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phrase, " Jerusalem which cometh nature as God, and his mediatorial down, out of heaven from my God," office as the Christ of God. should be marked. It is evidently He adds a more mysterious title, spoken by Jesus in his mediatorial the beginning of the creation character and office, for he calls of God ;” spoken I believe in the God, My God.” The city as evi- sense of his being its originator and dently cometh down, out of heaven. framer. In colloquial language we What do we mean by a city or
say, in reference to a plan or work church ?—not its walls, but its originating in the mind and purpose citizens or congregation. So in this of any person ;
"he was the beverse, the now invisible Church is ginning of it.” In Col. i, 18, Jesus exhibited as returning glorified in is called “the Beginning, the first visible triumph for millennialblessed- born from the dead;" for as he is ness, to be enjoyed apart from, and “ the Resurrection," he rose, not yet maintaining intercourse with, the only as the first fruits or earnest, dwellers on the new earth, when but also because by virtue of his re
righteousness dwelleth there." surrection he will raise up at the But this subject belongs to the con- last day every believer. Thus he sideration of the 21st chapter.- is the origin or procuring cause of May the Spirit open our ear to all every resurrection of the just, as the exceeding great and precious well as the pledge of it. Col. i, 16, promises revealed by this chapter ! ascribes to him the creation of all
Verse 14. Christ, as head over things in heaven, as well as of all on all things to his Church, when ad- earth, visible and invisible. Now dressing the Laodicean angel, de- it is manifest that he who created scribes part of his mediatorial all things is God, and “ is before all character and office, as exercised things” by an eternity of past existon behalf of this church : that of ence which mortal mind is lost in “ the faithful and true witness” attempting to imagine. to her of all the truth of God. In view of " all things being He again appropriates to himself created by him and for him,” he the signal attribute of Deity— repeatedly assumes the appellation
, a title of “the Beginning and the End, no created angel could assume. In the First and the Last,” for without Isa. lxv, 16, God is twice called him was not any thing made that " the God of Truth," or Elohim, was made, and he was in the beAmen." God is Truth ;"—yet ginning with God, and he was God,”y Jesus, even in the days of his hu- —The appellation then merely asmiliation, said, “ I am the Truth,” sures us that he had no predecessor ; i. e. essentially, inherently, abso- and in this sense it is I believe used lutely, eternally, as being God over in reference to Jesus Christ. * all. But in his mediatorial character Verses 15-17 show that the and office, God gave him for “a Laodicean church was in the state witness to the people”w in Rev. i, l, of the professing church of all he gave this Revelation to Jesus ages,
-viz. indifferent to things inChrist to shew to his servants, &c. visible, spiritual and eternal. Self-Thus Christ presents at once his sufficiency has been the character of
W Isa. lv. 4. x John ri, 40. y John i, 1-3. * “The Greek for “ the beginning” signifies that he was so actively, not passively; i. e. from whom all things draw their beginning.” (Leigh.)
man since Eve sought“ to be wise," to come; when he would of mere instead of making dependence upon favor grant to him who should overGod her supreme felicity.
come to sit with himself in his own Verse 18 reminds them that the throne, even as in the days of his time of grace is not past: his merits earthly tribulation he overcame the are still sufficient; nor will he re- same enemy of souls, and sat down fuse them the white robe, which is on his Father's throne. Jesus has the righteousness of saints, hiding the undoubted power to give this the shame of their own destitution. privilege in his kingdom ;--for he The anointing which opens the blind has a throne of his own, distinct eye is also still attainable.
from the Father's throne on which Verse 19 cautions them from de- he now sits, as God over all, (“ I am spair on account of reproof and set down with my Father on his chastening; and urges it as a proof throne,'') reigning spiritually over of long-suffering love, that would all in heaven, and all on earth, and have them come to repentance and all under the earth. But he has not awake from lethargy, and be no yet come down to sit on the throne more lukewarm but zealous. Nay, of his father David, according to the if the Church would not hear, yet if promises,--promises which cannot any member of it would but consider, fail, because Jehovah changeth not.* that individual might behold him Oh! that all the vastness of this near in his providence, about to cut recompence of reward set before us him down quickly, except he should might induce each to seek grace to find works meet for repentance; persevere zealously in all the works near by his grace, repeating his
repeating his which he hath new created us to merciful invitations and threatenings, perform, knowing that no work of if he would but be persuaded to faith or labor of love can be in vain hasten, and return, and receive in the Lord. May the Spirit bring Christ, and with him power to be- home to every believing heart, every come even now a child of God : for word of these gracious Revelations he would not disdain him for the of present support and eternal repast nor reproach him for neglect ward ! and contempt; but at once
As the addresses of Paul to the in to his heart," bring truth into various churches he planted belong the inward parts, make him to un- in a spiritual sense to the whole derstand wisdom secretly, and never Church of every age and nation, so leave him more but abide with him, do these which John was the organ and cause the believer to abide in of communicating to the churches Him, as a branch graffed into the of his bishopric.
