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JEWS-THE KINGDOM.

45

The following dialogue occurred between Mr. Wolffe and a Persian Dervish.

Wolffe.-What will become of this world?

Dervish. The world will become so good that the lamb and the wolf shall feed together, and there shall be general peace and fear of God upon the earth; there shall be no more controversy about religion, all shall know God truly; there shall be no more hatred, &c.

Wolffe.-Who then shall govern the earth?

Dervish.-JESUS.

Dr. Wolffe says they got this from their Hadees; and he adds, that in his opinion more light is to be found among them than among the most learned neologists and infidels in Europe.

In Yemen (Teman of Scripture) a Rabbi told Mr. Wolffe that his tribe did not return to Jerusalem after the Babylonish captivity. When Ezra by letters invited their princes in Tanaan to return, they replied, "Daniel predicts the murder of the Messiah, and another destruction of Jerusalem and the temple; therefore we will not go up until He shall have scattered the power of the holy people-till the 1290 days (meaning years) are over. But we do expect the coming of the Messiah," &c.

Seiler a German spiritualist opposing the faith of the ancient Jews in relation to a personal reign of the expected Messiah, makes the following admission:-"Concerning many things they formed erroneous conceptions, some of the prophets themselves not excepted. They expect

ed it the kingdom of God-to arrive earlier than it did. They fancied that God would subdue the heathen by miraculous punishments They believed that they should continue to live forever on earth in this kingdom. They expected a new state of paradise on earth and an abundance of the pleasures of sense. They had no conception of supersensuous or heavenly happiness, and therefore as being per

sons whose notions were entirely sensuous, they could not conceive of a kingdom of God otherwise than as possessing a visible king, ruling on earth in splendid majesty."*

Nevertheless this kingdom will come. It will be a literal kingdom. Immanuel will reign on David's throne "in splendid majesty" forever. He will be a "visible King,' making “all things new." O those will be happy times! We are confidently expecting them, and they are at hand :

"These eyes shall see them fall,

Mountains and skies and stars;
These eyes shall see them all
Out of their ashes rise;

These lips his praises shall rehearse
Whose nod restores the universe."

So read we the Scriptures. So we believe. So taught the eminent Stephen Charnock,† and so the lamented Thomas Chalmers, who writes, "The object of the administration we are under is to extirpate sin, but it is not to sweep away materialism. There will be a firm earth as we have at present, and a heaven stretched out over it as we have at present. It is not by the absence of these, but by the absence of sin that the abodes of immortality will be characterized. It will be a paradise of sense, but not of sensuality. It is then that heaven will be established upon earth, and the petition of our Lord's prayer be fulfilled, THY KINGDOM COME."‡

"The world to come, redeemed from all

The miseries which attend the fall,

New made and glorious shall submit

At our exalted Saviour's feet."-DR. WATTS.

Seiler's Bible Hermeneutics, p. 270.

Works, vol. i. pp. 204–207.

Sermon on the New Earth.

CHAPTER III.

THE EARLY CHURCH, FROM HERMAS TO ORIGEN.

"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years."-REV. 20: 6.

THE

HE early church was eminently pre-millennial in her cherished expectations of the Lord's advent. His coming and kingdom was her constant hope, and she deemed it, says Massillon, "one step in apostacy not to sigh after his return.” And this faith and hope, with her, was practical: even Gibbon admitting it to be "an opinion which may deserve respect, from its usefulness and antiquity." With her, too, Millennarianism was connected with all that is orthodox. On this point Mosheim is somewhat unfair. He places Chiliasm among the heresies of Cerinthus, in the first century, and yet affirms it had "met with no opposition till the third." The infidel saw and rebuked this unfairness. Says Gibbon, this "learned divine is not altogether candid on this occasion."

We have introduced Hermas into this catalogue, who, while he may be apocryphal, is still antique. Like Paul, he writes of a "world to come." Clement, too, advocates a future kingdom at the Redeemer's advent. Of Barnabas, we observe in the language of Professor Bush: "the genuineness of this epistle is disputed, but as far as the present argument is concerned, it is immaterial who the real author

was.

There is sufficient testimony that it is the production of a very early period of the Christian church."* Ignatius says nothing of the millennium. His hope lay in the better resurrection. So also Polycarp, who was a strenuous advocate of the personal advent of Christ. Papias' testimony is both interesting and credible. Of Justin Martyr, the following testimony is borne by Semisch: "Justin dwells with deep emotion on this hope. It was in his esteem a sacred fire, at which he kindled afresh his Christian faith and practice. That this hope in its pure millennarian character and extent might possibly be vain, never entered his thoughts. He believed that it was supported by scripture. He expressly appealed to the New Testament Apocalypse, and such passages in the Old Testament as Isaiah 65:17, in evidence of the personal reign of Christ in Jerusalem. From the Apocalypse, and Isaiah 65: 22, in connection with Genesis 2:17; 5:5, and Psalm 90:4, he deduced the millennial period. How could he doubt it ?"

And Irenæus-how explicit and weighty his testimony. In the language of Edward Winthrop, we ask, "Is it credible that that excellent and pious father, with the advantage of being instructed by Polycarp, who was himself instructed by St. John, did not know what the beloved disciple held, as to the fact, whether the second coming of Christ would usher in the millennium, or be delayed to its close. We think not." Still, it is said by Post-millennialists, that the Hebrew church believed the same, and that the early Christians drew their Chiliasm from this source. “It is, therefore,” writes Bishop Russell, a Rabbinic fable." "No mistake," says David N. Lord, "could be greater. Justin Martyr, Irenæus, Tertullian, and Lactantius, expressly found their doctrines of the millennium on the twentieth chapter of the Apocalypse, and the prophecies of Isaiah 65th, Zech. 14th, and other pas

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*Bush on the Millennium, p. 10. + Letters on Prophecy. p. 48.

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sages of the Old Testament, that are alleged by millennarians as foreshowing the reign of Christ and the saints on the earth. Not a hint is uttered by them that they were led to their belief in that reign by Jewish interpretations, or traditions; or that they drew their notions of it in any manner from the opinions that were entertained by the Jews of the reign of the Messiah."* Such are the men to whose authority and writings we are about to refer. The opponents of pre-millennialism, cannot quote them without being condemned. "Jerome never mentions Justin Martyr," says Mede, "being afraid of the antiquity and authority of the man. In the midst of these early Christians we love to linger, while as yet the dark cloud of apostasy had not come over the path of the church.

But we give place to permit the early Christian Fathers to speak for themselves. Let us listen with patience and candor to the voice of the Church.

HERMAS, ABOUT A. D. 100.

Says Dr. A. Clarke: "This writer is generally allowed. to be the same that Paul salutes, Rom. 16: 14."† Dr. Hagenbach remarks that his work, "The Shepherd or Pastor," "enjoyed a high reputation in the second half of the second century, and was even quoted as a part of Scripture." According to Eusebius, this book was regarded as a part of the sacred canon by some in the days of Irenæus.|| Dr. Burton and Prof. Stuart date its production about A.D. 150. Dr. Elliott allows the same and pronounces it a apurious publication, but as Irenæus calls it a useful book, and both Jerome and Eusebius say it was read in the churches, we give a few extracts for what they are worth, remarking,

* Theological and Literary Journal, vol. p. 426.

Succession of Sac. Lit. p. 90.

Hist. of Doctrines, Vol. i. p. 56 Eccl. Hist., B. v. ch. viii.

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