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again enjoy a free intercommunion with the angels of God, together with a general assembly of our brethren the saints of God who have thus died in the faith, and who the Lord shall bring with him, their names being enrolled in heaven. But above all, you will have the personal presence of Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, whose voice, at his second coming, in proof of his power and glory (as it did at the giving of the law on mount Horeb) will destroy all the governments, or political powers of the earth, with their ecclesiastical jurisdictions over the souls of men. Then you who have been so despised and persecuted shall receive a kingdom that can never be moved or taken from you.-Under this glorious prospect, then, let these considerations animate you to diligence, activity and zeal in the cause of our common Lord-although here at present we have no abiding city, but are reviled and driven from place to place, often not knowing where to lay our heads, yet we know that we have one in certain expectation, and which we shall assuredly possess in due time, if we hold out to the end.
THE apostle James also exhorts," be patient, therefore, brethren unto the coming of the Lord-Be ye also patient, establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh."
PETER, that chief of the apostles, and one of those who had seen our Lord in glory when he was on the mount, addresses those to whom he writes, as persons kept by the power of God through faith, unto a salvation ready to be revealed in the last timethat the trial of their faith being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise, and honor and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ,-and he exhorts them to gird up the loins of their minds, to be sober, aud hope to the end, for the grace that is to be brought unto them at the revelation of Jesus Christ.-And that they should not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which was to try them, as though some strange thing happened unto them, but that they should rejoice inasmuch as they were partakers of Christ's sufferings; that when his glory should be revealed, they might be glad with exceeding joy-for when their chief shepherd shall appear they should receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.-He then exhorts the elders among them, and claims the character of being also an elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, "and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed"-hereby declaring his confidence that he should come with Christ, and be a sharer in his glory-and he further assures them,
"that when the chief shepherd should appear, they (the Elders) should also receive a crown of glory that should not fade away."
In his second epistle, he prefaces his doctrines with an assurance" that he had not followed cunningly devised fables, when he had made known, the pow er and coming of the Lord Jesus, he having been an eye witness of his majesty." He then solemnly warns the churches, and declares that he writes his second epistle to stir up their pure minds to remember the words which had before been spoken by the holy prophets; and had been expressly commended by him, and the rest of the apostles of the Lord and Saviour relative to the great event of his second coming in glory; -assuring them that in the last days. before" the advent he had referred to should take place, there should arise scoffers walking after their own lusts and saying where is the promise of his coming, for since the fathers have fallen asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation; for this they are willingly ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old and the earth standing out of the water and in the water, (or in other words, that Jesus Christ, the word, or logos, created the heavens, earth and seas) whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished (that is, by means of the seas and the waters above in clouds, &c. and the then position of the earth, the inhabitants all perished) but the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word (or logos) are kept in store, reserved unto fire against (or after) the day of fudgment and per
dition of ungodly men," that is, as the flood destroyed all the ungodly inhabitants then upon the earth, and changed its form and appearance from what it was before; so the fire to which it is reserved, will in like manner destroy and consume all the ungodly who shall remain to the end of the judgment day, and purify and change the face of the earth so as to become an hab. itation of holiness and righteousness forever.
But the apostle having thus accidentally mentioned the day of judgment, seems to fear that the church might misapprehend him as some of the members had done his brother Paul, and construe the day of judgment he spoke of, as meaning the space of a common day, he therefore removes all doubt of his meaning by a clear explanation. Although it was usual with the Jews to describe a definite time, though a long space, by the term day; as the forty years passing through the wilderness in Psalms, xcv. 8. is called a day-so also in Hebrews, iii. 8. The seventy years captivity is called a day, in almost all the prophets, and particularly Deut. xxxii. 35. The life of man is called a day in Heb. iii. 13. and in the last words of the 2d epistle of Peter, translated in our version, both now and evermore, in the Greek and Latin, is dies eternitatis, the day of eternity.-The whole time of Christ's first coming is called a day, John, xvi. 26. 2d Cor. vi. 2.
The apostle however guards carefully against the supposition that he meant a single day in common acceptation, by assuring them that it was not his mean
ing; "but beloved, says he, be not ignorant of this one thing, that a day with the Lord (of which I have now been speaking) is a thousand years (as it should be rendered) and a thousand years is (meant by) one day," that is, it is so to be understood in the declaration I have been making to you, or in the prophetic communication made to me by the spirit of God." But this day of the Lord (by which expression the Jews always understood, the coming of the Messiah) will come as a thief in the night, in (or after) which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with a fervent heat; the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up: seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be, in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.". Whatever secondary and very future signification this very awful description may have, yet in the first instance as relating to the second coming of Christ, it is, as if the apostle had said, all the religious and political governments and powers on
May not this throw some light on the account of the fall, given in Genesis?-If a day with the Lord, or in the language of divine communication, is a thousand years, then the sentence on Adam was literally executed-" in the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die"-now it is well known, that neither Adam or any of his posterity ever lived to the age of one thousand years.-Justin Martyr seems to have had this idea of the words.