But I see no reatrue vine. Besides this gracious as- son to view them as of a more prosurance, he closes in verse 21 with phetic character than those of Paul promises in reference to the kingdom or of Peter, &c.
* See Luke i, 32, 33; 2 Sam. vii, 12–16; Ps. lxxxix, 244, 26 & 27; Is. ix, 7; Acts ii, 30, and Ps. ii, 7, &c. Such is "the covenant ordered in all things and sure. The part of it concerning his people answerable to the promise in this verse may be found 1 Sam. ii, 8; Dan. vii, 22; Matt. xix, 28; 1 Cor. vi, 2, 3.
ON THE ADVENT AND KINGDOM OF CHRIST,
The State of separate Spirits.
No circumstance connected with they commonly speak with the modern theology has more affected greater degree of confidence conme with surprise, than the vague and cerning the state of separate spirits, unsatisfactory notions entertained by which is really an obscure point, and most respecting the present and fu- respecting which butlittle is revealed; ture conditions of the dead. In its whilst in regard to that other state, first aspect, so far as our own indi- which is declared to be vidual happiness is concerned, it and immortality brought to light," appears to be the object of all and concerning which
we have others in divine revelation of abundant revelation, they are almost most intense interest, and most inclined to discourage inquiry, as calculated to engage the inquiry of though it were altogether hopeless. intelligent, mortal beings: and in- I trust I write not these things deed there are few persons who are in a spirit of arrogancy; for I am not led by the ordinary afflictions or deeply sensible that I have myself sympathies of life to entertain the been precisely in this predicament, subject at some period of their ex- at a time when I was nevertheless istence, however transiently; and desirous to ascertain and to commuthere are few ministers, in the habit of nicate the truth: but I think it due encouraging religious conversation, to those holy doctrines which I now who are not repeatedly assailed by advocate to avow, that it was only inquiries on this head. Yet how many in proportion as their glorious light preachers and writers treat the topic broke in upon my understanding with hesitation, or mere conjecture; that I was enabled to apprehend not seeming to have any decided the other truths with any clearscripture testimony on which to base ness; and this I state in the hope of their hopes! and how many others, conciliating towards millennarian whilst they wish to be persuaded on opinions somewhat more of candid these points, yet are not altogether examination. without some inward misgiving, as As these essays are chiefly inif they rather wished their senti- tended to set forth the future conments to be true, than that they dition of believers, I might have have a decided assurance concerning been justified in passing over the them ! The conclusion to which mention of the intermediate state : this has led me is, that chris- but as I consider it important, when tians in general, owing to errone- advancing opinions opposed to the ous views concerning the resur- ordinary notions even of pious chrisrection state and the kingdom tians, not to be misunderstood, or of glory, have got completely presumed by my silence to entertain wrong in regard to some important sentiments which I cordially reject, circumstances respecting the pre- I purpose to preface my inquiry into sent and future conditions of the the resurrection state, by a notice of dead. And it is remarkable, that the state of separate spirits.
Some of my brethren, dazzled Morning Watch under the signature perhaps by the first reception of light, H. B. scouts, as idle, the notion of were induced, when they embraced this class of Scriptures having respect millennarian views, to consider the only to the body :b yet must I not state of the disembodied spirit as be deterred from observing, that I one of unconscious sleep : and know of no such Scriptures that are though most of them have now re- not ambiguous in regard to their tracted this opinion, yet some hold applicability to the spirit ; whilst it; whilst many have only modi. Psalm xvi, 9, “My flesh shall rest fied it, and, as it appears to me, do in hope," appears to me quite unstill degrade the separate state below equivocal as respects the body : and what the Scriptures have revealed therefore I feel justified, when the concerning it. I shall therefore context does not determine the endeavour to prove Ist, that the point, to limit all doubtful instances dead in Christ are in a state of con- to the body likewise. sciousness, in the fullest sense of the I apprehend Romans viii, 10, 11, term; and 2dly, that they are in a to be referable to this subject : state of holy enjoyment, superior to And if Christ be in you, the body any experienced upon earth.
is dead because of sin, but the I. That the spirit is in a state of • spirit is life because of righteousunconsciousness is argued from the ness; but if the Spirit of him that circumstance, that death is described ' raised up Jesus from the dead in Scripture as a sleep, and that the • dwell in you, he that raised up dead are said to awake and arise from • Christ from the dead shall also it. f I doubt whether more be meant quicken your mortal body by his by such expressions than a figure, Spirit that dwelleth in
in you." seeing that the very same phrases Here observe that the body is conare applied by the Psalmist to God; demned to death, whilst the spirit is
“ Awake, why sleepest thou, 0 redeemed from it; and yet it is said, Lord ? arise ; &c.”a A writer in the that the body shall hereafter be
* I do not think it needful to dwell formally upon another opinion, held by Socinians, that at death the soul is annihilated; because I fear they are a class of persons not likely to read the Investigator. We may refute them with this text (if they will receive it)"Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul ; but rather fear him, which is able to destroy both body and soul in hell.”' For were the soul annihilated at death, its destruction would be placed within the power of man; so that he who killed the body would as certainly annihilate the soul.
