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    MODERN MILLENARIES OF THE ANCIENT SCHOOL

    After the heat of the controversy with Rome had somewhat cooled, and Protestants were secure of their liberty, and of their possessions also, they looked less and less for the Lord’s appearing in the great day, to overthrow Anti-christ, and to give his saints a reward. While Rome was ready to crush them by the arm of Charles 5., and again by the Spanish Armada under Philip 20.; and while the Duke of Alva slaughtered the Dutch Protestants, and Queen Mary lighted the fires of Smithfield, and the Hugonots were coldly butchered in France, the followers of the purified church continually wrestled and struggled in the primitive faith: they counted neither life nor fortune dear, for the King in his kingdom was at hand: they saw the Roman empire divided, and its kingdoms usurped and overruled by the image and demon worshiping, the idolatrous bishop of Christendom; and nothing remained for them to expect, but the Lord’s coming to destroy the whole realm of Satan from the face of the earth, and to bring in the promised kingdom of heaven. But when the high peril of that controversy was over, and Protestants were comfortably in possession of the spoils of victory, in their several countries, it was no longer in human nature to look for the end of the world, as before, with strong desire, and ripe expectation: as distressed mortals are chiefly prepared in mind to die; but if lifted from the bed of anguish again, and filled with ease and plenty, they think less of their latter end: so the Protestant church of the seventeenth century said less of the coming of her Lord, in the end of the world; and yet she said nothing against that doctrine, but religiously conformed to it her creeds and catechisms, her standards and confessions of faith, her literature, and for the most part the views of her leading men.HDM 30.5

    In the seventeenth century, A. D. 1627, Joseph Mede published, in Latin, his Key of the Apocalypse, which opened the sealed book to thousands in a light never seen before, within our knowledge. He is the acknowledged father of interpreters of that wonderful book, and with him revived the ancient millenary doctrine in its purity. He holds it demonstrated that the thousand years’ reign follows the time of the Beast and the false Prophet and of Antichrist, and is yet to come in the advent of the Lord. He thinks the millennium is “the great day of the Lord,” “the great day of judgment.” and “the day of the great judgment,” celebrated in the Scriptures and the writings of the Jews; that it “is a continued space of many years, wherein Christ will destroy all his enemies, beginning with Antichrist, by his revelation from heaven in flaming fire, and ending with death itself in the universal resurrection; during which space of time shall be the kingdom of the saints in the New Jerusalem.” He affirms “that Antichrist shall not be finally destroyed until the day of Christ’s appearing,” but dissents from the millenaries who say this reign will be after the judgment: “for,” says he, “I give a third time, during the great day of judgment,” the millennium; which being completed in the general resurrection, the wicked are cast into the lake of fire, and the saints are taken with Christ to heaven and eternal life. 1Mede, B. iii. c. xi. p. 602.HDM 31.1

    This magnificent conception of holy truth has since been revived by some of the profoundest scholars and brightest ornaments of the English church, among whom might be named a galaxy of devout and learned men, especially of this age. It is impossible to read their pages in “the Literalist,” now appearing among us, except with profit and delight, notwithstanding we dissent from their fashion in some points of importance. They hold to the ancient doctrine of the coming of the Lord; they regard it near. Their labors are characterized by deep reverence for the whole word of the blessed God, by a close study of its sacred pages, by logical arguments, by diligent and faithful comparison and clear deduction, by an excellent spirit of kindness towards, them who differ, and by an ardent desire to call off public attention from the vanities of time, and to fasten the faith and the hope of the church on the unseen world, which comes near with the Lord in his glory, as the angels testified, when he ascended in a cloud. I humbly think it probable they are mistaken in supposing those things spoken in the prophets respecting the return and subsequent prosperity of the Jews are to be fulfilled to the natural seed of Abraham. Should it appear so, they will be among the foremost to, reconsider that subject, and to rejoice with all saints in that interpretation, which applies all those gracious promises to Abraham’s seed in Christ, in the world to come, not for a temporal, but for an everlasting possession.HDM 32.1

    I agree with the Rev. and learned author of the last number, which has come to hand, 2Hugh M’Neile of Liverpool. that the proof advanced in his and in kindred pages, “requires something more than a: mere denial, to set it aside, and that no candid student of. Holy Scripture can fairly resist it, unless he can take the 36th and 37th chapters of Ezekiel, and adhering consistently to the whole context, can show us a more excellent way of interpretation.” The irresistible manner in which they advance to demolish the fortified positions of the spiritualists in the flesh, is worthy of all praise, and fills me with confidence in the hope that they will not be the last to discern the genuine fulfilment of the letter of the promises, in the day when the Lord returns, to build the tabernacle of David which is fallen down, and to build again the ruins thereof and to set it up. For, however difficult to discover the sense of the following words of the apostle, “that the residue of men might seek unto the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called,” the time of their fulfilment is after the second advent: “After this will I return;” and when they are fulfilled, David will be raised from the dead: for his tabernacle, “which is fallen down,” is his body, the house of his pilgrimage, now in “ruins,” but to be “set up” anew in the day of the Lord Jesus. Then “the hope of Israel” will be realized, “unto which promise our twelve tribes,” watching “day and night, hope to come.” 1Acts 26:7. The restoration of Israel being interpreted literally of the chosen seed in Christ, to be raised from the grave at the Lord’s coming, “a more excellent way” opens to view, consistently to explain the 36th and 37th chapters of Ezekiel, making them describe the gathering of “the whole house of Israel” out of their graves, and the bringing of them into their heavenly land, under the Beloved their King, never more to be rooted out, but to enjoy it in safety for an everlasting possession.HDM 32.2

