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The dead in Christ shall first arise,
At the last trumpet's sounding: And meet their Saviour in the skies,
With joy His throne surrounding: No gloomy fears their souls dismay; His presence sheds eternal day
On those prepared to meet Him.
But sinners, fill'd with guilty fears,
For they shall rise, and find their tears
The day of grace is past and gone; Trembling they stand before the throne All unprepared to meet Him.
Great God, what do I see and hear!
And thus prepare to meet Him."
HOUGH not necessarily connected with the age to come or the Millennium, yet it seems a fitting conclusion to a little treatise on that state to close with some remarks on the eternal kingdom which is to succeed the Millennial age.1
The consideration of the latter seems imperfect and incomplete without some reference to, and description of, the former; and for this reason, that there can be no doubt that all the saved will form one vast and catholic empire in the new heaven and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Not that this is
1 For the guidance of those who are just beginning the study of prophetic chronology, we would observe that just here 2 Peter iii. 13 will be fulfilled. On this good Bishop Heber wrote these lines:
"The Lord shall come! the earth shall quake;
And withering from the vault of night,
A silent Lamb before His foes,
The Lord shall come! a dreadful form,
clearly revealed, but may be, we think, fairly inferred from some few texts to which we will give a brief consideration.
In 1 Cor. xv. 24 we read: "Then cometh the end, when He-i.e., Christ-shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father. And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.”
There is a vail of difficulty hanging over this passage, the whole of which the writer cannot remove. But one thing does appear clear, that instead of there being, as in the age to come, a heavenly and an earthly Jerusalem dividing the sacred hosts of the Lord, we infer from this that there will be one vast empire to be called the new heaven and the new earth, in which the whole Body of the ransomed of the Lord shall dwell together for ever.
Again, in Daniel vii. 14 we read of the dominion being given to the "Son of Man," who is plainly Jesus; and it is said, "His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."
Now, if it be true that He takes the kingdom in a public and ostensible manner at His great Epiphany, and reigns and rules over and through the probationary period of the Millennium, then when that shall have terminated, and all probation, so far as we know, of human creatures is at an end, all the saved will be on one level,"saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation." Then it is simply natural and reasonable to
conclude that the different departments of the one vast dominion, if we may so speak, should be merged into the eternal kingdom, where all the redeemed from among men shall be in one fold and under one shepherd.
Further, in Acts iii. 21, we read, where Peter is speaking of the future age, he says, referring to the ascension of Jesus to the right hand of God the Father, which had then just occurred: "Whom the heaven must receive till the time of the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.'
Now, whatever interpretation we may give of this "restitution of all things," one thing is quite certain, that it seems to suggest the same idea as that to which we have already adverted-viz., the inauguration of the one universal and eternal kingdom, supervening upon the termination of the Millennial—" a kingdom which shall never be moved," but "abideth for ever."
For nothing less than this can be meant by the remarkable and now much controverted words. And it is reasonable to suppose that this is the meaning of these words if we refer to those of Jesus in John x. 16: "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice, and there shall be one fold and one Shepherd.” Now these are remarkable words, and excite thoughts relative to the eternal kingdom. And we confess that, to our mind, they are strongly confirmatory of this
1 See "New Heaven and New Earth," by late Dr. Chalmers.
view-viz., that all the saved will be in one glorious company, "a kingdom of priests," "in His presence, where there is fulness of joy, and at His right hand, where there are pleasures for evermore."
Both now and during the age to come we can speak thus: "Of whom the whole family in heaven and in earth is named;" but when these ages shall have run their appointed course, and the redemptive economy shall have completed its great remedial purpose, and all probationary life is concluded, then what is to hinder the eternal and indissoluble union of all the branches of the redeemed Body into one all-perfect family, under one eternal Father, as one perfect flock under one allperfect Shepherd, or one vast empire of loyal subjects under one eternal King? Nothing; and this, we believe, will be the great outcome of redemption (Col. i. 26, 27).
And if we refer to the last two chapters of Revelation for a description of the eternal kingdom, we shall find much that will excite reflection and inquiry rela-· tive to the final state of human existence, when "this mortal shall have put on immortality, and mortality shall have been swallowed up of life." For though, of course, much of the language must be accepted as figurative and metaphorical, yet there is an immense residuum that will be real, and the reality is a condition of joy and felicity, in comparison of which even that of the Millennial Age sinks into utter insignificance.
For it is there, if we mistake not, that the climax of felicity will be attained; because it will be there, and not in the New Jerusalem, nor the Millennial Church,