Some of those who quote Dr. Burnett on this head are disposed to go very far beyond their master : for he admits that such expressions may be limited to the body; and even if applied to the soul, it is only in the sense that they are excluded from active intercourse with the external world, just as persons who are wrapt in sleep. “ Secundum communem dictionem Sacræ Scripturæ, Mors dicitur “Somnus” morientes dicuntur w obdormire :' quod innuere mihi videtur statum mortis esse statum quietis, silentii, et aepyarias: nempe quoad mundum externum ; ut nihil habeamus commercii cum mundo externo in statu mortis, non magis quam in statu somni. Præterea, "expergisci” dicimur et " evigilare" in Resurrectione : quamobrem vero? nisi quod, mutato statu, quasi excusso somno, in lucem et in mundum visibilem resurgamus. At dices forsan, Phraseologiam illam sacram, qua mors assimilatur somno, &c. esse tantum Euphemismum, et respicere corpus, quod, cum mortuum, placide requiescere videtur ac si ésset somno obrutum. Esto : sed plenior fortiorque erit dictio, si, una cum corpore,
, animam quoque complectaris, &c." (De Statu Mortuorum, cap. v.)
a Ps, xliv, 23 ; and see also lxxiii, 20 ; lxxviii, 65.
b Vol. II, p. 382.
likewise quickened: but where in Saviour's bosom; yet it does not the meanwhile is the eminent dis- follow, that he slept there, but that tinction between the body being he enjoyed the situation as a prideath and the spirit life, unless it be vilege and distinction. Besides, the that in the intermediate state the rich man is evidently conscious and body sleeps, whilst the spirit enjoys does converse : it must therefore be a living consciousness ?
his body only that slept; and shall The Writer of the able and in- we say that the damned enjoy a genious paper just referred to, when consciousness which the righteous discussing the locality of hades and do not ? paradise,* contends from Matt. xii, II. This point, the consciousness 38, and Rom. x, 7, that they are in of the spirit in the intermediate state, the heart of the earth : nor am I will be more fully established when we disposed to question this part of his consider secondly, that the dead are statement, which is certainly sup- in a state of holy enjoyment, superior ported by Scripture. But the ap- to what they experienced when on plication of the term sleep to the earth : for that which proves the body appears to him idle on this latter point, does more eminently very account; because the body soon confirm the former. becomes dissipated into dust and St. Paul declares " that for him cannot therefore have a locality. to live is Christ, and to die is To me however the return of the gain.”e I have carefully attended body to the dust confirms the view to the arguments which would exwhich I have taken: for we are ex- plain this text otherwise ;-viz, that pressly told, “ that many of them the Apostle here overleaps the inthat sleep in the dust of the earth termediate state, as of no account, shall awake;"C and Isaiah exclaims, and refers his gain by death to the
Awake and sing ye that dwell in resurrection; but I cannot at all dust."d If H. B.'s hypothesis as to concur with them. Surely death hades he correct, these things cannot would in the mean while be a loss be predicated of the spirit, and there- to the man who could say, when foremust apply to the body.
living, To me to live is Christ; unless It is objected by some, that in the that conscious union with Christ were parable of the rich man and Lazarus still continued to him : for in regard the latter is represented as lying in to any merely natural circumstances Abraham's bosom; and that as he we may say, a living dog is better is not made to speak, he must be in than a dead lion.'f And this a state of repose, and consequently continued enjoyment of Christ--yea, of unconsciousness. But the apostle and this increased enjoyment of John is also described as lying in the him—is fully borne out by the 23rd
* For the information of some Readers (and others I trust will excuse it) liere explain, that the ancient doctrine concerning Hell or Hades does not limit it to a place of torment, as is generally intended by the word Hell in common use; but includes the places of disembodied spirits, both of the righteous and the wicked, between whom there is a separation, likened in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus to " a great gulj." The receptacle of the righteous is called Paradise ; to which place the spirit of our Saviour went when he gave up the ghost, as is evident from his assuring the thief-“This day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.” The receptacle of the wicked is called Tartarus.--The phrase in 2 Pet. ii, 4 “Cast into Hell” is in the original, “ Cast into Tartarus." C Dan. xii. 2. d Isa. xxvi, 19. e Phil. i, 21.
f Eccles. ix, 4.