs. 5. Balaam’s prophecy, which has provoked the ridicule of unbelief, will find its strongest support in the Theocratic relationship of the Jewish nation, by which even an enemy was made, unwillingly, to testify to the same. The miraculous intervention sprung out of the fact, that God was then the acknowledged earthly King of the nation, and that it was eminently fitting for one outside of the nation to predict the irresistible power of the Theocracy and the certain overthrow of its enemies. Hence the repetition of it, enforces the idea of its certainty to conquer—however long delayed—all opposition. The remarkable part of the prophecy is, that, aside from the general affirmation bearing upon this point, it even passes from the present—as if foreseeing the downfall of the Theocracy and the miserable condition of the nation for centuries, and yet not allowing the mouth of an enemy to proclaim it—to the far distant future, and enters into details respecting the triumphant Theocracy then established with this same elect people who then shall overcome a still more formidable confederation, etc. It will richly repay us to direct our attention to portions of the prophecy illustrative of this passing from the present to the future,—from the existing Theocratic ordering to that of the future one under the Messiah—for it will confirm the arguments adduced by Kurtz, Hengstenberg, Newton, and many others, in favor of its Messianic character.
Num. ch. 23, after announcing that Israel is held in special favor by God (owing to this Theocratic relationship,) so that he cannot curse them, Balaam adds: v. 9. “So, the people shall dwell alone and shall not be reckoned among the nations.” The Targum of Onkelos: “So! the people by themselves are to possess the world, and among the nations they shall not be judged with consumption.” Dr. Kurtz (His. of Old Cov. vol. 3, p. 426): “Behold, it is a people dwelling apart, not reckoning itself among the heathen.” This has direct reference to the elect condition of the nation, and which election we have shown continues and will yet be wonderfully manifested in the special exaltation and supremacy of the nation at the Second Advent, Props. 24, 68, 114, etc. To confine this to the past is taking but a low estimate of the elect position of the nation. Then follows v. 10: “Who can count the dust of Jacob and number the fourth part of Israel,” or, as the Targum of Onk., “Who can number the dust of the house of Israel, of whom it is said, they shall increase as the dust of the earth”—which evidently relates to that still future mighty increase when the Kingdom is restored. “Let me die the death of the righteous and let my last end be like his,” or as the Targ. Onk.—“Let mine be the death of His truthful ones, and let my end be like theirs”*—expressive of the exaltation awaiting those who die in faith and are raised up to the distinguishing Kingship and priesthood under the Messiah, or, of the supremacy and dominion in general, awaiting the nation under the Messiah in which the resurrected saints enjoy a pre-eminence. Then stating the reason why He must bless the nation, another is added, v. 21, “He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath He seen perverseness in Israel: the Lord His God is with Him, and the shout of a King is among them,” or as Kurtz: “He beholdeth not iniquity in Jacob, and seeth no wrong in Israel; Jehovah His God is with Him and the shout of a King is in the midst of Him”—that is, as freely predicted, God in His abundant mercy will forgive the past sinfulness of the nation, blot out its transgressions (comp. Micah 7:19, even the rejection and death of the Messiah), receive it to His favor as if it had not been guilty of sin, be specially present with it, and even manifest the Theocratic King in its midst. And this the more so, seeing that the righteous seed of Abraham together with the righteous King at the head, insures the blessings of the Most High. In v. 24, it is predicted: “Behold the people shall rise up as a great lion (or Kurtz, lioness) and lift up himself as a young lion; he shall not lie down until he eat of the prey and drink the blood of the slain,” and as repeated (ch. 24:8, 9) “He hath as it were the strength of the unicorn; he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones and pierce them through (or break) with his arrows. He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion; who shall stir him up?” This language reminds us of Jacob’s prediction (Gen. 49:9) “Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the prey, my son, thou art gone up; he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?” If the reader will refer to Props. 115, 123, 163, etc., he will find that this—however partially fulfilled in the past—is a distinguishing characteristic of the future. It is in view of this future overthrow of the enemies of God at the Sec. Advent, that the King Himself, in view of the important part assumed by Him, is designated “The Lion of the tribe of Judah”; now a Lamb but then a Lion because the executioner of delayed vengeance.

Micah 5:4; Isa. 31:4, and other passages will be fulfilled on a scale that woe betide the people upon whom this Lion shall fall as a prey. Balaam describes the future honored position of the nation in the words ch. 24:5, etc.: “How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel;” (which the Targ. Onk. has: “How goodly is thy land O Jacob, and the house of thy habitation, O Israel!”) “As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the riverside, as the trees of lignaloes which the Lord hath planted and as cedar trees beside the waters.” How this corresponds with the Millennial descriptions has already been sufficiently noticed. V. 7. “He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters, and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted.” We give other renderings: The Targ. Onkelos: “The king anointed from his sons shall increase, and have dominion over many nations; his king shall be mightier than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted”—Dr. Hales, following the Sep.—“There shall come forth a man of his seed, and shall rule over many nations; and his king shall be higher than Gog, and his kingdom shall be exalted”; Dr. Boothroyd: “Water shall flow from the urn of Jacob, and his seed shall become as many waters; their king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom more highly exalted.” All renderings are united in the main idea, viz. that the King over this nation shall be above all other kings (for, as Kurtz, His. of Old Cov. vol. p. 437, following Moses Gerundensis, p. 65 Newton On Proph., shows Agag is a general or official name of all the kings), which at once recalls Ps. 89:27 “I will make Him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.” His Kingdom is to be over all the earth. So Messianic was this regarded even by the Jews, that to this part of Balaam’s prophecy the paraphrase was annexed (Targ. Palestine), “The Word of the Lord their God is their help and the trumpets of the King Messiah resound among them,” or (Jerusalem Targ.) “The Word of the Lord is with them, and the trumpet of their glorious King protecteth them,” or again (Jerus. Targ.) “Their King will arise from among their children, and their Redeemer will be of them and among them; and he will gather their captives from the cities of their adversaries, and their children shall have rule among the peoples. And the Kingdom of the King Messiah shall be made great; stronger is He than Saul who vanquished Agag the King of Amalkaah” (so Targ. Onk. “From them their King shall arise and their Redeemer be of them and among them, etc.) We now come to the most noted part in which Balaam says, “I will advertise what this people shall do to thy people in the latter days,” viz., verses 17–19—“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 rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab (marg. read.—smite through the princes of Moab), and destroy all the children of Sheth (marg. read.—Tumult). And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for His enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly. Out of Jacob shall come He that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city.” Targum Onkelos: “I see Him but not now; I behold Him but not nigh. When a King shall arise out of Jacob, and the Messiah be anointed from Israel, He will slay the princes of Moab, and reign over all the children of men. And Edom shall be an inheritance, and Seir a possession of His adversaries; but Israel shall prosper in riches. One will descend from the house of Jacob, who will destroy him that escapeth from the city of the peoples.” Kurtz renders: “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not nigh. Out of Jacob goeth forth a Star, and out of Israel riseth up a Sceptre, and shattereth Moab right and left, and destroyeth all the sons of tumult. And Edom becometh His possession, and Seir becometh His possession, His enemies, and Israel doeth mighty things. A Ruler riseth out of Jacob, and He destroyeth what remaineth, out of the cities.” It is simply a matter of amazement that any one who professes to believe in the Word of God, should confine the fulfilment of this to Saul or to David, or even to the First Advent, seeing that later prophets, one after the other, take up the same prediction declaring the Coming of a mighty King who shall wonderfully destroy the enemies confederated against Him and obtain widespread dominion. It is faithless to limit it, as some do, when the identical coming, overthrow of foes (same word designative and descriptive of enemies being used), and reign is sung by David, reiterated by the prophets following down to Malachi, then taken up by the apostles, and finally specially revealed in the last Revelation. Hengstenberg well observes that “the star is so natural an image and symbol of the greatness and splendor of a ruler, that nearly all nations have employed it;” and Kurtz justly adds: “The star out of Jacob evidently denotes the Israelitish monarch in its highest personal culmination, which was in the person of the Messiah,” and that this was so understood by the Jews appears from the Targums, etc. Eben Ezra (as quoted by Dr. Etheridge in Targums) says that many Hebrew commentators agree in explaining it of the Messiah. (We give one by way of illustration: Rabbi Moses ben Maimon remarks: “ ‘Destroy all the children of Sheth.’ This is the King Messiah of whom it is written, Ps. 72:8, “He shall have dominion from sea to sea.’ ”) How widely this idea was extended is evident from the pretended Messiah, Barkokab, who, in Hadrian’s reign, derived his prestige from the fact that his name, “the son of the star,” was supposed to be a fulfilment of this prediction. Jesus justly claims to be the Star, and conjoins with it the additional fact that He is “the Morning Star,” which ushers in the morning of the glorious day of the Lord Jesus, thus Himself linking it with His future revelation. Indeed, owing to the sinfulness of the Jewish nation, the fulfilment was postponed from the First to the Second Advent, when He comes to smite His enemies and establish the covenanted Kingdom. This will be a terrible time to the wicked, and hence Balaam adds, v. 23, “Alas! who shall live when God doeth this?” which the Targ. of Onk. renders: “Woe to the wicked who may live when God doeth this!” the Targum of Palestine: “Woe to them who are alive at the time the Word of the Lord shall be revealed, to give the good reward to the righteous, and to take vengeance on the wicked, to smite the nations and the kings, and bring these things upon them!” and the Jerus. Targum: “Woe to him who is alive when the Word of the Lord setteth Himself to give the good reward to the just and to take vengeance on the wicked!” How fearful, can be seen by glancing over the description of it given by Malachi (ch. 4), or Revelation (ch. 19), and numerous confirmatory prophecies, when He who is the Word of God, the King of kings, comes to save His own people and to utterly confound all His enemies. Balaam’s prediction, coming when the first confederation arises against the Theocracy, directs the eye of faith onward to the time when the last great confederation shall be broken by the Theocratic King.

Obs. 6. This doctrine of the Kingdom confirms the already overpowering reasons given for the retention and inspiration of the later prophecies of Isaiah, seeing that they form a consistent outgrowth of covenant and promise, incorporating precisely that which is requisite to carry out the Theocratic ordering in the Redemption of the world. It also maintains the integrity of Daniel in this respect, showing how his prophecies stand consistently related with all others pertaining to the Kingdom, and to a constant and even present fulfilment establishing historically its inspiration. It confirms the force and propriety of many of the ancient Messianic promises, which modern Jews and destructive criticism would apply to something else. It aids in ascertaining the meaning of words (i.e. when several meanings are presented, by applying analogy in connection with the other tests), in interpreting the figurative and symbolical language, in applying some of the types, and in reconciling apparent contradictions. In brief, it is the testimony of every one who has given this subject any careful study, that it is such “a solvent of difficulties” that its application has given great joy of heart and delighted surprise in discovering the import of passages which otherwise proved either to be unsatisfactory or dark. Among many others, Riley, in The Restoration, makes this confession, and proceeds to show how our doctrine removes difficulties, as in the promises of inheriting and possessing the earth, in the parables, in the resurrection, in the renewal of creation, in the scene described by Matt. 25:31–46 (viz., in the ground of approval and of condemnation—for instead of the heart, the motives being examined, external, outward deeds are considered, etc.), in watching for the Advent, and in the wonderful results of Redemption, culminating in the salvation of the race as a race. But these and other points having been duly considered under their proper heading no more need be added.*

Obs. 7. This doctrine also aids in our understanding the allusions and language of the early Fathers of the Church. If it is requisite, in order to understand any author, to enter into his spirit and to comprehend the reasoning which leads him to definite conclusions, this is equally true of the primitive writers. Without a knowledge of the Covenant promises, the prophecies based upon them, etc., it is simply impossible to do justice to certain expressions and even doctrinal positions assumed by the Fathers.*

  PROPOSITION 193. This doctrine of the Kingdom meets, and consistently removes, the objections brought against Christianity by the Jews.

This is a wide field, and we can only briefly point out how, from our standpoint, a consistent answer can be given to the objections urged by Jewish unbelief against the reception of Jesus Christ.

Obs. 1. The student, if observant, must have noticed a remarkable feature in the history of this nation, viz., that immediately and some time after the First Advent many Jews were converted to Christianity, forming even churches composed almost entirely of them. The history of the first and second centuries shows that it was nothing unusual for Jews to embrace Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah. But gradually such conversions became rarer, until they either entirely ceased or formed exceptionable cases. If we inquire into the causes of this change, it will be found that it resulted almost entirely in the departure of the large body of the Church from the Millenarian ground occupied by the early Church. The Origenistic, Augustinian, and succeeding theology discarded what was pronounced to be “the Jewish” element, and engrafted another, the Gentile, into its place. The result was seen in its contracting Jewish conversions and in its confirming Jewish unbelief. On the other hand, a return to the theology of the early Church invites the conversion of the Jews, seeing that it materially aids in removing the principal objections which hold them in unbelief.*

Obs. 2. The principle of interpretation adopted by us, especially in reference to the prophecies, at once commends itself to the Jew. We do not, dare not, divide the prophecies, which describe one connected series of events, by the introduction of a new and most arbitrary mode of interpretation, which is not indicated in the text. Thus e.g. take the predictions relating to the Jewish nation, and interpret the one part referring to its tribulation, desolation, etc., literally, and then, when the prophecies go on without any sign of a change to speak of the same nation, proceed to spiritualize the rest and apply it to us Gentiles, we do a violence to the text and manifest injustice to the nation of whom the things are specially predicted. And yet, rejecting the interpretation of the early Church, which logically held these prophecies to be continuous in their relation to the same people, this has been the very posture of the Church, with here and there an honorable exception, for many long, long centuries. To such an extent has this been carried that it is almost a proverb that curses belong to the Jews and blessings to the Gentiles. It is needless to say how such an interpretation would necessarily affect a Jew; for he, with the Old. Test. in his hands, however much he may overlook the predictions of a suffering Messiah, still clings to the triumphant Messianic predictions with which, if there is any meaning in language, his nation is connected. The Orthodox Jews confess the sovereignty of God, admit that through sinfulness (not that, however, of rejecting Jesus) they have been cast out, etc., and, realizing in their past history the sad truthfulness and reality of prophetic announcements, still fondly anticipate a further fulfilment of the same Word—now finding its mate in their condition—in the removal of the curse and the bestowment of blessing. The Reformed or Rationalistic having given up the hope of a Messiah as predicted (in fact discarding almost everything but a belief in God and His unity), are also utterly unprepared, owing to the spiritualizing away of the predictions pertaining to their nation, to give credit to the system of Christianity. Eagerly availing themselves of the criticisms of Strauss, Bauer, Renan, etc., they triumphantly point to the prophecies, to the early Church doctrine, and then to the immensely transformed view now so generally entertained by the Church, and claim, justly too, that if the fulfilment attributed to those prophecies exhaust them in the way believed, then there is a gross violation of language, etc. Both Orthodox and Rationalistic deem the principle of interpretation thus upheld irrelevant and untrustworthy, making the Old. Test, to predict on its plain surface what shall never be realized in the form announced. The Jew, however, cannot object to our system of interpretation, charging it with inconsistency, seeing that we apply the prophecies pertaining to their nation continuously; not only receiving the temporary rejection, the punishment inflicted, but also fully admitting the importance of the nation, its near (Theocratic) relation to God, and its ultimate restoration and triumph just as the grammatical sense predicts.*

Obs. 2. The doctrine of election, as held by us, removes Jewish prejudice. The Jew finds in the Old Test. a clear announcement of the elect condition of the Jewish nation, and its election practically confirmed by the Theocratic and Theocratic-Davidic arrangement. He reads, that, however much the nation may be punished for its sinfulness, and however individuals of the nation may forfeit blessings coming through this election, yet God will never utterly forsake it; but will, when the time has arrived, show His own faithfulness to Covenanted promises, His respect to His own election, and reinstate them in a position by which the election is fully vindicated. He even points to the oath of God as confirmatory of all this, and resting in the most solemnly pledged Word of God, rejects the anti-scriptural views largely incorporated with professing Christianity, and with them, wrongfully supposing them to be part of it, Christianity itself. The notion that the nation has forfeited its election, which is now simply conferred on individuals, chiefly Gentiles who remain such, is a stumbling-block in the way of the Jew. Our doctrine entirely meets his objections, seeing that we cordially acknowledge this Jewish election; that we insist upon it that notwithstanding their temporary cast-off condition, and their blindness, yet “as concerning the Gospel, they are enemies for your sakes, but as touching the election they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes, Rom. 11:28; that we distinctly prove, that, owing to this very election, the Gentiles, in order to participate in the promises covenanted to the Jews, must be grafted in, adopted as part of the elect nation, virtually becoming the seed of Abraham and thus inherit the promises with Abraham; and that, when this incorporation of Gentiles (produced by Jewish defection) has been sufficiently carried out to raise up a seed unto Abraham (for Theocratic purposes) then will the elect Jewish nation be restored to its covenanted Theocratic-Davidic relation, thus vindicating and establishing its election before all nations. (Comp. e.g. Props. 24, 57, 61, 63, 111, 112, etc.)*

Obs. 3. Our doctrine has no sympathy with the destructive criticism, which even believers in their apologies present—that, on the ground of “Jewish prejudices,” “Jewish ideas,” etc.—rejects some portions of the Gospels or Epistles or Apocalypse. This has an unhappy influence upon the Jews, as is evinced by their adopting it so largely and asking the question proposed by Levi (Letters to Dr. Priestly, p. 82), How are we sure that the remainder is authentic?” While it is a matter of surprise that Jews should accept of the results of a criticism based on prejudice against their ancestors (i.e. their views), yet they avail themselves of it as a retaliation against the system of Christianity which generally indorses the same prejudice. The doctrine defended by us has no need of such mutilation of the Word to accommodate it to modern notions of the fitness of things, and certainly not when derived from antipathy to Jewish views. It does not cast contempt upon the faith of ancient and pious Jews who were satisfied with the literal, grammatical sense: it does not denounce such as in error or in holding to a “materialistic husk” utterly unworthy of modern reception; it does not reflect on the intelligence of prophet and people, who believed in covenants and promises just as they were given; it does not set itself up in direct antagonism to “Jewish conceptions,” and denounce them as so “carnal” as to be unfit for our enlightened age; but it receives the Word just as prophet and people did, as Jews who are represented as specially favored by God did, as Jews who were preachers of the promises did, and finds no necessity existing to decry, in order to establish itself, God’s ancient people, making them to live in darkness and entertaining a vain faith and hope. Surely the manner in which our doctrine manifests such high respect for the intelligent piety of these ancient worthies, indicates the wisdom and logical accurateness of their expectations, preserves and elevates the character of their faith and hope, and does this all on a true scriptural basis—this ought, in the nature of the case, to find more favor with the Jew than those theories which degrade his forefathers, while under direct teaching from heaven, into believers of fables. Admitting the idle tradition existing in the nation obtained by adding largely to the Word, yet so far as the Covenants, both Abrahamic and Davidic are concerned, there was an undoubted correct apprehension entertained concerning them by the nation at large, and especially by the Jews mentioned in the Scriptures. This is seen by the general belief on the subject, and which was perpetuated in the first Christian churches, uncontradicted by its founders. Thus, instead of mutilating Scripture under the plea of their being “too Jewish,” we find this very element a most powerful and indispensable argument in favor of their inspiration. Hence this feature should commend itself to every Jew, who feels that his national connection is worthy of defence, that his ancestors were not a set of blind, deluded believers; and, instead of arraying himself (as many now do) on the side of those who are engaged in the work of lowering and degrading his noble and eminent forefathers, he should rather be inclined to those who show forth the praises due to an expectant, believing people as found in the Scriptures, even if it does include the testimony of the New Test. in its entirety.*

