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the Millenarian System; which, instead of having any foundation in the present text, is refuted by it. For St. John here speaks of the happiness of the souls only, of those who were beheaded, &c. without hinting the least at the state of their bodies. Whence it appears, that by the first resurrection the Apostle understands the glory of Heaven, into which the just enter after their death, and which they will enjoy for a thousand years, that is, during the whole course of time to the general resurrection. Besides, the notion of two resurrections of the flesh, or of body and soul, is fully disproved by our Saviour's words: The hour cometh, wherein all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that have done good things, shall come forth unto the resurrection of life; but they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment, John v. 28, 29. Here Christ expresses very clearly but one general resurrection of the good and the wicked together. Hence it is no wonder that the Millenarian opinion fell early into disrepute, and has been long exploded. But as some moderns have endeavoured to revive it, it may be worth while to read the following brief account of its original rise, progress, and decline, in the learned D. Calmet's Comment on this chapter of the Apocalypse.
"The system of the Millenarians owes its origin to "the Jews. They expected to reign a thousand years "with the Messiah on earth, as appears from the fourth "book of Esdras, and from the works of some of their "most famous Rabbins, as Maimonides and Manasse"Ben-Israel. But he that gave the greatest credit to "that opinion, was Papias, a disciple of St. John the "Evangelist, and companion of St. Polycarp. He pre"tended to have received the Millenarian doctrine from "the Apostles and their disciples. Upon this assertion "it was adopted by St. Irenæus, St. Justin Martyr, Ter"tullian, Victorinus, Lactantius, and several others; "while it was on the other hand impugned by others "from the first ages of the Church. And certainly what "Eusebius remarks of the character of Papias, ought to "be sufficient to discredit his authority. He was a man "of very moderate understanding, who, for want of com
"prehending what he heard from the Apostles, took "literally what was said in a mystical sense. St. Dio"nysius of Alexandria, in the third century, expressly "refuted one Nepos, who had composed a book in de"fence of the Millenarian opinion. And Caius, a Priest "of the Church of Rome, in the second century, calls it a fable invented by Cerinthus. Origen also rejects it "in several places of his works.-In fine, we may con"clude with a very able man, M. du Pin, Dissert. sur "les Millenaires, who has fully discussed the question, "that the Millenarian sentiment is contrary to the Gos"pel, to the doctrine of St. Paul, and is not at all found"ed in the Apocalypse."
To conclude this part of our present history: the reader may remark, that the events, which took their rise in the first age of the Church, have been here carried on in a continued series, because connected, far beyond the period of that age, which terminates about the year 320. And in general it must be observed, that the transactions relating to the Church are not confined within the compass of that age which gives them birth, and which they serve to characterize, but continue and extend into the subsequent ages.
The History of the Second Age of the Christian Church. The Opening of the Second Scal.
APOC. Chap. VI. v. 3. And when he had opened the
Second Seal, I heard, says St. John, the second living creature, saying, Come and see:
V. 4. And there went out another horse, that was red: and to him that sat thereon, it was given that he should take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another, and a great sword was given to him.
Here is announced the heresy of Arianism, the rise of which opens the Second Age of the Church, about the year 320.
He who sits on the horse is the Heresiarch Arius; and his horse is red, or according to the Greek expression, of a fiery colour, agreeing with the character of heresy, which always kindles a flame of discord and violence. To him, the rider, it was given that he should take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another. Constantine the Great had procured peace to the Church, in 313, by suppressing the Roman Idolatrous power, as we have before seen; but this peace is soon banished by intestine broils, occasioned by Arius broaching, in 319, a new doctrine, which impiously denied the Divinity of Christ our redeemer. This blasphemous doctrine, in progress of time, raised such a flame of contention among the Christians, that there ensued commotions, tumults, violences, and bloodshed. A great sword was given him, to Arius and the Arians, who were supported by the great powers of the earth, as by several Roman emperors, and by several kings of the Goths, the Vandals, &c. who employed the sword in defence of the Arian doctrine, and cruelly persecuted the Catho
lic Christians.This explication will be elucidated presently by an historical account of that heresy.
The whole drift of the Arian doctrine being to impugn the divine nature of Christ in opposition to it was ascribed to the Lamb the attribute of Divinity, or Riches, according to the Greek text, Apoc. v. 12. see p. 18; that is, the Riches of the Godhead, which he shares equally with the Father; for in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead corporally, Coloss. ii. 9: and Christ speaking to God the Father, says: all my things are thine; and thine are mine, John xvii. 10.
Let it be remarked, that at the opening of the second Seal, the second living creature, which, as we have before shown, represents the Prophet Jeremias, says to St. John, come, and see. This invitation comes with propriety from that prophet, who being a priest, here shows to St. John the apostasy of Arius, a priest of the Christian Church. Besides! Jeremias was sent by Almighty God against the false Prophets, who deluded the Jews by their pernicious counsels and deceitful promises; see Jer. c. 23. In a similiar manner he here points out Arius, a false Teacher in the Christian Church.
The Sounding of the Second Trumpet.
Apoc. Chap. VIII. v. 8. And the second Angel sounded the trumpet: and as it were a great mountain, burning with fire, was cast into the sea, and the third part of the sea became blood.
V. 9. And the third part of those creatures died, which had life in the sea, and the third part of the ships were destroyed.
In the Seal we saw the intestine convulsions and violences occasioned by the Arian disputes; here we find described by an expressive allegory, the spiritual mischief done by that same Heresy. And thus the second Seal and second Trumpet announce to us distinctly and seperately the two dismal effects, temporal and spiritual, of Arianism. A great mountain, burning with fire, or a great Heresy, tending to kindle among Christians the fire of discord in their principles of Faith, and the flame of mutual animosity, is cast into the sea, that is, is
published in the Church, which it embroils, and which therefore is now represented as a troubled sea. And the third part of the sea becomes blood, by which change its waters become poisonous to the fish that live in them: and in like manner the Catholic doctrine, on which the Faithful live, is corrupted by Arianism through a third part of the Church, and becomes poisonous and destructive. The consequence of which is, the third part of those creatures die, which have life in the sea, or the third part nearly of the Christians drink the heretical poison, and die a spiritual death. And even the third part of the ships were destroyed, that is, a third part of the particular Churches entire with their Pastors, meant here by the ships, imbibe the same poison, and perish.
The natural consequences of Heresy are, Disputes and Contentions in the Church; and therefore we find ascribed to it voices or noises, Apoc. viii. 5. see p. 24.
The pouring out of the Second Vial of the wrath of God. Apoc. Chap. XVI. v. 3. And the second Angel, says St. John, poured out his Vial upon the sea, and there came blood as it were of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.
As at the sounding of the second Trumpet a fiery Mountain was thrown into the sea, or among the Christians; so here the second Vial of God's wrath is also poured out upon the sea, or on the corrupted and guilty part of the Christians, namely, the Arian heretics. And there came blood as it were of a dead man: On pouring out the Vial follows the Divine Judgment. There appears blood like that of a dead man, or blood, which after having flowed with a free and vigorous circulation during the time of health, gradually retards its motion in a dying man, is totally lost and stopped when the man is dead. Thus the Arians, after having subsisted for a while in a vigorous condition and powerful state, are condemned by a just judgment to decline, dwindle, and die away. Hence, every living soul died in the sea; the Arians were, in course of time, either destroyed or converted to the Catholic faith, and the Heresy extinguished. Such was their case.