A Body of Doctrinal Divinity

John Gill, 1697-1771
 

BOOK 7.

Of the Final State of Men

 

Chapter 1.

Of the Death of the Body

The death to be treated of, is not the death of the soul, which dies not, as will be seen hereafter; nor the moral or spiritual death, which has been discoursed of elsewhere; nor the death of the soul and body in Hell, the second and eternal death: but, the death of the body, in a strict and proper sense. The things to be inquired into, are what death is? who the subjects of it? what the causes of it, and its properties? 1. First, what death is. To say what it is, is difficult; we know nothing of it practically and experimentally, though there are continual instances of it before our eyes; our friends and relations, who have gone through this dark passage, have not returned to us to tell us what they met with in it; nor what they felt when the parting stroke was given; nor what they were surprised into at once. We know nothing of death but in theory; it is defined by some a cessation of the motion of the heart, and of the circulation of the blood, and of the flow of the animal spirits, occasioned by some defects in the organs and fluids of the body: no doubt such a cessation follows upon death, and such the effects of it; but what it is, is chiefly to be known from the scripture, by which we learn,

1a. That it is a disunion of the soul and body, the two constituent parts of man; the one consists of flesh, blood and bones, of arteries, veins, nerves, etc. and goes by the general name of "flesh"; and the other is a spiritual substance, immaterial and immortal, and consists of several powers and faculties, as the understanding, will, and affections, and goes by the name of "spirit"; (see Matthew 26:41), between these two there is a nexus, or bond, which unites them together; though what that is none can tell; this puzzles all philosophy, to say by what bands and ligaments things of such a different nature as matter and spirit be, should be coupled and fastened together. Now death is a dissolution of this union, a separation of those two parts in man. The "body without the spirit", separate from it, "is dead" (Jas. 2:26), when that is removed, the body is left a lifeless lump of clay.

1b. It is a dissolving this earthly house of our tabernacle (2 Corinthians 5:1), the body is compared to a tabernacle, as is the body of Christ, of Peter and others (Hebrews 8:2; 2 Peter 1:13; 2 Corinthians 5:4), in allusion either to military tents or tabernacles, pitched by soldiers when they encamp; or to those of shepherds, which were removed from place to place for the sake of pasturage for their flocks, by which the brevity of human life is expressed (Isaiah 38:12), such tents or tabernacles were commonly made of haircloth, stretched upon and fastened to stakes with cords or pins, as allusions to them show (Isaiah 33:20; 54:2), and the body and its various parts are fastened together with various cords; we read of a "silver cord", which is loosed at death (Ecclesiastes 12:6), which whether it means the bond of union between the soul and body in general, or some particular part and ligament of the body about which interpreters are not agreed, is not easy to say. However, besides what compacts the joints together, there are certain fibers or small cords, like threads, by which those parts are fastened on which life mostly depends; there are certain valves of the veins through which the blood is discharged into the heart, which are fastened to the sides of the ventricles of it with many tendinous fibers to secure them when they are shut; which fibers are fastened to some protuberances or "pins" of the sides of the heart: now in case one of these valves should be out of order, and unfit to perform its function; yes if one of these little fibers which are fastened to them should "break", or be either too short or too long to do their service, the tabernacle would fall down at once: on such slender things hangs the life of every man, even of the greatest monarch upon the throne, as well as of the meanest peasant. Now death is a pulling up the stakes of this tabernacle, the body; a loosening and breaking its cords; an unpinning it, a taking it down as it were by parts, and laying it aside for a time.

1c. It is signified by a departure out of this world to another: so the death of Christ and some others is expressed in such language (John 13:1; Luke 2:29; Philippians 1:23; 2 Timothy 4:7), it is like going from one house to another: with the saints, it is a departure from their earthly house to an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens; from houses of clay, which have their foundation in the dust, to everlasting habitations, to mansions in Christ's Father's house. It is like loosing from the port, as the sailor's phrase is; (see Acts 13:3; 27:13; 28:11) and launching into the ocean, and sailing to another port; the port loosed or departed from at death, is this world, which some loose from willingly, others not so; the port or haven to which saints are bound, is Heaven, the heavenly and better country, to which desired haven they arrive at death, and by death. Death is the ship or boat which wafts them over to the shores of eternity. The heathens had by tradition notions somewhat similar to these, though more coarse; for who has not heard of the Elysian fields, the Stygian lake, and old Charon's boat? by which are represented death's wafting men over the black lake to fields of pleasure. But these images stand in a more beautiful light in the sacred pages; where the saints are represented as quietly wafted over the swellings of Jordan to the land of Canaan, a land of rest and pleasure.

1d. Death is expressed by going the way of all the earth; so said Joshua when about to die, "Behold this day I am going the way of all the earth" (Joshua 23:14), and so said David (1 Kings 2:2), it is a "going"; so Christ describes his death (Luke 22:22) it is a going a journey, to a man's long home; it is a going from "hence", from this world, and a going "where" we shall not return any more to this world to be and live in it as formerly; it is going to an invisible state, to the world of spirits, of which we now have but little knowledge, and very imperfect conceptions; (see Psalms 39:13; Job 10:21, 22) the way lies through a dark valley, but God is the guide of his people through it; he is not only their guide unto death, but through it safe to glory; and this is the way all men go and must go; it is a common track, a beaten path, and yet unknown by us; all must tread it, none can avoid it.

1e. Death is called, a returning to the dust and earth of which the body is formed (Ecclesiastes 12:7), the body is originally made of earth and dust; and while it is in life, it is nothing but dust and ashes, as Abraham confessed he was; and when it dies it turns to dust (Genesis 3:19), the body at death is turned into corruption, rottenness, and dust; it is interred in the earth, and mixes with it, and becomes that; which is an humbling consideration to proud man, who if he looks back to his original, it is dust; if he considers himself in the present life, he is no other than a heap of dust; and if he looks forward to his last end, it will be the dust of death; his honor, in every view of himself, is laid in the dust; and this shows the knowledge and power of God in raising the dead, who knows where their dust lies, and will collect it together, and raise it up at the last day.

1f. Death is frequently expressed by sleeping (Daniel 12:2; John 11:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:14), and is so called because sleep is an image and representation of death; in sleep the senses are locked up and are useless for a time, as in death a man is wholly deprived of them; sleep is but for a short time, and so is death; after sleep a man rises, and being refreshed by it is more fit for labor; so is death to the saints; it is a rest unto them; and they will rise in the morning of the resurrection, fresh, lively, and active, and more fit for divine and spiritual exercises.

2. Secondly, who are the subjects of death. Not "angels", for they being simple, uncompounded, incorporeal, and immaterial, are incapable of death; they "die not" (Luke 20:36), but men, even all men, a few only excepted, as Enoch and Elijah, under the Old Testament; the one was translated that he should not see death, the other was taken up to Heaven soul and body in a chariot and horses of fire; and those saints that will be found alive at Christ's second coming, who will not die but be changed: otherwise all men die; "all flesh is grass", every man is withering, mortal, dying, and dies; all have sinned, and so death comes upon all men.

2a. Persons of every gender, male and female; of every age, young and old; small and great; some die in infancy, who have not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression; some in childhood, others in youth; some in the prime of their days, and in their full strength; and some in old age, and those that live the longest yet die, as Methuselah the oldest man did. Look over the account of the antediluvian Patriarchs (Genesis 5:1-32), there it may be observed, that at the close of the account of each it is said, "he died"; such an one lived eight hundred years and old, and "he died"; and such an one lived nine hundred years and old, and "he died".

2b. Of every rank and class and condition in life, high and low, rich and poor; kings die as well as their subjects: Job wishes he had died as soon as born, then he had been with kings and counselors of the earth, and with princes whose houses had been filled with gold and silver: riches cannot keep off nor buy off the stroke of death, nor deliver from it; the rich and the poor meet together in the grave, where they are upon an equal foot.

2c. Persons of every character among men; it may be seen and observed in instances without number, that wise men die, and also the fool and brutish person; yes often so it is, that a wise man dies as a fool dies; Solomon, the wisest of men, died. Learning, in all its branches and in its highest pitch, cannot secure from dying men learned and unlearned die.

2d. Persons of every character in the sight of God, wicked men and good men; the wickedness of the wicked, of those who are the most addicted and abandoned to it, such as have made a covenant with death and with Hell, are at an agreement, as they imagine; such covenant and agreement will not stand, nor be of any avail unto them to protect them from death; though they put away the evil day far from them, it will come upon them suddenly, while they are crying peace, peace, and promise themselves a long life of prosperity: and good men, they die also, "The prophets, do they live forever?" they do not (Zechariah 1:5), merciful and righteous men are often taken away in mercy from the evil to come; true believers in Christ, such who live and believe in him, or have a living faith on him, shall never die a spiritual death, nor the second death; but they die a corporal one, even though Christ has died for them, and by dying has satisfied for sin, and abolished death. Yet,

2e. Their death is different from that of wicked men; they die in Christ, in union to him, and so are secure from condemnation; they die in faith of being forever with him; they die in hope of eternal life; and their end is different from others: the end of a perfect and upright man is peace; he departs in peace, he enters into peace, he receives the end of his faith, even the salvation of his soul; when the wicked man goes into everlasting punishment, he goes into everlasting life.

2f. The reason of which is, death is abolished as a penal evil, though it was threatened as such for sin, and is inflicted as such on some; yet being bore by Christ as a penalty, in the room and stead of his people, it ceases to be so to them; the sting of it, which is sin, is taken away by Christ; the curse of it is removed, Christ being made a curse for them; death is become a blessing to them, for blessed are they that die in Christ; and hence it is desirable by them, and there is good reason for it; since it puts an end to sin and sorrow, enters into the joy of the Lord, and fulfills it.

3. Thirdly, the causes of death, on what account it comes upon men, and to whom and what it is to be ascribed.

3a. First, the efficient cause is God, who is the sovereign disposer of life and death; it is he who gives life and breath, and all things to his creatures; life is a favor granted by him to men, and he upholds their souls in life; and since he is the author, giver, and supporter of life, he may with propriety be called the God of their lives; and he who gives life has only a right to take it away; and he is a sovereign being, and may do it at his pleasure; and he has particularly expressed his sovereignty in this instance, saying, "I kill, and I make alive" (Deuteronomy 32:39; 1 Samuel 2:6), he is God the Lord, to whom belong the "issues from death"; or rather, the issues to it, the ways which lead to it, and issue in it; for as the poet says, it has a thousand ways to come upon men, attack and dispatch them.

3a1. No man has a right to take away his own life, nor the life of another; Christ, the Prince of life, who had the human nature united to his divine Person, had power to dispose of his human life, to lay it down, and take it up again; which none besides has: suicide, of all the kinds of murder, is the most unnatural and execrable; it has been committed by wicked men; as Saul, Judas, etc. Samson is no instance of it; what he did, was not with an intention to destroy his own life, but the lives of the enemies of God, and of his people, in doing which his own life fell a sacrifice; and was done in a devout and pious manner, praying unto God: and besides, he acted not as a private man, but as a civil magistrate, and judge in Israel; and whatever may be charitably hoped of some persons, who have been left to destroy themselves, care should be taken not to encourage, nor give any countenance to so sinful a practice. Nor ought any man to take away the life of another; since the life of man was neither to be taken away by another, in the heat of passion and wrath, or for sordid and sinister ends to obtain their property; God made a law, and it was one of the first he made after the flood, that "He who shed man's blood, by man should his blood be shed" (Genesis 9:6), that is, by the order of the civil magistrate; and a person convicted of this capital crime, ought not to be pardoned; the law is express and peremptory. And though this sin may be ever so privately committed, yet, generally speaking, it is discovered, and is punished in this life; and it is sure to meet with its reward in the world to come; such sinners are always reckoned among those who shall not inherit the kingdom of God; but shall have their portion in the lake which burns with fire, which is the second death; unless the grace of God is displayed in giving them repentance and remission of sin.

3a2. Satan, though he is said "to have the power of death" (Hebrews 2:14), yet this is not to be understood as if he had a power and right to inflict death at pleasure on men; for if so, such is his malice and rooted enmity to men, that the race of mankind would have been extinct long ago. The case of Job shows that he lies under the restraint of God in this matter: he may have been, by divine permission, in some instances, the executioner of death to the enemies of God, and to such who have given up themselves to him, and sold themselves to work wickedness. He was the introducer of sin into the world, the cause of death; and both are the works of the devil, which Christ came to destroy, and has destroyed; and Satan, because of his concern in the ruin of our first parents, by his temptations, and so of all mankind, he is said to be a "murderer from the beginning" (John 8:44).

3a3. Death of right is of God only; it is he who threatened with it in case of sin; and made it the sanction of his law. Death, whenever he comes and attacks men, it is by a commission from God. He is sometimes represented as a person coming up at our windows, and into our palaces and houses, like a bailiff to arrest men; and sometimes as on horseback and armed, and power given him to kill men with various sorts of judgments, as famine, pestilence, sword, and wild beasts; (see Jeremiah 9:21; Revelation 6:8), and whatever are the means of the death of men, whether extraordinary or ordinary, they are all of God, and under his direction; every disorder, disease, and sickness, are servants sent by him to execute his pleasure; insomuch that death is frequently spoken of as his act, and as inflicted by him; it is expressed by taking men away; by taking away their life or soul; by gathering the breath and Spirit of men to himself; by prevailing against man, and causing him to pass away; and by changing his countenance, and sending him away (Job 27:8; 32:22; 34:14; 14:20).

3a4. Death is by his appointment; it is the statute law of Heaven (Hebrews 9:27). The grave is the house appointed for all men living (Job 30:23). All things leading to death, and which issue in it, are under a divine appointment. All afflictions, diseases, and disorders, are of God; these are not fortuitous events, that come by chance, or spring out of the dust; but come by the appointment of God, to bring about the dissolution by death: all the circumstances of it are according to the determinate counsel and will of God; as what death, and by what event, a man shall die; and the manner of his death, and the place where; for though we are told where we were born, and know where we now live; yet no man knows where he shall die; none but God knows this, who has determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of men's habitations, where they shall live, and where they shall die. The time of a man's death is appointed by God; for there is a time for every purpose of God, for the execution of it: "A time to be born, and a time to die" (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 2), there is an appointed time for man on earth, when he shall come into the world, how long he shall continue in it, and when he shall go out of it; and before this time no man dies. The Jews sought to lay hold on Christ, to take away his lifts, but they could not, because his hour was not come; and the same holds good of every man. Nor can any live longer than the appointed time; "The time drew near that Israel must die" (Genesis 47:29), there was a time fixed for it, and that was at hand, when he must die, and there was no going beyond it. Job says of a man, "his days are determined, the number of his months are with you; you have appointed his bounds that he cannot pass" (Job 14:5), a man cannot lengthen out his days, nor another for him; no man "can add one cubit unto his stature", or rather, "to his age" (Matthew 6:27). The days of men are compared to an hand's breadth (Psalm 39:5), and to this hand's breadth, a cubit, nor indeed any measure at all, can be added, with all the thought, care, and means, that can be made use of; physicians, in this respect, are physicians of no value; they cannot prolong the life of men; they may make life a little more easy and comfortable while it lasts; but they cannot protract it one moment: nor can men that abound with wealth and riches, give to God a ransom for themselves and others, that they should "still live forever, and see no corruption" (Psalm 49:6-9).

There are several things objected to this; but are what have been mostly answered already; as that Hezekiah had fifteen years added to his days; and some men not living out half their days, and dying before their time, (Psalm 55:23; Ecclesiastes 7:17). As for the objection taken from the insignificance and uselessness of means, and temptations to lay them aside, if things are so, that no man can live longer, nor die sooner, than the appointed time: it should be known, that in general, with respect to things civil or sacred, the means are equally appointed as the end, and to be used in order to it; this appears in the case of Hezekiah; though the decree was express and peremptory, that fifteen years should be certainly added to his days; yet the prophet that brought the message from the Lord, and the King that received it, both agreed to have a plaster of figs laid upon his boil, for the recovery of his health, and the continuance of his life (Isaiah 38:21; Acts 27:31).

3b. Secondly, the procuring or meritorious cause of death, is sin; it was threatened in case of sin; and when sin entered the world, death came in by it; it is the wages and demerit of sin; "The body is dead because of sin"; it is become mortal, and dies, on account of it (Romans 5:12; 6:23; 8:10). Man was originally made an immortal creature; the soul, in its own nature, is such, being immaterial; and though the body is composed of matter, and such as was capable of being reduced and resolved into the elements of which it was made, for sin; yet it was gifted by God with immortality; and had man continued in his state of innocence, this gift would have remained with him; for the death of the body is not the fruit and effect of nature, as say the Socinians; but of sin; for if man would have died, according to the course of nature, whether he had sinned or not; to what purpose was the threatening, "In the day you eat thereof you shall surely die", if he would and must have died, whether he eat or not? But it was through sinning that he became mortal, like the beasts, and perish or die, as they do. Otherwise man would have continued immortal; and, by means directed to, would have been supported in his present life, without dying, or any fears of it; or would have been translated to an higher kind of life, for evermore.

3c. Thirdly, the instrumental causes, or means of death, are various; or which, and who, are employed in the execution of it. Angels are sometimes made use of to inflict it; thus an angel in one night slew, in the Assyrian camp, an hundred fourscore and five thousand (2 Kings 19:35). Multitudes are cut off by the sword of justice, in the hand of the civil magistrate, and that by the order and appointment of God. God has his four judgments, sword, famine, pestilence, and wild beasts, by which sometimes great havoc is made among men; the ordinary means by which death is instrumentally brought about, are disorders and distempers of the body; which operate sometimes in a quicker, and sometimes in a slower way; yet sooner or later they are the cause of men's drawing to the grave, and their life to the destroyers.

3d. Fourthly, the properties of death, which serve to lead into the nature, power, and use of death.

3d1. It is but once; "It is appointed unto men once to die" (Hebrews 9:27). Ordinarily men die but once; they do not soon return to life again, and then die again; they go by death where they shall not return to their houses, and families, and friends again, and to their business in life, as before; when they die, they lie down in the grave, and rise not until the heavens be no more; that is, until the second coming of Christ, when the heavens shall pass away; or until the resurrection morn, which will be when Christ himself shall descend from Heaven to judge the world, from whose face the Heaven and earth shall flee away; (see Job 7:10; 10:21; 14:10-12). There have been some instances in which men have died, and have been raised again to a mortal life, as it should seem, and then have died again; otherwise it is not easy to say, how Christ could be called the firstborn from the dead, if any were raised before him to an immortal life, never to die more; since some were raised before; as the "son" of the widow of Sarepta, by Elijah; and the son of the Shunammite, by Elisha; and the man that revived upon touching the prophet's bones: and also others by Christ himself; as Jairus' daughter, the widow of Naim's son, and Lazarus; of whom it is particularly observed, that after his resurrection he sat at table as a guest, at supper time, to eat and drink; which supposes the life he was raised to was a mortal one, and that he was supported in the manner mortals are, and died again (John 12:2). But commonly men die but once, as Christ the Savior did.

3d2. Death is certain; it is certain by the appointment of God, which cannot be frustrated; Israel must die, and so must every man; though the time when is very uncertain; the Son of man comes in an hour men know not of; therefore they should be ready, and watching, and waiting for him. Nothing is more certain than death, as all experience in all ages testily; and yet nothing more uncertain than the time when a man shall die.

3d3. Death is mighty, powerful, and irresistible; what is stronger than death? No man has power over his spirit, to retain the spirit one moment, when it is called for: when God says, this night your soul is required of you, it must be given up: there is no resisting nor withstanding: when it is said, "The Master is come, and calls for you", you must go; when death comes and calls for a man, he must go with him; strugglings and entreaties are to no purpose.

3d4. Death is insatiable; it is one of those things that is never satisfied; and the grave, which follows it, is another (Habakkuk 2:5; Proverbs 30:16), though it has been glutting itself from the beginning of the world, it is as greedy of its prey as ever; and though it sometimes makes such a carnage of men, as in a battle, that thousands are slain in one day, and great numbers in a short time, by famine and pestilence, yet it never has enough.

3d5. Death is necessary; not only by the appointment of God, which must be accomplished; but for the truth of God, in his threatening with it, in case of sin; and for the justice of God on sinners, which requires it: and besides, it is also necessary to the saints, for their good; that they may be free from indwelling sin and corruption, which they cannot be as long as they are in this tabernacle; this earthly house in which the spreading leprosy of sin is, must be pulled down, before a thorough riddance can be made of it; it is necessary to deliver the saints from all the troubles of this life, and to introduce them into the joy of their Lord. Wherefore,

3d6. Though death is formidable to nature, and to natural men; yet it is desirable by good men; they seek their dismissal from hence by it; they choose rather to depart, and to be with Christ, which is much better than a continuance in a life of sin and sorrow; they are willing rather to be absent from the body, that they might be present with the Lord.

 

Chapter 2.

OF THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL

Though the body dies, and when it dies, the soul dies not; it survives the body, and not only lives after it, but lives for ever, it never dies: though the body without the soul is dead, yet the soul without the body is not dead; when the body returns to the earth and dust, from whence it sprung, the soul returns to God, the immediate author and giver of it: the body may be killed by men, but not the soul; no man has any power over that, none but God that made it: the soul is immortal, it is not capable of death, that is, in a natural and proper sense; it is capable of dying, in a figurative sense, a moral or spiritual death; which is brought on by sin; but this lies not in a deprivation of the powers and faculties of it; but of its moral rectitude, righteousness, and holiness; and it is capable of an eternal death, which is the destruction of it in Hell; that is, not a destruction of its substance, but of its peace, joy, and happiness forever.

When it is said, the soul is immortal, it must be understood, that it is so in its nature; and is not liable to death, either from anything within itself or without it: but not that it has such an immortality as God himself has, "who only has immortality;" he has it of himself: angels, and the souls of men, have their immortality of him, who has made them immaterial and immortal spirits; his immortality is without beginning, and any prior cause of it; theirs has a beginning from God, the first cause of them: his is independent; theirs depends on him, in whom they live, and move, and have their being. That the soul of man is immortal may be proved,

1. First, from the consideration of the soul itself, its original, nature, powers, and faculties.

1a. First, from the original of it; it is not of men; it is not "ex traduce," or by generation from parents, as has been proved elsewhere; "What is born of the flesh, is flesh;" and is not only carnal and sinful, but frail and mortal; "All flesh is grass," withering, decaying, and corruptible, as that is: but the spirit, or soul, is of God; it is the very breath of God; and has a similarity to him, particularly in immortality; "God breathed into man the breath of life, and he became a living soul," immortal and never dying (Genesis 2:7). Elihu says (Job 33:4), "The breath of the Almighty has given me life," a life that will never end: as the first man was made, so are his posterity; his body was formed out of the dust; and then a living, immortal soul was breathed into it: so the body of every man is first formed, and then the soul is created in it; hence God is described, as he who "forms the spirit of man within him" (Zechariah 12:1), and as God is the former of the souls of men, so he is the supporter of them; he "upholds their souls in lift;" as they have their being and their life from him, it is maintained by him; the souls of men are not dependent on their bodies, and therefore die not when they do: as they are independent of them in their operations, can think, reason, discourse, will, and nill without them; so they are in their being, and can exist and exist without them. The most malicious and cruel persecutors can only kill the body; and after that "they have no more that they can do;" they cannot kill the soul (Luke 12:4), they cannot pursue that any further; that returns to God that gave it; he could, indeed, annihilate it, if he would; but that he does not do, neither the souls of good men, who, after death, are under the altar, calling for vengeance on their persecutors; nor the souls of bad men, who are in perpetual torment; their worm of conscience never dies, but is always torturing them; and the fire of divine wrath in them is never quenched, of which they are always sensible, and therefore must be immortal, and never die; or else that "fire," and its "burnings," would not be "everlasting," as they are said to be.

1b. Secondly, the immortality of the soul may be proved from the nature of the soul; which is,

1b1. Spiritual, of the same nature with angels, who are made "spirits," spiritual substances, and so die not; and such are the souls of men (Hebrews 12:9, 23). Now as the souls of men are of the same nature with angels, and they die not, it maybe concluded that the souls of men are immortal, and die not (Psalm 104:4; Luke 20:36; 1 Corinthians 2:11).

1b2. The soul of man is simple, unmixed, and uncompounded; it is not composed of flesh, and blood, and bones, arteries, veins, etc. as the body; a spirit has none of these; not flesh, which may be torn to pieces; nor blood, which may be let out and shed, and life expire; nor bones, which may be broken, and be the occasion of death; nor arteries and veins, which may be cut through, and life cease: nor is it, as the body, made up of the basic elements, and capable of being resolved into the same again.

1b3. It is immaterial, it is not composed of matter and form; nor is it a material form, educed out of the power of matter, as the souls of brutes, which die, go downward, and return to the earth; matter is destitute of motion, and cannot move itself; whereas the soul of man, being moved, can move itself; as it appears by its thoughts, reasonings, and discourses; this was Plato's argument for the immortality of the soul, that it can move the body at pleasure, or influence to any action, as to walk, sit, etc. Matter is incapable of thought, reasoning, and discoursing, willing and nilling, as the soul is. Matter is divisible, discernible, may be cut to pieces: not so the soul; it is out of the reach of every slaughtering weapon; the sharp arrow cannot penetrate into it, nor the glittering spear pierce it, nor the two edged sword divide it; none of these, nor any other of the same nature can touch it.

1b4. The soul has no contrary qualities, which, when one is predominant, threatens with destruction; it is neither hot nor cold; neither moist nor dry; neither hard nor tender: it has no heat in it, which may, as in the body, be increased to such a degree, as in burning fevers, to dry it up like a potsherd, and consume it: nor such moisture, which may rise, abound, and overflow it, as in a dropsy, and drown the fabric: nor has it any such tender part which will not bear a blow, but be fatal to it: nor so hard as not to bend, and become pliable to proper uses, and endanger the machine.

1b5. The soul of man is made after the image, and in the likeness of God, which chiefly consists in that; it bears a resemblance to the divine nature, being the breath of God; it has a likeness to him, and particularly in its immortality; and this is given by Alemaeon as an argument of it; and so Plato, the soul is most like to that which is divine, immortal, intelligible, uniform, indissoluble, and always the same.

1c. Thirdly, the immortality of the soul may be proved from the powers and faculties of it, its understanding and will.

1c1. Its understanding. "There is a spirit," or soul, "in man," as Elihu says (Job 32:8), "And the inspiration of the Almighty gives them understanding;" an intellectual power and faculty of understanding things, which distinguishes men from the brutes that perish, the horse, the mule, etc. which have no understanding; it is by this God teaches men more than the beasts of the earth, and makes them wiser than the birds of Heaven (Psalm 32:9; Job 35:11).

1c1a. The understanding of man can take in, and has knowledge of things spiritual, and incorporeal, immaterial, incorruptible, and eternal; which it would not be capable of, if it was not of the same nature itself; the images of these things would not be impressed on it, nor would it be susceptible of them: it can reflect on its own thoughts and reasonings, and knows the things within itself, which none but God and that know; it has knowledge of angels, their nature, offices, and services; it has knowledge of God himself, of his nature, perfections, ways, and works: nor is it any objection to it, that it has knowledge of corporeal things, and therefore must be corporeal too, since these are things below it, and therefore within its reach; whereas spiritual, incorporeal, and immaterial substances, would be above it, and not within its compass, unless it was a spiritual, immortal, and immaterial substance also; thus God and angels know corporeal and material things, though they are incorporeal and immaterial.

1c1b. The soul of man has knowledge of eternity itself; though it may be observed, there is great difference in its apprehension of an eternity past, and of that which is to come: when it considers the former, it is soon at a loss, and at a full stop, is obliged to return, and cannot go on; it is like a bird that attempts to soar aloft, and take flights it is not used nor equal to, it flutters and hangs its wing, and is forced to descend. But when the soul fixes its thoughts on an eternity to come, how readily does it apprehend how that shall proceed without end? with what pleasure does it roll over millions of ages in it? The reason of this difference is, because the soul itself is not from eternity, but has a beginning; whereas it will endure to eternity, and have no end; there is, Cicero says, though he knows not how it is, inherent in the minds of men, a sort of an "augurium," soothsaying, divination, or foresight of future ages; and which chiefly and most easily appears in the greatest minds, and in the most exalted geniuses. There is in men a natural notion of futurity, a desire after it, and an expectation of it; which are things not in vain implanted in it; and would not appear if the soul was not immortal; it has knowledge of things past, present, and future; which proves its immortality.

1c1c. The knowledge which the mind and understanding of man has of things in the present state, is very imperfect, through the brevity of life; and therefore it may be reasonably concluded, that there is a future state, in which the soul will exist, and its knowledge of things be more perfect: it has been a constant and continual complaint of the sons of learning and science--life is short; man has not time enough to cultivate the knowledge he is capable of. It has been said, that it would require a man's whole lifetime, and that not sufficient, to get a thorough knowledge of that single mineral, "antimony": let a man employ all his time and studies in anyone branch of literature, any particular are or science, or language, yet would his knowledge be imperfect, and room would be left for those that come after him to improve upon him: arts and sciences have been cultivating many thousands of years, and in some ages great improvements have been made, and especially in later ones; and yet there is room for further improvements still: the knowledge of the best things, which good men have, as of God, of Christ, and of the mysteries of grace, is now very imperfect; those that know most, know but "in part," and "see through a glass darkly": but there is a state in which their souls will exist, when they shall see God face to face, see him as he is, and know as they are known; when their minds will be employed on more noble and interesting subjects than now, and have perfect knowledge of them.

1c1d. The knowledge the mind of man has of things now, is not in proportion to the powers that he is possessed of. How many are there that die in infancy, and as soon as they are born, whose reasoning powers are never called forth into act and exercise and how many die in childhood and youth, before these powers ripen, and are brought to any maturity? and how many are there that even live a long life, and yet, either through want of education, or through their situation, circumstances, and employment in life, have not their faculties exercised in proportion to the capacities there are endowed with? Now can it be thought that these powers are bestowed upon them in vain? There must be then an after state, in which the soul exists, when its powers will be employed in greater things, and to nobler ends and uses.

1c1e. Let a man know ever so much in this present life, he is desirous of knowing more; let his acquisitions of knowledge be ever so large, after a life of studious search and inquiry, he is not satisfied, he still wants to know more; and what he has arrived unto, is only to know this, that he knows but little: now this desire of knowledge is not implanted in man, by the author of nature, in vain; wherefore the soul must remain after death, when it will arrive to a more perfect knowledge of things; this was the argument Socrates used, to prove to his scholars the immortality of the soul. But with respect to truly good men, the argument receives further strength; they that know most of God, of Christ, and of divine things; they desire to know more, they follow on to know, they make use of all means to increase their spiritual knowledge, and after all, find it imperfect; and therefore are unsatisfied, and long after a future state, when all darkness and imperfection will be removed, and they shall see all things clearly. Now these gracious and earnest desires are not implanted in vain by the God of all grace, as they would be, if the soul was not immortal.

1c2. The will of man is another faculty of the soul, the object and actings of which show it to be immortal.

1c2a. The will has for its object universal good. It naturally desires complete happiness, which some place in one thing and some in another, but it is not perfectly enjoyed by any; some place it in riches, but find themselves mistaken in them, nor do they give the satisfaction expected from them; some in the gratification of carnal pleasures, but these soon pall and perish with the using, and new ones are sought after; some in enjoying posts of honor, and in the applause of men; but these depend, the one on the pleasure of princes, by whom they are set in high places, and which become slippery ones; the other on popular breath, which is as variable as the wind; some place it in wisdom, knowledge, learning, and science; which, as they are not only imperfect, but attract the envy of others, and, as Solomon says, are "vexation of spirit," and cause grief and sorrow (Ecclesiastes 1:17, 18), now there must be a future state, in which true happiness will be attained, at least by some, or else the actings of the will about it will be in vain.

1c2b. God is the "summum bonum," the chief good, the will of man rightly pitches upon, nor can it be satisfied with anything less; good men choose him as their portion; and which is the foundation of their faith, hope, love, peace, and joy; but then he is not perfectly enjoyed as such in this life: their faith and expectations are, that he will be their portion forever; nor will they be fully satisfied until they enjoy him as such in another world; wherefore in order to this, the soul must remain after death and be immortal.

1c2c. The will has its desires, and which desires, even the best, are not satisfied in this life; whatever it has, it is desirous of more, it is never satisfied; its desires of knowledge, as we have seen, are not gratified to the full; nor its desires after happiness in general, nor even after God himself, the chief good, of whom the truly good man says, "Whom have I in Heaven but you? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides you" (Psalm 73:25), which desires, unless there is a future state in which the soul exists after death and is immortal, are not fully satisfied, and so far in vain.

1c2d. The actions of the will are free, not forced by any creature; no creature has any power over it, to force it nor destroy it; its acts are independent of the body, it can operate without it in willing, nilling, choosing, and refusing; and it can exist and live without, and when that is dead.

1c2e. The will is not weakened, nor indeed any of the powers and faculties of the soul, impaired by sickness and approaching death; though the "outward man perish the inward man is renewed day by day;" how clear is the understanding! how active and vigorous the will when on the verge of eternity! as appears by its willingness or unwillingness to die, to be freed from present pains and agonies, either by a restoration to health, or by a removal by death; particularly by a good man's choosing rather to depart and be with Christ, and even by his longing to be gone, saying, "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly;" yes, when the body is become speechless and near expiring, the faculties of the soul are in exercise; a man understands clearly what his friends about him say, and can by a sign, by the lifting up of his hand, signify his faith, hope, joy, and comfort; all which show that the soul sickens not with the body, nor becomes languid as the body does, nor dies with it, though it may be cramped by it.

2. Secondly, The immortality of the soul may be proved from the light of nature and reason.

2a. From the consent of all nations. Cicero says, that as we know by nature that there is a God, so we judge, by the consent of all nations, that souls remain after death, and are immortal; and in everything, he says, the consent of all nations is to be reckoned the law of nature: so Seneca calls it a public persuasion, or belief; and observes, that the consent of men, either fearing Hell, or worshiping God, is of no small moment to persuade unto it. This was, no doubt, the original belief of men, discoverable by the light of nature; but as that became more dim, and men more degenerate, they lost sight of truths, and of this among the rest. Thales the Milesinn, who lived about six hundred years before Christ, is said to be the first who taught it; though others say Pherecydes was the first who asserted it, who was contemporary with him: some ascribe the first knowledge of it to the Chaldaeans and Indian magi, and others to the Egyptians; who, it may be, received it from Abraham; and from them Plato had it. However, it has been embraced by the wisest among the heathens; by the best of their philosophers, as Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, Seneca, Cicero, and others; and by the best of their poets, as Homer, Phocylides, Virgil, Ovid, etc. and though denied by some, these were such that were of the worst sect of them; and though by some among the Jews, as by the Sadducees, yet these were but few, and the most irreligious sect among them. Indeed, this doctrine has been received, not only among the more religious sects of the heathens; as the Brachmans among the Indians, and the Druids with us, and among the more civilized nations; but among the more savage and ignorant, even the wild Greenlanders; as appears by the accounts lately published concerning them.

2b. This may be concluded from an extinction of man, soul and body, being abhorrent to man, as it is said to be the people last mentioned: the death of the body, though nature is reluctant to it; yet in many instances there has been a voluntary and cheerful submission to it; many good men have not loved their lives unto death, to serve their country; others have not counted their lives dear to themselves, but have freely parted with them for the sake of religion and truth; and others have chose rather to depart this life and to be with Christ; death to them has been more eligible than life; but a total extinction, to have no being at all, nature starts at! which must be the case if the soul dies with the body.

2c. It may be argued from the natural desire in men to be religious, in some way or another; this is so natural to men, that some have chose rather to define man a religious than a rational all nations have had their gods they worshiped; professed some religion or another, and have kept up some kind of worship; even the most blind and ignorant, barbarous and savage: but why are they concerned to worship God, and be solicitous about religion, if there is no future state, and the soul remains not after death, but that it perishes with the body? There is nothing can be a greater damp to religion and morality than the disbelief of the immortality of the soul; for then one may encourage another in all vicious practices; and say, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we shall die," and it will be all over with us! nothing more discourages virtue and encourages vice. Yet,

2d. There is a consciousness of sinning in men; guilt arises in their consciences on account of sin: even in the very heathens there is "a conscience bearing witness" to their actions, good or bad; and "their thoughts, the meanwhile, accusing, or else excusing one another," on account of them; from whence arise fears of the displeasure and wrath of incensed Deity and of divine judgment; all which show that there is a future state, in which souls remain immortal, and are accountable to God for their actions. And which still more appears,

2e. Not only from the stings of conscience, but from the horrors and terrors, dread, trembling, and panic fears, wicked men are sometimes seized with, as Felix was on hearing of judgment to come: and if these fears, as some say, were the effect of education, which could not be the case of Felix and many others, it is strange that these fears should be so general and extensive as they are; and more strange, that none have been able to shake them off entirely; and stranger still, that those who have run the greatest lengths in infidelity and atheism should not be able to free themselves from them. These things not only show that there is a divine Being, to whom men are accountable for their actions; but that there is a future state after death, in which men exist, when they shall be either in happiness or in misery.

2f. The belief of this may be further argued, from the providence of God concerned in the distribution and disposal of things in this life, which is oftentimes very unequal; wicked men prosper, and enjoy a large portion of ease and plenty; and good men are greatly afflicted with a variety of troubles, which has been sometimes a sore temptation to good men and difficult to them to account for; as it was to Asaph and Jeremiah (Psalm 73:2, 3, 12-14; Jeremiah 12:1, 2), which difficulty can only be solved by the supposition of a future state, the immortality of the soul, and its existing after death; when such who have been wicked, and in their lifetime received good things, and good men evil things, the latter will have their comforts, and the former their torments; otherwise good men, if they were to have hope in this life only, they would be of all men the most miserable (Luke 16:25; 1 Corinthians 15:19). Wherefore,

2g. The immortality of the soul may be concluded from the justice of God; who is the Judge of all the earth, who will do right; for righteous is the Lord, though his judgments are not so manifest in this life: it is a righteous thing with God to render tribulation to them that trouble his people, and to fulfill the promises he makes to his saints; at present, the justice, faithfulness, and veracity of God, are not so clearly seen in bestowing favors and blessings on good men, according to his promises; and in punishing wicked men, according to his threatenings: it seems therefore reasonable to believe that the souls of men are immortal, and that their bodies shall rise from the dead; and that there shall be a future state, in which good men will be happy and wicked men miserable.

2h. It seems not agreeable to the wisdom of God to create man in his image and likeness, and give him dominion over the whole brutal creation, and constitute him lord over all; make the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fishes of the sea, for his sake and use, and yet he and they should have the same exit; the one die and perish, and be totally extinct as the other: this does not comport with the wisdom of God. But,

2i. Between the spirits of men and those of brutes there is a difference; the one at death go "upwards" to God that made them, and gave them to men, and live forever, either in a state of bliss or woe; and the other go "downward to the earth," and die, and live no more (Ecclesiastes 3:21).

2j. If the soul is not immortal, but dies with the body, the brutes, in many things, have the advantage of men; and their state and condition in this life is, in many respects, superior to theirs; they are not so weak and helpless at first coming into the world as men are, and who are so for a long time; nor subject to so many diseases as they are; in some the senses are quicker than in men, and they have more pleasure in the exercise of them; as in their sight, hearing, taste, and smell; some animals excel men in one or other of these: the brutes have no fearful apprehensions of danger beforehand; and when in any, their only concern is for the present to get clear of it; and when it is over they are in no dread of its return: they know nothing of death, are in no expectation of it, nor fear about it; but men know that they must die, and expect it; and through fear of it are subject to bondage, and attended with great anxieties, and therefore if the soul dies with the body, their present condition is worse than that of brutes.

3. Thirdly, the immortality of the soul may be proved from the sacred Scriptures; both from plain and express passages of scripture; as from Ecclesiastes 12:7 where, when the body returns to the dust, the soul, or "spirit," is said to "return to God that gave it". And likewise from Matthew 10:28. "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul," which is incapable of being put to death; otherwise, such is the malice of the persecutors of good men, that they would not spare it any more than the body; but having killed the body, "after that," as Luke says, "have no more that they can do," the soul being out of their reach (Luke 12:4). This is to he proved from scripture doctrines and from scripture instances.

3a. First, from scripture doctrines; as from the doctrine of God's love to his people, which is everlasting (Jeremiah 31:3). But this would not be true of it if the souls of God's beloved died; then there would be no objects of this love, and so not everlasting; hence it would follow, that death can, and does, "separate" from the love of God, contrary to the apostle's firm persuasion (Rom 8:38, 39). And from the doctrine of eternal election; which is of the persons of God's people, both with respect to soul and body; and by it they are "ordained to eternal life" (Acts 13:48). But if the soul dies with the body, and is not immortal, how will God's elect possess eternal life and eternal glory they are chosen to? and consequently if they do not, the purpose of God, according to election, does not stand sure. Also from the covenant of grace, which is said to be an "everlasting covenant" (2 Samuel 23:5). But it is well known, that as in all covenants there are confederates, and if one of the parties covenanting dies, the covenant is at an end; and if God's elect, with whom the covenant of grace is made, should become extinct, soul and body, the covenant would not be an everlasting one. The argument used by Christ, to prove the resurrection of the dead, from covenant interest (Matthew 22:31, 32; Luke 20:38), equally proves, or rather more clearly, the immortality of the soul; and Menasseh Ben Israel, makes use of the same scripture to prove it, and argues from it much in the same manner Christ does. And particularly the immortality of the soul may be concluded from the grand promise of eternal life, in the covenant made before the world began (Titus1:2; 1 John 2:25).

But how can this promise be fulfilled, if the souls of those to whom it is made are not immortal? It may be argued from the doctrine of adoption, another blessing in the covenant; by virtue of which saints are heirs of an eternal inheritance; but how can the relation of sons exist, which adoption gives, and the inheritance adopted to be enjoyed, if the soul dies with the body? And the same may be evinced from the doctrine of regeneration; in virtue of which men are begotten again to a lively hope of a glorious inheritance; which yet can never be possessed if the soul is not immortal. The same may be concluded from the doctrine of sanctification, every branch of which has eternal life connected with it; as knowledge of God in Christ, faith in Christ, and hope of eternal glory; but if the soul is not immortal, in which these graces are, they will not only fail themselves, but the glory and happiness annexed unto them will not be attained. Likewise it may be argued from the doctrine of Christ respecting his work, the blessings of grace by him, and the services and benefits further to be expected from him; as the redemption of the soul by the blood of Christ, which must be shed in vain: nor can it be called eternal redemption if the soul is not immortal; nor will the saints union to Christ be an indissoluble one; nor they enjoy that life which justification by his righteousness entitles to; nor his intercession and preparations for them in Heaven be of any service to them: the second coming of Christ, with all his saints, and the resurrection of their bodies at his coming, show that their souls live in a separate state before the resurrection, or they could not be said to come with him; and that they will be alive at the resurrection, or to what purpose will their bodies be raised?

The doctrine of the judgment, whether particular or general, is a proof of the soul's immortality; for if that dies with the body, there is nothing remains after death on which judgment can pass. Moreover, the doctrine of future rewards and punishments confirms this truth; for if the soul is not immortal a good man cannot be rewarded in a way of grace, or enjoy happiness in consequence of his piety, since there will be no subject of it remaining; nor a wicked man be punished for his sins, for the same reason; yes, it will lie in the power of a wicked man both to prevent the happiness of the one and the punishment of the other; since it is in his power to take away his own animal life, and so put himself out of the power of God to inflict punishment upon him, if his soul survives not; and so likewise to take away the life of a good man, and deprive him of any further and future happiness; all which does not comport with the wisdom, justice, and goodness of God; and therefore it may be concluded the soul survives that it may be the subject of reward or punishment. It is an observation of Hierocles, that a wicked man would not have the soul to be immortal that he may not endure punishment, and therefore prevents the Judge decreeing it by inflicting death on himself; and so Plato observes, that if death is the dissolution of the whole (soul and body) it would be gain to the wicked to die, since they would be free from all evil, soul and body.

3b. Secondly, The immortality of the soul may be proved from scripture instances; as from the cases of Enoch and Elijah, who were translated, soul and body, that they should not see death; as not in their bodies, so not in their souls, which must be immortal, and so the souls of others; for of what different nature can their souls be supposed to be? and from the instances of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who died, and yet after death were living, even in the times of Christ, as he argues in a place before referred to; and this was the case of all the Old Testament saints, who died in the faith of the heavenly city and country, and now possess it; and also from the spirits in prison, in the times of the apostle Peter, who were disobedient to the warnings of Noah; and from the resurrection of some particular persons; who, after death, were raised and lived again, their souls, which died not, being returned to them (1 Kings 17:21, 22), and from the souls under the altar, whose bodies were killed, but their souls were not, but were expostulating with God about taking vengeance on their persecutors (Revelation 6:9, 10), and from the instances of persons committing their spirits, or souls to God at death; which shows that they believed their souls would survive their bodies, and therefore, they committed them to the care of God (Psalm 31:5; Luke 23:46; Acts 7:59; 1 Peter 4:19). Lastly, all such scriptures which speak of the joys of Heaven, and of the torments of Hell, as to be enjoyed or endured by men after death, prove the immortality of the soul; as that good men, when they die, are received into everlasting habitations, and the souls of wicked men go into everlasting punishment, and therefore must remain immortal, or they could not be subjects either of joy or misery; and this the parable of the rich man and beggar plainly declares; for though a parable, yet as every parable has its scope, which ought to be attended to, so has this; which is to represent the different state and condition of the souls of good men and wicked men after death, when the one are happy and the other miserable, and therefore the souls of both must be immortal.

There are some objections made to the immortality of the soul; taken,

3b1. First, from reason. As,

3b1a. That what has a beginning has an end. But this is not always true; angels have a beginning but not an end, they die not; and since the souls of men are spiritual, immaterial substances, as they are, it may be concluded, as before observed, that they die not also.

3b1b. The powers of the soul are said to decay as the body decays; but this is only true of the powers of the sensitive soul, or part of man; not of the rational soul; not of the faculties of the understanding and will; for these, as we have seen, are clear, active, and vigorous, in the article of death.

3b1c. When a man dies, nothing is seen to go out of him but his breath, which vanishes away: but it is no wonder the soul should not be seen at its departure, since being a spirit, incorporeal and immaterial, it is invisible; and as for the breath that goes out of a man, that cannot be the soul, which cannot be imagined to be the subject of thought, understanding, and will.

3b1d. Some will have it, that this is only a contrivance of men in power, a piece of state policy to keep men in awe and to their duty. But those men who contrived it were either bad men or good men: bad men would be unconcerned about ways and means to serve the cause of religion and virtue they have an aversion to; and good men would never make use of a known lie, and of hypocrisy, to serve such purposes. Besides, if this was the case, how came it to be such a general belief in which all nations agree, and is so manifest by the light of nature? There are other objections, which are taken from scripture. As,

3b1d1. From such scriptures which threaten the soul with death in case of sin; so the first man was threatened with death of soul and body should he eat of the forbidden fruit (Genesis 2:17) and it is expressly said, "the soul that sins, that shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4). To which may be replied: that there are various sorts of death; there is a spiritual or moral death, which took place in Adam as soon as he sinned; and is in all his posterity by nature; in which sense they are dead in their souls while alive in their bodies; it is a being "dead in trespasses and sins;" and lies, not in the substance of the soul, but in the qualities of it; in the loss of the image of God, as consisting of righteousness and holiness. And there is an eternal death, the destruction of both body and soul in Hell; but this lies not in the destruction of the being of either, but in the misery of both: and there is a natural death, such as of the body, which the soul is not capable of; and if it was, it would put an end to the second death, called an eternal one; for then it would not exist, so as to be sent into everlasting fire, and to endure the vengeance of it, or undergo eternal punishment.

3b1d2. From what is said of man (Psalm 78:39), that he is but "flesh, a wind that passes away and comes not again": but this is said of man with respect to his body, which is "flesh," frail and mortal; and of the breath of his body, which is in his nostrils; a wind, a vapor, which appears for a little time, and then vanishes away; all expressive of the brevity of the bodily life of man.

3b1d3. From Psalm 146:4. "His breath goes forth, he returns to the earth": which signifies the same as before, and relates to the body, which returns to the earth, from whence it came: but it follows, in which the strength of the objection lies, in that very day, in which the breath of his body ceases, and the body returns to the dust, that is, dies, his thoughts perish; and now, since the soul is, by some, defined a thinking substance, and the thoughts of it perish at death, then that must cease to be. But the meaning is, not that at the death of the body the soul ceases to think; but that all its former thoughts, schemes, projects, and purposes, concerning either civil or religious things, are then at an end, and cannot be carried into execution; as Job says, having death in view, as just at hand, "My days are past; my purposes are broken off; even the thoughts of my heart!" so that he could not perform what he had thought of, devised, and determined on (Job 17:11).

3b1d4. From the likeness of the spirits of brutes and of men (Ecclesiastes 3:19, 20). But then Solomon either in these words, represents an atheist; or, if he speaks his own sense, he must be understood of the sensitive part of man, which he has in common with other animals; and it is plain he speaks of that part of man which is of the dust and returns to it again, that is, the body, and of the breath of that; and in the next verse clearly observes the difference between the spirits of brutes and the rational souls of men, the one going upward to God, and the other downward to the earth at death.

3b1d5. The immortality, of the soul is objected to, from such passages which speak of man's going at death from whence he shall not return; and as if it was not known where he was (Job 10:21; 14:10). But these are to be understood of his returning to his house, and former manner of living, and employment of life(Job 7:10). And when it is asked, "Where is he" when he dies? it is easily answered, His body is returned to the dust, and is laid in the grave; and his soul is gone to God, and is either in bliss or woe.

3b1d6. From those places which speak of the dead as "not;" Rachel was weeping for her children, because they "were not" (Jeremiah 31:15). But this cannot be meant of nonexistence, either of soul or body; for the body, though reduced to dust, yet is, and is something; and the soul that is either in Heaven or in Hell.

 

Chapter 3.

OF THE SEPARATE STATE OF THE SOUL UNTIL THE RESURRECTION, AND ITS EMPLOYMENT IN THAT STATE

That the soul exists in a future state, after the death of the body, has been abundantly proved in the preceding chapter; and the business of this is to show, that the soul, immediately after death, enters into a state of happiness or woe; in which it continues until the resurrection of the body: and that during that interval, it is not in a state of insensibility and inactivity; but that it is employed in various exercises; and what its employment is, will be pointed at.

1. First, that as soon as the body is dead, the soul immediately enters into a separate state of happiness or misery. The wise man, after a description of death, and the symptoms of it, in a most beautiful and striking manner; adds, "Then shall the dust return to the earth;" the body, composed of dust and earth, at death, returns to its original dust and earth, and is interred in it, where it sleeps until the resurrection; and "the spirit," or soul, which is a spiritual, immaterial, and immortal substance, "shall return," even immediately, as soon as the body is become a lifeless lump of clay, "unto God that gave it;" the former of the spirit of man within him, the giver of it to the sons of men, to whom it returns as soon as it leaves the body, as to the original proprietor of it; and to whom it is accountable for all actions done in the body; being summoned and gathered by him, or carried by angels to him; when a particular, personal judgment passes upon it; for "after this," that is, death, comes "judgment;" that at once takes place; though the general judgment will not be until the resurrection of the dead; and according to the sentence passed on the soul, at its particular judgment, is it disposed of. The souls of the wicked are sent down to Hell, and cast into it; to this prison they are committed, there to remain to the judgment of the great day: this has been the case from the beginning of the world, witness the spirits in prison, who were disobedient in the times of Noah; the wicked of all nations in the world, in all ages, as asserted by David; and that without respect to persons, rich or poor; the rich wicked man died, and in Hell lift up his eyes, according to the parable of our Lord (1 Peter 3:19; Psalm 9:17; Luke 16:22). And the souls of good men return to God at death, are retained by him, into whose hands, at death, they commit them; and are immediately admitted into his presence, and fullness of joy there; and so remain until the second coming of Christ, when he will bring them with him, raise their bodies, and reunite souls and bodies; and when in both, they shall be forever with him: and whereas the immediate state of the wicked after death, is but sparingly spoken of in scripture; but that of good men more plentifully, the proof of the latter will be chiefly attended to, and which may be taken,

1a. First, from Ecclesiastes 4:2 where the saints dead are preferred to living ones.

