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THE GREAT QUESTION.

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doctrine, of the personal reign of Christ on earth, is advocated in the present volume.

Says Professor Bush: “The etymological import of the word millennium is, as is well known, the space of a thousand years. The term considered by itself does not point to any particular period of that extent, but may be applied indifferently to any one of the five millenniums which have elapsed since the creation, to the sixth, now verging to its close, or to the seventh, which is yet to come. But long established usage has given the word a restricted application, and where it occurs without specification, it is universally understood to refer to the period mentioned by the prophet of Patmos, Rev. 20: 1-.7"*

THE GREAT QUESTION.

Says Bishop Henshaw: "In our day much is said of the millennium. It is a common theme in the pulpit and on the platform. It animates the conceptions of the poet, and the glowing periods of the orator. It is held forth as the great incentive to missionary effort; the glorious reward of selfdenial, liberality and prayer in the good work of propagating the Gospel."†

"And here," remarks Dr. Elliott, "the famous question opens: In what way are we to understand this vision and prophecy of the millennium? What the first resurrection spoken of, literal or figurative? Who the persons who partake of it? What the nature of the devil's synchronous binding and incarceration? What the state of things on earth corresponding? What the chronological position and duration of the millennium? What the sequel of events on the devil's being loosed again at its termination? Finally what the relation of the millennary period and its blessedness to the New Jerusalem afterwards exhibited in the

* Bush on the Millennium, p. 1.

"The Second Advent."

Apocalypse, and what also to the paradisiacal state predicted in the Old Testament prophecies ?"*

Says Dr. Duffield: "Whether that long predicted and expected coming of Jesus Christ and of the kingdom of heaven are matters of literal verity according to the grammatical import of the expressions, or anagogically to be understood, and therefore to be interpreted altogether figuratively or spiritually, is a question of deep and wonderful bearing: nor is it to be slighted and sneered at by any one professing to love and reverence the sacred oracles of God. It is vital to all our hopes, and forms the very warp and woof of all the Scriptural revelations on the subject. It must be met; and will be candidly examined by every man who loves the truth, and is unwilling to be swayed by the dogmas of others. The decision, we contend, must be had from the word of God itself."+

Charles Beecher thus earnestly inquires: "Is the second coming of the Son of Man now nigh at hand? Is it in other words the commencement and the cause, or the climax and the product of the millennium? This is the simple question now in the providence of God first claiming the solemn atten. tion of the churches. That he shall return in majesty to judge the earth, we all believe. The simple question where we differ is,

WHEN?

To the answer of this question, I believe, the church is solemnly called."

PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETATION.

Says Bishop Jeremy Taylor: "In all the interpretations of Scripture, the literal sense is to be presumed and chosen unless there be evident cause to the contrary.

* Horæ Apocalypticæ, Vol. iv. p. 177.

† Duffield on the Prophecies, p. 7.

PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETATION.

*

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Says Prof. J. A. Ernesti: "There is in fact but one and the same method of interpretation common to all books whatever be their subject. And the same grammatical principles and precepts, ought to be the common guide in the interpretation of all. * Theologians are right, therefore, when they affirm the literal sense, or that which is derived from the knowledge of words, to be the only true one; for that mystical sense, which indeed is incorrectly called a sense, belongs altogether to the thing and not to the words."*

Says the learned Vitringa: "We must never depart from the literal meaning of the subject mentioned in its own appropriate name, if all or its principal attributes square with the subject of the prophecy-an unerring canon, he adds, and of great use."

Says Martin Luther: "That which I have so often insisted on elsewhere, I here once more repeat, viz. that the Christian should direct his first efforts toward understanding the literal sense (as it is called) of Scripture, which alone is the substance of faith and of Christian theology. The allegorical sense is commonly uncertain and by no means safe to build our faith upon: for it usually depends on human opinion and conjecture only, on which if a man lean, he will find it no better than the Egyptian reed. Therefore Origen, Jerome, and similar of the fathers are to be avoided with the whole of that Alexandrian school which, according to Eusebius and Jerome, formerly abounded in this species. of interpretation. For later writers unhappily following their too much praised and prevailing example, it has come to pass that men make just what they please of the Scriptures, until some accommodate the word of God to the most extravagant absurdities; and, as Jerome complains of his own times, they extract a sense from Scripture repugnant

Biblical Repertory, Vol. iii., pp. 125, 131.
Doctrine of Prophetic Types. 1716.

to its meaning of which offence, however, Jerome himself was also guilty.'

Says Rosenmuller: "All ingenuous and unprejudiced persons will grant me this position, that there is no method of removing difficulties more secure than that of an accurate interpretation derived from the words of the texts themselves, and from their true and legitimate meaning, and depending upon no hypothesis !"†

Says Hooker: "I hold it for a most infallible rule in expositions of sacred Scripture, that when a literal construction will stand, the farthest from the letter is commonly the worst. There is nothing more dangerous and delusive than that art, which changes the meaning of words, as alchemy doth or would the substance of metals; making of anything what it listeth, and bringing in the end all truth to nothing."

Dr. John Pye Smith defines the literal sense as "The common rule of all rational interpretation, viz.: the sense afforded by a cautious and critical examination of the terms of the passage, and an impartial construction of the whole sentence, according to the known usage of the language and the writer."+

Such is the system adopted in this volume, it being re garded as the only safe principle of interpreting the Bible.

* Annotations on Deut. Cap. i., Fol. 55.

+ Cox's Immanuel Enthroned, p. 70.

+ Scripture Testimony to the Messiah. Vol. 1, p. 214.

CHAPTER II.

UNIVERSAL TRADITIONARY TESTIMONY.

JEWISH FAITH IN THE FIRST RESURRECTION.

"Then multitudes that sleep in the dust of the ground shall awake, some to everlasting life and others to reproaches and to confusion everlasting."-DAN. 12: 2. Thomas Wintle's Translation.

The doctrine of a two-fold resurrection did not originate with the Apocalypse. The period between the two resurrections was not defined, but the distinction between them was apparent from early days.

The ancient resurrection hope was, in some sense, personal. "In my flesh shall I see God." "Thou shalt call and I will answer thee." Job 19:26; 14:15. “I shall be satisfied when I awake in thy likeness." Ps. 17:15. "Thou shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth." Ps. 71:20. Such anticipations as these would naturally be shared by all the faithful; as "the hope of the promise made of God unto the fathers" depended for its fulfillment upon the resurrection of the dead. Acts 26:6-8.

A universal resurrection was implied in the fact of future retribution, but the resurrection, as looked upon as an object of hope, was the resurrection of the people of the Lord. They were to be ransomed from the power of the grave (Hosea 13:14); they were to be brought up out of their graves into the land of Israel (Ezekiel 37: 13, 14); they were to "awake and sing" (Isa. 26:19).

Hence the passages which express this ancient hope usually have reference to the resurrection of the just; and so well known was this, that some of the Pharisees

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