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dead, they are represented as being gathered by the angels of God, from the four winds of heaven, when the seventh or last trump shall sound; and it is equally as evident that their works are brought into judgment. Although they may not be justified by their works, but out of the book of life, yet the apostle Paul says, speaking of his brethren, “We must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” Rom. xiv. 10. And again, 2 Cor. v. 10, “ For we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” And, 1 Cor. iii. 13—15, “Every man's work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss : yet he himself shall be saved, so as by fire.” We see, by these texts, that the books of every man's works will be open, as well as the book of life, in the first resurrection; but, in the second resurrection, there is no book of life open in that part of the judgment, neither are they gathered by the angels of God; but the sea, death, and hell, delivered up the dead which were in them, and they were judged every man according to their works; and Satan is the means of gathering them around the beloved city, where they are judged in the flesh. By the sea, death, and hell, I understand the sea, grave, and place of punishment. The sea and the grave would give up the dissolved particles of the body, and hell (or Hades) would give up their departed sp rits; this would constitute the second resurrection. " And they were judged every man according to their works.” They had chosen, in this life, to stand on their works; they had refused to believe in a Mediator; they had not followed his commands, neither had they pro fessed his name before men, or suffered persecution for the sake of his testimony. They had treated his word with total neglect, or called his grace tyranny. They had said he was a hard master, and buried their
talent in the earth. They had placed their supreme affections on the world, and made fine gold their trust. They had persecuted the children of God in this world, and showed that they were the children of that wicked one who slew his brother. They had prostituted their bodies to whoredom, and sacrificed to Bacchus and Venus their first-fruits. They had professed damnable heresies, and filled the world with their delusive schemes and sects. They had worshipped the creature, and neglected prayer to the Creator. They had filled the world with their lies and abominations, and gloried in their shame. 14th verse : “ And death and hell were cust into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” By death and hell I understand the body and spirit. 15th
“ And whosoever was not found written in the Lamb's book of life, was cast into the lake of fire.” “ But the fearful and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." Rev. xxi. 8. .“ Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie," Rev. xxii. 14, 15. Then our text says, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection.” This we have proved is the resurrection of the righteous dead, who died in faith in Jesus Christ, and who should live with him at his coming; on them the second death should have no power, “but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years."
To be priests unto God and unto Christ, is to be holy; to be a kingdom of priests of a peculiar people, that should show forth his praises by declaring to the universe that out of nature's darkness they had been redeemed by his blood, called by his grace unto his glorious, happy, and holy kingdom, and that they should dwell on the earth. See Rev. v. 9, 10, “ And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take
the book and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth.” See, also, Rev. i. 6, “And hath made us kings and priests unto God, and his Father.” Again, 1 Pet. ii. 5, 9, “ Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood.” “ But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people." The passages to which I have cited your minds, prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the thousand years sp+ ken of in the text is between the two resurrections: state of happiness, of glory, of holiness, and that it shall be on the earth. It is a state of immortality, as abundant scriptures evidently prove. Where, then, you may inquire, is the spiritual millennium which our theorists, in the present age, are teaching us to expect? I answer, There is not a thousand years spoken of in Scripture, except in 2 Pet., 3d chapter, and in which the judgment day is the subject of discussion, and in the chapter of which our text is a part; and in neither of these places is any thing said about spiritual reign; neither can we find any thing in the word of God by which we could fairly draw the conclusion of such a reign; and as it is not proper for me to show the negative, I call on all of you to show where we may find the evidence, that is, all of you who believe in a spiritual reign. If there is such a reign, it must be before the second coming of Christ; for when he comes, he will receive us to himself, that where he is there we may be also; no more away from his people, for he says he will be with them, and make his abode with them, and he will be their light, and will dwell with them, and make his abode with them, and they shall dwell on the earth. Where, when, or how the idea of a spiritual reign of a thousand years should or could obtain a place in our faith, having the word of God as our evidence, I cannot tell. Some say that the prophets speak often of times or things which have not been fulfilled in our day, or under the present dispensation, and which would be too gross to be admitted into a state of immortality. There may be such — yet I find no difficulty in understanding all those passages which have been presented, or come under my consideration, to refer to the gospel day. But how long do the prophets say that time shall be? Do they designate any
me? No; neither one, ten, one hundred, or one thousand years are mentioned in any of those passages. Why then call it a millennium ? Because Peter and John have mentioned a thousand years. This cannot be admitted to mean any state this side of the state of immortality; for Peter says plainly, “ Yet, nevertheless, we look for a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” This would be a new state, surely — nothing gross or vile in this kingdom, whoever may be king; and John expressly says, “ They lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years, and
6 This is the first resurrection.” Now, admit there is such a time, how or by what rule shall we call it a thousand years?
Again, where, in all the prophecies, can any one show me that the church will be blessed and holy, or happy and righteous, as it may be rendered, until he comes, that is, at Christ's second appearance? And where in the word are we to learn that the kingdoms of this world are to be destroyed before the coming of the Ancient of days? Do we believe that the anti-Christian beast, or mystical Babylon, will be on the earth during this millennial reign? No, it cannot be; yet all must acknowledge that she is only destroyed by the brightness of his comin
Who can read the 19th chapter of Reyelation, without being convinced that the marriage supper of the Lamb, the treading of the wine-press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God, and the supper of the great God, are events which must take place before the millennium ? And if so, who can believe that after the marriage of the Lamb to the bride ; after she is arrayed in linen clean and white, which is the righteousness of the saints; after they have received a crown of righteousness, which the righteous Judge shall give to all them who love his appearing in that day,
Christ will not be with her in person? None. But our text tells us he will live and reign with them, and they shall be priests to God.
Again: while in this state of mortality and trial, we are called the servants and ministers of Christ; but then, in the millennial blessedness, we shall be called priests of God and of Christ. You may ask, “Why this distinction in the language?” I answer, There is a great difference between the kingdom of Christ, as it was established when Christ was here on earth, and the kingdom given up to God, even the Father. The subjects of Christ's kingdom, in this state of things, may be, and in fact are, imperfect. Hypocrites and false professors may and do obtain an entrance into it; for an enemy hath sown tares. But the kingdom of God, no man, says Christ, can see, or enter, without being born of God. Here they may deceive the sentinels which guard the kingdom of Christ; but in the kingdom of God “there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination or maketh a lie; but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.” Here the children of the kingdom are persecuted, tormented, perplexed, cast down; but in the kingdom of God their enemies are all slain; they are comforted, glorified, justified, exalted; and not a dog to move his tongue. Here they weep, but there will rejoice: here they sin and repent; they there will be holy without fault before his throne. « Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection.” Amen.