1a1. By the "dead" are meant the righteous dead; for though the righteousness of Christ, from which they are denominated righteous, delivers them from eternal death, yet not from a corporal one; "The righteous man perishes," or dies, as others do; though his death is different from the death of others, and is attended with happy circumstances; hence Balaam desired to die the death of "the righteous" (Numbers 23:10).

1a2. By the living, are meant saints in the present state, who are distressed with a body of sin and death, and groan, being burdened with it; are harassed by the temptations of Satan, with which they are sorely grieved; are exercised with a variety of afflictions, from different quarters, and on different accounts; meet with various tribulations in the world, and are greatly oppressed with the persecutions of men, as in Numbers 23:1 which makes their present state uncomfortable at times. Now,

1a3. The righteous dead are delivered from all these; they are freed from sin, and are out of the reach of Satan's temptations, and of the persecutions and oppressions of men. And,

1a4. Are in a state of fellowship with God, and Christ, and with angels and glorified saints, in Heaven, and so happy, and in a state preferable to living saints. But,

1a5. If this was not the case, if they were in a state of insensibility, and without the enjoyment of the divine presence; they would not be happier than, nor so happy, as living saints, with all their sorrows, arising from within and from without; for they have their intervals of joy, peace, and comfort; have the love of God shed abroad in their hearts, by the Spirit, at times; and are indulged with fellowship with the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ: and besides, they have comfortable fellowship with the saints, in the word and ordinances; with whom they go to the house of God in company, and are there greatly delighted and refreshed: the tabernacles of the Lord are amiable and lovely; a day in his courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. Wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness, and her paths, paths of peace; and therefore they are happier than the righteous dead, if they are not in the divine Presence, and sensibly enjoying that, until the resurrection.

1b. Secondly, from Isaiah 57:1,2. "The righteous perishes," etc.

1b1. By the righteous and merciful, are meant such as are truly made so by the righteousness of Christ, and live righteously under a sense of such grace, and who have obtained pardoning mercy of God, and show mercy to others; the same with the good man, the godly, and the faithful, elsewhere (Micah 7:2; Psalm 12:1).

1b2. The death of such is meant by their "perishing," and being "taken away;" for persons so described can never perish eternally, only as to the outward man, and the transitory things of this world; out of which they are taken by death, and to God himself. And 1b3. As soon as they are taken from hence, they are at once in a state of happiness; being not only taken from evil to come, from public judgments and calamities coming upon a nation; or from the evil of sin, and of error, by which they might have been ensnared and distressed; all which is a kind of negative happiness; but they have, besides this, at death, a real and positive happiness, which they are at once possessed of; signified by the following things,

1b3a. They "enter into peace:" are not only freed from sorrow, disturbance, and distress, on any account whatever; but they are put into the possession of a peace which passes all understanding, and can never be interrupted; they enter into it as into an house, where they are to dwell; and upon a land where there is no pricking brier nor grieving thorn.

1b3b. They "rest in their beds;" not only their bodies rest in their graves, where their rest together is in the dust; but their souls in the bosom of Abraham, in the arms of Jesus; where they rest from all their toil and labor; and have continual and never ceasing communion with all the heavenly inhabitants.

1b3c. They "walk" in their "uprightness;" they "walk," and so are not in a state of insensibility and inactivity; they have "places" given them to "walk among those that stand by," to take their turns, and converse with angels and glorified saints; and with them they walk clothed in white, because worthy, through the worthiness of Christ; in the righteousness of Christ, the fine linen, clean and white; and in spotless purity and holiness; and in the shining robes of bliss and glory.

1c. Thirdly, from Luke 16:22,23. "And it came to pass that the beggar died," etc. The scope of this parable, as observed in the preceding chapter, is to be attended to; which is to set forth the immediate state of men after death, whether good men or bad men; for though it may have a principal respect to Christ, and to the Pharisees of his times, yet holds true of all good men, the members of Christ; arid of all wicked men, whether under a guise of religion, or openly profane.

1c1. The beggar, the good man, upon his death, is represented as under the care and convoy of angels, and by them seated in Abraham's bosom, a phrase used by the Jews, expressive of the heavenly happiness; in allusion to a feast, at which, according to the custom of the Jews, the guests lay upon beds, or couches, about the table; so that he who lay below another, and next to him, leaned, as it were, on his breast, and lay in his bosom; and this denotes the intimate communion of the saints with each other, in the enjoyment of God.

1c2. The rich and wicked man, he is said, upon his death, to be "in Hell," where he lift up his eyes, and saw the poor good man in great felicity and comfort, whom he had treated with neglect and contempt; which served to aggravate his misery; and where he found himself surrounded with the flames of Hell, and filled with inward torments and horrors of mind.

1c3. The state of both these is summed up in a few words (Luke 16:25). "But now he is comforted, and you are tormented;" even "now," immediately after the death of both. And,

1c4. That this respects the intermediate state between the death of the body, and the resurrection of it, is clear, from what the wicked man petitioned, on the behalf of his brethren in his father's house, in the state of the living, and having the means, the law and the prophets; only he thought, if one sent from the dead to them, it would strike them with greater conviction; when he was told, they would not be persuaded, though one rose from the dead; which shows the parable respects the state of men before the resurrection, and as taking place immediately upon death.

1d. Fourthly, from Luke 23:43. "And Jesus said unto him," the repentant thief, then suffering death; "truly I say unto you," which being thus solemnly affirmed might be depended on, "today you shall be with me in paradise," in Heaven! for,

1d1. By paradise is meant the third Heaven, into which the apostle Paul was caught (2 Corinthians 12:2, 4), the seat of the divine Majesty, and the dwelling place of angels and glorified saints; so called in allusion to the garden of Eden, that earthly paradise, for the delight, pleasure, and happiness of it.

1d2. Hither Christ himself, as soon as he expired on the cross, went; not into "limbus patrum," to deliver the Old Testament saints from thence; nor into the prison of Hell, to preach to, and convert the spirits there, as say the papists, upon the mistaken sense of 1 Peter 3:19 but into Heaven itself, having commended his spirit, or soul, into the hands of his divine Father, by whom it was received. And,

1d3. The happiness promised the thief, upon his request to him, to remember him in his kingdom, is, that he should be with him in paradise; should enjoy all the happiness of that place, and his presence in it, in which the happiness of it lay. And,

1d4. He assures him, that this happiness he should enjoy immediately, that very day; "This day you shall be with me," etc. to put the stop after "today," and read it as connected with what goes before, "I say unto you today," is a mere shift, and gives a most trifling and jejune sense of the words.

1e. Fifthly, from 2 Corinthians 5:1-8. "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens". In which may be observed,

1e1. That death is signified by a dissolution of the earthly body; that is called a tabernacle, or tent, set up for a while, and then taken down; and an "earthly house," an house of clay, formed out of the earth, which has its foundation in the dust; and death is an analysis, or resolution of it, into earth and dust again.

1e2. Heaven is represented as another house of a different nature, not made with the hands of men; but what God is the maker and builder of; and it is not on earth, but in Heaven; is eternal, will continue forever; it consists of many mansions and apartments, prepared by Christ for his people.

1e3. Into which they are at once removed, when dislodged from their earthly house, the body; "We know, that if," or "when our earthly house," etc. when we are warned out of that, we have another house immediately to be admitted into; saints are not, at death, turned adrift, as Adam, when drove out of Eden; nor are they without any certain dwelling place, as sometimes the apostles were; they have an house ready for them to go into; as soon as they are ordered out of one, there is another prepared to receive them.

1e4. This is no conjecture, but a certain thing; "We know," from the provision God has made of it, from the preparations of Christ for it, from the right and title Christ's righteousness gives unto it, from the security of it in him, and from the testimony of the Spirit.

1e5. After which there are strong desires in the saints; they groan in the present tabernacle, being burdened, longing for a deliverance from it, and an admittance into their other house in Heaven; being willing to quit the body, that they might enjoy the presence of God; which they would not be so pressingly desirous of, if they knew they should not be introduced into it immediately.

1e6. But of this they have an earnest, even the Spirit of God; and therefore are quite confident, being wrought up by him for this self-same thing, by his power and grace, that when they are removed from hence they shall be with the Lord.

1e7. And this will be as soon as they are absent from the body, as they are at death, they shall be present with the Lord, and enjoy communion with him.

1f. Sixthly, from Philippians 1:21,23. "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain—for I am in a strait between two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better!" From whence it appears,

1f1. That the apostle believed, that upon his departure out of this world, by death, he should be immediately with Christ, and enjoy communion with him; which would be a real gain unto him, and be preferable to his continuance in this life, there being nothing here that could be a counterbalance to it. Or otherwise,

1f2. If he had not believed this, his immediate admission into the presence of Christ, and enjoyment of eternal happiness, he could never have considered death as gain unto him; for he must have been a loser by it; since in his present state, notwithstanding all his fatigue and labor, his sorrows and his sufferings, yet he had communion with God, the presence of Christ, the teachings and leadings of the divine Spirit, much pleasure and success in his work, being the happy instrument of converting sinners, and comforting saints; all which he would be deprived of, if at death he entered into a state of insensibility and inactivity. Nor,

1f3. Would he have been at a loss what choice to have made, whether to live or die; whether to depart out of the world, or to continue in it; he could have easily discerned, that it was his interest to abide in the flesh, or in the present state, in which he received much good for himself, and did much for others; whereas, if he was not to enter upon a state of happiness until the resurrection, but remain inactive and useless; it certainly was much more eligible to continue as he was. For,

1f4. Most certain it is, that it would have been better for the churches of Christ, for the interest of religion, and for the glory of God, if he had remained on earth to this day, and so on to the second coming of Christ, than to be sleeping in his grave, receiving no benefit to himself, nor being of any use to others.

1g. Seventhly, from Revelation 14:13. "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord," etc.

1g1. By "the dead that die in the Lord," are not meant merely, or only, the martyrs of Jesus, who die for the sake of Christ, and his gospel; but all the saints who die in union with Christ, in faith in him, as the only Savior and Redeemer; in hope of eternal life by him; and in expectation of being forever with him; and whose faith, hope, and expectation, will not fail, nor be disappointed.

1g2. Truly good men are blessed now; they are blessed who trust in the Lord, and make him their hope; they are happy who dwell in his house, enjoy his ordinances, and are employed in his service; who walk in his ways, and keep his commandments: but they are much more blessed at death; which would not be their case, if the did not immediately enter into the presence of and into the joy of the Lord. And,

1g3. This is the blessedness intended here; for it commences "from henceforth," from the instant of their death; and which is confirmed by the testimony of the Spirit; "Yes, says the Spirit;" he says, they are blessed from that time; which blessedness,

1g4. Lies in a "rest from their labors;" not merely in a rest from the labors of their bodies, much less in a cessation from the spiritual exercises of their souls; but in inward everlasting peace, joy, and comfort; and in "their works following them," not only what they had done as witnesses of the truth of grace, but what they were to do, and be employed in, until the coming of Christ; which leads to consider the proof that may be given,

2. Secondly, that the souls of men, when separated from their bodies by death, are not in a state of insensibility and inactivity. There are some, who, though they do not deny the immortality of the soul, yet think it sleeps with the body until the resurrection; and this was the firm opinion of Socinius, as he himself says, that the soul of man, after this life, does not so exist of itself, as to be sensible either of rewards or punishments; or, indeed, as to be capable of perceiving those things; and the same is held by some Arminian writers. But in opposition to this notion, and some that Calvin calls Catabaptists, and who go by the name of soul sleepers with us,

2a. First, I shall endeavor to prove, that the soul is operative, and in a state of action, when separate from the body; and that insensibility is not to be concluded from the absence of the body. For,

2a1. The soul can and does operate without the use of bodily organs in its present state, and in many things stands in no need of them; the rational soul thinks, discourses, and reasons without the use of them; its powers and faculties, the understanding and will, need them not; the will is directed and guided by the understanding; and the understanding has to do with objects in the consideration of which bodily organs are no ways assisting; as in the consideration of God, his nature and perfections; of angels and spirits, and their nature; and of a man's own spirit, and the things of it, which it penetrates into without the help of any of the instruments of the body: it can consider of things past long ago, and of things very remote and at a great distance; and such objects as are presented to it by the senses, it reasons about them without making use of any of the organs of the body; and if it can operate without the body, it can exist without it; for since it is independent of it in its operations, it is independent of it in its being; and as it can exist without it, it can act in that separate state of existence without it: wherefore since it dies not with the body, it is not affected as to its operations by the absence of it, nor at death becomes insensible as that is.

2a2. The case of persons in raptures, ecstasies and trances, when the body is senseless and inactive, and as if it was dead, and yet the soul is active and attentive, and capable of receiving things communicated to it, shows most clearly the soul can operate without the body; and if in this state, much more in a more perfect one. The apostle John was in the spirit, in an ecstasy, when he saw and heard the various things recorded in the Book of the Revelation; the case of the apostle Paul is very remarkable, a particular account of which he gives, though not knowing whether in the body or out of it (2 Corinthians 12:2-4), now though the apostle was not certain whether his soul was in his body or not, during his rapture; yet this appears most certain, that it was his sentiment that a soul out of the body is capable of seeing such things as he did; or otherwise it would have been no difficulty with him to have determined whether he was in or out of the body; for if he could not hear and see such things as he did out of the body, then he must without all doubt be in the body when he heard and saw them; but his way of speaking clearly shows that he thought his soul was capable of attending to these things, though it might be out of it; and if this is the same with the trance recorded in Acts 22:17-21 as some think, it appears that while he was in it, and his body lay senseless and inactive, his soul had a sight of Christ, and a conversation with him, and received a mission from him to the Gentiles. Now if the soul is not in a state of insensibility when the body sometimes now is, there is no reason to believe it is in such a state when the body is dead and separated from it; since the body in an ecstasy is of no more use to it, nor the organs of it, than if it was dead.

2a3. The soul, freed from the body, must be more capable of exercising its powers and faculties, and be more active than when in it; especially as it is corrupted with sin, and encumbered with it, which is a clog and hindrance in the performance of spiritual duties; it cannot attend to it as it would; "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak;" but when it is separated from the body, and is joined to the spirits of just men made perfect, it must be much more capable of serving God with greater activity, spirituality, joy, and pleasure.

2a4. The soul separate from the body is most like unto the angels, and its state, condition, and employment, greatly resemble theirs. Now nothing is more foreign to angels than insensibility and inactivity, who always behold the face of God, stand ready to do his commandments, hearkening to the voice of his word; and no sooner do they receive orders from him, but they do his pleasure; they are continually before the throne of God, praising his name, and celebrating his perfections.

2a5. If the souls of believers after death are in a state of insensibility and inactivity, their case would be much worse than that of the living, as has been observed; since in the present state, amidst all their evil things, they enjoy much good, receive much from God, and have much spiritual peace and joy in the exercise of grace; whereas there is a stop put to all this, and an entire cessation from it, if upon death they enter into a state of insensibility and inactivity; particularly it would have been much more happy for the apostle Paul to have stayed on earth, and continued here until Christ came again; and more to the advantage of the churches of Christ, than to be where he is, if insensible and inactive; here he might have made use of his great talents, exercised his graces, had much communion with God, and been of great service in the interest of Christ, in which he would have found a real pleasure, but now deprived of all, if the above is his case.

2a6. If the souls of truly gracious persons are, upon their departure from hence, insensible and inactive, what is become of the work of grace upon their souls? in what condition is it, and must that be? there must be a full stop to it, and to the exercise of it, and that for a long season; where is growth in grace, where no grace is to be seen? and when it might have been expected it would be in its full perfection, does not appear at all? How does this "well of water spring up into everlasting life," when it does not spring at all, but the streams of it cease to flow? what a chasm must there be between grace and glory, when the scriptures represent them as closely and inseparably connected together? grace is the beginning of glory, and glory is the finishing and perfection of grace, and in which there is no interruption.

2a7. The proof that has been given of souls separate from the body entering immediately into a state of happiness or misery, is also an abundant proof of their sensibility; when either they enter into the presence of God, are with Christ, and feel unutterable pleasure and delight; or are in inexpressible torments under the lighting down of the arm of God's wrath and indignation upon them. I proceed,

2b. Secondly, to take notice of what is urged in favor of the insensibility of souls upon their departure.

2b1. All such passages of scripture are urged which speak of persons "sleeping" when they die; as of sleeping with their fathers, and of sleeping in the dust of the earth, phrases frequently to be met with in the Old Testament; and of Christ being the first fruits of those that slept, and of sleeping in Jesus; and of some not sleeping, which are used in the New Testament(2 Samuel 7:12; 1 Kings 1:21; Job 7:21; Daniel 12:2; 1 Corinthians 15:18, 51; 1 Thessalonians 4:14). But,

2b1a. By sleep in all these passages death itself is meant. It was a way of speaking much used in the eastern countries, and is expressive of the death of the body, and of that only; so to "sleep with the fathers," is to die as they did, and to be buried with them; and to "sleep in the dust," is, being dead, to be laid in the grave, to be interred in the dust of the earth; and to "sleep in Jesus," is to die in the Lord. When Christ said, "our friend Lazarus sleeps," he meant that he was dead; and when the apostle Paul says, "we shall not all sleep," he designs nothing else but that we shall not all die; for those who are alive at Christ's coming will be changed; the reason why death is expressed by sleep is, because sleep is the image of death, it locks up the senses, gives rest to the weary body, is but for a time, and then it awakes again.

2b1b. Death being designed by those expressions, if they prove anything in this controversy they prove too much; for if they prove that the soul sleeps with the body, they would prove that the soul dies with it, since by sleep is meant no other than death.

2b1c. No mention is made of the soul in any of these passages; it is not said of that neither that it sleeps nor dies; the passages only respect the body; it is that only which at death is gathered to the fathers, and buried in the graves of ancestors; and which sleeps in the dust, or is buried in the dust of the earth; the sleep of which stands opposed to the change that will pass on the bodies of living saints at the coming of Christ.

2b1d. Sleep is only of the body, and, according to the philosopher is a passion that belongs to the sensitive part, a kind of a band and immoveableness of it, so that it cannot operate; and says it only belongs to animals that have a brain, or something analogous to it; it is defined "a cessation of the external senses from operation, the vapors filling the nerves and the sensory passages, and so hinder the influx of the animal spirits." But what is all this to the soul, an immaterial and incorporeal substance, which has no brain, nor nerves, nor sensory passages, nor animal spirits? and therefore sleep has no place in it, and cannot be predicated of it.

2b1e. When the body is asleep the soul is awake and active, as appears in abundance of instances, in dreams and visions of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, and is capable of attending to what is suggested to it, and of receiving instruction; (see Job 4:12-17; 33:15, 16), it understands and perceives, devises and contrives, reasons and discourses, chooses and refuses, grieves and rejoices, hopes and fears, loves and hates, and the like; it can take in hints, admonitions, advice, and directions from God, or angels sent by him; as in some not good men, as Abimelech, Laban, Balaam, etc. and others truly good men, as Jacob, Daniel, Joseph, etc. whose souls, when their bodies were asleep, were capable of attending to them, and receiving them, and acted according to them.

2b2. The advocates for the insensibility and inactivity of the soul after death, urge such scriptures which represent the happiness of the saints, and the misery of the wicked, as not taking place until the last day, the end of the world, the resurrection of the dead, and the day of judgment, when the wicked shall go into everlasting punishment, and the righteous into life eternal (Luke 14:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 18; 2 Timothy 4:8; Colossians 3:3, 4; Matthew 11:22, 24; 13:40, 41, 47, 50; 25:46; Revelation 20:12, 15), to which may be replied, that though they are represented as then happy or miserable, it is no where said that they are not happy nor miserable before that time; nor that they are insensible of any happiness or misery, but the contrary.

Besides there is a twofold state of the righteous and the wicked after death, respecting their happiness and their misery; the one is just begun at death; the other is full, consummate, and perfect, at the resurrection and judgment; now it is of the latter these scriptures speak, and not of the former; and it is allowed, the righteous will not be in the full possession of happiness until the last day, when their bodies will be raised and united to their souls, and both together enter into the full joy of their Lord; nor will the wicked receive the full measure of their punishment until the resurrection and the judgment are over, when both soul and body shall be cast into Hell; just as it is with the devils, they are not yet in full torment, though cast down to Hell, and are reserved to the judgment of the great day; but then they are not in a state of insensibility, they feel distress and anguish now, and tremble at their future doom; so the wicked, they are not insensible of their misery now, and of what they are to endure: and both righteous and wicked upon death enter immediately into a state of happiness or misery; the righteous are happy from the time of their death, and as soon as absent from the body are present with the Lord; and the wicked are no sooner dead, but in Hell they lift up their eyes; though neither the one is in complete happiness, nor the other in full misery, yet both sensible of their present case, and what they shall be in hereafter.

2b3. They improve all such places to their advantage, which speak of those in the grave, and in the state of the dead, as incapable of praising God (Psalm 30:9; 88:10, 11; 115:17, 18; Isaiah 38:18), to which it may be answered,

2b3a. Not to observe that Calvin interprets the passages of the damned in Hell under the wrath of God, and a sense of it. These scriptures speak only of the body, which is dust originally, and returns to the dust at death, and is buried in the dust, and while in such a state cannot praise God; "Shall the dust praise you?" it is the body which only dies, and goes down to the pit, and is laid in the grave, and which, while there, cannot be employed in praising God, "Shall the dead arise and praise you?" etc. but then this hinders not but that their souls may and do praise God, in the manner as angels do, with whom they are sometimes joined in the Book of the Revelation; and are represented as with them, glorifying God, praising his name, singing hallelujahs, ascribing "salvation to him that sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb forever and ever" (Revelation 7:9-12).

2b3b. These passages only respect praising God before men, and in the church militant, as is done by saints now in the land of the living; but then notwithstanding, the souls of departed saints may and do praise the Lord in the church triumphant, and with the hundred and forty four thousand in mount Zion, and before an innumerable company of angels and spirits of just men made perfect, to whom they are come; and therefore such passages are no proof of the insensibility and inactivity of separate souls.

2b4. They argue from souls being deprived of thought and memory at death, that therefore they must be in a state of insensibility. As for thought, that passage is urged in Psalm 146:4. "In that very day," that is, in which man returns to his earth, or dies, his thoughts perish; but these, as has been observed, do not design thoughts in general, but purposes, schemes, and plans, the effect of thought, which come to nothing at death, and are never carried into execution; and though the thoughts, particularly of good men, are not employed about the same things as when on earth, about worldly things, yet they are employed about spiritual and heavenly ones; and can, with pleasure and gratitude, remember the great and good things God did for them in life; yes, even the memories of wicked men are pointed to after death; "Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things," etc. (Luke 16:25). And that worm that dies not, is no other than consciousness of guilt contracted, and the memory of past sins committed in life, which torture the separate soul after death (Mark 9:44). Should it be urged, that a person, when asleep, is destitute of thought, especially when in a deep sleep; who, upon awaking, cannot remember anything he has thought of: this does not carry in it sufficient conviction, that the mind is then destitute of thought; for how often is it that a man, when awake, cannot remember what he thought of the last minute? it is owned, that in dreams the soul thinks, but then the man is asleep, and shows that sleep and thought are not incompatible: besides, when deep sleep falls upon man, the soul is capable of attending to what is suggested to it, and receiving instruction thereby; as some passages in Job, before mentioned, show. And after all, it should be proved, that the soul is asleep when the body is; and particularly, when separate from it, before any argument from hence can be brought to prove the soul is deprived of thought by it; and is in a state of insensibility.

2b5. It is observed, that it is said of the "dead," that they "know not anything" (Ecclesiastes 9:5). But this is to be understood of the things of this world; they do not know the affairs of it, what is done or doing in it, no, not the condition and circumstances of their own families they have left behind; they do not know whether their sons come to honor or to disgrace; whether they are in prosperous or in adverse circumstances (Job 14:21). But then they know the things of the other world, in which they are; they know God, and Christ, and the holy angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect, and the happiness of these and of themselves; they know even as they are known: yes, wicked men know and feel the lashes of an accusing, torturing conscience, the pains of Hell, and the wrath of God, the fire that is not quenched; and so are not in a state of insensibility. I go on,

3. Thirdly, to point out the work and employment of separate souls, especially of good men, after the death of the body, until the resurrection of it: and here I shall not give a scope to fancy and conjecture, which may lead persons to say many things doubtful and uncertain; and since the scriptures are sparing in the account they give of this matter, I shall content myself with just observing some few things which may be gathered from thence; and which may suggest unto us the work they are employed in; for it cannot be thought that they are idle and unemployed in the happy state in which they are. And 3a. First, it need not be doubted, but that they are employed in celebrating and adoring the perfections of God; since this is the work of their kindred spirits, the angels, with whom they are now associated; they are constantly employed, in ascribing glory to God (Revelation 7:11, 12; 5:11, 12), so holy souls adore the perfections of God's holiness, to which they bear some resemblance, and are thankful at the remembrance of it; and the almighty power of God, of which they have had experience in this life, and in bringing them to the happy state they are now in; and the wisdom of God, displayed in the works of nature, providence, and grace, of which they have now a clearer understanding; and the grace, mercy, and love of God, which appear in every branch of their salvation; and the faithfulness of God to his counsels, covenant, and promises; to dwell on these subjects will be no inconsiderable part of their employment.

3b. Secondly, they are also employed in beholding God in Christ, and the glory of Christ; being pure in heart, and perfect in holiness, they see God with the eyes of their understanding; behold him for themselves, and not another, as their covenant God and Father in Christ; and his glory as displayed in the Person of Christ; and have as much knowledge of him as creatures are capable of; and solace and delight themselves in the views of him, and in communion with him: and though they see not Christ with the eyes of their bodies, as they will after the resurrection; yet with the eyes of their minds they gaze upon and wonder at those glories and excellencies they see in him; and this is the end of Christ's intercession for them, that they be with him where he is, and behold his glory (John 17:24).

Thirdly, they are likewise employed in the exercise of various graces: if is commonly said of faith, hope, and love, that they are traveling graces, which accompany saints in this life; but cease, as to their exercise, at death, especially the two former; the latter is indeed allowed to continue after death: but faith is usually said to be changed for sight, and hope for fruition; which, in some respects, and in part, is true; yet I see not why faith and hope may not be thought to have their use, and to be in exercise after death, and especially in the separate state, until the resurrection: it can scarcely be doubted, that separate souls firmly "believe" the resurrection of their bodies, that they will be raised again, and reunited to their souls; and as that will add to their happiness, it cannot but be desired by them; and as it is what is at present unseen, unenjoyed, and is future, it must be the object of hope, about which that grace must be conversant, until it is brought to pass; and thus as Christ "rested in hope of the resurrection of his body" (Psalm 16:9), so the souls of saints in Heaven rest in hope of the resurrection of theirs; and may be truly said to "wait for the redemption of the body". Some think Job has respect to this, when he says, "All the days of my appointed time will I wait until my change come;" meaning, not his change by death, though that is a truth, but his change at the resurrection, when Christ will change the vile bodies of his people, and fashion them like to his glorious one. Yes, "patience," rest, and quietness, are to be, and are exercised by souls in their separate state: to the souls under the altar it is said, "that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also, and their brethren that should be killed, as they were, should be fulfilled;" that is, be easy, quiet, and patient, until that time, comes, and this is done (Revelation 6:11). And as for love, there is no doubt but it will be in its highest act and exercise.

3d. Fourthly, they are also employed in serving God; so those come out of great tribulation are said to be "before the throne of God, and to serve him day and night in his temple" (Revelation 7:14, 15), not by preaching, and hearing, and attending on the word and ordinances; yet there are duties which are performed in this state; if not prayer, yet most certainly praise, in the highest perfection: I see not why prayer may not be allowed to the church triumphant and its members, though not for themselves, yet for the church militant and its members, that they may be delivered from their present evils; and that the justice of God might be glorified in taking vengeance on their enemies; and that they may shortly join their general assembly; something like this is ascribed to the souls under the altar, who are represented as expostulating with God after this manner, "And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, do you not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" (Revelation 6:10) and, indeed, what is the earnest wish and desire of separate souls, after the resurrection of their bodies and their reunion to them, but prayer, that so it might be? however, praise is their grand employment, their principal business, in which they are continually engaged; these ransomed ones come to Zion with songs, and there they sing them; the songs of electing, redeeming, calling, and persevering grace, ascribing glory to the Father, that has chose them in Christ; and to the Son, who has redeemed them to God by his blood; and to the Spirit, who has regenerated, sanctified, and called them; and to all Three, for the preservation of them to the kingdom and glory of God.

3e. Fifthly, much of the employment of souls in this separate state lies in converse with angels and the spirits of just men made perfect. Angels have some way or other of conversing with each other; we read of the "tongue of angels;" not that they speak any particular language, and with an articulate voice; but they have speech among themselves, which they understand; they can communicate their thoughts to one another, and be happy in their mutual converse; (see Daniel 8:13; 12:5-7), and angels can convey their sense to the spirits of men; and the spirits of men can communicate theirs to them; such an fellowship between angels and the souls of men has been carried on in dreams and visions, even in this imperfect state; and much more are they capable of conversing together in a more perfect one. The souls of men in the separate state are distinguishable from one another; and there are ways and means, no doubt, of knowing one from another; thus the soul of Abraham may be known from the soul of Isaac; and the soul of Isaac from the soul of Abraham; and the soul of Jacob from both: and as the saints will know one another in Heaven, one part of their happiness will lie in conversing together about divine and heavenly things; and, indeed, about what they have had experience of, both in providence and grace, while they dwelt in their bodies on earth.

 

Chapter 4.

OF THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY

Though the immortality of the soul may be known by the light of nature, yet not the resurrection of the body; the one arises from the nature of the soul itself; but the other does not arise from the constitution of the body, but depends, upon the sovereign will and power of God: now the will and purpose of God, or what he has determined to do, is secret, and cannot be discovered by the light of nature, and is only known by divine revelation. It might be known by the light of nature, that God can raise the dead if he will, because he is Almighty, and nothing is impossible to him; though it has been asserted by some heathen writers, that it cannot be done by God himself: one says, it is not in the power of God to raise the dead; and says another it seems to me, that no one can make one that is dead to live again: which is false; since by the light of nature, and the works of nature, are known the eternal power and Godhead, or that God is eternal and infinitely powerful. Indeed, it cannot be known by the light of nature, that God will raise the dead; this is of pure revelation: hence heathens, destitute of it, had no knowledge of the resurrection of the body: that that was mortal they all agreed; and that the soul was immortal, the wiser part of them especially, affirmed: but that the body, when dead, should be raised to life again, this Tertullian says, was denied by every sect of the philosophers. Those, the most refined among them, and who pretended to a greater degree of knowledge than others, as the philosophers of Athens, were so ignorant of this doctrine, that, as some think, they took Jesus, and αναστασις, the word used by the apostle Paul for the resurrection, when preaching to them, to be the names of some strange deities they had never heard of before; and therefore said, "He seems to be a setter forth of strange gods" (Acts 17:18). The heathens had no faith in this doctrine, nor hope of it; and therefore are sometimes described as without "hope" (Ephesians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:13, 14), that is, of the resurrection of the body, neither of their own nor of their deceased relations; and this may be rather thought to be, at least part of the sense of the apostle in these passages; since in his defense before Felix and Agrippa he represents the resurrection of the dead as the object of the hope of the Jewish fathers (Acts 24:15; 26:6-8).

Yes, the Gentiles, not content with barely denying this doctrine, have treated it with the utmost scorn, calling it a dream, fancy, and madness, an old wives' fable; as abominable and detestable; and of all the tenets of the Christians, it was held in the utmost contempt by Julian the apostate; the abettors of it were always accounted by the heathens vain, trifling, babbling fellows, as the apostle Paul was by the Athenian philosophers of the Epicurean and Stoic sects, (Acts 17:18,32); it was so contrary to the reasonings of the unenlightened Gentiles, that they judged it quite incredible, and pronounced it beyond all belief of rational creatures; hence, says the apostle Paul, when before Festus the Roman governor, and king Agrippa, a Sadducee, why should it be thought a thing "incredible with you that God should raise the dead?" as it seems it was, (Acts 26:8).

Some have thought the Gentiles had knowledge of the resurrection of the dead, which they conclude from some notions of theirs, which seem to bear some semblance to it, as is thought; as that the soul after death has a perfect human shape, and all the same parts, external and internal, the body has; that they both have an equal duration after death; that there is a transmigration of souls into other bodies, especially human; that man may be translated, soul and body, to Heaven, of which they give instances; which, perhaps, take rise from the translations of Enoch and Elijah, communicated by some tradition or another; and particularly, that after certain periods and revolutions, when the stars and planets are in the same configuration and aspect to one another they formerly had, the same men shall appear in the world, and the same things in succession be done in it as formerly have been. But I must confess, I cannot see any likeness between any of these notions and the Christian doctrine of the resurrection of the dead: and at most and best, they are only hints borrowed from the Jews and their writings; or are the broken remains of some tradition, received from their ancestors, originally founded on divine revelation; so Plato seems to speak of it, as an ancient tradition, that the dead shall live again.

Likewise the belief of this doctrine among the pagans is argued from their account of future punishments; as of Aridaeus, and other tyrants, having corporal punishments inflicted on them; of Sisyphus, Ixion, Tantalus, and others; which may arise from the above notion of the soul having the same parts with the body. Some passages are also produced out of the heathen writers in favor of this doctrine; as some Greek verses of Phocylides, whose poem, perhaps, is the work of a Christian, or of some Jewish writer; and the opinion of the Persian "magi," that men shall live again; which they doubtless had from Zoroastres, their founder, said to be originally a Jew, and a servant of one of the prophets. Some particular persons are mentioned as raised from the dead to life; the most remarkable of which is the case of one Er Pamphilius, who, after he had been dead twelve days, revived on the funeral pile; and which seems to be credited by Plato: but if such stories as these can be believed, why should the doctrine of the resurrection be judged incredible? But though the doctrine of the resurrection is above reason it is not contrary to it; though it is out of the reach of the light of nature to discover it, yet being revealed, it is not repugnant to it; it is entirely agreeable to the perfections of God, knowable by it, and is no contradiction to them; for considering the omnipotence of God, with whom nothing is impossible, it is what may be: and though there are some things which argue imperfection and weakness, and imply a contradiction, which God cannot do; yet the resurrection of the dead is not an instance of either; it is no contradiction, that dust formed out of nothing, and of it a body made, and this reduced to dust again, that this dust should again form the body it once constituted: and this can be no instance of imperfection and weakness; but a most glorious instance of almighty power: and if God could, out of the dust of the earth, form the body of man at first, and infuse into it a living and reasonable soul; then much more must he be able to raise a dead body, the matter and substance of which now is, though in different forms and shapes; and reunite it to its soul, which still has a real existence: and considering the omniscience of God, who knows all things, it is not impossible nor improbable that the dead should be raised; since he knows all the particles of matter bodies are composed of; and when dissolved and transmuted into ten thousand forms, knows where they are all lodged, whether in the earth, air, or sea; and his all-discerning eye can distinguish those which belong to one body from those of another, and his almighty hand can gather and unite them, what are necessary, and range them in their due place and order. Nor is it beneath or unworthy of God to raise the dead; for if it was not unworthy of him to make a body out of the dust of the earth, which became subject to infirmities, corruption, and death; it cannot be unworthy of him to raise weak, inglorious, corruptible bodies, as they are when laid in the grave, powerful, glorious, and incorruptible.

Nor is it inconsistent with the goodness of God; for by this he does no injury to any of his creatures; neither to those that are raised, nor to others, rational or irrational. Not to the angels; for the children of the resurrection will be like unto them: nor to the brute creation, who will not be; and who, if they were, would not suffer by it: nor will any injury be done to those that are raised, neither to the righteous nor to the wicked, since both will then receive a recompense for the deeds done in the body, whether good or evil. Some such like reasonings as these are used by that ancient learned apologist, Athepagoras. Besides, the justice of God seems to make it necessary that the bodies both of the righteous and the wicked should be raised; that being united to their souls, they may partake with them of the glory and happiness provided for the one, and they are made meet for; and of the punishment justly inflicted on the other; having been partners together either in sufferings or in sins.

However, the doctrine of the resurrection is most certainly a doctrine of pure revelation; the Jews were first peculiarly favored with it; having "the oracles of God committed" to them, in which this doctrine is clearly revealed; and yet there were some among them who disbelieved it; as the Sadducees, who "erred, not knowing the Scriptures," which assert it; nor "the power of God," which can effect it: and of the same sentiment were the Hemerobaptists and the Essenes: also the Pharisees, at least some of them, held the Pythagorean notion of the transmigration of souls into other bodies: but it is more surprising, that since Christ has abolished death, by his own resurrection from the dead, and by the gospel brought to clearer light this doctrine of the resurrection; that some very early, who bore the Christian name, should deny it; as some in the church at Corinth, and Hymenaens and Philetus (1 Corinthians 15:12; 2 Timothy 2:18), who were followed by Simon Magus, Saturninus, Basilides, Carpocrates, Valentinus, and others, too numerous to recite: and of late is rejected by Socinians and Quakers. Nevertheless, since it is a doctrine of such great importance, on which all other doctrines of the gospel depend, as well as the faith, hope, and comfort of the saints (1 Corinthians 15:13-19), it should be held fast, abode by, and defended to the uttermost. The resurrection to be treated of is not a figurative one; neither civil, like that of the Jews restoration from captivity, represented by a resurrection (Ezekiel 37:1-28), nor spiritual, as the resurrection of the soul from the death of sin to a life of grace: but the resurrection of the body, in a literal sense, the quickening of mortal bodies; and not a particular resurrection, or a resurrection of particular persons; of which there are instances both in the Old and New Testament; but the universal resurrection; the resurrection of men, both just and unjust; of which,

1. I shall give the proof from the sacred writings. It appears to have been the faith of the saints in all ages, according to the scripture account of them. It was the faith of Abraham, the father of the faithful (Hebrews 11:19; Romans 4:17-20), and of Joseph, as appears by the orders he gave concerning his bones, and his carefulness about the interment of them (Hebrews 11:22), and of Moses, in celebrating the divine perfections in his song (Deuteronomy 32:39), with which words the mother of the seven brethren, who suffered martyrdom in the times of the Maccabees, animated them while suffering; and of Hannah, in her song, expressed in much the same language, and more explicit (1 Samuel 2:6). This was the faith of Job, which he expresses, not only in the famous text hereafter to be considered (Job 19:25-27), but also in Job 14:12, 14, 15. And likewise of David, who not only speaks of the resurrection of Christ, when representing him (Psalm 16:10), but in his last words, where he expresses his strong faith of his complete salvation, of soul and body, in the everlasting covenant (2 Samuel 23:1, 5). And also of Isaiah, and other prophets, who speak of the resurrection of Christ, and his people with him; which they either expressly make mention of, or allude unto, when they foretell figurative resurrections (Isaiah 26:19; Hosea 6:1, 2; Ezekiel 37:11-14; Daniel 12:2). This was the faith of those who suffered martyrdom in the times of the Maccabees, who refused deliverance that they might obtain "a better resurrection," even the resurrection of the just (Hebrews 11:35), and in the Apocrypha: "26 For though for the present time I should be delivered from the punishment of men: yet should I not escape the hand of the Almighty, neither alive, nor dead." (2 Maccabees 6:26) "11 And said courageously, These I had from Heaven; and for his laws I despise them; and from him I hope to receive them again." (2 Maccabees 7:11). And this was the faith of the Jewish fathers and of all the Old Testament saints (Acts 26:6-8; Hebrews 11:13). This was the faith of Christ and his apostles, as declared in the writings oil the New Testament; to give the whole compass of the proof of this would be to transcribe a very considerable part of them. The doctrine of the resurrection of the dead will admit of proof from scripture types; as the deliverance of Isaac from death; from whence Abraham received him in a figure: the budding and blossoming of Aaron's dry rod, thought by some to be an emblem of it: the reviving of the dry bones in Ezekiel's vision; but especially Jonah's lying three days and three nights in the whalers belly, and his deliverance from it. However, if God could save Isaac when so near death; cause a dry rod to bud, blossom, and bring forth almonds; make dry bones to live; and deliver Jonah out of the whale's belly, it need not be questioned that God can raise the dead. To which may be added, the several instances of particular persons raised from the dead; as the widow of Zarephath's son, by Elijah; the child of the Shunammite, by Elisha; and the man cast into his sepulcher on the touch of his bones; those who came out of their graves at our Lord's resurrection, and who were raised by him in his lifetime; as the daughter of Jairus, the widow of Naim's son, and Lazarus; Dorcas by Peter; and Eutychus by the apostle Paul: and if these particular resurrections are to be credited, as doubtless they are, then the resurrection of all the dead need not be thought incredible, But this doctrine may be further proved,

1a. First, from express passages of scripture. As,

1a1. From Genesis 3:15 which gives the first intimation of the Messiah and his work, which was to bruise the serpent's head, to destroy the devil and all his works; among which, death, the effect of sin, is a principal one. This Christ has abolished in himself by raising himself from the dead; and will abolish it in his members, and even in all men, by the resurrection of them at the last day; when, and not before, all that is meant in the above passage will be accomplished (1 Corinthians 15:21, 54).

1a2. From Exodus 3:6 produced by Christ himself in proof of this doctrine; "As touching the resurrection of the dead," says he, "have you not read that which was spoken to you by God; saying, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; God is not the God of the dead but of the living?" (Matthew 22:31, 32). Let it be observed, that it is not said, "I was," or "will be;" but, "I am the God of Abraham," etc. which, as it relates to covenant interest, respects a covenant in being, and an abiding one, even the covenant of grace; which is concerned, not only with the souls of men, but their bodies also, their whole persons; wherefore, as the souls of the above patriarchs now live with God, who is the God of the living only, in the enjoyment of the promised good; it is necessary their bodies should be raised from the dead, that, with their souls, they may enjoy the everlasting glory and happiness promised in the covenant; or otherwise, it would not appear to be ordered in all things and sure.

1a3. From Job 19:25, etc. "I know that my Redeemer lives," etc. None of the Jewish writers, indeed, understood these words of a real, but of a figurative resurrection; and suppose, a deliverance from his afflicted state, and a restoration of him to his former health, honor, and happiness, is meant; in which sense they have been followed by some learned Christian interpreters; at which the Socinians have greedily caught: but Job's restoration is not expressed by such phrases as here used; (see Job 42:10, 12) and against this sense may be observed, that Job was so far from any faith, hope, and expectation of such a restoration, that he utterly despaired of it; (see Job 6:11; 7:7, 8; 10:20; 16:22; 17:1, 14, 15) and even he expresses the same in this very chapter (Job 17:10, 11). Besides something of greater moment seems to be meant, as the solemn preface shows; "O that my words were now written!" etc. and what he had in view appears to be future, at a great distance, after death, the consumption of his body by worms, and was his comfort under his afflictions; and was an answer to what Bildad said, (Job 18:12-14), and the vision, with the eyes of his body he expected, is not suited to any state in this life; but rather to the state after the resurrection, when the saints shall see God in Christ, and Christ in the flesh, with the eyes of the body. To which may be added, Job speaks of the awful judgment, between which and death there must be a resurrection from the dead (Job 19:29). Upon the whole, it is an observation of an ancient writer, "No one since Christ speaks so plainly of the resurrection as this man did before Christ." Though Spinosa foolishly says, the sense of the text is confused, disturbed, and obscure.

1a4. From Isaiah 26:19. "Your dead men shall live," etc. which words are an answer to the prophet's complaint (Isaiah 26:14). "They are dead, they shall not live," etc. and which answer is made by the Messiah, to whom the characters given (Isaiah 26:4, 12, 13), agree; assuring the prophet, that his people, though dead, should live again, either at the time of his resurrection, or in virtue of it; for the words are literally true of Christ's resurrection and of theirs by him; "With my dead body shall they arise," as many of the saints did, at his resurrection; or, "as my dead body," after the exemplar of it; or, "as sure as my dead body;" Christ's resurrection being the pledge of his people's; and the following phrases confirm this sense; "Awake, you that dwell in the dust," etc. (see Daniel 12:2). "Your dew is the dew of herbs," compared with Isaiah 66:14. "The earth shall cast forth her dead;" (see Revelation 20:13). The Jews refer this prophecy to the resurrection of the dead.

1a5. From Daniel 12:2. "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake;" which is generally understood of the resurrection of the dead, both by Jewish and Christian interpreters; only Grotius, after Porphyry the heathen, interprets the passage of the return of some of the Jews to their cities and habitations, after the generals of Antiochus were cut off: but surely this return was not of any of them "to everlasting shame and contempt," but the reverse; nor of any of them "to everlasting life," seeing they are all since dead: nor is it true that the Jewish doctors, from that time, shone illustriously; but, on the contrary, their light in divine things became dim, and they taught not the doctrines of the scriptures but the traditions of men. On the other hand, the whole agrees with the resurrection of the dead, as described by our Lord (John 5:28, 29). And when the bodies of the saints will be raised in incorruption, power, and glory, they will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Besides these, there are other passages of scripture referred to by the apostle, in 1 Corinthians 15:54, 55 as proofs of this doctrine; as Isaiah 25:8 and Hosea 13:14 which will have their full accomplishment at the general resurrection. The passages out of the New Testament are too numerous to recite, and so plain as to need no explanation; and many of them will be made use of in other parts of this subject.

1b. Secondly, this truth may be proved from various doctrines contained in the scripture; as from the doctrine of election, which is of the persons of men, souls and bodies, unto everlasting happiness; and therefore their bodies must be raised, that they, united to their souls, may enjoy that happiness, or the end will not be attained: from the gift of the same to Christ, and who was charged, when given to him, to lose none, but raise them up again at the last day; which must be done, or his trust not discharged, nor his Father's will be fulfilled: from their union to Christ, whose "bodies are members of him," and a part of his mystical body, by virtue of which union they will be raised; or else he must lose a constituent part of those who are his mystical body and his fullness: from the redemption of them by Christ, which is both of soul and body; both are bought with the price of Christ's blood, and therefore their bodies must be raised from the dead, or Christ must lose part of his purchase: also from the sanctification of the same persons, in soul and body, by the Spirit of God, in whose bodies he dwells, as in his temple; and therefore, unless raised, he will lose that which he has taken possession of as his dwelling place, and a considerable part of his glory as a sanctifier. Moreover, the general judgment, which is a most certain thing, requires the resurrection of the dead, as necessary to it: nor will the happiness of the saint's be complete, nor the misery of the wicked proportionate to their crimes, without the resurrection of their bodies: but the grand and principal argument used by the apostle (1 Corinthians 15:1-58), in proof of this doctrine, with so much strength, is the resurrection of Christ. To which may be added, that there will be need of and uses for some of the members of the body in Heaven; as the eye, to see Christ in the flesh, and one another; the ear, to hear the everlasting songs of praise; and the tongue, to sing them: as well as we read of men being cast into Hell with two eyes, two hands, and two feet; yes, even the whole body. Nor may it be improper to observe, the translations of Enoch and Elijah, soul and body, to Heaven; and the saints that rose at our Lord's resurrection, and went to Heaven in their risen bodies; and the saints who will be alive at Christ's coming, and be caught up into the air to meet him, and be forever with him. Now it is not probable that some saints should be in Heaven with their bodies and others without them; and therefore a general resurrection must be asserted and allowed. I proceed,

2. To consider the subjects of the resurrection, who they are, and what that is of them that shall be raised.

2a. First, who they are that shall be raised; not the angels, who die not, and therefore cannot be the subjects of the resurrection; nor the brute creatures, as say the Muhammadans and some Jewish doctors; since they have no immortal spirits for their bodies to be raised and united to; nor would they be of any use, nor is there any service for them in a future state. Only men shall rise from the dead, and not all of them; some have been translated, that they should not see death, and so cannot be said to rise from the dead; and others will be alive at Christ's coming, and will be changed, but not die; which change cannot be called a resurrection. But all the dead, all that are in their graves, whether in the earth or sea, shall rise and come forth, and those whether righteous or wicked; the resurrection of both is strongly asserted by Christ (John 5:28, 29) and by the apostle Paul (Acts 24:15). The distribution of the persons to be raised are of these two sorts, the just and the unjust; that the just, or righteous ones, will be raised from the dead there can be no doubt; since the resurrection of the saints is called "the resurrection of the just" from them (Luke 14:14), it being peculiar to them; and "the first resurrection" (Revelation 20:6), because they will rise first; and "the better resurrection" (Hebrews 11:35), being better than that of the wicked; and of which only some are counted worthy (Luke 20:35), and is what the apostle Paul desired to attain unto (Philippians 3:11), called "a resurrection out from" the dead, the wicked dead. The arguments before used to prove the resurrection in general being such as chiefly regard the resurrection of the just, the proof of this need not be further enlarged on. But the resurrection of the wicked being denied by some of the Jewish writers, in which they have been followed by the Socinians, though they care not to speak out their minds fully; and to which the Remonstrants and Arminians have shown a good liking; it will be necessary to confirm this. The arguments of the one and the other against the resurrection of the wicked are taken,

2a1. From reason: they reason from the mercy of God, that if he will not eternally save them, yet surely it cannot be thought that he will raise them from the dead merely to torment them; it will be enough to be deprived of happiness in Heaven. The answer to which is, that though God is naturally and essentially merciful, yet the displays of his mercy to his creatures are according to his sovereign will and pleasure (Romans 9:15; Isaiah 27:11). Besides, he is just as well as merciful; and it is necessary from the justice of God, as will be observed hereafter, that the bodies of the wicked be raised, not merely to be tormented, but that his justice might be glorified in the righteous punishment of them. They further argue, that Christ is the meritorious cause of the resurrection; and since he has merited nothing for the wicked or reprobate they shall not be raised. The answer to which is, that Christ is the meritorious cause of the resurrection of life, but not of the resurrection of damnation; the saints will rise to life by virtue of union to Christ, through his merit, and the power of his resurrection: not so the wicked; they will rise, not through his merit, and by virtue of union to him, but by his almighty power. They also urge, at least some, that the wicked die an eternal death, and therefore rise not from the dead; which they think is a contradiction: but it should be observed, that eternal death, which is the second death, in distinction from the death of the body, and is a casting of both body and soul into Hell, is not inconsistent with the resurrection of the body; yes, it requires that: and though corporal death is one part of the punishment of sin, which punishment is perpetual; nor is it removed by the resurrection of the wicked, since their bodies will be raised in such a state as to bear eternal punishment. 2a2. There are other arguments and objections against the resurrection of the wicked, taken from various passages of scripture, as from Psalm 1:5. "Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in judgment;" which words are rendered in the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions, "Shall not rise again in judgment;" but admitting these versions were agreeable to the Hebrew text, as they are not; it will not follow that the wicked shall not rise again from the dead, but shall not rise again so as to appear in the congregation of the righteous at the day of judgment, as in the next clause; for they will not rise when the righteous do, at the first resurrection, the resurrection of the just; besides, the word used does not intend the resurrection of the wicked, but their standing before God in a judicial sense, when raised; and the meaning is, they shall not stand before him with confidence, nor be able to justify themselves and vindicate their cause, and so must fall and not stand in judgment. Another scripture made use of is in Isaiah 26:14. "They are deceased, they shall not rise:" which must be understood either of those wicked lords who had formerly dominion over the people of Israel, but now dead, and should not rise again and live on this earth to tyrannize over them; or of the people of Israel themselves, and of the death of great numbers of them; and express the prophet's complaint of their present state, and of his distrust of their revival and restoration from it; and it may be also of their future resurrection, to which there is an answer (Isaiah 26:19), as has been observed; and considered either way, cannot support an argument against the resurrection of the wielded.

