« EelmineJätka »
Rev. xii. 12; Ps. lxxxix. 5, cxlviii. 1, 4; Neh. ix. 6; Ps. 1. 6, xcvii. 6, lvii. 10, cviii. 4, xxxvi. 15, and lxxxix. 2. And even in the days of Abraham, the father of the faithful and the friend of God, “ The word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram : I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give ine, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed : and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir ; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them : and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be” (Gen. xv. 1-5). He saith not seeds, as of many, but Seed, as of one, which is Christ (Gal. iii. 16); and the whole passage implies that the Lord talked with Abraham, in this instance, concerning a single heir, a Seed, and that Seed's posterity
If, then, the Seed of Abraham shall be multiplied in his “ Seed's seed” (Heb. ii. 13; Isai. lix. 21), as the stars of heaven ; and if Adam, as lord of Eden (the rest of the world being uninhabited and unknown), be the type of Him that is yet to come (70 pelNovros, Rom. v.), the type of Christ in his millennial and everlasting rule over this world, the rest of the universe being hitherto uninhabited, and unknown; then the purpose of God toward us, the members of the mystical Christ, the children of the Second Adam, and his purpose toward creation also, receives illumination. For, indeed, to pretend, on the contrary, that the stars or their planets are inhabited at this time, is in effect to deny that what God calls “the beginning” (Gen. i. 1) was any such thing: or else to deny the following texts, which expressly assure us that we are taught, and that we know, all things: 1 John ii. 20; 1 Cor. ii. 15; John xv. 15, xvi. 12, 13, xiv. 26; 1 Cor. iii. 21-23; Heb. i. 2, with ii. 17; Eph. iv. 10; 2 Cor. iv. 15; Rom. i. 10, viii. 32, &c.
Nor, indeed, is the vulgar argument in favour of the present population of the heavenly spheres deserving of the slightest notice from a reasoning mind; for it offers itself under the form of an analogy! An ANALOGY, forsooth, deducing the condition of millions of orbs, and whole systems of orbs, from that of one single satellite of a single individual sun! An analogy, forsooth, from one to myriads ! A process of reasoning this well suited to the soi-disant march of intellect, but which is scarcely worthy of our ridicule.—To proceed : when all the testimony of Divine revelation, so far as the Spirit of Truth condescends to reveal, is sufficient only to establish a preponderance of evidence on one side of a question, without demonstrating either
side thereof; then faith is exercised even to the perfecting of the proof. For I maintain, that, when all the testimony of the word of God, upon this or any other point, establishes such or such a probability, and invalidates its contrary; then, inasmuch as we possess the knowledge of all things, and possess no more than that probability, that probability is a truth ; and its evidence, being in no place interfered with in all Scripture, amounts in the believer's estimate to demonstration.
The evidence which we possess to prove that the celestial spheres are hitherto uninhabited, is express and complete : for if they were inhabited before this world was made out of nothing, then that was not "the beginning” which God calls so; and if they have become inhabited since, then Genesis is not the book of the “generation of the heavens and the earth ;" neither are the following words true, from Gen. ii. 1, “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them."
The evidence that we possess to prove that we are destined to rule over the starry heavens, in purity, and justice, and truth— or, rather, to speak out the truth-In Christ-the evidence of this is neither express nor complete in the Scripture page; but it is all in favour of the affirmative of such an idea, and against its contrary; so that we may no longer entertain the latter, but are bound to discard it as absolutely nugatory. As Adam (TUTOS TH yellovros)“ peopled the world,” so shall Christ, in the glorious company of his holy members, people the universe : as Eve was the mother of all living” in this state of forfeit-life, so “
, shall the church become the mother of generations upon generations yet unborn, the sinless inhabitants of innumerable spheres, never tainted with sin, never clouded with sorrow; where death has no name, and falsehood is unknown. I believe, on this kind of argument, that the earthly process of the evolution of independent beings—that the birth of men according to naturewill for ever continue, in the purity then accomplished by the clean water of Ezek. xxxvi. 25-namely, within the body of the holy Jewish church, with its proselytes of all nations : for (as it is written in the last chapter of the prophecy of Isaiah, ver. 22) “ a little one shall become a thousand in that day, and a small one a strong nation; I the Lord will hasten it in his time :" and hence I say I am of opinion that the holy Jewish church will then stand in the same relation to the heavenly city that we now bear to it-namely, as the material and the source of the persons, or individual souls, which God impregnates afterwards with spirit and with life.
