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Part 2. For after all, tis but in a figurative sense that we
shall then judge the World, by approving the sentence of Christ, who alone shall be the Iudge
. Moreover, I know not why our Lord should restrain that judgement to the twelve Tribes of II. I rael, judging the twelve Tribes of Israel; for the Saints, as the words are taken, shall judge the whole
World; even the wicked too. Wherefore it cannot i be said, that the Church is to be understood by the
twelve Tribes of Israel. Once more, the Saints shall judge the World more than they shall the Church; for besides their approbation of the sentence given against the World, they shall bear witness against them, which they shall not doin reference to the Church.
I do not find much more reason for another sense of this Text, which some of late have given it. They say the Time of the Regeneration, is the Time of the Church from Jesus Christ to the end of the World. That during all that time, for 1600 years, the Apostles have fat as it were on Thrones, to judge the Church, because we consult them, and havere course to their Oracles. But, I. 'Tis a strange abuse of words, to callby the name of Regeneration such corrupted times, as those of the Church for the last twelve hundred years. 2. 'Tis to take the words in a very figurative senso indeed
to call that which the writings of the Apostles do at this day, fitting upon Thrones, and judging the twelve Tribes of Israel. 3. Lastly, I know not why the twelve Tribes of Israel should come into this promise, and why they only , fince they are altogether excluded from the Covenant; and are not governed by the writings of the Apostles. I confeis then, that I find nothing thereinbut what is obscure. But all is plain, if by Regeneration I understand
the happy Reign of Peace, and Righteousness, and Part 2. Charity: For the Church must be greatly renewed to reach that blessed state. Then indeed, the Son of man shall be sat on the Throne of his Glory. He Thall then have the full Dominion, whereas now he reigns as it were but by halves : and after the end of this World , he shall reign no longer; for then be shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God his Father. If we suppose that then the raised Apostles, shall be at the head of the twelve converted Tribes, and shall govern them, and send their orders by them to the rest of the World, according to which all other Governours throughout the Earth shall manage themselves. If I say, this be fupposed, no Text can be plainer. The word Thrones will then be taken in its natural signification, and to Indge will signify the same , as it doth throughout the Scripture, perticularly in the book of Iudges, where we read that lephra, and Sampson, and Samuel, judged Israel so many years. Lastly, by this means we shall understand why the twelve Tribes of Israel are mentioned : 'tis because the Apostles are to have a perticular,care and oversight of them, as being their own People, although their authority shallbe universal. I confess this seems to me molt probable. Nevertheless I determine nothing, but suspend my judgement. 4.
I leave it also as doubtful, whether Terusalem 4. Doubră shall be rebuilt, tobe the seat of Christ's Kingdom ; full charato say the truth , as I believe that the lews shall ther Jerumeet together in their own Country, I see no reason falem shali
be rebuilty why they should not rebuild the City of Jerusalem. Which being rebuilt, will doubtless be the most illuftrious City in the World; and if you will, the seat of the universal Empire; not of an Earthly Mo-. narchy, that hath its Armies, Tributes, Customes,
Part 2. Forts, and Governours , spread throughout the
Earth; but it shall be the principal seat, whence shall flow the Orders and Oracles of lesus Chrift, whereby the whole World shall be governed.
5. Lastly, I will not determine , how long this fall Ghara- Kingdom shall last. A thousand years are expreft: duration of oftentimes determinate numbers are put for inde: this King: finite. But I see noinconvenience willfollow, if
we takerbar number in its natural signification, and
there is a great Event to be brought aboutz set forth in these words.
V.7. And when the thousand years are expired, Chap 20.
Satan' shallbe loosed out of his prison.
V. 8. And shall go out to deceive the Nations, which are in the four quarters of the Earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battel; the number of whom is as the
land of the Sea. V. 9. And they went up on the breadth of the Earth, and compassed the Camp of the Saints about
, and the beloved City: and fire came down from God
out of Heaven,and devoured them. yWhat sha! I see but one sense can be given to this: that you
may comprehend it, you must know, that we are thousand not to take those promises of the conversion of all ! plained." Nations, and of all men inperticnlar, in such a stria
and rigid sense, as to admit of no exception. I have already told you, that the Church shall then as far exceed the World, and the Good the wicked, as now the World and the Men of the World do the Good. Therefore there shall then be some remaining people not converted. They shallbe supprest and kept under during the thousand years, and shall not molest either the Peace or Purity of the Church. But at the end of this period, their num
happen af. for the
bers thall be increast, and become very considera- Part 1. ble. And before the end of the World, a cruel persecution against the Church shall arise from them; and because the number of three and half is fatal for persecutions, 'tis not unlikely that this shall also last three years and half before the end of the World. During three natüral years and half, the Sanctuary
was Thut up , and prophaned by Ana tiochus. For three years and half", Iesus Christ preacht in an afflicted itate : for three prophetical jears and half, the two witnesses prophecied clothed in fackcloth : for three prophetical days and half, i.e. three natural years and half, these two witnesses should remain dead in the streets of the City.
So to me it seems probable , that the last Per. secution, after the thousand years of Rest, shall last three years and half, and then may come the Antichrist of St. Irenans; whom I will so far honour, as to believe that he had learnt the Mya stery of this last Persecution from fome Apoftolical Persons, which he confounded with the reign of the Apocaliptical Beast, for 1260 days. Neither is it improbable, but that the Ring-leader of this last Perfecution may be a lew : for there is no mean to be found among that People, they are all either very Good or very Bad. They who shall live when the lews shall be converted, shall be able to Divine something of it. Fot if they then see a remnantof obstinate lews, cantonize themselves in some corner ofthe World, and resist the general stream of Conversion, there will be some ground to believe, that this shall be the first bud of that Great Rebellion, which the Providence of God reserves for the end of the World. And so it may be there shall arise a lew,
Part 2. as St. Irenans faid, pretending to be the Messiah,
who shall persecute the Church, and reign for three
years and half before the end of the World, and be destroyed within a few days before the last ludgement :: This shall be the Diminutive of the great Antichrift, which should not be confounded with the Man of fin., of whom Saint Paul speaks, nor with the Beast, in Revel. 13. nor with the Woman, chap. 17. nor with Babylon, chap. 18. The Fathers who lived near the Apofiles time; it may be heard some discourse of this, and that probably gave occasion to the mistake. This is the most that can be faid with any pretence of reason; to excuse St. Ireneus, and those of the Ancients who followed him, in the descrie prion of Antichriff. Gog and Magog are names borrowed from Ezekiel, which in my opinion do not signify the same People in both places. Here it denotes ingeneral the Enemies of the Church. Nevertheless, I know nothing concerning it with any great certainty.
CH A P. XXV.
ries, against the Reign of a thousand years.
sputation, Icome now to answer the Reasons of the Anti-millinaries. But most of them are so weak,that they hardly deserve to be considered; but that the mention of 'em will serve as a further proof, to confirm the truth of our seventh Period. For tis a very good Argument for any opinion, to befup