The words of the prophet Daniel (Daniel 12:2), before observed, though a plain proof of the resurrection of the dead, both righteous and wicked, yet are improved by some against the resurrection of the wicked; since not "all" but "many" are said to awake, and those many are only a few, and those only the righteous Israelites: to which may be replied, the "many" may be understood universally, as in Romans 5:19 and in other places; or in a comparative sense with respect to the few that shall be alive when the dead are raised; or rather distributively, many shall awake to everlasting life, and many to everlasting shame and contempt; and besides may respect the different times of rising, many at the first resurrection to the former, and the rest a thousand years after to the latter. Many can never design a few; as the Israelites were the fewest of all people, especially the righteous among them; and even the righteous of all nations are but few in comparison of the rest; besides the prophet speaks of some awaking to everlasting shame and contempt, which can only be understood of the wicked; so that the prophecy is a clear proof of their resurrection. Others object that passage in Ecclesiastes 7:1. "Better is the day of death, than the day of one's birth;" since if the wicked rise again, it must be worse with them at death than at their birth; but the words are not spoken of the wicked or reprobate, who, it would have been better if they had never been born, or had died upon their birth, than to have lived to aggravate their condemnation by a continuance in sin, and with whom it will be worse at death; but of the righteous, who die in the Lord, and are blessed in their death, being freed from sin and sorrow, and are with Christ; which is far better than coming into, and continuing in a troublesome world. Even the words of the apostle, in 1 Thessalonians 4:16. "The dead in Christ shall rise first," are urged by some against the resurrection of the wicked; since such that die in Christ are only believers in him, and therefore they, and not the wicked, shall rise: the answer is, that though the apostle is speaking only of those that die in Christ, true believers in him; yet not here, nor any where else, is it said, that these only rise. Besides, the apostle says of these, that they shall rise first; which supposes, that others shall rise afterwards, who have no claim to this character; a first resurrection of believers in Christ, supposes a second resurrection of those who are not such. But that the wicked shall rise, is not only to be proved from express passages of scripture, before observed (Daniel 12:2; John 5:28, 29; Acts 24:15), but also from reason; as from the justice of God, which requires, that sins committed in and by the body, as most sins are, should be punished in the body; that being not only an necessary, but a partner with the soul in sinning, and an instrument by which sin is committed, and so deserving of punishment: and whereas the wicked do not receive in this life the full reward of punishment in their bodies; it seems necessary from the justice of God, that their bodies should be raised, that with their souls they may receive their full recompense of reward. Besides, it may be concluded from the general judgment; when some will be "cast into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:12, 15), which must be understood of the wicked; and if all must "appear before the judgment seat of Christ," to receive for what has been done in the body, then the wicked must appear there, that they may receive for the bad things they have done in the body; to which appearance and reception, there must be a resurrection of them from the dead. The scriptural account of the punishments and torments of the wicked, manifestly supposes a resurrection of their bodies, signified by outer darkness, weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth; by a furnace and lake of fire and brimstone, and by being cast into it, with two eyes, hands, and feet; and be these metaphorical and proverbial speeches, there must be something literally true, to which they refer. Besides, Christ exhorts his disciples, "to fear him, who is able to destroy body and soul in Hell" (Matthew 10:28). To which may be added, that this notion that the wicked rise not, must have a tendency to licentiousness, to take off all restraints from wicked men, and embolden them in a vicious course of life, according to 1 Corinthians 15:32. From all which it may be concluded, there will be a resurrection of the wicked, as well as of the righteous; indeed there will be a difference between the resurrection of the one and of the other; the righteous will rise first, at the appearance of Christ; the wicked not until a thousand years after: saints will rise by virtue of union to Christ; the wicked merely by his power; their resurrection will differ in their adjuncts; though the bodies of the wicked will be raised immortal, and in such a state as to bear perpetual punishment, yet will not be clothed with glory; whereas the bodies of the saints will not only be raised immortal and incorruptible, but powerful, spiritual, and glorious, even fashioned like to the glorious body of Christ. The end will be different also; the one will rise to everlasting life; the other to everlasting shame and contempt; hence the one is called the resurrection of life, and the other the resurrection of damnation. I go on,

2b. Secondly, to inquire, what of men shall be raised? Man consists of two parts, soul and body. It is not the soul that is raised, for that dies not. There were some Christians in Arabia, who held, that the soul dies with the body, and at the resurrection revives, and returns to its own body; but that is an immaterial and immortal substance, as has been proved in a former chapter; but it is the body which dies, that shall be raised from the dead; it is that only that is mortal, and shall be quickened; it is that only which is laid in the grave, and shall come forth from thence; it is that which sleeps in the dust of the earth, and shall be awakened from thence; for,

2b1. The body is not annihilated, or reduced to nothing at death, as say the Socinians; which is contrary to reason and scripture; at death there is a disunion of soul and body; but neither are reduced to nothing; the body returns to the earth, and the soul to God that gave it; and though the body after death passes under many changes and alterations, yet the matter and substance of it will remain in some form or another: death is sometimes expressed by returning to dust; but then dust is something: and by seeing corruption; but that supposes something in being, which is corrupted, matter and substance still remaining; but annihilation leaves nothing: and by sowing seed in the earth, which rots; by pulling down a house; and putting off a tabernacle. But seed sown, though it dies and rots, it does not lose its being, nor its nature; but being quickened, in due time, it buds, and puts forts its seminal virtue: and so a house pulled down, and a tabernacle unpinned, the matter and substance, and the various parts of them, remain. And if the body was reduced to nothing at death, Christ would lose part of his purchase, and the Spirit his dwelling place (1 Corinthians 6:15, 19, 20). To which may be added, if this was the case, the resurrection would not be a resurrection, but the creation of a new body. As for those scriptures which speak of the dead as "not" (Jeremiah 31:15), the meaning is, not that they do not exist; but they are not where they formerly dwelt, having their former possessions and friends; but they are somewhere; their souls are either in Heaven or in Hell; and their bodies in the grave: and when the apostle says, "Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats; but God shall destroy both it and them:" the sense is, not that the body, or any part of it, as the belly, should be destroyed, as to its substance, but as to its use, in receiving food to supply the natural wants of the body, as now; though it will be necessary as a constituent part, and for the ornament of it.

2b2. The body, at the resurrection, will not be a new, aerial, and celestial body, as Origen and others thought; or a spiritual one, as to its nature and substance. It will be different from what it is now, as to its qualities, but not as to its substance: when the apostle compares it to seed sown in the earth, which is "not the body that shall be" (1 Corinthians 15:37, 38), he designs not a difference of substance, but of qualities; such as is between the seed sown, and the plant that springs from it; which differ not in their specific nature, but in some circumstances and accidents; as the difference in the risen body lies in incorruption, glory, power, and spirituality (1 Corinthians 15:42-44). The same comparison is made of Christ's body (John 12:24), and yet it was not a spiritual body, when raised, as to substance, but consisted of flesh and bones, as before (Luke 24:39), and such will be the bodies of the saints; and though the body will be raised a spiritual one, as the apostle affirms, yet it will not be changed into a spirit, and lose its former nature; but will be subject and subservient to the soul, or spirit; be employed in spiritual services, and delight in spiritual objects; and will not be supported in a natural way, and by natural means, but be like the angels (Luke 20:36), and though it will consist of flesh and blood, yet be neither sinful, nor frail and mortal; which is the sense of 1 Corinthians 15:50 but pure and holy, incorruptible, and immortal (1 Corinthians 15:53). If the body was a new, aerial, celestial body, different in substance from what it is, it would not be a resurrection, but a creation; nor would it be consistent with the justice of God, that such new, created bodies, which never sinned, should be everlastingly punished; nor can such be, said to be truly human bodies, that are without flesh and blood; nor such to be men, who are incorporeal; nor can the same persons who have sinned, be said to be punished; nor the same who are redeemed be glorified, unless the same body is raised. Wherefore,

2b3. It may be proved, that the same body that now is, will be raised from the dead; this is fully expressed by Job (Job 19:26, 27), who firmly believed, that "this body" of his, which would be destroyed by worms, should be raised again; and in that very "flesh" of his he should see God incarnate, and that with the selfsame eyes he had, and not another's; and which is as strongly asserted by the apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 15:53, 54). "This mortal must put on immortality; this corruption, must put on incorruption;" pointing to the present mortal and corruptible body he then had; and which is confirmed by what follows; "So when this corruption," etc. which would not be true if another, and not the same body was raised: and elsewhere he says, that Christ will change "our vile body;" but if not the same body, but another, it will not be our vile body that will be fashioned like to the body of Christ. For the further confirmation of this, let the following things be observed.

2b3a. The notation of the word "resurrection;" which signifies a raising up again that which is fallen; by death the body falls (2 Samuel 3:38; John 12:24), now if another, and not the same body, is raised, which fell, it will not be a resurrection; but a creation.

2b3b. The figurative phrases, by which it is expressed, show it; as by quickening seed sown; and by awakening out of sleep: now as it is the same seed that is sown and dies, which springs up, and appears in stalk, blade, and ear, as to nature and substance, though with some additional circumstances; so it is the same body that dies, is quickened and raised, though with additional glories and excellencies; the same it that is sown in corruption; the same it that is sown in dishonor; the same it that is sown in weakness; the same it that is sown a natural body, is raised in incorruption, in glory, in power, and a spiritual body; or there is no meaning in the apostle's words (1 Corinthians 15:42-44), and as it is the same body that sleeps that is awaked out of it in a literal sense; it is the same body that falls asleep by death, which will be awaked and rise at the resurrection.

2b3c. The places from whence the dead will be raised, and be summoned to deliver them, prove the same; our Lord says, "All that are in the graves shall come forth:" Now what of men are laid in the grave but their bodies? and what else can be thought to come forth from thence? and what but the same bodies that were laid there? the sea, death, and the grave, are said to deliver up the dead in them, which must be the same that are buried in the earth and sea; for what else can such expressions design? 2b3d. The translations of Enoch and Elijah, were in the very same bodies they had when on earth; the bodies of the saints, which arose out of their graves, when opened at Christ's resurrection, were the same that were laid in them; the bodies of the living saints, at Christ s coming, which will then be changed, will be the same they had before that change: now it is not reasonable to suppose, that some of the saints in Heaven should have the same bodies they had on earth, and others not.

2b3e. The resurrection of Christ's body is a proof of this truth; since he rose from the dead with the same body he suffered on the cross, and was laid in the grave; as appears from the print of the nails in his hands and feet, seen by Thomas after his resurrection: nor was it an aerial nor spiritual body, as to its substance, since it consisted of flesh and bones, which a spirit does not, and might be felt and handled (John 20:25, 27; Luke 24:39, 40). Now Christ's resurrection is the exemplar of the saints; according to which their vile bodies, and so surely not new, spiritual, and celestial ones, will be fashioned. Nor can it be reasonably thought that Christ, who partook of the same flesh and blood with the children, should be raised and glorified in the same body, and not they in theirs, for whose sake he assumed his.

2b3f. It seems quite necessary from the justice of God that not others, but the same bodies Christ has purchased, the Spirit has sanctified, and which have suffered for the sake of Christ, should be glorified; and that those, and not others, should be punished, that have sinned against God, blasphemed the name of Christ, and persecuted his saints.

2b3g. This may be concluded from the veracity of God, in his purposes, promises, and threatenings; for if the good things he has appointed for, and promised to his people, are not bestowed upon the same persons; and the punishment threatened is not inflicted on the same persons, where is his veracity? and how they can be the same persons, without having the same bodies, is not easy to understand.

2b3h. It would be a disappointment to the saints, who are waiting for the redemption of their bodies, if not the same, but others, should be given them.

2b3i. If the same bodies are not raised, the ends of the resurrection will not appear clearly to be answered; as the glorifying the grace of God in the salvation of his people; and of his justice, in the damnation of the wicked; or how shall everyone receive in his body for what he has done, either good or evil, if the same bodies are not raised which have done those things? 2b3j. If the Christian doctrine of the resurrection of the dead is not of the same body, it seems to be no other nor better, than the old Pythagorean notion of the transmigration of souls into other bodies. The objections to the identity of the risen body, will be considered hereafter. I go on,

3. To observe the causes of this stupendous affair.

3a. The efficient cause is God: a creature is not equal to it; it is always ascribed to God (Romans 4:17; 2 Corinthians 1:9), it is a work of almighty power; and being a work "ad extra," is common to the three divine Persons. As the resurrection of Christ is frequently attributed to God the Father, so is the resurrection of the saints (1 Corinthians 6:14; 2 Corinthians 4:14). Christ, as God, is a coefficient cause of it; both of his own and of theirs (John 5:22), of his own (John 2:19; Romans 1:4), and of theirs: he has the keys of the grave, and can open it at his pleasure; and at his commanding voice the dead shall come forth; and he will change the vile bodies of his saints, and fashion them like his own (Revelation 1:18; John 5:28; Philippians 3:21). The Spirit God also will have a concern in this affair (Romans 8:11).

3b. Christ, as the Mediator, is the meritorious cause of it; it will be in virtue of his death and resurrection, which is the earnest and pledge of it; as sure as he is risen, so sure shall his people rise; he is the first fruits of those that sleep: and, as man, he is the exemplar of it; the bodies of the saints will be raised like his, incorruptible, immortal, powerful, and glorious.

3c. The instrumental cause, or means, the voice of Christ, and the sound of a trumpet; the same with the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet of God (John 5:28; 1 Thess 4:16; 1 Corinthians 15:52). But whether this voice will be an articulate voice, like that at the grave of Lazarus; or be a violent clap of thunder, called the voice of God (Psalm 29:1-11), and whether this trumpet will be blown by angels; and the shout made, be the shout of all the angels, is not easy to say.

3d. The final cause, is the glory of the grace and mercy of God, in the complete salvation of his people, soul and body; and of his justice, in the punishment of the wicked, soul and body (John 5:29).

As to the time of the resurrection, it cannot be exactly fixed; nor does it become us curiously to inquire into it, any more than into the time of the kingdom and the hour of judgment (Acts 1:6, 7; Matthew 24:36), in general, it is said to be at "the last day" (John 6:39, 40, 44, 54; 11:24), at the last day of the present world; at the coming of Christ, they that are his will arise; when he shall descend from Heaven, the dead in him will rise first; when the present earth shall be burnt up, and a new one formed, in which the saints will reign with Christ a thousand years; at the close of which the wicked dead will be raised (1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Revelation 20:5).

4. There are many objections made to this great and glorious doctrine; the principal of which will be attended to.

4a. That maxim, or aphorism, is sometimes alleged; "a privatione ad habiturn non datur regressus;" from a total destruction of any being, there is no restoration of it to its former state and condition: this may be true of things according to the common course of nature, and by the power of nature; yet will not hold good of what may be done in an uncommon and extraordinary way, and by the power of God. Besides, the bodies of men at death are not totally destroyed, in any way whatever, with respect to their matter or substance; whether reduced to ashes by fire; or cast into the sea, and devoured by fishes; or interred in the earth, and crumbled into dust; yet they are in being, and are something; out of which, it is not impossible, they may be raised by the power of God.

4b. It is objected, that the body is dissolved into so many, and such small particles, and these scattered about, and at a great distance, and united to other bodies; that these should be distinguished, and separated from those to which they are united; and be gathered together, and replaced in their proper order; and that they should meet in their proper places in the body, as if it was with choice and judgment, seems incredible, if not impossible. But, as it has been already observed, considering the omnipotence and omniscience of God, who knows where every particle of matter lies, and can collect and range them together in proper order, the resurrection cannot be thought neither incredible nor impossible. Besides, it has been observed by some, that particles as numerous and more minute, as those of light be, are governed by, and subject to, certain fixed laws, when they seem to be in the greatest disorder; and may be separated from others, and be collected in "camera obscura," in a dark chamber, into the exact image of a man: and then what impossibility is there, that the parts of a body, though dispersed, and mingled among others, should be brought together again, and compose the same body; any more than the particles of light do the figure of it, after so many mixtures with, and percussions against other particles? And it is further observed, that the parts of which the visible body is composed, were as much scattered over the whole earth, almost six thousand years ago, as they will be many years after death, or at the end of the world; and so not more impossible in this case, than at first to collect the parts so dispersed, and to bring them into order. And moreover, let the bones of a skeleton, or the wheels and parts of a watch, be jumbled and thrown together in the utmost disorder; yet a good anatomist can put all the bones of a skeleton, and a good watchmaker all the wheels and pieces of a watch, into the same structure again, so as to compose the very same skeleton and watch; and of infinitely more wisdom and power is the great Artificer of all possessed, to put the human body, though its parts lie ever so dispersed, and in disorder, into the same structure again. And as to the union of the particles of the body, with other bodies, and the difficulty of the separation of them, those that are well versed in chemistry, are able to produce innumerable examples of things that adhere and unite closely with one another, which are yet easily separated, by the addition of a third. And as to the distance of the parts of the body, and the unlikelihood of their meeting at the same places of the body to which they belong, as if they acted with choice and judgment; it is observed, that the lodestone will draw iron when at a distance from it; and that the heavenly bodies, which are at a great and almost immeasurable distance, are subject to a law that brings them towards each other; and such is the virtue of the lodestone, that let iron, lead, salt, and stone, be reduced to a powder, and mixed together, and hold the lodestone to it, it will draw the iron only, and as it were by free choice out of this composition, leaving all the rest of the bodies untouched. And surely then, the great Alchemist of the world, and he who is the Author of the lodestone, and has given it the virtue it has, is capable of doing as great, and greater things, than these; he can gather together the particles of the dissolved body, though ever so distant and dispersed, and separate and distinguish them from other bodies they have been united to, and put them in their proper place, in their own body.

4c. The various changes and alterations the body undergoes are objected to the same body being raised; it is observed, that in the space of seven years all the particles of the body are changed; some lost and others got; and it seems impracticable that the same body should be raised, since its particles are not the same in youth as in old age, nor when emaciated as in better circumstances; and therefore being raised according to which, it may, it cannot be the same. It may be observed, that though the body has not always the same fleeting particles, which are continually changing, as the fluids are, yet it always has the same solid and constituent parts; and so a man may always be said to have the same body and to be the same man; it is the same body that is born that dies, and the same that dies that shall rise again; the several alterations and changes it undergoes, with respect to tallness and largeness, fatness or leanness, do not destroy the identity of the body. Moreover, it is not requisite that all the particles of matter of which the body of a man has been composed, throughout his lifetime, should be collected, to constitute the risen body; it is enough that all the necessary ones should be collected and united together; otherwise it must rise in a gigantic form. It is a good distinction made by a learned writer, of an "own" or "proper" body, and of a "visible" one; the visible body consists both of fluids and of solids; the former of which change and alter, according to difference of years, of constitutions, and other circumstances; but the latter continue the same: an own or proper body, consists almost only of solids; as of skin, bones, nerves, tendons, cartilages, arteries, and veins; which continue the same from infancy to the age of maturity, and so on, excepting the strength and size of them; and so sufficient to denominate the same body, notwithstanding the change of the fluids, and of the flying off and accession of the fleeting particles. And as every animal, so man, has a first principle, or "stamen," which contains the whole own body; and which, in growth, is expanded or unfolded, and clothed, as it were, and filled up with other particles continually; so that it is enough if this stamen is preserved, and at the resurrection unfolded and filled up, either with the same matter that belonged to it before, or with such other matter as it shall please God to constitute the same body; let one die, as it may, when a child, or full grown, or with a loss of a leg or an arm, or with any defect; since all will be filled up in the expanded "stamen," as observed.

4d. The grossness and gravity of bodies, are objected, as rendering them unfit to dwell in such a place as Heaven, all fluid, and purely ethereal. As for the grossness of raised bodies, they will not be so gross as may be imagined, or as they now are; though they will not be changed into spirits, as to substance; they will be spiritual bodies, in the sense before explained; they will be greatly refined and spiritualized; and will not be supported in such a gross manner as with food, drink, etc. as now; and will be light, agile, and powerful, and capable of breathing in a purer air. As to the gravity of them, a learned man observes, "There is no such thing as gravity in regions purely ethereal, which are above the reach and activity of particular orbs; there is no high and low in such places; our bodies will be there sustained, as the globe of the earth, and the several celestial orbs, are now sustained in the "air" and "ether"." And he further observes, that perhaps, after all, our Heaven will be nothing but an Heaven upon earth; or some glorious solid orb, created on purpose for us, in those immense regions which we call Heaven; and he says, this is no new opinion, but embraced by many of the ancients: and certain it is, that the raised saints will, quickly after their resurrection, inhabit a new earth for a thousand years, prepared for them. As for the objection, taken from the impurity of bodies, and their unworthiness and unfitness to be united to souls; and their being a prison and a burden to them; and so would make the condition of souls worse: these are only heathenish notions, and cannot affect the minds of Christians, and require no answer. But,

4e. There is another objection, of more importance, which must be removed; which is taken from human bodies being eaten by men, either through necessity, as in distressed cases; or of choice, as by cannibals, or man eaters; whereby the flesh of one man is turned into the flesh of another; and one human body becomes a part of another; and so there cannot be a distinct resurrection of each of these bodies, with the proper parts belonging to them. In answer to which, there is no need to say, as an ancient learned apologist seems to do, that the substance of one man's body, when eaten by another, does not turn to nourishment, nor become the flesh of the other that eats it; it being not designed by providence for food; since it is certain, men have been nourished by it, as when in distress, as well as otherwise: let it be observed, that it is a very small part of the food a man takes into his body, which turns to nourishment; not above the fiftieth part of it, according to the accurate Sanctorius: and daily experience teaches, that what we use for food, belongs only to the "visible" body of an animal, and the fluids and juices thereof; and not its solid parts, its bones and nerves: nor is a cannibal, or man eater, nourished with withered and dried bones, and with nerves and membranes, divested of their juices; and so is nourished, not with the own proper body; but only with the "visible" one, and the fluids thereof. Besides, the nourishment of the bodies of men, is without their will and knowledge, and entirely depends upon the will and pleasure of God; in whose power it is to hinder that no one essential particle of a body should belong to another, through nourishment by it, and that even after a natural manner; there is no impossibility in it, since by numberless chemical experiments, as further observed, it will appear, that though a body has the property of uniting itself to another, yet it can be hindered by the addition of a third, and by other ways too, from doing the same: and God, who has promised to raise the bodies of all men, will take care that nothing relating to nourishment should hinder the performance of it; and that the particles of one man's body shall never so become the particles of another, as that the resurrection of either should thereby be rendered impossible. And it is observed by a learned writer, that if even a cannibal, during his whole life, had fed upon nothing but the matter of the visible bodies of men, and it had only pleased God to hinder the "stamina" of all those whom he had devoured from being converted into food; but that they should have passed through his body, with other excrementitious matter; what impossibility is there that the particular "stamen" of each person (supposed to be his "own proper" body) should be separated from thence, and be filled up again by other proper matter? Thus likewise, may the "stamen" of the cannibal himself remain alone, without any of its expanding fluids, and be filled up with others at the resurrection; and he accordingly may rise likewise in his "own" body.

To conclude, adds he, since the "own" body must be considered abstractly from any humors and juices; and since all that serves for the food and nourishment of a man eater, must only be divided from the "visible" body of the person devoured; it is plain, that although a cannibal had devoured hundreds of "visible" bodies of other men; it would likewise happen, according to the common course of nature, that the solid particles, divested of all their juices, or the own bodies of the devoured persons, would be discharged, or cast out, unmingled with those of the devourer; and consequently, that each of them might appear separate and entire, at the time of its resurrection. So that upon the whole, there can be nothing in the above objections, to a rational man, who believes the power, promise, and providence of God.

To conclude, this doctrine appears to be of great importance and usefulness, and therefore to be abode by. It is one of the articles of the creed of the ancient Jews; it is reckoned among the first principles of the doctrine of Christ; it is a fundamental article of the Christian faith. The resurrection of Christ stands and falls with it; the whole gospel is connected with it, and depends on it (1 Corinthians 15:13-17), without this, there is no expectation of a future and better state (1 Corinthians 15:18, 19), practical religion greatly depends on the truth and belief of it. It has been observed, that the opposers of it have always had bad lives; it is a natural consequence, what the apostle observes of the denial of it (1 Corinthians 15:32). Whereas, a firm belief of it, promotes a studious concern of a holy life and conversation, as may he observed in the experience and practice of the apostle Paul (Acts 24:15, 16). It is very useful to instruct in various things. It serves to enlarge our views of the divine perfections; as of the omnipotence and omniscience of God, of his holiness and justice, of his immutability in his counsels and purposes, and of his faithfulness in his promises and threatenings. It teaches us to think highly of Christ, as God over all, and as possessed of all divine perfection, since he has so great a concern in it; and serves to endear the Spirit of God, and teach us not to grieve him, by whom we are sealed to the day of the redemption of our bodies. And it may be a means of encouraging our faith and trust in God, in the greatest straits and difficulties, as being able to deliver out of them (Romans 4:17; 2 Corinthians 1:9, 10). And it may direct us to a due and proper care of our bodies, while living, that they are not abused through avarice or intemperance; and to provide or give orders for the decent interment of them after death. This doctrine affords much comfort; hence, in the Syriac version of John 11:24 it is called, "the consolation at the last day". It may be of great use to support saints under the loss of near relations (1 Thessalonians 4:13, 14), and under their various trials and afflictions, and under present diseases and disorders of body; from all which they will be freed at the resurrection; and in the views of death, and of the changes the body will undergo after death; and yet, after all rise again, and see God, and enjoy the company of angels and saints (Job 19:26, 27).

 

Chapter 5.

OF THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST, AND HIS PERSONAL APPEARANCE

The personal appearance of Christ will be before the resurrection of the just, which is the first resurrection; that will be at the coming of Christ, which might properly have been treated of before that resurrection; but that I chose to lay before the reader in one connected view, the separate state of the soul after the death of the body, until the resurrection, and the resurrection of it: and for the same reason I have treated of the doctrine of the resurrection in both its branches together, of the just, and of the unjust; though the one will be a thousand years before the other; and many events will intervene between them; as the conflagration of the world, the making of the new heavens and the new earth, and the dwelling and reigning of Christ with his saints therein, and the binding of Satan during that time; all which will follow the personal appearance of Christ, and will be treated of after that, in their order.

There have been various appearances of Christ already; many in an human form before his incarnation, as a presage and pledge of it; but his principal appearance, and what may be called his "first" appearance and coming, was at his incarnation; there were several appearances of him to his disciples after his resurrection, and to Stephen, and to the apostle Paul, after his ascension; and there was a coming of him in his kingdom and power sometime after to take vengeance on the Jewish nation for their rejection of him, and the persecution of his followers. There is now an appearance of Christ in Heaven as the advocate of his people; and there is a spiritual appearance of him at conversion, and in after visits of his love, and communion with him; and in the latter day there will be a great appearance of Christ in a spiritual manner, or a coming of him by the effusion of his Spirit upon his people, when his spiritual reign will take place, elsewhere treated of; after which will be the personal appearance of Christ to reign in a still more glorious manner. Hence his appearance and kingdom are joined together, when he will judge both quick and dead (2 Timothy 4:1), and this will be attended with great glory, and is called his "glorious appearing" (Titus 2:13), and in distinction from his first coming and appearance at his incarnation, it is called his "second" (Hebrews 9:28), which will now be treated of,

1. By giving the proof of the certainty of it, that Christ will most surely appear personally to judge the world, and reign with his people; which may be most firmly believed, depended upon, and looked for; and this will appear,

1a. First, from what the patriarchs before and after the flood have said of it; for so early has it been spoken of, as may be observed from the prophecy of Enoch, the seventh from Adam, recorded by the apostle Jude 1:14, 15. "Saying, Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousand of his saints to execute judgment upon all"; which prophecy, whether it was written or not, is not certain, nor how the apostle came by it, whether by tradition, as the apostle Paul had the names of the magicians of Egypt, or by divine revelation; however, it is made authentic by the Spirit of God, and is to be depended on as fact; and is to be understood, not of the first, but of the second coming of Christ, as appears by his attendants, "ten thousands his saints"; such and such a number of them were not with him when he came in the flesh, but his second coming will be "with all his saints"(1 Thessalonians 3:13), and by the work he is to do, to execute judgment on all, and to convince of and punish wicked men for their words and works; (see Ecclesiastes 12:14; John 3:17). Job also declared his faith, that Christ his living Redeemer should "stand at the latter day on the earth", that is, the latter or last day of the present world; since it is connected with the resurrection of the dead he believed in, and the future judgment (Job 19:25-27, 29). Also David the patriarch, as he is called (Acts 2:29), speaks of the coming of Christ to judge the earth and world, and the people of it with righteousness; and which is repeated, to denote the certainty of it (Psalm 96:13; 98:9).

1b. Secondly, the certainty of Christ's second coming and personal appearance may be confirmed from what the prophets have said concerning it; for it has been "spoken of by the mouth of them all" (Acts 3:21), and though the prophecies greatly respect his spiritual reign, yet are intermixed with many things concerning his personal coming and appearance; and it requires skill and care, being attended with some difficulty, to distinguish and separate the one from the other; and besides these, there are some which chiefly and plainly respect his personal appearance and kingdom; as,

1b1. The prophecy in Daniel 7:13, 14 where, after the destruction of Antichrist and the Anti-Christian states in the spiritual reign, signified by the slaying and burning of the "fourth beast", follows in a natural order the coming of the "Son of man" to take possession of his kingdom; Christ said to be like one, either in conformity to the language of the former visions, his kingdom being humane, gentle, just, and wise, as well as powerful, and not beastly, as the others; or because he was not yet become man; or rather the "as" or "like" is not an "as" of similitude but of certainty, as in Matthew 14:5, John 1:14, Philippians 2:7, and being described as coming "with the clouds of Heaven", fixes it to his second and personal coming, which is always so described (Matthew 24:30; 26:64; Revelation 1:7). The "Ancient of days" he is said to come to, is God the Father, the eternal God; they that brought him near him are either the saints, who hasten his coming by their prayers; or the angels: or it may be impersonally read, and "he was brought"; which denotes the august and magnificent manner in which he will be personally and visibly put into the possession of his kingdom and dominion; which will have a "glory" beyond all expression, and will be "everlasting"; it will never be succeeded by another; and though Christ's personal reign on earth will be but a thousand years, yet his whole reign, personal and spiritual, will be of a long duration, and which in scripture is called "everlasting" (Genesis 17:8; Leviticus 16:34). Besides, this kingdom, when delivered up, will not cease, but will be connected with, and issue in the ultimate glory, in which Christ will reign with his saints forever.

1b2. Another prophecy in Daniel 12:1-3 respects the second and personal coming of Christ; for he is meant by Michael, who is "as God", as his name signifies, equal to him; the "great prince", the prince of the kings of the earth, and the head of all principalities and powers. "Who stands for the children of Daniel's people"; meaning the election of grace among the Jews, on whose behalf Christ will stand at the time of their conversion in the latter day; previous to which it will be a time of great trouble; both to the saints, when will be the slaying of the witnesses; and to the anti-Christian states, when the vials will be poured out upon them, which will bring on the spiritual reign; after which will be the personal coming of Christ, here implied, since the resurrection of the dead will follow, and when such will be rewarded in the kingdom of Christ, who have been eminently serviceable in his interest; and the rest of the chapter is taken up about the time when these things shall be.

1b3. The prophecy in Zechariah 14:4, 5 respects the second and personal coming of Christ; since "all the saints" will come with him, and descend with him on earth; when his feet shall stand on the mount of Olives, and when Christ will be king over all the earth (Zechariah 14:10), and the saints will be in a sinless state (Zechariah 14:20, 21), though there are some things which respect the spiritual reign of Christ, and a time of distress previous to it (Zechariah 14:1-3, 6-8).

1b4. The prophecy in Malachi 4:1-3 respects not the first but the second coming of Christ, when the day of the Lord shall "burn like an oven"; the elements shall melt with fervent heat, and the earth and all that therein is shall be burnt up; and "all the wicked" shall perish in the conflagration; be burnt up "like stubble", and be properly "ashes under the soles of the feet" of them that fear the Lord; to whom it will be a glorious day, on whom the sun of righteousness shall arise (Malachi 4:4).

1c. Thirdly, the certainty of Christ's second and personal coming to reign on earth, may be evinced from several sayings and parables delivered by him. Not to omit the petition directed to in the prayer commonly called the "Lord's Prayer; Your kingdom come", connected with another, "your will be done on earth as it is done in Heaven"; the sense of which is, that the kingdom of God might come, and so come, that the will of God might be done by men on earth as it is done by the angels in Heaven; which petition, though it has been put up thousands of times, has never yet been fulfilled, nor never can be but in a perfect state; and there will be no such on earth until the resurrection state takes place, and Christ personally appears in his kingdom and glory.

1c1. First, the answer of Christ to the question of his disciples, "What shall be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the world?" Matthew 24:3 given in the following part of the chapter, seems to respect the second and personal coming of Christ; for though it is so expressed as that it may be applied to his coming in his kingdom and power to destroy the Jewish nation, and so to be the end of their world, church and state; yet what is said of that, and of the signs of it, may be considered as types, symbols, and emblems of, and to have a further accomplishment in the second coming of Christ, and the end of the present world; whose coming will be like lightning, swift, sudden, at an unawares, and local and visible; for "then shall appear the sign of the son of man in Heaven" (Matthew 24:27, 30), that is, the son of man himself, as the sign of Jonah is Jonah himself; who will personally appear in the lower Heaven, so as to be seen by all the tribes of the earth, who shall mourn on that account: and "they shall see the son of man coming in the clouds of Heaven"; which, as has been before observed, is a distinguishing and peculiar characteristic of the second coming of Christ; which will be "with power", seen in raising the dead, burning the world, binding Satan, making new heavens and a new earth, and setting up his glorious kingdom in it; and so "with great glory", his own, his Father's, and that of the holy angels; and then he will "send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet" (Matthew 24:31), and with such an one, and with his angels shall he descend in person from Heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:16; 2 Thessalonians 1:7), and those he will employ to "gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of Heaven to the other"; that is, the raised saints, who will rise at this time in the several parts of the world where they died and were buried; and whom the angels shall collect together, and bring with the living saints changed, to Christ in the air, where he will be seen. But of "the day and hour" of Christ's coming "knows no man, no not the angels in Heaven" (Matthew 24:36). Moreover the coming of the son of man will be "like the days of Noah" for carnality, sensuality, and security (Matthew 24:37), etc. which agrees with the accounts other scriptures give; as that it will be like that of a thief in the night, sudden and at unawares; and that when persons are crying peace, peace, great pleasure and happiness, sudden destruction comes upon them; and therefore, since the son of man comes in an hour unthought of, persons ought to be "ready" for it (Matthew 24:44), for nothing is more certain than death, the coming of Christ, and the judgment day.

1c2. Secondly, The parables in Matthew 25:1-46 all respect the second coming of Christ. The parable of the wise and foolish virgins, describes the state of the church under the gospel dispensation, as consisting of true believers, and formal professors, and their different behavior, until the coming of Christ; when the door will be shut, the door of the word and ordinances; for after the spiritual reign, and in the millennium state, they will be no more administered, and Christ, and his gospel, will be no more preached; and so no more a door of faith and hope for sinners. Before the personal coming of Christ, all the virgins, both wise and foolish, will be asleep, unconcerned about his coming, off of their watch and guard, and in no expectation of it; and, having little faith about it, "When the Son of man comes, shall he find faith on the earth?" To this state answers the Laodicean church state, lukewarm, indifferent, and regardless of divine things; which will bring on, and issue in the last judgment of the people, as its name signifies. Christ, in this parable, is all along represented as a bridegroom, and as such he shall come (Matthew 25:1, 5, 6, 10) when the church, his bride, will be made ready, and come down from God out of Heaven, as a bride adorned for her husband; when she, the bride, the Lamb's wife, having the glory of God upon her, shall dwell with him in the new Jerusalem state; which is the marriage chamber they that are ready shall enter into with him.

The parable of the talents, in the same chapter, respects the same time, and describes our Lord's giving gifts to men, upon his ascension to Heaven, and since; to some more, and others less, of which they make a different improvement: and also his "coming" again, after a long time, and reckoning with them; which will be done when he personally appears; and who will, in the resurrection state, distribute honors and rewards to his servants, according as they have made use of the talents committed to them. The chapter is closed with an account of the Son of man coming in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, and sitting on the throne of his glory, summoning all nations before him, and separating the good from the bad, and passing the definitive sentence on each, and executing it.

1c3. Thirdly, the parable of the nobleman, in Luke 19:12, etc. is similar to that of the talents, in Matthew 25:1-46. By the nobleman is meant Christ, who is of noble extract indeed; as the Son of God, he is the only begotten of the Father; as man, he sprung from the Jewish ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and from a race of kings of the line of David. By the "far country" he went into, Heaven is designed; which is the better country, a land afar off, from whence Christ came at his incarnation, and where he went after his ascension, and where he will remain until his second coming. His end in going thither, was "to receive for himself a kingdom"; to take open possession of a kingdom that was appointed for him; and which he did, in some sort, at his ascension, when he was made, or declared, Lord and Christ; and more fully will, in the spiritual reign, when the kingdoms of this world shall become his; but most openly, clearly, and plainly, at his personal appearing and kingdom; which will be the time of his "return", when he will appear manifestly instated in it, and possessed of it; and then will he call his servants to an, account for the money he committed to them, to make use of in his absence; and according to the use it shall appear they have made of them, they will be rewarded in the millennium state, signified by giving them authority over more or fewer cities.

1c4. Fourthly, the words of Christ in John 14:2, 3 cannot well be neglected; "In my Father's house are many mansions; I go to prepare a place for you, and I will come again, and receive you unto myself". By Christ's "Father's house", is meant Heaven, the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens; in which there are many mansions, dwelling, resting places for the "many sons" he, the great Captain of their salvation, must, and will bring to glory; and hither Christ is gone, as the forerunner, both to take possession of Heaven for them, and to prepare it for their reception of it; for though it is a kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world, in the purpose, council, and covenant of God; yet Christ is further preparing and fitting it for them, by his personal presence, and powerful mediation, while they are preparing and working up for the self-same thing, by his Spirit within them; and when they are all gathered in, and made ready, he will come again in person, and raise their bodies, and reunite their souls to them, and take them, soul and body, to himself, to be with him where he is, first in the millennium state, and then in the ultimate glory.

1d. Fourthly, that Christ will come personally on earth a second time, may be most certainly concluded from the words of the angels, in Acts 1:11 at the ascension of Christ to Heaven; "This same Jesus which is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into Heaven". The angels reproved the apostles, that they stood gazing at Jesus, as he went up to Heaven, being desirous of seeing the last of him, as if they were never to see him any more; whereas he would come again from Heaven, in like manner as they saw him go thither: as he ascended in person, in his human nature, united to his divine person, as the Son of God; so he should descend in person, in the same human nature thus united; "The Lord himself shall descend from Heaven": and as his ascension to Heaven was visible, he was seen of angels, and by the apostles; so his descent from thence will be visible; "Every eye shall see him"; not a few only, as then, but all: and as a cloud received him out of their sight, when he went to hearer; so when he comes again, he will come in the clouds of Heaven: and as he was attended by angels, who escorted him through the regions of the air; so he will be revealed from Heaven, with his mighty angels: and though no mention is made in this narrative, of his ascension with a shout, and the sound of a trumpet attending it; yet, as it was foretold in prophecy and type, no doubt is to be made of it; "God is gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet!" (Psalm 47:5), and certain it is, he will descend in such manner; "The Lord himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God!" (1 Thess 4:16) and as his ascent was from the mount of Olives (Acts 1:12), it is very probable his descent will be on that very spot; since it is said, that when the Lord shall come with all his saints, "his feet shall stand in that day on the mount of Olives" (Zechariah 14:4, 5).

1e. Fifthly, the second coming and appearance of Christ, may be confirmed from various passages in the sermons, discourses, and epistles of the apostles. And,

1e1. From the words of Peter (Acts 3:19-21). From whence it appears, that there was then to come, and still is to come, "a time of the restitution of all things"; which cannot be understood of the gospel dispensation, called the time of "reformation"; for that had taken place already; nor of the restitution of the brute creatures to their estate of paradise, of which some interpret (Isaiah 11:6, 9; Romans 8:19-23), for which I can see no need nor use of, in a perfect state, as these times will be; nor of the restitution of gospel doctrines, ordinances, discipline, and worship, to their former purity and perfection, which will be accomplished in the spiritual reign; but of the restitution of all the bodies of the saints, a resurrection of them from the dead, and a restoration of them to their souls; and of the renovation of the world, which will be at the second coming of Christ: and when the time fixed for it is come, then will God "send Jesus Christ" from Heaven, where he now is, and where he will be retained until that time, and then he will descend from thence, when the saints in their resurrection state shall be judged; and though their sins are already "blotted out" by the blood of Christ, and for his sake; and a comfortable application of it is made to the consciences of all penitent and converted persons; yet there will be then a public blotting of them out, or a declaration that they are blotted out, never to be seen nor read more; which will be done before angels and men; and then it will be "a time of refreshing" indeed, "from the presence of the Lord"; for the tabernacle of God will now be with men, and he will dwell with them; and there shall be no more sorrow and weeping, crying and pain (Revelation 21:3, 4).

1e2. There are various passages, in which express mention is made of the coming of Christ; of his appearing a second time, unto the salvation of his people; of their waiting for his coming, looking for, and hastening unto it, and loving it (Heb 9:28; 1 Corinthians 1:7; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 3:12; 2 Timothy 4:8), and of what the saints shall be, and shall have then; that they shall appear in glory with Christ, and shall be like him, and shall have grace given them, and a crown of glory likewise; and shall be the joy and crown of rejoicing of Christ's ministers (Colossians 3:4; 1 John 3:2; 1 Peter 1:13; 5:4; 2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:19), and also of what shall then be done by Christ; all the saints shall be brought with him; the dead in him shall be raised, and both quick and dead be judged; and the counsels of all hearts shall be made manifest (1 Thessalonians 3:13; 4:14,16; 2 Timothy 4:1; 1 Corinthians 4:5).

1e3. In all those places in which mention is made of "that day", that famous, that well known day, so much spoken of and expected (2 Timothy 1:12,18; 4:8), and of the day of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10) and of the day of the Lord Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:8; 5:5; 2 Corinthians 1:14; Philippians 1:6) and of the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30), the time of Christ's second coming, and personnel appearance, is meant; which will be sudden, and at an unawares, like a thief in the night; until which time the saints commit themselves into his hands; and when the work of grace, in its utmost extent and influence on soul and body, will be completed, and they will be unblamably before him, and their bodies redeemed from mortality, corruption, and death.

1f. Sixthly, in the book of the Revelation, frequent mention is made of the visible, quick, and speedy coming of Christ, and of what shall be then done by him; as in Revelation 1:7; 3:11; 22:7, 12, 20 and in particular of his descent from Heaven, for the binding of Satan the space of a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-3), where he is described by his office, an Angel, not a created, but the uncreated one; nor is it unusual for Christ to be called an Angel; he is that Angel who appeared to Moses in the bush; and who went before the children of Israel in the wilderness; and who is called "the Angel of God's presence", and the Angel, or "Messenger, of the covenant": and he is described by his descent "from Heaven", where he went at his ascension, and where he is now retained, and from whence he will come at the last day; and by what he had in his hand, a "key" and a "great chain"; a key to open the bottomless pit, to pat Satan into it, and shut him up therein; and who so proper to have this key, as he who has "the keys of Hell and death?" (Revelation 1:18), and a great chain to bind him therewith; and which will be greater, though shorter, than what he is now held with; and with which he will be bound faster and closer, and laid under greater restraints than he now is; so that he shall not be able to do the harm and mischief, and practice the deceit among the nations he now does, by instilling evil principles into them, and stirring them up to evil practices; and so will he remain bound, shut up, and sealed, for the space of a thousand years.

2. The locality of Christ's second coming, and personal appearance; or the place from whence he will come, and where he will appear.

2a. The place from whence he will come; Heaven, the third Heaven, where he now is in human nature, into which he was received at his ascension; and where he will continue until his second coming, and from thence he will then be revealed; he will descend from Heaven to earth; he came down from Heaven to earth at his incarnation; but that his coming was not local, not by change of place, which cannot agree with him as the omnipresent God; but by assumption of nature: but as his ascent to Heaven in human nature, having assumed it, and done his work in it, which he came about, was local, by change of place from earth to Heaven; so when he comes again from Heaven to earth, it will be local, by change of place, which his human nature is capable of.

2b. The place where he shall come, is the earth; for, as Job says, he shall stand on the earth in the latter day; though he shall not descend upon it at once; when he appears from the third Heaven, he shall descend into the air, and there stay some time, until the dead saints are raised, and the living ones changed; and both brought unto him there; and until the new earth is made and prepared for him and them; when he and they will come down from Heaven to earth, and they shall reign with him on it a thousand years; and he shall reign before his ancients gloriously.

3. The visibility of Christ's personal appearance; he will appear in human nature, visible to all; the sign of the Son of man, that is, the Son of man himself, shall appear in Heaven, in the air; and "every eye shall see him", all the inhabitants of the earth: such will be the agility of his glorious body, that he will swiftly move from one end of the Heaven to the other, like lightning, to which his coming is compared, Matthew 24:27 so that he will be seen by all the tribes, kindreds, and nations of the earth: he will be seen by all good men, by the living saints, that will be changed; by the dead, who will be raised, and both caught up together to meet him in the air; when he appears, they shall appear with him, and see him as he is: and he will be seen by them in the millennium state, and throughout the whole of it; for he will reign before his ancients, in the sight of them, in a glorious manner; and then, as Job says, when they shall both stand together upon the earth, in their flesh, and with their fleshly eyes shall they see God in human nature, and that for themselves, and not another: and he will be seen by bad men; by all the wicked living on earth, at his first appearance, who will wail and mourn because of him, fearing his wrath and vengeance they justly deserve; and when they, even the greatest personages among them, shall flee, and call to the rocks and mountains to fall on them, and hide them from his face, terrible to them. And at the end of a thousand years, when they will be all raised, they will see him as their Judge on a throne of glory, and stand before him, small and great, and tremble at the sight of him, as the devils also will.

4. The glory of Christ's second coming. His first coming was in a very low, mean, and abject manner, without observation, pomp, and splendor; but his second coming will be in "great glory" (Matthew 24:30; Luke 9:26), and therefore is, with great propriety, called, "The glorious appearing of the great God!" (Titus 2:13).

4a. First, Christ will come in the "glory of his Father"; this is sometimes said alone, and when no mention is made of his own glory with it (Matthew 16:27; Mark 8:38), the glory of the Father, and the glory of Christ, as the only begotten of the Father, are the same; the same is the glory of him that begot, and the glory of him that is begotten; Christ is the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person; having the same nature and perfections, and so the same glory, with which he shall now appear: or by his Father's glory may be meant, the glory he promised him in covenant, on doing the work of redemption and salvation of men, proposed to him, and to which he agreed; wherefore when he came the first time, when he had finished his work, he pleaded the promised reward (John 17:4, 5), and which promised glory took place, first upon the resurrection of Christ from the dead; for "God raised him from the dead, and gave him glory"; and at his ascension he "highly exalted him, and gave him a name above every name"; and now by faith we see him "crowned with glory and honor!" and thus glorified, exalted, and crowned, will he come a second time. Besides, he will come as a Judge, to which office he is appointed by his Father; under whom, as such he will act; and will therefore come with a commission from him, and clothed with authority by him; for he has "given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man"; that Son of man whom the Father has appointed to judge the world in righteousness; and so will come with the power, pomp, and majesty of a judge; and shall sit on a "throne of glory", with thousands and ten thousands ministering unto him, called "a great white throne"; "great", suitable to the greatness of his person and office; and "white", to denote the purity, uprightness, and righteousness of his proceedings.

4b. Secondly, he will come "in his own glory": this is sometimes also spoken of singly; and no mention made of his Father's glory (Matthew 25:31). And this his own glory, in which he will come, is twofold.

4b1. He will come in the glory of his divine nature, and the perfections of it, as a divine Person, as God over all. At first he came as a man; and because he appeared so mean, was taken by the Jews to be a mere man, as he still is by many; but when he comes a second time, his appearing will be the appearing of "the great God", the most high God; and so his coming is called, "the coming of the day of God" (Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 3:12; see Zechariah 14:5), his divine perfections will be very illustriously displayed, particularly his omnipotence; upon his coming, voices will he heard in Heaven, the church, loud proclamations made; "The Lord God omnipotent reigns!" (Revelation 19:6), he will come "with power", with almighty power; which will appear by raising his dead saints, and changing his living ones; by burning the world, the heavens and the earth, and making all things new; by summoning all nations before him, setting them in their proper posture and distance, passing the decisive sentence, and carrying it into execution; especially on the wicked, who will be "punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power" (2 Thessalonians 1:9). Also his omniscience will be clearly discerned; he will let all the churches, and all the world know, that he is he who searches the reins and hearts, and who needs no testimony from men; for he knows what is in men, and is done by them; for he will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and every secret thing into judgment; and neither men nor things shall escape his all seeing eye. Likewise the glory of his holiness and justice will be very conspicuous; he will appear as the Judge of the whole earth, who will do right, and will truly claim the character of a "righteous Judge"; and his judgment be "righteous judgment"; and, as in all his other offices, so in the execution of this, "righteousness will be the belt of his loins, and faithfulness the belt of his reins". There will be also large displays of grace and mercy, made at the appearance of Christ; hence saints are exhorted, "to hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto them, at the revelation of Jesus Christ"; and to "look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, unto eternal life!" (1 Peter 1:13; Jude 1:21; 2 Timothy 1:16,18).

4b2. Christ will come in the glory of his human nature. The apostle takes notice of this remarkable circumstance, which will attend the second coming and appearance of Christ, that it will be "without sin", the disgrace of human nature (Hebrews 9:28). The human nature of Christ, when first assumed by him, was without sin, without original sin, the taint and contagion of corrupt nature, which is in all the ordinary descendants of Adam; hence it is called, the "holy thing"; and throughout his whole life it was free from all actual transgressions; no act of sin was ever committed by him: but then he was not without the appearance of sin; though his flesh was not sinful flesh, yet he was "sent in the likeness of sinful flesh"; being born of a sinful woman, brought up among sinful men, and conversed with some of the chief of them in life, and was numbered among transgressors at his death: and moreover, he had all the sins of his people imputed to him; he was made sin by imputation, who knew none: he bore all the sins of his people, and the punishment due to them, in his body on the tree; but having thereby made satisfaction for them, upon his resurrection from the dead, he was discharged, acquitted, and justified: so that when he comes a second time, he will appear as without sin inherent in him he never had, and without sin done by him he never did; so without sin imputed to him, this being satisfied for by him, and he discharged from it.

