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will flow as a river, and corruption and violence will recede before it. The public mind will favour this course of things. Thus it is that wars and oppressions, and all other disorders, will in a great measure subside. Every thing being done on Christian principles, Christ will reign. "God's way will be known upon earth, and his saving health among all nations. The people shall be glad and sing for joy, for the Lord will judge them righteously." Psalm lxvii.
The "judgment given unto them, and to the souls that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus," denotes that God will now vindicate their character, and avenge their wrongs. This appears to be the meaning in Chap. xi. 18. and xviii. 20. The vengeance poured upon the antichristian party is in the first of these passages called judging the dead, because it vindicates them and the cause in which they suffered, and avenges them on their adversaries. Thus it will be during the Millennium. The cause in which the martyrs have suffered will then triumph and while the names of their persecutors will rot in execration, their labours will be in request, and their characters embalmed in the memory of mankind. It is thus, I conceive, that the martyrs will "live and reign with Christ a thousand years."
The antichristian party, on the other hand called "the rest of the dead," or the "remnant" that escaped from the battle in which "the beast and the false prophet were taken, were slain with the sword of him that sat on the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth." In other words, they will become as dead men during the whole of the Millennial period. They would die as a body in that that they had no successors to stand up in their place, and as individuals, if any remained, would be unable to impede the progress of the gospel. After this, their leader being let loose, and permitted to make one more desperate effort, they will then "live again" though it will be but for a short season.
"This (adds the sacred writer) is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power; but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." Those who consider the reign of Christ personal, understand this
of the resurrection of the bodies of the righteous which they suppose will be a thousand years before that of the wicked. A“ first resurrection" doubtless implies a second, as much as a "second death" implies a first: but as the first and second deaths are different in their nature, so may be the first and second resurrections. I question if there be any proof of the corporeal résurrection of the righteous being prior in order of time to that of the wicked. The only passage that I recollect to have seen alleged for it, is, 1 Thes. iv. 16. "And the dead in Christ shall rise first." It is not, however,in respect of the resurrection of the wicked that they are said to rise first, but of the change of the living saints: for it follows, "Then we who are alive, and remain, shall be caught up, &c." The context says nothing of the wicked, or of their resurrection. The resurrection of the righteous being mentioned alone, or without that of the wicked, does not prove that the one will be prior to the other. If it proves any thing concerning the wicked, it would seem to be that there will be no resurrection of them but knowing from other scriptures that there will be a resurrection," both of the just and the unjust," we do not draw this inference; nor have we any ground for drawing the other.
The "first resurrection" appears to me to be no other than the Millennium itself, to which all that is said of it will apply. During this glorious period, the church will have its Pauls and Peters and Johns over again. Men will be raised up who will go forth in the spirit and power of those worthies, as much as John the Baptist did in the spirit and power of Elias. Thus the apostles and martyrs will, as it were, be raised from their graves, and live again upon the earth.
The blessedness pronounced upon him that hath a part in it, is expressive of the happiness of those times. The idea is the same as that in Chap. xix. 9. "Blessed are they that are called to the marriage-supper of the Lamb:"-and that in Dan. xii. 12. "Blessed is he that waiteth and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days!" Each of these passages refers to the same period. If a blessing was pronounced on those who saw the early part of gospel times, much more on those who shall enjoy the latter. It were not enough however to exist in those times :
to be blessed we must have "a part" in all that is going on; and in order to this we must be "holy." Otherwise, God might work a work in our days which we should not believe, but despise it, and wonder, and perish!
The first resurrection supposes a second, and which seems to be that of the just and the unjust. In this the wicked shall be raised to die a second death; but over the followers of Christ the second death shall have no power. As a pledge of their victory, they are already made priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign in spiritual prosperity from generation to generation, for the space of a thousand years.
THE FALLING AWAY, THE END OF THE WORLD, THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD, AND THE LAST JUDGMENT.
And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison. 8 And shall go out to deceive the nations, which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle; the number of whom is as the sand of the
It seems almost incredible, after so long and glorious a season of grace, that Satan should so recover his influence in the world, as that the number of his adherents should become "as the sand of the sea!" Yet thus it is. What is ordinarily called the religion of a people becomes a sort of national habit, to which they are attached from generation to generation. But it is not thus with true religion. There is nothing in it suited to the temper of mind with which men are born into the world. If therefore the Holy Spirit be aggrieved, and withdraw his influence but from one generation, it will be like that which succeeded the times of Joshua, that "knew not the Lord." If in such a state of things Satan be permitted to ply with his temptations, he is certain to be successful.
"The four quarters of the earth" prior to this must have been evangelized by the gospel; but the dragon being let loose deceives them; not by any new superstition, like that of popery; for as