Obs. 4. The main leading objection against Jesus Christ is met in a more satisfactory manner through our doctrines. The Jew is especially hostile to the divinity of Jesus; and the present Rationalistic attacks, notwithstanding their lowering of Jewish character and doctrine, are hailed and accepted on this account with delight by multitudes of them. Now aside from the usual proofs assigned for the divinity of Jesus, our interpretation of Scripture furnishes others which must, if duly considered, have considerable weight. For we plainly prove from the Scriptures, that the restored Theocracy, as predicted, demands a God-man, a divine-human person to sit on David’s throne and rule over his kingdom. He must be One, as Covenant and prophets declare, who reigns forever, who has unlimited power, who is both David’s Son and David’s Lord, who can perform mighty wonders and exert Supernatural power in restoring all things. We show that the perfection, highest consistency, and beauty of a Theocracy is thus manifested in the very form so desirable and necessary for Redemptive purposes. If a Theocracy, such as the Old Test. portrays would be erected under a David’s Son lacking the divine attributes ascribed to Him, then there would be a failure, in so far, of God’s own Word. This is fully admitted by the concessions of ancient rabbis, who understood the prophecies on this point just as we present it. That the prophecies plainly teach the divinity of Jesus, especially as associated with the Theocracy, is apparent from this faith of the Jews, so that Lederer (himself a Jew, in the Israelite Indeed, Aug. 1866, p. 37) says: “there are many passages in ancient Hebrew writings which plainly show that the great men of Israel believed in the Sonship of the Messiah, not in the sense in which modern rabbis would make us believe, viz., in that sense in which Israel is sometimes called ‘my firstborn son,’ but in the real. Divine Sonship, the incarnation of the God-head in the flesh of David’s Son. We will quote but one passage: Rabbi Hunah (Midrash Shocher Tob on Prov. ch. 19) says, ‘Messiah has six names, viz., Yihon, Tsemach, Menahem, David, Shiloh, and Jehovah Tsidkenn.’ ” Such evidence could be multiplied, but is unnecessary to the student. Our entire argument makes the mighty King not only “the Branch of David” (i.e. his Son) but “the Branch of Jehovah” (i.e. His Son) and shows that a Theocracy brought to its perfected state, bringing God and man in union in a plan of government, necessarily implies it, which is distinctly affirmed by the duration, extent, works, power, results, etc. of His reign. (See Prop, 183, 184) prophets have predicted of him.” But he fails to tell us how a mere man can fulfil the requirements of the prophets, in the restitution of all things and the realization of Millennial descriptions. He overlooks the simple fact that this Messiah is to be immeasurably superior to Moses in every respect, and that in numerous predictions what is ascribed to this Messiah is fully ascribed to God Himself. He conveniently passes by the ancient belief of the Jews and engrafts another faith, as e.g. see Prop. 159, Obs. 2 (comp. Props. 199, 200), where it is shown that the Jews believed that this Messiah would be “the eternal King,” and His Kingdom “the eternal Kingdom of David,” etc., which cannot possibly be asserted of a mere mortal, seeing that such perpetuity necessarily embraces the divine. The study of the nature, design, etc., of the Theocracy, as it is to be restored, will inevitably lead to the firm belief that God Himself in the Person of David’s Son is the Theocratic King. How this wonderfully exalts the King and the nation, need not be pointed out, and yet, is it not strange that the very feature needed to crown the Theocratic ordering with its highest, most desirable excellence should be objected to so strenuously by the Jew? Indeed it is for this reason that the nation has brought upon itself for so many centuries the dread punishment of God. For let it be considered that nowhere is it asserted in direct terms that the nation shall be driven from the land and scattered among the nations for the rejection of the Messiah, but this is directly predicted as a result of their rejection of God as their Ruler, etc. Now we ask the Jew how thus rejected God and incurred the fearful destruction of the temple, of Jerusalem, of the nation, etc., unless it be in the person of Jesus, as, He expressly claimed. If the Jewish theory (or rather Rabbinical) is correct, then the rejection of an alleged impostor ought to have brought them the favor and blessing of God, but instead of this the exact reverse—as predicted by this Messiah—has occurred. To what conclusion can we come excepting that in this Messiah they rejected God Himself, the Theocratic King.

Obs. 5. The doctrine meets the more modern Jewish objection urged against the resurrection of Jesus. For it points significantly to the prophets (as e.g. Isa. 9:6, 7; Ps. 72:7, 17; Ps. 89:35–37; Ps. 104:4, etc.) which teach, that David’s Son is immortal in that His reign endures forever, and that with Him are associated the pious dead, etc. Then it refers to the expectations of pious Jews before the Advent, who held (John 12:34), to such an immortal Messiah, and such a resurrection of dead ones, and shows how, as the apostles explain by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus now never dies again and how, also, through that resurrection a pledge is given that the prophets will be fulfilled in the resurrection of others. The resurrection is proven to be a necessary and indispensable preparation for, and adjunct of, the Theocracy. How else can David’s Son reign as the prophets describe unless immortal? And how can man born of a woman become immortal unless he, in some way, triumph over death? And what greater triumph is required than that ascribed to Jesus? Hence, when the resurrection is regarded as a part of the Divine Plan, in its prerequisite relationship to the Theocracy, it is the very thing which ought to be manifested in order to fulfil the prophets and give us undoubted faith in such fulfilment (comp. Props. 46–50, 125).*

Obs. 6. It brings in with greater force and pertinency the necessity of the Messiah making a sacrifice of Himself for sin. Aside from the usual arguments presented, and the appeals made to the predictions of a suffering Saviour by the prophets, and fulfilled in Jesus, it specially directs attention to the necessity of His death in order that the Abrahamic Covenant itself may (as Paul argues) be sealed or confirmed. By the efficacy of this death, abundant provision is made for the ample realization of the covenant: an immortal King is provided who is able to save—through Him all that believe, can and will be saved as predicted, for He now has power to forgive sin, to save from the results of sin, to raise up the dead, etc. The entire spirit of the Old Test. evinces that the Covenant can never be fulfilled without such a sacrifice, for it contemplates a restoration, ample and complete, to forfeited blessings. To make the Covenant available, provision must first be made to meet the sinfulness and results of sin even in believers, which the typical sacrifices could not effect. This is strikingly and effectively done in Him who is to be the Head of the Theocracy. Our argument does not simply ascribe salvation through Christ, but salvation through Him in and for this Theocratic elevation. He is indeed the born King of the nation, being the promised seed, and who so worthy (being sinless as the prophets predict) to make atonement, to effect reconciliation, to stand as mediator as this King. For, if the Jew will but consider what this Theocracy demands, if ever realized as prophecy represents it, such as moral purity, the triumph over the grave, the presence of God, the return to an Edenic state, the removal of the curse, etc., he must see that such an important transformation can never take place unless He, through and in whom God again condescends to act in the capacity of an earthly ruler, is both sinless Himself, and has power to act as Mediator and Redeemer of sinful man. It is through the King that the blessings of Redemption enjoyed under a restored Theocratic rule are to be realized, so all the prophets with one voice testify—and Jesus Christ as described in the New Test., meets in every respect the requirements of prophecy, in person, in character, in work already performed, in station, in promise, etc., preparative to the ultimate end. If in the history of Jesus, coming as Messiah, there was no provision for sin, no purchase of immortality, no triumph over death, no recognition and exaltation by the Father, an important, yea deadly, flaw would exist, and the Jew would then be justified in turning away from him, saying that the Messiah really promised by the prophets would exhibit His ability to deliver in person and work; but now since these are abundantly evidenced in Jesus, is he justified in turning away from Him? Indeed, if he reflects how shortly after the rejection of Jesus, who manifested in person and work His perfect adaptedness to the Theocratic Kingship, the nation guilty of rejecting Him was so terribly smitten and scattered, he finds that his own reason alleged for the overthrow of the nation, viz. on account of sinfulness against or rejection of Jehovah, is fully verified in Jesus; because, unless Jehovah be regarded as identified with the person of Jesus, it would, owing to their belief in and worship of Jehovah in God the Father, be improper to say that Jehovah was rejected by them, excepting it be through Christ. In considering the claims of Jesus, it certainly ought to be of weight, that the rejection of Him and of His sacrifice was followed by a terrible overthrow of the nation and a continued subjection, as He and the prophets predicted, under Gentile domination, down to the present day. It confirms the validity of His Theocratic Kingship, and the preciousness of His sacrifice.*

Obs. 7. The Kingdom as explained by the prevailing theories is a stumbling-block to the Jew. With the Old Test. delineation of the Kingdom, its Theocratic and covenant relationship to their nation, its overthrow and promised restoration under the Messiah, etc., it is impossible to move them to receive a Kingdom which is widely different from the covenanted one, and of which professed believers are so uncertain that it is the subject of many and contradictory meanings and interpretations. The Kingdom that the Old Test. plainly predicts for him, is one that when established is so openly visible and associated with the rebuilt throne and Kingdom of David, that he rejects as utterly untrustworthy the interpretation which declares that the ruined tabernacle of David shall never be restored in the sense contained grammatically by the language of the prophets. This spiritualizing of the covenant promises and prophecies pertaining to the Kingdom, and thus making them to mean what the fancy of the interpreter can apply to the present dispensation or Church, has had a powerful influence upon the Jewish mind, and has materially aided in confirming unbelief. For, when he looks at the Church, or at this age, he finds no such a Messianic Kingdom as his prophets promised, no such a glorious restoration of his nation under Davidic rule as the Spirit predicted, and hence, influenced by the usurped claim of the Christian Church, and warped by the apparent antagonism, he turns away from Christianity itself. Our doctrine, on the other hand, gives a simple, unfettered, consistent statement of the promised Kingdom, receiving it just as once established, just as incorporated with David’s line and people, without changing the language into something else; and thus by its unity of purpose confirms the truthfulness of the grammatical sense believed in by the pious Jews. Hence it is better adapted as evidenced by the history of the primitive Church, to meet and obviate the objections of the Jews.*

Obs. 8. How poorly in effectiveness the arguments of the Jew have been met by later Christian apologists, is self-evident if we glance over the history of apologetics. The line of reply adopted by Origen in his answer to Celsus, has been substantially readopted and repeated down to the present day. Thus e.g. to illustrate: when Celsus from a Jewish standpoint (b. 2, ch. 29) urges the objection that “the prophets declare the Coming One to be a mighty Potentate, Lord of all nations and armies “and deduces from the failure of such a manifestation of Jesus that He is not the One predicted, Origen answers correctly when he shows that there are two Advents, a first and a second, separated by an interval of time, and that the Coming of Jesus as such a Potentate is to be referred to the Sec. Advent, but he does not really break the force of the objection when he portrays the results of such a Sec. Coming to be the winding up of all sublunary affairs etc., while the prophets describe a very different state of affairs, viz. a great glorious reign over the restored Jewish nation, and the nations here on the earth—to follow such an Advent. The main point of the objection, that of the reign of the Messiah as predicted, is not answered by this mode of reasoning and cannot be met by it. On the other hand, our doctrine satisfactorily meets it, showing how this reign, as earthly Potentate is postponed until the Sec. Advent when the covenants and the prophets will be fulfilled in the manner delineated by the Word. The Jewish expectations, drawn legitimately from the prophecies, are by the Apostles linked with the Sec. Advent, and the very phraseology growing out of these expectations are thus adopted by them without the least intimation that they are to be understood differently from common usage. Hence our view, instead of denying those legitimate Jewish deductions from the prophets, confirms them as indispensable to the fulfilment of the Word.*

Obs. 9. But as our object is briefly to indicate how our doctrine fairly meets and removes Jewish objections, it is not necessary to enter into additional details. The attentive reader will not fail to notice, that in many points it is well adapted for this purpose. The spirit of it calls upon the Gentiles not to be “high-minded,” to consider that their call (as predicted even by Moses) is the result of Jewish unbelief, but which unbelief shall finally give place to a cordial reception of Jesus Christ, when the times of the Gentiles have run their allotted course. It is disposed to allow and defend the distinctive position of the Jewish nation, the necessity of identification by engrafting with it to secure the blessings of Redemption covenanted to it, and even the supremacy of that nation after the restoration, in virtue of its Theocratic position. It sympathizes most cordially with the down-trodden Jerusalem and the scattered nation, never forgetting that the glory of the adopted Gentiles and that of the Kingdom itself can never be realized, as promised, until Jerusalem and its nation experience the returned mercy of God and His Christ. It vindicates Jesus Christ and His teaching from the Jewish ground itself, and thus commends Jesus as the true fulfiller of the prophets.*

Obs. 10. Our doctrine brings forth with prominency the idea that the Messiah is a temporal Deliverer. With all the inestimable spiritual blessings, the deliverance from sin and the results of sin, we have added as inseparably connected a remarkable temporal deliverance. This is so identified with the restoration of the Jewish nation and the re-establishment of the Theocracy by the Messiah, that it is folly to deny the expectations and hopes of the pious Jews and primitive Christians on this point. If language has any definite meaning, and if God will ever fulfil His convenants and promises as written, then glorious temporal deliverance must, in the nature of the case, be incorporated. In the “Ageda” a meeting of Jewish Rabbis in the year 1650, held in the plain of that name, about ninety miles from Buda, the question was discussed whether the Messiah had come and was decided in the negative. The reasons given for this conclusion—and which have the greatest weight still with the Jewish mind—were based on the fact that the prophet linked the restoration and prosperity of the Jewish nation, the restoration and exaltation of the Davidic throne and Kingdom with the Coming of the Messiah. As these events had not yet transpired, as the nation has not yet met with temporal deliverance, etc., it was assumed that the Messiah had not yet come, thus overlooking that the same prophets predict a previous rejection of the same Messiah, a consequent continued fall of the nation, a call of the Gentiles, and after a long endurance of punishment the return of the Messiah for promised deliverance. They, unfortunately, only allow a portion of Scripture its due weight, and ignore, although sustained by historical fact, the remainder. They also refuse to examine the claims of Jesus to this title, and how this very temporal deliverance, so long and ardently prayed for, is postponed to the Sec. Advent. We can readily see, however, what decided influence the prevailing Christian theology which denies all this, although plainly covenanted and predicted, must have had in deciding these Jews to reject Jesus as “the Messiah.” For if, as many Christians declare, this Jesus is not to restore the Jewish nation and elevate it in honor and power; if He is not to re-establish the Davidic throne and Kingdom, exalting it in dominion and glory over the earth, then it necessarily and inevitably follows that Jesus is not the Messiah covenanted to David and predicted by the prophets. But if, on the other hand, it can be shown and proven (as our Propositions logically and scripturally do) that this Jesus is to return and perform this work, then it also legitimately follows that the Jew has no excuse in rejecting Him as the Christ. This Jesus will vet come as promised, and then the full parallel between Him and Moses (Acts 7:35–37; Deut. 18:15–18) will be brought out, a Deliverer of the nation and the instrument through whom a Theocracy is established. Our view, therefore, urges the Jew to cleave to the most precious oath-bound promises relating to his nation and the Messiah; it confirms the faith of the nation in its ultimate deliverance and glory through the power of this returning Jesus.*

  PROPOSITION. 194. This doctrine of the Kingdom materially aids to explain the World’s History.

With a knowledge of this Kingdom, its germ in the Covenant, its divine institution, its withdrawal, its tender and rejection, its postponement, its preparatory stages, and, above all, its final restoration under the Messiah, it is possible to explain the history of the world in a consistent manner. This is fully admitted by later writers on history (however they may explain the Kingdom) as e.g. by the Protestant Neander (His. of the Church) and the Roman Cath. Schlegel (Philos. of History). The better the nature, characteristics and the manner of restoring the Kingdom is attained, the more satisfactory will be the solution of the world’s history. In such an investigation Eschatology, which embraces the re-establishment of the Kingdom, must necessarily stand forth with great prominence, seeing that the end attained serves to explain the causes in operation, the agencies employed, etc.

Obs. 1. Looking at the end as delineated in Holy Scripture and tracing the provisionary movements which lead to the portrayed result, we may say, in a sense different from Schelling, that “the whole of history is a divine revelation”; because a divine ordering toward a specified end, is manifest in all history. This distinctive feature has been noticed even from a partial outlook in the fulfilment of certain predictions in the past and the present (so that the phrase “God in History” is a common one), but it becomes more significant, if we anticipate history as it will be written after the covenanted Kingdom is once set up and realized. In the word of God we have (Twesten) a “manifestion of divine grace for the salvation of man”; in the individual believer we have a manifestation of such grace in bestowing the pledges and earnest of promised redemption; but in history, as it will be, we have a manifestation of the overruling Divine power by which the completed salvation, the perfected redemption, is fully accomplished. These briefly expressed hints are already sufficient to show us how important anticipated history is, to form a correct estimate of the history of the world. To describe a tree perfectly its fruit must be taken into account; to give an accurate description of a machine it must embrace not merely its several parts but the design or end for which it is intended; precisely so with an attempt to portray the world’s history, for every effort which does not embrace the great end, the gracious design (and exhibited in this Kingdom) that God has in view, will utterly fail to do justice to the problems of history.