Likewise, whereas he bore our sorrows, and carried our griefs, and was attended with the sinless infirmities of our nature, and was at last crucified through weakness; now he will appear without any such; as hunger, thirst, weariness, and pain: and whereas, what with one thing and another, his visage was more marred than any man's, and his form than the sons of men; now his body is become a glorious one; of the glory of which his transfiguration on the Mount was an emblem, when his face did shine as the sun: and if the righteous, whose bodies will be fashioned like to Christ's glorious body, shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father, with what luster and splendor will Christ appear in his glorified body? 4c. Thirdly, Christ will come in the glory of his holy angels; this circumstance is always observed in the account of his glorious coming. This will add to the glory and solemnity of the day. So kings, when they go abroad, are attended by their guards, not only for their safety, but for the glory of their majesty; and thus, when God descended on mount Sinai, to give the law to Israel, he came with ten thousand of his saints, his Holy Ones, the holy angels: and when Christ ascended on high, his chariots were twenty thousand, even thousands of angels; and when he shall descend from Heaven, he will be revealed from thence with his mighty angels: nor will they be only used for the glory of his Majesty; but they will be employed by him in certain services; as to gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, to bind the tares in bundles and east them into the furnace of fire; and, to collect together from the four winds, the saints raised from the dead, in the several parts of the world, and bring them to Christ, to meet him in the air, and come along with him.

5. The time of Christ's second coming and personal appearance, may next be inquired into; but to put a stop to inquiries of this kind, at least a boundary to them, it should be observed what our Lord says; "Of that day and hour knows no man, no not the angels; but my Father only" (Matthew 24:36). Another evangelist has it; "Neither the Son", that is, as man; the human nature of Christ not being possessed of divine perfections, and so not of omniscience: to "know the times and seasons" of Christ's personal appearance and kingdom, is not for us; these the "Father has put in his own power", and keeps them secret there (Acts 1:6, 7). Some good men, in the last age, fixed the time of Christ's second coming, of his personal reign, and the millennium; in which being mistaken, it has brought the doctrine into disgrace, and great neglect: their mistake arose greatly from their confounding the spiritual and personal reign of Christ; as if they commenced together; namely, upon the destruction of antichrist, pope, and Turk; the calling of the Jews, and the large conversions of the Gentiles; whereas there is a distant space between the one and the other, and which is entirely unknown; the spiritual reign, indeed, will take place upon the above events, and there are dates given of them; namely, of the reign of antichrist, the witnesses prophesying in sackcloth, the holy city being given to the Gentiles to be trodden under foot, and the church in the wilderness; and the dates of these are the same, forty two months, or one thousand two hundred and sixty days, which are alike; for forty two months, reckoning thirty days in a month, as was the usual reckoning, are just one thousand two hundred and sixty days, and which design so many years; so that these things took place, go on, and will end together; (see Revelation 11:2, 3; 12:6; 13:5). Now these dates are given to exercise the minds, the study, and diligence of men: and though men good and learned, have hitherto been mistaken in fixing the end of these dates, arising from the difficulty of knowing the time of their commencement, this should not discourage a modest and humble inquiry into them; for, for what end else are these dates given? could we find out the time when antichrist began his reign, the end of it could easily be fixed to a year. There is a hint given of his first appearance in (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8). "Now you know, what withholds that he" (antichrist before described) "might be revealed in his time; for the mystery of iniquity does already work"; it was not only in embryo, but was got to some size, and was busy and operative, though secret and hidden; "only he who now lets will let, until he be taken out of the way, and then shall that wicked one be revealed", the man of sin, or antichrist: now that which let, seems to be rightly interpreted by many, of the Roman emperor, who stood in the way of the bishop of Rome, appearing in that pomp and power he was thirsting after; and which seemed to bid fair to be fulfilling, when Augustulus, the last of the emperors, delivered up the empire to Odoacer, a king of the Goths; and the seat of the empire was removed from Rome to Ravenna, whereby way was made for the bishop of Rome to take his seat, and appear in the grandeur he was aiming at. Now this seemed to be a probable area to begin the reign of antichrist; and as this was in the year four hundred and seventy six, if one thousand two hundred and sixty years are added thereunto, the fall of antichrist must have happened in the year one thousand seven hundred and thirty six; this some learned men were very confident of, particularly Lloyd, bishop of Worcester, a great calculator of times, affirmed, that all the devils in Hell could not support the pope of Rome, longer than one thousand seven hundred and thirty six. But we have lived to see him mistaken; more than thirty years have since passed, yet the popish antichrist is still in his seat; though his civil power has been weakening, and still is weakening; so that it might be hoped, he will, before long, come to his end. Nor should we be altogether discouraged from searching into the date of his reign: there is another zero which bids fair to be the beginning of it; and that is, when the emperor Phocas gave the grant of universal bishop to the pope of Rome; and this was done in the year six hundred and six: and the rather this date should be attended to, since within a little time after, Mahomet, the Eastern antichrist, arose; so that as they appeared about the same time, and go on together, they will end together. Now if to the above date are added one thousand two hundred and sixty years, the end of antichrist's reign will fall in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty six: according to this computation, antichrist has almost an hundred years more to reign: and if the date of his reign is to be taken from his arriving to a greater degree of pride and power, or from the year six hundred and sixty six, which is the number of the beast (Revelation 13:18), it will be protracted still longer.

It may be observed, that the dates in Daniel 12:11, 12 and in the Revelation, somewhat differ; they are larger in the former; instead of one thousand two hundred and sixty days, as in the latter, it is one thousand two hundred and ninety days; thirty days, that is, thirty years, more; which, after the fall of antichrist, may be taken up in the conversion of the Jews, and the settlement of them in their own land: and the date is still further increased in the next verse; "Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the thousand three hundred and thirty five days"; which make forty five days, or years, more; and which may be employed in the destruction of the Ottoman empire; and in the spread of the gospel through the whole world; and therefore happy will he be that comes to this date; these will be happy, halcyon days indeed! But now supposing these dates could be settled with any precision, as they cannot, until more light is thrown upon them, which perhaps may be, when nearer their accomplishment; yet the time of the second coming, and personal appearance of Christ, and of the millennium, or thousand years reign upon it, cannot be known hereby; because the spiritual reign of Christ, will only take place upon the above events; and how long that will last, none can say: nor have we any chronological dates, nor hints, concerning the duration of it; only the Philadelphian church state, in which it will be; but as that is not yet begun, so neither do we know when it will; nor when it will end: and after that, there will be another state of lukewarmness, drowsiness, and carnal security; which the Laodicean church state will bring on, and will continue until Christ's personal appearance; for such will be the state of things when the Son of man comes; which will be like the times of Noah and Lot; and how long this state will last cannot be said; unless the "seven months", allowed for the burial of Gog and his multitude (Ezekiel 39:12), can be thought to be the duration of this state; which, if understood of prophetic time, takes in a compass of two hundred and ten years; but this is uncertain. So that it seems impracticable and impossible, to know the time of the second coming of Christ; and therefore it must be vain and needless, if not criminal, to inquire into it. However, it is known to God, who has appointed a day in which he will judge the world by Christ; and as there was a set time for his first coming into the world, so there is for his second coming; and God in his own appointed time will send him, show him, and set him forth. And it is often said by our Lord in the book of the Revelation, that he would "come quickly" (Revelation 3:11; 22:7, 12, 20) to quicken saints to an expectation of it; and yet it is seemingly deferred, to try the faith and patience of saints, and to render the wicked inexcusable: but the chief reason is what the apostle gives (2 Peter 3:9), that "the Lord is long suffering to us-ward", the beloved of the Lord (2 Peter 3:8), the elect of God he wrote unto; "not willing that any" of those his beloved and chosen ones "should but that all should come to repentance"; and when they are all brought to repentance towards God, and to faith in Christ, he will stay no longer, "but the day of the Lord will come" immediately.

6. The signs of Christ's appearance and kingdom. The more remote ones are such as Christ gives in answer to the question of the apostles to him; "What shall be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the world?" whether they meant his second coming, or his coming to destroy Jerusalem, and the end of the Jewish world, church and state, Christ gave them signs which answer to both; the destruction of Jerusalem being a presage and emblem of the destruction of the world at the second coming of Christ; such as wars and rumors of wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes; persecutions of good men, false teachers, the preaching of the gospel throughout the world: all which had an accomplishment before the coming of Christ to destroy Jerusalem: and they have been fulfilling again and again in all ages since; and perhaps will be more frequent before the destruction of the world at the second coming of Christ. The more near signs, or what will more nearly precede Christ's second and personal coming, are the spiritual reigns, and what will introduce that? the destruction of antichrist, the call of the Jews, and numerous conversions of Gentiles, through the general spread of the gospel; and after that, great coolness and indifference in religion, and great defection in faith and practice. But after all, it seems as if there would be an uncertainty of it until the sign of the Son of man, which is himself, as before observed, appears in the heavens; for the Son of man will come in an hour unthought of by good men; and as a thief in the night to wicked men; suddenly and at an unawares; and to both wise and foolish professors, while they are slumbering and sleeping.

7. The ends to be answered by the second and personal coming of Christ.

7a. The putting of the saints into the full possession of salvation (Hebrews 9:28). Christ's first coming into the world was to work out the salvation of his people; this he has obtained, he is become the author of it, and which is published in the gospel; and an application of it is made to particular persons, by the Spirit of God, at conversion: but the full enjoyment of it is yet to come (Romans 13:11), to which saints are kept by the power of God; and of which they are now heirs, and when Christ shall appear he will put them into the possession of their inheritance (Matthew 25:34).

7b. The destruction of all his and our enemies; all wicked men, the beast and false prophet, and Satan, who will be cast by Christ into the lake which burns with fire and brimstone; even all those who would not have him to reign over them: and by all this, the ultimate end of all, the glory of God; will be answered; the glory of his divine perfections, in the salvation of his people, and in the destruction of the wicked; and the glorification of Christ in all them that believe (2 Thessalonians 1:10).

 

Chapter 6.

OF THE CONFLAGRATION OF THE UNIVERSE

The effects of Christ's second coming and personal appearance are many; as the resurrection of the just, of which we have treated at large already; and the burning of the world, and making new heavens and a new earth, and the reign of Christ there with his saints a thousand years; and you the general judgment: of all which in their order. And to begin with the universal conflagration; which is strongly and fully expressed by the apostle Peter (2 Peter 3:10,12), where he says, "the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burnt up": which is to be understood of the burning of the whole sublunary and visible world; signified by the heavens and the earth, taken in a literal and not in a figurative sense.

1. First, not figuratively, as some interpret them, of the Jewish church, and of the Mosaic elements, the ceremonial laws, and the abolition of them; and who suppose, that the "new heavens" and the "new earth", in a following verse, design the evangelical church state, or gospel dispensation, which took place upon the removal of the former. But,

1a. Though the civil state of the Jews is sometimes expressed by the heavens and the earth, and the removing of it by the shaking of them (Hebrews 12:26, 27), and sometimes by the "world", at the end of which Christ came, and upon whose apostles the ends of it were (Hebrews 9:26; 1 Corinthians 10:11), yet the Jewish church is never called the world; for, in opposition to that, the Gentiles are called the world; the name of church the Jews took to themselves, that of the world they gave to the Gentiles, (Romans 11:12, 15) hence the love of Christ in dying for the Gentiles is expressed by this phrase (John 3:16; 1 John 2:2).

1b. Though the commandments of the ceremonial law are called elements or rudiments, in allusion to the elements or rudiments of a language, to which children are put to learn; under which the Jews were while children; and while under the law, as a schoolmaster (Galatians 4:3, 9; Colossians 2:20), yet they are never so called, in allusion to the elements, which belong to the system of the natural world, such as air and earth, which are only capable of being burnt; for surely the burning of a few papers or parchments of the law cannot be meant here.

1c. The abrogation of the ceremonial law is expressed by other phrases usually; as by the fleeing away of shadows, the breaking down the middle wall of partition, the abolishing of the law of commandments, and a disannulling of it; but never by burning, melting, and dissolving.

1d. The Mosaic elements, or the ceremonial law and its precepts, were already abolished when Peter wrote this epistle; these had their end in Christ, and were done away at his death; signified by the rending of the temple veil asunder; and Peter knew this, who was the first to whom it was made known, by letting down before him a sheet, in a visionary way, with all kind of creatures in it, which he was bid to slay and eat; and from whence he learned that now nothing was to be reckoned common and unclean, that law which made the distinction being abrogated; whereas the melting of the elements was a future thing in his time, and is yet so, And likewise,

1e. The new heavens and the new earth, if by them are meant the evangelic state, or gospel church state; that also had already taken place, and Peter was an instrument in the forming of it; he had the keys of the kingdom of Heaven given him, and opened the door of faith by preaching the gospel to Jews and Gentiles; and on the day of Pentecost three thousand were converted and baptized, and added to the church, which was the first gospel church in Jerusalem; and therefore this was not a state to be looked for as to be in future time. But,

2. Secondly, the words are to be understood literally; yet not of a partial bursting of some particular place or city; not of the burning of Jerusalem, the city and temple, and inhabitants of it; which is the sense some put upon them; and which some take into the former sense, and so make a motley sense of them, partly figurative and partly literal; but such a sense of the words cannot be admitted; for,

2a. This would not afford a sufficient answer to the objection to the promise of Christ's coming, taken from the continuation of all things in the same situation as they were from the creation (2 Peter 3:4), for what change in the system of the universe would the burning of a single city, and of a temple in it, make? Changes and revolutions in single states, kingdoms, and cities, had been frequent, and these objectors could not be ignorant of them: but nothing less than such a change as was made by the flood could strengthen the answer to the objection and serve to remove it. Wherefore,

2b. The destruction here spoken of is of equal extent with the destruction of the world by the flood; as the world, the whole world that then was, was overflowed by the flood and perished; so the heavens and the earth which are now will be dissolved and burnt by fire; and nothing short of such a dissolution of the whole frame of nature can answer such a description. Besides, it may be further observed, as it has been,

2c. That the apostle's quoting a passage in 2 Peter 3:8 from Psalm 90:4 seems to suppose, that the time of Christ's coming might be then a thousand years off, as in fact it was, and much more, and yet be a short time with God, and might be spoken of as such; but to make mention of a thousand years must seem very improper, with respect to an event that was not twenty years to come; and which Christ had assured would be in that generation (Matthew 23:36, 38, 39; 24:3,34).

2d. No such events as here mentioned happened at the destruction of Jerusalem and the burning of the temple; as the passing away of the heavens with a great noise, a fervent heat in them, to the liquefaction of the elements; with the burning of the earth and all works in it; for even the land of Judea itself was not thus burnt up, with the cities, towns, villages, and inhabitants of them, and all things in them.

2e. Nor was this destruction so desirable a thing as to be looked for with pleasure, and the coming of Christ to effect it, to be hastened to, as in 2 Peter 3:12 whereas Christ's coming to judge the quick and dead, at his appearing and kingdom, will be glorious, and is to be looked for and loved. To say no more,

2f. The destruction here prophesied of is expressly said to be at the day of judgment, against which day the heavens and the earth are reserved unto fire (2 Peter 3:7), so that, upon the whole, nothing else can be meant but the general conflagration of the world by fire, in a literal sense. The nature and extent of this burning will be more particularly considered after we have proved that such a conflagration is possible and probable, yes, certain; as will appear,

2f1. First, from partial burnings, which may be considered as types, emblems, and presages of the universal burning; as,

2f1a. The burning of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities of the plain; which were set forth for "an example of suffering the vengeance of eternal fire"; and why not then be considered as an emblem of the burning of the world at the last day? These cities were destroyed by fire which came down from Heaven; and on a day, when in the morning there was no appearance nor likelihood of it, a fine, bright, sunshine morning (Genesis 19:23, 24), and when the inhabitants of it were thoughtless and secure, and indulging themselves in pleasures; and thus, says our Lord, "shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed", that is, in flaming fire, to take vengeance on the wicked (Luke 17:28-30), and if God could destroy these cities, and all in them, by fire from Heaven, what should hinder but that he can destroy the whole world in like manner? 2f1b. The destruction of Jerusalem, and the burning of the temple, were emblems of the destruction of the world by fire; hence in answer to the question, put by the disciples of Christ unto him; "What shall be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the world?" (Matthew 24:3). Our Lord gives such as were common, both to the destruction of Jerusalem, near at hand, and of the whole world, at the end of it, the one being typical of the other: and so these signs had a double accomplishment; first in the destruction of Jerusalem, and then in the final dissolution of the world. And so the destruction of the Jews is sometimes expressed in such language as suits with the destruction of the whole world; particularly in Deuteronomy 32:22. "For a fire is kindled in my anger", etc. And, indeed, this conflagration here spoken of may be thought to reach further than the land of Judea, though that seems principally designed; even other parts of the earth, and to terminate in the destruction of the whole world; and so Justin Martyr interprets it of the general conflagration. And though Jerusalem and the temple were not burnt by fire from Heaven, yet the hand of God was so manifest therein, that Titus, the heathen emperor himself, could observe it; who strove, by all possible means, to prevent the burning of the temple, but could not do it; for God, as the historian observes, had condemned it to the fire; as, indeed, it was: our Lord foretold the burning of the city by the Romans (Matthew 22:6) and the blaming of the temple is prophesied of in Zechariah 11:1 there called Lebanon, because built of the cedars of Lebanon.

2f1c. The burning of the beast, of antichrist, and of the anti-Christian states. The judgment which will issue in that is described in such manner as if the last and the great day of judgment was intended, and the dissolution of all things at hand; yet nothing else follows upon it, but the body of the beast being destroyed and committed to the burning flame (Daniel 7:9-11), and the destruction of Idumaea, which seems to be a type of Rome and of the anti-Christian states, is expressed in such language as agrees very well with the dissolution and burning of the whole world (Isaiah 34:4-6,9,10) of the burning of Rome, see Revelation 18:8-18.

2f1d. The destruction of Gog and Magog, or the Turk, will be by fire; which will be at the beginning of the spiritual reign of Christ; and when the Jews are converted, and restored to their own land, which will irritate the Turk to bring his armies against them, the Lord will "rain upon him an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire and brimstone" (Ezekiel 38:22), this is said of Gog; and the like is said of Magog (Ezekiel 39:6). And I will send a fire on Magog: these are different from the Gog and Magog in Revelation 20:8, 9 who are no other than all the wicked dead raised; whereas these are the Turks: and they will appear at a different time; the one at the beginning of the spiritual reign of Christ, as before observed; and the other at the end of the personal reign of Christ, or the millennium; and so the fire that comes down from Heaven on the one is of a different nature from that which comes on the other; the one is a material fire, the other the wrath of God. Now these several partial burnings, as they are types and presages of the universal burning of the world, so they at least make that possible and probable.

2f2. Secondly, the probability of the universal conflagration may be argued from the preparations in nature which are made and making for it; for the apostle says, that "the heavens and the earth which are now", which are now in being, "are by the same word", the word of God, "kept in store", as a treasure, and are treasured up among the stores of vengeance, "reserved unto fire"; for which preparations are making in them; "against the day of judgment, and perdition of ungodly men", when it will break forth and destroy the universe and all things in it. Preparations are making in the earth for this general burning. Not to take notice of the central fire, supposed by some to be in the midst of the earth, since it is doubtful whether there is such a thing or not; it is certain there are various volcanoes, or burning mountains, in different parts of the world; besides Mount Etna, in Sicily, which has been burning for many ages, as also has Vesuvius, near Naples; and the island of Strombilo, in the sea, which lies between them both, and is thought to have a communication with them under the bottom of the sea; and Lipara, near Sicily: and so far north as Iceland, there are three burning mountains; one of them called Hecla, which oftentimes rages no less than Etna, vomiting out prodigious stones, with a terrible noise; besides hot springs in abundance.

In the East Indies, in the island of Java, not far from the town Panacura, a mountain broke out in 1586, for the first time; discharging such quantities of burning brimstone, that above ten thousand persons in the country round about were destroyed. The mount Gonnapi, in one of the islands of Banda, in the same year, which had been burning seventeen years, broke from the rest, throwing out a most dreadful quantity of burning matter, and great red hot stones, etc. There is another mountain on the island of Sumatra, which smokes and flames just like Etna. The earth, in the Molucca islands, casts out fire in several places; as in Sorea and Celebes; especially a mountain in Ternata. In one of the Moorish islands, about one hundred and twenty miles from those of the Molucca, there happen very often earthquakes, with eruptions of fire and ashes. In Japan, and the islands about it, there are many little, and one great burning mountain; nay, it is said, there are eight "volcanos" in Japan, besides many hot springs. In Tandaja, one of the Philippine islands, are found many small fire mountains; and one in the island Mariudica, not far from them. The like are found in North America, in the province of Nicaragua. And in South America, in Peru, among those mountains that make the ridge of the Cordillera, near the city Arequipa, there flames a mountain continually. There is likewise one near the valley Mullahalo, which being opened by fire, casts out great stones. There are also several burning mountains in the district that lies on the east side of the river Jeniscea, in the country of the Tongesi, some weeks journey from the river Oby, according to the relation of the Muscovites; as also near another water called Besida. Near the island Santorini, no longer ago than the year 1707, sprung up a new island from the bottom of the sea; in which, about the end of August that year, the subterraneous fires, after a terrible rumbling, burst out with such violent noise as if six or seven pieces of cannon were discharged at once; and frequently a great quantity of ashes, glowing stones, and huge pieces of burning rocks, have been tossed into the air with such a force, that they have been carried seven miles before they have dropped into the sea!

Strabo reports somewhat similar to this, as done near this place some hundreds of years ago. Nor is our island free from symptoms and appearances of subterraneous fires; for by what are the hot waters at Bath and Bristol occasioned, but by them, by which they are heated? Besides, there are eruptions of fire in some places in other parts of the land. And by the above accounts it appears, that not only there have been burning mountains in ages past, in some places, even thousands of years ago; but that new ones, in later times, have broke out: so that the preparation for the general burning of the world is still carried on and is increasing; and which may seem to portend its being near. And there is not only a preparation making in the earth but in the heavens also, where there is great store of materials fit for this purpose provided; witness the fiery meteors in them, the blazing comets, which sometimes appeal and are always in being, though not always seen by us; also those vast bodies of light and fire, the sun and stars, to be made use of on occasion; and the vast quantities of matter which occasion such dreadful thunders and lightnings which, in some parts of the world, are almost continual, and from which they are scarce ever free. Now when these things are considered, the general conflagration of the world will seem neither impossible nor improbable; but rather it may be wondered at, and thought a miracle, that the earth has not been destroyed by fire long ago. Let the atheist, the infidel, the profane and careless sinner tremble at this. Pliny the heathen, observing the many fires in the earth and in the heavens, and how easily fire is kindled by holding concave glasses to the sun, says, "It exceeds all miracles, that one day should pass and all things not put into a conflagration!'' 2f3. Thirdly, what may make the doctrine of the universal conflagration probable, is, that it has been believed in all ages, and by all sorts of persons. Josephus says, that Adam foretold the destruction of all things, at one time by the force of fire; and at another time by the violence and multitude of water; and therefore the posterity of Seth built two pillars, one of brick and the other of stone, on which they inscribed their inventions; that if that of brick was destroyed by the force of showers of rain, that of stone remaining, would show to men what was written on the brick: from hence, or, however, from an early tradition, this notion of the burning of the world has been received and embraced by various nations, both Jews and Gentiles: as for the Jews, they might have it, not only from tradition, but might conclude it from the word of God, as they do; who say, that though God has sworn he will not bring a flood of water on the world, yet he will bring a flood of fire; as it is said (Isa 66:16). "For by fire will the Lord plead", or judge; hence they speak of the wicked being judged with two sorts of judgments, by water and by fire: and this same tradition got among the Gentiles, and was received by them; as by the Indians, the inhabitants of Siam and Pegu, the Egyptians, the Chaldaeans, and the ancient Gauls and Britons, and the Druids among them. And it has been embraced by poets and philosophers, Greek and Latin. Lactantius quotes a prophecy of one of the sybils, that as God formerly destroyed the world with a flood, so he would hereafter destroy mankind for their wickedness by burning. Justin Martyr observes, that the sybil, Hystaspes (the Persian) and the Stoics, assert, that corruptible things shall be destroyed by fire. Orpheus, that very ancient poet, as quoted by Plato, affirmed, that in the sixth generation, the world shall be burnt; and Sophocles, as quoted by Justin, and Clemens of Alexandria, speaks of this burning. The verses of Ovid, concerning this matter, and so of Lucan, are well known. The philosophers make frequent mention of it; Empedocles says, there shall be sometime a change of the world into the substance of fire. And Heraclitus taught, that as all things are of fire, all shall be resolved into it again; and that as the world was generated out of fire, in a course of years the whole world shall be burnt again; and so say Hippasus, and Phurnutus; and Zeno expresses himself almost in the words of Peter, that the elements shall be destroyed, or corrupted, by a fiery eruption; and Plato, in so many words, says, in length of time, or, as some read it, in a short time, there will be a destruction of the things on the earth by much fire.

And it is the observation of many writers, that the Stoic philosophers held a conflagration of the world by fire; Epictetus speaks of it; and so does Seneca, who says, that fire is the "exitus" of the world; nay, Minutius Felix asserts, that this was not only the constant opinion of the Stoics; but that the same was the sentiment of the Epicureans, concerning the conflagration of the elements, and the ruin of the world; and it has been observed, that of all the heretics under the Christian name, none have risen up who have denied the dissolution of the world by fire. Now that men of different nations, and ages, and sentiments, should agree in this, makes it probable that so it may be: but we have a more sure word of prophecy, which makes this matter certain to us Christians. Wherefore,

2f4. Fourthly, that the world, and all things in it, shall at last be consumed by fire may be concluded from the sacred scriptures. And,

2f4a. First, from Psalm 3. "Our God shall come", etc. By "our God", is meant Christ, "Immanuel, God with us"; called "the mighty God" (Psalm 50:1), and is one of his names (Isaiah 9:6), who, as at his first coming, came out of Zion, (Psalm 50:2), so he will when he comes again (Joel 3:16), of which second coming these words are to be understood; as appears by his order to gather his saints to him (Psalm 50:5), which order will be given to his angels, to gather his elect from the four winds, when raised from the dead, at his coming (Matthew 24:30), and by his appearing under the character of a Judge (Psalm 50:6), to judge his people (Psalm 50:4), and even all the inhabitants of the earth, who will be called from one end of it to the other (Psalm 50:1), and be judged in righteousness; and so the Targum applies the text to the judgment of the great day, when he will "not keep silence". His descent from Heaven will be with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet of God; when his voice will be heard from the rising of the sun to the going down of it; and reach the dead in their graves, who will hear it and come forth; and then a "fire shall devour before him", and consume all in the way, dissolve the heavens, melt the elements, and burn the earth, and all in it, and be "tempestuous round about him"; which agrees with Peter's account of the conflagration, that the heavens shall pass away with a "great noise"--like that of a storm and tempest; and now, in a literal sense, will the Lord rain upon the wicked fire and brimstone, and "an horrible tempest!" (Psalm 11:6).

2f4b. Secondly, from Psalm 97:3-5. "A fire goes before him", to make way for him, by destroying everything combustible; "and burns up his enemies round about", who would not have him to reign over them, reject him as a Savior, despise his gospel, and submit not to his ordinances; so the fire with which the world shall be burnt is "for the perdition of ungodly men", all the wicked inhabitants of the earth; it will leave none: "his lightnings lightened the world"; such dreadful thunder and lightning will be in the heavens, that the coruscation thereof will blaze all over the world; the sight of which will be so awful and tremendous, that "the earth", the inhabitants of it, will "see and tremble", fearing the flashes of it will consume them: "the hills melted like wax" before the fire, "at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth"; who will now come to judge the world with righteousness, and the people with equity; as at the close of the preceding Psalm, with which this is connected; when "righteousness and judgment" will be "the habitation of his throne", and he will sit on his throne judging righteously; when he will come in the "clouds" of Heaven, and be surrounded with them (Psalm 97:2), and when he will take to himself his great power and "reign", which will cause joy and gladness to his people (Ps 97:1), for his judging of quick and dead, will be at his appearing and kingdom (2 Timothy 4:1), for all these things go together; Christ's appearance in the clouds, taking possession of his kingdom, the judgment of quick and dead, and the burning of his enemies.

2f4c. From Isaiah 24:1-23 which is a prophecy, not of the destruction of a single state and kingdom, but of the whole world; as appears from Isaiah 24:1,3,4,19,20 and which is expressed by a "dissolution" of it, and by "burning the inhabitants" thereof (Isaiah 24:19,6), and is spoken of as what will immediately precede the personal and glorious reign of Christ (Isaiah 24:23).

2f4d. Fourthly, from Isaiah 66:15,16. "For behold the Lord will come with fire", etc. which perfectly agrees with the account of Christ's coming to burn the world, and take vengeance on the wicked, given in the New Testament (2 Thessalonians 1:7,8; 2 Peter 3:10). "For by fire, and by his sword", which proceeds out of his mouth, "will the Lord plead with all flesh", with all mankind, or "judge" them; for of Christ's coming to judgment must this be understood; for the judgment is universal. In the former part of the chapter are various prophecies concerning the spiritual reign of Christ, the conversion of the Jews, and a large addition to the church from among the Gentiles, and of the great peace and prosperity of it (Isaiah 66:7-13), an hint is given of the resurrection of the dead (Isaiah 66:14). "Your bones shall flourish like an herb"; compare with it Isaiah 26:19 which will be at Christ's second coming; and after this, mention is made "of the new heavens and the new earth" (Isaiah 66:22), which will succeed the old heavens and earth that will perish in the conflagration of the universe.

2f4e. Fifthly, from the various passages in the minor prophets; particularly in Naham 1:3-5 for though the prophecy is concerning the destruction of Nineveh, yet God is described as what he will appear to be, and by what he will do at the dissolution of all things; "the Lord has his way in the whirlwind and in the storm"; and in such an one the heavens will pass away, according to the apostle Peter: "And the clouds are the dust of his feet"; in these the Lord of the whole earth, the Son of man, will come to judgment. "He rebukes the sea, and makes it dry, and tries up all the rivers"; which yet was never done; but will be done at the conflagration of the world; hence John says, "The first Heaven, and the first earth, were passed away, and there was no more sea" (Revelation 21:1), being dried up at the general burning. "Bashan languishes, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languishes"; the trees, herbs, and flowers, which covered and adorned these mountains, being all consumed by the fire; "and the hills melt, and the earth is burnt at his presence; yes, the world, and all that dwell therein!" than which nothing can more filly agree with the description the apostle Peter gives of the dissolution of all things (2 Peter 3:10).

Some passages in Zephaniah 1:2, 3, 18 seem to look this way; for though the destruction of the land of Judea is particularly threatened; yet they seem to have a further view, even to all the nations and kingdoms of the whole world, and to all the earth, which shall be devoured with the fire of God's jealousy (Zephaniah 3:8), and the time of it is called, "the great day of the Lord" (Zephaniah 3:14), the day of judgment, the judgment of the great day, as that is called in the New Testament; against which the fire that shall burn the world is reserved (Jude 1:6; 2 Peter 3:7), but especially the prophecy in Malachi 4:1-3 in the ultimate completion of it, may be thought to respect the general conflagration; for though it may be applied to the destruction of Jerusalem, and the Jews in it, and to Christ's coming to take vengeance on them, yet only as a type and emblem of this; "for behold, the day comes that shall burn as an oven"; the day of the Lord, as Peter expresses it, which will burn like an oven indeed, with great fury and fierceness; so that the heavens shall pass away, the elements melt, and the earth, and all therein, be burnt up; and "all the proud", the despisers of Christ and his gospel, "and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble"; fit for such an oven, and which the fire will soon and easily consume; "and shall burn them up, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch"; not one wicked man will escape the conflagration, all will be burnt in it, yet the wicked only; for the righteous dead, who will then he raised, and the living saints, who will be changed, will be caught up together into the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and will be carried up far enough to be out of the reach of the devouring flames; and these are they who are meant by such that fear the Lord, to whom "the Sun of righteousness shall arise"; Christ shall appear to them as bright and as glorious, as comfortable and delightful, as the sun; and arise on them "with healing in his wings"; so that they, the inhabitants of the new heavens and the new earth, which will now be formed, "shall not say, I am sick"; these will be the times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord; and "the wicked shall be ashes under the soles of their feet": which words will be literally fulfilled; for the wicked being burnt, and their ashes mixed with that matter which shall form the new earth, and be interred in it, the saints that dwell on it, will, in a literal sense, tread on them; and they will be, not as ashes, but really ashes, under the soles of their feet.

It will be needless to take notice of passages in the New Testament; since the famous one in Peter, which so fully asserts, and so clearly describes the conflagration, has been thoroughly considered, and its sense established; and the text in 2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8 has been often quoted, or referred to; only it may be proper to take notice of what our Lord says shall be at the end of the world, at the dissolution of it, and which plainly suggests it shall be by fire; that "as the tares are gathered and burnt in the fire, so shall it be at the end of the world"; the wicked shall be gathered and separated from the righteous, and be cast into a furnace of fire; and such the world will be when destroyed by fire, and all the wicked in it (Matthew 13:40-42,49,50). Proof being thus given of the general conflagration, I proceed,

2f5. Fifthly, to answer some queries relative to it; as with what sort of fire the world will be burnt? what the extent of this burning? and whether the earth will be destroyed by it as to its substance, or only as to its qualities? 2f5a. First, with what sort of fire the world will be burnt? Not with fire taken in a figurative, but in a literal sense; not with metaphorical, but material fire. Fire is sometimes taken figuratively for the wrath of God, whose fury is poured forth like fire (Nah. 1:5; Psalm 18:8; 79:5). But though the burning of the world will be the effect of God's wrath against sinners for their sins, yet that will be executed by means of material fire: the world will be burnt with such fire as will come from Heaven, and break forth out of the earth; with such fire from Heaven by which Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities of the plain were destroyed; with which Aaron's two sons were consumed; with which the two hundred and fifty men of Korah's company were destroyed; with which the two captains, and their fifties, perished, who came to take the prophet Elijah; of the same sort with that which fell on Job's sheep, and the servants that kept them, and killed them; and such as very often flashes from Heaven, and destroys houses, buildings, men, and cattle: and such fire as breaks out of the earth, of which various instances have been given, in volcanoes, and other eruptions; and like that which the historian speaks of, which many hundreds of years ago broke out of the earth in Germany, and burnt towns, villages, and fields everywhere, and was with great difficulty extinguished. So that the world will be destroyed by fire much in the same manner as it was by water: the flood was brought upon it partly by the windows of Heaven being opened above, which let down rain; and partly by the fountains of the great deep being broke up below, which sent forth great quantities of water; and both meeting together, drowned the world: so the stores of fire in the heavens being opened, and great quantities issuing out of the affections of the earth, these joining together will set the whole world on fire, heavens and earth, and bring on their speedy dissolution. Some have thought the stars will have a great influence in this affair.

Berosus, an ancient writer, says, that it will be according to the course of the stars; and that all earthly things will be burnt up, when all the stars shall meet in Cancer: and one Serarius, in the last century, because of the conjunction of all the planets in Sagittarius, a fiery sign, conjectured that the burning of the world was near; and Mr. Whiston, of the present age, imagined the world will be burnt by the near approach of a comet to it; so the Brahmins. But for such conjectures there is no foundation; the manner seems to be as before described. This fire will be but temporary, it will last but for a time; how long the world will be burning cannot be known; fire usually makes quick dispatch, and consumes presently; and so it is to be distinguished from that fire in which the wicked will be tormented, that is called everlasting fire, fire which cannot be quenched, the smoke of which ascends forever and ever (Matthew 25:41; Mark 9:44; Revelation 14:10,11).

2f5b. Secondly, what will be the extent of this burning? or how far, and to what will it reach? To the heavens, the elements, the earth, and all the works in it.

2f5b1. To the heavens; not to the third Heaven, into which the apostle Paul was caught up, and heard and saw what it was not lawful to utter; for this is the throne of God, the habitation of angels and glorified saints, and now the residence of the glorious body of Christ; but the fire will not reach the palace of Jehovah; nor at all annoy any of his courtiers and friends: it is a question, whether it will reach the starry Heaven, or at all affect the luminaries of the sun, moon, and stars; for though the city of the perfect saints, the inhabitants of the new heavens and earth, will stand in no need of the sun and moon to enlighten them, it does not follow that these then will not be; but rather it is implied, that they will be, though the saints will not: need them. Things that are durable, are said sometimes to endure, as the sun, and moon, and stars, forever and ever; and it seems as if these will be always continued, as monuments of the power, wisdom, and goodness of God. But it will be the airy Heaven, that will be the subject of the conflagration, the atmosphere about us, the surrounding air, and the meteors in it. Some have thought this burning will reach no farther than the waters of the flood did, which verged the highest hills, and it may be reached fifteen cubits higher; but that is no certain rule to go by: however, as the birds of the Heaven or air, were destroyed by that, so they will by this (Genesis 7:23; Zephaniah 1:3).

2f5b2. To the earth, and all the works that are in it; to the whole terraqueous globe, both land and sea: it may seem a difficulty, how that part of the globe which contains such vast quantities of water, as are in the main ocean, in other seas, and in the rivers, should be consumed hereby; yet this will be none, when the omnipotence of God is considered, and what the prophet says of him with respect to this affair; "He rebukes the sea, and makes it dry, and tries up all the rivers" (Nah. 1:4), which will be the case, represented to John, in a vision, who saw the first Heaven and earth pass away, and new ones succeed; and "there was no more sea", that being dried up; see Amos 7:4. This fire will reach to all the living creatures in the earth, land, and sea, the works of God's hands: as the birds of the air, so the fishes of the sea, and "the cattle on a thousand hills"; all the beasts of the field, and all men found on the earth; all wicked of the earth, who will be all burnt up root and branch, not one will escape. This fire is reserved for the perdition of ungodly men. It will extend to all the works of nature, mountains, hills, and rocks, metals and minerals in the affections of them, and all that cover and ornament them, trees, herbs, plants, and flowers; for, as the prophet says in the above place, "Bashan languishes, and Carmel and the flower of Lebanon languishes", being stripped of all their glory; the same will be true of all other mountains and hills: It will consume all the works of are, towers, palaces, and stately buildings, which it was thought would have continued forever; all the utensils and instruments of various factories; and all the curious things wrought by the hands of men. Likewise all literary works, the archives and records of kingdoms, states, and cities; the treaties, covenants, and agreements of princes; compacts between men; bonds, bills, deeds of conveyance of right to estates, lands, possessions, and inheritances; all the writings of men, good and bad: all that good men have written for the use of the church, which will be continued to this time, will now be destroyed, there being no further need of them, and use for them. Some think that moral works and actions are included, and that these are the works that will be burnt up, and this the fire the apostle speaks of in 1 Corinthians 3:13-15 but such works are not the subjects of fire: nor is it such fire the world will be destroyed with that is there meant: the "day" that shall declare every man's work, is the bright day of the gospel, in the spiritual reign of Christ; the light of which will be as the light of seven days, when the people of God, ministers and others, will see eye to eye; every truth will be seen in its true light, and be easily distinguished from error: and the "fire" designs the gospel, which will then burn bright and clear, and burn up everything contrary to it; and so by "works" are meant doctrines, some comparable to gold, silver, and precious stones, which will bear the test of this day, and the fire; and others like wood, hay, and stubble, which will not be able to stand before them: and it should be observed, that the apostle is speaking of good men and ministers, who were on the foundation themselves, and laid the foundation, Christ, ministerially; but laid different things on this foundation, some very good, others good for nothing, and a mixture of both; which, when the day, the time comes spoken of, will be declared and distinguished; such as will abide the scrutiny and test, shall be rewarded in the kingdom state; but such as will not, will be condemned, as not agreeable to the word, though the ministers of them, as to their persons, shall be saved, being on the foundation, Christ.

Here let it be observed, for the comfort of the saints, that there are many things which will escape the general conflagration; as the "book of life", in which the names of God's elect are written; the "covenant of grace", which contains the "magna charta" of their salvation; the "word of God", as it is the engrafted word in their hearts; their "title" to the heavenly inheritance; the "inheritance itself", which is incorruptible, and reserved in the heavens: nor shall they themselves destroyed in it; the wicked will be all burnt in it, not one will escape that will then be found on the earth: but as for the saints, the dead bodies of all who have died from the beginning of the world will be raised, and their souls being brought by Christ along with him, will be reunited to them; and they, with the living saints then on earth, who will be changed, shall be caught up together into the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and shall be carried up high enough, and be with him out of the reach of this fire; so that it may be said of them, as of Daniel's three companions in the furnace, that not an hair of their heads shall be singed, nor the smell of fire pass upon their garments.

2f5c. Thirdly, the next query is, whether the earth shall be dissolved by fire, as to its substance, or only as to its qualities? There are persons of great note on both sides of the question; and the arguments of each are not despicable: but I rather incline to the latter, that the world will only be destroyed with respect to its qualities; those who are for the destruction of the world as to the substance of it, argue both from reason and scripture.

2f5c1. From reason: they urge, that as the world was made out of nothing, it shall be reduced to nothing again. But this reasoning will not hold good; for there are some beings which are produced out to nothing, which shall not be annihilated; as angels, and the souls of men, neither of which are formed out of any pre-existent matter, but out of nothing; and so being immaterial, are immortal, and shall never die, nor be reduced to nothing. They argue also, that there will be no further use of the world hereafter, and of the things of it; and as God does nothing in vain, therefore it will not be continued any longer, as to its substance, men ceasing to be upon it, for whose use it was made. But it is more than we are able to say, that it will be of no use hereafter; there are some things that will be in a future state, that we are not able to assign the uses of; as some parts of the human body, when that shall be raised, as no doubt it will be, with all its parts, some of which are not suited to a state in which there will be no eating nor drinking, nor marrying, nor giving in marriage; yet be raised with the rest, both for the perfection of the body and the ornament of it: and besides, if for nothing else, this world, as to the substance, may be continued as a standing monument of the power, wisdom, and goodness of God; to which may be added, that there will be men to inhabit it, even all the righteous ones, at least for the space of a thousand years. It is further observed, that God usually proceeds from things less perfect, to things more perfect; and so from things temporal to things spiritual and eternal. To which may be replied, that this will be the case, by renewing the earth as to its qualities; it will become more perfect, and be suitable to men in a perfect state, and whose bodies will be raised spiritual and immortal.

2f5c2. They also argue from scripture; as even from the text in 2 Peter 3:10 and observe, that the heavens are said to pass away, the elements to melt, the earth, and all therein, burnt up; which they judge, can intend no other than a substantial destruction of the world. But the phrases are not strong enough to support this; the heavens may pass away into another state and form, as the fashion of the world will, and yet not be dissolved as to their substance: things may be melted, as wax, and other things; which, though they lose their form, do not lose their being; and things being burnt, may be reduced to ashes, yet not annihilated; ashes are something. They urge the text in Psalm 102:26. "They", the heavens, "shall perish, but you shall endure; they all shall wax old as a garment, as a vesture you shall change them, and they shall be changed". But those on the other side of the question, urge the same text in favor of their sentiment; since the perishing of the heavens is explained by changing them; and all change does not suppose a destruction of substance; and a garment that is waxed old, may be refitted, and put into a new form, and be for more and after use; and besides, the author of the epistle to the Hebrews, interprets this change by a folding up a vesture, which is done in order to be laid up, and made use of hereafter.

A similar place is produced by them, in Isaiah 51:6. "The heavens shall vanish away like smoke"; but then smoke is something, and that vanishes into air, and that air is something; "And the earth shall wax old like a garment"; but that, as before observed, may be fitted up in another manner, and be for the better; "And they that dwell therein shall die in like manner": but if the heavens and the earth perish in like manner as men do, they do not perish as to their substance, neither with respect to body nor soul; the body, at death, returns to the earth and dust, from whence it was, and the soul to God that gave it. They instance also in Isaiah 65:17. "Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth"; and therefore the old heavens and earth must be destroyed, as to their substance, since the new ones are not formed out of them, but are created; and creation is a production of things out of nothing. But it may be observed, that the word "create" does not always so signify; but sometimes only the renovation of what already is; as in Psalm 51:10. They likewise make use of all those scriptures which speak of the heavens, and the earth, and the world, passing away (Matthew 5:18; 24:35; 1 John 2:17), in what sense they may be said to pass away, as in (2 Peter 3:10 has been observed already.

The first of those scriptures only says, "until Heaven and earth pass", which will never be; and so not one jot or tittle of the law shall pass until all be fulfilled: the other indeed asserts, that "Heaven and earth shall pass away"; but then the sense may be only comparatively, that sooner shall Heaven and earth pass away, as they never shall, than that "Christ's words shall pass away": the last of them refers to the fashion of the world, and the lusts in it, which shall pass away, and have no place in the new earth; in which, not worldly and sinful lusts, only righteousness shall dwell. All such passages of scripture, likewise, which speak of "the end of the world", are brought into this argument: but these, some of them, have only reference to the end of the Jewish state: as 1 Corinthians 10:11 and Hebrews 9:26 and others only refer to the present state of things in the world; but not to the destruction of it; as Matthew 28:20 and such passages which only respect the mutability of the things of this world, and the temporary enjoyment of them, can be of no use in this controversy; as Hebrews 13:14 and 2 Corinthians 4:18. So likewise, when the Angel swore "that time shall be no more", it can be understood only of anti-Christian time, or of the time of the reign of antichrist; of the holy city being trodden under foot by the Gentiles; of the witnesses prophesying in sackcloth; and of the church being in the wilderness; which will be finished at the period referred to: but then all time, in every sense, is not then to be no longer; for not only after that, but after the first resurrection, and the general conflagration, there will be a time of a thousand years at least, in which the saints will dwell with Christ on earth.

Those who suppose that the world will he only destroyed, as to the qualities of it, argue also from reason and scripture.

2f5c2a. From reason: they observe that the old world which perished by the flood, was not destroyed as to its substance; for after the waters were removed from off the earth, Noah, with his family, and all the creatures with him in the ark, went out of it upon the earth; and he built an altar on it, and sacrificed; and he and his sons repeopled the earth. And in like manner, the earth will not be destroyed by fire, as to its substance; but renewed, so as to be inhabited again. They further observe, that man, who is a microcosm, a little world, a world in miniature, when he perishes by death, it is not a destruction of him as to his substance, neither of soul nor body, as before observed. Besides, if God meant to annihilate the world, he would not make use of fire; for fire, though it divides and separates the parts of matter, it does not destroy it; it purges, purifies, and refines; but does not reduce the substance of anything to nothing. Besides, bodies raised, must have a place to be in, to stand before God in, at judgment; and to be either in a state of happiness or misery afterwards; for which there would be no place found, if the world, as to the substance of it, was dissolved.

2f5c2b. They likewise produce passages of scripture, and argue from them, against the substantial destruction of the world, and for the change of it only, as to qualities. That the earth, as to the matter and substance of it, shall always abide, they urge (Psalm 104:5; Eccl 1:4). They argue from some of the places brought by others for the utter destruction of the world; as Psalm 102:26; Isaiah 51:6 on the former of which they observe, with Jerome on the place, that the words do not express the utter destruction of the world, but a change of it for the better: and on the latter, that the words suggest, that the heavens and the earth will perish in like manner as men do at death; which is not a destruction of their being, but a change of them into another form and state. They reason from all those scriptures which speak of a new Heaven and a new earth; that these signify renewed ones, not new as to substance, but quality: as a new heart, and a new spirit, do not design a new soul of man, new powers and faculties; but a renewing of the same as to qualities. They observe what the apostle says, "The fashion of this world passes away" (1 Corinthians 7:31), the scheme, the figure, and form of it, in its present situation; not the matter and substance of it. And they further observe, that the state of the world at this time, is expressed by a "regeneration" of it (Matthew 19:28), and by a "restitution of all things" (Acts 3:21), which signify a forming and restoring them to a more pure and glorious state. I take no notice of (Romans 8:19, etc. commonly made use of on this subject, because I think it belongs to something else, and to another time; and from the whole, those on this side the question conclude, that the dissolution of the world by fire, will be only a purging, purifying, and refining it, as to its form and quality, and a removing from it everything included in the curse, which the sin of man brought upon it; and so will become an habitation fit for the second Adam, and his holy, spiritual, and perfect offspring. But of this more in the following chapter.

 

Chapter 7.

OF THE NEW HEAVENS AND EARTH, AND THE INHABITANTS OF THEM.

We have seen the world laid in ashes; and now we shall take a view of it as rising out of them. The eastern people had a tale, or fable, concerning a bird, called the "phoenix;" which many writers, both Heathen, Jewish, and Christian, have taken notice of; concerning which they say, there is but one of them in the world at a time; that it is very long lived, according to some it lives a thousand years; and when its end draws near, it makes itself a bed of spices, and seats itself on it, and by some means or other fire takes it, and it is burnt to ashes in it; from whence springs a worm, or egg, and from thence another "phoenix": this some take to be an emblem of the resurrection; but it rather seems to be a fable, devised by the Indians, or Arabians, to transmit to posterity their traditional doctrine of the conflagration, and renovation of the world. The heathens had some notion of good men dwelling in pure and beautiful habitations on earth; so Plato says, it was the opinion of the Stoics, that at a certain determined time the whole world would be burnt; so that it would immediately be beautified and adorned again, and exist as it was before, perfectly beautiful. This is more clearly revealed in the sacred scriptures; and as the apostle Peter fully expresses the former, as we have seen, so he strongly asserts the latter, and his faith, hope, and expectation of it: nevertheless, though the heavens and the earth shall be burnt up, we believers, we Christians, favored with a divine revelation, "look for," believe and expect, "new heavens and a new earth," in the room of the former, consumed by fire, "wherein dwells righteousness," righteous persons, and they only (2 Peter 3:13).

The promise of this referred to, is in Isaiah 65:17 which is introduced with a "Behold," as being something extraordinary and wonderful, and worthy of attention; "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth," etc. which being obscure in itself, is explained by the apostle: and what makes prophesies respecting the last times, so difficult of interpretation, is, their being mixed; some things in the context belonging to the spiritual, and others to the personal reign of Christ, which is the case here: however, the passage itself, most certainly belongs to a perfect state, in which righteousness will dwell, as Peter says; and entirely agrees with John's account of the inhabitants of the new heavens and the new earth; who represents the new Jerusalem as coming down from Heaven, to dwell on the new earth, where the tabernacle of God will be with men; and he will show himself to be their God, and them to be his people; and so it will be a time of great joy and gladness; and in Isaiah it is said, "Behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy!" John says, in this state "there shall be no more sorrow nor crying": which entirely agrees with the prophet, who says, "The voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying!" which cannot be said of any state of the church in the present earth; and is only true of its perfect state in the new heavens and the new earth. The things to be inquired into are, what these new heavens and earth be, and who the inhabitants of them.

1. What are meant by the new heavens and the new earth in the above passages? these are to be understood not in a figurative, but in a literal sense.

1a. First, not in a figurative sense; 1a1. Not of the gospel church state, or the gospel dispensation, in which indeed old things passed away, and all things became new; the former covenant waxed old and vanished away; the old Jewish church state was abolished, and a new church state set up; the ordinances of the former dispensation were removed, and new ones appointed: but then, as observed in the preceding chapter, this state had taken place before the apostle Peter wrote his epistle; and therefore he could never speak of the new heavens and new earth in this sense as future; nor say, that he and others were looking for them when they were already in being; and so likewise before the apostle John had his vision of them. John the Baptist and Christ began their ministry with saying, "the kingdom of Heaven" was "at hand," the gospel dispensation was just ushering in; yes our Lord afterwards says, the kingdom of God was among the Jews, though it came not with observation, and was weak and obscure; but after his death and resurrection, when he gave his disciples a commission to preach the gospel to all the world, and furnished them with gifts and abilities for it, and they accordingly preached it everywhere with success; then it plainly appeared that the gospel church state had commenced: besides, the gospel church state, even in the first and purest ages of it, was not so perfect as the state of things will be in the new heavens and new earth, in which none but righteous persons, and such as are perfectly righteous, will dwell; for into the new Jerusalem, the seat of which will be the new heavens and new earth, none shall enter that defiles or makes an abomination or a lie; whereas in the gospel church state, there always was, is, and will be, a mixture of true believers and carnal professors; look into the first churches at Jerusalem, Antioch, Galatia, Corinth, etc. and you will find persons either of bad principles or of bad practices complained of. Moreover, in the new Jerusalem state, which will have its seat in the new heavens and new earth, there will be no temple, no worship, in the manner that now is in the gospel church state; no ministry of the word, nor administration of ordinances; the Lamb will be the temple and the light thereof; to which may be added, that in that state there will be no more death, sorrow, and crying: but death did not cease when the gospel church state took place, it has continued ever since, and is the last enemy that shall be destroyed; the putting men to death for the sake of Christ and his gospel began very early, in the first times of the gospel, both in Judea and in the Gentile world; and continued under Rome pagan and papal, and more or less to this day. Other things might be observed which show that the new heavens and the new earth cannot be understood of this state; and for the same reasons they cannot be understood of the times of Constantine and following ones, at least for some of the above reasons.

