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But the Scriptures do not represent the nations as having generally received the gospel at the period of Christ's return, nor is this the expectation of those who are now "looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” Titus ii. 13. “And this gospel of The King.
. dom," our Lord himself said, as we have already noticed, “ shall be PREACHED in all the world, for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come". -the end of the age, when Christ shall be seen coming in the clouds of heaven. Matt. xxiv. 3, 14. This work of preaching the gospel, or good news, of the coming kingdom, is in progress, and when its invitations shall have been addressed to all nations the kingdom itself shall be established. From most countries, to the praise of divine grace, a few have been already gathered to the blessed Redeemer. Some have, however, resisted every attempt to make known its salutary doctrines among them, or to introduce this gracious witness. But the Spirit will not always strive with men, and those who despise or neglect the proffered mercy shall endure the weight of divine wrath. When the Jews had filled up the measure of their iniquity by the crucifixion of the Lord of glory, He sent and destroyed those wicked men and burnt up their city, and let out His spiritual vineyard to other husbandmen. The gospel was then intrusted to certain nations of the Gentiles, with the assurance that if they continued not in the goodness of God, they also should be cut off; (Rom. xi. 22,) fur, "after a long time, the Lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.” Matt. xxv. 19. Instead, however, of profiting by the warning of God and the fate of Israel, these nations have perverted His gospel, thus heaping up wrath unto themselves against the day of wrath God, foreseeing their awful abuse
. and perversion of His grace, determined that they should be cut off; and in order that this warning might have due effect, He ordained that the gospel, which denounced their sin and foretold its punishment, should first be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations. In the apocalyptic vision, therefore, imme.
diately before the downfall of mystic Babylon, the apostle saw an angel commissioned to preach unto all nations, calling them to fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgments is come. Rev. xiv. 6, 7. And the redeemed who stand on the sea of glass "sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty ; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy, for all nations shall come and worship before thee, for thy judgments are made manifest.” Rev. xv. 3, 4. Thus will the righteous indignation of God against transgressors be vindicated in the eyes of men. And while other nations are being put in possession of the gospel as a witness, those which have so long been entrusted with God's word and ordinances are fast ri. pening for judgment. Instead, then, of the present state of the world indicating the coming of the Lord to be at a great distance, Prophecy and the external aspects of the nations seem alike to intimate His near approach.*
* In repelling Objections urged against this doctrine, we feel im. peratively called, warmly to recommend the Rev. Mr. Anderson's
• Apology for Millennial Doctrine, in the Form in which it was En. tertained by the Primitive Church.” The First Part, (the whole hitherto published,) is almost entirely occupied with arguments for the “ Removal of Unfavourable Prepossessions.” These arguments, of themselves most cogent, are uniformly conducted with a power which no opposition can withstand, and often with an elegance rarely excelled. Although in every instance the objections of opponents are presented in all their force, they are never left till utterly demolished, on principles admitted by the objectors themselves.
But to those who can come fearlessly to the word of God for their views, and who are willing, without prejudice, to submit themselves to its authority, it affords us more pleasure to be able to state, that Part Second is now in the press, in which the Reverend Author ad. vances to “ The Fundamental and General Argument for the Ap. proaching Reign of the Son of God, Manifested as the Son of David.” Having had the pleasure of hearing from the pulpit the Discourses which are now about to be presented to the Church in a more endur. ing form, we are happy in having it in our power to state, that by the publication of this Second Part, the doctrine of Christ's Millennial Reign will be established on a broader basis that it has ever yet received, and which, if we mistake not, will exhibit the Millennarian Scheme with all the attractions of a beautiful symmetry it has not hitherto been known to possess.