Obs. 2. History is imperfect and unsatisfactory unless some great accomplished fact, or work or condition is specified, and then the causes and manner leading to, and effecting the same are traced and delineated. This is true of biography, revolutions, national life, etc., and it is emphatically true of the most comprehensive of all histories, viz. that of the world. The question, then arises, what great leading (biblical) fact does the Word present for which all others are more or less preparatory. The answer is plain, it is found in this Theocratic Kingdom of the Messiah. But to comprehend this fact, we must not confine ourselves to the past or to the present but also embrace the future, the end contemplated by the Creator just as covenanted and predicted, and then trace back through the several ages the provisionary causes working toward the end designed. A reasonable, Christian, philosophical history can only thus be produced. For then and only then will a Divine Plan, a Divine Reason appear, binding together into a harmonious whole what otherwise must lack coherency and form enigmas. Then the Bible will be found to contain the grand outlines of history, with here and there a particularizing; and history will corroborate the existence of an overruling power pressing toward a fixed, definite, pre-determined goal. The Bible has accurately described the historical facts of the past, as numerous writers have shown. It does the same with present history. The reader will indulge a few remarks on this point. Men may by captious criticism endeavor to pick flaws in the past which is now beyond our personal cognizance, but if the Bible is as unreliable as they claim and desire to make it, why do they not find these in present history—a history more difficult to foretell and portray than that of the past, inasmuch as it is more distantly removed from the biblical writers. Here, if anywhere, contradictions ought to be found, and if found, they would have special weight, because coming under our personal observation. The unbeliever may take refuge in the past and urge assumption upon assumption, but we ask him, if correct in his position, to point out a single solitary contradiction existing between anticipated history and history realized at the present day. Thus, e.g. if the Jews were not a scattered people; if Jerusalem were not in the possession of Gentile nations; if the Church had not tares, divisions, trials etc.; if wickedness did not abound; if the Roman Empire was not divided, etc., then palpable contradictions would exist, and unbelief could triumph. But present history contains no such adverse statements invalidating the truthfulness of Holy Writ. Therefore, for this and other reasons, we hold implicit confidence in the history of the future as also given in the same unfailing Word; which trust is especially confirmed by the remarkable and costly provision made for its realization in the Person of the Messiah. Thus taking the history of the future with that of the present and the past, reason perceives, and faith acknowledges, a wonderful plan of redemption extending from man’s fall to his recovery, from Paradise lost to Paradise regained. This Plan assumes definite form in the Kingdom of God, and in the provisions instituted for its future realization. It evinces that God originally (Prop. 1) contemplated a Theocratic form of government even in the paradisiacal state (the only form of government consistent with God’s relation to man); it shows how man in his present condition is utterly unfitted for such a government (trial having been made in Jewish history); it teaches how God is gathering out, here and there, from among all nations the material, the elements of strength, which when united and manifested at the determined period, will insure its success and perpetuity; it declares, by the portraiture of the establishment of the Kingdom, how we are to regard the preparatory stages, the various dispensations, the Christian Church, the permission of evil, the temporary rejection of the elect nation, the existence of Gentile domination, etc.; it brings forth Jesus Christ the Son of God and the Son of David, the promised Theocratic King as the central figure of history, both as the One to whom all history directs the heart of faith and the eye of hope, and as the One in whom history finds its fulfilment and solution; and it pronounces the Theocracy as exhibited in the restored Davidic Throne and Kingdom then world-extended, the highest expression of Messianic power in behalf of a sin-cursed world, the culmination of a long series of merciful preparations, the climax of Messianic dignity and glory for which all things have been held in sufferance, abeyance, subjection, and compassionate trial.*

Obs. 3. This Kingdom explains why only the briefest mention is made of Antediluvian history, and such prominency is given to Abraham’s history; why Jewish history becomes such an important factor in the world’s history, and why comparatively so little is said of Gentile nations in their national development.1 It enforces the account of the creation of Adam and Eve; it indorses the fall of man and the consequent withdrawal of God; it confirms the depravity and rebellious spirit of the race; it shows the design of election and why, owing to postponement, the Kingdom was not realized; it explains the position of the Chr. Church and the intermingling of tares and wheat; and, in brief, it throws light upon all the great leading affairs, past and present and to come, which have a moulding and controlling influence in the world. As it is not within our purpose to enlarge upon these points, one may be selected to illustrate our meaning. Take e.g. the creation of woman, which has been a standing jest among unbelievers, and viewed in the light thrown upon it by the Kingdom, it will be found related to and confirmed by the aspect of the Kingdom. Briefly (see my art. in Proph. Times, Feb., 1870, for a more extended notice), that there is something typical in this creation is plainly asserted by Paul, Eph. 5:23–32; not that the marriage relation as it indiscriminately exists is a type, but that the creation of Eve and the relation she was made to sustain to Adam (and to which the Apostle alone refers), is a type of the creation of an elect, chosen body of saints (who constitute the married wife, Prop. 127) and of the relation that they shall in the future sustain to the Second Adam.* We have (a) Adam who “is the figure of Him that was to come” (Rom. 5:14–21; 1 Cor. 15:45, etc.); (b) the sleep of Adam typical of the future sleep, i.e., death, Jno. 11; 1 Cor. 11:30, etc.; (c) while Adam slept God “took one of his ribs” out of his side from which the woman was made, i.e. the fundamental part, etc., typical of what took place at the death of Jesus. “Rib” is symbolically used to denote a nation or people, so e.g. Barnes, Com., Dan. 7:5. Now a people or nation is taken out of the side of Jesus when He slept; for, just as that out of which the woman was made was taken out of the side of the first Adam, so that out of which the woman is formed or builded for the Second Adam is taken out of his side, and John positively asserts that he saw this, John 19:32–35. Now by this blood the sins of this people are remitted (Heb. 9:22), washed away (Rev. 1:5), and they are redeemed by it (Rev. 5:9), purchased by it (Acts 22:28), delivered as prisoners out of the pit (an allusion to the resurrection) by it (Zech. 9:11), sanctified by it (Heb. 13:12), etc. Thus as the first Adam slept that woman might be formed, so the Second Adam slept (died) “that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto Himself a peculiar people” (Tit. 2:14; 2 Cor. 5:15; 1 Pet. 2:5, 9). This blood is far-reaching, extending to the deliverance and manifested oneness in Christ at the resurrection, when this people shall be publicly united to the Second Adam as His wife. (d) After this “rib” was taken, God “closed up the flesh instead thereof.” Only one woman is thus to be created for Adam, which is also intimated in “This is now bone,” etc., which (according to Bush, Com. loci, and others), more correctly reads: “This is for this time or this once bone,” etc., “implying that it was only on this occasion that woman was to come into being this way.” More correctly, however, we would say that it implies that only for this time “this once” shall a woman thus derived bear a special, most intimate, and endearing relation to Him. One Eve was thus specially made for Adam, and according to the uniform testimony of Scripture there is one woman or people peculiarly chosen and formed and specially designed for the most intimate union with the Second Adam in the age to come, viz., the married wife as distinguished from the barren woman (Prop. 118) restored and the virgins. While in the age to come the blessings of Christ as Redeemer will be most liberally and gloriously bestowed upon the restored Jewish nation (Prop. 114, etc.) and Gentile nations, yet it is also true that no other people will be thus signally honored as the first-fruits, first-born; for no others are thus taken and exalted with a kingship and priesthood, with a similitude and power like unto Christ’s (Props. 86, 124, 130, 154). (e) “Made He woman” or (Bush and others) “Builded her to a woman;” with which compare Eph. 2:19–22; 1 Pet. 2:5, etc. (f) God “brought” (or presented) “her unto the man;” so the Father is the One through whom this woman or people is to be formed and presented to Christ. The sublime utterances of Jesus Himself in John, ch. 17, fully show this in Christ’s acknowledgments that they are given to Him, etc. (g) Then “Adam said, This is now” (or “this once”) “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh,” etc. The apostle asserts the same in Eph. 5 respecting this chosen people and Christ, and this denotes far more than a mere spiritual union, viz., the elevation of this woman or people into the most intimate relationship and oneness with Christ in His manifested Theocratic ordering. They, as Peter says (2 Pet. 1:4), are made “partakers of the divine nature,” by being made “like unto Christ,” “who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body” (“like the body of His glory”), “we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him,” etc. But sufficient has been stated to show that the ordering of the Kingdom indicates, that in the very creation of woman—in that it was brought about rather in the way stated than in any other—God had in view a typical representation of a “great mystery” (as Paul calls it) to be realized in the Kingdom of God, when “the helpmeet” (i.e. a help fit or suitable for Him) provided by the wonderful grace and power of God shall be united with Jesus to carry out the Divine Purposes. Or, if we take Prof. Bush’s rendering this woman is “an help as before him” (i.e. one corresponding to him, one adapted to him, a counterpart of himself, etc.), which finds its counterpart in the association, companionship, coheirship, joint rulership, etc., of the saints with the Second Adam in His Kingdom, an exaltation graduated by that which the Son Himself, as David’s Son, obtains.*

Obs. 4. Again, take the fall of man and the personal withdrawal of God. However the historical account may be explained, fact demonstrates the truthfulness of both, viz., that restraining influences are requisite to incline man to virtue and holiness, to moral law and order; and that God is not personally present with man. So long as these facts exist, it is folly to deny them; and unless a better explanation than that given in the Word to account for the introduction of such facts is presented (which has never yet been done), it is both unwise and unsafe to reject the Biblical statement on the subject. And the more so, seeing that the past and present history of the world introduces a multitude of additional corroborating facts, evolved by a Divine Plan for the removal of such a fall and the restoration of the personal Divine Presence. The Kingdom, in which the curse entailed by the fall is to be removed, necessarily must be considered in its detailed announcements (to see whether it is adequate to effect the same), and in its provisionary measures (to see whether the results contemplated will thus be reached). Hence to take the fall and view it as an isolated fact, briefly expressed, without observing its connection with history, is doing violence to Holy Writ; true logical reasoning and impartial justice to the Word, will take up the Divine Plan thus far manifested, and especially as it will yet be realized, and regard the evidences which have for several thousand years accumulated in support of a previously announced statement and of the predictions relating to the future. To prove that the Biblical account is unworthy of confidence, let it be shown that the provisionary means instituted in and through Christ, and in and through this Theocratic arrangement (as it shall be manifested) are inadequate to produce the deliverance contemplated, and then an argument of vital strength will indeed be arrayed against the Word. While the Bible appeals to the fall of man as a fact that self-consciousness attests to, and that the history of the race abundantly confirms, it at the same time predicts (which is now so abundantly fulfilled) that men will arise and ignore this fall, decry the natural depravity of the race, reject with scorn the provisions made for its removal as unnecessary, laud and magnify the natural ability of humanity to save and exalt itself, until the Perfectibility of Human Nature shall be endorsed and advocated by the multitude. The testimony of all nations, savage and civilized, to a sense of sin and guilt, of religious needs, mediation, sacrifice, prayer, etc., and the evidence of a Word fortified by the evolution of a regularly constituted and carried-out Plan, are by many, even now, regarded as proofs of superstition. But such conclusions invariably are based on isolated, detached, and fragmentary objections, lacking force and power, because not founded on a comprehensive view of the history (past, present, and future) of the race as given in the Word. Men endeavor to find flaws in this or that link in a connected chain of Divine Purpose, without regarding either the relation that one link sustains to its comrades and to the whole, or the design intended by its Maker in forming such a united chain. To avoid misapprehension, let it be added: While the Bible insists upon the depravity of man, yet at the same time it also states that such is his condition, mental, moral, and physical, that God still deemed him worthy of redemption, and in the determination of such redemption and the provision made for it through Jesus Christ elevated man to a position of dignity which he is now at liberty either to retain, confirm, and enlarge (viz., by the reception of Christ), or to degrade and forever forfeit (viz., through the rejection of proffered salvation). The establishment of this Kingdom (in the kingship and priesthood of the saints, in the restored happy condition of the elect Jewish nation, and in the rich blessings bestowed upon Gentile nations) vindicates the dignity (bestowed by grace) of man, exhibiting his capacity for (advanced by love) and enjoyment of its privileges, honors, and happiness.*

Obs. 5. This Kingdom throws additional light upon the problem of evil, and if ever a correct Theodicy is formed, it must be based upon the Theocratic ordering as it will ultimately be realized. The reader must place himself in that period when the Kingdom is restored, and all the blessings forfeited are more than regained under the reign of the Messiah and His brethren, and then, too, he must look back upon the past few thousand years with something of that largeness of the Spirit’s apprehension of time (for with God those thousands of years, so long to man, are as days, or as “a moment”), and then look forward to the long, long-continued, ever-enduring prosperity to which the introductory thousands of years form the briefest of episodes. This narrows down the prevalence of sin and the provisionary means to overrule it to a narrow space of time; it brings in numerous reasons in justification of the goodness and wisdom of God over against the allowance of sin and misery; it extends our views of the expression of the Divine Will, of God’s design in glorifying Himself, of securing man’s happiness, of bringing forth a higher state of things through mercy and love. It vindicates the fact that originally God did bestow happiness upon man, which was forfeited through his own moral agency, and that He will yet bestow happiness upon man (excepting to those who wilfully reject it) after a brief—very brief in the light of the ages to come—provisionary period has expired. It evinces then the transient nature of evil; that sin, so far as the race is concerned, is only temporary, and that its dominion under the Theocratic rule will be forever crushed. It also teaches that sin was not a necessary means to accomplish the greatest good, but that God in spite of sin (resulting from the determination of man’s free moral agency) so overrules it that great good results, for man restored under the Theocracy shows that sin was not requisite in his case to attain unto so high and noble a destination, but rather that he gained it over against sin through extended mercy and love, seeing that that which sin marred called for special interposition and provision, and that sin itself will finally be put down by a terrible exhibition of supernatural power and vengeance. The Kingdom re-established, when “all shall be righteous,” etc., here on earth, proves that sin is no necessity in the government of God; that it can and shall be effectually crushed as a disturbing element, originating in an allotted freedom to man. A remarkable feature is also developed by the rewards and stations in this Kingdom, viz., that evil itself, brought upon man by himself, is made disciplinary, and that grace, in the proper endurance of the same, will even thus make it a source of benefit in the testing and elevation of character. In view of man’s free moral agency (the God-given power of choice), evil is permitted and entailed both as a punishment (to magnify the majesty of law and the danger of sin) and as a means (overruled as such) for good (to arrest and lead to the acceptance of Redemptive purpose, etc.). Hence, that which God depreciates and forbids in man, and which He threatens to punish with severity, is allowed (Rom. 9:22, etc.), in mercy toward man, because it could even be made subservient to his discipline and punishment, and it could be finally rooted out without detriment to the Divine character, thus displaying His wonderful power and love in safely tolerating (it being against Himself) it, for a time, and then in effectually destroying it. Finally, this Kingdom teaches us in its astonishing Theocratic arrangements (e.g. in the gathering and association of the saints as joint rulers, etc.) that sin and its consequent evils in the world will only be endured until a sufficiency of moral and religious power (in the persons of the elect) is gathered out to insure an overwhelming, triumphant, and perpetual ascendency of a pure Theocratic government over all the earth, and then sin and evil are doomed to descend from their ascendency and forever perish. Looking at the world’s history, not disconnectedly (as at the separate, detached parts of a machine), but connectedly, and especially at the grand end to which it is destined under a pure, powerful, beneficent Theocratic rule by “the man ordained” through “the Father of mercies”—then instead of having a world like that described by Carlyle (Latter-Day Pamphlets) sinking to ruin and satisfied with the hopeless mockeries of government and religion; or, like that represented by Froude (The English in Ireland, vol. 3, p. 1–4), constantly passing through “the long toil of reconstruction,” ever repeated, we have a world redeemed, freed from the curse, and restored to more than its former Paradisaical state.*

Obs. 6. Much is said respecting progress, and the praises of Perfectibility are loudly proclaimed by rationalistic, naturalistic, and mystical advocates. But the history of the world down to the Second Advent shows that God’s estimate of human nature is the only correct one. Progress there is; progress in the developing of the Divine Purpose; progress in the fulfilment of prediction; progress in the gathering out of the elect; progress in knowledge of all kinds, etc., but a decided and general progress in the highest of all things, securing world ascendency, viz., in true piety, will evermore be lacking. The history of the Antediluvian era, of the Jewish nation, of Gentile nations, of great Empires, of the early Christian churches, of this dispensation culminating in the widespread wickedness of the last days, are painful evidences of advancement and retrogression, of progression and stagnation, and finally of positive general unbelief, irreligion, and enmity. Human nature—such is the sad lesson—remains the same down to the end of the age. The lessons of the past and present; even the exhibition of unspeakable love in the provision made for salvation; the tears, sufferings, and death of a Saviour; the bright and glorious prospects opened before repentance and faith, fail to impress the race with a proper sense of moral obligation and allegiance enforced by gratitude and love. This calls for that long-delayed but surely coming wrath and vengeance of Almighty God. But while human nature in the aggregate remains the same, God has been constantly preparing for the enforcement of His decree, by gathering out a portion of the race to form the nucleus of a restored Kingdom of power which will shine forth with great glory after the lighting down of sore trial and postponed wrath upon the last embodiment (Props. 160–163) of human wickedness. Then will it clearly appear that this long series of repeated depravity, finally culminating in the Antichrist, was only permitted in order that during this period this distinctive and peculiar people of God, designed for coheirship with Jesus the Christ, might be formed for the Theocratic Kingdom.*

Obs. 7. This Kingdom realized, throws light upon the doctrine of atonement and its relationship to the history of the world. It is unnecessary to dwell upon that feature which Biblical, Systematic, and Dogmatic Theology has so fully and ably discussed, viz., how the death of Jesus, the shedding of His blood, is conducive to the remission of the sins of the believer. It is only our object to designate a few things, too much overlooked, which, in the knowledge of this Kingdom, were affected by His death. Our entire argument unmistakably evinces that Jesus died, among other reasons, in order to fulfil the covenants (vide, e.g. Prop. 50). For when He came and tendered the Kingdom on condition of repentance and the nation refused to repent, and He was rejected (Prop. 57), it became necessary to provide both a sacrifice for the nation (that it should not utterly perish), and for Gentiles (that they might by repentance and faith in His blood be brought into the adopted line). This was affected by the voluntary offering of Jesus, so that through it God’s forbearance and love could be manifested in continuing (against the sinfulness of the nation and world) His gracious purpose to fulfil the covenants. It is a matter of profound amazement, that the greatest preparation for such a fulfilment is made in a manner that, humanly speaking, seems to defeat it, viz., by His death. But its necessity and eminent fitness is evidenced, not merely in the manner already intimated, but by the results flowing from it, for “He died for our offences and was raised for our justification.” Jesus and the apostles justly unite the death and the resurrection, ascribing to the latter evidence that the former was not endured in vain. Now let us see what the Kingdom gains by the union of this death and resurrection in the way of fulfilling the covenant promises of God. By this death and resurrection Jesus Christ as David’s Son becomes the covenanted immortal, glorified Son of David. He gives the highest possible expression of obedience to the Divine Will; and He that has thus obeyed is worthy also to reign. By these He gains power over death, so that He is able to deliver His own from the prison house at the time appointed. These constitute Him a King worthy of all love, for the Theocratic King, the King of glory died and was raised to deliver His coheirs and subjects. By these He, as David’s Son, is made worthy of, yea perfect for (so the Scriptures, Prop. 84), the exalted Theocratic position. His death and resurrection are the pledges or evidence, if we will receive them, that the covenants will be most amply realized; for by the same we have not only the perpetuation of the Jewish nation and final restoration insured, the door of faith opened to Gentiles, the gathering out of a seed unto Abraham manifested, but we have the Theocratic fitness, the immortality, the resurrecting power of the Son of Man fully vindicated, constituting Him the One predicted, able to perform the promises of God, and bring deliverance, at His Coming, to a sin-burdened and groaning world. His death and resurrection are the two most noted events that history thus far records, and they form the real basis of past, present, and coming history, inasmuch as they show that through the provision made by them all history thus far has been possible, and that future history, as represented in the Word by anticipation, will exist.*

Obs. 8. It has become very fashionable, both in theological and scientific circles, to associate almost everything with “the Universe,” imitating the inflated style of Orientalism, which imagines that things are honored and exalted in proportion to the application of high-sounding words. Some works teem on almost every page with such wide-sweeping phraseology, that if we were to credit them, the Son of Man died for the Universe and was destined to reign in the Covenanted Kingdom over the Universe. We find nothing of the kind in Holy Scripture. He died for man, for this world, to redeem it, and in this world the Christ, David’s Son, is to reign in the promised Kingdom. Such language arises from mistaking the sovereignty of the Logos with the Father for the covenanted Kingdom, Prop. 79, 80, and 81. The history of Jesus as Theocratic King is united with the future history of this world. Having under various Propositions fully established this; and also that, by means of this Theocratic reign, this world shall be brought into harmonious relationship to the Universe, it is sufficient to ask theologians and writers to consider that the Bible very pointedly confines itself, almost exclusively, to the history of this world, to the fall, the intermediate period, and the recovery, and has but little to say concerning the Universe so persistently paraded by men. When the status, destiny, etc., of the earth is comprehended, it will be time to receive the labored conjectures respecting the Universe. While neither of them can be passed by, we are more directly interested in the earth and its Redemption. The history of the earth is revealed; the history of a Universe is not designed, even in its broadest possible outlines, in the Bible: and it is therefore passing beyond the Record to ascribe to the Universe what really and truthfully belongs to our own known world. The temptation of presenting illustrations upon this point is resisted, lest we might be charged with caricaturing men whom we love and esteem. A mere mention is sufficient for the wise and prudent. While it is proper and necessary to introduce the Universe itself, it is highly objectionable to give it the prominency mentioned.*

Obs. 9. In such a conception of the world’s history, including a view of the whole from the beginning to the end, from the provisionary to the completed design, we have confirmed the statements made by comparative theology when non-partisan (as e.g. in the hands of Max Müller, Science of Religion, etc.). This Kingdom embraces, as our argument shows, the deliverance of man, as man, from the thraldom in which he is now placed. But this itself asserts the superiority of man, his origin as given in the Word, and his capabilities for a high destiny. Scientific research, thus conducted, after the primitive man, corroborates what the Bible appeals to as a subsidiary witness, viz., that man—all men—in every age, however sunken or advanced, degraded or civilized, has exhibited a moral, a religious, an intellectual nature above that of the mere physical and animal, which constitutes him the noblest of God’s creatures on earth, eminently worthy (evidenced and increased by the death of Jesus in his behalf, which proclaimed him in the light of moral law unworthy, and yet, in the light of God’s love and as God’s own special creation, worthy in view of his capacity, etc.) of the scheme of Redemption instituted for his recovery. The provisionary means toward this Kingdom constantly refer to the truthfulness of even “Natural Religion,” exhibited in the varied forms of religion and in the outcroppings of truth, doctrine, and feeling, springing from the constitution and surroundings of man, so that the commendation of the Word of God finds its response in the heart of man itself. Science, as the writings of eminent men abundantly testify, establishes the moral and religious nature of man, the unity of the race, the abiding sense of God, the consciousness of dependence and accountability—in brief, the existence of all those great leading religious ideas which form the basis of a receptive revelation and of man’s adaptedness for advancement (with the promised aid) in the way of salvation. The advances made in science (used onesidedly by a growing class in hostile attack upon the Bible) are by many thoughtful men (as e.g. Dr. Ulrici in God and Nature) deemed confirmatory of God, being made the postulate of physical science. Valuable works from various sources come laden with the fact, that all truth illustrates and corroborates what the Bible insists upon as most reasonable, viz., faith in God, and in a God of the Bible as therein presented. For truth is never isolated; it belongs to a grand system, and when deep thinking men come to place this or that truth in the connection which it sustains to the whole, then inevitably comes also the notion of the Infinite who has established the truth, made as responsive to it, etc. But while even science teaches how rational it is to reject that gross materialism, which allies man in his early history with the brute, and severs him from accountability to a moral governor—how reasonable it is to refuse credence to that rationalism which confines itself to a natural development of religious ideas without acknowledging the Higher Power which has thus constituted the capability of development, and the right of such a Power to command and to be obeyed—how just it is to pass from the law to the Lawgiver and not to make the latter subordinate to the former—yet with all this confirmatory evidence (corresponding as we have seen with the doctrine of the Kingdom, both in the provision for, and in the final establishment of, the Kingdom), much more, immensely more, is needed to reveal how man’s necessities can be met and man’s salvation can be secured. This is revealed alone in Holy Scripture. The Divine Purpose in relation to man, to the institution of law, and the present arrangement of the world, is alone found in Holy Writ; and science, philosophy, in brief, all real knowledge derived outside of that Word, only establishes that the facts in the constitution of man, of law, and of the world, are such as to make such a Purpose necessary, reasonable, and eminently worthy of a Creator, Preserver, Benefactor, and Redeemer. And may we add, that as the lesser or subordinate ought always to be regarded in the light of the higher or superior, so the deductions of science—all knowledge outside of the Word—ought always to be considered in the light of a constantly developing and finally completed Divine Purpose. Surely in this, as the all-wise God Himself teaches us, is true wisdom.*

  PROPOSITION 195. This doctrine of the Kingdom may, analogically, give us a clew to the Government of other worlds.