1a2. Nor of the state of the Jews at the time of their conversion; for though there will be a new face of things then with respect to them; they will quit their old notions of the Messiah, and relinquish their old laws, customs, and modes of worship; and embrace the gospel, and submit to the ordinances of it, and join themselves to gospel churches, or be formed upon the same plan with them; and be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. But then this will be before the new heavens and the new earth are formed; the conversion of the Jews is designed in Revelation 19:7,8 and is what will introduce, or be a part of the spiritual reign; but the vision of the new heavens and the new earth is in Revelation 21:1-27 which respects a more glorious state of the church, and the personal reign of Christ in it.

1a3. Nor of the spiritual reign of Christ, which will be in the present earth and not in the new one; and in which will be the ministry of the word and ordinances; the everlasting gospel will be preached to all nations, by means of which the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and gospel churches be planted everywhere, and gospel worship be carried on as now, only with greater purity; but in the new Jerusalem state, the seat of which will be the new heavens and the new earth, there will be nothing of this kind, as before observed; and though there will be then a great degree of spirituality and holiness, yet it will not be so perfect a state as that will be in the new heavens and the new earth; in which there will be only righteous persons, nothing that defiles, only the holy city, having the glory of God upon her, will dwell in them. But in the spiritual reign, the church will not be quite clear of hypocrites and nominal professors, and will sink into lukewarmness and indifference, into spiritual pride and carnality, even into a Laodicean state.

1a4. Nor of the heavenly state, or the ultimate glory; for these new heavens and earth are distinct from the third Heaven, the seat of that. The new Jerusalem, the inhabitants of it, are said to come down out of Heaven to reside upon the new earth; where the tabernacle of God will be with them, which denotes a moveable state, as a tabernacle is a moveable thing, and so distinct from the fixed state of the saints in the ultimate glory. The camp of the saints, and the holy and beloved city, are represented as on earth, even at the end of the thousand years (Revelation 20:9). But,

1b. Secondly, the new heavens and new earth are to be understood in a literal sense of the natural heavens and earth. It is a rule to be observed, that a literal sense is not to be departed from without necessity. Now there is no necessity, nothing that obliges to depart from such a sense here; it does not contradict any other passage of scripture; it is not contrary to the perfections of God, his wisdom, power, and goodness, yes these are displayed therein; nor is it to the disadvantage but to the advantage of his people, to have such new heavens and earth made for them to dwell in their raised state; and as there is no necessity to depart from the literal sense, there seems to be a necessity to abide by it; since the phrase, "Heaven and earth," are used by the apostle Peter in 2 Peter 3:1-18 frequently, and always literally of the sublunary world, the natural heavens and earth; as when he says, the heavens and the earth that were of old, that were created in the beginning, are that world that was overflowed with a flood and perished; and that the same heavens and earth are reserved to fire against the day of judgment, when the one will pass away and be dissolved, and the other be burnt up; now as these can be understood in no other than in a literal sense, so the new heavens and the earth he speaks of in the room of these, can be meant of no other, to keep up the sense of the apostle uniform and of a piece; only these renewed, not as to their substance, or made entirely new, but as to their qualities.

1b1. First then, the "new heavens" must be interpreted of the airy heavens, and of a new air in them: we have seen that the heavens that shall be set on fire, and be liquefied and dissolved by it, are not the starry heavens, but the airy heavens only; which will be purged, purified, and refined by fire, and become a new air; and Aben Ezra interprets the new heavens in Isaiah 65:17 of a good air, an healthful and salubrious one; and such will the new heavens be when purged by fire; they will be clear of all noxious vapors and exhalations, be free from all unhealthful fogs, mists and meteors, watery and fiery, such as are enumerated in Psalm 148:8. God has his treasures of hail, snow, etc. in the air (Job 38:22,23), but the new heavens will be clear of all these; no storms of hail, no stores of snow, no blustering storms and tempests, no coruscation and flashes of lightning, nor peals of thunder; nothing of this kind will be heard or seen, but a pure, serene, and tranquil air, quite suited to the bodies of raised saints; for none else will inhabit the new earth, whose bodies will be incorruptible and spiritual. Moreover the air will now be cleared of devils, which have their residence in it: the devil is called "the prince of the power of the air," of the posse of devils which dwell in the air; and he and his principalities and powers are "spiritual wickednesses in high or heavenly places" in the air above us (Ephesians 2:2; 6:12), and it has been the sentiment both of Jews and heathens, that the air is full of demons; and which is not at all improbable; for when they were cast out of the third Heaven, their first habitation, they fell into the air; where they are, at least at times, until their full torment; and here they are hovering over our heads, watching all opportunities to tempt, disturb, and distress the sons of men: but when Christ shall come in the clouds, and be met by his saints in the air, he will clear the air of all the devils in it; he will lay hold of Satan, the prince of them, and of the whole body of them under him, and bind them, and cast them into the abyss, the bottomless pit; so that they shall not be able to stir, nor give the least molestation to the saints for the space of a thousand years; and then, instead of being over their heads, they will be bruised under their feet.

1b2. Secondly, The "new earth" will be an earth refined and renewed, and restored to its paradisiacal estate; or as it was before the fall, free from the curse which came upon it on that account. But now the curse will be removed, and it shall no more bring forth thorns and thistles, nor require labor and pains to cultivate it; nor will there be any difficulty about a livelihood from it, which will not be wanted; it shall be as before the fall, when the whole of it was a paradise, and one part of it more especially so: and hence in that state, of which the new heavens and new earth will be the seat, figures are taken from thence to describe that; as a river of water of life proceeding from the throne of God and the Lamb; and a tree of life in the midst of the new Jerusalem, bearing all manner of fruit every month, and its leaves for the healing of the nations (Revelation 22:1,2), and as the earth, before the fall, was subject to the first man, and all things in it (Psalm 8:6-8), so this new earth will be to the second Adam; at his first coming, though Lord of all, yet in the present earth he had not where to lay his head; and now he is crowned with glory and honor, yet we see not all things put under him; but "the world to come," or "the habitable earth," which is future, and is not put in subjection to angels, will be put in subjection to him; so that where he was once in the form of a servant, and suffered much, he will now reign, as a King, and a triumphant Conqueror. And it must be but reasonable, that since he has redeemed his people from the curse of the law, being made a curse for them, that every degree of that curse should be removed, which, as yet is not, from the earth: and particularly, it is but reasonable, that when the second Adam, and his seed, come to enjoy the earth alone, that it should be free from the curse, the redemption from which he is the author of, and that for them; and accordingly so it will be in that state; there shall be no more curse (Revelation 22:3).

2. The inhabitants of the new heavens and the new earth are next to be considered. When God had made the first earth, and which was made by him to be inhabited, there were at first but "two" whom he created to dwell upon it; and when it was destroyed by the flood, and recovered from that deluge, there were but "eight" persons preserved in the ark to repeople it. But when the new heavens and new earth are formed there will be enough to stock them at once. It may be asked from whence will they be had, since the air will be cleared of devils, and all wicked men will be burnt up with the earth; so that there will not be a devil in the air, nor a wicked man upon the earth; and who shall then inhabit them? Let it be observed, that Christ will bring with him the souls of all his saints, of all the chosen people that have been from the beginning of the world, whose bodies he will then raise, and reunite them to their souls; and the living saints that will be found on earth when he shall come, will be changed, and caught up with the raised ones, to meet the Lord in the air, where they will abide until the earth is fit for them; and then they will be let down, millions and millions of them, even the whole general assembly and church of the firstborn, whose names are written in Heaven, and will fill the earth at once. And these are described,

2a. First, by the name of "righteousness" itself; "wherein," in the new heavens and earth, "dwells righteousness" (2 Peter 3:13), that is, righteous persons, the abstract for the concrete; a like phrase see in Isaiah 1:21 and designs such to whom Christ is made righteousness, and they are made the righteousness of God in him; as Christ, the husband of the church, is called, "the Lord our Righteousness;" so she, by virtue of a marriage union to him, is called by the same name (Jeremiah 23:6; 33:16), and this denotes such persons as are truly righteous; not in appearance only, but really; and not in the sight of men, but in the sight of God; and who are thoroughly righteous in every sense; who have the righteousness of Christ imputed to them, and are created in righteousness and true holiness; are inherently holy and righteous, and that perfectly: and it designs such only; not a sinner, not a wicked man, nor an hypocrite, will be among them; and this is confirmed by other scriptures; particularly Isaiah 60:21. "Your people shall be all righteous; they shall inherit the land forever;" and though the former part of this prophecy respects the spiritual reign of Christ in the present earth; yet the latter part of it belongs to the perfect state of the church, the new Jerusalem state, in the new earth; as appears by comparing Isaiah 60:19 with Revelation 21:23. Again in Psalm 37:29. "The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever;" not the present earth which the saints have not by inheritance, and much less forever; and it is but a small part of it they enjoy in any sense. Besides, this respects something future; it is not said they "do," but "shall" inherit it. There are other characters in the same Psalm, descriptive of the inhabitants of the new heavens and the new earth, as in Psalm 37:9. "Those that wait upon the Lord shall inherit the earth," when the wicked will be cut off, as they will be at the general conflagration; and those who wait on the Lord, are the same with the apostle Peter, and others, who looked for new heavens and a new earth, and waited on the Lord for the fulfillment of his promise; and in Psalm 37:11. "The meek shall inherit the earth": the same is asserted by Christ (Matthew 5:5), these are opposed to proud and haughty sinners, and design the followers of the meek and lowly Jesus, who have but a very small share in the present earth: it is your proud, bold, blustering sort of men who share the earth among them; as for the meek spirited saints, it is as much as they can do to get a livelihood in it; but they shall inherit the new heavens and the new earth.

2b. Secondly, the inhabitants of which are the palm bearing company in Revelation 7:9 for this vision is synchronal, or contemporary, with that of the new heavens and the new earth, the seat of the new Jerusalem, the church of God, consisting of all the elect, and respects the same time and things; as appears by comparing Revelation 7:15 of that chapter with Revelation 21:3; 22:3; 22:16,17 with Revelation 21:4 the same persons are described by their number (Revelation 21:9), "which no man could number;" who, though but a few, in comparison of others, are a great number considered by themselves; and though numbered by God and Christ, cannot be numbered by men: and by their origin and descent, being "of all nations, kindreds, people, and tongues;" chosen, redeemed, and called out of all; and will be collected together at the coming of Christ: and by their position, standing "before the throne, and before the Lamb;" the throne of the Lamb, placed in the new Jerusalem, before which they will stand without fault, behold his glory, and enjoy his presence: and by their habit and gesture, "clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;" appearing now as kings and priests; who, as such, shall reign with Christ on the new earth, being now not only clothed with the robe of his righteousness, but with the shining robes of immortality and bliss: and the "palms" in their hands is not so much expressive of their past uprightness and integrity, and of their having bore up under all their pressures and afflictions; but chiefly of their now victory over all their enemies: also they are described by their ascription of salvation to God and the Lamb, even their temporal salvation, and especially their spiritual and eternal salvation; to God, as the contriver of it, and to Christ the Lamb, as the procuring cause and author of it; in which they will be joined by all the angels around them, as guardians of them, ministering spirits to them, and fellow worshipers with them; who will then ascribe a sevenfold praise to God (Revelation 7:10-12).

And some discourse passing between one of the elders about the throne and John, occasioned a further description of the same persons (Revelation 7:13,14), by their being "come out of great tribulation;" which may signify, not only the afflictions of every individual of this great number; but more especially the public troubles of the saints, as a body, in the various periods of time; both of the Old Testament saints, and particularly of the New Testament saints, under Rome pagan and papal, to the end of the reign of antichrist; and may have special respect to the last struggle of the beast, and the slaying of the witnesses. But now all will be at an end, and their "robes washed, and made white in the blood of the Lamb," and so pure, without spot or blemish: and they are further described, by their constant service of God, "day and night," that is continually; for there will be no night in this state; and their service will lie, not in an attendance on the word and ordinances; but in praising God, adoring his perfections, admiring his works of providence and grace, and ascribing the glory of salvation to him: "And he who sits upon the throne shall dwell among them," the tabernacle of God being now with men on earth; "and they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more;" neither in a literal sense, which is sometimes the case now; nor in a mystical sense, after the word and ordinances, they will have no need of; nor have any uneasy desires after spiritual things, which will now be enjoyed in plenty; "nor shall the sun light on them, nor any heat;" neither the sun of persecution, nor the heat of Satan's fiery darts, nor of any fiery affliction: the reason of all this happiness is, "the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them;" not by his ministers, word, and ordinances, as now; but with the discoveries of his love, will feast them at his table, and cause them to drink new wine in his kingdom; "and shall lead them to living fountains of water," to the river of the water of life, the everlasting love of the three Persons; "and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes;" and there shall be no more tears on account of indwelling sin, Satan's temptations, divine desertions, and any trouble and affliction; but being come to the new Jerusalem, everlasting joy shall be upon them, sorrow and sighing shall flee away. These are the persons, and this will be the happy case of the inhabitants of the new heavens and the new earth.

2c. Thirdly, a further account is given of those inhabitants in Revelation 21:1,2 etc. after John had a vision of the new heavens and the new earth, the former being passed away; he had a sight of those that were to dwell in them; and by the account,

they appear to be persons not in a mortal and sinful state, but in an immortal and perfect one. They are called "the holy city, and new Jerusalem," by which the church is meant; but not as in any state on this present earth, and in the present circumstances of things; a state so glorious, pure, and holy, as this is represented, can never be expected here. Mortal men, dwelling in houses of clay, would never be able to bear such a glory as the church is said to have on her (Revelation 21:11), and following; nor be so pure and holy as this new Jerusalem, so as to have nothing defiling, nor that commits iniquity in it (Revelation 21:27), and yet it cannot be meant of it as in Heaven; since it is said to descend from thence (Revelation 21:2,10), nor can the kings of the earth, in any sense, be said to bring their honor and glory, and that of the nations, into Heaven (Revelation 21:24,26). But it designs a state in the new earth, and under the new heavens, where the tabernacle of God will be (Revelation 21:1-3), and we find the camp of the saints, the beloved city, the same with the holy city here upon the earth, that is, the new earth (Revelation 20:9), even after the first resurrection, and even after the millennium. Now this church, called the holy city, is no other than the church of the firstborn, the whole body of the elect, and the same with the palm bearing company, and the church consisting of them.

The inhabitants of the new heavens and the new earth are here described under the names of "the holy city" and "new Jerusalem;" a "city," as consisting of the whole family of God, who are fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; a "holy" one, as made up of persons perfectly holy, in spirit, soul, and body, and entirely free from sin; called Jerusalem, though in a state superior to the church under the gospel dispensation, called by that name; and even to it in the Philadelphian state, in the spiritual reign; since it is promised to the overcomer in that state, as something greater, and yet to come, that he should be a pillar, and have the name of the new Jerusalem written on him (Revelation 3:12), which signifies the vision of peace, and fitly expresses that state, in which peace of every kind, in its utmost perfection, shall be enjoyed, the Prince of peace, Christ, being with his people; and called new, because the seat of this church will be the new heavens and new earth; all which shows, that the inhabitants will be in a perfect state of holiness and peace. And they are further described by their "descent from Heaven;" which designs, not their original, as regenerate persons; but their local descent with Christ; when he comes, the souls of all his saints will come with him; their bodies will be raised and united to them; anti with the living saints, be caught up to meet him in the air, from whence they will descend with him on the new earth, and dwell on it with him, their head and husband; hence said to be "the bride, the Lamb's wife;" which intend not individuals, nor particular churches of Jews or Gentiles; but the whole body of the elect, given to Christ, and espoused by him; who will now be "prepared and adorned for her husband," being all gathered in, and their number completed; and adorned, not only with the grace of God, and righteousness of Christ, but with the glorious robes of immortality and bliss; and so fit for Christ their head. And it will be the church and her members, thus prepared and ornamented, who will, with Christ, inhabit the new earth; for now "the tabernacle of God will be with men" on the new earth; which being for a determinate time, a thousand years, his being with them is signified by a tabernacle, which is moveable; which is further explained; "he will dwell with them, in person," for the space of time mentioned.

"God himself shall be with them; Immanuel," God with us, God in our nature; "and they shall be his people," owned by him as such; and he "be their God": which covenant interest may be claimed, as being out of all question. The inhabitants of the new earth are moreover described by their freedom from all evils (Revelation 3:4). "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes;" which is said of the palm bearing company (Revelation 7:17), which show them to be the same with those; the words are taken from Isaiah 25:8 and refer to the resurrection state, when "death shall be swallowed up in victory; and there shall be no more death," not even corporal death; for this is said of risen saints; "neither sorrow nor crying," on account of disorders and diseases of body, loss of friends, etc. which will all be at an end; "neither shall there be any more pain; of body," or mind; "for the former things are past away;" the old world, its lusts, temptations, and snares; all troubles from within and from without; from persecutors and false friends; which shows that those inhabitants will not be in a sinful and mortal state: yes, they are described, as "having the glory of God upon them" (Revelation 21:11), upon their bodies being raised, and fashioned like to the glorious body of Christ, and upon their souls being perfect in grace, righteousness, and holiness; and the light, glory, luster, and splendor of this church and her members, the inhabitants of the new earth, are expressed in such language in the following part of the chapter, that no adequate ideas can be formed thereof; and describe such a state as can never be imagined will be in the present world: and those inhabitants are again described by their holiness and purity (Revelation 21:27), in such a manner, as show them to be in a sinless state. To which may be added, the provision to regale those inhabitants, suitable to their state, is described in Revelation 22:1,2 as in the earthly paradise, particularly in that spot of it, the garden of Eden, there was a river for delight and use, and a tree of life in the midst of it, for the preservation of health, and the continuance of life; so in this city, in the new earth, will be a river and tree of life, and, for ought I see to the contrary, in a literal sense; only, they will be emblematic, as the other might be in Eden; for here will be no need of corporal food, only of entertainment for the mind. Here will be a river, an emblem of the everlasting love of God, clear and free from all motives and conditions in men, arising purely from the sovereignty of God; which, for its abundance, will be a river to swim in, and not to be passed over; and will yield inexpressible pleasure to this city and its inhabitants: and there will be a tree of life in the midst of the street of this city, bearing monthly all kind of fruit, and its leaves of an healing nature; an emblem of Christ, the tree of life (Proverbs 3:18; Revelation 2:7), and of all spiritual blessings to be continually enjoyed from him, in great variety, and with great pleasure. And though there will be no diseases of body and mind in that state; yet as the tree of life in Eden was for the preservation of the life and health of Adam, had he continued in his state of innocence; so the healing leaves of this tree may denote that everything in Christ will contribute to the comfort, health, and happiness of the saints.

Moreover, the happiness of those inhabitants is expressed by a variety, which shows it to be an accumulated happiness, a perfect one; "there shall be no more curse;" node upon the new earth, and its inhabitants; nor any accursed person or thing in it; "but the throne of God and the Lamb shall be in it," the seat of his glorious majesty, who will reign as King here; "and his servants shall serve him;" both the ministering angels and his saints, especially the latter; "and his name shall be in their foreheads;" by which it will appear they are his people and servants, as if his name was written there; "and there shall be no more night;" either in a literal sense, or rather figurative, meaning no night of ignorance and error, of darkness and desertion, and of affliction of any kind; "and they need no candle, neither light of the sun;" neither artificial nor natural light; "for the Lord God gives them light," what vastly exceeds either; "and they shall reign for ever and ever;" first with Christ on the new earth, for a thousand years, next to be considered, and then in Heaven to all eternity.

 

Chapter 8.

OF THE MILLENNIUM, OR PERSONAL REIGN OF CHRIST WITH THE SAINTS ON THE NEW EARTH A THOUSAND YEARS

I have treated already of the kingly office of Christ, as executed by him in various dispensations, particularly under the gospel dispensation, and have observed, there are two branches of it yet to come; one called the "spiritual," the other the "personal reign;" the former has been considered, and this is a proper place to treat of the latter; which I shall do by showing,

1. That Christ will have a special, peculiar, glorious, and visible kingdom, in which he will reign personally on earth.

1a. I call it a special, peculiar kingdom, different from other kingdoms of Christ; from the kingdom of nature and providence, which lies in the government of this world; which he, as God, has an equal right to with his Father; but when this kingdom will take place, this present world will be at an end: and from his spiritual kingdom, which belongs to him as Mediator; which rule he has exercised in the hearts of his people from the beginning of the world; and which has been, under the gospel dispensation, more large and manifest; and will be more so in the latter day, when his spiritual reign will take place; but this is different from that.

1b. It will be very glorious and visible; Christ's kingdom, in the spiritual reign, will be very glorious, when all the glorious things spoken of it, will be fulfilled; and it will be very visible, when exalted above all the mountains and hills, the kingdoms of this world: but this will be more so, since Christ will be in it; not only by his Spirit, and the effusions of his grace, but he will personally appear in all his glory, and reign gloriously before his ancients; hence his "appearing" and "kingdom," are put together, as contemporary (2 Timothy 4:1), he in person will appear, and his tabernacle be with men on earth.

1c. This kingdom will be after all the enemies of Christ, and of his people, are removed out of the way. In his spiritual reign antichrist will be destroyed, "with the Spirit," or breath of Christ, his gospel; and with "the brightness of his coming," that clear light which will attend his coming, by the effusion of his Spirit; which will be with such spiritual efficacy, as to dispel all darkness, Pagan, Papal, and Mohammedan; and cause an universal reception of the gospel; which will open the way for the Christian princes, to carry their victorious arms everywhere, and seize upon, and possess all the anti-Christian states; and in this order things lie in the prophecy of Daniel (Daniel 7:1-28), where, after the vision of the "fourth" beast, of the judgment of it, of the slaying it, and burning its body, the Roman empire, and the remains of it, in antichrist, and the anti-Christian states; Daniel, had a vision of Christ, the Son of man, coming in the clouds of Heaven, and having an universal kingdom given him, which will not be succeeded by any other. And in the same order things lie in the book of the Revelation 19:1-21 where the beast, antichrist, and the kings of the earth, the anti-Christian princes, are represented as gathering together, to make war with Christ, described as an illustrious Warrior; when the beast and false prophet, antichrist, in both his civil and ecclesiastic characters, are taken and destroyed, and the rest slain, by the sword of Christ's mouth: all which will be done, with the ruin of the Turk, the Eastern antichrist, at the beginning of the spiritual reign: but still there will remain a most potent enemy, Satan, with his principalities and powers; wherefore, in Revelation 20:1-15 an angel descends from Heaven, who is no other than Christ, who will then personally descend from thence; described as having a great chain, and a key in his hand; the one to bind Satan and all his angels; the other to open the bottomless pit, and cast them in it, and lock it up; that they may neither deceive the nations, nor disturb the saints, for the space of a thousand years. And all enemies being thus out of the way, follows the account of the Millennium, or personal reign of Christ.

1d. This glorious and visible kingdom of Christ, will not take place until after the resurrection of the just, and the renovation of the world. As soon as Christ personally appears, the dead in him will rise first; this is the first resurrection, which they that have a part in, shall reign with Christ a thousand years; as appears from the above place in the Revelation referred unto. These "children of the resurrection," as Christ calls them (Luke 20:35,36), and who will be worthy of "that world," the new world, in which Christ and they will reign, will be like the angels, die no more; nor will they eat and drink, in a corporal sense; nor marry and be given in marriage; carnal appetites will not be indulged; nor carnal pleasures enjoyed: in this state, nothing but pure, refined, spiritual pleasures, will be had, suited to the bodies and souls of men, united in the resurrection state. Our Lord, indeed, speaks of his disciples eating and drinking at his table, in his kingdom; and of his drinking new wine in his Father's kingdom, which is the same (Luke 22:30; Matthew 26:29), but then all this is to be understood of divine repasts, of spiritual joys and pleasures, they shall then partake of. The Jews, it seems, had very carnal notions of the kingdom of God, of a great affluence of meats and drinks in it, and of rich and delicious living; hence a certain person said, "Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!" (Luke 14:15), meaning, that shall live deliciously there. And such gross and carnal conceptions, some that have bore the Christian name, have entertained of the millennium, as well ancient as modern writers, at least, as represented by their adversaries; and therefore it has been objected to them, as if their notion savored more of a Turkish paradise, than of a kingdom of Christ; and which has brought disgrace upon the doctrine of the kingdom, and given disgust to pious and spiritual minds; as it did to Augustine, who had some light into it, and owned, that could it be restrained to spiritual delights and pleasures, it might be allowed: but now the manner in which I conceive it, clears it from such absurdities, and represents it as quite unclogged, and free from such an objection. All the prophesies of temporal blessings in the latter day, as length of life, a numerous offspring of the people of God, plenty of corporal food, an affluence of wealth and riches, will have their accomplishment in the spiritual reign, or latter day glory; when there will be such an effusion of the Spirit of God, as will be a counterbalance to such earthly enjoyments, that they will not do the hurt they would in the present circumstances of things; and even then, when the influences of the Spirit shall go off, and be withdrawn, that state will gradually sink into lukewarmness, pride, self-conceit, and carnality (Revelation 3:15,16). But nothing of this kind will appear in the millennium.

1e. This kingdom of Christ will be bounded by two resurrections; by the first resurrection, or the resurrection of the just, at which it will begin; and by the second resurrection, or the resurrection of the wicked, at which it will end, or nearly; for it is expressly said, that "the rest of the dead," that is, the wicked, "lived not again until the thousand years were finished": now in the interval between the resurrection of the one, and the resurrection of the other, will be the millennium, or thousand years reign of Christ and his people together.

1f. This kingdom will be before the general judgment, especially of the wicked. There is a particular judgment that passes on every man at death; "After death, judgment!" and there will be a virtual judgment immediately upon the appearance of Christ, who will come to judge both "quick" and "dead." Dead saints will be raised, and living saints changed, and both be with Christ; which will be virtually pronouncing them righteous; and as for the wicked, their bodies will be burnt in the conflagration of the earth, and their souls will be shut up with Satan and his angels in the bottomless pit; which will be virtually pronouncing them guilty: but the formal judgment will proceed afterwards. Indeed, in the thousand years reign, will be the judgment of the saints, as will be seen hereafter; and some time after the close of the millennium, will come on the general judgment of the wicked; for John, after he had given an account of the former (Revelation 20:1-15), relates a vision of the latter.

1g. This glorious, visible kingdom of Christ, will be on earth, and not in Heaven; and so is distinct from the kingdom of Heaven, or the ultimate glory: the souls of the martyrs, and others, said to reign with Christ a thousand years, cannot be understood of their reigning with him in Heaven; for so they had reigned with him from the time of the death of their bodies; and was their reigning with him in Heaven meant, there would have been no need of binding Satan and his angels, and shutting them up in the bottomless pit; as not to deceive the nations, so not to molest them; since being in Heaven, they were out of their reach, and could not be disturbed by them: but it is on earth they are to reign with Christ; of which the living creatures, and four and twenty elders, the representatives of gospel churches, and the redeemed of the Lamb, express their strong faith; "And have made us unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth;" meaning, no doubt, in the millennium; for they speak of it as future, saying, not "we do," but "we shall reign on earth;" and that the millennium reign will be there, is clear, since the Gog and Magog army, at the end of the thousand years, are said to go up "on the breadth of the earth," and "compass the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city;" the same with the saints before described as reigning with Christ, which therefore must be on the earth; and the same with the holy city John saw descending from God out of Heaven, that is, on earth, with whom his tabernacle is said to be, and he to dwell with them (Revelation 20:4,6,8,9; 21:2,3). But then this kingdom will not be upon this present earth, or upon this earth in its present circumstances; the present heavens and earth will be burnt up before this kingdom takes place; this world is not good enough for the second Adam, and his saints, to dwell in; the curse must be removed from it, and it must be refined, and new fitted up, for such inhabitants; and all the wicked of it be no more in it, as unfit to dwell where such persons do. Christ's kingdom is not of this world, nor never will be. This has been the mistake of many, imagining that the millennium will be in the present earth; which have given the adversaries of this doctrine, an occasion to object unto it; as subversive of civil government, and as encouraging sedition and rebellion in commonwealths, and as giving just umbrage to the kings and princes of the earth, and to all civil magistrates.

And, indeed, in the seventeenth century, in this nation, there were a set of men, called "fifth monarchy men," and who were levelers, and riotous persons, were for pulling down civil magistracy, and all order of civil government, and setting up what they called a kingdom of Christ; which brought the doctrine of the millennium into great contempt, and under which it has much lain ever since. But putting it upon the footing I have, that this kingdom will not be in the present earth, the kings of it have nothing to fear from it; it will not interfere with theirs; civil government will not be hurt by it; for it will not be until that is no more, and the world itself at an end; and so can give no encouragement and countenance to persons of a riotous and seditious disposition. Indeed, in the spiritual reign, the dominion under the whole Heaven, will be given to the people of the saints of the most High, which will last to the end of the world: but then there will be no alteration made in the order of civil government, much less will that be destroyed; it will only be translated into other hands; only Christian princes shall possess it; there will be no more pagan princes, nor papal kings, nor Mohammedan emperors; only such who are not only nominal but truly Christian princes, according to Psalm 72:10,11; Isaiah 49:23; 60:3,10,16. But as for the personal reign of Christ with his saints, that will be on the new earth, wherein will "dwell righteousness," and that only; that is, Christ, who is the Lord, the Righteousness of his people; and they who are made righteous by him (2 Peter 3:13), so the new heavens and new earth John had a vision of, are, according to that vision, the seat of the new "Jerusalem," or church of God, and of Christ, who will there tabernacle with them (Revelation 21:1-3), and then the Lord will be King over all the earth; there will be no offset; there will be one Lord, and his name one (Zechariah 14:9).

Having explained the nature of Christ's kingdom, I shall proceed to give the proof that there will be such a glorious, visible kingdom of Christ on earth: this proof, as it depends on prophesies of future things, cannot be expected to be so full and clear in all respects, as a proof may be of things past or present; the prophesies respecting the first coming of Christ, doubtless, did not appear so clear and plain before their fulfillment, as since: so the prophesies of the second coming of Christ, and of his kingdom, may not be so evident as they will be, the nearer is the approach of it; or as when it will be. Besides, the prophesies of the Old Testament are delivered in very general, concise, and comprehensive terms; and sometimes include both his first and second coming, and things that intervene between them; and therefore it should be no objection to a proof of Christ's second coming and kingdom, that there are some things in the context which respect his first coming; and others which respect the spiritual reign; but these are to be separated, and distinctly considered; and what belongs to the one, should be applied to that; and what belongs to another, should be appropriated to that. Now the proof of this point, may be taken from various passages in the Psalms, in the Prophets, and in the books of the New Testament.

1g1. First, from some passages in the Psalms; and to begin with the Psalm 45:1-17, which was made "concerning the King," the King Messiah, who is called "the King," by way of eminence, the famous King; and who is described as a divine Person, as God, whose throne is forever and ever; and as graceful, and full of grace, as Man and Mediator; and as a most potent Prince, riding in great majesty, and as a triumphant conqueror. And though some things said of him may agree with the conquests of his grace, in the first and after ages of Christianity; yet they will have their full accomplishment at his second coming, when all his enemies shall be subdued by him. His court is represented in the Psalm as a very brilliant one; some in it have the name of queen, others are called honorable women, or maids of honor; and among those, kings daughters, and others the rich among the people; which may respect the different degrees of honor among the saints, in the resurrection and kingdom state, which will only obtain then; not in the ultimate glory. The glory and purity of the church are strongly expressed; the "queen" is said to be at the King's right hand, "in gold of Ophir," her clothing of pure gold; which agrees with the new Jerusalem, on the new earth, a city of pure gold. The King's daughter, the same, is said to be "all glorious within," being perfectly pure and holy; such as the new Jerusalem will be, into which nothing sinful, defiling, and abominable, shall enter. The church is also, in the Psalm, represented as introduced into the King's presence, in a magnificent manner, "in clothing of needlework," as well as in "clothing of wrought gold;" which fitly agrees with the kingdom state, in which Christ will present his church to himself a glorious church, being as a bride adorned for her husband; not only having on the robe of his righteousness, but the shining garments of immortality and bliss. Moreover, at this time he will make his people "princes in all the earth;" which shows that this his kingdom will be on earth, and agrees with the faith and expectation of his saints, that as they are made by him "kings and priests unto God," they shall "reign on earth." I take no notice of Psalm 72:1-20 for though it relates to Christ and his kingdom, yet to that branch of it, his spiritual reign, and expresses the prosperity, peace, glory, extensiveness, and duration of it. But #Ps 96:1-13 must not be overlooked; which begins, "The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice!" which shows that the psalm respects the kingdom of Christ on earth; and which will take place at his coming to judge the world, as appears by its connection with the last verse of the preceding psalm; and which coming of his, as hereafter described, will be in the clouds of Heaven, and with flames of fire, as has been observed in a preceding chapter. The Psalm 145:1-21 treats of the kingdom of Christ, and the glory of it, and represents the saints as speaking to one another of it; of its glory, majesty, and duration (Psalm 145:11-13), which can suit no state so well as this; in which the saints will be employed in converse with each other, about the glory of their King, the glory of his coming to his kingdom, of his glorious acts done by him in it, and of the glorious things they enjoy therein.

1g2. Secondly, from various passages in the prophets: and,

1g2a. From Isaiah 24:23. "Then the moon shall be confounded," etc. this glorious reign will take place after the punishment of the "kings of the earth upon the earth" (Isaiah 24:21), by whom may be meant the beast and the false prophet, with the kings of the earth, the anti-Christian kings; who will make war with the Lamb, and be overcome and slain by him (Revelation 17:14; 19:20,21), and whose army may be called "the host of the high ones that are on high;" being in high places, and in great power and dignity; and may be also very well applied to Satan, and his principalities and powers, those "spiritual wickednesses in high places;" and what is said in Isaiah 24:22 of the shutting of them up and confining them as in a prison, and then after many days visiting them, very aptly agrees with the binding of Satan and his angels, and the shutting of them up in the bottomless pit; and then after a thousand years letting them loose for a short time, which will issue in their everlasting punishment; see Revelation 20:2,3. Moreover this reign will not take place until the utter dissolution of the earth, when it shall fall and not rise again in the form it now is (Isaiah 24:19,20), the person reigning is the Lord of hosts, the Lord of the armies of the heavens, the angels, and of the inhabitants of the earth, the greatest among them; who is King of kings and Lord of lords; all which is true of Christ, who reigns now in the kingdom of providence as God, and the Creator of all things; and in the kingdom of grace, as Mediator in the hearts of his people; and in his churches, where he will reign more illustriously in the latter day; but this is still a more glorious reign that is here spoken of: the place where he will reign is in Zion and Jerusalem, which may be literally understood of that spot of ground where these cities were, which may be the chief residence of Christ in this his kingdom; or mystically of that Zion where he and the one hundred and forty four thousand, having his Father's name on their foreheads, stood; and the new Jerusalem, that will come down from Heaven, among whom his tabernacle will be (Revelation 14:1; 21:2,3). The persons "before" whom, and in whose sight he will reign, for this kingdom will be visible, are his ancients; not his ancient people the Jews only, but all his elect that have been from the beginning of the world; Adam, Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the prophets of the Old Testament, and the apostles of the New; and the four and twenty elders, the representatives of gospel churches; and even all those ancient ones whom God has loved with an everlasting love, chose in Christ before the foundation of the world, called the "ancient people" (Isaiah 44:7), with these Christ will reign "gloriously," or "in glory;" he will appear in glory, in the glory of his deity, and in the glory of his human nature, and in the glory of his kingly office; and such will be his luster and splendor, that the "sun" and "moon" will be "ashamed" and "confounded;" they will blush and withdraw their light, as it were, or that will not be comparable to his; and that city, the new Jerusalem, where he will reign, will stand in no need of their light, for the Lamb will be the light of it (Revelation 21:23).

1g2b. With this agrees another prophecy in Isaiah 30:26. "Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun," etc. this prophecy will not be fulfilled until "the day of the great slaughter is over," the great slaughter of the anti-Christian kings, captains, and mighty men; which carnage of them is called the supper of the great God, to which the birds of the air are invited to prey upon (Revelation 19:17,18), "when the towers fall," when the city of Babylon or Rome, with its towers, and the cities of the nations, of the anti-Christian nations, with their towers, will fall (Revelation 16:19), nor will it be fully accomplished until "the name of the Lord," or the Lord himself, comes "with the flame of a devouring fire," to burn up the world, and all things in it (Isaiah 30:27,30), and so much respect the second coming of Christ, which will be from Heaven with flames of fire: and another criterion of the fulfillment of this prophecy is, that it will be when the Lord will "bind" up and "heal" the "wounds" of "his people;" that is, forgive their iniquities, which in the kingdom state will be publicly and completely done; the sins of God's people will be so fully blotted out, that they shall not be seen by themselves, nor by others, any more; see Acts 3:19-21, and though great will be the light and knowledge of men in the spiritual reign, the first branch of Christ's kingdom; yet this sevenfold light, which is expressive of a perfection of it, best agrees with that state, the light whereof exceeds that of the sun and moon; and when the Lord shall be the everlasting light of his people, and their God their glory (Isaiah 60:19,20), a prophecy which respects the same thing.

1g2c. There is another prophecy which seems to belong to this glorious kingdom of Christ on earth in Jeremiah 23:5,6. "Behold, the days come, says the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous branch," etc.; there can be no doubt but Christ is here meant, who is the Lord our righteousness, the author of righteousness to his people; he is the man whose name is the Branch, and is raised up to David as such, and a righteous one he is; a King that shall reign in righteousness, and so prosper as to be king over all the earth; and on the earth this his reign will be, since it is "in the earth" he will execute judgment and justice: and though his saints, who are meant by Judah and Israel, are always safe under his protection, being in his hands, and kept by his power; yet what state or period can be named wherein they will dwell in more safety, and in such freedom from the oppression and molestation of their enemies, as in the millennium? when all their enemies will be no more, and even Satan and his angels will be bound and shut up in the bottomless pit for a thousand years, and so during that time can give them no disturbance.

1g2d. There are some passages in Ezekiel which seem to have respect to this kingdom state; as in Ezekiel 21:27. "I will overturn, overturn, overturn it, and it shall be no more until he come, whose right it is, and I will give it him;" which may be understood not only of the overturnings in the Jewish state before the first coming of Christ, but also of the overturnings of empires before his second coming; and being expressed three times, may denote the overturning of the Pagan, Papal, and Mohammedan empires, which when overturned will be no more; and after Christ will come, who is heir of all things, and by the designation of his Father, will be king over all the earth. In Ezekiel 48:1-35 there is a prophecy of a city, the dimensions of which are such as cannot agree with any city on earth literally taken; but must be understood either of the gospel church state; or it may be rather of the city of the new Jerusalem, described in Revelation 21:1-27 in which Christ will reign, and his saints with him, in a most glorious manner; and the rather this may be meant, since the name of the city is "Jehovah shammah," the Lord is there (Ezekiel 48:35), and in the new Jerusalem will be the tabernacle of Christ with men on earth, where he is said to be with his saints, and dwell with them (Revelation 21:3).

1g2e. There are some prophecies in Daniel which respect the kingdom of Christ, as in Daniel 2:1-49 the image Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream is explained by Daniel as an emblem of the four monarchies, Babylonian, Persian, Grecian, and Roman; and in Daniel 2:44 it is said, "In the days of these kings, shall the God of Heaven set up a kingdom," etc. that is, after these kings have reigned, and their kingdoms are ended, as Junius interprets it; for this kingdom could not be set up in the days of them all, since their kingdoms were successive. Nebuchadnezzar also saw in his dream, "a stone cut out without hands, which smote the image, and became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth;" which must be understood of Christ, both in his human nature, which is a tabernacle not made with hands; and which God pitched, and not man; and in his kingdom, which was very small in its first beginning, but by degrees increased, and will still more increase, and become a great mountain, a mighty kingdom, and fill the whole earth, and so jostle out all other kingdoms: this will be, in part, fulfilled in the spiritual reign of Christ, when the kingdoms of this world shall become his; but most completely in the millennium, when he shall be King over all the earth. There is a prophecy of the same kind in Daniel 7:1-28 where Daniel had a vision of four beasts coming up out of the sea; which design the same four monarchies rising up successively in the world: and after this, he had a vision of a judicial process, issuing in the slaying of the fourth beast, the destruction of the Roman monarchy; and the burning of the body of the beast, the remains of that monarchy, antichrist, and the anti-Christian states: after which he has a vision of Christ, the Son of man, coming in the clouds of Heaven; and so it must respect the second coming of Christ, and of his then having a dominion, and glorious kingdom given him, which is an everlasting one, that is, which shall not be left to another people, as in Daniel 2:1-49 nor be succeeded by another kingdom; but shall continue until the kingdom of Heaven, or the ultimate glory, takes place; and this kingdom will not be in Heaven, but "under the whole Heaven;" as in Daniel 2:27.

1g2f. There is a passage which has been frequently referred to, and belongs to this kingdom state, in Zechariah 14:9. "And the Lord shall be king over all the earth; in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one." This kingdom will be on earth; and will be when there is no other; and when the homage and worship paid to Christ, this King, will be universally the same. And though there may be some passages in this chapter which belong to the spiritual reign, the first branch of Christ's kingdom; yet there are others, as well as this, which can only agree with his personal reign, upon his second coming; for it is expressly said, "The Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with you;" which will be fulfilled, and not before, when Christ shall descend from Heaven, and bring all his saints with him (1 Th 3:13; 4:14,16). And this reign of Christ over all the earth, will be when the saints are in a perfect state; and so not before his second coming, and the resurrection of the just. Holiness will now be so universal, that, proverbially speaking, it will be written on "the bells of the horses;" and every member in the new Jerusalem church state, into which nothing defiling shall enter, meant by "every pot in Jerusalem and Judah, shall be holiness to the Lord," or be completely holy; and there shall be "no Canaanite," neither a profane sinner, nor a carnal professor, in the house and church of God; nor any sinful lust in any of its inhabitants.

1g3. Thirdly, The proof of this glorious kingdom of Christ, may be given from various passages in the New Testament; and,

1g3a. From Matthew 6:10. "Your kingdom come; your will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven." To this, as a proof, it may be objected, at first sight, that this is the kingdom of the Father; since it is "Our Father which are in Heaven," the petitions are directed to. To which it may be replied, that the same kingdom may he called, the kingdom of the Father, and the kingdom of Christ, as it is certain this kingdom we are treating of is so called; as appears by comparing Matthew 26:29 with Luke 22:30 and there is a good reason to be given for it; because this kingdom is a kingdom which the Father had appointed to Christ, and which will be given him by him (Luke 22:29; Daniel 7:14), and for the same reason the Father calls him his King,

because appointed and set by him as king over his holy hill of Zion (Ps 2:6), this kingdom may be called his. Now this is a kingdom yet to come, and is prayed for as being future; and so cannot design neither the kingdom of providence, nor the kingdom of grace, nor the gospel dispensation; and though it may include the spiritual reign, the first branch of Christ's kingdom, yet will not be fulfilled in that; since it respects a perfect state, when the will of God will be done on earth by men, as it is in Heaven by the angels; the saints, in the kingdom state, will serve Christ their king constantly and incessantly, and so perfectly; and this will be a kingdom on earth, where the will of God will be perfectly done, as it is in Heaven, and so is a distinct state from that. To all which may be added, that the coming of this kingdom is to be prayed for; not only the first branch of it, in the spiritual reign, as in Isaiah 62:6,7 but the second coming of Christ, to take possession of his kingdom personally, saving, "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!" and this may, and should be a prayer of faith; for since he has directed his people to pray daily for the coming of this kingdom, it may be assured that it certainly will come; for Christ would not direct his saints to pray for that which never will be.

1g3b. From Matthew 20:21-23. "Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children, desiring that her two sons may sit the one on Christ's right hand, and the other on the left, in his kingdom." The same request is made by the two sons themselves (Mark 10:35-40). Now though these petitioners were tinctured with the national notion of the Messiah setting up a temporal kingdom on earth, at the time of his first coming; and with which all the apostles seem, more or less, tinctured, until the Spirit was poured down upon them on the day of Pentecost; yet our Lord does not deny, but rather owns, there would be a kingdom of his, in which distinctions of honor would be made, and peculiar privileges, and marks of respect, bestowed on some; but that these would only be given to such for whom they were prepared by his Father: he blames them for their pride and ambition, in affecting to have preeminence above their brethren; and suggests, that their petition was an unseasonable one; it was not a time to think of, and expect honors and preferments, they being now in a suffering state, and must expect sufferings for his sake; yes, that he himself must drink of a bitter cup, and be baptized with a bloody baptism, before he entered into his kingdom and glory; and this would also be their case: this glorious kingdom of Christ, and honors in it, are not to be expected in a militant suffering state; the saints must suffer with Christ first, before they reign and are glorified together with him; the crown of righteousness will not be given, until the good fight of faith is fought; and not before the glorious appearing of Christ, and only to them that love that: this cannot be understood of the kingdom of Heaven, or a kingdom there, because there is no sitting at Christ's right hand there; he is set down indeed in his Father's throne, and sits at his right hand, where no creatures, angels nor men, are admitted: but in the kingdom state, he will have a throne distinct from his Father, in which his saints will sit with him (Revelation 3:21), on his right and left; and in which state will be thrones, whereon some will sit, being distinguished from others, with some matins of honor and esteem; for such there will be in this kingdom of Christ, though what they will be is not easy to say; they are signified by one being a ruler over ten cities, and another a ruler over live cities; which is not to be understood literally, but of some posts of honor, and distinctive marks of respect some will have; for as one star differs from another star in glory, so will be the resurrection of the dead; or such a distinction be in the resurrection state — in this glorious kingdom of Christ. In Mark 10:37 instead of, "In your kingdom," it is, "In your glory." 1g3c. From Luke 1:32,33. "The Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David; and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end!" These words were spoken by the angel to the virgin, concerning her son, who should be great, and be called, "the Son of the Highest;" and which respects him, not in his incarnate state on earth, for then he appeared; not great, but mean; and his kingdom was not with observation: but hereafter, in the latter day, when his name should be great among the Gentiles, from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same (Malachi 1:11), and especially at his second coming, which will be with power and great glory; and he will appear, as the Son of the Highest, as the great God, and our Savior; and whereas he was the Son of David, according to the flesh, it is foretold, that he should have the throne of his father David, not literally, but mystically; which will have its accomplishment, in part, at the conversion of the Jews in the last day, when they shall seek the Lord their God, and David their king, the true Messiah, and yield subjection to him; but more fully when all the elect of God are gathered in, both Jews and Gentiles, over whom be will reign, even over the house of Jacob, that Jacob, the Lord has chosen for himself; and this his kingdom will be forever; it will not give way to, nor be succeeded by another; in the same sense as in the prophecy of Daniel, it is said to be an everlasting kingdom; there will be no end of it; for when Christ has reigned with his people on earth a thousand years, he will reign with them, and they with him, in Heaven, to all eternity; see Micah 4:7.

1g3d. From Luke 22:29,30. "As my Father has appointed unto me a kingdom," etc. Here is a special and peculiar kingdom of Christ, which he calls, "my kingdom;" and which he has by the designation and appointment of his Father; and which was yet to come, as well as that he appointed to his followers; in which kingdom there will be a table, at which all Christ's people will sit, and eat and drink; not temporally, but spiritually, and shall feed upon a divine repast, suited to their resurrection state; for at this table shall sit Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and multitudes from divers parts, and who have lived in the several periods of time; and here will be thrones placed, on which the saints shall sit; for they will now be "kings and priests unto God," and shall reign as such, and have judgment given them, and on some distinct honors will be conferred.

1g3e. From Luke 23:42,43. "And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom!" The light and faith the penitent thief had in the kingdom of Christ, and in his future coming to it, were very great; for though Christ appeared now very mean and despicable, suffering a shameful death, and lying under the greatest reproach and ignominy; yet he believed that he would come again, and take possession of a kingdom that belonged to him; and desires that he might be remembered by him at his appearing and kingdom: to which an answer is returned; "And Jesus said unto him, truly I say unto you, today shall you be with me in paradise": signifying, that he should not stay so long without partaking of his favors; for that day he should be with him in the third Heaven, and continue with him until his second coming; and then he, with all his saints, should come with him, and share in the glories of his kingdom.

1g3f. From Acts 1:6. "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom unto Israel?" The scepter, according to ancient prophecy, was now departed from Judah, and Judea was become a province to the Roman empire; now the Jews had a notion, that when the Messiah came, he would restore the kingdom, and redeem them from the Roman yoke, and make them a happy people, as to temporal things; and with this notion, the disciples themselves were tinctured; and as they believed that Jesus was the Messiah, they had raised expectations of this matter; but when he was dead, their hopes seem to be almost quite gone (Luke 24:21), but Christ being raised from the dead, their hopes revived: and it was a notion that prevailed with the Jews, and does to this day, that the coming of the king Messiah, to deliver them, and the resurrection of the dead, will be at the same time: and, indeed, Christ's personal reign will take place after the resurrection of the just. And now there having been a resurrection of many of the saints (Matthew 27:52,53), and especially Christ himself being risen, and also had spoken to his disciples of things pertaining to the kingdom of God (Matthew 27:3), they might hope that this was the time the kingdom would be restored. Now though they had very obscure and carnal notions of the kingdom; yet Christ does not deny that there would be a kingdom hereafter he should enjoy, and which should be restored to Israel; only blames them for their curiosity in inquiring into the time of it (Matthew 27:7), and which shows that this kingdom will not be until Christ comes to judge the quick and dead, which time none knows but the Father only (Matthew 24:36), and exactly agrees with this passage.

1g3g. From 2 Timothy 4:1. "I charge you therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and dead at his appearing, and his kingdom." This appearing of Christ cannot be meant of his first appearing in human nature, that was past, this future; that was not to judge the world, this will be: nor did his kingdom then appear, now it will: but of his appearing a second time to those that look for him (Hebrews. 9:28), and then his personal reign, and glorious kingdom will take place, he now personally appearing in his glory; and when he will judge both quick and dead, will virtually judge, as has been before observed, the dead and living saints, by raising the one and changing the other, when he shall descend from Heaven, and thus appear; and the wicked also, by burning their bodies in the general conflagration which now will be, and by shutting up their souls with Satan, in the bottomless pit. And moreover, the actual judgment, both of the righteous and the wicked, will follow on this appearing of his kingdom; the judgment of the saints will be at the beginning of it, and in it, and the judgment of the wicked at the end of it.