Begotten, increased, and born in that kind of fact which we have denominated" type," and which we regard as a mere effort of God's fiat towards its own fulfilment, our "holy children" (1 Cor. vii. 14) still require both to receive outwardly, and to appropriate to their own spirits by faith, the zöopoient word of God's ordinance, which is his act, to make them any thing in his sight more than a detestable abortion (Psal. lxviii. 8), or the chaff which the wind driveth away. They are previously no more than the dead embrio, that withereth before ever it is seen, and dieth in its native pulp; being as if it had not been, and entering into existence only to be cast out thereof. Quickened of the imperishable Word, the incorruptible Seed of the Most High God and Father of us all, they become fit habitants of his dominions; creatures for whose sake the rest are spared ; them for whom he made this age, and allows its continuance : and even so, restored Jerusalem, the metropolitan temple of our globe, attended by its kingdom of priests, resorted to of all nations, and making proselytes of all, shall become, in the unity of the one catholic church recapitulated in Christ, the generative organ, the fruitful parent or matrix of innumerable offsprings ; upon which the members of the mystical body of Christ the Second Adam, and inhabitants of the heavenly Jerusalem that descendeth from above, shall continually dispense his living and abiding word, replete with life immortal, with power and wisdom and goodness and joy and honour, even the knowledge of their Creator, and the worship of his Name, throughout the boundless regions of immensity; throughout that globe of suns, then living suns, which even now revolveth round its unknown Centre, and is comprehended therein; which even now doeth homage in eternal revolution to Him who is the centre of all being, the incomprehensible Supreme! For, in the nature of things, the centre of all is the highest of all; even as our sun is called the highest in our solar system : and astronomers have ascertained that the vast spherical vault of the starry heavens is now, and ever hath been, revolving around a centre; to which, therefore, in propriety of language, and if we would attach any meaning to the words, the Scripture name of " the high and holy place” (Isai. lvii. 16), or “the Highests” (Luke ii. 14, &c.) must be referred.
“ Then is the end (or consummation) when he shall have delivered
the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority, and all power.... For He hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, All things are put under, it is manifest that He is excepted which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then also shall the Son”--the Lord God manifest in outward visible rule and absolute dominion over the fish, the reptiles, the birds, the mammalia, and whatever else the heavens and the earth contain: then also shall the Son of Man, the Head of all the circling glory of God's eternal praise the visible temple of Him who inhabiteth the praises of Israel' (Psal. xxii.3), THE WORD OF THE INVISIBLE GOD—" be sub
ject unto Him that put all things under him; that God,” the Triune, Central, and Supreme, the Incomprehensible, Omnipotent, Self-originated, Almighty, and Unchangeable One, may be all in all.” (1 Cor. xv. 24, 27, 28.)
Oh, great and magnificent joys, prepared for those who love God! joys which the eye cannot see, which the ear may not hear, which, O my heart, attempt thou not to conceive! but, while my soul doth magnify the Lord, let my spirit rejoice in God my Saviour; and in the Holy Ghost, who searcheth all things, yea, even the deep things of God, in his Spirit who dwelleth in us, we will not be afraid to contemplate this mighty mystery of love. Behold, then, the Church of God, the purehased" bride of the Lamb slain, then in very fact the fulness of Him that filleth all in all; manifesting Him athwart creation's span, re-echoing His praise throughout the mighty scope of the universe of God. “Rejoice, therefore, ye heavens, together
' with Him, and let all the sons of God strengthen Him; for he hath avenged the blood of his sons; he hath avenged and recompensed justice to his enemies, and he hath recompensed them that hate him; and the Lord hath cleansed the land of his people *."-"For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend, with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge; that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” And now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all generations of the age of ages ! (Eph. iii. 14-21), and evermore “unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God.... who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords ; who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto ; whom no man hath seen, nor can see.... be honour and glory for ever and ever! Amen.” (1 Tim. i. 17; vi. 15, 16.)
There remain to be considered the destiny of those who neglect so great salvation; and also the question, whether any Jews, or Gentiles, shall ever be exalted to the celestial Melchisedec rank of coheirship
with Christ, at any period subsequent to his glorious epiphany. But these I reserve until a future opportunity.Reader, farewell!
C. * Deut. XXX. 43, Sept. — namely, as quoted in Heb. i. 6. See the margin.
COMMENTARY ON THE EPISTLES TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES
IN THE APOCALYPSE.
(Continued from p. 273.)
PART II.-Interpretation. Having established, on grounds which rest neither on the success of any particular interpretation nor on the existence of any interpretation at all, that the seven epistles of the Apocalypse (excepting the promise concerning the age to come, variously introduced into each, and sent to each angel, yet addressed to the churches) do cover the whole Gentile dispensation, and no more, we assuredly believe that their fulfilment must somewhere be found within the history, past, present, and to come, of this dispensation. Let us now reverently, yet confidently, prepare to find it; for God will undoubtedly reveal it to them who truly expect and faithfully seek its revelation.
The most useful, although not perhaps the most accurate, course will be to state at the outset those conclusions which our subsequent investigations will be seen to warrant, regarding the allocation of the seven epistles. They are as follow:
1. The Ephesian church carries us down to the commencement of the great persecution by Nero, in A. D. 64.
2. That of Smyrna represents the church purified by trial at the hands of Rome, till the accession of Constantine, in 324.
3. The church at Pergamos sets forth the interval between the elevation of Constantine and the rise of the little horn, at the commencement of the 1260 years.
4. The church at Thyatira expresses the testimony of the church against the Papacy during the 1260 years.
5. That of Sardis indicates the state of the church from the end of the 1260 years, until the preparation for the coming of the Lord,
6. The Philadelphian church expresses the period of that preparation, until the Lord come to the air, and be met by his saints
changed and risen. 7. The Laodicean church (the only one yet entirely future) is our sad monitor concerning the history of the church on earth during that period of great tribulation which shall intervene between the coming of the Lord to the air and the establishment of his throne and rest in Zion.
That these seven periods should be found exactly separated from one another in succession, is not to be anticipated; inasmuch as they represent, among other things, the effects produced by such changes in doctrine and practice as cannot occur instantaneously. Most, if not all, of them will be found to merge insensibly into, or overlap, one another; and many features