The astronomical idea of the vast plurality of worlds (which Paine and others so offensively parade over against the reasonable representations of Newton, Boyle, Bacon, Chalmers, Fuller, Brewster, etc.) is in all probability the correct one. The Scriptures dealing almost exclusively with man and this world, still indirectly, by speaking of intelligences outside of this world and by various references to the creative power of God, the magnitude of His work, etc., make the view a consistent one. Such worlds inhabited by rational creatures are necessarily under the moral government of God. This is admitted by all, but we go a step beyond by adding, also under the civil government of God. For, considering how God institutes government here and perfects it, we may, from analogy, draw the inference that other worlds are also governed by similar Theocratic government; God in each case condescending to act as the specific world ruler. In this way two important objects are attained: (1) a desirable Unity in the universe is obtained and (2) the happiness of each world is secured.*

Obs. 1. It is true that this Theocratic arrangement by which God and man are brought into union and fellowship is one instituted in a fallen world, and a peculiarity, distinguishing it from others, may exist in the union of God with David’s Son for Redemptive purpose. But the Theocratic idea, God ruling, is prominently preserved, so that where Redemption is not needed, it alone exists in the form in which it would have existed if man had not fallen, or in that form evinced before the Theocratic-Davidic order. That is, in each world God is the recognized Ruler of the same, either directly by communications given by Himself, or by some Agent or Agents taken into special union with Himself. The isolation of each world from all others (without forbidding intercommunication with heavenly beings), and the necessity of having law and order with its resultant for each one separately (without ignoring the common bond which thus binds them into one grand whole), make this Theocratic arrangement available for the highest and noblest society of creatures that exist in any of the planets. It may even suggest, how, if other creatures have fallen like man, this Theocratic idea can be made available in their case by the union of the Divine with a sinless being connected with a fallen race thus forming a bond of inseparable union between God and the race. And for aught we know this bond may exist in Jesus Christ, who as God-man, related to fallen humanity, may in virtue of His obedience, etc., be the Saviour proclaimed for other worlds, if indeed a Saviour is needed, simply on the ground that the proclamation of the sacrifice made for sin through Him is sufficient to teach a Universe the sublime nature of law, of sin, the necessity of having a Mediator, etc. It is, however, extremely doubtful whether other worlds need Redemption like ours, and as the subject is one of pure speculation, it may be dismissed with the single remark, that unfallen or fallen, the very relationship of the creature to the Creator, presupposes some such order of government, and as we only know how our world is to be governed, viz., in the Theocratic form, it is natural to suppose that others will likewise be thus controlled.*

Obs. 2. The Will of God done on earth as it is in heaven, evinces the fact that it is only performed or carried out when nations are thus Theocratically governed; and hence, that the Divine Will favors such a form of government, as being correspondent with heaven itself. Now, if God thus identifies Himself with so small a world in the interest and happiness of His creatures, and even condescends to a relationship with humanity through David’s Son to cause the Will of God to be done on earth as in heaven, we may readily conclude that He will not be less identified with other worlds in a form of government similar in kind, modified to suit the peculiar status of the creature, and influenced, if need be, by the special manifestation of it here in the person of Jesus Christ. Small as this world is, it is undoubtedly true, seeing the interest angelic beings are represented as taking in it, that the Redemptive work of God in Christ causes, in view of the principles and amazing love involved, the most profound sensation and feeling wherever made known in the Universe. The happy illustration used by some writers of a rebellious province, small in territory as it may be, affecting the general welfare, can be greatly extended if we allow the perpetuity of this Theocratic order in a constantly visible and now accessible (i.e. to other worlds, vide below, Obs. 4) salvation. The manner in which it was affected, and is continued forever, closes the door to the dreary thought of rebellion, and forever secures, through the noblest of motives, the heartfelt allegiance of all intelligences. The Universe cannot but esteem this world as a wonderful theatre, because of the actors engaged in it, the government of God involved in it, the astonishing results wrought out in it; and to estimate with any degree of correctness its vast influence, we must wait until the work is completed, and the hosts of God rejoice with us in perfected Redemption. Of one thing we may rest assured; that because of its vital relationship to the honor and glory of God and of His Son and of the Spirit, it will be made known wherever the government of God extends, both to glorify God and to benefit the creature.*

Obs. 3. The questions of David (Ps. 8:3, 4) and Solomon (2 Chron. 6:18) are only satisfactorily answered on the supposition of the vast extent and inhabited (intelligent) condition of other worlds, and that the visiting and dwelling of God spoken of have reference to this Theocratical order, a relationship similar to that enjoyed by other worlds, but for which this world has made itself unworthy on account of sin. It is a matter of no surprise that God should manifest Himself thus nearly in government to unfallen beings, but it is a matter of the highest amazement that so great a God should be so merciful in condescending to fallen man, requiring, in order to affect a restoration, a costly sacrifice of love.*

Obs. 4. This Kingdom—Theocratic-Davidic—is represented as bringing this world into direct communication and fellowship with the Universe. Owing to rebellion, the angelic hosts, which once shouted for joy at the exhibition of creative energy, withdrew from this world, and only occasionally have they been permitted to reveal themselves to man. But this interdiction, caused by sinfulness, will be withdrawn, for on the restoration of this Kingdom, under the blessed reign of Christ, they shall freely communicate with this earth as Jesus told Nathaniel (John 1:51). This also indicates that the government thus instituted, which restores such intercommunication, is in full accord with that in other parts of the Universe. And as many able writers have asserted as highly probable, there may be, the saints being made equal unto angels, and their transportation being dependent upon their will, communication by the saints with other worlds thus practically and effectively presenting in the persons of the redeemed the work of Redemption. Thus the redeemed may be employed to show forth (Eph. 3:10) “the manifold wisdom of God,” and “the unsearchable riches of Christ,” answerable to the desire (1 Pet. 1:12) of even angels, and to the wide extent (Rev. 5:13) to which the knowledge of the Lamb and ascriptions of praise to Him shall progress.*

Obs. 5. This union, however, with other worlds, is evidenced by the very constitution of the Theocracy itself as realized and exhibited in the person of the Theocratic King and His associated Rulers. If the King were merely David’s Son then the Kingdom would be isolated and confined to humanity—the precious Theocratic element would be lacking. But with David’s Son is inseparably connected the fulness of God, the invisible God (Col. 1:15–20, etc.), the Divine, so that God rules in and through this Son. The Divine-Human makes Him the specific Theocratic King by whom this world is brought into desirable and blessed subjection. The Divine—the same to which creative power and all the divine attributes are ascribed before its conjunction with David’s Son—forms the link, in its union with humanity, by which the latter is brought into its true relationship with the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, attracting and binding it to the Divine in the firmest of bonds, and then through the Divine (for Father and Son are One) attracting and binding it to the general, universal system of law, order, blessedness, etc., under the Sovereignty of God Himself. Even, as intimated, this might be adduced from the associated Rulers, for they are represented as partaking of the divine both in soul and body—in soul specially baptized by the Spirit, thus imparting of the fulness given to Jesus, and in body made like unto Christ by the power of resurrection and glorification—so that this very impartation of the divine, by which they are elevated to an equality with angels, leads to the conclusion that the barrier hitherto existing between this world and others is broken down by the raising up of humanity to the plane occupied by other intelligences, the divine cementing and perpetuating the union thus effected. The comprehensiveness of the blessings pronounced on the saints go far to strengthen such a position, while the distinctive relationship they sustain to the King of kings fully confirms it.*

  PROPOSITION 196. This doctrine of the Kingdom gives us a more comprehensive view of the work of Christ for Redemptive purposes.

This is seen in the fact that our doctrine makes much of what Christ is yet to do at His Sec. Advent. Even many of our opponents concede what Dr. Gerhart (art. on Christianity and the Advent) asserts that Christianity is “only relatively complete” but advocating its completion at the Sec. Advent, saying: “In the Sec. Advent, accordingly, Christianity will become the absolutely complete divine revelation,” i.e. realized. But our view embraces not merely the completion of salvation in the saints of this and former ages by experiencing the resurrection, etc., but includes salvation in restoration to all forfeited blessings pertaining to saints, to the Jewish nation and the race. The Kingdom itself, while embracing salvation, becomes the medium of salvation to the world. When this period of re-establishment comes, then to the preparatory work of Christ is added the direct supernatural Theocratic power by which deliverance is obtained and evermore sustained. Without detracting from the necessary and precious work already performed and now in progress, our view lays great stress on that which is yet to follow (founded on the sacrifice of Calvary), and unites the two in order to give the true and comprehensive sense under which it is to be regarded, thus making His Sec. Coming “the blessed hope” and a coming “unto salvation” in its widest reach.

Obs. 1. The careful student will have noticed that the Jews before and at the Advent of Jesus were accustomed to designate the period or results when the throne and Kingdom of David should be restored under the Messiah, as “the Salvation.” This phrase is strictly biblical, summing up in a word the totality of blessing, and was derived from the Millennial descriptions of the prophets, as e.g. Isa. 25:9. The Kingdom of the Messiah and salvation were in the Jewish mind convertible terms; and it needs no reflection to show how appropriate the term is, seeing that it was employed by the prophets to designate the deliverance from all evil and the bestowment of all blessings in this Kingdom. The term “salvation,” correctly apprehended by the primitive Church, was from Origen’s time applied too much to the present life and to the intermediate state. If we turn to the apostolic teaching we find, on the other hand, a full and free adoption of the Jewish phraseology, without placing upon it another and widely differing interpretation, and its direct reference to the future, when, as prophets teach, it will be realized. Thus e.g. Heb. 9:28; 2 Tim. 2:10; 1 Thess. 5:9; Rom. 13:11, and kindred passages take for granted that the salvation spoken of is the same that pious Jews expected. If otherwise it would have been differently explained, and the first churches would have been enlightened concerning it. The expectation of salvation related to the fulfilment of the covenant and restoration of the nation is well stated by Zacharias (Luke 1:69–75) as embraced by the holy prophets, and this salvation the apostles declared—whatever the earnest might be in the present or intermediate—to be still future.*

Obs. 2. Hence the Gospel is denominated “the word of salvation,” Acts 13:26, which is to be realized through Christ—the reception of, and obedience to, Jesus is “the way of salvation,” Acts 16:17—the reception of the truth in Christ imparting remission of sin is “the knowledge of salvation,” Luke 1:77—the Gospel of Christ is “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth,” Rom. 1:16. Such references, implying the distinctive salvation as future, could be easily multiplied. The reader will notice, as e.g. in Eph. 1:13, 14; Phil. 1:27–29, that, whatever we now receive from “the Gospel of salvation,” it is only “the earnest” of the distinguishing salvation—the specific salvation—held forth by the covenant and promises. The least reflection will indicate the propriety of this feature and of the careful language of the apostles when referring to it. For certainly in this life, subject still to trial, suffering, death, etc., the saint is not delivered, and surely in the intermediate state, whatever it may be, with the body in the grave, the non-fulfilment of covenant promises, the postponement of the reign on earth, etc., the saint is not enjoying the predicted inheritance, crown, reward, etc., only to be given at the Sec. Advent. Therefore it is that the apostles so constantly contrast the present condition of saints with that which will be experienced at the Coming of Christ, as e.g. 1 John 3:2; Rom. 8:24; Rom. 5:1, 2; 1 John 2:28; 1 Pet. 1:5, 7, 13; 4:13; 5:1, 4, 10; James 1:12; 2:5; 5:7–9; 2 Thess. 1:5–11, etc. Indeed, it is in view of this inexpressibly great salvation still future, that Paul makes the much-admired argument in 1 Cor. 15, where he says, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ we are of all men most miserable,” showing that by the resurrection of Jesus we have a firm, sure hope of being also finally saved through Him by the power of the resurrection in the order and manner delineated in the chapter. Therefore it follows, as a matter of course, that believers, even receiving “the token” and “the earnest” of salvation should be exhorted to “work out their own salvation,” Phil. 2:12—to put on “for a helmet the hope of salvation” that they may “obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,” 1 Thess. 5:8, 9 (and which is linked by the context with “the day of the Lord”)—to “stand fast” that they may make manifest that they are indeed “chosen and called unto salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth,” 2 Thess. 2:13, 15—to “endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory,” 2 Tim. 2:10–12 to hold to the Holy Scriptures which are able to make us wise unto salvation through faith which is in Jesus Christ, 2 Tim. 3:15—to take heed unto themselves and unto the doctrine, continuing in the same, that they may be saved, 1 Tim. 4:16; etc.—so that those who are added to the Church are “such as should be saved,” Acts 2:47—that those who are sharply dealt with may “be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus,” 1 Cor. 5:5—that those for whom we patiently labor “may be saved,” 1 Cor. 10:33 and 15:2—that salvation through the truth is freely tendered to all men, 1 Tim. 2:4; Acts 15:11; Rom. 5:9, 10, etc., in order that they may become Heb. 1:14, “heirs of salvation.” The great, the emphatic salvation is then still future, and hence, the work of Christ, is not yet completed. The solid foundation is indeed laid, the preparatory work is progressing, but the time for the perfect realization of salvation has not yet arrived.*

Obs. 3. The apostles not only freely adopt the current phraseology of the Jews concerning salvation—thus indorsing them—but in the most positive manner point out that the expected salvation to which the tribes hope to come is delayed to the Sec. Advent. Let the reader place himself in the position of Jewish expectation based on the prophets—let him entertain the Messianic ideas of the Kingdom, viz., the Messiah sitting on the restored Davidic throne and Kingdom reigning over the earth and which was expressively summed up in the prophetically derived word, “Salvation”—and with such views let him read the utterances of the apostles respecting salvation, and he will be—as the early churches were—confirmed in his Jewish ideas. Thus e.g. to illustrate—take Paul’s instructions to Titus (ch. 2:11–13), and the salvation that the grace of God brings, instead of being manifested “in this present world” (in which we are to “live soberly, righteously, and godly,”) is postponed to “the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ,” so that now we are exhorted to be “looking for that blessed hope” inspired by the prophets. In Heb. 2:3–5, the “great salvation” is linked with “the world to come,” the Jewish aspect of which has already been sufficiently indicated under Prop. 137. Jude, verse 3, writes of a “common salvation,” but unites this in his short epistle with the Coming of the Lord and of His saints (v. 14), and with the presence of His glory (vs. 21 and 24). But Peter (1 Pet. 1:3–13) declaring, that those who are saved “are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time,” and after asserting that this salvation still future is identical with that prophesied by the prophets, in the most positive manner (vs. 7 and 13) teaches that it will only be realized “at the appearing of Jesus Christ,” and “at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Surely this ought to be decisive of the matter.*

Obs. 4. Seeing that the apostles refer the salvation spoken of by the prophets to the time of the Sec. Advent, it may be corroborative of our position to glance at some of the prophecies which describe it, and notice, briefly, what things are included under the phrase. If we take Isa. 25:9 we find by the context that it embraces the reign of the Messiah in Jerusalem, the resurrection of the righteous, the overthrow of all enemies, universal dominion, etc. The salvation of Ps. 9:14 is identified with “the lifting up from the gates of death,” the removal of enemies, the judging of the world in righteousness, etc. The salvation of the righteous in Ps. 37:39 is linked with the inheriting of the earth when the wicked are utterly rooted out of it. When “the Lord makes known His salvation” Ps. 98:2 it is, when He comes “to judge the earth,” when He has done “marvellous things,” and “His right hand and His holy arm hath gotten Him the victory,” and “He hath remembered His mercy and His truth toward the house of Israel.” When “the Lord becomes our salvation” Ps. 118:14, He overthrows the confederation of nations that compass the righteous, He remembers mercy for the elect nation and doeth valiantly; the righteous “shall not die but live,” for He will not give them “over unto death.” When God will “clothe the Priests with salvation” Ps. 132:16, it is said that David’s Son shall sit upon David’s throne, “for the Lord hath chosen Zion, He hath desired it for His habitation. This is my rest forever; here will I dwell, for I have desired it”—“there will I make the horn of David to bud” and “His enemies will I clothe with shame, but upon Himself shall His crown flourish,” etc. At the time the Lord “will beautify (comp. 2 Thess. 1:10) the meek with salvation” Ps. 149:4, then Israel will rejoice in their King, the saints will be joyful in glory, and the honor of executing judgment is conferred upon them. Thus the Psalmist portrays salvation, and it is worthy of remark that the personal presence of the Messiah (comp. marg. reading of Ps. 42:5) is requisite (see Prop. 120 and 121) to secure it, and that it necessarily embraces a restoration from dispersion and captivity (comp. Ps. 85:9; Ps. 14:7; Ps. 53:6). One of the most mournful and pathetic representations of the downfall of the nation, the desolations of Zion, the treading down of God’s own inheritance, is found in Ps. 74, and here the inspired writer, recognizing the election and the consequent Theocratic union which (interrupted as it may be for a while) can never be entirely removed, asks God “how long” this shall continue, and rests himself upon the Theocratic idea “for God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth,” believing that He will “have respect unto the covenant.” If there is force in language, the certain inference follows of a complete restoration of Theocratic rule over the nation with which it is specially identified. Turn to Isaiah, and the same strain is continued. When “God is our salvation” and we shall “draw with joy water out of the wells of salvation” Isa. 12:2, 3, it is, as the context shows, when He arises to smite the earth, to slay the wicked, to reign gloriously, to recover the remnant of His people “the outcasts of Israel and the dispersed of Judah, and when “the Holy One of Israel” is present. Comp. Isa. 33:16–22; 45:17 context; 49:8–11; 59:16–21; 60:1–22; 63:5; 61:10; 62:1, etc. Such references could be multiplied, the prophets being filled with them, in which this salvation is connected with the Coming of the Lord, the resurrection of saints, the entire removal of enemies, the return of the Jewish nation, and the restoration of the Davidic-Theocratic order under the Messiah, the universal dominion and blessedness resulting out of this arrangement, the removal of the curse, and the regaining of Edenic conditions, the bestowment of additional honor, power, glory. Taking even such a brief survey of the prophets, seeing how the apostles united their fulfilment with the future Advent of King Jesus, surely the early Church was consistent and logical when it thus received and understood “salvation,” and looked for Jesus to come and finish the work so happily begun.*