1g3h. From Hebrews 2:5. "For unto the angels has he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak;" though the "world to come," may be understood of the gospel dispensation the apostle had been speaking of in the preceding verses, in distinction from the legal, or Jewish dispensation, angels had a concern in; whereas they have none in the ministry of the gospel. And the Jewish dispensation is sometimes called "the world," the end of which fell upon the times of Christ and his apostles (Hebrews 9:26; 1 Cot 10:11), and with respect to which, the gospel dispensation may be called "the world to come," it being usual with the Jews, to call the days of the Messiah by this name; which may take in the whole time between the first and second coming of Christ. But though the apostle may have respect to what he was speaking of in the preceding verses, yet so as to include what he was going on to speak of in the following verses, concerning the second Adam's world; for the proof of which he refers to the eighth Psalm; which is spoken, not of the first Adam, not even in his state of innocence; the name of the Lord was not then so excellent in all the earth as it has been since, and especially will be; nor were there then babes and sucklings, out of whose mouth strength, or praise, could be ordained; nor was Satan, the enemy and avenger, stilled, he soon got the advantage over Adam; nor could Adam be called then Enosh, a frail mortal man, as that word is thought to signify; nor was he a son of man; nor were the works of God's hands so universally put under him as is said, not the angels: but Christ, the second Adam, is meant, with whom everything agrees; though, as yet, all things, in the fullest sense, are not in subjection to him, nor will be, until his second coming, until after the binding of Satan, and the resurrection of the dead; and then the last enemy, death, will be destroyed, and his glorious kingdom take place, which angels will have no concern in; they will be employed at the beginning of it, in gathering together the risen saints; and at the end of it, in casting the wicked into Hell; but not in the kingdom itself; nor will they be needed. Moreover, this world to come, seems to include the new world, the new heavens and the new earth, the apostle Peter speaks of; for his beloved brother Paul, he says, had wrote and spoke of those to the same persons the apostle Peter wrote unto; now he wrote to the converted Jews, scattered abroad in various places, and therefore must refer to the epistle to the Hebrews, written by the apostle Paul; and where, in that epistle, can he be thought to speak of this new world, the heavens and the earth, but in this passage under consideration? and which may be very well rendered, as it is by Dr. Burnets, "the habitable earth to come;" which will be the seat of Christ's personal reign.

I take no notice now of the proof from the passages Revelation 5:10 20:4-6 which are very plain, because I have already made mention of them, and shall have occasion to make more use of them; though Socinius thinks this kingdom cannot be proved from Revelation 20:1-15 since the whole place, he says, must be taken and explained in an allegorical way; but he owns, that should he be asked, what is the allegorical interpretation of it, he is not ashamed to confess his ignorance of it. But that it is to be taken in a literal sense, will appear hereafter.

I go on,

2. To show, that in this glorious, visible, and personal reign of Christ, all the saints will have a share; they will "reign with him" (Revelation 20:4,6). I shall not dwell long on the proof of this; because those scriptures which speak of Christ's kingdom, give plain and clear hints of the reign of his saints in it.

2a. First, there are various passages of scripture, which give plain intimations of the reign of the saints with Christ in his kingdom; these are they which he will then "make princes in all the earth" (Ps 45:16), these, however mean in their original, are, through his grace, set among princes, and shall inherit the throne of glory; and these princes are altogether kings; and being such, shall reign with Christ on earth; for when he, the King, shall "reign in righteousness," these are the "princes" that shall "rule in judgment" (Isaiah 32:1). In the same prophecy of Daniel, which speaks of the kingdom that shall be given to Christ, upon his coming in the clouds of Heaven (Daniel 7:14), it is also said (Daniel 7:27). "And the kingdom, and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom;" all which is expressive of a glorious kingdom under the whole Heaven; and so not a kingdom in Heaven, but under it, on earth, and which will extend to all the earth. Such a kingdom "shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High;" to the people and saints of Christ, who is Jehovah, the most High in all the earth; such a kingdom they never had yet, nor never will have, until the Son of man comes in the clouds of Heaven; "Whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominion shall serve and obey him": which shows, that this kingdom is of the same nature, extent, and duration, with Christ's (Daniel 7:14), and in which the saints will share with him.

Brenius thinks, that by one "like the Son of man" (Daniel 7:13), is not meant Christ personally, but his glorious kingdom in the latter day; that as the four preceding monarchies are represented by beasts, for their fierceness, cruelty, and tyranny; his by a man, for the mildness, gentleness, lenity, and humanity of it: and that coming in the clouds of Heaven, denotes the divine and heavenly original of it not rising out of the sea, or earth, as the other kingdoms: and he supposes the Son of man, and the people of the saints of the most High (Daniel 7:27), to be the same to whom the dominion will be given. There is a passage in Micah 4:7,8 which plainly intimates, that when Christ reigns, his church and people shall reign also; "The Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion, from henceforth even forever;" to which reference seems to be had by the angel, in Luke 1:32 and then it follows; "And you, O tower of the flock, the stronghold of the daughter of Zion;" which may be understood of Christ, the tower and strong hold of his people: "Unto you shall it come, even the first dominion;" he shall have the first, the chief, the principal share in this reign; yet also, "the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem," the church of God, the new Jerusalem, the holy city of the saints. Our Lord tells his disciples, "That you which have followed me," who had embraced him as the Messiah, and received his doctrines, and submitted to his ordinances: here should be a stop, and then another clause begin: "in the regeneration;" meaning, not the grace of regeneration, or the new birth; but a new state of things, the resurrection state: the word παλιγγενεσια, is used by Greek writers, both philosophers and the Christian fathers, for the renovation of the world; and the Syriac version of it here, is, "in the new world," that is, the new heavens and the new earth, the apostle Peter speaks of; in which new state, the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, reign in it before his ancients gloriously; and then "also," adds he, "you shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel;" should have posts and places of honor in the church of God (Matthew 19:28), similar to this, is what Christ says to them in Luke 22:29,30 that as his Father had appointed him a kingdom, so he appointed one to them, in which they should "eat and drink at his table, and sit on thrones," etc. which is expressive of great nearness to him, communion with him in his kingdom, and of great honor conferred upon them. The saying of Christ, in Luke 20:35 refers to this state; where he speaks of some that "shall be counted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead;" by which is meant the world to come, in distinction from this present world (Luke 22:34), even the new world, the apostle Peter's new heavens and new earth, which will take place upon the resurrection of the dead; and they that are worthy of the first resurrection, through the grace of Christ, those shall obtain, possess, inherit, and dwell in the new world, and reign with Christ in it.

The kingdom to be restored to Israel (Acts 1:6), which Christ seems to allow will be, is what will be restored and given to the mystical Israel, even the whole Israel of God, all his elect, consisting of Jews and Gentiles. When the apostle Paul speaks of saints that suffer with Christ, being "glorified together" (Romans 8:17), he elsewhere expresses, by their "reigning with him" (2 Timothy 2:12), and to this reigning together with Christ, he may well be thought to have respect in 1 Corinthians 4:8. "You have reigned as kings without us;" treating him, and his fellow ministers, with some degree of contempt, as if they were below them, and they stood in no need of them: and adds, "I would to God that you did reign," in the best sense, and in the highest degree, even with Christ, in his personal reign; "that we also might reign with you;" in which state the saints will all reign together. Once more, Christ promises (Revelation 3:21). "To him that overcomes, will I grant to sit with me on my throne; even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne": this promise will be made good to every overcomer; to everyone that is made more than a conqueror through Christ; and will be fulfilled in the kingdom state, when he will have a throne of his own; now he sits on his Father's throne with him; then he will sit on his own throne, and this will be large enough for all his saints to sit upon with him; which is as strongly expressive of reigning with him, as words can possibly be. To all which may be added, the relations and characters the saints bear in scripture, which will strengthen the proof of their sharing with Christ in the glories of his kingdom. "They are," and will then appear to be, "the children of God, being the children of the resurrection" (Luke 20:36), as Christ was declared to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead; so they will be declared also to be the sons of God, by their resurrection from the dead; "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ" (Romans 8:17). Christ is heir of all things, and they are joint heirs with him; he is heir of the world, and the world is theirs, Christ being theirs; not the present world, in which they have but a small share; but the world to come, the new world, the world that Abraham was heir of, through the righteousness of faith; as are also all his spiritual seed, even they that are Christ's; and these are heirs according to the promise, and shall inherit the new earth, and reign with Christ in it. The church and people of God, stand in the relation of a bride to Christ, being espoused to him; hence as he is king, the church is queen; and not only stands at his right hand in gold of Ophir, but sits on the same throne with him; and as she bears the same name with him (Jeremiah 23:5,6; 33:16), she shares in his honor, dignity, and glory. The saints have the character of kings, being made so by Christ to God; and they have the regalia of kings, have thrones to sit on, crowns on their heads, and shall not want a kingdom; being kings, they shall reign on earth, and reign with Christ there (Revelation 1:6; 3:21 4:4; 5:10; 20:4).

2b. Secondly, all the saints will share in the glories of Christ's kingdom; though some will have distinguished honors, yet all will reign with Christ. Some think only the martyrs will rise first, and reign; and, according to the opinion of some, not on earth neither; but shall ascend to Heaven, and reign there, while the other saints, during the millennium, are on earth; and which is grounded on a passage in Revelation 20:4. "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them," those next described; "and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God — and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years." That these were martyrs, no doubt is to be made; they suffered death for the testimony they bore to Jesus and his gospel; and by the manner of their death, beheading, it appears that such are designed who suffered under the persecutions of the Roman pagan emperors, this being a Roman punishment; hence the axe used to be carried before the Roman magistrates; and this one sort of death is put for all others that Christians, in those times, were put to: and these souls seem to be the same with those in Revelation 6:9,10 such, indeed, who have been slain in the cause of Christ, shall "live," that is, live again; their bodies shall be raised and united to their souls, and "reign with Christ" in their whole person, body, and soul: but not a word is here said, or elsewhere, of their ascension to Heaven, and reigning there; but, on the contrary, those who are said to dwell with Christ, and he with them, are said to come down from God out of Heaven (Revelation 21:2,3), and that there should be two sorts of persons in the millennium, one in Heaven and the other on earth; or, as others imagine, that there shall be on earth some in an immortal, perfect state, and others in a mortal and imperfect one; some having the word and ordinances among them, and others not, are mere chimeras, for which there is no foundation: and what communion can saints have with each other, who are either at such a distance from one another, or in such different circumstances? and as to the martyrs, it is certain, there are others besides them who shall live and reign with Christ a thousand years: and who are mentioned in the same text; for it follows, "And which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image; neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they," as well as the martyrs before described, "lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years;" these are not represented as sufferers for Christ, only as confessors and professors of his name; who bore their testimony against the papacy, in every shape of it, and did not yield unto it, neither by word nor deed; and may include all such persons, who, in every age and period of time, abstain from all corrupt worship, false doctrines, and ordinances of men. The reason why such who suffered under Rome pagan, and those who submitted not to Rome papal, are particularly pointed at and described, is, because the book of the Revelation is chiefly concerned with the state of the church, from the resurrection of Christ to his second coming. Otherwise, all the Old Testament saints, as well as new, will have a part in the first resurrection, and share in the millennium reign; even all the saints that have been from the beginning of the world, now are, or shall be, to the end of it; for,

2b1. All the saints will come with Christ, who have departed this life, when he comes a second time; this is asserted both in the Old and New Testament (Zechariah 14:5; 1 Thessalonians 3:13 4:14).

2b2. All that are Christ's shall rise from the dead at his coming (1 Corinthians 15:23), and, in consequence of their resurrection, shall reign with him. Now all the people of God, from the beginning of the world to the end of it, all true believers in Christ, are his, belong to him; he has an interest in them, and they in him; and when he comes a second time, they will rise first; and having a part in the first resurrection, shall reign with Christ a thousand years (Revelation 20:4,6).

2b3. All the elect of God, and the redeemed of the Lamb, are kings and priests; and being such, shall reign on earth; those that are a "chosen generation," or who are "elect according to the foreknowledge of God," are a "royal priesthood," or are kings and priests (1 Peter 1:2 2:9), and all that are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, "out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation, are made unto God kings and priests," and "shall reign on earth," on the new earth, with Christ, a thousand years; even all of them, all that are chosen, all that are redeemed (Revelation 5:9,10; 20:6).

2b4. The whole church of God, and the members of it, in every dispensation, shall have a share in the kingdom of Christ. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, will have a seat in it, and multitudes from all parts of the world, and who have lived in different ages, shall come and sit down with them (Matthew 8:11 Luke 11:28,29. The four and twenty elders, the representatives of the gospel church, under the New Testament dispensation, being redeemed out of every nation, and being kings and priests, declare their strong faith that they shall reign on earth; and accordingly, are sometimes represented as having on their heads crowns of gold, as well as clothed in white, the clothing of priests arid princes (Revelation 4:4; 5:9,10). In a word, the whole body of the elect, and redeemed of the Lamb, the church universal, consisting of all its members, not one wanting; and so a bride, completely prepared and adorned for her husband; even the holy city and new Jerusalem, will descend from God, out of Heaven, on earth; arid the tabernacle of God, of Immanuel, will be with them; and he will dwell and reign with them, and they with him (Revelation 21:2,3), compared with Revelation 20:9.

2c. Thirdly, in what sense the saints, even all the saints, will reign with Christ, may be next considered. This will not be after the manner of his spiritual reign among his saints; that is a reign in them, this is a reigning "with" them, and of them with him. His reign of grace takes place at the conversion of men, when, as King, he sets up his throne in their hearts, and reigns there; and such a reign has been from the beginning of the world, as soon as the first man was called by grace; and has continued ever since, more or less, in every dispensation, and will continue until the last man is converted. Nor does this reign we are treating of, take place in the separate state of the soul in Heaven, before the resurrection: that state is expressed, by a "being with Christ" (Luke 23:42; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23), but never, as I remember, by "reigning with him." This reign will not be until the resurrection, until soul and body are reunited; for there can be no proper reigning while the body is under the power of death and the grave, at least not fully and completely: the saints will first "live," that is, live again in their bodies, have a part in the first resurrection, and then reign with Christ, soul and body, a thousand years (Revelation 20:4,6). And so,

2c1. This will be a reign "with Christ" personally and visibly; he will appear in person, and be visible by them; and they shall appear with him, in a most glorious manner, in soul and body; and will be "like him," being glorified, and reigning together with him; and shall see him as he is, personally and visibly, in the glory of his person, as God man, reigning before his ancients gloriously; see Colossians 3:4 and 1 John 3:2.

2c2. This reigning with Christ, implies some kind of share with him in the glories of his kingdom; hence "thrones" are said to be set for them to sit upon; and "judgment given them," which denotes regal power to be exercised by them; yes, they are said to sit on the same throne with Christ, on "his throne," and to "eat and drink at his table, in his kingdom": all which expresses a great share of honor and dignity, and of large enjoyments; see Revelation 20:4; 3:21; Luke 22:30.

2c3. This supposes dominion over all their enemies; as Christ will now have all enemies put under his feet, being subdued by him; so all enemies will be put under the feet of the saints, and they will have dominion over them. "Sin" will now be no more troublesome to them. Their power over sin, in the present state, is expressed rather negatively, by sin "not having dominion over them;" than affirmatively, by their having dominion over sin; nay, they are sometimes so far from it, that they are brought "into captivity by it": but now the straggle for dominion will be over, the warfare will be accomplished, and an entire victory obtained over sin, which will be no more. Satan, and his principalities and powers, though spoiled and bruised by Christ, and triumphed over by him, yet there is a wrestling and combat between the saints and them in the present life; and though the devil cannot devour and destroy them, yet he greatly disturbs and distresses them; but now he will be bruised under their feet also; when he, and his angels, shall be shut up in the bottomless pit, where they will remain during the thousand years Christ and his saints shall reign together in the world, in which the saints have now so much tribulation; and the "wicked" men of it, from whom they meet with so much persecution, in one shape or another, shall be trodden down by them, and be ashes under the soles of their feet, their bodies being burnt up in the general conflagration; and their souls in no capacity to hurt or molest them, being shut up with Satan in the bottomless pit. The last enemy, "death," will now be destroyed, being "swallowed up in victory," by the resurrection of the dead; so that the risen saints, reigning with Christ say, "O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?" and, indeed of this, and every other enemy, they may say, "Thanks be to God, which gives us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ!" 1 Corinthians 15:26,54,55,57.

3. The description of the persons that shall thus reign with Christ, as given Revelation 20:6.

3a. First, they are such who have "part in the first resurrection;" which, what that is, must be inquired into.

3a1. First, this cannot be understood of a spiritual resurrection, or of a resurrection from the death of sin to a life of grace, which men are made partakers of at regeneration; such a resurrection cannot be intended here; for,

3a1a. As this was a vision of something future, that John saw, be it afterwards when it may, it could never be the first resurrection of this sort; since there had been thousands of instances of this, from the beginning of the world to the times of John; and therefore could be nothing uncommon, rare, and wonderful, to be shown him, if this was the case.

3a1b. This can never be the first resurrection, with respect to the persons themselves raised; for they are such who had been raised in this sense before; since they are the souls of such who had suffered for Christ and his gospel, and had bore a testimony against antichrist in every shape; and had refused obedience to him by word or deed: and can it be thought that such persons had not been quickened by the grace of God; or were not raised from the death of sin, before they suffered for the sake of Christ, or professed his name? 3a1c. Persons once raised in this sense, never die again; nor stand in need of being raised a second time; he who lives, and believes in Christ, never dies a spiritual death; grace in him is immortal and incorruptible: and could this possibly be their case, it would not be the first, but a second resurrection.

3a1d. There is no such resurrection after death. Those persons are represented in the vision, as having been slain for their faithful testimony; or as having departed this life, either under Rome pagan or papal; and as they stood in no need of such a resurrection, so if they had, they could not have had it; if a man dies in his sins, he remains in them; if he dies impenitent, and an unbeliever, so he continues; neither faith nor repentance any grace, are given after death.

3a1e. Persons who have been quickened in this sense, or have been spiritually raised from the death of sin, and have lived, never lived corporeally a thousand years; not any of the saints in the patriarchal state, partakers of a spiritual resurrection, even those that lived the longest, not Adam, nor Methuselah, lived to such an age; nor any afterwards to the times of John; nor any since; nor is there any reason to expect that any will in the present state.

3a1f. There will be none to be raised in this sense at the coming of Christ in the last day; the Jews will have been converted, and the fullness of the Gentiles brought in; all that God meant should come to repentance, will now have been brought to it; and when everyone of them is effectually called, or, in other words, raised from a death of sin to a life of grace, then will the day of the Lord come, and the general conflagration take place, in which all the wicked of the earth will be burnt up; and the whole election of grace being gathered in, and the whole church of God completely prepared for Christ her husband, there will remain none to be the subjects of a spiritual resurrection.

3a1g. If this living again before the reign, or at the beginning of the reign of the thousand years, is to be understood of a spiritual resurrection, then the living of the rest of the dead, that is, of the wicked, at the end of the thousand years, must be understood in the same sense, that they shall live a life of grace, being raised from the death of sin; for it is expressly said, "The rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished;" which supposes they will live when they are finished, and live in the same sense as they will who will live at the beginning of them; that is, a corporal life, being raised from the dead; not, surely, a spiritual one.

3a2. Secondly, nor is this first resurrection to be understood in a civil sense, of the resurrection of the martyrs, not in their own persons, but in their successors, or of a revival of the cause for which they suffered; which it is supposed will be, when in the latter day the Jews will be converted, and the fullness of the Gentiles brought in; the conversion of the Jews being represented by a resurrection, by opening their graves, and bringing them out of them, and causing them to live (Ezekiel 37:13,14), and of which some understand Daniel 12:2 and by the apostle Paul called, "life from the dead" (Romans 11:15). But,

3a2a. Though this may be called a resurrection, in a figurative sense, yet it is never called, "the first resurrection;" nor can it be called so, with any propriety; because there have been already revivals of the cause of the martyrs: there was a revival of the cause of them who suffered in the persecutions of the pagan emperors, in the times of Constantine, when paganism was demolished throughout the Roman empire, and Christianity got ground, and flourished everywhere; and there was a revival of the cause of the martyrs and confessors under Rome papal, at the time of the reformation; when whole nations, even many of the European nations, fell off from popery, and embraced the truths of the gospel; so that, admitting the time referred to may be called the revival of the cause of the martyrs, it cannot be said to be the "first," but rather the "third" resurrection. Besides, a first resurrection, supposes a second, of the same kind. Now after the conversion of the Jews, and the great spread of the gospel among the Gentiles, what further reviving of the cause of Christ is there to be expected in the present state, that can be called a second resurrection? 3a2b. Those that shall have part in the first resurrection, are expressly the same persons who really existed in the times of Rome pagan, and Rome papal, and not any successors of theirs, of whom the same things cannot be said as are of them; nor in the times referred to, will there be any persons similar, and answerable to the martyrs and confessors described; since there will be no antichrist to suffer from, nor to bear a testimony against; for the kingdoms of this world, both pagan, papal, and Mohammedan, will now become the kingdoms of Christ, and serve him.

3a2c. The time of the conversion of the Jews, and of the Gentiles, will be over before this first resurrection takes place; and an account is given of those events in the book of the Revelation, before this resurrection and millennium state. They are signified, partly, by the ascension of the witnesses to Heaven; and partly by the kingdoms of this world becoming Christ's (Revelation 11:12,15), and particularly, the conversion of the Jews, by the marriage of the Lamb being come (Revelation 19:7-9).

3a2d. The resurrection of the cause of Christ, as in the conversion of the Jews, and the accession of the Gentiles, and this first resurrection, are assigned and belong to two different periods; the events relating to the Jews and Gentiles, will be upon the destruction of the Pope and Turk, at the sounding of the seventh trumpet, and the pouring out of the sixth and seventh vials, and when all the anti-Christian kings and states will be destroyed: but the events of the first resurrection, and the millennium, will be not only after the destruction of antichrist, but after the binding and shutting up of Satan and his angels, with the wicked, in the bottomless pit, and after the burning of the world; and not before.

3a2e. If the first resurrection could be understood of the revival of the cause of the martyrs, at the beginning of the millennium, it would follow, that there will also be a revival of it among the rest of the dead, or the wicked, at the end of it; since it is suggested, that they shall then live: but this is not only altogether improbable, but the reverse is the truth; for they will gather together in a body, and encompass the camp of the saints, the beloved city, with an intention to destroy it: it remains, therefore,

3a3. Thirdly, that this first resurrection is to be understood literally and properly, of a corporal one; for,

3a3a. This resurrection is of such who died a corporal death, either a violent one, being slain for their testimony for Christ and the gospel; or in a natural way, not having given into anti-Christian principles and practices; and therefore their living again, or their resurrection, which is called the first, must be a corporal resurrection; for as is their death, so must be their resurrection from the dead. The souls slain, cannot be understood of such, distinctly considered; for they die not, and cannot be said to be raised again; but of the persons of men with respect to their bodies, which only die, and are the proper subjects of a resurrection; and which being raised, are united to their souls, and live; and so the whole person lives.

3a3b. Of such a resurrection, is the living again of the wicked dead, at the end of the millennium; for as their living then cannot be interpreted, neither of a spiritual resurrection, nor of a civil one, it must be of a corporal one; and if theirs, who are the rest of the dead, is a corporal one, then those who lived before them, being raised from the dead, must be a corporal one likewise; for that one part of the dead should be raised, and live in one sense; and the rest be raised and live in another sense, is not reasonable to suppose.

3a3c. It is a resurrection, which, by way of emphasis, is called, "the resurrection," which some persons are "worthy" of, and others are not; or, "the resurrection which is out of," or "from among the dead;" the wicked dead, leaving them to continue under the power of death for a longer time; and this is the resurrection the apostle was so desirous of attaining to (Philippians 3:11), where he uses a different word, than what is commonly used of the resurrection; it being "a better resurrection" (Hebrews 11:35), the resurrection of the just, which is better than that of the wicked, being unto life, and "through Jesus" (Acts 4:2), through union to him; and of which he is the example and first fruits.

3a3d. The resurrection in the text has a double article, which makes it the more emphatical, and points at what resurrection is meant, "The resurrection, the first;" that which is the first, with respect to the wicked, whose resurrection can be no other than corporal, and therefore this must be so too. And this may be confirmed by other passages of scripture; as by Psalm 49:14. "The upright shall have dominion over them," the wicked; they rising first in the morning of the day of the resurrection; and the wicked in the evening, or at the end of that day: and especially by 1 Thessalonians 4:16. The dead in Christ shall rise first; this can be understood of no other than a corporal resurrection, which will be at the second coming of Christ; nor of any other but of the saints who die in Christ, in union with him; and of their rising before the wicked, who die not in him, but in their sins; and not of their rising before the change of the living saints, as some think; for the resurrection of the dead in Christ, and the change of the living saints, will both be together, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" (1 Corinthians 15:52), and so not one before another. Nor are the several particular resurrections mentioned in scripture, any objection to the resurrection of the saints first; since these were not a resurrection to an immortal life; and besides, would lie as strongly against Christ being the "first" that rose from the dead (Acts 26:23). Nor is the resurrection of the saints, at the resurrection of Christ, any objection to it (Matthew 27:52,53), for whether or no they rose to an immortal life, is a question; and if they did, which is not improbable, theirs was only a presage and pledge of the general resurrection of the just, which is the first; and that of the wicked, the second.

3a3e. Nor are the passages in Daniel 12:2 and John 5:28,29 to be objected to a first and second corporal resurrection, and to such a distance of time between them as that of a thousand years; the resurrection of good and evil men being mentioned together, as if they were events that took place at the same time; since, in prophecies especially, as these are, things are often laid together, which are fulfilled separately, and at a distance from each other; as some concerning the first and second coming of Christ; and also concerning his spiritual and personal reign. Besides, these passages may be considered as perfectly agreeing with, and as expressive of this twofold resurrection, as to the time thereof; thus the prophet Daniel says, "Many shall awake," or rise from the dead; that is, "all;" but not at the same time, nor to the same end; "some" of these shall awake, or arise, at the beginning of the thousand years, "to everlasting life;" and "some," at the end of them, "to shame and everlasting contempt": and so our Lord says in the other passage; "The hour is coming;" the word ωρα ωωρραα ωρα, does not always signify that part of time which is sometimes called an hour; but "time" in general, and a very long time too; see 1 John 2:18 and Revelation 17:12 and so here; "The time is coming," the time of the millennium; within the compass of which "all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life," at the beginning of the said hour, or time: "and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation," at the end of it.

3a3f. The apostle John, when, in the context, speaking of the resurrection from the dead, says, "they lived," that is, rose from the dead; "but the rest of the dead lived not again," did not rise again from the dead until afterwards; speaks in the language of his nation; nothing is more common with the Jews, than to call a corporal resurrection "the quickening of the dead," or causing them to live. And is agreeable to the sacred scriptures (Isaiah 26:19; Hosea 6:2; Romans 4:17). Now since only such who have part in the first resurrection, and which is a corporal one, will reign with Christ a thousand years; the millennium reign will be a reign only of risen saints, in a perfect state, and who will not be in a mortal and sinful one; so that here will be no conversion work, and so no need of the word and ordinances; and much less will there be an indulgence to carnal pleasures.

3b. Secondly, another part of the description of those that shall reign with Christ in the millennium, and which shows their happiness, is, "On such the second death has no power": the phrase, "the second death," is only used in the book of the Revelation, and was common with the Jews, and what John was well acquainted with, and is frequently to be met with in their writings; what is meant by it, may be seen in Revelation 20:14 21:8 and is no other than the punishment of body and soul in Hell; an eternal separation of both from God; and is called the "second" death, in distinction from the death of the body, which is the first death, and lies in a separation of the soul from the body: now to be free and secure from such a death, must be a great happiness; and this all in the millennium state will enjoy, and for evermore.

3c. Thirdly, those that will share in the millennium reign with Christ, will be "priests of God and of Christ;" that is, made priests to God by Christ; shall serve the Lord as the priests in the temple did; draw near to him, and offer up the sacrifices of praise continually; they will be a royal priesthood, both kings and priests; as in Revelation 1:6 5:10 like Christ their head, who is a Priest on his throne; and as his type, Melchizedek, who was king of Salem, and priest of the most high God: nor has it been unusual, in the nations of the earth, for men to be both kings and priests; and certain it is, that those in the millennium are priests, that shall reign as kings; and the same word, in the Hebrew language, signifies both priests and princes.

3d. Fourthly, upon the whole, it is no wonder that they are pronounced "blessed" and "holy": they must needs be "blessed," since they will be always before the throne, and serve the Lord day and night, and hunger and thirst no more; shall be free from evils of every kind, and from death in every shape, and of every sort; and shall be in the perfect enjoyment of the presence of Christ. And they will be holy in body, being raised in purity, in incorruption, and in glory, like the glorious body of Christ; and in soul, being perfectly sanctified, and entirely free from sin, from the being of it, and all defilement by it; see Revelation 21:27.

4. The continuance and duration of the reign of Christ and the saints together, which will be a "thousand years." The things to be inquired into are, whether these years are to be understood definitely, or indefinitely? and whether they are past, or yet to come? 4a. First, whether they are to be taken indefinitely, for an uncertain number; or definitely, for an exact, precise, determinate time literally.

4a1. One ancient writer understands the words indefinitely, for a long time, even from the first coming of Christ to the end of the world; a long time indeed! longer than the thousand years themselves; for more than nine hundred years above a thousand, have run out already. Another, indeed, interprets them of the ages of eternity; for which Psalm 105:8 is quoted; but whatever may be the sense of that text, it cannot be the sense of the millennium reign, for that will have an end; it is expressly said, "The rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished" (Revelation 20:5), and of Christ's reign and kingdom in them, there will be an end, when he will deliver up the kingdom to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24), or else, as the same ancient writer thinks, the latter part of the last thousandth year of the world may be meant, a part being put for the whole. But however indefinitely this phrase may be sometimes so understood, as in 1 Samuel 18:7 and Psalm 91:7 it cannot be so taken in the passages relating to the binding of Satan, and the reign of Christ and his saints; but must,

4a2. Be interpreted definitely and literally, of a precise, determinate space of time; better reasons for which cannot be well given, than are by a writer in the seventeenth century, though not in the scheme of the personal reign of Christ a thousand years; which are as follow,

4a2a. Because when there is no necessity to take a scripture in a figurative sense, we are to receive it in the letter; but neither the scope of the place, nor the analogy of faith, nor other scriptures, lay any such necessity upon us, so to take it.

4a2b. Because this same space is so often repeated by the Spirit, to which we should take the more earnest heed, as matter of instruction and information (and so fix it on the mind the more strongly) for thrice it is said, Satan was bound a thousand year's, and afterwards loosed (Revelation 20:2,3,7), twice it is said, the saints shall reign a thousand years (Revelation 20:4,6), once, that the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished (Revelation 20:5), in all six times.

4a2c. The emphasis put upon the phrase. Pareus well observes, that in Revelation 20:2,6 the thousand years are without an article, χιλια ετη χχιιλλιιαα εεττηη χιλια ετη, "a thousand years;" but in the other places, "four" times, with an article, τα χιλια ετη τα χιλια ετη τα χιλια ετη τα χιλια ετη, "these thousand years;" these emphatically, these precise thousand years. As if he should say, Satan's imprisonment shall continue a thousand years; the martyrs shall live and reign with Christ during these thousand years, and afterwards he shall be loosed.

4a2d. The parts to which this number is applied, are so cemented together, as cause and effect, distinction and opposition, that they very much strengthen and prove that just account of a thousand years; namely, Satan is bound a thousand years, that he should not deceive the nations until the same thousand years be fulfilled; then the saints lived and reigned a thousand years with Christ, that same thousand years: but the rest of the dead lived not again until these thousand years were finished; while the holy ones, as their happiness, made priests of God and of Christ, reign with Christ a thousand years: to which may be added, that these thousand years are bounded both at the beginning and end: they are bounded by the binding of Satan at the beginning of them, and by loosing of him at the end of them (Revelation 20:2,7), and they are bounded by two resurrections; by the first resurrection of the saints, and the reign of them with Christ upon it; and by the second resurrection, or the resurrection of the wicked, at the close thereof. The next inquiry is,

4b. Secondly, whether these thousand years are past or to come? To the solution of which, this observation is necessary, that the binding of Satan, and the reign of Christ, are contemporary; that the same thousand years Satan is bound, Christ and his saints reign together; the thousand years of the one, and the thousand years of the other, run parallel with each other: and it is further to be observed, and what will contribute greatly to the settling of this point, and even to the decision of it, that by the binding of Satan is meant, an entire and absolute confinement of him, and of all his angels, in the bottomless pit; so that he and they will not be able "to deceive the nations" any more, until the thousand years are ended; that is, not be able to draw them into idolatry, to fill them with bad principles, and lead them into bad practices, and to stir them up to make war with the saints, and persecute them; and so by any, and all of these ways, deceive; during which time, the church and people of God must be in a state of purity and peace. Now if any such time can be shown, in which the nations of the world, not any of them, were not so far under the influence and deception of Satan, as not to be drawn into idolatry; nor to embrace false doctrines, and go into evil practices; nor to be excited to persecute the saints, for the space of a thousand years; and that the church of Christ, during such a time, has been in a state of perfect purity and peace; free from being disturbed and distressed by idolaters, heretics, and persecutors; then may these thousand years be said to be past; but if this cannot be made to appear, then most certainly they are yet to come.

Let us put this to the trial; which will he best done by considering the several epochs, or periods, from whence these thousand years have been dated. As,

4b1. First, from the birth of Christ, who came to destroy the works of the devil, and before whom Satan fell as lightning from Heaven; yet this falls short of the binding and casting him into the bottomless pit: whoever considers the state of the Gentile world when Christ came, being under the power of the God of this world, the nations thereof being left to walk in their own ways; nay, Christ forbade his disciples going into any of the cities of the Gentiles; nor had they a commission to preach the gospel to all nations, until after his resurrection from the dead; who, I say, that considers these things, can ever imagine that Satan was now bound? And if we look into the state of the Jewish nation and church, how sadly corrupted in their morals, being a wicked and an adulterous generation, and depraved in their religious sentiments; neglecting the word of God, and preferring the traditions of the elders to it; rejecting Christ, when he came to them with all the marks and characters of the true Messiah, and treating him with the utmost indignation and contempt; and were, as cur Lord says, "of their father the devil," and his "lusts" they would "do;" there can be no reason to believe that Satan was now bound. His many attacks on the person and life of Christ show the contrary; as his putting Herod on seeking the young child's life to destroy it, in his infancy; and to make that carnage of the infants in, and about Bethlehem, he did; his tempting him in the wilderness, in the manner he did, which was bold, daring, and insolent; instigating the scribes and Pharisees to lay hands on him, and kill him, marching towards him as the prince of the world, and combating with him in the garden; and putting it into the heart of Judas to betray him; and stirring up the people of all sorts to he pressing to the Roman governor, for the crucifixion of him, and by which means he was brought to the dust of death. And though, indeed, Satan was dispossessed of the bodies of men, which possession shows he was not bound; yet when dispossessed he was not bound; and cast into the bottomless pit, but was suffered to go and rove about where he pleased; and though Christ, by his death, destroyed Satan, who had the power of death, and spoiled his principalities and powers, and ruined his works; yet all this did not amount to a binding and confinement of his person in prison.

4b2. Secondly, Others date these thousand years of Satan's binding from the resurrection of Christ; when it is true, Christ ascended on high, and led captivity captive, and poured down his Spirit upon his apostles, on the day of Pentecost, whereby they were wonderfully fitted to preach his gospel; and accordingly preached it with great success, both in Judea and in the Gentile world; but still Satan was not bound. Not in Judea; for in the first and purest Christian church, he filled the hearts of Ananias and Sapphira to lie against the Holy Spirit. He stirred up the Jews to lay hold on the apostles, and put them in prison; and to stone Stephen the proto-martyr; he raised a violent persecution against the church at Jerusalem, and havoc was made of it, and men and women hauled to prison; he put Herod upon killing James the brother of John, and committing Peter to prison. And whereas the ministers of the word went into other countries, preaching the gospel, the Jews, under the instigation of Satan, stirred up the people against them wherever they came; as at Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, Thessalonica, and other places; and what the Christian Hebrews suffered from them, may be seen in Hebrews 10:32,33. Nor was Satan bound in the Gentile world; for though the gospel made its way into divers countries and cities, to the conversion of many souls, and the forming of many churches; yet heathenism, under the influence of the God of this world, was the prevailing religion everywhere; and the sect of the Christians was everywhere spoken against; and the apostles and ministers of the word, were everywhere persecuted; bonds and imprisonment waited for them in all places; and all the apostles suffered death for the sake of the gospel; see the account the apostle gives of himself and others, in 1 Corinthians 4:9,12,13.

4b3. Thirdly, others begin these thousand years of Satan's binding at the destruction of Jerusalem, which was very dreadful; in the siege of it eleven hundred thousand men perished; and when such insurrections, internal quarrels, seditions, murders, and scenes of iniquity were among the Jews themselves, Satan could never be thought to be bound then; and after it, though things took a different turn with the Jews, and in favor of the Christians, in Judea and elsewhere; the Jews, though they had the same ill will to them, had not the same power against them; yet they themselves manifestly appeared to be under the deception of Satan, by their giving heed to false prophets, and false christs, which our Lord foretold would arise; witness Bar Cochab, a false messiah, who rose up in the times of Trajan, whom the Jews embracing, rebelled against the empire, which brought a war upon them in which fifty eight thousand were slain; and under the same deception by false messiahs, and under the same blindness and hardness of heart, and malice against Christ and his gospel, have they continued to this day. And as for the Gentile world, though the gospel got ground everywhere, and multitudes of souls were converted, and the Gentile oracles were struck dumb; the temples almost desolate, and worship in them was intermitted; yet Gentilism continued to be the prevailing religion throughout the Roman empire, until the times of Constantine, at the beginning of the fourth century; as appears by the persecutions of the Christians by the Roman emperors: the first persecution was under Nero; this was indeed a little before the destruction of Jerusalem; the occasion of it was this, he himself set fire to the city of Rome, and then, under the instigation of Satan, charged it upon the Christians, whom he most inhumanly racked and tortured, and put to the most cruel deaths that could be invented.

The tenth and last persecution was under Diocletian, a little before the times of Constantine; his area was called by the Egyptians the area of the martyrs; the whole world was imbrued with their blood; and the world was more exhausted of men thereby than by any war, as the historian says; it was the longest and most severe, it lasted "ten" years; and perhaps, in allusion to the ten persecutions, or to the ten years of the last persecution, it is said in Revelation 2:10. "The devil shall cast some of you into prison, and you shall have tribulation ten days;" and if the devil cast the saints into prison, he himself could not be bound and cast into prison; nor could this be their reigning time; nay Diocletian thought he had got an entire victory over the Christians, and therefore set up pillars, in some parts of the empire, signifying that the Christian name was blotted out, and the superstition of Christ everywhere destroyed, as he called it; and the worship of the gods propagated; so far was Satan from being bound, that he triumphed over Christ and his cause: and that he could not be bound in this period of time, appears by the multitude of heathen deities worshiped; the number not only of heathen philosophers among the Greeks and Romans, but of the Magi in the east, and of the Druids in the west, and of the Brahmins among the Indians; also from the vile and false charges brought by the heathens under the influence of Satan against the Christians, of idolatries, murders, incests, impurities, and unheard of crimes; which obliged their writers, as Justin Martyr, Tertuilian, etc. to write apologies in the defense of them; to which may be added, the scoffs and flouts, the malice and blasphemy of the heathen writers against Christ and the Christian religion, as Crescens, Lucian, Celsus and Porphyry: and if we look into the Christian church in the three first centuries, how it was harassed and distressed with heretics and heresies, we shall soon be convinced that Satan was not bound, nor Christ's reign began; to reckon up only the names of them from Simon Magus to Sabellius, would fill up a page; some denying the doctrine of the Trinity; some the distinct personality in the Deity; some the person of Christ, either his real humanity or his proper Deity, or divine Sonship; as vile a set of men now were, for corruption in doctrine and practice, as perhaps ever was, and may truly be called a "synagogue of Satan," as they seem to be in Revelation 2:9 in the times of these men therefore the devil could never be said to be bound, when he had a synagogue of them.

4b4. Fourthly, others begin the date of Satan's binding, and Christ's reigning, from the times of Constantine; and reckoning the thousand years from hence they will reach to the beginning of the fourteenth century. Those who go this way suppose the vision in Revelation 12:1-17 and that in Revelation 20:1-15 to be the same, which cannot be; that in the former respects the imperial dragon, or the papal empire under the influence of Satan; the latter the person of the devil himself, with his angels; the former respects a battle in Heaven, the latter a combat on earth; the former represents Satan as east out of Heaven on earth, the latter as cast out of the earth into the bottomless pit; the former says nothing of the binding and shutting up of Satan, the latter does; the former speaks of him after his casting down, as at liberty to go about in the earth and distress the nations, and annoy the church; but the latter as in such confinement as to be able to do neither: but that Satan could not be bound, nor the reign of Christ take place in the above period of time is manifest; for though upon Constantine's coming to the throne, and declaring himself a Christian, the Christian religion lift up its head, and flourished greatly with respect to numbers, wealth, riches, and grandeur, yet all its outward greatness in the issue ended in its ruin; and though heathenism was demolished throughout the empire, and pagan temples shut up, yet pagan rites and ceremonies were introduced into the church, and gradually prevailed; and especially when the man of sin was revealed, so that the followers of antichrist go by the name of Gentiles (Revelation 11:2). That the devil was not now bound, appears by the flood he cast out of his mouth to destroy the woman, the church, who was obliged to disappear and flee into the wilderness, the remnant of whose seed he persecuted (Revelation 12:13-17), by which flood is meant either a flood of heresies, as those of the Arians, Nestorians, Eutychians, Macedoninns, and Pelagians, which sadly infested and disturbed the churches; or a flood of persecution, particularly by the Arians, which was begun by Constantine himself; who, as the historian says, exercised "vin persecutionis," towards the latter end of his life, being imposed upon: and this was carried on with great violence by his sons, Constantius and Valens, who embraced that heresy; and in after times by some of the northern nations, who broke into the empire, and became Arians. In the reign of Julian, which, though but short, heathenism was in a great measure restored, and many diabolical arts were used by him to revive paganism, and extirpate Christianity; the schools of the Christians forbid, their temples shut up, and those of the heathens opened. These, with his attempt, in favor of the Jews, to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem, in spite of prophecy, and his outrageous blasphemies against the Galilean, as he used to call our Lord, plainly show that Satan was not bound.

The irruptions of the Goths and Vandals, and other northern nations, into the empire, and the destruction they made in church and state, is a full proof of this. Within this interval of time antichrist rose up, and manifestly appeared; whose coming was after the working of Satan, with all powers and signs, and lying wonders; whose followers give heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; and who worship devils, and idols of gold and silver; and whose reign is to continue one thousand two hundred and sixty days or years, and so not yet at an end: and while antichrist reigns, Christ's reign cannot take place, nor Satan be bound. Also much about the same time, that vile impostor Mahomet, under the instigation of the devil, arose; when the bottomless pit was opened, and then Satan surely could not lie bound in it; out of which came the smoke of the absurd Alkoran, which darkened the sun and moon, the light of great part of the world; and from whence came his locusts, the Saracens, which, for some centuries, greatly afflicted the Christian empire, whose king was called Abaddon, and Apollyon (Revelation 9:11), as did the Turks after them, whose empire was set up in the beginning of the fourteenth century, and continued to distress Europe until the latter end of the last. And now, so long as Mohammadanism prevails over so large a part of the world as it does, the thousand years reign, and the binding of Satan, cannot be expected. To which may be added, the persecutions of the Waldenses and Albigenses, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, by the papal antichrist, and which have been exercised on them, even in the last century, in the valleys of Piedmont, show that Satan cannot be bound. And as to the state of heathenism, it will appear, by consulting the Magdeburgensian centuriators, that it has subsisted in various parts of the world, throughout all the centuries, from Constantine to the fourteenth century; and about the end of the fifteenth, when America was first discovered, in what state were the inhabitants of it? Idolaters: yes, they worshiped the devil in some places in the West Indies; as the inhabitants of the East Indies, and others in North and South America: and how many nations and kingdoms, both in America and in the East Indies, are, at this day, under the power of heathenism? And it was a calculation made by some in the last century, that if the whole known world, was divided into thirty equal parts, nineteen of them would be found idolatrous Gentiles. Surely then Satan cannot be bound, so as not to deceive the nations.

4b5. Fifthly, some begin the thousand years reign, and the binding of Satan, at the reformation from popery; but whether the date is from Wicklift, John Huss, and Jerome of Prague, or from Luther; they all of them either suffered death, or met with great inhumanity and ill treatment, from the instruments of Satan, and therefore he could not be bound; and great numbers of their followers were persecuted unto death. Since the reformation, were the massacre in Paris, when ten thousand Protestants were murdered in one night, and seventy thousand in seven days time: and the many martyrs burnt here in England, in queen Mary's reign; and the massacre in Ireland, in which two hundred thousand perished; all under an hellish influence, are clear demonstrations that Satan was not bound. Besides, though various nations, at the reformation, fell from popery, yet all did not, and some have revolted to it since; and whoever considers the great decline of religion in our day, the increase of popery, and the spread of errors and heresy among us, and the great profaneness and immorality that prevail, can never think that Satan is bound, or that the millennium is begun. Upon the whole, it must clearly appear, that there never as yet has been such a time, in which it could be said, that Satan had no power to deceive the nations, either by drawing them into idolatry, and other bad principles, or into persecuting practices; nor any time in which the church of Christ has been in a state of purity and peace, free from idolatry, heresy, and persecution; wherefore it may be strongly concluded, that Satan is not yet bound; and that Christ's kingdom is not yet come; nor are these things to be expected in the present state.

The spiritual reign in the latter day bids fairest for it; and which, indeed, is a branch of Christ's kingdom, when both Pope and Turk will be destroyed; but then Satan will only be destroyed in his instruments, but not in his person bound. Besides, the spiritual and personal reign of Christ, though branches of his kingdom, belong to different periods; and will not both take place in the present state; the spiritual reign will be in the present earth, and of saints in a sinful, mortal state, and in the use of ordinances: but the millennium reign will be on the new earth, and of saints in a risen perfect state, standing in no need of ordinances, as now. The millennium reign will not be until after the first resurrection; and the first resurrection will not be until the second coining of Christ, when the dead in him shall rise first. The personal reign of Christ will not be until the new heavens and the new earth are made, which will be the seat of it; and these will not be until the present heavens and earth are dissolved and burnt up; and this conflagration will not be until Christ comes a second time. The reign of Christ with his saints, will not be until Satan is bound, as well as antichrist destroyed; and Satan will not be bound, until Christ, the mighty angel, descends from Heaven to earth, which will not be until the end of the world.

5a. I close all, with an answer to a few of the principal objections to the above scheme; and to two or three questions relative to the same.

5a. First, to objections. As,

5a1. It may be objected, to what purpose will Satan be bound a thousand years to prevent his deception of the nations, when there will be no nations to be deceived by him during that time, since the wicked will be all destroyed in the general conflagration; and the saints will be with Christ, out of the reach of temptation and seduction? I answer, this will not be the case at the first binding of Satan, which is the first thing Christ will do when he descends from Heaven; first bind Satan, then raise the righteous dead, and change the living saints, and take both to himself; and then burn the world: but as the time between the binding of Satan, and the burning of the world, may be but short, I lay no stress on this. Let it be observed, that the same nations, Satan, by being bound, is prevented from deceiving any more, until the thousand years are ended, are those that will be deceived by him after his being loosed; as appears by comparing Revelation 20:3 with Revelation 20:8 and to prevent their being deceived by him, and put upon schemes to the disturbance of the saints, in their reign with Christ, he and they, that is, their separate spirits, will be shut up together in the bottomless pit; so that the one will be in a state of inactivity, and incapable of tempting and deceiving; and the other in a case and condition not susceptible of temptation and seduction; and both will have enough to do to grapple with their dreadful torments in this confined state; the one will not be at leisure to propose a mischievous scheme, nor the other to hearken to it; and Satan will full well know, that should he form a scheme, it would be impossible to put it in execution in their present circumstances. That the wicked, in an immortal state, are capable of being tempted and deceived by Satan, appears by a fact, after the loosing of him; for which reason it was necessary he should be bound during the thousand years: and that the saints, in an immortal state, are not exempt from attempts upon them, by him and his emissaries, only when he is under absolute confinement, which made it necessary, during the said term of time; and which will be his case after this affair is over, to all eternity.

5a2. That though the saints are said to reign with Christ a thousand years (Revelation 20:4,6), yet they are not there said to reign "on earth." But it is elsewhere said, the meek shall inherit the earth; and righteousness, or righteous men, shall dwell in the "new earth;" and the redeemed of the Lamb, who are made kings and priests unto God, shall "reign on earth;" and they are the same with the priests of God and Christ, that shall reign with him a thousand years. Besides, it appears from the context, that this reign will be on earth; the angel that descends from Heaven to bind Satan, descends on earth; the binding of Satan will be on earth; for there he deceived the nations before, and will after his loosing: the resurrection, and living again of the dead, will be on earth; and so, in course, their reign with Christ there. Besides, they are manifestly the camp of the saints, the beloved city, the Gog and Magog army will encompass, who will come up on the "breadth of the earth;" and therefore the saints, the beloved city, must be on earth; and who are no other than the holy city John saw come down from God out of Heaven, that is, on earth, where the tabernacle of God will be with them (Revelation 21:2,3).

5a3. It is objected to the personal reign of Christ with the saints on earth, that they, by reason of the frailty of nature, will be unfit to converse with Christ, in his glorious human nature; but, like the apostles Paul and John, who, when he appeared to them, fell down at his feet, either trembling or as dead. But this objection proceeds upon a supposition, that the saints will then be in a sinful, mortal state; which will not be the case; but as their souls will be perfectly sanctified, so their bodies will be raised in incorruption, power, and glory, and fashioned like to the glorious body of Christ, and so fit to converse with him in it; yes, more so than separate souls in Heaven.

5a4. It is suggested, that for the saints to come down from Heaven, and leave their happy state there, and dwell on earth, must be a diminishing of their happiness, and greatly detract from it. No such thing; for Christ will come with them; all the saints will come with him, and dwell and reign with him; and where he is, Heaven is, happiness is. Did Moses and Elijah lose any of their happiness when they came down from Heaven, and conversed with Christ on the mount, at his transfiguration? None at all. No more will the saints, by being and reigning with Christ on earth, in a more glorified state than he was then in: yes, so far from being lessened hereby, that the happiness of the saints will be increased; their bodies will be raised, and united to their souls, they had been in expectation of, to complete their happiness: and this being now done, they will be more like to Christ, and more fit to converse with him. At the death of Christ, he committed his human spirit, or soul, to his Father, and it was that day in paradise; on the third day, when he rose, his soul returned, reentered, and was reunited to his body; and after his resurrection, he continued on earth forty days, showing himself to, and conversing with his disciples. During this time, was his soul less happy than before his resurrection? yes, was it not more so?

5a5. The bodies of the wicked lying in the earth until the thousand years are ended, may be objected to the purity of the new earth, and to the glory of the state of the saints upon it. The purification of it by fire, will, indeed, only affect the surrounding air, and the surface of the earth, or little more, and the figure of it, and its external qualities and circumstances; and not the matter and substance of it, which will remain the same. And as for the bodies of the wicked, that will have been interred in it from the beginning of the world to the end of it, those will be long reduced to their original earth, and will be neither morally impure, nor naturally offensive; and if anything of the latter could be conceived of, the purifying fire may reach so far as entirely to remove that; and as for the bodies of the wicked, which will be burnt to ashes at the conflagration, how those ashes, and the ruins of the old world after the burning, will be disposed of, by the almighty power, and all wise providence of God, it is not easy to say; it is very probable they will be disposed of underground: and this will be so far from detracting from the glorious inhabitation and reigning of the saints with Christ upon it, that it will greatly add to the glory of that triumphant reign; for now all the wicked that ever were in the world, will be under the feet of the saints in the most literal sense; now they will not only tread upon the wicked as ashes, but tread upon the very ashes of the wicked; and so the prophecy in Malachi 4:3 will be literally fulfilled, which respects this very case.

