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Part. z. phets, and to the Saints, and them that fear thynami; Small and great. This doth
not signify the last judgement, or the last Resurrection.
'Tis the firft Resurrection, the Deliverance of the Church, her coming to the expected Kingdom. This is set forth after the same manner in the 20th Chapterof the Apocalyps, as hath been already seen, The Time of the Dead to be judged; he faith not, the Living and the Dead or all the Dead; but speaks of the Church, which lay as dead during the reign of Antichrist, and shall rise again when that Kingdom is destroyed. The Dead Thall be judged, And how? 'tis God will reward the faithfull and the Church by giving them Peace and a Kingdom. "Tis a judgement of Grace, and of Beneficence. He speaks not of eternal Rewards, as appears by what follows: and to destroy those, who defroyed the Earth. Which is not a proper term to signify eternal punishments , wherein nothing is destroyed: men continue under them for ever : fo that the ruin of the Antichristian Empire must be here
meant. Chap. II.
V.19. And the Temple of God was opened in Heaven, and there was seen in his Temple the Ark of his Testament. The Ark is the sign of God's Covenant with the Iews; so this Prophecy of the Ark in the Temple of God, signifies the recalling of the lews.The Temple of God was open: The Church Ihall be open to all Nations, all People shall resort to it; and among others, we shall see that People, who derive their Glory from the Ark of the Cove
CH A P. XXIV.
The Charatters of the Kingdom of the Church.
Aving confirmed the Truth of. this Reign of
Christ upon Earth, weought now to consider the Nature and Characters of it; they may be divided into two Classes; some that are doubtful, and others certain. It is fit that we begin with the certain. We are not to reckon among the Characters of this Reign, either the fall of the Babylonish Emopire, or the conversion of the lews, or the conversion of the remaining Gentiles. For these three things are to go before it. They can never be brought about, but with confusion and Tumult. The Por pish Empire cannot fall,
but it must cost blood, and make a mighty noise. The conversion of the lews must needs be attended with great Commotions among the People, and it may be violent contradictions. 'Tis likewise impossible to conceive; that the Conversion of the Gentiles can be brought about, without the utmost endeavours of the Devil to hinder it ; he will raise all his forces every where, to hinder the last establishment of this Kingdom of Christ, as he did in the first Ages of the Christian Church. So that we cannot doubt, but he will cause great opposition, not only by words, but it may be blows. Now this cannot belong to
Part2. the Kingdom of Christ , whereof.the principal
Character is Soveraign Peace. Insomuch that we thus conceive of it. 1. The Papal Empire shall fall. 2. After that some years will be necessary to abolish Sects and Parties, and compose the differences among Christians. 3. That after this; many. Heathen Nations, and the Iews shall becorverted; for it cannot be thought, that they should be converted, while Christians are so much at variance among themselves, and seeking the destruetion of one another. 4. After the Conversion of the Jews , the remainder of the most remote Nations shall also be converted ; Now for all this there must beưime; for should we think that God will act in a more miraculous manner in this than in the establishment of the first Christian Church, Wherefore as the Christian Church was near an hundred
years in its first setling, no less will benecessary perfectly to resettle it; and then shall that blessed Kingdom come, which we expect; not but that there is fome probability, that God may be-' gin to compute the thousand years from the fall of Antichrist , even before the Conversion of the Jews and Gentiles , and so thefall of the Antichriftian Kingdom, and the Conversion of the Nations, may in some fort be comprehended within the Reign of Christ , for'a thousand years. But when we ipeak here of the Kingdom of Christ, we speak of it as in its perfection, which will not be till after these things are come to pass.
The first certain Character of this reign of Christ, ordinary of is the plentifull effufion of the Spirit of God upon men. the spirit The Prophecy of Toel to this purpose , is one of
those, which is but in part accomplisht hitherto, 1 Character. will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your Sons and jour Daughters shall prophecy, your old Men
the first certain
Chap. 1. 28, 29.
sball dream dreams, and your young Men see vifi- Part 2. ons; also on the servants and the hand-maid in those days will I pour out my Spirit. That lesser effusion of the Spirit, which the first Christians experienc't, is not enough to fill up the Şense of this Prophecy. 1. Because that did not extend very far; the number was not great of those who did pertake of it. 2. That did not last but a little while, for even be. fore the death of the Apostles , the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit became rare ; So that what was then, was properly but a presage and type of that large effusion of the Spirit, which should be in the last Period of the Church; not that all men shallthen become Prophets, audbe inspired; but all thall bę affifted and led by an extraordinary and all-powerfull influence of the H. Spirit.
2. From this first Character will arise a second, Thesecond viz. great Holiness. Great in respect of the de
great Holis grees , and of the extent of it. In respect of de- ness. grees; for such as shall then be Holy, Thallbe incomparably more so than any are now, who are reputed such: and as to the extent of it, because the number of Holy persons shallbe greater. Never theless, 'tis not to be understood, as ifmen shall thenbe altogether without sin, for they must
dye. There must therefore be fome remainders of sin; even the Holy Apostles did not cease to be Men, by being Saints
. The like shall bein reference to men in this last Period. Neither is it to behop's that all men without exception shall then be holy; but 'tis credible, that the number of the Good shall exceed that of the Wicked, as much as’tis now inferior to it. By Good men, I intend not those who are commonly called Honest men; of such there is yet a considerable number in the World; but such es shall be distinguisht by an extraordinary Piety,
Part2. and Holiness ; The number of snch is now but
very small; but the greatest part of Men shallthen bero. And for the Men ofanother Character, they shall then be as rare as now they are common. This great Holiness of Men in those days, is abundantly proved by the many Prophecies already mentioned, and which certainly have not hitherto been fullfilled..
3. From thence follows a third Character, viz. Chara&er, Purity
of Purity of worship and Doctrine. Corruption in Reliworship &gion follows the corruption of manners. God can
not permit that any Church which is greatly corrupted in manners, should forany long time pre, serve Purity of Doctrine and worship, and therefore we find in the Papacy that natural conjunction of a great Idolatry, with a great corruption in manners. So on the other hand, God cannot suffer that a Church that is eminent for Holiness, should decline from the Purity of Religion; wherefore we may be confident that the Church in its last Period, shall not admit any alteration in the purity of its worship,or of its Doctrine,or in any thing of its Religion. There shall no Heresy be received in that. Church; and I am perswaded , that Pelagianism, which is now so common , shall be quite extirpated; for then all men shall be full of God, and perceive and acknowledge him in every thing. Whereas the Pelagians, who prevail in so many places, do not fee and own him any where, but make a God of Man, by making him Independent. These men are far enough from having a right Idea, of as Being infinitely perfect. I dare say, that God is not much in those men, who feel and perceive so little of God.
4. The fourth Character of this Reign of Christ, is a Soveraign Peace. This is plainly revealed by
4. Charater, Great Peace.