Obs. 5. An essential part of the work of Christ, is to fulfil the covenants and the prophets. This He has done to a certain extent, and is now performing in the Church and world, but the most remarkable and desirable portion is still unfulfilled. The sealing of the covenant with His own precious blood, etc., is exceedingly precious, but the fulfilment of the covenant in actual realization is described as blessed beyond description. Indeed, if we but stop to reflect, that the prophets scarcely dwell upon the intermediate, intercallary state but hasten on to describe, under every variety of expressive language, the astounding work that the Lord shall perform in the day when the Covenanted Kingdom and its attendant blessings shall be experienced, then we have evidence, afforded by the Spirit, how much of the utmost value is still related to the future.*

Obs. 6. The work of Jesus is also that of restoring the Kingdom of God, as instanced, e.g. Acts 15:16. We have seen how this was evidenced even by the first preaching of this Kingdom. The Kingdom was overthrown; it was offered on condition of repentance; it was rejected and then postponed. Will it ever thus remain postponed? No! the entire spirit of the Old and New Test. points to the future manifestation of Jesus Christ as the Theocratic King, when this glorious work of restitution will be performed. The titles of Messiah, Christ, Lord, and King, whatever applicability they may have to the present, have reference to this specific appointed work of rebuilding the fallen tabernacle of David and reigning over it, bringing all nations, through it, in willing subjection to His world-wide dominion. Even the names of Jesus, Saviour, and Redeemer assume a deeper significancy, when the power of the first resurrection, the bestowment of Kingship and priesthood, the actual inheriting of the Kingdom and its attendant blessings, are experienced. Let the Kingdom be re-established as predicted with Jesus Christ at its head, dispensing the grace of His reign, and the world has practically evidenced the sublime truth that it is through Christ alone that the world is saved. He and He alone is the procuring cause and most efficient instrumentality in doing this by the establishment of a Kingdom in every way adapted to the necessities, welfare and happiness of man.*

Obs. 7. The work of Jesus, which is to “destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8), is only partially performed. The requisite preliminaries have been graciously provided in His own sufferings, death, resurrection, ascension, and exaltation—the gathering out of an elect people is going on, and the earnest of Redemption is thus mercifully presented—salvation is freely tendered to all who will comply with the conditions of repentance and faith—but the great culminating work, which results in the complete overthrow of Satan, and the restoration of all the blessings forfeited through him, is postponed—mercifully also, seeing that by it a chosen body of first-fruits is secured—until the time of the revelation of this Kingdom. Redemption is still incomplete; the works of Satan still exist; and he is the god of this world; the saints even fall under the power of the enemy death and are not delivered from the grave; sin and its sad results are visible on all sides in the continued curse fallen upon creation. Modern theology has too much confined the work of Christ in the destroying the works of the devil to this dispensation or intermediate period, and overlooking, or, underrating what Christ is yet to do (directly and by supernatural power, which alone can reach those works), in order to accomplish this work. Indeed, so far has this advanced under spiritualistic and mystical influences, that multitudes have such exalted views of the Redemption of the saints in present deliverance from the works and power of Satan and present resultant happiness in Christ, that nothing further seems necessary to secure its perfection, so that even the resurrection, the Edenic state, the removal of the curse from creation, and other grave points involved, are either discarded, or ignored or slightly esteemed as of no real importance to the perfect accomplishment of the work. On the other hand, relying on perfect Redemption through a perfect Redeemer, our doctrine carefully notices, what are the works and results of sin, and presents, in strict accord with the Divine Word, an ample and complete removal of all of them, and a restoration to the position occupied by the race before the fall—the grand work which Jesus is yet to perform.*

Obs. 8. The sacrifice made by Christ on the cross, is more fully and effectively presented in this Kingdom. Instead of confining its efficacy to the present dispensation and making it, after this age ends, something of the past, its efficiency and power is constantly and ever more exerted. For, aside from its moral influence in the world to come, aside from its being the source of inestimable blessings, forgiveness, exaltation, etc., to the saints, it continues to wield, through faith, its saving power over the nations in the flesh. The simple fact that such a King died for sin, that the acceptance and honored acknowledgment of the sacrifice by the Father is made apparent in Christ’s visible reign and in that of the splendidly arrayed associated Rulers (who were purified and saved by His blood), will so magnify God’s law, portray the vileness of sin, afford assurance of pardon and mercy, confirm the condemnation of wickedness, exalt the love of God toward man in and through His Son, that the time has at length come when all shall feel the importance, necessity, and nobleness of living faith in this sacrifice. The benefits flowing from it are now visibly presented, and become more practically extended, until the world itself is embraced in their enjoyment. Following the Word step by step, it will be found that the sacrifice forms an eternal basis for the Kingdom itself. For it constitutes the Theocratic King a Saviour who now saves from sin without violation or lessening of law, He having died “the just for the unjust,” and even qualifies Him as such a King, so that in virtue of His obedience unto death He is given authority over all enemies, and to restore all things. It ennobles His royalty, and binds His associated Rulers and subjects to a loving recognition of His amazing love and worthiness to receive all honor and praise. It purchased this inheritance, the glorification and rulership of the saints, and so long as inheritance, glorification and rulership lasts, will the procuring cause be esteemed and lauded. This sacrifice affects the restoration of the Jewish nation; for when the happy time comes that they shall look upon Him whom they have pierced, faith in that sacrifice shall also in them bring forth the peaceable fruits of righteousness. The allegiance of the nations, and all the Millennial and New Jerusalem descriptions are realized as resultants flowing from this sacrifice being duly appreciated and gratefully, yea joyfully, acknowledged. It is ever the inexhaustible fountain from whence the abundant mercies of God flow to a world redeemed by it. For then the world is truly in the highest sense, reconciled to God through Christ, and forgiveness of, and restoration from sin, is illustrated and enforced in the wonderful deliverance vouchsafed, and in the unmerited blessings bestowed, while the glorious truth that Christ died for the good of man, the race, and the world is openly manifested in the abundant good received and evermore experienced. The work of Christ in all its fulness, even that relating to the sacrifice already made, cannot be properly estimated unless we notice the end that God purposes in this Theocratic Kingdom. Without the Sacrifice and the additional work, it could not possibly exist, either in the person of its immortal King, or in its immortal Rulers, or in its repentant and believing Jewish nation, or in the worshipping and obedient nations of the earth. Sin, as evinced in its past power and melancholy results, would be a barrier to its erection. Human depravity is incapable of erecting such a Kingdom, and as history sadly attests, is incapable of sustaining it when erected. Hence before its re-establishment, a sure foundation must be laid against sin; and this is done in the sacrifice made for sin, in the gathering out of those who avail themselves of it and are therefore accounted worthy to enter into and inherit or participate in the Kingdom, as well as in the executive, legislative, and judicial power, that will be exerted by this King when the period arrives for the Kingdom to be revealed. It will not, cannot be exhibited, until it comes with a mighty preponderating, overwhelming, irresistible manifested righteousness which easily crushes all opposition, and insures stability and perpetuity. The Kingdom itself is the culminated fruit of the sacrifice (and in the sense that without the latter the former could not exist), but receives for its accomplishment additional aid, in the Omnipotence then exerted in its behalf by the Mighty God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.*

Obs. 9. The continuance of the saving work of Christ in the age to come, is confirmed by the eternal priesthood of Christ.*

Obs. 10. There is a part of the work of Christ exclusively confined to the elect, first-born saints who inherit the Kingdom, which so far exceeds all our powers, that it can only be stated, leaving the future, by blessed experience, to determine its nature and glory. “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God,” i.e. one who is accounted worthy of being a King and Priest in this Kingdom must be such in a different form from the present. To be qualified for rulership he must not only be holy, etc., in reference to soul but must have an immortal, indestructible, mighty, heavenly body as Paul describes in 1 Cor. 15. Hence it is distinctly stated that saints shall be made (1 John 3:2) like unto Christ, and Phil. 3:21, Christ at His appearing “shall change this vile body that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body,” etc. The body itself undergoes a transformation, resulting in glorification. Just as Christ assumed human nature to bring Himself in covenanted relationship to man, and to obtain the covenanted Theocratic order as David’s Son and Lord, and, by virtue of the sacrifice offered by Himself, took upon Himself human nature in its glorified form to be qualified for His reign, so we, if united with Christ in salvation and the higher Theocratic relationship, must, by His aid, take upon ourselves the same transformed nature to receive the proper qualifications. This future identity with Christ and actual assumption of His (i.e. like unto His) transformed human nature, is in some theologies too much abstracted from the glorified state (still future), and applied to the present age or intermediate state. Scripture, however, specifically locates its reception at the Sec. Advent. As there are things connected with Christ in His person and aims, in His divinity and glorified humanity, which transcend the grasp of our present knowledge, so in virtue of this union with Christ and the consequent transformation into His likeness, there are things which, owing to our limited understanding, we see but imperfectly, and others which are now beyond our comprehension.

Obs. 11. The benefits resulting from the work of Christ are both spiritual and temporal; refer to soul, body, race, and earth. It is painful to take up some Systems of Divinity (as e.g., even the more moderate one of Knapp, Sec. 118), and mystical works (Schoolmen and others), and find it directly asserted that through Christ, and obedience to Him, we only are to receive “spiritual blessings” and no “earthly good”—blessings relating to the soul and not to the body, etc., and that hence “the Jewish idea of the Coming of a Millennial Kingdom of Christ upon earth is entirely objectionable.” Now aside from the self-contradiction in which some of these writers involve themselves when referring to the Divine Providence, the resurrection of the body, the removal of the curse, the restoration of the earth to an Edenic state, the future dominion over the earth, etc. (which necessarily embrace great blessings superadded to those conferred on the soul), it is astonishing that they cannot see that Redemption itself would be imperfect without the direct conference of earthly good and blessing. Indeed more than this, the very nature of the Kingdom includes a bountiful and continuous supply of temporal good for the restored Jewish nation and spared Gentiles. Prophecy is full of delineations on this point in the removal of sickness and of bodily infirmity, in the bestowal of fruitfulness and of increase, etc. The Kingdom of Christ, with all its extraordinary spiritual manifestations, is over nations living in the flesh, and in an earth dispensing the favors of bountiful seasons. As David’s Son, His own inheritance is a material land and a material nation (Prop. 122), from which shall issue forth the choicest blessedness over all the material earth. This objection has already been noticed (Prop. 146, etc.), and attributed to the revived Gnostic idea of the innate sinfulness of matter (at least it assumes or takes for granted some such notion), which the Bible repudiates in the person of Jesus, in the original creation, and in the recreation. To confine Redemption exclusively to one aspect, either spiritual or temporal, is to make it one-sided and imperfect; both must be included to give a perfect representation.

Obs. 12. While advocating, what the Bible clearly teaches, a work of Christ still future, which is added to what has already been done in order to perfect salvation and extend it over the earth, we must not be understood (as already intimated in the Prop. on sacrifices) as including in that future work any additional atoning work. Hence, we cannot receive the recent theory of Waggoner and others (inculcated in tracts and books), viz., that Christ is yet to perform an atoning work in the cleansing of the sanctuary in heaven by His blood, blotting out the sins borne into it and there standing recorded, and placing them on the head of the scapegoat (explained by them to be Satan). This theory is objectionable for various reasons. (1) It is based on the phrase “then shall the sanctuary be cleansed,” and concludes from the word “sanctuary” that it denotes the sanctuary in heaven. But we find the land of Israel called “the sanctuary” in Ex. 15:17; Ps. 78:54; and at the very time intimated by Daniel, viz., when the Anti-christian power is terribly overthrown (at the end of these days), we find by reference to Ezek. 39:12–15, when this power is vanquished, a cleansing of the land or sanctuary. This in itself would be sufficient to explain Daniel’s statement without referring it, unless specific proof can be given, to another sanctuary. (2) It assumes an entire new covenant to begin with Christ’s death, which is shown to be erroneous under Prop. 50. (3) It makes the atonement of Christ defective in so far that sins that are forgiven (as e.g. Christ forgave on earth), are still retained in record against the individual and are brought up in judgment against him in the future, thus constituting a sort of salvation through works. For this view certainly makes the salvation of the saint dependent on his own personal righteousness, while we regard the latter (i.e. works) as a necessary resultant of the obtaining of the righteousness of Christ, which being of grace and in the line of simple duty, merits no salvation (see Prop. 135). Then too, the sins of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the host of believers, are still uncancelled, and of course, if in this state, unforgiven. It thus introduces an unnecessary and injurious antagonism. (4) It separates the atonement and the remission of sins which were joined the one to the other in the typical observances (Lev. 16) by a long interval in the priestly office of Christ. This is opposed by the entire spirit of the Epistle to the Hebrews, in which it is positively asserted that Christ not only made atonement once for all (Heb. 10:12; 8:27; 11:25, etc.), for sin, but that through that atonement already made, present remission of sin can be obtained (Heb. 9:13, 14, 15; 10:10–14, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, etc.), and that through that blood we may be led to resist sin (Heb. 13:20–21, etc.). Indeed, present remission is declared in the warning (Heb. 10:26,) that if we sin wilfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth “there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.” The one then is not separated from the other by a long interval of time. (5) The cleansing of the sanctuary is not performed, as alleged, by the withdrawal of the sins from the sanctuary and placing them on the head of the scapegoat. For, according to Waggoner, the heavenly sanctuary has remained for centuries and still remains uncleansed. But in referring to the typical observances and then to Heb. 9:23, we find, that the purification is made by the atoning blood, so that God can be gracious and forgive sin, retaining the Divine purity of law and essential holiness of Himself. “The heavenly things” are already purified by the sacrifice made—and this is denominated expressively “reconciling the holy place,” which reconciliation is made manifest by the continued exaltation of Jesus at the right hand of the Majesty on High. Admitting that the scapegoat or Azazel (as many believe) is typical of Satan—upon whom sin rests and shall rest at the consummation—it is sufficient to say, that this act connected with him has nothing to do with the purifying of the sanctuary since it is expressly declared that it was done after (Lev. 16:20), “an end” was made “of reconciling the holy place.” All that relates to the heavenly sanctuary in the way of affecting reconciliation, making God propitious has been already done by Jesus. (6) Rev. 11:19 and 10:7 affirm (as supposed) nothing respecting the cleansing of the sanctuary. (7) The judgment of Dan. 7:9–14 which is made to synchronize with and denote this cleansing is not a judgment in the third heaven but here on the earth. The assertion that the Ancient of Days does not leave heaven for earth, is refuted by the carefully overlooked phrase of verse 22 “until the Ancient of Days came” to the theatre where this war with the saints is progressing. (8) “Investigative judgment” as it is called by them, viz., the scrutiny of individual character, whatever it may be, whether progressive, continuous, or for a definite period, in order to apportion the rewards and stations, certainly does not refer to the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary for in that case they have heaven cleansed just previous to the Sec. Advent, when really it is not cleansed in the sense they advocate by the admission that the wicked are only thus judged long after, viz., at the close of the one thousand years. The record of man’s sins are kept, according to their views, in the same place, and hence that of the wicked. (9) The blotting out of sins upon which so much stress is laid, is derived from Acts 3:19, but that it does not refer to the place and manner indicated by them is evident from the way in which it is used in the Old Test. in Ps. 51:1, 9; Isa. 43:25; Jer. 18:23; Isa. 44:22; Neh. 4:5, where it denotes, (1) the present forgiveness of sin, and (2) the forgiveness of the Jewish nation at the time of its restoration. The entire removal of sin, of which an “earnest” is given, may, and indeed does, include the destruction of the sad results of sin, but the latter is affected only at the Sec. Advent and not previously. (10) And finally, the fallacy of the theory is made apparent by giving one extract from a tract (entitled “The Sanctuary of the Bible” by J. N. A.): “the sins of the overcomers being blotted out, and the sanctuary (above) cleansed, the Son of God is no longer needed as a great High Priest. He therefore ceases from the office forever and becomes a King,” etc. Any view that, over against the expressly announced unchangeable, ever-enduring Priesthood of Jesus, takes the liberty of ending the same, is most certainly deeply defective and unworthy of reception, however it may be sincerely held by good men. Prop. 155.

  PROPOSITION 197. This Kingdom, although visible with a world dominion, is also necessarily spiritual.

