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And the dead [trufting] in Chrift [THE
17. Then we [any of us] who are living, who are left furviving, fhall be caught up together with them, in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and fo [after that] fhall always be with the Lord.
18. Therefore comfort one another with fuch words as thefe.
The other words are in the Epiftle to the 336. Coloffians:
Coloffians, ch. iii. ver. 4.
Ὅταν ὁ Χριςὸς φανερωθῇ, ἡ ζωὴ ἡμῶν, τότε καὶ ὑμεῖς σὺν αὐτῷ φανερωθήσεσθε ἐν δόξῃ.
When Chrift fhall appear, [who is] our life, then ye alfo fhall appear with Him in Glory.
And to these we may add the words of the Holy Pfalmift, in the 50th Pfalm,
4. Προσκαλέσεται τὸν ἐρανὸν ἄνω,
5. Συναγάγετε αὐτῷ τὸς ὁσίες αὐτῇ,
6. Καὶ ἀναγ[ελᾶσιν οἱ ἐρανοὶ τὴν δικαιο-
4. He fhall call the heaven from above, and the earth, to judge His people.
5. Gather unto Him, His holy ones, those that have established a covenant with Him by means of facrifices.
6. And the HEAVENS fall declare His righteousness; for God is [indeed] a Judge.
In which latter declaration it feems to be intimated, that those who have made the great appointed covenant with God, by means of facrifice; not the facrifice of bulls and goats, (for that is declared to be of little import, ver. 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, of this very Pfalm;) but by means of the great Sacrifice 337. of Chrift, the Deliverer, and Anointed Lord ; that those are they who fhall defcend, with the Holy Angels, from the heaven above, to judge the people: when the Heavens fhall declare
declare His righteoufnefs; His, Who Himself really made and offered up the great Sacrifice in question.
This is what I apprehend to be a fair interpretation of this prophetical Pfalm, although the word urias is in the plural number; and that the rather, both because of the care taken in the subsequent verfes to declare that the facrifices of bulls and goats were in themfelves of no import at all, (which would be a contradiction to the fifth verfe, unless fomething further was intended;) and alfo, because even the facrifices under the Law were, as the Apostles inform us *, merely typical of the final great Sacrifice to be offered up, and had their full and proper effect only from being feen and confidered in that light: and because we have fufficient reafon to conclude, that even the facrifices of the Patriarchs always had a reference to the promifed Meffiah and Deliverer; and may venture to believe, that most probably the very reason why Cain's offering was not accepted †, was because he did not confider it rightly as having
*Heb. ch. x. ver. I to 15. I Cor. ch. x. ver. 4. Col. ch. ii. ver. 17.
+ Hebrews, ch. xi. ver. 4.
reference to the great intended Sacrifice, but brought his productions from the earth, merely as fome fruit of his own toil and labour, to be given unto the Almighty, who needeth not any thing from our hands.
The facrifices, therefore, alluded to in the verses of this fublime Pfalm, by means of which fuch a covenant was made with God as has been accepted, and which have made those who offered them in spirit and in truth holy unto the Lord, were, first, the one great all-fufficient Sacrifice of Chrift; (who 338. hath by that Sacrifice, and by what He fuffered, paid a price for our fouls, and ransomed and redeemed us:) and, in the next place, fuch as were offered up fpiritually, by the Patriarchs, and people of God, as typical of this true and only real Sacrifice.
And, acknowledging this, unless we will reject all the informations given us in the Word of God, we may venture to conclude, that fuch as have truly and rightly availed themselves of the benefit of a covenant fo made, are thofe who will be gathered together to judge the world, and finally to restore bliss, and order, and harmony, to the whole creation; and to perfect the whole mighty work,
work, according to the will and by the power of God,
Thefe Holy Spirits, therefore, of just men made perfect, and all who rest trusting in Chrift, fhall rise again in glory; and, previous to that, fhall come with the Lord, when He defcends again on earth.
For, notwithflanding it be true that the refurrection of the body must be fubfequent to the coming of our Lord; yet if we recollect the Apoftle's hope and expectation of being with Christ immediately after his departure † from this world; and confider, that Mofes (who died) appeared with our Lord at the transfiguration on the Mount, as well as Elias (who had been tranflated); and confider, moreover, that the being brought WITH our Lord §, at the Great Day, muft imply fomething more than merely being raised from the dead upon or after his advent; we cannot but conclude, that, together with the Holy Angels, will come the Spirits of many
*Heb. ch. xii. ver. 23.
+ 2 Cor. ch. y. ver. 1. Philippians, ch. i. ver. 23. Luke, ch. ix. ver. 30. Matthew, ch. xvii. ver. 3.
Mark, ch. ix. ver. 4. ·
§ 1 Theff. ch. iv. ver, 14.