There is one other objection, which, though generally regarded as bearing against the doctrine of Christ's premillennial advent, does in reality confirm it. If Christ's personal reign on earth were a Scriptural doctrine, it is supposed that it could not have remained unknown to the Church or untaught by her ministers. It is indeed surprising that it should have been so long generally overlooked, and still more so that it should ever have been utterly denied. But even this forms the subject of prophecy ; by which we are prepared not merely for the indifference with which it is viewed, but also for the rejection of the Scriptural Evidence by which it is supported. Our Saviour, as has been already noticed, having predicted to the disciples His coming in glory after the great tribulation, spake several parables for their farther information. By one of these, the state of the Church with respect to the expectation of the Saviour's return is intimated : “ Then," or at that time, (of His coming,) said the omniscient Saviour, who well knew the change the opinions of his professing people would undergo concerning the time of his Return;Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins which took their lamps and went forth to meet the Bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them ; but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the Bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And, at midnight, there was a cry made, Behold the Bridegroom cometh ; go ye out to meet Him." Mat. xxv. 1-6. The whole professing church, both real Christians and hypocrites, is thus represented as falling asleep, from Christ's unexpected delay, and as being roused from their lethargy just at the annunciation of His return. How strikingly does this parable characterize the Christian Church! Before the close of the third century, many had lost that wakefulness by which the apostolic age was distinguished. Afterwards the church generally was lulled into repose, (although from time to time a few have been found in all ages faithfully declaring these sublime truths) until in later times
this lighter slumber had settled into deep unbroken sleep. The Saviour represents the church as being in this state till immediately before His coming, being awakened from it only by the announcement of His return. Instead, therefore, of the present indifference and disbelief manifested by the church being evidence against the truth of these doctrines, that circumstance, taken in connexion with their recent partial revival, is in itself a proof of the time being near at hand. In the parable, the virgins continued asleep until the time of the Bridegroom's approach. The cry, Behold He cometh, was made at midnight, and therefore very near the morning. As in the church this cry has already arisen, His coming must be near, even at the door. *
It is on this account the more necessary that those already aroused should endeavour to awaken others, that they may be found ready to receive Him. Especially does it become such of the ministers of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God,” (1 Cor. iv. 1,) as have been brought to a knowledge of this glorious doetrine to be found exerting themselves in making it known. It has too long been excluded from the Christian's creed; nor will the furtherance of God's designs, arising from our disbelief, vindicate the Church in this important omission. It can be little satisfaction to the believer to know, that his listlessness with respect to the period of his Lord's return has more effectually lulled the world into security, and that thus more obviously
as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.” Luke xxi. 35. “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace
As are the predictions of Christ's coming, so is this parable, also, often applied to the time of each individual's death. But the figure is one of a collective character, representing the state of the whole church at a particular time. Independently, indeed, of our Lord's direct application of it to the time of His return in the clouds of heaven--for it is, “ then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened unto ten virgins”-it is not even true of all the members of the church, the wise as well as the foolish, that before death they have fallen asleep with regard to that event, even the wise being only awakened by its solemnity when eternity is opening to view.
and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape.” 1 Thes. v, 2, 3. But are there none, even among the disciples of Jesus, who have in these last times joined themselves with the scoffers, who unbelievingly ask, “Where is the promise of his coming”? 2 Pet. jii. 3, 4. Many and precious are the promises given to the saints who shall be found waiting and looking for the Lord from heaven, but the professing church of the present day has assumed a very different attitude. The multiplicity of proof, direct and indirect, of the nearness of His return is generally disregarded, while ignorance and enthusiasm are charged on those by whom it is received. The unbeliever's proverb has not indeed been confined to the land of the literal Israel: “ The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth. Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord God, I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision.” Ezek. xii. 22, 23. How clearly did the omniscience of Jesus foresee the state of the Church before His coming ! and how distinctly did he predict it as being “then," or at that time, likened unto ten virgins who had fallen asleep“ while the Bridegroom tarried !” And the belief having once obtained that a thousand years
had certainly to elapse before the coming of Christ, how few have fully examined the divine record for the authority on which this opinion is supposed to rest ! Surely we will not be regarded as unreasonable, if, before submitting our faith to such an opinion. we require the evidence of its divine original. It adds not a little to confirm the truth of these doctrines, that those who oppose them generally satisfy themselves with empty declamation, inveighing against what they have noconsidered, and disregarding the proof they cannot refute. Those who esteem the authority of God's word as paramount, will require objections more weighty than the unsupported charges with which these doctrines have yet been assailed ; and, distinguishing between Scriptural proof and futile aitempts to set its