This Proposition is the more needed since we are charged with gross carnality, etc., because we insist upon retaining the plain grammatical meaning assigned to the Kingdom in the Holy Scriptures. While a purely material, naturalistic Kingdom, without spirituality, is unscriptural, so likewise an entire spiritual Kingdom, without the sanctified union of the material or natural, is utterly opposed to the Word of God.*

Obs. 1. Any reader that has followed the scriptural line of argument can see for himself that we are logically and irresistibly driven to the conclusion that the future Messianic Kingdom is a visible, external, world-dominion. The covenants and prophecy declare this emphatically, and the very nature of a restored Theocracy demands it. What Kingdom is it that was once existing, then withdrawn, and shall again, under the Messiah, be restored? The same Kingdom in which God ruled on earth as an earthly king is to be reinstated. To this all the prophets with one voice testify, and this is the one postponed to the Second Advent. Now any other kingdom, not having a visible, world dominion, not having Theocratic rulers, organization, subjects and territory, could be the one thus held up to our faith and hope. A Kingdom, not Theocratic, not one in which God Himself rules, cannot possibly fill the divine portraiture; and so, on the other hand, a Kingdom, without its material aspects, without its subjects and territory, can possibly correspond with the covenants and predictions on the subject.*

Obs. 2. Because we contend that the fallen down tabernacle of David is to be restored with increased splendor and glory by David’s Son, “the Son of Man,” at His return, as the Scriptures abundantly declare, it is asserted by those who do not fathom the depth of the Theocratic idea also pertaining to it that our view is materialistic, carnal, fleshly, etc. The charge of “carnality” is sufficiently met in Prop. 203 (to which the reader will please turn and connect), but this lurking Gnostic conceit that matter must be evil, when even thus associated, is amply met if the opposer will only consider how this reflects upon the person of the Son of Man Himself. When in humanity, humiliated, suffering and dying was He carnal? or did the union and association of the material forbid the highest spirituality? Is it not true that humanity itself was adorned and sanctified by such a relationship, without preventing the purest, noblest, and highest of spiritual conceptions, actions, and living to be manifested? In the humanity of Jesus we have the embodiment of sinlessness and of truth. So, in the consideration of this restoration, it must ever be borne in mind that this Theocratic-Davidic Kingdom will, in virtue of the Ruler at its head and its purified, exalted condition, be the embodiment of purity and holiness. It is “the fallen down tabernacle of David,” not with its imperfections and weaknesses, not with its past sinfulness and errors of conduct, but restored in a purified, strengthened, perfected condition to adapt it to the honor and glory of its Ruler, and to its becoming an instrument of power and blessing to the world.*

Obs. 3. We ask our opposers to be very guarded, if reverent believers of the Word, in their denunciations of our doctrine, lest, peradventure, they be found to disown and disparage God’s own appointments. Will such reflect that a Theocracy was established only by God Himself, and that when again restored it is a work that He alone can and will perform. In the very nature of the case a Theocracy is not a human government but one set up by God, and its form of government comes from Him and pertains to Him. It is, therefore, not carnal, for the authorship, supporter, and Ruler forbids this; and it is not purely spiritual, for its necessary sway (to meet the conditions of covenant and prophecy) is over the Jewish and Gentile nations. Much confusion unnecessarily arises on this point by not observing the nature of a Theocracy, the intent that it is to subserve, and that it must, in consequence of its divine connection and Head, be pervaded with spirituality. The simple fact that in a Theocracy God again dwells with man and becomes truly the earthly Ruler, is sufficient of itself to sustain our Prop.*

Obs. 4. The perfect and harmonious union of Church and State, an essential in a Theocracy under the Headship of Jesus, the Mighty One, is in itself evidence of the correctness of our position. Here we find a blending of the material and the spiritual, of the outward and the inward, the external and invisible, and a separation of these cannot be made without violating the union that God has proclaimed shall be made. The Church insures the highest attainable religious culture; the State, the greatest civil advancement; while both, the most advanced stage of spirituality and material good. These are inseparable in the coming Messianic Kingdom, and we cannot, if grounded in covenant and prophecy, conceive of any other kingdom that is promised.*

Obs. 5. Would David’s Son, the glorified and exalted Son, come to this world to inherit a carnal Kingdom? Or, would He come to inherit a purely spiritual one? Neither of these would meet the terms of the expressed inheritance. While His inheritance by direct covenant (Prop. 49 and 122) is the downfallen throne and Kingdom of David, to which all other nations are added (and hence necessarily in the world), it shall be cleansed. The nation itself that formed the basis of the throne and Kingdom will be purified and believing. It becomes, however external, an holy inheritance, and the holiness is so great and extended, that one of the prophets (as if purposely to meet such objections), magnifies it before us by representing (Zech. 14:20, 21) that even the smallest and trivial objects are to be regarded holy.*

Obs. 6. Consider that in this Kingdom, of which the elect nation is the basis and the other nations willing subjects, the glorified Son of David is King and His glorified brethren are co-rulers, and from the very nature and exaltation of the heads of government, we clearly perceive the spirituality allied with it. Resurrected, translated, glorified, immortal rulers must exhibit in their official stations, actions, rule, intercourse such a divine mind, such a holy spirit, such a refinement of pure affection, that the Kingdom under their jurisdiction becomes permeated, controlled, and established in a spirituality, arising from the mental, moral, and religious, exceeding our present ability to grasp.*

Obs. 7. The Priesthood of the saints (Prop. 156), a Royal Priesthood, evinces the same. The baptism of the Spirit then (Prop. 171) experienced, declares unmistakably the pervading, and powerfully contained spirituality. The worship that shall then be tendered to God by the saints, by the Jews and Gentiles, demonstrate a similar conclusion. The redemptive work pertaining to the race, going on under the auspices of this Christ and His brethren, demands from us a like deduction. The end contemplated by this Theocracy, in the glory of the Father, Son, and Spirit, in the honor and blessedness of the saints, in the welfare and happiness of the race, this proclaims, as a constant abiding agency for so grand a result, the highest spirituality.*

Obs. 8. The wondrous power exerted by this Theocratic ordering in its King and associated rulers, so that it even extends to the deliverance of creation, the final and complete removal of the curse, exhibits a spirituality far beyond our comprehension. A recreative and beneficent force is then at work, which frees groaning nature itself from its load of suffering and corruption. The Divine and the human, the Creator and the creature are again in full communion and sympathy. The separation, once existing and so full of pain and misery, is now removed.*

Obs. 9. The remarkable, astounding outpouring of the Holy Spirit as presented in the Millennial descriptions (Prop. 171, etc.), so powerful in its transforming, glorifying, and imparting miraculous gifts to the saints; so pervading in and over the Jewish nation that all shall be righteous from the least to the greatest; so wide-reaching over the Gentiles that they shall rejoice in the light bestowed; and so extended in its operation that the whole earth shall ultimately be covered with glory—this, with the magnificent portrayals of the Millennial and succeeding ages, is so sublime with the indwelling, abiding, communicated Divine, that no one can contemplate it, without being profoundly moved at the display of spirituality.*

Obs. 10. We insist, in strict accord with the Scriptures, that this spirituality is manifested, not in the third heaven, not outside of this world, but in this world, upon this earth. Some writers (as Auberlen, etc.) carefully return (where do we read of such a “return”) Christ and His saints, after their Coming to the third heaven from whence they rule; others (as Seiss, etc.), have Jesus and His saints in the air ruling from thence. This evidently is done under the mistaken idea that a higher degree of spirituality is thus given to them. But this is to misapprehend the Divine Sovereignty for the distinctive covenanted and predicted Theocratic Kingdom on earth in which David’s Son is to rule (and, therefore, of His co-heirs it is said, not that they rule in the third heaven, or in the air, but on earth). The Davidic throne (on which Jesus, as the Son of Man is to sit) and Kingdom (in which He abides to govern) to be restored, is neither in the third heaven nor in the air. It is something visible, outward, world-extended, and to this, as the controlling, exalting, and ennobling element, is added the glory of the highest possible order of spirituality. Hence, we dare not separate that which God has united, nor venture to improve by additions that which He has given.*

  PROPOSITION 198. This doctrine of the Kingdom confirms the credibility and inspiration of the Word of God.

Having given some statements referring to inspiration (Prop. 5), it is proper at this stage of the subject after having passed in review the great leading doctrine, that of the Kingdom, to see whether we do not find strong additional proof in favor of a divine inspiration.*

Obs. 1. Passing by the evidence produced by Leland, Newton, Fuller, Gregory, Keith, Alexander, Horne, and others, another of great strength is afforded by the doctrine of the Kingdom, which, if intelligently considered, stamps the Word as truly divine, and binds the whole from Genesis to Revelation into one connected chain. In this chain, link after link consecutively follows without a single flaw, so forged and joined, and at separate stages, as to form a symmetrical whole. Notice: (1) the Abrahamic covenant out of which arises the Kingdom; (2) the Theocracy in its initiatory form; (3) the change by incorporating the Davidic line through which it was to be exerted; (4) the overthrow of this Kingdom; (5) the prophecies and preaching touching its restoration under David’s Son; (6) the distinguishing peculiarities of this Son; (7) the postponement of this Kingdom, and the reasons assigned for the same; (8) the unity of expression in reference to the time of its re-establishment, viz., at the Sec. Advent; (9) the work that is to be performed during this period of postponement; (10) the condition of the Jewish nation during this time; (11) the ultimate restoration of the Kingdom as given by covenant, prophets and apostles in perfect agreement. These are some of the salient points presented, and, judging from the history of human nature as presented outside of the Bible, it is incredible to believe that such a statement of Divine Purpose could be given by men widely separated in time with human prejudices, weaknesses, etc., without contradictions unless divinely guided. To illustrate our meaning: unless the Kingdom itself is part of the Divine Plan, how could Moses predict its temporary overthrow, the calling of the Gentiles; and its subsequent restoration? How could the prophets after its downfall predict its long continuance in such a condition, the period of Gentile domination, the gathering out of a people, the restitution at the Coming of the Messiah (not in humiliation but) in glory? How could Jesus proclaim its postponement and direct us as proof to a constantly abiding historical fact, that of the treading down of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the nation? How could Jesus, against the most stubborn prejudice and national pride, preach the fall of the nation, the grafting in of Gentiles, and the delayment of the Kingdom to the Sec. Advent? These are a few, out of a multitude of similar questions, that must first be answered before inspiration is denied. The Kingdom, its past, present, or future state, forms the key-note of Revelation, and in no instance do we find the writers involving themselves in expressions relating to it that are antagonistic to each other. The intelligent student will see, that it is against the national pride and love—against the noblest instinctive impulses of nature in its social aspects—that men for ages have predicted the down-trodden, despised condition of their own nation and Kingdom, and that consequently we must seek and find a reason of sufficient weight to influence speech and action the very opposite of that which is the natural outgrowth of humanity. Rationalism, if consistent with its own professions, and if really desirous of being philosophically correct, must not overlook but ought to account for this remarkable feature in the history alone of one nation on earth. The men who describe the Divine Purpose—against and in denouncement of the present natural wishes of the people then existing—profess to do it by inspiration. Unless it can be shown that such a consecutive plan, in itself opposed to the wishes, etc., of the nation, would be suggested by reason, or is a natural result flowing from the powers of man, it is the most reasonable to accept of the only explanation which thus far alone covers the ground, viz., that of inspiration. It certainly is unwise, even unscientific or unphilosophical to discard a reason which is admitted to meet the exigencies of a case until a better one is substituted.*

Obs. 2. Much has recently been said concerning (what Locke, Ess. Hum. Unders. B. 4, ch. 18, calls) “traditional revelation;” doubts being cast upon the credibility, reliability, inspiration, etc. of the Word by confining us to isolated facts or detached portions (the favorite tactics of numerous writers) of it. It is a fact, however, worthy of especial notice that not one of our opponents from the early Church down to the present day has ventured to consider the Bible as a whole, as containing one continuous plan, and has noticed the Rise, Progress, and Result purposed by it. In this consists the strength of the Bible; in this is found the great and overwhelming proof of its inspiration. Surely the able men who have hitherto endeavored to undermine its authority by attacks on its outworks, or by objecting to certain details of it, do not elevate the standard of reason, which they profess to follow, so long as they refuse to receive into consideration and carefully study (for reception or refutation), the Word in the line indicated. The important question to be answered is not whether this or that portion may or may not be defective—but whether the Bible contains a Plan of Salvation worthy of God and adapted to secure the happiness of man in all his relations—worthy of the sacrifice alleged to have been made in its behalf, and adapted to the removal of the evils now unhappily burdening the world. While it is reasonable in studying a locomotive to consider its separate portions and descant on their form, etc., it would be folly to confine ourselves only to these and neglect what is of far greater moment to consider, the locomotive as one whole—its capability of performing the work designed by its builder—and then to look at its various parts—not as misshapen or wrongfully constructed when contemplated by themselves irrespective of their designed use—but only in their adaptedness to subserve the intended end. This rule of judging holds good in the just estimation that men form of mechanical efforts, scientific pursuits, literary labor, etc., and no valid reason can be assigned why the Bible should form an exception. And yet, it is evident that it is subject to exceptional treatment in the writings of a numerous class; who, so far as they can intimate the existence of a Plan, admit its desirableness, and even the incorporation of some splendid features, but persistently refuse to trace it from its beginning to the end contemplated. We might fill pages of laudatory matter, incidentally presented by the Rationalistic schools, developed by a transient glance at the great, eternal ideas underlying the Divine Purpose as given in the Word, and yet with all these admissions, so courteously given, not one has attempted to grapple with the subject itself. It is true that a lower grade of writers, very different in spirit and style from others, do in general terms pronounce the Bible, including of course its Plan of Redemption, a failure, etc., but in every instance an examination of their works, reveals the fact that such an opinion is derived from a consideration of certain portions of the book without noticing or entering into a thoughtful discussion of the Plan which runs through the whole professed Revelation. Have we not a right of appeal to all such, urging them to take higher ground in their efforts at criticism. To take a plain, common-sense view of the matter, it seems almost incredible that many of the highest intellects—men of distinguished talent and worthily renowned in their respective spheres—should thus confine themselves to what may be truthfully called the lowest form of criticism, and refuse to enter upon what is justly the highest and most honorable phase. To illustrate from the figure already introduced: If a man forms his estimate of the worthiness, the purpose, the capability, etc., of a machine only from viewing its several parts separated from the Plan designed by its designer, he is regarded as taking a low position in judgment, and this too in proportion to the complications, the numerous appendages of the machine, thus requiring for correct apprehension a constant reference to the plan. If this is true of things of a material interest, how much more noticeable is this fact, when we see it applied to the greatest of all interests, those relating to humanity, seeing that the Bible professes to be a book given in behalf of man. It is therefore to be hoped that our opponents—many of whom evince the spirit of scholars and affability—will see the propriety and the importance, even from their own standpoint and aims, of shifting their mode of attack from the particulars to the general, the outworks to the main fortification, the details to the whole, or of considering the former only in the light of the latter. Such a mode of attack, or of criticism, is invited on the ground, that if men of intelligence can be led into the requisite preparatory study for it, they will be forced to see that the inspiration of the Word does not depend on what they may regard as exceptionable passages, or on the performance of works which they regard as incredible, but that its foundation, its power, its logical force and consistency appears in a wonderful Divine Plan, plainly stated many ages ago; continuously kept up by a remarkable Providence; evolved in undoubted historical facts; evidenced by the present circumstances and condition of the Jewish nation, Church, and the world; and never in any point contradicted by numerous writers appointed to convey its mode of progress and result. A real scholarly method productive of vast influence, would thus for the first time be presented, commending itself to a careful recognition by the fact that every alleged objection urged against the Bible is duly regarded in its connection with the whole—the stated Divine Purpose—and shown to be defective or unsuitable, to produce the effects or results said to be contemplated by the Almighty. Such a discussion would not only be fair and honest toward the Book itself, but would prove highly interesting both in its sway over the minds of writers and readers. It would at least indicate such a sense of integrity and honor that causes the objector to allow Revelation to speak for itself in its highest and most essential argument so that the very form, if thus adopted, would commend itself to every one as worthy of respectful and serious consideration.

Obs. 3. If our more complaisant and intelligent opponents accept of this evidently just method of procedure, it is proper to suggest that the rules of guidance laid down in the first part of this work—and which coincides strongly with many of their own reiterated statements—must be closely followed. Thus e.g. the grammatical sense must be retained; the Plan of Redemption as given in the Book and not man’s additions must alone be noted; the varied interpretations as presented by men in extended creeds, systems of theology, etc., must not be allowed to have an undue influence; the doctrines of the Bible ought to be regarded as professed announcements of truths and not in a germ state to be afterward developed, but truths which stand completed in their relationship to a general design and must be judged by their fitness to produce the result intended. Recognizing an appeal to reason (for God Himself does this) to be proper, it is sufficient to add, that true reason will never make any proposed truth dependent on a mere process of reasoning, for it accepts the universal verdict of wisdom that where a Plan is purposed and drawn out with numerous details, that every announcement and every fact pertaining to it ought to be regarded in the light of its perfect adaptability to accomplish the end designed, and thus meet the Plan contemplated. Reason, if true to itself, ought not so much to look at things, or facts, or doctrines, etc., isolated, torn from their connection, but in the relationship that they sustain to a system or purpose. This is true philosophy. Reason is given to discern truth; and to find out the whole truth, the most important part of truth, is to ascertain its bearing or affinity to other and more leading or general truths. It is this feature introduced into science, art, etc., correctly appreciated and carried out, that enhances their interest and value; and the time has arrived when reason conducting the attack upon, or the defence of Bible statements should firmly plant itself on the same ground, viz., rejecting or receiving alleged truths in their unsustained or sustained relationship to the whole. Thus, e.g. to illustrate our meaning: instead of viewing the miracles of Christ, separate and distinct, from the Divine Plan, let them be regarded as incidental and even requisite indications of a certain end which is stated to be accomplished, viz., the restoration of all things, which includes a renewing power over nature, man, etc., and these very miracles appeal to us for acceptance on higher grounds than those generally given. It places them in the light entertained by the quite early Church as evidence or “signs” that Christ has the power, and that He will accomplish the work assigned to Him. And, reason here finds that instead of being merely arbitrary interferences, they sustain a just and proper relationship to the Divine Plan, and are indicators of the exercise of that Almighty energy promised in the future. The miracles at the deliverance of the Jewish nation are also thus found to be only indicative of a still greater exertion of Supernatural power at the deliverance of that nation still future. The argument for or against miracles thus assumes a position which is of far greater significancy and force than any other; and the argument and reply to be in proper accord must occupy the same plane. The miracles thus form part of the Plan itself, and since, as we have shown, the Plan cannot possibly be carried to its completion without their presence, the question that ought to be considered and answered before all others is this: whether, in view of the necessary exertion of Supernatural power to produce the ultimate results contemplated by the Divine Purpose, their absence would not be a very serious defect. Such a line of procedure, honorable alike to the student and the Word, at once indicates their reasonableness and importance. It also serves to sustain, by implication, the inspiration of the Word; for if it can be shown that they are requisite to the fulfilment of the predicted restitution (still future), their occurrence, especially at the First Advent, afford proof both of the ability to bring forth the end designed and of the truthfulness of those who proclaimed their necessary connection with the same. Thus miracles regarded in the light of the wonderful miraculous working of Jesus Christ at His Sec. Coming—taking in the final result—are essential confirmatory manifestations that the End will be realized as promised; and to give them their proper weight and position they must be considered in this aspect. This makes them both reasonable and required appendages to the development of God’s Plan. The omission of them, in view of the important part assigned to them still future, would indeed form a great objection to the Word, invalidating, according to the requirements of reason, its professed inspiration. For, if Christ is the One who is to restore or renew all things, as the prophets all testify, then when He comes even in humiliation it is of moment that this miraculous power, alleged to be lodged in Him, should be in some way evidenced to influence faith in Him. In other words, taking the portraiture given of the Messiah in the Old Test. Scriptures, the Advent of the same without an exhibition in some form of the Supernatural allied with Him, would leave out an element of identification and trust. So that on this ground the works of Jesus Christ are confidently appealed to, as proof that He is indeed the predicted Messiah.*

Obs. 4. But to make our argument logically correct, let us turn to the great, leading doctrine of the Word, viz., that of this Kingdom, which presents to us what really is the Divine Purpose. The Kingdom being the burden of prophecy, the End which God has in view in the preparatory measures and dispensations introduced, and the goal toward which all things tend, it is of the utmost importance that in a discussion involving the inspiration of God’s professed Word, two things should be observed: (1) that a proper knowledge and estimate of the Kingdom itself should be attained, and (2) that in virtue of this Kingdom being the End proposed in the Redemptive process, all other announcements, facts, etc., must be regarded in their relationship to it. Casting aside the numerous meanings fastened upon the Kingdom by men, let the plain idea, the simple notion of it so characteristic of the Old Test. (as admitted by Rationalism and by Orthodoxy, however it may be afterward explained by them) be retained; then let it be traced in its initiatory establishment, its overthrow, its promised restoration, its predicted glory, etc., and with all this before the mind, let reason carefully examine its design, its merits, its adaptability to secure the deliverance of man, the race, and the world, and reason must confess that if carried out according to the pre-determined programme laid down in the Word, it will fully and most perfectly meet the wants and the desires of humanity. Concerning the latter there can be no question, seeing that it embraces within itself not only the deliverance of man individually, but that of society in its highest and most extended relations, including that of a world now subject (explain it as we may) to evil. The intelligent reader knows that many pages could be filled with admissions taken from Rationalistic writings acknowledging that the conceptions of the Kingdom as given by the prophets form “a splendid, gorgeous dream.” and one too most desirable to humanity, if it could only be realized. We are not now concerned with the question why it was not fulfilled (for this is answered under Props. 56–68) but only with the fact, that no man can read the descriptions pertaining to this Kingdom without, if honest, frankly admitting that there is no phase of imperfection, suffering, and evil which it does not propose to remove, and that there is no blessing which the heart of man has longed for both for himself and society which it does not intend to bestow. Hence it follows, that whether there be faith in the announcements or not, the concession at least follows, that, if it could be witnessed and experienced, man would indeed find a happy release from tears, sorrow, and death, and that the world itself would undergo the much-wished-for transformation. Here then is the main point upon which all are agreed; and in the very nature of the case, owing to the precious interests involved, it ought in any scholarly discussion of the Word occupy the prominency given to it. Rationalism, if we understand its position, has no fault to find with the blessings contemplated to be introduced by the Kingdom—it admits their desirableness and the great happiness that would inevitably result if thus introduced—but it objects to the manner in which they are to be introduced, to the agencies by which it is to be effected, and hence refuses credence to their realization, mainly on the ground of a past non-fulfilment, and of its requiring such a Supernatural intervention as cannot be credited. To such we can only briefly indicate a line of investigation that at once removes, in accordance with reason, their objections. Let the condition of man and society be satisfactorily met by the Kingdom, then at once the greatest objection that could possibly be urged against Revelation is also met and set aside. This secures the proper leverage for continued investigation. The next point for consideration follows: God intends to secure the salvation of the world through the establishment of a Theocracy; now does the nature of a Theocracy contain the elements requisite to meet the conditions in which man is placed in all its relations? Is it desirable, admitting for the time the idea of a Creator (which Rationalism so largely indorses), that God should condescend to act in the capacity of an earthly Ruler; that He should manifest the same through some chosen instrumentality; that He should thus establish a permanent, world-wide dominion, etc.? Surely there is nothing in the idea of a Theocracy but what commends itself both to the intelligence and the desires of the student; it being a want which the world has long felt and acknowledged; and which, not being now visibly manifested, is presented by some forms of infidelity as a reason why God’s direct interference with human affairs is denied. Our argument accepts of this reason as a correct one, provided (1) it can be proven that no Theocracy ever existed, and (2) that no Theocracy shall ever again exist. The first is evidenced (a) by history; (b) by the reasonableness of representations; (c) by its design and prosecution (for its failure so candidly stated, with reasons assigned so humiliating to the nation, go far to prove its verity); (d) the conjoining in some form of the Supernatural with the human, indicative of the Divine being really present, as shown e.g. by prophecy, etc. The latter is proven, by (a) the connection it sustains to the former; (b) the utterances given concerning it confirmed by prophecy and its resultant history; (c) the provision made and now in progress for its re-establishment; (d) the valid reasons assigned for its postponement; (e) the condition and preservation of the chosen nation with which it is identified; (f) the gathering out of a select body to be incorporated with the Kingdom; (g) the entire unity of purpose closely observed in all the declarations respecting it. These are some of the things which ought to be calmly studied before coming to a definite conclusion; and if, peradventure, it should be adverse, the reasoning by which it is reached should be carefully given so that the subject may receive that intelligent review which its importance demands.