Secondly, to questions.

5b1. What will become of the new earth, after the thousand years of the reign of Christ and his saints on it are ended? whether it will be annihilated or not? My mind has been at an uncertainty about this matter; sometimes inclining one way, and sometimes another; because of the seeming different accounts of it in Isaiah 66:22 where it is said to "remain" before the Lord, and in Revelation 20:11 where it is said to "flee away" from the face of the judge; as may be seen by my "notes" on both places, and by a "correction" at the end of the "fourth" volume on the Old Testament; but my last and present thoughts are, that it will continue forever; and that the passage in Revelation 20:11 is a rhetorical exaggeration of the glory and greatness of the judge, which appeared such to John in the vision, that the heavens and earth could not bear it, and therefore "seemed" to disappear; the phrase, "from whose face," which is unusual, seems to suggest and confirm it. I am of opinion therefore, that the new earth will be a sort of an apartment to Heaven, where the saints will pass and repass at their pleasure; and which agrees with other scriptures, which speak of the saints dwelling on, and inheriting the earth forever.

5b2. Who the Gog and Magog army are, that shall encompass the camp of the saints, when the thousand years are ended? What makes an answer to this the more difficult is, that at the general conflagration of the present earth, all the wicked in it will be burnt up, and none but righteous persons will dwell in the new earth; it is to no purpose therefore, to think of Turks, Tartarinns, Scythians, and other barbarous nations, types of these; nor of any remains of the wicked who escaped the general destruction, as supposed; nor of such frightened at the first appearance of Christ, who fled to the remotest parts, and now resume their courage, and come forth: it is a strange absurd notion of Dr. Burnet, that these will be men born of the earth, generated from the slime of the ground, and the heat of the sun; and increasing and multiplying after the manner of men, by carnal propagation, after a thousand years will become very numerous, as the sand of the sea, and make the attack they are said to do. But there is no need to have recourse to so gross an expedient as this: the persons are at hand, and easy to be met with; they are "the rest of the dead," the wicked, who live not until the thousand years are ended; and then will live, being raised from the dead, even all the wicked that have been from the beginning of the world; which accounts for their number being as the sand of the sea: and these rising where they died, and were buried, will be in and come from the four quarters of the world; and as they died enemies to Christ, and his saints, they will rise such; Hell and the grave will make no change in them; and as they laid down with the "weapons of war, their swords under their heads," they will be in a readiness, and rise with the same malicious and revengeful spirit; and though it will be a mad enterprise, to attack saints in an immortal state, who cannot die; and Christ, the King of kings, at the head of them; yet when it is considered, that they will rise as weak and feeble: as unable to resist temptation, and as capable of deception as ever; and what with being buoyed up with their own number, and the posse of devils at the head of them; and especially considering the desperateness of their case, and this their last struggle to deliver themselves from eternal ruin; it may not so much be wondered at, that they should engage in this strange undertaking.

5b3. What the fire will be, which shall come down from Heaven, and destroy the Gog and Magog army? Not material fire; but the wrath and indignation of God, which will be let down into their consciences; and which will so terrify and dispirit them, that they will at once desist froth their undertaking; like the builders of the tower of Babel, when the Lord not only confounded their language, but smote their consciences for their impiety. The issue of all this will be, the casting of the devil and his angels into the lake of fire, where the beast and false prophet are; and the everlasting destruction of the wicked, soul and body, in the same, after the general judgment is over; which is the next thing to be considered.

 

Chapter 9.

OF THE LAST AND GENERAL JUDGMENT

With respect to the last and general judgment, the things to be considered are,

1. The proof of a general judgment: and it may be observed, that there will be a judgment of men in a future state; which is twofold.

1a. A particular one; and which passes upon particular persons immediately after death; and to which it is generally thought the apostle has respect in Hebrews 9:27. "But after this", that is, death, "the judgment"; though if the words are to be connected with what follows, they may respect the judgment that will be at the second coming of Christ. However, it seems probable enough, if not certain, that whereas at death the body returns to the earth, and the spirit, or soul, to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7) that then it passes under a judgment, and is condemned either to happiness or woe.

1b. A general one, after the resurrection of the dead at the last day; and this is the judgment that proof is to be given of; and which may be given,

1b1. First, from reason: and it may be observed,

1b1a. That the heathens, destitute of divine revelation, and who have had only the light of nature to guide them, have entertained notions of a future judgment; or, however, when suggested to them, have readily assented to it, and embraced it. When the apostle Paul preached to the wise philosophers at Athens, upon his discoursing about the resurrection, some mocked, and others more serious, said, they would hear him again of that matter, not being satisfied with what he had said concerning it: but though he had most plainly and fully expressed the doctrine of God's judging the world in righteousness, they did not in the least contradict that, nor make any objection to it. The heathen writers sometimes speak of righteous judges in the infernal regions; as Aeacus, Rhadamanthus, and Minos who judge the souls of the departed brought before them. Sometimes they represent them as sitting in a meadow, where more ways than one meet, two of which lead, the one to tartarus, or Hell, and the other to the island of the blessed, or the Elysian fields; which, though but fables, have some truth couched in them.

So it is storied of Er. Pamphilius, what he related after he was restored to life, having been twelve days dead; that he saw two chasms above, and two below, answering one another, between which the judges sat and judged men; and when they had judged them, the righteous on the right hand they ordered to go upwards to Heaven, and the wicked on the left hand to go downward: which is somewhat similar to the account in Matthew 25:1-46 and it may be, that some of those things said by them, are only some broken remains of a tradition received from their ancestors; or what some got by traveling into the eastern countries, from the Jews, and their writings: and pretty remarkable is that expression of Plato; "We ought always to believe the ancient and sacred words which declare unto us, that the soul is immortal, and has its judges, and will undergo very great judgments, or punishments, when anyone is separated from the body." 1b1b. That there is a judgment to come, appears from the accusations of a natural conscience for sin, and from the fears and terrors men are possessed of, and cannot free themselves from; as witness the consternation and dread Belshazzar was thrown into on sight of the handwriting upon the wall; which could not arise from the fear of any temporal evil coming upon him from men, but from a guilty conscience, and the apprehension he had of being called to an account by the divine being, for his impiety and wickedness; so Felix trembled when he heard the apostle Paul discourse of judgment to come: for the doctrine met with the light and conviction of his own conscience, which caused distress and terror.

1b1c. The truth of a future judgment, may be argued from the justice of God, which requires it; for it is easy to observe, that the justice of God is not clearly displayed in the dispensation of things in the present state. Good men are afflicted, and evil men prosper; which has been a stumbling of saints, and an hardening of sinners: it seems reasonable to believe, that there will be a future state, when justice will take place, and the tables will be turned; and such who have had their evil things now, will have their good things; and such who have had their good things here, will have their evil ones hereafter; for it is a "righteous thing", with God, to render tribulation to them that trouble his people, and to reward his saints according to his gracious promises.

1b1d. This may be concluded from the relation men stand in to God, as creatures to a Creator. As God is their Creator, he has a right to give them a law; which he has, either written or unwritten; for the breach of which they are accountable to him: so that whether they have sinned without the written law, or in it, they will be judged accordingly; for everyone must give an account of himself to God.

1b1e. This may be reasoned from the judgments of God in this present life; and especially from the chastisements of good men, sometimes called a judging them (1 Corinthians 11:32), from whence an argument may be framed in the words of the apostle; "If judgment begin at the house of God", etc. (1 Peter 4:17), if the one are judged, most certainly the other will be.

1b1f. The desires of the saints after it, implanted in their hearts by the Spirit of God, furnish out an argument in favor of it; for however dreadful the thought of it is to Christless sinners, saints can look upon it, and for it, with pleasure; it is now their privilege, that they can "come to God the judge of all", in the righteousness of Christ; as he is, through that, the justifier of him that believes in Jesus; and they know that the Lord, the righteous Judge, when he comes, will be their advocate and friend, and give them the crown of righteousness laid up for them; and therefore, in the view of this, most earnestly desire his coming to judgment; and importunately pray, saying, "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!" Now such desires are not implanted in vain.

1b2. Secondly, the truth of this doctrine will more fully appear from divine revelation. In Genesis 4:8 in the Hebrew text, after these words, "And Cain talks with Abel his brother"; there is a mark for a pause, as if something was wanting, and to be supplied; and which some ancient versions have supplied thus, "Let us go into the field"; but the Chaldee paraphrases add more, and give us an account of the conversation that passed between them in the field; how that Cain said to his brother, "There is no judgment, and there is no Judge, nor another world, etc." but Abel said, "There is a judgment, and there is a Judge, and another world, etc." upon which, Cain rose up and slew him. Now though this is not to be depended on, nor do I lay any stress upon it; and only observe it, to show the sense of the ancient synagogue concerning this article; we have a more sure word of prophecy to take heed unto, for our direction in this matter; and where this doctrine clearly appears; as,

1b2a. In the prophecy of Enoch, the seventh from Adam, recorded in Jude 1:14,15 which, as it is to be understood of the second coming of Christ, since it will be with all his saints; so of his coming to judgment, which will be general; for he will then "execute judgment upon all"; and will judge men, both for their ungodly deeds, and for their hard speeches.

1b2b. The character Abraham gives of Jehovah, as the "Judge of all the earth, who will do right" (Genesis 18:25), shows that there is a Judge, and that there will be a righteous judgment; and which is committed to the Son of God, who at this time appeared to Abraham in an human form, and was known by him.

1b2c. It may be concluded from the faith of Job, in his living Redeemer, who believed he would stand on the earth in the latter day, and raise the dead, and himself among the rest; and would have his friends know, that there was a judgment, which would then take place (Job 19:25,26,29).

1b2d. Also from the declaration of Moses, in his song, "The Lord shall judge his people" (Deuteronomy 32:36), vindicate their cause, render tribulation to them who have troubled them, judge their persons, and introduce them into his glory.

1b2e. Likewise from the song of Hannah; "The Lord shall judge the ends of the earth" (1Sam. 2:10), even all the inhabitants of it, who have lived in the uttermost parts of it; and that by the Messiah, as is suggested; since it is added, "He shall give strength to his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed!" 1b2f. From some passages in the Psalms; in which God calls to the heavens and earth to be witnesses of his judging his people; which will be, when he comes with a fire devouring before him, and he himself will be judge; when he will come to judge the world with righteousness, and the people with equity (Psalm 50:3,4,6; 96:13; 98:9).

1b2g. From others in the book of Ecclesiastes, where it is said, God will "judge the righteous and the wicked"; and that though young men may indulge themselves in youthful follies and vanities, yet for those things they should be "brought to judgment"; and into which "every work" shall be brought, whether "good or evil" (Ecclesiastes 3:17; 9:11; 12:14).

1b2h. From various sayings of Christ, recorded by the evangelist; as that whoever should kill, would be "in danger of judgment"; and he also that was angry with his brother without a cause; and when he exhorts men "not to judge", lest they "be judged"; and upbraids some cities where his mighty works were done, and they repented not; telling them, it would be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon, Sodom and Gomorrah, "in the day of judgment", than for them; and when he declares that every idle word must be given an account of in "the day of judgment"; and affirms, that the men of Nineveh, and the queen of the South, will rise up "in judgment" against the wicked generation of the Jews (Matthew 5:21,22; 7:1; 11:22,24; 12:36,41,42).

1b2i. From the sermons and epistles of the apostles, particularly the apostles Peter and Paul; the apostle Peter in Acts 10:42; 1 Peter 4:9; 2 Peter 2:9, the apostle Paul in Acts 17:31; 24:25; Romans 2:3,5,12,16; 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Timothy 4:1,8).

1b2j. From Hebrews 6:2 where eternal "judgment" is mentioned as an article of a creed; either of a Christian creed, as is commonly thought; or of a Jewish creed, to which I most incline; but understood either way, it is a proof of its being an article of faith to be embraced and professed. To all which may be added, the partial descriptions of the judgment, which are separately given, and which, when laid together, give a complete view of the whole, and show the judgment to be general. Thus for instance, the calling to account, the examination, trial, and judgment of persons in public work; ministers of the word are apart made mention of in the parable of the talents; who, when reckoned with by the Lord at his coming, he who had received five talents, and had gained five more, and he who had received two, and had gained other two, are commended as good and faithful servants, and rewarded with a rule over many things; in a similar parable it is, with a rule over cities, in proportion to their gain: but he who received one talent, and made no use of it, is condemned as an unprofitable servant (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:15-26). The description of the judgment in Matthew 25:31-46. I take it, that it only refers to members of churches, professors of religion, good and bad; for this account is only an explanation of the two preceding parables; what is there delivered by way of parable, is here declared without one; which, in other places, is sometimes done by Christ: the first of the parables only concerns the wise and foolish virgins, professors of both characters, in the kingdom of Heaven, or gospel church state; and the other only respects persons in a public character, in the same church state, whether good or bad; and this account is of such who have belonged to the same flock, and have been folded together in the same church state; only one were goats and the other sheep, but not known what they were; but now at the judgment it will be known, when the Lord shall judge between cattle and cattle, the sheep and the goats, and divide them from one another. Besides, what the wicked are upbraided with, show that they were such who had dwelt among Christians, and had been associates with them, and saw them in distress, and did not relieve them; but this cannot be said of multitudes who never heard of Christ, nor ever saw any of his people in distressed circumstances, and showed them no pity; and moreover, the sentence pronounced upon them, is the same which elsewhere it is said will be pronounced on such that have bore the Christian name, yet bad men, either preachers of the word, or members of churches (Matthew 7:22,23; Luke 13:26,27).

I am aware what will be objected to all this, that it is said, that "all nations" shall be gathered before the Judge: but then it should be observed, that the word "all" is frequently to be restrained, and taken in a limited sense, according to the subject treated of; as it must be here: for if what has been said is sufficient to prove, that only professors of religion are spoken of, then the sense must be, that professors in all nations of the world shall be summoned, and brought before the Judge. Likewise the text in Revelation 20:12 seems only to respect the wicked; the dead said to stand before God, are the wicked dead, the rest of the dead, who lived not until the thousand years were ended (Revelation 12:5), and are the same, who, being raised, shall encompass the camp of the saints, the beloved city; but being defeated in their enterprise, shall be brought, and stated as criminals before God, the Judge of all, and be judged out of the books opened, according to their works: and what may further strengthen this sense, no other use, as appears, is made of the book of life; only that those whose names were not found in it, were cast into the lake of fire, which must be the wicked. However, putting all these descriptions together, they are a full proof of the general judgment, both of good and had men, of men under every character and class, and of every age.

2. The next inquiry is, who the person is that shall be the Judge, preside in judgment, and carry on the judicial process to the end? God is, and will be Judge, and he only; hence we read of God the Judge of all (Hebrews 12:23), and of the judgment of God; and of the righteous judgment of God, (Ro 2:3,5 and John saw in a vision, the dead, small and great, stand before God (Revelation 20:12), but not God the Father; "for the Father judges no man" (John 5:22), that is, no man separate and apart from his Son; nor in a visible form, for he never assumed any: but then he will judge the world by his Son, as he is expressly said to do (Acts 17:31; Romans 2:16), so that he is not excluded from a concern in the judgment; nor the Holy Spirit. The triune God will be the Judge, as to original authority, power, and right of judgment; but according to the economy settled between the three divine Persons among themselves, the work is assigned unto the Son, and is appropriate to him: hence we read of appearing and standing before the judgment seat of Christ, and of the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead, at his appearing and kingdom (Romans 14:1; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Timothy 4:1), this work belongs to him as Mediator, and is a part of his office as such; it is what is "committed" to him by the Father, and which he has an "authority" from him to "execute" (John 5:22,27), it is what he was "appointed" to in the council and covenant of God (Acts 10:42), it is a branch of his kingly office, and therefore in the administration of it he is spoken of as a King; "then shall the King say to them on his right hand, Come you blessed", etc. and when they shall say, Lord, when saw we you so and so; "the King shall answer and say", etc. (Matthew 25:34,40). Yes, Christ, by his death and resurrection, has obtained a right of dominion over all, as to be the Judge of them; "for to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be the Lord both of the dead and living" (Romans 14:9), that is, so as to judge both quick and dead, as the following verses show. And accordingly, upon his resurrection from the dead, all power in Heaven and earth were given to him as Mediator; and upon his ascension to Heaven, he was made, or declared, Lord and Christ; and at his second coming, he will come as the Lord, the righteous Judge, with an acquired, as well as an allowed right to judge the world; and this office he will execute as God man, in both his natures, human and divine; which are both necessary to the execution of it.

2a. It is highly proper that the Judge of all the earth should be God. The work requires divine omniscience, infinite wisdom, almighty power, and strict justice and faithfulness; all which are to be found in Christ the Son of God. "Omniscience" is necessary to this work, which is proper to God; for all the works, words, and thoughts of men, must be known by him, in order to judge them; to know all the works, words, and thoughts, of only one man, for the space of sixty, seventy, or eighty years, is more than any mere creature can know; but what is even this knowledge to that of all the individuals throughout a kingdom and nation? and what is that to the knowledge of all the works, words, and thoughts, of the millions of individuals in all kingdoms and nations? and of those in every age of the world, from the beginning of the world to the end of it? Such knowledge is too wonderful for us to conceive of; yet this is in Christ, as God; who knows all persons and things, before whom every creature, and all things, are manifest, naked, and open; even before him with whom we have to do; or to whom we must give an account, as the words may be rendered. He is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart and needs not to be told anything of man, for he knows all that is in him and done by him. Wisdom and sagacity are necessary to a judge.

Solomon, by his judgment between the two harlots, became very famous and respectable among his people; but a greater than Solomon is here: one who is the all wise God, the wisdom of God, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and on whom the Spirit of knowledge and wisdom rests; a Judge whose head, and whose hairs, are white as wool, as white as snow, his great gravity and wisdom; who is able, as it is necessary he should be, to distinguish between man and man; between that which has only the appearance of a good action, and that which is really such. "Almighty power" is likewise requisite in the Judge of the world, to do what must and will be done by him; as to raise the dead, summon all before him, and not only pronounce the decisive sentences on them, but carry them into execution; for which purpose he is said to come "with power", as well as with great glory: and such an one is Christ, who is the mighty God, styled most mighty, yes, the Almighty. Strict "justice" and "faithfulness" are qualifications in a temporal judge, who is to execute true judgment; is not to be bribed, nor to respect persons; nor to pass sentence in a cause through favor and affection; and such a Judge, and one infinitely more so, is necessary to judge the world in righteousness and the people with equity; and such an one is Jesus Christ the righteous; and who will appear to be the Lord the righteous Judge, and his judgment to be just and true; for he will not judge according to the sight of his eyes, and the hearing of his ears; but with righteousness shall he judge, and reprove with equity; righteousness will be the belt of his loins, and faithfulness the belt of his reins (Isaiah 11:3-5).

2b. That Christ should appear in human nature, when he comes to judge the world, is highly necessary; for God has appointed to judge the world by "that Man" whom he has ordained; so that Christ, as man, mast be concerned in the judgment of the world; yes, the Father has given him authority to execute it, "because he is the Son of man" (Acts 17:31; John 5:27), because he has assumed human nature, and so can appear visibly in it, as it is proper a judge should be visible. The sight of a judge is very striking; it commands awe and reverence in all; it fills the criminal with terror, and the just man with pleasure: so Christ, the Judge, will come in such a visible manner, that every eye shall see him; he will appear to the joy of some, and to the shame and confusion of others. A judge usually appears, and it is proper he should, in some external pomp and splendor, in his habit, in his retinue, and attendants; and as placed on a seat, or throne, a bench of justice, with a court set around him: Christ, the Judge of all, will come in great splendor and glory, in the glory of his human nature visible, the rays of his divine nature beaming through it; attended by his mighty angels, and with a shout, the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet of God; a glorious great white throne will be prepared for him, on which he will be visibly placed, and thousands, and ten thousands standing about him, and ministering unto him; it is proper he should appear in human nature, to deliver out, with an articulate voice to be heard, the sentences, both the one and the other; "Come you blessed", and "Go you cursed!" Moreover, since he, as man, was arraigned at the bar of man, and stood before a judge, and was unjustly condemned by him, and dealt with injuriously by men; it seems highly proper, that when he comes as a Judge he should come as man, and the tables be turned; and he who was his judge stand before him, and see the very man he used so ill, and receive his sentence from him; as well as all such who have spoken against him, his person, doctrines, and ordinances, and maltreated his people; and who will be obliged to confess, "that he is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:11).

As for the concern of others in the judgment, angels or men, nothing is to be admitted, that derogates from the glory of the office of Christ, as Judge of the world. Angels will be no otherwise concerned, than as they will be attendants on him at his coming; be employed by him in gathering and bringing to him the elect, raised from the dead, in the several parts of the world, at the first resurrection; and in the binding up of the tares, the wicked, and casting them into Hell, after the second resurrection, and final judgment: approvers of the righteous judgment no doubt they will be; but as assisting and advising in it, as there will be no need of it, there is no reason to believe it: how far they may be evidences and witnesses in some cases, I will not say; since they are frequently in religious assemblies, and have been employed in many things in this lower world, and must be privy to many things done in it. As for the saints, there seems to be more that is said of them; as that thrones will be set for them, and judgment be given to them; the apostles are said to sit on twelve thrones, in the kingdom of Christ, and to judge men; and the apostle Paul says, that the saints shall judge the world; yes, judge angels (Revelation 20:4; Luke 22:36; 1 Corinthians 6:2,3), not that the saints will be co-judges with Christ, and assistants to him in judgment; whatever may be said for them, as sitters, by, and approvers of it, as no doubt they will be; and besides this, it is generally allowed, that they, as members of Christ, and as considered in him, their head, will judge the world; and also that their holy lives and conversation will rise up in judgment against their wicked neighbors and condemn them; as that of righteous Lot will rise up against the inhabitants of Sodom.

3. The persons that will be judged; angels and men: as to good angels, nothing is said of the judgment of them in scripture; nor does it seem probable, since they never sinned; were confirmed in their original state by the grace of Christ, and have always been in a fixed state of happiness, always beholding the face of God in Heaven: how far their perfect obedience to God, and the faithful services they have performed to men, at his command, may be brought into judgment, to receive their just praise and commendation, I will not say. But as to the case of the evil angels, it is notorious that they will be judged; for if the saints shall judge angels, that is, evil ones, much more will Christ: these, indeed, as soon as they sinned, were cast down to Hell, as into a prison; and as criminals are committed to prison, and laid in chains, until the assize, or session comes; so these are laid in chains of darkness, and reserved to the judgment of the great day, when they will receive their final sentence and enter into full punishment; in which it seems they are not as yet (2 Peter 1:4; Jude 1:6; Matthew 8:29). But the judgment spoken of in scripture chiefly concerns men, good and bad; for as the wise man says, "God shall judge the righteous and the wicked" (Ecclesiastes 3:17).

3a. The righteous: and these shall be judged first alone; for "the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment" with them, "nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous", and they will be first judged; not only according to the order of the words in Ecclesiastes, before mentioned, on which no stress is to be laid; but their judgment will be dispatched first, as represented in Matthew 25:1-46. Besides, they will be raised first; "The dead in Christ will rise first"; even a thousand years before the rest; and it is not reasonable to suppose, that their judgment will not proceed; but be deferred until the rest are raised. Besides, Christ will "judge the quick and the dead", the living saints changed, and the dead ones raised, "at his appearing and kingdom"; their judgment will be at the beginning of his kingdom, and be continued in it; and it will be proper that they should be judged first, that they may receive the distribution of rewards, made in the kingdom state; though indeed, they may at once be put into the possession of distinguished favors, and have marks of respect, immediately, as soon as that state begins, and their judgment be brought on, to show the justness of the distribution made to them. Moreover, since they are to judge the world, and to judge angels, it is necessary they should be first judged themselves.

Here would have been the proper place to consider the question, whether the sins of the righteous will be brought into judgment? but that I have given my thoughts of this in another place. Thus much for the judgment of the righteous. Some have thought that Enoch and Elijah, and so those who rose after the resurrection of Christ, and of whom it may be supposed, that they went with him at his ascension to Heaven; that those will not come into judgment, since they have been so long in a state of perfection, both in soul and body, which will not be the case of the other righteous at the coming of Christ; but this I will not take upon me to determine.

3b. The wicked will be judged; such who have indulged themselves in the gratification of sinful pleasures, and may have been so hardened in sin as to imagine they shall escape the judgment of God; yet they shall not (Ecclesiastes 3:17; 11:9; Romans 2:3-5), even all the wicked shall be judged. These are the "dead" John saw stand before God, "small and great"; all the wicked dead from the beginning of the world to the end of it; who will not live again, or be raised from the dead, until after the thousand years are ended (Revelation 20:5,12), so that the judgment of those will not be until after the thousand years reign of Christ and his saints, and after the second resurrection; after which, all the wicked being raised, shall be brought to judgment, "small and great"; that is, such as were so when they died, being either children or grown persons; though now as they will rise as persons in manhood, will so stand before God: or as high and low, rich and poor, kings and peasants; for now shall the rich and poor meet together, though not now distinguished as such; but having been such in their mortal state, shall not be exempted from the judgment of God: or as greater and lesser sinners, and accordingly shall receive their just punishment; for however it may be a question, whether there will be degrees in the ultimate glory; there is none concerning degrees of punishment; since it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon, Sodom and Gomorrah, in the day of judgment, than for some cities where Christ preached and wrought his miracles, yet repented not nor believed in him. I am aware, that there are some objections to be made to what has been said concerning the judgment of the righteous before the wicked; as,

3b1. That it seems to contradict the account given of the judgment of both (Matthew 25:1-46), as appearing together, then separated and placed, the one at the right, and the other at the left hand of Christ. To which it will be sufficient to answer, that in descriptions taken from men, and delivered after the manner of men, and in allusion to what is done among men, it is not to be expected that there should be an exact correspondence in every circumstance of them; the general design of them is what is to be attended to: and if that is answered it is enough. Now the general design of this description is, to show that both good and bad men will be judged; that they will be distinguished in judgment, and one will not be taken for the other; the nominal professor will be unmasked: and as for the position of them, at the right and left hand of Christ, it cannot be understood of a natural position to the right and left; any more than in the petition of the two sons of Zebedee, to sit, the one at the right hand, the other at the left hand of Christ, in his kingdom. The allusion is to a Sanhedrin, or court of judicature with the Jews; when, whom the judge absolved, he placed at his right hand; and whom he condemned, he placed at his left. So that the whole of what is intended by this description is, that both sorts of persons shall be judged; that they shall be distinguished, and appear to be what they really are; that the one will be acquitted, and the other condemned. All which may as well be done by supposing the judgment of the one to precede the judgment of the other, as if together; and according to the description itself, the judgment of the righteous will be first dispatched.

3b2. It is objected, that this account of the judgment seems to make two days of judgment. Not at all: there will be but one day of judgment, though it will be a long one. We are not to imagine, that the day of judgment will be only a natural day, consisting of twenty four hours: surely it cannot be thought, that all the affairs of kingdoms, states, and churches, and particular persons, from the beginning of the world to the end of it, which will be brought into judgment, and laid open there, will be huddled over in so short a space of time; when this judgment may well be supposed to be with the utmost precision and exactness. No, this day of the Lord will be a thousand years; and for which reason it may be called a "great day", because of its great and long duration; as well as because of the great things done in it, and by a great Person; and may be also one reason why it is called "eternal judgment", the word eternal, or everlasting, being sometimes used for a long time only, as this will be: the judgment of the righteous will proceed at the beginning of the thousand years, and continue in them; and during this time things will be preparing for the judgment of the wicked, at the close of them; and so things will go on successively until the whole is finished: as the resurrection of the just will be on the morning of this day, so will their judgment begin then; and as the resurrection of the wicked will be at the evening of this day, so likewise their judgment: and as the evening and the morning make but one day, so it will be in this case; there will be but one day of judgment.

3b3. Should it be further objected, that there seems no necessity for such a length of time to judge the world in, seeing Christ, the Judge, is omniscient, and knows all men and their works; and therefore can pass judgment upon them at once. I answer--if there is anything in this objection, it lies as strongly against any formal judgment at all, whether of a shorter or longer space. Besides, the length of time is not taken, and the strict and accurate examination of things entered into, for the sake of the information of the Judge, but that all things might be made clear and plain to every man's conscience; and that it might be evidently seen, that the distribution of favors by the Judge, in the kingdom state, is made to everyone according to his works. God could have made the world at once, in a moment, but he thought fit to take six days in doing it, to show the greatness of the work, his wisdom, anti the counsel of his will in it; so when the affairs of the world, for six thousand years, and how much longer we know not, shall be called over, the Lord is pleased to take a thousand years for it, to show his exactness and accuracy, strict justice and equity, with which all things shall be managed; and the rather, since the determination is for an eternity to come, in the final issue of things.

3b4. It may seem inconsistent to some, that the time of the saints reigning with Christ, and their being judged by him, should be together. That so it will be, seems most certain, since Christ will judge "the quick and the dead", the living saints changed, and the dead saints raised, "at his appearing and kingdom"; when he shall appear and enter on his visible and glorious kingdom, and take his saints to reign with him: nor can I see any inconsistency in this; since the saints, while they are judging, will be in a sinless, perfect state, be like to Christ, both in soul and body, and shall enjoy his personal presence; so that their judgment will not in the least break in upon their felicity in reigning. Besides, they will not stand before the Judge as criminals, but as the favorites of Heaven; and this judgment will not be of their persons, on which their final state depends; but of their works; and that it might appear, that the distribution of favors to them, in this kingdom state, is just and equitable. Before this point is dismissed, it may be proper briefly to observe, what of men will be brought into judgment.

3b4a. All their works and actions, whether good or evil (Ecclesiastes 12:14; 1 Timothy 5:24).

3b4b. All the words of men, every hard speech against Christ and his people; yes, every idle word, and much more every profane and blasphemous expression (Jude 1:15; Matthew 12:35-37). — Nay,

3b4c. Every thought, good or bad; for there is "a book of remembrance" written, for those that "thought" on the name of the Lord, which are registered there, in order to be observed and taken notice of hereafter (Malachi 3:16). "God will judge the secrets of men"; not only their secret works, but their secret thoughts, "by Jesus Christ, according to the gospel"; and the Lord the Judge will "bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the heart" (Romans 2:16; 1 Corinthians 4:5).

4. The rule of judgment, according to which it will proceed, and from whence the evidence will be taken, are certain "books opened" (Revelation 20:12), the same is observed Daniel 7:10 where the judgment of antichrist, the emblem of this judgment, is described; only there is no mention made of the other book, the book of life; because that only respected what will be done in this present life; but this respects the life to come, and the state of men in it.

4a. The book of divine omniscience will be opened; Christ, the Judge, who is God over all, knows all persons; the "eyes" of his omniscience are "everywhere", throughout the whole world, "beholding the evil and the good"; evil men and good men; evil actions and good actions; "his eyes are upon all the ways of men", and he observes every step they take, and none can hide himself from him, who fills Heaven and earth with his presence; and when he comes to judge the world, this book of his omniscience will be opened; he will let all the churches, and all the world know, that he it is who searches the hearts, and tries the reins of the children of men. What is unusual in human courts of judicature, for the judge upon the bench to become an evidence, and be a witness against the prisoner at the bar, will be the case now; "I will come near to you to judgment, says the Lord, and will be a swift witness against the sorcerers", etc. (Malachi 3:5).

4b. This book seems to be the same with the "book of remembrance" (in Malachi 3:16), not that God needs anything to assist and refresh his memory; he has a strong memory, to remember the sins which are written by him in his book, "with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond"; and what is written with an iron pen, or cut with a diamond, is not easily erased; great Babylon will come up in remembrance before God, with all her sins; and so will the sins of wicked men be remembered, be brought into judgment, and meet with their deserved punishment. Though the above book seems to be written for them only that fear the Lord, whose sins he remembers no more; but then he is not forgetful of their good works, which flow from his own grace; and even when they have been forgotten by them, they will be remembered by him, as appears from Matthew 25:37.

4c. The book of the creatures, or creation, will be opened. Every creature of God is good and useful to men; but those which are given for use are often abused to gratify one carnal sensual lust or another; and which will be produced as witnesses against the sinner.

4d. The book of providence will be opened: the providential goodness of God extends to all his creatures; and such who have despised the riches of his goodness bestowed upon them, which should have led them to repentance, and have abused the forbearance and longsuffering of God towards them, in his providence, will find that by the hardness and impenitence of their hearts, they have treasured up wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; when the providential dealings of God with them shall be brought as an evidence against them (Romans 2:4,5).

4e. The book of the scriptures will be opened, both of law and gospel: the law of Moses will accuse those who have lived under the law, and been violators of it, and pronounce them guilty before God; they that have "sinned in the law shall be judged by the law"; nay, the Gentiles will "judge" them "who by the letter and circumcision transgress the law"; that is, will rise up in judgment against them, and condemn them (Romans 2:12,27). Such who have lived under the gospel dispensation, and have neglected, despised, and rejected the gospel of Christ, will be judged according to it and by it; "The word", says Christ, "that I have spoken, the same shall judge him" that rejects it "in the last day" (John 12:48). "God", says the apostle, "shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel" (Romans 2:16), and the grand rule in it, according to which judgment will proceed, is that in Mark 16:16 nay, even the law and light of nature will be a rule of judgment respecting those who have only had the benefit of that; "for as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law" (Romans 2:12).

4f. The book of conscience: in this are recorded the actions of men; and from thence are they to be brought forth upon occasion; and which either accuses or excuses for them, when it does its office; unless cauterized and seared, as it were, with a red hot iron; and even such, in the day of judgment, will have their consciences awaked, and which will be as a thousand witnesses against them.

4g. There is another book that will be opened; and that is "the book of life"; in which the names of some are written, which is the same as to be "written in Heaven"; and means no other, than the ordination and appointment of them to eternal life in Heaven: this is the Lamb's book of life, the book of eternal election, in which all the names of all the elect are written; and the use of this book in the day of judgment will be, that such whose names are found written in it, will be admitted into the new Jerusalem, the holy city, and partake of the privileges thereof (Revelation 21:27), and that such whose names are not found written in it; or, as it is expressed in Jude 1:4 who are "forewritten to this condemnation", those shall be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15). Now the "dead" will be "judged out of those things which are written in the books, according to their works" (Revelation 20:12), which must be understood of the wicked "dead", when raised and brought to stand before God who will have sentence pronounced upon them according to their wicked works; between which, and the punishment condemned to, will be a just proportion; "the wages of sin is death"; eternal death is the just demerit of it: but as there is a difference in the sins of the wicked; some more, others fewer; some greater, others less; some more, and others less aggravated; their punishment will be proportioned to them, as will be seen in the next chapter: and so everyone will be judged according to his works, in the most just and equitable manner. Indeed, good men also will be judged according to their works; but not adjudged to eternal life according to them; for there is no proportion between the best works of men and eternal life; "eternal life is the free gift of God through Christ": but upon the judgment of them, the distribution of rewards, or of peculiar and distinguished favors, more or less, in the kingdom state, will be according to every man's works. This judgment out of the books, and according to works, is designed to show with what accuracy and exactness, with what justice and equity, it will be executed, in allusion to statute books in courts of judicature, to be referred unto in any case of difficulty.

5. The circumstances of the judgment, as to time and place.

5a. First, the time of it; the particular judgment of men, or of particular persons in their souls, will be immediately after death; according to Hebrews 9:27 the general judgment, or the judgment of all men, in soul and body, will be after the resurrection; the judgment of the righteous, after the first resurrection; and the judgment of the wicked, after the second resurrection. It is often spoken of in scripture as though it would be quickly, particularly in Revelation 22:7,12,20 to alarm men, and keep up a constant expectation of it. There is a "day appointed" for it, as may be reasonably thought; for if there is a "time to every purpose", a time appointed to everything done under the heavens, then certainly for a business of such moment, and of so great importance, as the general judgment is; and, indeed, this is expressly affirmed; "he has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness" (Acts 17:31), the time of it is unknown to men, (Matthew 24:36; Acts 1:6,7), hence the Judge is represented as coming "at an unawares", as a thief in the night, at an hour unthought of; and therefore men should watch and pray, and be ready to meet him.

5b. Secondly, the place. This is also uncertain. Some, because of some passages in Joel 3:2,12 have thought of the valley of Jehoshaphat; but no valley can be supposed large enough to hold all that will be judged at the day of judgment; nor does it appear from scripture that there ever was such a valley of such a name; nor does this seem to be the proper name of the valley, whatever valley is intended; in Joel 3:14 it is called, "the valley of decision"; it properly signifies, the judgment of the Lord, and so is applicable to any place where the Lord should judge the enemies of his people, and bring destruction upon them: and to me it seems to refer to the battle, at Armageddon, where will be a great slaughter of the kings of the earth; which will make way for the latter day glory. The two more probable opinions are, that the judgment will be either in the air or on the earth. Some think it will be in the air, because the Judge will come in the clouds of Heaven, and the living saints will then be changed, and the dead saints raised; and both will be caught up together unto the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. But I rather think it will be on earth; the judgment of the saints will be on the new earth, on which they will descend from the air with Christ; and which will be the seat of his reign with the saints, and of theirs with him; and which will be the time of their judging: and as for the wicked dead, who will live again after the thousand years are ended, they will come upon the breadth of the earth, where will be the camp of the saints, the beloved city, and encompass that; and being defeated in their design, they will be at once brought to judgment, and stand before God, the Judge of all, and receive their sentence.

6. The properties of this judgment, as may be gathered from what has been said about it, and from express passages of scripture.

6a. It is "future", yet to come: the apostle Paul reasoned before Felix, among other things, "of judgment to come" (Acts 24:25). But because it seems to be deferred, and does not immediately take place, some have their hearts set in them to do evil, and put away this evil day far from them, as they reckon it, and put it very far away indeed, and fancy it will never be. But,

6b. It is "certain"; purpose and prophecy make it so: God has, in his purposes, appointed a day for it, and he will keep it; and fit purpose is never disannulled; Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of it, as well as others; and the word of prophecy is a sure one, and will certainly be fulfilled: therefore let young and old know, that for the things they have committed God will bring them into judgment (Ecclesiastes 11:9).

6c. It will be "universal", both as to persons and things. All men will be judged, sooner or later; in the morning, or in the evening of that day; none shall escape it: and all works will be brought into it, good or bad.

6d. It will be a "righteous judgment"; so it is called (Romans 2:5). The world will be judged in righteousness; the Judge of all the earth will do right; Christ the Lord will be a righteous Judge, and his judgment just.

6e. It will be the last judgment: it will be when the last trumpet shall sound, that the dead shall rise in order to be judged; and it will be at the last day, when the word of Christ, and Christ according to it shall judge men. (1 Corinthians 15:52; John 12:48).

6f. It is called "eternal judgment" (Hebrews 6:2), not only because it will be a long time about, as has been observed; but because it will issue in the final state of men; either in their everlasting destruction, or in their everlasting happiness, (Mt 25:46 which are next to be considered.

 

Chapter 10.

OF THE FINAL STATE OF THE WICKED IN HELL

When the judgment is finished, and the sentence pronounced, the wicked will go into "everlasting punishment," (Matthew 25:46). What that punishment will be, and the duration of it, are the things to be considered. With respect to the punishment itself, I shall,

1. First, prove that there will be a state of punishment of wicked men in the future world. There is a punishment of the wicked in their souls, which takes place at death; as appears from the parable of the rich man, (Luke 16:23 and there is a punishment of them in soul and body, after the resurrection, and the last judgment, (see Revelation 20:12,15), which latter is the continuation and perfection of the former. And this will appear,

1a1. From the light of nature among the heathens; being owned and spoken of, not only by their poets, but by their philosophers, and those the more wise, grave, and serious among them. The poets, indeed, say many fabulous things of Pluto, the king of Hell; of Rhadamanthus, and others as judges there; of Charon the ferry man, and of the infernal rivers; yet under these fables some truth lies disguised; nay, Tertullian, charges the heathens with borrowing these things from the sacred writings; "When we speak of God as a Judge, and threaten men with Hell fire, we are laughed at; but, says he, the poets and the philosophers erect a tribunal in Hell, and speak of a river of fire there: from whence, says he, I beseech you, have they such like things, but from our mysteries?" But not the poets only, but the more serious and wiser sort of the heathens, believed these things. Caesar was reproved by Cato, for deriding punishments after death; as if there were neither joys nor torments beyond it, but that that puts an end to all. Many of the philosophers wrote of things done in "hades," or Hell; and Plato denies that death is the last thing; but that the punishments of Hell are the last; and says all the same things the poets do; yes, declares them to be rational, and not fables: hence Arnobius, an ancient defender of the Christians against the heathens, says, "Dare you deride us when we speak of Hell, and of unquenchable fire, into which we know souls are cast? Does not your Plato say the same, in his book of the immortality of the soul? Does he not make mention of the rivers Acheron, Styx, Cocytus, and Periphlegeton, in which he asserts souls are rolled, plunged, and burnt?" Epicurus thought the punishment of held to be a poetical figment. So Horace, who was an Epicurean, says, death is the last line of things. But Zeno the Stoic believed and taught, that the godly and ungodly will have different habitations; the one delightful, and the other uncomfortable. Indeed, some of the Stoic philosophers derided these things; but then it is thought they only meant the fables of the poets about them, since their founder, as now observed, believed and taught them. Hierocles, a Pythagorean and Platonic philosopher, speaks of "punishments in Hell." 1a2. A state of punishment hereafter, appears from the impressions of guilt and wrath on the consciences of men now, for sins committed, being struck with the fear of future judgment, and of punishment that shall follow; and which are observable in heathens themselves, whose consciences accuse, or excuse, one another; hence, as Cicero says, "Every man's sins distress him; their evil thoughts and consciences terrify them; these, to the ungodly, are their daily and domestic furies, which haunt them day and night." Such may be observed in Cain, Pharaoh, Judas, and other wicked persons; in whom there was nothing but a fearful looking for of fiery indignation, which shall consume them in Hell. And these are emblems, earnests, presages, and pledges of wrath to come. Yes, there is sometimes, some things in good men which bear a resemblance to this; and while they are under the sense of them, apprehend themselves as in a condition similar to it; as David, Heman the Ezrahite, and Jonah (Psalm 116:3; 88:6,7,15,16; Jonah 2:2).

1a3. This may be argued from the justice of God. If there is a God, he must be believed to be just; and if there is a just God, there must be a future state of punishment; and, indeed, the disbelief of these commonly go together. It is certain there is a God; and it is as certain that God is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works; and will render to every man according to his works. Now it is certain, that justice does not take place, or is not so manifestly displayed in this world; it seems, therefore, but just and reasonable, that there should be a change of things in a future state, when the saints will be comforted, and the wicked tormented: it is but a righteous thing with God to render tribulation to wicked men hereafter, who have had their flow of worldly happiness, and abused it. God is a God of vengeance, and he will show it, and it is proper he should.

1a4. This is abundantly evident from divine revelation, from the books both of the Old and the New Testament. David says, "The wicked shall be turned into Hell" (Ps 9:17). And our Lord speaks of some sins which make men in danger of Hell fire, and of the whole body being cast into Hell for them; and of both body and soul being destroyed in Hell (Matthew 5:22,29,30; 10:28). But these, and such like passages, will be considered hereafter.

1a5. This may be further confirmed, from the examples of persons that already endure this punishment, at least in part; as the fallen angels, who, when they had sinned, were cast down from Heaven, where was the first abode of them, to Tartarus, or Hell, a place of darkness, where they are delivered into chains of darkness, and held by them; and though they may not be in full torments, yet they are not without them, and are reserved unto judgment, which, when over, they will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, (2 Peter 2:4; Revelation 20:10). Another instance is, the men of the old world, who, by their sins, brought a flood upon it; and not only their bodies were destroyed by the flood, but the spirits, or souls of these men, who were disobedient in the times of Noah, were laid up "in prison," that is, in the prison of Hell, where they were when the apostle Peter wrote his epistle (1 Peter 3:19,20), these are, by some, thought to be meant by "the congregation of the Rephaim," of the giants (in Proverbs 21:16). The men of Sodom and Gomorrah, had not only their bodies and their substance burnt, in the conflagration of their cities; but their souls also are now suffering the vengeance of eternal fire (Jude 1:7). So Korah and his company, not only went down alive into the pit of the earth, that opening and closing upon them, but perished in their souls; since wicked men are said to "perish, in the gainsaying of Korah," for the same sins, and in like manner, though not temporally and corporally; but in soul, and eternally (Jude 1:11). The case of the wicked rich man, who lift up his eyes in Hell, being in torment there, though it be a parable, relates to a fact, and ascertains the truth of it, and which yet some take to be an historical fact.

1b. Secondly, I shall next consider the names, words, and phrases, by which the place and state of future punishment are expressed; which will still give a further proof of it, and lead more into the nature of it.

1b1. First, the names of the place; I call it a place, and not a state only; though some speak of it only as such; but the scriptures make mention of it as a "place of torment" (Luke 16:28), and Judas is said to "go to his own place" (Acts 1:25), to which he was appointed, being the Son of perdition: and a place seems necessary, especially for bodies, as after the resurrection; though where it is, or will be, is hard to say: some make it to be the air; others the body of the sun; some the fixed stars; others the earth, either the center, or the cavities of it, or under it; since the Heaven is represented as high, and this as low; and sometimes called Hell beneath (Job 11:8; Proverbs 15:14; Isaiah 14:9). But it should not be so much our concern to know where it is, as how to escape it, and that we come not into this place of torment (Luke 16:28).

1b1a. It is called destruction, or Abaddon, which is the name of the king of the bottomless pit, (Revelation 9:11 which signifies a destroyer, and is rendered destruction in Job 26:6, Proverbs 27:20 and 15:11 where "Hell and destruction" are mentioned together, as signifying the same thing, the one being explanative of the other. Indeed the grave, which the word used for Hell sometimes signifies, is called the pit of destruction and corruption, because bodies laid in it corrupt and waste away; but here it seems to signify the place of the punishment of the wicked, where body and soul are destroyed with an everlasting destruction; which is not to be understood of an extinction of soul and body, as by the Epicureans and Socinians; for this is contrary both to the immortality of the soul which cannot be killed, and to the resurrection of the body, which, though it rises to damnation and everlasting contempt, yet dies not again; and to what purpose should it be raised, if it becomes immediately extinct? Hell, or a state of punishment, follows upon death, and the resurrection, and is connected with them; it follows upon the death of the body; the rich man died, with respect to his body, and in Hell he lift up his eyes; that is, he found his soul in torment, and therefore not extinct. And when the body is raised and united to the soul, and has passed the general judgment, and received its sentence, both will go into everlasting punishment; and therefore neither of them extinct. Besides, there would otherwise be no meaning in those words of Christ, "It had been good for that man if he had never been born," (Matthew 26:24 since for a man to be extinct, or to be in a state of nonexistence, and not to be born, are the same; at least, if a man is extinct, it is as if he had never been born; and therefore no comparison can be made between them; nor better nor worse be said of them. But when Hell, or the punishment of the wicked in it, is called destruction, it does not mean a destruction of the being of a person, but of all happiness to him; he is deprived of all, both in soul and body; no light of joy; but darkness, horror, and distress; nothing but indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish.

1b1b. Another name or word by which it is expressed, is Sheol, which is often rendered the "grave"; as in Genesis 42:38 and 44:31 and should be where it is sometimes translated "Hell," as in Psalm 16:10 yet in some places it seems as if it could not be understood of that, but of the state or place of punishment of the wicked; as in Psalm 9:17. "The wicked shall be turned into Hell": now to be turned into the earth, or to be laid in the grave, is not peculiar to wicked men; it is the common lot of all, good and bad; it is the house appointed for all living (Job 30:23), but to be enveloped with all darkness, and consumed in a fire, not blown, and an horrible tempest rained on them, is the peculiar portion of wicked men from God (Job 20:26,29; Psalm 11:6). Besides, the phrase being "turned" into it, denotes indignation, contempt, and shame; and is the same with the New Testament phrase, so often used, of being "cast into Hell" (Matthew 5:29,30; 8:12) so when this word is used of the adulterous woman, and her ways, that her steps take hold of Hell, and her house is the way to it; and that her guests are in the depths of it (Proverbs 5:5; 7:27; 9:18) to understand it of the grave, seems not to be strong enough, and to give too low a sense of it; and does not sufficiently express the danger persons are in through her; and into which they are brought: as well as it is not ascribing enough to the way of life, above to the wise, that it secures a person from the grave beneath; and which yet it does not; but rather that it delivers him from the punishment of Hell (Proverbs 15:24), in like manner, when it is said of hardened and desperate sinners, that they with Hell are at an agreement; they seem to outbrave, deride, and bid defiance to more than death and the grave; even to mock at Hell, and its torments they give no credit to. It has its name, "Sheol," from lav because it asks and has, and is never satisfied; and applied, whether to the grave or Hell, denotes the insatiableness thereof, (Proverbs 27:20 30:16; Isa 5:14; Hab 2:5).

1b1c. Another name for Hell is "Tophet"; which was a place in the valley of the son of Hinnom, where the Israelites burnt their sons and their daughters in the fire, sacrificing them to Molech; and that the cries of the infants might not be heard, to affect their parents, drums or tabrets were beat upon during the time; and from hence the place had the name of Tophet, "Toph" signifying a drum, or tabret (see Jeremiah 7:31,32); and this seems to be used of the place and state of the punishment of the wicked; "Tophet is ordained of old," etc. (Isaiah 30:33), which the Targum interprets of Hell, prepared from ages past for the sins of men; and which words, Calvin on the text, understands of the miserable condition, and extreme torments and punishments of the wicked; and, indeed, they seem fitly to describe them: "Tophet was ordained of old," as Hell is from eternity; and is that condemnation wicked men were of old ordained unto: it was "prepared for the king"; so everlasting fire is prepared for the devil and his angels, for the prince of devils, and all his subjects: it is made "deep and large"; so Hell is the bottomless pit large enough to hold the whole posse of devils, and all the wicked, from the beginning to the end of the world. The "pile," the fuel, for the fire, is much "wood," wicked men, comparable to thorns and briers, straw and stubble, withered branches of vines, and dry trees; a fire "kindled," and blown up by "the breath of the Lord," at whose blast, and the breath of his nostrils, men perish and are consumed; a fire, not blown by men, but by the breath of the Almighty; "like a stream of brimstone," such as destroyed the cities of the plain.

1b1d. From Gehinnon, the valley of Hinnom, where Tophet was, is the word used in the New Testament, (Matthew 5:22,29,30; Mark 9:43,45,47), for the fire of Hell; there, as just observed, children were burnt with fire, and sacrificed to Molech; which horrid custom the Israelites borrowed from their neighbors the Canaanites, or Phoenicians; and who carried it into their several colonies, and particularly to Carthage; where, as Diodorus Siculus relates, the inhabitants had a statue of Saturn, the same with Molech, whose hands were put in such a position, that when children were put into them, they rolled down, and fell into a chasm, or ditch, full of fire; a fit emblem of the fire of Hell, often called in scripture a "lake of fire".

1b1e. Sometimes this place is called the deep abyss, or bottomless pit: the devils, when they came out of the man, in whom was a legion, besought Christ that he would not order them to go "into the deep," which seems to be their place of full torment, since they deprecated going into it (Luke 8:31), and is the same with the bottomless pit Abaddon is king of, and into which Satan, when bound, will be cast (Revelation 9:1,11 20:3).

