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attendant upon this eternal and unchangeable residence of the God-man and his church, and all creatures having their blessedness suspended from the same. And to the intent that not only the beings intelligent may be blessed with the knowledge and sight of that blessed condition to which their faithfulness shall at length come, but also that they may have a kindred hope for the inanimate and organic creation upon whose goodly fruits their life is sustained, this city of the blessed is presented in those clarified and most glorious forms of unchangeable matter, wherein there shall be no decay of death, nor sinful stain, nor ray of darkness, nor harbour of evil, nor occasion of temptation, nor accident, nor fallibility, but God's attributes shall stand ever glorified therein, and man's service ever done thereby; creation redeemed, creation united unto Christ, and in him beautified, and in him blessed, and with God's own countenance lighted up, without stain or wrinkle or any such thing. Of this the unity of creation blessed, the New Jerusalem which cometh down from heaven at the coming of Christ, is the form and subsistence, in itself the subsistence, and to all other parts of creation the form of their hope, the reality of that spiritual and immortal blessedness, whereto they may through faithfulness attain. That same office which the risen body of Christ doth now serve unto the church, being the ground of their hope of a resurrection, will the New Jerusalem serve to the world after the coming of Christ, being the ground of their hope of spiritual glory; the only difference being, that the body of our hope is not now visible, because this is a dispensation of faith, whereas the body of theirs will be visible, because it is a dispensation
And as we now receive a first-fruits of life and nourishment in the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper, granted to our faith upon Christ's risen body, so shall they receive out of that New Jesusalem, that blessedness of every kind which they enjoy, granted unto their faith, and hope, and desire of that fulness of spiritual blessedness, in which the church that reigneth therein is instated under Christ, and in union with Christ her Head.
I may not enter into these things in detail, but have thought so much necessary for the understanding of that
double picture of blessedness which is contained in the last three chapters of the book : the former in chaps. XX. and xxi. down to verse 9; the latter from thence down to verse 6 of chap. xxii. ; and the remaining verses do contain the solemn sanctions and injunctions with which Christ sendeth forth this book, blessed and defended, at once its treasure of precious blessings and its armoury of defensive weapons, of both which this generation is alike unmindful.-Now the first of these delineations hath a history ; but the last hath none, nor can have, because it is unchangeable. The earth, on which mortal men do dwell, and mutable creatures exist, is capable of change, and therefore of a history, the history of its events, until it be brought into the condition of the New Jerusalem, which is unchangeable. And this we have recorded in the language of time or change ; but the New Jerusalem, in the language of eternity and unchangeableness. The events of the history are these :- The two forms of Antichrist, the beast and the false prophet, being taken alive and cast into the lake of fire, and the kings of the earth confederate under their banners, being slain; the devil, prime mover of the earth's wickedness and misery, is restrained in chains within the bottomless pit, and straightway the first resurrection ensueth, and Christ with his risen saints takes the reins of the government of the earth. The earth, thus delivered from the headship of Satan and wicked men, rejoiceth in great blessedness, under the headship of Christ and righteous men raised from the dead. And being thus constituted under Christ and his saints, men have the power of going themselves to him as a head of sustentation; for the work of redemption is then complete. All are redeemed, earth and every creature and the souls and bodies of men upon the earth are redeemed, from the power of all captivity: but still there is a work of faith, which is to acknowledge Christ as the Author of this redemption, and to join themselves to him after what way Adarn might and ought to have done; and the angels that fell not did. And they shall in general do so, and so doing shall exhibit that blessedness which God bestoweth upon creatures who are frail and mutable, through their dependence upon Christ. There shall be exceptions (Isa. Ixv); and these exceptions shall, I con
ceive, go down to the pit quick, shall be judged with instantaneous judgment, to the end it may be truly a kingdom of righteousness. And thus shall things stand constituted for the period of the thousand years ;-whether literal years we say not, nor doth it at all concern us, but certainly a limited time, however short or long, and certainly not shorter than a thousand literal years. At the end of which finite time, the wickedness of men, haply increasing, and the grace of God being accomplished, Satan shall be loosed, and men in this better condition shall be tried ; and it shall appear that except the Jewish people who are under a covenant of their own (Ezek. xvi.), all the nations, envious haply of that distinction, and disobedient to their supremacy, shall give way, and come up in proud revolt to try their might against the people of God's covenant, and against his holy city, which hath its seat within these bounds. This last confederacy of evil is written in the language of Ezekiel's vision of Gog and Magog (chaps. xxxviii. and xxxix.), and will find its best illustrations from that confederacy of the nations against Israel settled in their own