    The point of difference between the English millenaries, and the standard-bearers of the christian faith, seems to arise solely out of the promises to the Jews, with which the holy word abounds: and if that proves to be the sole difference, one mode of correcting it is already familiar to their readers; to wit, to regard the Jew himself as a type, to be forever done away with all types, in the day of the Lord Jesus.HDM 33.1

    This is a short and simple receipt; but if faithfully applied, it will in every case afford the desired relief.HDM 33.2

    The Jewish type of the holy people must disappear in their resurrection from the dead; and never till then can they inherit the promises. The shadow does not more certainly lose itself in the substance, or time in eternity, than the life of the Jews in this world will be lost in the life of the Jews from the dead.HDM 33.3

    The promise of the world to Abraham for his inheritance, stands good to the letter this day. It has never been fulfilled to him; nor can it be, until the resurrection: and as with him, so with his seed. The promises to them are literal, and to be literally fulfilled in the same resurrection of the dead.HDM 33.4

    Having quoted from the Psalms and the prophets twenty-five choice pages to illustrate the doctrine of the millenaries, Dr. Greswell adds: “These splendid and magnificent promises of temporal happiness, [not temporal at all, but eternal,] of peace, security, prosperity,-have never yet been realized in such a manner as answers to the truth and plainness of the promises themselves; and, therefore, if they are still to be verified, on this earth in particular, where alone it is supposed that they are all to be fulfilled, it must he in some future state of human society, [exactly the future state,]-different from anything which has yet been witnessed among mankind, as heaven is distinct from earth,” etc. 1Expos. Para., p. 252.HDM 33.5

    The error seems to lie in supposing the promises and kingdom are temporal, and limited to a thousand years; whereas they are eternal, as the new heavens and new earth and New Jerusalem in which they are to be fulfilled to the letter. They are not fulfilled in this dispensation; they belong by faith to the church in the wilderness; they belong to “the whole house of Israel” in fact, on the other side of Jordan, with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. They have no value in the flesh, whether of Abraham and David, or of Polycarp and Cyprian, save only to sustain the pilgrims of the desert with the hope of rest and joy they inspire in the heavenly Canaan. They are not spoken of this world, although in language of this world; but they are spoken of the world to come with Jesus and the resurrection. The millenaries of the ancient school expect the Jews’ return and reign in the flesh, I believe, universally; and to some extent the restoration of the temple and its ordinances and sacrifices: when, if they perceived that the Jews’ return is the resurrection of the dead, not in figure, but in fact; nothing else “but life from the dead,” 1Romans 11:15. literally, they would be easily rid of the temple and blood and marriages and sacrifices, and so forth, which St. Jerome freely casts on their family with shame.HDM 34.1

    The christian world is of one mind with the English millenaries of this day, that the Jewish nation was a type of the church [and is a type of the elect,] the promises of the land of Canaan to the nation were typical of final salvation, [of a land in the new earth, “even an heavenly,”] and the whole history of the nation was typical of the experience of New-Testament believers. 2M’Neile in the Liter., p. 82. Their temple and tabernacle, their Mount Zion and Jerusalem, and David, and an infinite round of ceremonies, were all typical, and were shadows of good things to come: shadows of the heavenly patterns, the patterns belonging to heaven, and never to be seen and handled in the church, except by faith; and never to be enjoyed in this world, though its rivers should flow with milk, and its rocks ooze with pure honey; but to be received in “a better country,” which Abraham sought, and in the New Jerusalem, which God creates, and Jesus brings with him, in the last great day.HDM 34.2

    The Jews have ever stumbled at this stumbling-stone of the flesh. They have, as a people, never ceased to expect the promises to be fulfilled to their nation in that “Jerusalem which is in bondage with her children;” “so that it cannot but be matter of highest admiration, to see that blinded nation groping for the door, when the house has fallen flat to the ground; and, like a company of dispersed ants, whose hill is digged up, carrying their eggs in their mouth above these sixteen hundred years, not knowing where to lay them; but expecting their old ant-hill should grow up again out of the dust-not considering that by this time, their eggs must have grown addle.” 1Smith’s Christian Appeal to the Sceptic, L. 2. c. 8. s. 2. p. 87. But even in this they are a type still of the visible church, which judaizes in the hope of the kingdoms of this world for itself one thousand years in the name and spirit of the Lord. But these are baubles for children, rattles for babes in Christ, which men ought to forsake. These are shadows and prints, which untaught infancy may be allowed to mistake for the things themselves; but the experienced man knows their emptiness, and looks for the originals in the kingdom of heaven, and for the substance in eternal life.HDM 35.1

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