1b1f. Another name it has in the New Testament, is Hades, which signifies an invisible state, a state of darkness. Some derive it from the word "Adamah," earth, from whence the first Adam; so that to go down to Hades, is no other than to return to the earth, from whence man was; and the word may signify the grave, in Revelation 1:8 and 20:13,14 but it cannot be so understood in Luke 16:23 when the rich man died, was buried, and his body laid in the earth, it is said, "in Hades, in Hell he lift up his eyes"; which can never be meant of the grave; it is spoken of as distinct from that; and as elsewhere, it is said to be a place of torment; whereas the grave is a place of ease and rest; between this, and where Abraham and Lazarus were, was a gulf, that divided them from one another; whereas in the grave all lie promiscuously: so the gates of Hell, in Matthew 16:18 must mean something else, and not the gates of the grave.

1b1g. Another word by which it is expressed, is "Tartarus"; and this also but in one place, and comprehended in a verb there used (2 Peter 2:4). "God spared not the angels that sinned"; but "cast them down to tartarus," or Hell; which word, though only used in this place, yet that, with others, belonging to it, is to be met with frequently in heathen writers, who speak of the Titans, and others, that rebelled against the gods, much in the same language as the apostle does of the angels, as bound and cast down to Tartarus; which they describe as a dark place, and as distant from the earth, as the earth is from Heaven: and, indeed, the story of the Titans seems to be hammered out of the scriptural account of the fallen angels; and so Plato speaks of wicked men, guilty of capital crimes, as cast into Tartarus, or Hell; and also of a place where three ways met, two of which leads the one to the Islands of the blessed, the others to Tartarus. Some derive this word from a Greek word, which signifies "to trouble," it being a place of tribulation and anguish: and others from a Chaldean word, which signifies to "fall," to subside, to go to the bottom, as being a low, inferior place; hence called "Hell from beneath".

1b2. Secondly, There are words and phrases by which the future punishment of the wicked is expressed; and which may serve to give a further account of the nature of it. And,

1b2a. It is represented as a prison; so the fallen angels are said to be cast into Hell, as into a prison, and where they lie in chains, and are reserved to the judgment of the great day. And the spirits that were disobedient in the days of Noah, are expressly said to "be in prison" (2 Peter 1:4; 1 Peter 3:19,20). Wicked men are not only criminals, but debtors; and whereas they have not with which to pay their debts, and no surety to pay them for them, to prison they must go until the uttermost farthing is paid, which never will be (Matthew 5:26). So Plato speaks of Tartarus as a prison of just punishment; for those who have lived unrighteously and ungodly.

1b2b. It is spoken of as a state of darkness, "of blackness of darkness," (Jude 1:13 of the grossest, thickest darkness that can be conceived of; of "outer darkness" (Matthew 8:12), those in it being without, shut out of the kingdom of light, the inheritance of the saints in light; and so like the darkness of the Egyptians, and such as might be felt; when the Israelites had light in all their dwellings: or, like the kingdom of the beast, said to be full of darkness: all which sets forth the very uncomfortable condition of the wicked, being without the light of God's countenance, and the joys of Heaven.

1b2c. It is set forth by "fire" (Matthew 5:21), than which nothing gives more pain, nor is more excruciating; by a "furnace of fire" (Matthew 13:42,50), like that which Nebuchadnezzar caused to be heated seven times hotter than usual, for Daniel's three companions to be cast into, who refused to worship his image, than which nothing can be conceived of more dreadful; and by "a lake of fire," and of "brimstone" also, which enrages the fire, and increases the strength of it (Revelation 20:10,15; 21:8), in allusion to the sulphurous lake Asphalrites, where Sodom and Gomorrah stood: all which serve to give an idea of the wrath of God, poured out on the wicked like fire, and the quick sense they will have of it.

1b2d. It is expressed by a "worm that never dies" (Mark 9:44,46,48; Isaiah 66:24), to die such a death as Herod did, to be eaten of worms, to have a man's flesh gnaw off of his bones by them until he dies, must be very dreadful, (Ac 12:23 but what is this to the continual gnawing of a guilty conscience; that sting of a perpetual conscience; or that perpetual sting of conscience Charite threatened Thrasyllus with? This continued consciousness of guilt, and feeling of divine wrath for sin, are but faintly expressed by the heathens, by vultures feeding on the heart of Tytius in Hell; or by a serpent eating out his liver, which grew again as fast as eaten.

1b2e. This is what is called the second death (Revelation 21:8), of which good men shall not be hurt, and on whom it shall have no power (Revelation 2:11; 20:6), but wicked men will ever abide under it, shall not become extinct, neither in soul nor body, though they may wish for it. This is death eternal, so called, not from a defect of life; nor from the quality of living, being always dying, yet never die.

1b2f. A variety of phrases is used, to signify the terribleness of the future punishment of the wicked; as by tearing them in pieces, as a lion tears his prey; by cutting them asunder, in allusion to punishments of this kind, as Agag was hewed to pieces by Samuel; or to sacrifices, cut up when offered as victims; and by drowning men in perdition, which denotes the utter destruction of them; and by weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, through grief, malice, and envy.

1b2g. By the wrath of God, which comes upon the children of disobedience; by wrath to come, men are warned to flee from; and from which Christ only can deliver them; and by indignation and wrath on every soul of man that does evil. And this is what is chiefly intended by the various words and phrases before observed; and in a sense of which the future punishment of the wicked will greatly lie; as will appear by considering,

1c. Thirdly, the species and sorts of that punishment; or the parts of which it consists, and wherein it lies: it is usually distinguished into "poena damni," punishment of loss; and "poena sensus," punishment of sense; nor is the distinction amiss, provided they are considered as together, and meeting in the same subject, as they do in the fallen angels; who sinning, were cast out of Heaven, were driven from the presence of God, and so lost their original happiness; and were cast down to Hell, and so punished with a sense of divine wrath: and both may be observed together in the sentence pronounced on the wicked at the general judgment; "Depart from me," there is the punishment of loss; you cursed, "into everlasting fire," there is the punishment of sense; the one is the loss of the divine presence; the other a feeling of the curse of the law, and the wrath of God; and there cannot be the one without the other: some have thought, that only the punishment of loss, but not of sense, will be sustained by devils, and wicked men, before the day of judgment; but though the devils may not be in full torment until then, yet not exempt from any, since they are cast down to Hell; and as for wicked men, they are immediately after death, in a state of pain, and under a sense of it, as the rich man in Hell, "being in torment": and others are of opinion, that such as die without actual sin, and are only guilty of original sin, shall only suffer the former, but not the latter. But as the scriptures say little of the case of such, it becomes us to say little also, and leave it to the wise and just Disposer of all things; yet if eternal death is the demerit of original sin, it is not easy to say how there can be one sort of punishment without the other; where there is a loss, there will be a sense of it, or else it is no punishment; and a sense of it will give pain; though as there are degrees of punishment of sin, as will be seen anon, it is reasonable to believe, the punishment of such will be comparatively a milder one, as Augustin expresses it: no doubt there were many such among the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, when those cities were destroyed; and yet the apostle says of them in general, that they were "suffering the vengeance of eternal fire" (Jude 1:7). But to proceed,

1c1. First, there is the punishment of loss, which will consist of a privation of all good things. And,

1c1a. Of God the chief good; as the enjoyment of God is man's chief happiness, so a privation of that enjoyment is his greatest infelicity; the angels, when they sinned, and so Adam, when he sinned, were driven from the presence of God. And though wicked men desire not the presence of God, but say, depart from us, that is, this is the language of their lives and actions; yet when they come to be "punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord"; a great part of that destruction will lie in an eternal separation from it; it will be dreadful to them, as it was an aggravation of the punishment of Cain, and made it intolerable to him, though a wicked man; "From your face shall I be hid!" so to be everlastingly banished from God, without any hope of his favor, will be dreadful: the words of an ancient writer are, "Many men only fear Hell fire; but I say, the loss of that glory (the glory of God and of Heaven) is much greater than Hell, or the punishment of sense: if it cannot be proved by word, it is not to be wondered at; for we do not know the happiness of good things, until we clearly know the misery of evil things, from the privation of those good things." 1c1b. Of Christ, the light and life of men, the light of grace, and the light of glory, in whom all salvation is; as death is the privation of life in a natural sense, eternal death is a privation of eternal life in Christ; as blindness is a privation of sight, and darkness of light; so the judicial blindness and darkness of the infernal state is a privation of the sight of Christ, and of light, life, and salvation by him; as the happiness of glorified saints, will lie in beholding Christ, and seeing his glory; the miserable state of the wicked will lie in being eternally deprived of such a sight; and therefore this is always in the awful sentence pronounced on them by Christ; "Depart from me, you cursed"; or "depart from me, you workers of iniquity" (Matthew 7:23 25:41; Luke 13:27).

1c1c. Of the grace, peace, and joy of the Holy Spirit, of which they are destitute now, and will forever be deprived of it; which will be in perfection in the kingdom of Heaven; and instead of that, nothing but distress, anguish, and horror of mind; having no rest, no case, nor peace, day and night (Revelation 14:11).

1c1d. Of the company of angels and saints: they will be tormented in the presence of the angels, without receiving any benefit by them, or relief from them: they will be sensible of the happiness of the saints, which will aggravate their misery; they will not be able to come at them, and share with them in their bliss; nor have the least degree of consolation from them; the rich man saw Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham, but could not obtain one dip of the tip of his finger in water to cool his tongue. This seems to be the Tantalus of the heathens, or what they mean by Tantalus; a man athirst and hungry, standing in water up to his chin, and pleasant fruits just at his lips, and yet he not able to quench his thirst with the one, nor to satisfy his hunger with the other: yes, they will not have the least pity shown them by God, angels or men; God will mock at their destruction; angels will applaud his righteous judgment; and the holy apostles and prophets, and all the saints, will rejoice over them, as they will over Babylon, and at her destruction, because of the justice of God being glorified by it.

1c1e. Of the kingdom of Heaven, from whence they will be excluded, and of the glories and joys of it, of which they will be forever deprived; they will see the patriarchs and prophets, and all the saints, in the kingdom of God, and they themselves "thrust out"; the door will be "shut" upon them, and no entrance allowed them; they will be obliged to stand "without," where dogs are; and will be "cast into outer darkness," forever deprived of the light of joy and comfort.

1c2. Secondly, there is the punishment of sense, and which will lie both in body and soul; for both will be destroyed in Hell, and be sensible of the fire of it.

1c2a. The body: hence we often read of the whole body, and of the various members of it with it, being cast into Hell (Matthew 5:29,30; Mark 9:43,45,47), now though these are proverbial, or parabolical phrases, yet they have a meaning in them, and have respect to corporal punishment, which will be endured in the body, some way or another. The body is subservient to the soul in the commission of sin; its members are yielded as instruments of unrighteousness; that little member the tongue, is a world of iniquity, defiles the whole body, and is productive of many evils; and it is but just therefore, that the body should have its share in the punishment of sin; and for this purpose is the resurrection of the body, that sinful men may receive the just demerit of their sinful actions done in their bodies. It is a question moved, Whether the fire of Hell is a material fire? No doubt that it is not the only thing meant by it, nor the chief, which is the fire of divine wrath, in which figurative sense it is often taken; though it seems to be sometimes taken in a proper sense, since it has those things ascribed to it which belong to fire properly so called, as smoke, flame, heat, etc. and, indeed, how the body can be affected with any other, is not easy to say, unless by sympathy with the soul, sustaining the fire of divine wrath; nor is it any objection, that the bodies of the wicked will be raised immortal, as never more to die; whereas they would be liable to be consumed, if cast into material fire. To which it may be answered, they may be preserved, by the power of God, from being consumed by it; as the three men in Nebuchadnezzar's furnace were preserved in the midst of it for their safety, so may wicked men be preserved in the furnace of fire for their punishment. And there are such things in nature which are not consumed by fire; as a sort of flax, and cloth made of it, cleansed by burning it; and a precious stone, set on fire, which is not to be quenched; for which reason both have the name of "asbestos," unquenchable: and there is a sort of fly, called "pyrausta," or the firefly, which lives in the fire. Besides, this fire may not be, as doubtless it is not, the same with our culinary fire; it may be, like that, excruciating, but not consuming; as we see with respect to lightning, or fire from Heaven, which sometimes will scorch and burn, and yet not consume and destroy bodies, or reduce them to ashes; as in the case of Nadab and Abihu: but this is not very material to determine; since,

1c2b. The soul will be filled with a sense of wrath, which will be poured forth on the wicked, and burn like fire (Psalm 79:5; Nahum 1:6) this is the fiery indignation which shall consume the adversaries of God and Christ in Hell (Hebrews 10:27) that indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, which will come upon every soul of man that does evil, (Romans 2:8,9) that fire which the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, will kindle (Isa 30:33) and which the body, by its near conjunction with the soul, will feel the effects of.

1d. Fourthly, the degrees of this punishment; for it seems such there will be, since wicked men will be judged, and so punished, according to their evil works, whether more or fewer, greater or lesser. But then these cannot be understood of the punishment of loss; one cannot lose more nor less than another; all are equally excluded from the presence and communion of God and of Christ, and of the Spirit; and from the company of angels and saints, and from the kingdom of Heaven and the glories of it: but can only be said of the punishment of sense; some are lesser sinners and others greater; some are only guilty of original sin, and not of actual transgressions, at least of very few, and so are deserving of a milder punishment only, as before observed; and of actual transgressions some are guilty of more, and of more heinous ones (see John 19:11); and their guilt and punishment are in proportion to them; some are attended with greater aggravations, and so are deserving of a greater punishment; some are done in ignorance, and others against light and knowledge; one knows his master's will and does it not, and so deserves to be beaten with many stripes; and another knows it not, and yet does things worthy of stripes, and therefore to be beaten with few stripes (Luke 12:47). Some have had the advantage of a written law, the law of Moses, as the Jews had, and this explained with the sanctions of it; when others, as the Gentiles, had only the light of nature and the law of it to guide them; and as both will be judged according to their different laws, so will they be punished in a different manner, (Ro 2:12. Some have had the advantage of a preached gospel, and have despised it, and have been disobedient to it, which is an aggravation of their condemnation; so that it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon, for Sodom and Gomorrah, than for them (Matthew 11:20,21).

The scribes and Pharisees who, against the clearest evidence, and the conviction of their own consciences, denied that Jesus was the Messiah, and blasphemed his miracles, which were proofs of it; and under a pretense of religion devoured widows' houses, justly receive the greater damnation, (Matthew 12:25-32 23:14 and those who have treated contumaciously the great doctrines of the gospel, respecting the person and blood of Christ, and the grace of the Spirit of Christ; of how much sorer punishment shall they be thought worthy, than those who have only broken the law of Moses? (Hebrews 10:28,29; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; 1 Peter 4:17). Some have been favored with greater mercies in providence than others, and have abused them, and despised the goodness of God extended to them, and so have treasured up more wrath against the day of wrath; and having their good things here, will have their evil ones hereafter, with redoubled vengeance (Romans 2:4,5 Luke 16:25).

2. What remains to be considered is, the duration of the punishment of the wicked in Hell. It will always continue and never have an end, and is therefore called "everlasting punishment," and "everlasting destruction" (Matthew 25:46; 2 Thessalonians 1:9), and this will admit of proof both from reason and revelation, from the light of nature, and from the sure word of prophecy. The heathens had not only knowledge of the future punishment of the wicked in Hell, but of the eternal duration of it. Lucretius, the Epicurean philosopher, though he disbelieved it, bears a full testimony to the truth of it, even while he derides it; he wrote many years before the coming of Christ, so that what he says could not be derived from the writings of the New Testament, but from a more ancient tradition handed down among the Gentiles time immemorial; he says, that the fears of "eternal" punishment after death, and as what would never have an end, were the cause of all the troubles and miseries of human life; under the bondage of which men lay oppressed, until Epicurus, a man of Greece, rose up, and delivered men from those fears and fancies; so that, according to him, until the times of Epicurus, who lived more than two hundred years before Christ, this sentiment had always obtained among the heathens. And from the sacred scriptures the eternity of future punishment is abundantly evident; as,

2a. From the punishment of the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, who were made an example to those that after should live ungodly; the destruction of those cities was an emblem of eternal punishment: they agree in the efficient cause of them, God; in the instruments, angels; in the matter and manner of the destruction, by fire and brimstone; in circumstances, suddenly, at an unawares; and in the nature of it, irreparable, and in a sense eternal; for those cities were reduced to such a state, as that they will not, nor can be restored again, and so a fit type of the everlasting punishment of sinners in Hell; but more than this, the inhabitants of those cities are now "suffering the vengeance of eternal fire" (Jude 1:7), they are not only now suffering the vengeance, but the vengeance is eternal, and expressed by fire that is everlasting.

2b. From the sense and fears of sinners in Zion, expressed in Isaiah 33:14. "The sinners in Zion are afraid; who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?" the Targum interprets this of the everlasting burnings of Hell; and many Christian interpreters, of the wrath of God, and the tortures of a guilty conscience there; which are represented as what will endure forever, and as intolerable; the desert which those sinners were conscious of, and that the outward form of religion would not deliver from them.

2c. From the resurrection of the dead, and the issue of it, as described in Daniel 12:2. "Some of whom awake to everlasting life, and some to everlasting contempt": this twofold resurrection is called, the one "the resurrection of life"; the other "the resurrection of damnation" (John 5:29), and as the life some are raised to is everlasting life, the damnation that follows the resurrection of the other, must be everlasting damnation; here called, "everlasting contempt"; for such will be had in contempt forever, by God, the holy angels, and good men: the word "everlasting" must have the same sense, and denote the same duration, with respect to the one as to the other.

2d. From the sentence pronounced on the wicked (Matthew 25:41), to depart into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: if the punishment of the devil and his angels will endure forever, and have no end, then the punishment of the wicked will also endure forever, without end, since the same punishment is prepared for the one as for the other; and which is here expressed by "everlasting fire"; and as elsewhere by "unquenchable fire," by "fire that never shall be quenched" (Matthew 3:12; Mark 9:45), by "smoke of fire and torments, that ascends up forever and ever" (Revelation 14:11), and by "blackness of darkness reserved forever" (Jude 1:13).

2e. From the execution of the sentence (Matthew 25:46). "These shall go away into everlasting punishment"; as the happiness of the saints in Heaven is everlasting, and there is no reason to believe it ever will have an end; so the punishment of the wicked in Hell will be everlasting, and without end: the same word here rendered "everlasting," is frequently used of the future life and happiness of the saints (John 6:40,47,54), yes, it is used of it in this passage; for it follows, "but the righteous into life eternal": now no reason can be given why the word in the one clause, which is the same, should be understood of an eternal duration, and in the other of a limited one. Besides, the opposition of the two states of the respective persons requires, that it should be understood in the same sense, and as of equal extent.

2f. From the immortality of the soul. The soul of man, of every man, is immortal, and cannot die, or become extinct, as has been abundantly proved; if therefore it is immortal, and lives forever, it must be forever either happy or miserable; the souls of the righteous being immortal, shall be forever happy; and the souls of the wicked, being so likewise, shall be always miserable: he who is unjust and filthy now, will be after death unjust and filthy still, and ever remain so, and therefore always unhappy and miserable (Revelation 22:11).

2g. From the parts of future punishment; the punishment of loss, and the punishment of sense. The loss of all good sustained will be irretrievable; and the sense of pain and torment will be constant, and without intermission; there will be no rest day nor night; the soul being immortal, the worm of conscience "dies not," but will be always gnawing, stinging, accusing, and upbraiding, and therefore the punishment will always endure.

2h. From an incapacity of ever being relieved, through the use of means, the ministry of the word; or by a being brought to repentance; or by having sin pardoned, and satisfaction made for it; all which will be out of the question: the ministry of the word of peace and reconciliation will be no more; the door of the gospel will be shut; no place will be found for repentance; men will blaspheme God because of their pains, but not repent of their sins; there will be no remission of sin in the world to come; nor satisfaction to be made for sins; sinners cannot satisfy for them themselves by all that they endure; and there will be none to satisfy for them, for there will be no more offering for sin.

2i. From the impossibility of an escape, or a remove out of it. The place of torment is bounded by a great gulf, so that there is no passing from that to a state of happiness; which gulf is no other than the eternal and immutable decree of God, which can never be disannulled, but will remain fixed and unalterable. The heathens themselves represent Hades and Tartarus, by which they mean the same as Hell, as so closely locked and shut up, that there is no return from thence; and as strongly fortified with iron towers and gates, with walls and adamantine pillars, as impregnable, and never to be broke through.

2j. From the perfections of God: the veracity of God makes eternal punishment for sin necessary. He has threatened sin, the breach of his law, with eternal death; for such is the demerit of it; and his truth and faithfulness are engaged to fulfill the threatening, unless a compensation is made for sin committed. "Let God be true, and every man a liar!" The justice of God also requires it; not to punish sin, would not be doing justice to himself, and to the glory of his Majesty; it would be a denying himself, a concealing his perfections, and suffering his supreme authority over his creatures to be subject to contempt; his justice, and the honor of it, make it necessary that sin should be punished, either in the sinner, or in a surety for him: wherefore no satisfaction being made to justice, nor can there be any made in a future state, the punishment must continue forever. It is pretended by some, as if it was contrary to the justice of God, that a transient, temporary action, as sin is, should be everlastingly punished. To which it may be replied, that though sin, as an action, is a transient one, yet the evil, the guilt, the demerit of sin continue, unless purged by the blood of Christ, and atoned for by his sacrifice. Besides, sin is continued to be committed in a future state, though not the same sorts of sins, some of them, as murders, adulteries, etc. yet blasphemy, malice, envy, and the like; and therefore as they continue to be committed, it is but just that the wrath of God should remain upon them: moreover, though sin is a finite action, as an action, for nothing else can be done by a finite creature; yet it is, objectively, infinite, as committed against an infinite Being; and therefore is justly punished with the loss of an infinite good. And as the demerit of sin, as to the punishment of sense, cannot be inflicted "intensively" on a finite creature, that not being able to bear it; it is inflicted "extensively"; or is continued, "ad infinitum," forever. Nor is this contrary to the mercy and goodness of God; God is just, as well as merciful and good: and these attributes are not to be opposed to one another; justice must be satisfied, as well as grace, mercy, and goodness displayed; and besides, the displays of those, or the actings thereof, are according to the sovereign will and pleasure of God; and when men have despised his goodness in providence, and his grace and mercy held forth in the gospel, and in salvation by Christ; it can be no reproach to his mercy and goodness thus despised, to punish such with everlasting destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:9).

 

Chapter 11.

OF THE FINAL STATE OF THE SAINTS IN HEAVEN

There is a state of happiness, which the spirits, or souls, of just men enter into immediately after the separation of them from the body; of which we have treated in a preceding chapter. But after the resurrection, which is of the saints unto everlasting life, and therefore is called the resurrection of life; and when the general judgment is over, and the invitation is given, "Come, you blessed," etc. then "the righteous" shall go "into life eternal," soul and body (Matthew 25:34,46), which is the state now to be considered. And, first, the state of happiness itself, and then the eternity of it.

1. The state of happiness the saints are possessed of after the resurrection, and general judgment, in soul and body, expressed in the passage above quoted, by "eternal life," and very frequently elsewhere. But it is not animal life, which lies in the conjunction of soul and body, and a continuance of that forever, which is meant by eternal life; for the wicked will live such a life upon the resurrection; for as there will be a resurrection of the just, so of the unjust; they will live again, and live for evermore; though their living will be no other than the second and eternal death; for they will be destroyed, both body and soul, in Hell; not as to the substance of either, but as to the comfort and happiness of both; for it is not barely living, but living well, comfortably and happily, that is properly life; in which sense the word is used (Psalm 22:26), and such is the life the saints will live in Heaven, in soul and body, in the enjoyment of God, as their covenant God; and thrice happy are they that are in such a case; and in being with Christ! which is far better than to live in this world: and in having the communion of the Holy Spirit, than which nothing can be more comfortable; and in the society of angels and saints: all which is most eligible and desirable. In treating on this state, I shall take much the same method as in the preceding chapter. I shall,

1a. First, prove that there will be a state of happiness of good men in the world to come; for "godliness has the promise of that life which is to come"; that is, of happiness in it. And this may be made to appear, in some respect,

1a1. First, from the light of nature and reason; for though the kind of happiness is not to be discovered and demonstrated by it; yet some general notion of future happiness may be evinced from it.

1a1a. A general notion of happiness after death, has obtained among the wiser sort of heathens, who have had only the light of nature to guide them; unless some general traditions transmitted to them, especially among those who have given any credit to the immortality of the soul. Hence they speak of the Elysian fields, and islands of the blessed, as the seat and habitation of pious persons after death; and which they describe after a carnal and earthly manner; as grassy plains, and flowery meads; and as abounding with all manner of delicious fruits; and as in a most temperate climate, free of all wintry weather and blustering storms, and of scorching heat; and where they are fanned with gentle zephyrs, and delighted with flowing fountains and purling streams; and are continually regaling themselves with nectar and ambrosia. Though even their images of those things, Tertullian thinks they have borrowed from the sacred writings, and the description of the heavenly state therein: "If, says he, we speak of paradise as a place of divine pleasantness, appointed for the reception of holy spirits—the Elysian fields seize upon and engross their faith." But those things are not only said by their poets, but by their wise and grave philosophers; as Plato, Plutarch, Seneca, and others.

1a1b. From a natural desire in mankind after happiness, and which is universal; and yet it is certain it is not attained in this present life, though eagerly sought for, in one way or another. Some seek for it in natural wisdom and knowledge; some in wealth and riches; others in the honors of the world, in fame and popular applause; anti others in the gratification of sensual appetites and lusts; but is never found to satisfaction in either; and as abundantly appears from the first and second chapters of the book of Ecclesiastes. This is only found in God, the chief good; and that not to perfection in this life. Now either this desire of happiness is implanted in vain, which is not reasonable to suppose; or there must be a future state, in which this happiness will be enjoyed, at least by some of the individuals of human nature, even by all good men; who, at the resurrection, and not before, will be completely happy to full satisfaction; even when they shall awake in the likeness of God.

1a1c. From the unequal distribution of things in the present state; which makes the providences of God very intricate and perplexed, with difficulties not easy to be solved; and which cannot be solved without supposing a future state: here wicked men have a large portion of good things; and good men have a large share of evil things, afflictions, and distresses; and if their hope of happiness was bounded by this life, they would be of all men most miserable; especially such who are called to endure sharp and severe sufferings: but their hope extends beyond it; as it is reasonable it should; when, as they have suffered in the cause of goodness, truth, and righteousness, that they should be glorified together; and that their present momentary afflictions should work for them, as they do, an eternal weight of glory. But this more abundantly appears,

1a2. Secondly, from divine revelation; by which life and immortality are brought to light; or an immortal life of happiness is set in the clearest light; and which may be strongly concluded,

1a2a. From the promise of God concerning it. "This is the promise," the grand and principal promise; and which includes and secures all the rest; "He," that is, God, "has promised us," in the covenant of grace, and which lies in his word, "even eternal life" (1 John 2:25), which gives hope and assurance of it, and in which it issues: and this promise was made very early, even "before the world began," and by God that "cannot lie," and therefore to be depended on as sure and certain; and besides, it is in "Christ"; and not the promise only, but the thing itself (Titus 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:1; 1 John 5:11), and in this lies the happiness of the saints (Jam. 1:12).

1a2b. From the predestination of men unto it; there are "vessels of mercy afore prepared" in the mind, and by the will of God, for this future "glory" and happiness; who are chosen "to the obtaining," or to the enjoyment, "of the glory of Christ"; to behold his glory, and appear with him in glory; who are "ordained to eternal life," and therefore believe to the saving of their souls: and which act of the grace, and will of God, can never be frustrated and made void; for "whom he did predestinate—them he also glorified" (Romans 9:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:14; Acts 13:48; Romans 8:30).

1a2c. From the preparation of this happiness for them; this consists of things unseen and unheard of, and not to be conceived of by carnal minds, which God has "prepared" for them that love him, fear him, and wait for him; and which preparation was made in eternity; for it is a "kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world"; and which will only be given to, and will most certainly be given to, those for whom "it is prepared" of God (1 Corinthians 2:9; Matthew 25:34 20:23).

1a2d. From Christ's actual possession of it for his people, in their name; and from the preparation he is making of it for them; he is entered into Heaven as the forerunner for them, and has taken possession of it in their name, as their head and representative; and in whom, as so considered, they are already set down in heavenly places, and shall be in person, most certainly, before long; for he is gone before to "prepare a place" for them, in his Father's house in Heaven, where are many mansions, by his intercession for them, which is always prevalent; and therefore he assures them, he will "come again," and "receive them" to himself, "that where he is, they may be also," partakers of his glory and happiness (Hebrews 6:20; Eph 2:6; John 14:2,3).

1a2e. From the effectual calling of men to eternal life and happiness: "Lay hold on eternal life, whereunto you are also called," says the apostle Paul to Timothy; and to which happiness every man is called, who is called by grace: hence we read of the saints being called of God to "his kingdom and glory"; and of their being called "unto his eternal glory, by Jesus Christ". Now between calling and glorification there is an inseparable connection; "Whom he called—them he also glorified" (1 Timothy 6:12: 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 1 Peter 5:10; Romans 8:30).

1a2f. From the grace of God implanted in the heart, and the earnest of the Spirit there. The grace of God, which is wrought in the heart in regeneration, is a "well of living water, springing up into everlasting life," and issues in it; and the Spirit of God, in his operations on the souls of men, works them up "for that selfsame thing," eternal glory and happiness; and of which his indwelling also in them, is the earnest and pledge; for he is said to be "given" as an "earnest," and to be "the earnest of the inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession"; that is, until all the purchased ones are redeemed from mortality, death, and the grave; and therefore as sure as they have the earnest, they shall enjoy the inheritance, which is eternal life (John 4:14; 2 Colossians 5:5; Eph 2:14).

1a2g. From the present experiences of the saints, from those foretastes they sometimes have of future glory and happiness; like the Israelites, have some clusters of Canaan's grapes, some of the good land by the way, as a specimen and pledge of what they shall enjoy when they come into that better country; they now receive the first fruits of the Spirit, which encourage them to hope for the glorious harvest of the adoption of children: they now, at times, have communion with God in private, and also in public, in his house and ordinances, when they are as the gate and suburbs of Heaven to them; and so, by inward felt experience know, from what they find in themselves, that there is something better, and more excellent for them in Heaven.

1a2h. From the desires of the saints after future happiness. They choose to be with Christ, as more eligible than to be here; they desire to be clothed upon, with their house from Heaven, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, that they may be present with the Lord; and press towards the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ (Philippians 1:23; 3:14; 2 Corinthians 5:2,8). And now those desires in the hearts of the saints, are not formed by the Spirit of God in vain.

1a2i. From the assurance of it some of the saints have had, both of the Old and of the New Testament; the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and others, all died in the faith of the better country they were seeking, and were desirous of; the psalmist Asaph expresses his strong faith of it, that "God would receive him to glory"; and the apostle Paul, in his own name, and in the name of other Christians, says, "we know," we are well assured, that "we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" (Hebrews 11:13; Psalm 73:24; 2 Corinthians 5:1).

1a2j. This happiness is begun already in this life; in regeneration men pass from the death of sin, into a life of grace; and a life of grace, is the life of glory begun; he who believes in Christ has everlasting life; is possessed of it in part, and has the earnest and the beginning of it; eternal life is founded in, and begins with the knowledge of God and Christ (John 5:24; 6:47; 17:3).

1a2k. Lastly, There are instances of saints already in Heaven, anti some in their bodies, as well as in their souls, as Enoch and Elijah; and, as it is highly probable, the saints that arose at Christ's resurrection, and went with him to Heaven; (see Luke 13:28 16:22) and as sure as they are there, all the rest of the saints will. I go on to consider,

1b. Secondly, the names, phrases, and epithets, used of this happiness; which may serve to convey to us some ideas of the nature of it.

1b1. First, the names by which it is called; both as a place and as a state. As a place,

1b1a. It is called Heaven; for there this happiness lies, which is called the reward in Heaven, the hope laid up in Heaven, the inheritance reserved in Heaven, and often the kingdom of Heaven; and which is no other than the third Heaven, where is the throne of God, where Christ in human nature is gone, and there received, and is the habitation of the holy angels.

1b1b. It goes by the name of "paradise," in allusion to the garden of Eden, a place of pleasure and delight (2 Corinthians 12:4; Luke 23:43), in the midst of which, Christ, the tree of life, stands, laden with all manner of precious fruit, for the solace and delight of the blessed inhabitants; and where are fullness of joy, and pleasures for evermore (Revelation 2:7; 22:2; Psalm 16:11).

1b1c. It is represented as a place of "light"; it is called the light of life; the inheritance of the saints in light; and needs no natural nor artificial light to illuminate it; where God and the Lamb are the light of it, and the angels of light dwell (John 8:12; Colossians 1:12; Revelation 21:23; 22:5).

1b1d. It is signified by an "house" to dwell in; an house not made with the hands of men, but is a building of God; in which there are many mansions, room enough for the many sons the great Captain of salvation will bring to glory, who is gone before them, to prepare them for them; even in his Father's house (2 Corinthians 5:1; John 14:2).

1b1e. It is said to be a "city," a city of God's preparing, of which he is the builder and maker, and which has foundations firm and strong, and so is a continuing and lasting one (Heb 11:10,16; 13:14) and of this city the saints are now citizens; "our citizenship is in Heaven" (Philippians 3:20).

1b1f. It is called, "the better country" (Hebrews 11:16): better than this world, or any country m it; better than the good land beyond Jordan, Canaan, the type of it: it is "the land that is very far off," even in the highest heavens; the "land of uprightness," where there is nothing but perfect purity and integrity, and where only upright persons dwell, (Isaiah 33:17; Psalm 143:10). And as a state, it is sometimes called,

1b1f1. An "inheritance" (Acts 20:32), and elsewhere, in allusion to the land of Canaan, distributed by lot for an inheritance to the children of Israel; or in allusion to inheritances among men, which are not acquired and purchased by them; but are bequeathed, or come to them by relations, and are transmitted from father to son; and so the heavenly glory is not obtained by the works of men, or is a purchase of theirs; but is bequeathed to them by their heavenly Father, and comes to them by his will and testament, upon, by, and through the death of the testator, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:15,16).

1b1f2. A "kingdom," often called the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of Heaven, of which the saints are heirs; and they are styled kings and princes, being possessed of the kingdom of grace, as they will be of kingdom of glory; to which they are called, and is prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and which it is their Father's good pleasure to give them (Jam. 2:5; Matthew 25:34; Luke 12:32).

1b1f3. A "crown"; a crown of righteousness and life, a crown of glory, that fades not away, an incorruptible one; which serves to set forth the grandeur of this state (2 Timothy 4:8; Jam. 1:12; 1 Peter 5:4; 1 Corinthians 9:25).

1b1f4. It is expressed by "glory" itself (Psalm 84:11; 73:24) as being exceeding glorious, beyond all conception and expression; it is said to be "a weight of glory" (2 Corinthians 4:17), in allusion to the ponderous crowns of princes; it will lie in beholding the glory of Christ, and in having a glory revealed in the saints, and in having a glory upon them, both in soul and body.

1b1f5. It has the name of peace, into which good men enter at death (Psalm 37:37; Isa 57:2), there being nothing in this state to ruffle and disturb, but all tranquil, serene, and calm; no sin within, nor sinful men without: no sorrow and affliction; no pricking brier, nor grieving thorn, throughout the land.

1b1f6. It is signified by a rest, which remains for the people of God, after this toilsome life is over (Hebrews 4:9), in allusion to the land of Canaan, a land of rest to the Israelites, after their weary travels in the wilderness; or to the Sabbath, the day of rest, this state being all day, and all Sabbath; a complete rest of body and soul, from all labors, troubles, and enemies whatever.

1b1f7. It is called "the joy of the Lord," into which Christ's faithful servants will be invited to enter (Matthew 25:21,23), a joy that can never be taken away from them, a fullness of joy, a joy unspeakable and full of glory.

1b2. Secondly, there are various phrases also by which this happy state is expressed, and epithets used of it, which show the happiness of it; as by being in "Abraham's bosom"; and sitting down as at a table and a feast, with him and others, expressive of the blessed communion of the saints (Luke 16:22; Matthew 8:12), but more especially by being with Christ, and sitting with him on his throne (Phil; 1:23; Revelation 3:21), and by being fed, and led by him, to fountains of living waters (Revelation 7:17). The various epithets of this state, besides what have been given, are worthy of notice. It is, as yet, an unseen happiness; it consists of things not seen at present; and which faith and hope are only concerned with; and saints have only some glimpse of it, which encourages to wait for it (2 Corinthians 4:18; Hebrews 11:1; Romans 8:24,25). It is future, it is yet to come; a glory that shall be revealed; grace that is to be brought at the revelation of Christ, and does not yet appear what it shall be: it is beyond all "compare"; the wealth and riches, the glories and grandeur of this world, are trifles to it; yes, the sufferings of the saints, their purest services, are not worthy to be compared with it (Romans 8:18), it is an "enduring substance," a never fading inheritance, a crown of glory that fades not away; the glory of this world passes away; but this glory will never pass away: but of the eternity of it more hereafter. I proceed to show,

1c. Thirdly, the parts of this happiness, or wherein it will consist.

1c1. First, in a freedom from all evils, both of soul and body; from all evils that affect the soul.

1c1a. From the evil of evils, sin, which is exceeding evil in itself, and the cause of all evil: but in this happy state there will he an entire deliverance from it; even,

1c1a1. From all temptations to it, either from within or from without; glorified saints will have nothing within and about themselves, no sinful lust in their hearts to tempt, entice, and draw them away, as now; their souls being the spirits of just men made perfect; nothing in or about their bodies to incline and lead to sin, which are now vile, and have a world of iniquity in them; but then made like the glorious body of Christ: nor will they have any from without to solicit them to sin; not Satan, for he is cast out of Heaven, and has not, nor never will have, place there any more; nor wicked men, whose evil communications now are very ensnaring and corrupting; but these will have no standing in the congregation of the righteous.

1c1a2. From the dominion of sin; it has not an entire dominion over the saints now, much less will it have any in Heaven; nor will any attempts be made to bring them into captivity to it; nor will they be in any danger of it.

1c1a3. From the commission of it, and so of guilt through it: now none live without it, and daily need to have their garments washed in the blood of the Lamb; fresh guilt arises in their consciences, which must be removed the same way: but the saints will now be impeccable, not capable of sinning, as Adam was in impotence,

and the angels before their confirmation; since the former sinned, and so did many of the latter. Yes,

1c1a4. The saints in Heaven will be free from the very being of sin; now it has a place, and dwells and operates in them; but then the Canaanite will be no more in the land.

1c1a5. They will be rid of an evil heart of unbelief, and be no more distressed with doubts and fears: now unbelief is a sin that easily besets them; and without are fightings, and within are fears; but then, as there will be no occasion to say to themselves, "Why are you cast down, O my soul?" so neither will they hear such a rebuke, "Wherefore did you doubt, O you of little faith!" 1c1b. From the evil one, Satan and his temptations, Adam was not free from him in the garden of Eden; but saints will be in the paradise above: now he goes about like a roaring lion, terrifying and distressing; but then they will be out of the reach of his hideous noise, and where his fiery darts will never penetrate: he will be bound, and cast into the bottomless pit, during the saints reign with Christ a thousand years; and though when they are ended he will be let loose for a little while, yet he will be taken up again, and cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where he will remain forever, and never more be able to give the least molestation and disturbance.

1c1c. From evil men; whether profane sinners, with whose ungodly conversation they shall be no more vexed; as Lot, David, Isaiah, and other saints have been here: or violent persecutors, who here oppress them, and distress them, in person, in name, in body, and estate; but now will cease from troubling them, not being able to do them the least hurt, nor give them the least uneasiness: or hypocrites in Zion; there will be no more tares among the wheat, nor goats among the sheep, nor foolish virgins among the wise; they that offend, and do iniquity, will be gathered out of the kingdom of Christ. This happiness will consist in a freedom from all bodily evils; or which affect the outward circumstances. No more poverty, nor straitness, as to external things; no more want of food, of drink, and of clothing, which is sometimes now the lot of saints; they will hunger and thirst no more! there will be no more racking pains, nor loathsome diseases; no more sickness; no more death: nor will they be any more subject to disappointments from friends or others; nor to losses in the business of life; nor to loss of friends and relations by death; nor to anything that may mar their joy and pleasure.

1c2. Secondly, This happy state will consist in the enjoyment of all that is good.

1c2a. In the enjoyment of God himself, who is the chief good, who is the portion of his people now, and will be their portion for evermore; in enjoying communion with him, Father, Son, and Spirit, in the highest perfection, and without any interruption, and to all eternity; in the beatific vision of him, in beholding him as he is; not his nature and essence, so as to comprehend it; but they shall see him so as to have clearer, fuller, and more distinct apprehensions of his perfections and glory; especially his shining in and through Christ, the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.

1c2b. In being with Christ, and beholding his glory, the glory of his divine Person, with the eyes of their understanding, being more opened and enlarged; and the glory of his human nature with the eyes of their body; they shall see him in the flesh crowned with glory and honor, who was crowned with thorns, spit upon, buffeted, crucified, pierced, and wounded for them.

1c2c. In having the company and society of angels, and of one another. They will now be come, in the fullest sense, to an innumerable company of angels; and will converse with them, and join them in adoring the divine perfections, and blessing and praising God and the Lamb; they will then sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and other patriarchs, with the prophets, apostles, and all the saints in the kingdom of Heaven; they will have communion with each other, though not in the same way and manner as now, in the use of ordinances, of which there will be then no need; yet there will be a social worship, in which they will be jointly concerned; in singing hallelujahs, and in ascriptions of blessing, glory, and praise, to the sacred and eternal Three. They will converse and discourse with each other about divine, spiritual, and heavenly things; in what language it is not easy to say; though "tongues" will "cease," the multiplicity of languages now used, that jargon introduced at Babel or since; though some think everyone will speak in his own language the wonderful things of God; but this is not probable, since then mutual converse would not be general; yet it is reasonable to suppose someone language will be used to employ the tongue; some have thought of the Hebrew language spoke in paradise, and by patriarchs, prophets, etc. but perhaps it may be a language more pure, more perfect, more elegant, and more refined, than ever was spoken by men on earth. It is also highly probable the saints will know one another personally; which seems necessary to their perfect happiness: though they will know no man after the flesh: all natural relations and civil connections will now cease; and whether it will give any peculiar and superior pleasure, to see a relation or friend in this happy state, more than to see another saint, is a question not now to be resolved; as it will give no uneasiness that any relation or friend is missing there, which would mar their happiness. To all which may be added, the communion of the saints will be with the utmost peace and concord; they will dwell together in unity, in the highest perfection; there will be no jars nor discord among them; no envy and vexation among brethren; love will be arrived to its greatest pitch of vigor and glory, and continue so forever.

1c2d. This happiness will consist in perfect holiness. Sanctification will now be completed in soul and body: the soul, as before observed, will be entirely free from the very being of sin, as well as from any act of it; and from guilt and pollution, arising from it: and the body, though vile when laid in the grave, will, being raised, be like to the glorious body of Christ: and saints, both in soul and body, will be without fault before the throne, without any spot or stain of sin, or wrinkle or deformity, or any such thing; and so be perfectly fit for communion with God, with angels, and one another.

1c2e. It will consist in the enjoyment of the greatest glory, both in soul and body, beyond all present conception and expression. There will be a glory revealed in the saints, which is beyond all comparison; and a glory put upon them that is inconceivable; a glory upon their souls, which lie in perfect purity in them, in having the righteousness of Christ upon them, and the shining robes of light and bliss: a glory upon their bodies, which will be raised glorious, powerful, spiritual, and incorruptible, and ever continue; as Christ will appear in glory, they will appear in glory with him, and be made like unto him.

1c2f. From all which will arise the greatest joy and felicity; fullness of joy, joy unspeakable and full of glory! the redeemed of the Lord shall now be come to "Zion, with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away" (Isaiah 35:10).

1d. Fourthly, It may be considered, whether there will be any degrees in the final happiness of the saints; or whether one saint will have a greater share of happiness than another. It appears, there will be degrees in the punishment of the wicked in Hell; and some think there will be degrees in the happiness of the saints in Heaven; and others not: and there are some things advanced on both sides not to be despised. Those who are for degrees of glory do not think there will be any want of happiness in any, nor any uneasy desires after more; nor any envyings of others; nor do they suppose, with the Papists, that the distribution will be made according to the proper merit of men; but that the reward will be a reward of grace, and not of debt: yet, as it seeks to incline to the popish notion, and to have a look that way, it is not so agreeable; and besides, those passages of scripture which are usually brought to support it, as Daniel 12:2, Matthew 25:14 etc. 1 Corinthians 15:40-42 belong to the kingdom state, as we have seen, and not to the ultimate glory. The arguments against degrees in glory seem with me to preponderate. As,

1d1. That all the people of God are loved by him with the same love; they are not loved one sooner than another, for they are all loved with an everlasting love; nor one more than another: there are no degrees in the love of God, as in himself, though the manifestations of it may be more or less; yet the favor he bears to his own peculiar people is the same, and so always continues to the end, and to all eternity.

1d2. They are all chosen together in Christ, as not one before another, their election being together in Christ, before the foundation of the world; so not one more than another: the election of one may be manifested before another, and be more clearly manifested to one than to another; but the act is the same; so is the glory they are chosen to.

1d3. They are equally interested in the same covenant of grace, which is an everlasting one; and the one were as early in it as the others; and are all alike blessed with the same spiritual blessings of it; and have the same grace given them in Christ before the world began, one as another; and have all the same right to the exceeding great and precious promises of it.

1d4. They are all equally redeemed with the same price, which is the precious blood of Christ! (1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Peter 1:18,19), and though they are redeemed out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation, yet it is by the same blood (Revelation 5:9), as the half shekel for the ransom of the souls of the Israelites was the same for one as another, the rich did not give more, nor the poor less (Exodus 30:12-15), so the ransom price for Christ's people is the same, which is himself (1 Timothy 2:6).

1d5. They are all justified by the same righteousness; it is unto all, and upon all them that believe; there is no difference between greater and lesser believers; though one may have more faith than another, that is, as to exercise; yet no man has more righteousness than another: and in everyone it is the same precious faith as to its nature and object; it is by one and the same righteousness that all the seed of Israel, the spiritual seed of Christ, are justified; Christ's righteousness is a garment that reaches down to the feet, and covers the meanest member of his body as well as the greatest.

1d6. All are equally the sons of God, are predestined to the same adoption of children; and which they receive through the redemption that is by Christ; and from whom they receive the same power, authority, and privilege to become the children of God, one as another; they are all the children of God by faith in Christ, and are fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and being children, they are heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; all alike so, they are all firstborn ones (Hebrews 12:23).

1d7. They are all kings and priests unto God, made so by Christ; their office and dignity are alike; they are alike raised by his grace and favor, from a low estate, to sit among princes, and to inherit the same throne of glory.

1d8. The future glory and happiness of the saints is frequently expressed by words of the singular number; showing, that though it belongs to more, it is the same to all, or that all have an equal right to and share in it; thus it is called, the inheritance of the saints in light; the inheritance reserved in Heaven; a kingdom it is their Father's good pleasure to give them; a crown of righteousness laid up for them; and is signified by a penny given to the laborers alike, who came into the vineyard at different parts of the day (Colossians 1:12; 1 Peter 1:4; Luke 12:32; 2 Timothy 4:8; Matthew 20:9,10). It is a question moved by some, whether there will not be an increase of the happiness of the saints in a future state, or some addition made unto it, and improvement of it, by fresh discoveries of the mysteries of grace and of providence, that may be gradually made, which may afford new pleasure and delight. This is not easy to determine; some are inclined to think there will be an increase, as in the angels, who desire to "look" more into the mysteries of grace (1 Peter 1:12), and have a greater knowledge of them, which may be an addition to their happiness. But it is not so certain, that angels by nature are meant in the text referred to; but angels by office, ministers of the gospel: besides, the happiness of the good angels may not be as yet complete until all the elect men are gathered in; as the punishment of the evil angels will not be full until the day of judgment: and if any addition is gradually made to the happiness of the saints in Heaven, it must be imperfect until that addition is made, and must continue so until the last is made; which does not seem consistent with the perfection of their state. However, much may be said for the growing happiness of the saints onward in eternity; but the determination of this question must be left until we come into that state, when "we shall know even also as we are known".

2. The eternity of this happiness is the next and the last thing to be considered, and which is essential to it; for let the happiness of men be what it may, yet if it is to have an end, though at a great distance, the thought of that will greatly spoil the pleasure of it; but this happiness will never have an end; as appears by its names.

2a. By its being frequently called "eternal life, everlasting life," a life that will never end: the present life has an end; let a man live ever so long he dies at last; it is said of Methuselah, the oldest man, that he lived so many years, "and he died"; but he who lives and believes in Christ "shall never die"; though he may die corporally, he shall not die spiritually and eternally, and therefore must be everlastingly happy.

2b. It is a "glory," and it is called "eternal" glory, an "eternal weight" of glory, a crown of glory "that fades not away": the glory of kings and kingdoms continues not long, but passes away, and so their happiness is temporal and transitory; but that of the saints endures forever (2 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Peter 5:10).

2c. It is an "house eternal in the heavens"; it consists of many rooms; there are many mansions, dwelling, abiding places for the saints in it; and those habitations are "everlasting habitations" (2 Corinthians 5:1; Luke 16:8), houses on earth may be consumed by fire, or be pulled down by violence, or decay through length of time; or a man may be turned out of house and home; but nothing of this kind can befall the dwelling place of the saints in Heaven, and them in that.

2d. It is an "inheritance," and an "eternal" one; an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fades not away (Hebrews 9:15; 1 Peter 5:4). An inheritance on earth, a man may be dispossessed of by force or fraud; but an inheritance in Heaven is "reserved" there, and so safe and secure; and is out of the reach of any to disturb the saints in their possession of it.

2e. It is a "city," and a "continuing" one; here the saints have none; but they seek one to come; a city which has foundations firm and sure, and can never be subverted (Hebrews 11:10; 13:14), here cities of great antiquity and fame, of great strength and glory, are destroyed, and come to nothing, and their memorial perishes with them; but this is a city that will endure to all eternity.

2f. It is a "kingdom," and an "everlasting" one (2 Peter 1:11) it is the kingdom of Christ, of which there will be no end; in it the saints will reign with him forever and ever: his spiritual and mediatorial kingdom, when the end comes, will be delivered up to the Father; the millennium kingdom will be at an end when the thousand years are expired; but the kingdom of Heaven, or the ultimate state of glory, will never end.

2g. It is a country in which the saints are not sojourners, as here, where they continue but for a while; and so a better country than this; for there they will forever dwell as in their own native land, being born from above, and partakers of the heavenly calling.

2h. It is expressed by "being with Christ," and which will be "forever"; and with which words the saints are directed to comfort themselves now, that they shall be "ever with the Lord!" Eternity infinitely adds to him happiness of this state.

2i. The eternal purpose of God, which first gave birth to this state of happiness; the everlasting covenant of grace, in which it is secured; and the promise of it, made before the world began, confirm and ensure the everlasting continuance of it.

2j. Were there any fears of its ever ending, it would not be perfect happiness; but as "perfect love casts out fear," so the full evidence that is given of the eternity of the saints' happiness, casts out all fear of its ever coming to an end: which, as it cannot be admitted, can never be an alloy unto it.