land, before the Millennium commenceth. Then it is that God shall interfere and shew his mighty power in Christ, who shall consume them with fire out of heaven. This fire of destruction to the wicked shall be also the fire of purgation to the earth, accomplishing the completeness of that purification of the heaven and the earth, and total destruction of the elements of change and trouble which is mentioned in the third chapter of 2 Peter, and every other part of Scripture, and of which the fires of the beginning of the Millennium are only a partial and limited foreshewing. Out of the bosom of this grand act of conflagration and purification, shall the bodies of the dead arise, fron the earth into the mid-heaven, and receive their sentence of final settlement, some being doomed unto the lake outside of creation, others to the several dignities and governments in creation under Christ and the church and the New Jerusalem, and the infallible earth which shall for ever hold the metropolitan dignity of the works of creation. That lake of fire, hell, the second death, great grave of being, dread monument of sin and wickedness, is, I think, spoken of in Scripture as without, “the outer darkness, where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth :" “ Without are dogs," &c. But creation itself is represented as all redeemed: “ All things in heaven and earth are recapitulated unto Christ.” (Eph. i.) This is the history of the death of death, the undoing of the undoer, the destruction of the destroyers, the perdition of a rebellious will, the eternal monument of the wrath of God, the great negative by which the great positive hath been demonstrated. And herewith concludes the history of this earth, the great arena whereon the debate between good and evil hath been carried on: and its great pilgrimage to eternal blessedness, signed and sealed in the blood of Christ is ended. And God doth honour those who have stood the fiery brunt of such fearful controversy, and done this work of pioneering the creature's road to infallibility, by appointing them kings and priests over the various orbs that swim in space, and are bound together by the unity of the one law of gravitation. Perhaps each of them the living head of a living race, each the vicar for Christ over a world, over all which he is the Head. But again I must restrain myself till the proper place for the details.
Such is a sketch, my Christian brethren, of the subjectmatter of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, over which, when I cast my eye, I know not whether wonder or delight possess me more: wonder at the immensity of the truth which it contains; or delight at perceiving the harmony, the unity, of the whole. It is a mighty work which I have undertaken; but I would not shun either the labour or the responsibility of it. I do engage myself, O my Teacher, in the confidence of thy instruction; for I seek not mine own glory, but the glory of thy great Name. Thy providence was strange, and very gracious was thy will in drawing me to the study of this book : very good hast thou been in furnishing me with every help; and why should I doubt that thou wilt enable me to overcome every difficulty, and to present unto thy church such an exposition of it as may evidence the knowledge thou hast given me in thy mystery, and put to silence the slanders of misjudging and unbelieving men; as may shew unto thy church the unspeakable treasures of wonder and goodness which lie here unheeded by many ; by too many despised, and only by a very few prized aright.
IV. And now we come to the fourth and last head of the lecture, which is to lay before you the sanctions or obligations of the Revelation under which it ought by me to be expounded, and by you to be listened to. And without repeating any thing which hath been said above upon the title, authority, and substance of this book, I observe, that every thing already advanced is of the nature of the most sacred sanction and binding obligation to every believer. If it be sufficient at any time to command attention to know that it is God who speaketh the word, how much more when God sendeth that word for our information, upon that subject which is the joy and the desire of a Christian's heart, the coming of the Lord. The thing spoken, as well as the person who speaketh it, should then bind us with breathless attention to hear and to keep the saying. When to this is added, that it comes from the hands of our crucified and risen Lord, being one of those resurrection gifts which he received from the Father, and, upon receiving, communicated to his church, by the mediation of his angel, some principal one of the saints in glory, and of the Apostle John, the most beloved of the church on earth ; uniting God, Christ, the church in glory, and the church on earth, in one sweet fellowship of love ; methinks a new sanction of a most extraordinary kind is added to it. And, finally, when to God the author, Christ the subject and the most honourable channel of its transmission, is added the manifoldness of its details, the deep mysteries of the Godhead which it opens, the offices and actions of Christ which it reveals; the revolutions of Christendom already past, which it explains, and yet to come, which it foretels; and the sure and certain signs of the day of the world's redemption, which it hangs out in full view, that it may not overtake us as a snare; it is a most amazing thing that the church should not have bound it about her neck, and written it upon the tablet of her heart. But God, foreseeing the end from the beginning, and wishing to prevent by all means consistent with human responsibility the catastrophe of the church, which is fast drawing on through unbelief of, or indifference to, that glory which is fast approaching, hath set in various parts of the book sanctions which are not to be found in any other book of