Obs. 5. Rationalism admitting that the Kingdom, if realized as predicted, would, of course, secure the deliverance and happiness of the world, must, if in accord with reason, now proceed to ask whether the agencies used and the manner employed to affect this restoration are adapted to secure this end. If it can be shown that there is no adaptation in them to obtain such a purpose Rationalism gains the vantage ground; but if, on the other hand, we can indicate their fitness, and even necessity, then the superiority and logical consistency of argument is on our side. This leads, therefore, to a consideration of the Divine Plan thus far unfolded and carried out. Our object being merely to give an idea how the controversy between Rationalism and Orthodoxy, to bring it to its highest and logical ground of attack and defence ought to be conducted in order to fairly test the merits of each, we pass by many points of interest (which also must be carefully observed as parts of the Plan, such as the Covenants, past history of the Theocracy, the elect position of the Jewish nation, etc., being already presented in previous Propositions) and select several to elucidate the matter.

Take the Divinity and Humanity of Jesus, the Christ, and view these, not isolated, disconnected from the Divine Plan, but as forming an indispensable part of that Plan, and we have at once the strongest possible proof in favor of the Divinity of Jesus. Observe (1) that, as we have repeatedly proven, this Theocratic Kingdom if ever realized in the form covenanted under David’s descendant imperatively demands One greater than man, identified with God, ruling as God, immortal and performing the Works of God. David and all the prophets predict this, so that ancient Jews, Christians, and even many unbelievers (who discard it as “a dream”) freely admit it. The Theocratic idea involves this feature, seeing that the very essence—that which alone forms it—of a Theocracy is that of God ruling over men as an earthly ruler. The burden of prophecy and promise is, that such a rule, the grandest that can be conceived, is to be manifested here on earth through a David’s Son who is also to be David’s Lord. Here then is the Plan respecting the King of this Kingdom proposed. Is it wise or prudent to discard it without noticing the provision made for its fulfilment? With those predictions before us, covering many bright pages of the Old Test., if there were no additional evidence, if no preparatory measures, insuring an ultimate fulfilment, could be pointed out, then indeed there might be room for doubt and objection. But reason prompts us to proceed, when we find (2) that the birth (miraculous) of Jesus precisely fills the demands of the Plan. No such Theocratic King as promised could possibly be raised up by the ordinary laws of nature—it would be an utter impossibility. Here then is a fact, predicted to carry out a certain Plan, which is against the ordinary course of nature; and here is the record that it has taken place. Leaving the arguments usually alleged by theologians to indicate how essential this incarnation was; leaving the eulogies bestowed by Renan and others upon Jesus in view of His purity, nobleness of heart, teaching, etc. (and which could be applied here), it is sufficient only to direct attention to the fact, that by this incarnation alone have we the Theocratic relationship, as promised, fully united and sustained in one person. By it God and David’s descendant are inseparably united, giving the Kingdom an unchangeable Head—in brief, bestowing the very characteristics, attributes, etc., so requisite to carry out the proposed Plan. This at once invests the Person of Jesus with new interest; and the discussion should embrace the evidence whether in Him are to be found all the qualifications made requisite by the contemplated Theocratic position assigned. If so—and in reference to this there can be no question so far as it is claimed in the New Test., and freely acknowledged by the destructive critics—this is a decided advance in favor of the Divinity of Jesus; viz., the correspondence existing between Him and the One predicted to be this King. (3) Next let reason judge, admitting for the time the blessings that would most certainly accrue if such a Theocratic Kingdom were manifested under a King possessing such attributes as are ascribed to Him, whether Jesus, the Christ, if such a Being as represented, is not adapted in every way to restore this Theocratic reign in a most glorious manner, rescuing the dead from the power of the grave, removing evils, etc. In other words, Jesus in every respect is qualified to carry out the remainder of the programme as given by the Divine Purpose. He is David’s Son as covenanted; He is Divine (Isa. 9:6; Zech. 13:9; Jer. 23:6; Ps. 2:7; Rom. 9:11; 1 Tim. 3:16; Tit. 1:3; 1 John 4:15; Heb. 1:8; 1 John 5:20, etc.); He is One and equal with the Father, (John 14:7–11; 10:30; 12:45; 17:10, etc.); He is the Image of God, (Phil. 2:6; Col. 1:15; 2:9, etc.); He possesses eternity (Heb. 13:18; Rev. 1:17, 18); He has Omnipresence (Matt. 17:20; 28:20, etc.); He is Omniscient (John 2:24, 25; Rev. 2:23; John 16:30, etc.); He is Creator (John 1:3, 10; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2, 10; Rev. 3:14, etc.); He in virtue of His divinity has Pre-Existence (John 8:58; 13:3, etc.); He is the Preserver (Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3, etc.); He is worthy of worship (John 5:23; Phil. 2:10; Heb. 1:6; Ps. 72:15, 17; Rev. 5:8–13, etc.), etc. Thus to qualify Him to act in the capacity of a Theocratic King, everything essential to God is fully ascribed to, and possessed in its fulness by Him. Admitting then the simple record as given, we have the very Person described whom the Plan contemplates as the One suitable to act as the predetermined Theocratic King. We do not pause now to show how incredible it is that such a Theocratic Plan in all its details, taking centuries for completion and embracing the Advent of such a Person, should have originated unaided in the minds of the ancient writers; and that at the Advent of Jesus, men against national prejudices and the impulses natural to human nature, should succeed in filling out so accurately in Him the portraiture given by the Prophets. The intelligent reader will take this in account when making up his decision. All that we assert at this stage is, that thus far there is no discrepancy between the Plan proposed and the great leading Agency by which it is to be accomplished. Certainly this feature must commend itself to reason. (4) Then let reason decide whether such a Being, as we find described in Jesus Christ, is not indispensable to carry out the Plan as given. The Divine Purpose, as we have noticed at length, intends in this restored Theocratic Kingdom to raise up the dead, remove all the evils under which the race is groaning, and renew creation itself. This involves, of necessity, a mighty exertion of Supernatural power. The express Agent by which this is to be affected is this promised King. Therefore to give us the most ample assurance that the Plan which embraces such astounding changes shall be verified, the Person Himself is provided through whom it is to be performed. This provision is a prime necessity; reason requires it, for otherwise we cannot see how it is possible to carry out the Purpose intended. This very necessity thus met in the Person of Jesus the Christ; goes far to prove both the Divinity of the Plan and of the Person who claims, by all that is related to Him, to be the One who is ultimately to carry it into execution. (5) Then again—the Theocratic covenant relationship in the line of David necessarily including a God-man, by which the Theocratic idea is visibly presented and adapted to man’s condition—when that God-man appears on earth, it is most reasonable to anticipate that He would give some evidences of the Supernatural thus allied with Him. It is but a low process of reasoning which looks at the Supernatural in the life of Jesus separated from the conditions imposed by the previously given Divine Purpose. How can we possibly know that Jesus is the One proposed by the covenant with David, unless He in some way, by superior knowledge, works, etc., evinces the lodgment and actual possession of the Divine in Himself. Jesus without the Supernatural could not possibly be the promised Messiah. Hence, when we come to the life of Jesus, regarding it simply in the light of what preceded, it is a just conclusion to expect, that if it meets the requirements of promise and prediction at all, it must present us with a strong Supernatural element. It follows, therefore, that to approach the life of Christ with a prejudged, prejudiced opinion against the Supernatural is a most unscholarly procedure. It is uncritical, because it makes no allowance for the connection which this Divine sustains to other matters, and it utterly ignores the Plan of advancement upon which it is based. It is opposed to the true spirit of investigation, preventing an impartial judgment, and being unjust to covenant, prophets, Jesus Christ and man. The student, observing the personage described and demanded by the Theocratic arrangement, comes to the Advent of a Messiah feeling that the lack of the Supernatural would prove at once a fatal objection to His claims; and hence, if disposed to be reasonable and impartial, he will give due consideration to the manifestations of the Supernatural as given in the life of Jesus, ever keeping in view the preliminaries just presented. This, instead of placing him in the attitude assumed by Rationalistic writers (viz., that of prejudging and condemning without a careful summing up of the evidence relating to the subject), enables him to regard the Plan which contemplates this particular Theocratic Personage, the claims which are presented and that so accurately fit the requirements of it, and then to examine whether the life of Jesus Christ gives sufficient evidence to substantiate the claims asserted in behalf of Himself that He is indeed the Messiah proposed in covenant and prophecy. (6) This brings us, finally, to consider how far the life of Jesus gives evidence of the possession of the Divine. In this wide field, the reader must, of necessity, be referred to able works which make this subject a speciality for extended remark. Even the praise rendered to Jesus by Rationalistic writers may be rendered available as circumstantial evidence to the integrity, etc., of the Messiah. Leaving the life, teaching, works, predictions, etc., of Jesus for others to discuss, let us refer to His death, confessed to be sublime by our opponents, and from this alone show the Divinity that existed in Him. That very death which so many now tell us was so unpromising and closed forever (Renan) the hopes and career of Jesus, bears the unmistakable stamp of the Divine. Passing by the loving design of that death—(which in itself forms a solid proof)—and the incomparable simplicity of the narrative of His death as alone suitable to portray it—(which could scarcely be imitated by impostors without the introduction of extravagant eulogies, explanations, etc.), let us confine ourselves to the time of His death. One of the declarations of Jesus previous to His death was, “I lay down my life that I might take it again; no one taketh it from me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it again,” (John 10:17, 18). While His death was desired by Jew and consented to by Roman, while both incurred guilt in engaging in the act and persisting to the end, yet Jesus, according to the record, in virtue of the power lodged within Him, chose for Himself the moment when He should yield up His spirit to the efforts of His executioners. This was done, as we are informed for two reasons: (1) This voluntary yielding of His life is essential to His nature as God-man—nothing being able to occur without the permission of the Divine within Him—and such a voluntary offering enhances the value of His priestly office, seeing, as the apostle argues, “it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer,” and hence “He gave His life for the sheep.” Not being concerned at present to develop the reasons underlying a voluntary sacrifice of Himself, it is sufficient for our purpose to direct attention to the simple announcements that it must be voluntary even down to the very last, and then to the remarkable evidence given in the record that it was indeed such. This is gathered not from a direct circumstantial account, as if given purposely to meet previous statements, but from indirect allusions and references which, from the very lack of design, most powerfully confirm the sad story of the cross. It was a voluntary death, thus enhancing its value, not merely in that He refused to call for the legions of angels at His command, or to exert His Supernatural power for deliverance, but in that He died having the Supernatural within Him to select the time of departure without being imperatively, at the crisis, urged to it by the weakness or necessities of nature. Notwithstanding the thirst and pangs endured, the sufferings were not, at the moment of death, sufficient in themselves to cause death as is seen by the surviving of the malefactors, the frequent lingering, long-continued death of crucified persons (the extremities and not the vital parts being first attacked, etc.), the crying out with a loud voice indicative of strength just previous to expiring, and the marvelling of Pilate, when His body was requested by Joseph, that He was already dead, it being so remarkable and unexpected. Here then the evidence in the most undesigned manner is given showing unmistakably its voluntary nature, thus corroborating previous predictions relating to it. (2) But now appears the Supernatural, the Divine in the very act of dying, in a most intensely interesting form, viz., in fulfilling the type of Himself. Consider when Jesus died, at the ninth Jewish hour or at three o’clock in the afternoon, at the very hour that the sacrifice should be offered at the temple, at the very time selected and observed for the slaying of the Paschal Lamb. Was it a mere coincidence that Jesus died at the very time that the Paschal Lamb, the alleged and significant type of Himself, was slain? Was it an artful presentation of the writers of the Gospels to influence belief in the Messiah? If the latter why then do they not point out the relation that the one sustains to the other, and praise the same? Why do they leave this characteristic relationship to be sought out and ascertained by an acquaintance with the type and the facts as given by themselves? The truth is, that so transcendantly sublime is the death of this God-man, that any of the ordinary deviations—so natural to human advocates—to explain relations, to point out significations in detail, and to add expressions of admiration and eulogy, would vitiate the admirable simplicity which alone should characterize the divine description of such a death. This manifestation of God’s love and mercy is so unexampled an exhibition of Divine Power, even when apparently overcome by death, that it is wisely and grandly left to speak for itself. It needs no meritricious adornments, no additions to add to its force or value. Even while upon the cross, suffering the anguish incident to crucifixion, the Divine exerts itself (aside from His God-like demeanor, the accurate fulfilment of prediction, etc.), in a silent, impressive, testimonitary manner which alone stamps Him the Messiah. The eye of Jesus, which saw Nathaniel under the fig-tree, which could look into men’s hearts and observe their thoughts, looked away over the crowd of Romans, Jews, and friends then around Him, to the temple upon the typical lamb and observed—who can tell with what deep interest—the preparations going forward for the sacrifice; and when the time arrived for the type to die; the great antitype—yielding to His enemies—also expired. It seems to the writer that this deeply significant finale, pre-eminently worthy of Him, if regarded in its connections, ought of itself to produce a profound impression that as the centurion, from other evidences less striking, confessed: “Truly this man was the Son of God.” The design of this work forbids more than illustrations of the manner in which the life of Jesus must be considered, viz., in its relationship to the Divine Plan. The death of Jesus, in virtue of this, assumes its proper position and significancy, and no discussion, either friendly or hostile, concerning it, is complete or takes a just rank until it embraces this feature. Separated from the Divine Purpose which it is to subserve, detached from the Kingdom which it is designed to secure, it necessarily loses much of its meaning and expressiveness. Thus it is also with the resurrection of Jesus, which is dismissed by so many simply on the ground of its being incredible, without the least attempt to regard it in the light indicated. Its reasonableness, its necessity, its value and preciousness, are not derived from the account given of it and the testimony of witnesses respecting it. These, indispensable as they are to form a connected chain, are only subsidiaries. If reason is to exert its highest powers, it will regard the resurrection of Jesus in its relationship to the Divine Plan; noticing, (1) that it is proposed in the Theocratic order; (2) that it is absolutely required before the Plan proposed can be carried out; (3) that to attain it, Supernatural power must be exerted; (4) that this linking of the Supernatural element with the human,—even when dead—(for as we have seen Jesus claimed the power not only to lay down His life but to take it up again) involves such a manifestation of power, that if it really has taken place, there can be no doubt respecting the nature of the Person who has experienced it as the One actually designed; (5) that admitting the resurrection, as an outgrowth of the Plan, (we do not stop now to ask whether Divine or not) it is adapted to evince the ability of Him who experienced it to perform the remainder involved in the Plan; (6) that if the account of the resurrection was concocted by men to meet the requirements of a previously given Purpose, these writers evince (a) an extraordinary clumsiness in stating their incredulity on the subject after the instruction professedly received, (b) their ignorance in not pointing out more fully its relationship to the previously given Plan, leaving, in a great measure the reader to infer it; (7) that the life and death of Jesus must be weighed when the estimate is taken respecting the resurrection; (8) that the deliverance of man from the power of death, if it really took place, is thus secured, and that we have no knowledge of any other Plan given in all the writings possessed by the world that proposes the same. Let the attitude thus presented be assumed, let the scholar honestly acknowledge concessions, similar in spirit to these suggested, and he approaches the subject of the resurrection with a higher critical resolve, which asks whether it is really an essential part of a previously given Plan, whether it is adapted to secure the results contemplated, whether the manifestation of the Divine through it is worthy of God, and even whether in any other possible way the deliverance of man can be so effectively obtained, etc. Concessions like these are not asked as a favor but demanded as a simple act of justice to the Book which records, and to the Person who professes to have experienced, its power. If God-man, if the Messiah as predicted, it necessarily serves to identify Him as such and imparts confidence in Him. The number of witnesses, if sufficient to establish the fact, is of no moment, seeing that the Word wisely depends—thus acknowledging the force of reason—for its reception to its undoubted relationship to the Divine Purpose, and to its perfect adaptedness to obtain for us the promised blessings. Actuated by wisdom the reader ought, in forming an opinion, to consider the initiatory process, the means, and the end.

Obs. 6. Let us notice the main, leading objection urged by recent writers against the inspiration of the Word and the Divinity of Jesus Christ. Rationalistic writers, justly relying upon the estimate formed by a multitude of the Orthodox (who have rejected the primitive view), declare that the Kingdom covenanted and predicted by the prophets was never set up by Jesus in the form promised, and that hence it indicates that the prophets were not inspired, that Jesus Himself in the outset of His ministry contemplating such a Kingdom and finding it impossible to establish it, changed His plan which is indicative that He was not Divine, and that the Church, as founded and perpetuated, following the ministry of Jesus disproves the correctness of the Old Test. promises, etc. The advocates of the Church Kingdom idea, admit the change of form, declaring that those promises are not to be understood in their grammatical sense; that under this materialistic presentation of the Word, spiritual things are to be comprehended; that they are only the germ out of which spiritual conceptions develop, etc. The Rationalists—in such a onesided discussion by which Apologists strive to save inspiration, etc., in applying to the Church what any one can readily see does not now belong to it, and which cannot by any reasonable argument be made to correspond with covenant and prophetic announcements taken in their unity—have decidedly the vantage ground. Their appeal to the Jewish expectations, the early preaching corresponding to it, the faith of the primitive Church, etc., is positively overwhelming against such a line of defence. History, too, in all its phases sustains them in the position taken, and the development theory vainly set up as a bulwark against them is seized and pressed into their own service making Christianity itself only one phase of development. In the argument thus conducted, from a false premise, intellectually, historically, and logically, Rationalism has the decided advantage. Here, however, both parties take something for granted wholly unproven, and both overlook statements which plainly and unequivocally demonstrate the error of the premise from which their deductions are derived. The thing taken for granted is, that the Kingdom immediately followed the ministry of Jesus; the deduction made is, that being diverse from the one predicted by the grammatical sense, either a change was made in the Plan, or the predictions themselves must be interpreted in a sense to make them correspond with the changes introduced; the error of both is, that neither one nor the other pay any attention to the positive declarations of this same Jesus (after the representative men of the nation conspired to put Him to death) that, owing to the non-repentance of, and His rejection by, the nation, this identical Kingdom—the burden of prophecy, the subject of early preaching, the one bound in covenant relationship with the Jewish nation—is postponed to a future period. Having freely given the proofs relating to the postponement of the Kingdom (under Props. 56–75) it is not necessary to repeat them. Let us only ask, in the light of the various passages distinctively announcing it (and as held by the primitive Church), is it just for the Rationalist, when he comes to charge Jesus with wavering and finally changing His Plan, substituting something else for that which was predicted, to bring in such a serious and damaging impeachment without allowing the accused the benefit of His own words and reasons which fully account for any changes that may temporarily intervene? Would such a line of reasoning deal rightfully with our fellow-men? On the other hand, we inquire of the Orthodox, how, as one who professes to accept of every portion of the Word, he can totally ignore these passages bearing on the subject as if they had no existence, and by this bring the faith of the early Church into contempt. We ask both, how it is possible for them not only to pass by the decided declarations of Jesus bearing upon this point, but even to refuse credit to the confirmatory evidence which Jesus gave to show that this postponement was a reality—evidence too continuously present with every generation from the days of Christ down to our own era. For, as has been shown in detail, it is in view of this very postponement of the Kingdom—the Jewish nation having shown itself unworthy to receive at that time the re-establishment of the Theocracy—that Jesus foretells the temporary rejection and overthrow of the nation, the down-treading of Jerusalem by the Gentiles during an allotted period, the calling of the Gentiles, a continued national unbelief during a determined time, the dispersed and yet preserved condition of the nation, the establishment of the Christian Church to secure a seed unto Abraham. Surely if desirous to allow Jesus the privilege due to Him of explaining the reasons why the Kingdom as covenanted, predicted, preached, and believed in by the pious was not set up, and why certain changes—such as we see—were introduced, then let its sincerity be exhibited in taking into deliberate consideration His own utterances upon the subject and the confirmatory proof that He has mercifully allowed to us. Since a delay of fulfilment, established by expressly foretelling it and by resultant existing facts, is no proof of a non-fulfilment, but rather indicative of the wonderful knowledge, power, and consistency of the Person through whom they are given, it follows that the changes, introduced for a time, instead of being antagonistic to the inspiration of the Word and the claims of Christ astonishingly confirm the same. The longer the postponement the more cumulative the evidence, seeing that eighteen centuries of continuous fulfilment of introduced change only increases the display of Christ’s wonderful foreknowledge. The postponement thus presented by Jesus forms the only true consistent answer to many of the objections urged against the inspiration of the Bible, for instead of leading us to discard the obvious teachings of the Old Test., the preaching of the disciples and apostles, the faith of the churches, both Jewish and Gentile, just organized, and, above all, instead of placing Jesus in a false position of sending out disciples to preach what was not true, of holding out inducements which were vain, of professing that which He could not perform, of predicting that which can never be realized, and of shifting His plans to accommodate His own inability to give them success, it binds these together into a firm union, meets with a valid reason each point, and fairly vindicates the nature and character of the Messiah. These remarks need not to be extended, since various Propositions meet all the requirements of explanation demanded, and we may therefore conclude with the suggestion, that honest criticism will not forget how exceeding difficult it would be to eradicate or change the notion of the Kingdom entertained at the time of the First Advent by substituting another without at once entailing a fierce and widespread controversy between unbelieving and believing Jews; and which was evidently averted, as the early Church belief indicates, by the retention of the idea but postponing its realization to the period of the Sec. Advent.*

Obs. 7. This doctrine of the Kingdom meets on higher ground the theories concerning inspiration. It frames a sufficient answer to the lower conceptions (referring it to genius) of Schleiermacher (Der Ch. Glaube), De Wette (Lehrbuch), Parker (Dis. of Religion), etc., and to the slightly advanced notions (making it the result of moral goodness) of Newman (Essays), Morell (On Christianity), Carlyle (Works), etc. It does not need to advocate the ideas of Theodore of Mopsuestia, Michaelis, etc., who acknowledge only a part to be inspired, or of Twesten and many others who make it universal but unequal (from whence is derived the divisions of superintendence, elevation, direction, suggestion, etc.), or of that class who make all equally inspired. It does not even need a theory which serves to explain with scientific precision (good and great men differ) just how far and in what degree the Bible is inspired, for it derives its idea of inspiration not from this or that portion of the Book but from its contents regarded as a whole. It is the Divine Plan unfolded in it, and thus far most wonderfully carried out, that affords the true and solid ground for its inspiration. To illustrate by returning to our figure: the man who looks at a locomotive forms his conclusions respecting its design, adaptedness, etc., from its completeness as it stands before him, and does not detract from its inception, plan, design, use, etc., because the designer of it did not draft the exact shape of every rod, bolt, and screw employed in its construction. He judges the locomotive, its fitness, etc., by the mechanical principles exhibited in its make and to be specifically applied in its design. Reason influencing sound judgment, does not impel him to lay down the criterion that before he can accept of the conception of the builder, he must first be assured that every particular part of it is shaped and framed precisely as the inventor specified, for he knows that owing to the numerous workmen employed—men varying in skill—in its erection, some latitude and diversity must necessarily be allowed. He is abundantly satisfied with the consideration of the general outlines, if fashioned according to mechanics, and forms his judgment of the correctness of the inception, its greatness and value—not so much by the shape the material assumes but by its capacity to perform the work intended. Now let this principle of judgment, every day practically observed and enforced, be applied, in judging the inspiration of the Word. Let this doctrine of the Kingdom running from Genesis to Revelation (and which embraces the Divine Purpose) be duly considered, its initiatory form, its modification to bring it into closer relationship with humanity, its provisionary measures, etc., and it will be found at once that it contemplates a scheme so noble in conception, so admirably adapted to secure deliverance, so extended in its capacity to bring the much desired and wanted blessings to man, so confirmed by past and present fulfilments which form history, so far beyond anything that can be suggested by mere intelligence to remove existing evils, that it commends itself in design, adaptability and end contemplated as being of Divine origin. Much is said in some quarters of “the unlearned men” who have written the Old and New Test., so that in view of this mediumship, Steinbart and others (Fuller’s Calv. and Soc. comp. Let. 12) assert, especially of the later writings: “These narrations, true or false, are only suited for ignorant, uncultivated minds, who cannot enter into the evidence of natural religion.” Such sweeping declarations (shown to be improper by the higher class of Rationalistic minds eulogizing portions and acknowledging their influence upon the intelligence, civilization, morality, government, etc., of nations) only afford us additional ground for defence. If it were impossible for unskilful, ignorant workmen to build a locomotive with its complicated application of mechanical principles and its confinement and allotment of a powerful force in nature (which in the very nature of the case requires, and is indicative of, intelligent comprehension) how much less is it possible for “ignorant” men to construct, develop, and exhibit such a Theocratic Plan as is embraced in the doctrine of this Kingdom; a Plan running through thousands of years, requiring the most extraordinary manifestations and provisions, incorporating an animating, pervading unity extending from the entailment of the curse to its removal, from the loss of a Paradise to its final restoration, from a withdrawal of God to His dwelling again with man, from the introduction of evil to its complete overthrow, from a Redemption needed to a Redemption fully gained. Is it just to discard inspiration without first allowing reason, rising above mere prejudice, to ponder the astonishing historical (evidenced by continuous historical fulfilment) and doctrinal (shown by the perfect agreement of all the writers) unity in the matter of this kingdom. It professes to be the Kingdom of God, and to judge correctly whether it comes from God we must not merely confine ourselves to the manner in which it is presented (the mediumship) but observe whether it is worthy of God and conducive to the highest interests of humanity, and the answer to this becomes the leading proof of inspiration. The evolving of a continuous, unintermitted unity of Purpose (notwithstanding the hindrances presented by human nature); the distinctive preservation of the same decided outline of belief from beginning to end through writers separated by ages; the acknowledgments of the writers themselves that in certain stages of the developing of the Plan they themselves were involved in unbelief not then being able to see the connection; the extraordinary simplicity of the manner in which the matters pertaining to the Kingdom are recorded, the remarkable adaptation consisting between the Plan, and the condition (need) of man, and the end (desirable) intended—these and other considerations inspire such confidence in its representations (confirmed as they are by personal observation in present fulfilments and present experience in the reception of the Word) that the alleged discrepancies and difficulties (if even unsusceptible of explanation or reconciliation) give place to a firm belief in its divine inspiration. The very appeal to the Supernatural is found to be reasonable from the necessary connection it sustains not only to the deliverance of man—to which nature contributes nothing satisfactory and for which intelligence can substitute nothing better—and to the carrying out of the Plan, but in the proposal of the method itself, of the means by which it is to be accomplished, and of the great Agent through whom it is to be performed. If it is a Divine Plan at all it must be judged by the Divinity that it contains, illustrates, and enforces—not by its being drafted on paper, or given through the lips and pens of men, but by its design as a whole, its practical results, etc. Without now insisting upon the moral preparation requisite (and so important as the Bible justly states) to receive the truth as given; without pressing an answer to the question whether knowledge and faith are necessarily conjoined; without urging the existence of a moral nature which responds through its capacities to truth adapted to man’s own good; without showing that natural religion affords but a reflected light and that very dim; without insisting that humanity in every successive generation comes upon the stage of life in the same way, commencing its culture, etc., from the same point, exhibiting its utter inability in the same earthly fate from the greatest to the lowest, to remove the evils incident to this world—Reason—when speaking as reason, God-given, should speak—says that the evidence of truth is not so much in the manner, style, etc., in which it is given as in the truth itself, i.e., in its contents, its ideas, its statements, etc.; and that the highest possible evidence is that when the truth, thus stripped of its appendages (which may even serve to weaken it), commends itself by virtue of that which it contains, and by its perfect agreement with a related, consistent Plan. To prove, therefore, an inconsistency, a lack of inspiration in the Word of God, there must not be that low form of criticism which seizes upon the vehicle (acknowledged by God to be a weak instrumentality) through which the truth is presented, and picks out a flaw here and there, but there must be a direct showing either that the whole Plan is defective, or that this or that portion is utterly unsuited to carry out the purpose designed. Hence the assaults made upon the books of Moses are one-sided uncritical, and unjust to the Bible, simply because in the attack the relationship that these books sustain to an entire system of truth—to a Divine Plan—is totally ignored. Dealing with Moses honorably and justly, requires an investigation of the Divine Plan which he alleges God gave to him to reveal. If it can be shown that the Plan is not adapted to secure the end intended, that it cannot give the deliverance and happiness which it proposes, then, of course, an argument that appeals to sound reason is made out. But on the other hand, so long as the heart, the vital part, is untouched—the great leading truth stands uncontradicted—then the refutation of destructive criticism is found in the books themselves. The inspiration of the books of Moses is shown not by this or that statement, but by their design as a whole and their relationship to the rest of the Word; and to effectively invalidate it, men must show that the design contemplated, partly become history, is unworthy of God, defective in adaption, and sustains no relation to the final result proposed. The honest conviction of the writer, expressed with feelings of regard toward those who think and write differently, is that the truthfulness of those books evidenced in the therein predicted temporary (though long-continued) overthrow of the Theocracy, the dispersion and down-trodden condition of the Jewish nation, the Gentile dominancy, the calling of the Gentiles, the preservation of the nation, etc., and now witnessed by us in the world’s history, outweighs all the objections (hypothetical at best) which have been urged against them. Living, direct present testimony is vastly to be preferred to mere deductions when credibility is the issue; and when we see before us, as at this day, the continued fulfilment going on, it is unreasonable to leave the real for the merely suggestive, the demonstrated for the unproven. For Deut. ch. 32 alone is amply sufficient, if studied in the light of the past and present, to refute the efforts to cast discredit upon these books. Beholding thus the intimate and necessary union existing between all the books even the earliest and the latest—every one bearing its testimony to the same Plan—it is with a feeling of sadness that we find such a writer as Parker (Dis. of Religion), uttering the view of a growing class: “Here (in the Bible) are the works of various writers, thrown capriciously together and united by no common tie but the lids of the bookbinder.” The wish is evidently the father to the expressed thought, and as the heart desired it so reason adopted it. We have too much respect for the reasoning capacity of Parker to believe that he could pen such a sentence in defiance of existing facts, without a controlling motive that biassed reason. It only indicates what has been all along urged, that our opponents do not fairly meet the writers of the Bible on their own ground. If there is no bond of union—such as the doctrine of the Kingdom presents—it can be shown and proven not to exist, but no one has yet attempted this hopeless task, giving us in place of it mere assertion. The insincerity of the latter is emphatically seen by the notorious fact that one of the leading objections of a multitude of the Parker school is exactly the reverse of this, viz., that such a union does exist between them, but being based on the same common reception and promulgation of “Jewish conceptions” is on this ground to be discarded. Numerous writers reject the New Test. books because a continuation and confirmation of the Jewish ideas of the Old. Both objections, however, are not based on unprejudiced reasoning, for the simple reason that neither of them regards the continuity of Purpose or the remarkable features of the Plan which men, separated by many centuries, under varied circumstances, of prosperity and adversity, freedom and captivity, ignorant and learned, subjects and kings, reveal in a direct series of announcements, forming one connected design which they assert Divine Providence will ultimately carry out; and as collateral evidence, independent of that higher which the Plan itself affords, they point to past and present fulfilments to prove that the design is in progress toward completion. Let manliness in the attack then meet the claim of inspiration right here, in the Plan of this Book given for Redemptive purposes, showing its unadaptedness to produce the contemplated result, and in the alleged confirmatory proof, manifesting the absence of fulfilment. Many portions of the Scriptures, such an Daniel, parts of Isaiah, the Apocalypse, etc., are viewed isolated from the Plan and the relation that they sustain to it. In reference to Daniel recent writers, like Arnold, etc., reviving the old objection of Celsus, discard him because so largely and astonishingly verified by history, alleging that the fulfilment shows that his prophecies must have been written after the events, professedly predicted, had taken place. This blow aimed at the nature and integrity of prophecy as contained in the Old Test., and indorsed by Jesus and the apostles, utterly fails for two reasons; one is, that it ignores the distinctive position that Daniel occupies in reference to the development of the Plan, not only accurately coinciding with what was previously given, but adding necessary details which accurately fit into and materially aid (as we have seen) in filling out the Divine Purpose; another is, that Daniel to-day is (as we have shown) still in continuous fulfilment, so that his veracity as a receiver of Divine truth, is evidenced in Gentile rule, in the dispersion of his nation, in the history of the Church, in the postponement of the Kingdom, etc. The doctrine of the Kingdom gives this prophet such irresistible force, unity of design, continuity of purpose, etc., that no attack can be logically successful unless it meets this distinctive phase of his writings. Ignoring this relationship, pre-eminently worthy of notice on account of its being the strongest proof of inspiration, we find some (as e.g. Parker, Abs. Relig., p. 205) declare that the “writings of the prophets contain nothing above the reach of the human faculties,” and that “the mark of human infirmity is on them all and proofs or signs of miraculous inspiration,” so that it is maintained (as e.g. Foxton in Pop. Christianity, quoted by Fairbairn On Proph., p. 97), “that there are no proper predictions of the future in the Scriptures, and that there cannot be.” The last clause reveals the spirit of judgment applied by many to the Bible, for coming to it with a prejudged decision respecting its contents, and what it cannot contain—it is easy work to discard its teachings. But this is not weighing the main evidence upon which the Book relies, viz., its Divine Plan; it is not even considering the subsidiary proof of prophecy which receives its force and propriety owing to its relationship to this Plan. If such persons could be induced to study, impartially, the Bible as they do science, art, literature, etc., would not the leading questions be, what is the Divine Purpose professedly given in it, and what is its adaptation to the necessities of man and the world, and what is the proof that the purposed Plan in itself, as well as in its appendages, gives in its favor. Let the Kingdom in which the Plan of God culminates be considered in the scriptural light given under previous Propositions (thus even confirming the position of Rationalism itself that the Kingdom as predicted is not now visible), in its covenanted form, in its manifestation, in its overthrow or withdrawal, in its being tendered conditionally, in its rejection, in its being held in abeyance, and, above all, in its design, suitable adjustment to the needs of man and society, etc.—let attention be directed to the manner of prediction which is not that of man, owing to the Jewish spirit naturally being opposed to the calling of the Gentiles, the disparagement of their own nation, the recording of their own sinfulness and humiliation, the postponement of the Kingdom through their own guilt, and rejection, etc.—let it be pondered when these predictions relating to the Kingdom were given, when the Kingdom was established (and still its withdrawal foretold), when overthrown and in ruins, when the nation was down-trodden by the most powerful empires, and when its postponement during the times of the Gentiles was fully announced; let the provisionary measures (previously announced as part of the Plan) be contemplated, such as the Coming of One in the line of David and the portraiture of Him precisely meeting the required conditions of covenant and promise, the intercallary period introduced confirmed by the call and gathering of the Gentiles, the condition of the Jews, the unbelief of Jews and Gentiles, etc., let all this (and more as suggested by works specially devoted to giving evidences for we are now only concerned with those pertaining to the Kingdom), be regarded, and the Kingdom itself, with the vast and complicated (yet consistent unity exhibited) series of development necessary for its establishment—with the perfecting of its King and rulers through trial and suffering—with the merciful preliminary preparations—with its most loving union with and exaltation of humanity—with its beginning, progress, incorporation of David’s Son, teaching, prediction, promise, intercallary period and final re-establishment blended together into one harmonious whole—with the Supernatural necessarily connected with it in its conception, organization, provisions, and reconstitution, and all this gives reasonable and conclusive evidence of its divine origin—of its being indispensable to the natural in order to lift it up out of the evils which now so fatally encompass it. The charges of “a cunningly devised fable,” of “mythical” accounts, of “legendary” mixture, and of “intentional fiction,” come from those who persistently refuse to study the utterances of the several writers of the Bible in the relation that they sustain to the Divine Purpose in its beginning, progress, and, especially, in its goal—the ultimate end designed.

Obs. 8. In this connection it may be expected that something more directly should be said concerning the first chapters of Genesis. Without calling into question the sincerity and honest intentions of many eminent scientists who hold that these chapters are opposed to the deductions of science, as given by them, it is sufficient to show that they do not even approach these chapters, much less interpret them, in the spirit of a correct scientific research and study. We are not concerned in this discussion, valuable as they may be, with the theories of friends which strive to reconcile these chapters with science, or with the fatal concessions of opponents (such as to account for the first organisms, feeling, instinct, intelligence, morality) which evince that many of their statements are merely hypothetical. The explanations on the one hand and the conjectures on the other, are, in our estimation, superseded by an argument in favor of their divine origin, which cannot be, or at