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Laftly, how will they prove, that by the Reftiturion Part 21 of all Things, the end of the World is to be underftood on the contrary, that end is reprefented as the Overturning, and not the Reftitution of all things. The Heavens, the Stars, the Elements fhall be burnt up, and deftroyed by fire. Tis true, after this there fhall be new Heavens, and a new Earth; but the Scripture doth more frequently defcribe the end of the world, by an univerfal confufion, and Overturning, than by the new Heavens which fhall follow. And the new Heavens in moft places of Scripturefignify the Renovation of the Church,in its laft Period of a thousand years. So that I hardly make any doubt, but that by the Reftantion of all things, Chap. 8. Ats, we are to understand the Establishment of the Church, before the end of the World.
are not to
3. The third Argument of the Anti-millenaries 3. Argum is this,that fuch a fate of Peace and tranquillity, as we Peace and Profperity promife to the Church,doth not at all agree with what the H.Scripture peaks of the Perfecution and afflicti- be the Lo ons, that the Church and the Faithful are always to Church. meet with in this World. 1. Ought not this to be mutually granted, that the whole is to be denominated from the major part? for fix thousand years the Church was to be perfecuted, and in a low Condi tion; and in a feventh Period, the hall have Reft: And fhall we count it strange, that the Holy Ghost doth for the most part, fpeaking of the ftate of the Church here below, as a low and miferable condition,and that he faith very little of her ftate of Glory; fince the difference between the first and fecond ftate, is as fix to one? 2. Ianfwer, that they fuppofe that which is not true, viz. that the Scripture speaks of the Church, as being alway in a state of fuffering. On the contrary, more places can be brought wherein her Profperity and Peace are promised, than Tt 2
of thofe where the is threatned with calamity and perfecution. We may fee the truth of this in the preceding Chapters, where I have shown that Empire, and a Kingdom, Peace,and Profperity, are promifed to the Church of Chrift, in fuch a manner as hath never hitherto been fulfilled.
Church shall be
4. Object. 4. After this, they tell us, that when God deVVhen Tcribes thofe Times, which shall immediately precede come, the the end of the World, inftead of reprefenting them as agolden Age, they are painted out as an Age of Iron and darkness. Iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold, falfe Prophets and falfe Chrifts shall arife, they shall work figns and wonders, to deceive if poffible the very Elect. The coming of the Son of man shall be as the days of Noah. When the Son of man shall come, he shall not find faith upon Earth. And 2 Ep. Theffal.2. chap.'tis faid,the Lord shall destroy the man of fin, by the brightness of his coming. But all this is grounded on a falfe fuppofition; viz. that there Thall be no other coming of Chrift, but for the last & final Judgement, which is not true: the coming of Chrift here fpoken of, is that to fettle the Peace,and Glory, and Kingdom of his Church; and we may be certain, that this is meant in almost all the Paffages, where the coming of Chrift is spoken of. It is true, that when Chrift fhall come to deftroy the Antichriftian Kingdom, he fhall not find true Faith upon Earth, that is, very little of it. Experience confirms this; for we are now in that very time. Farther, when Chrift fhall come the third and last time, for the last Judgment, it may well be, that there shall be a great fearcity of faith &t piety in the World at that time: for Gog and Magog fhall be increas't, there shall be a great feduction upon Earth, and a great affliction upon the Church. So that thefe Prophecies fhall have their accomplishment whenever Chrift comes.
They were fulfilled at his first coming when he came Partz. in the flesh; for the Church was then exceedingly corrupted; and fo at his fecond coming, when he fhalb come to destroy the Antichristian Kingdom: Forin our days, there is a very great corruption, and fhall be at his third coming; for at the end of the world,there fhall be an Infurrection against the Church, and against the Son of God...
The day of
5. It will farther follow, fay thefe Gentlemen, Object, that the Hour and the day of Fudgement would not then judgement be unknown, as our Lord J.Chrift hath faid it is. For would not ifjuft after the fall of the Antichriftian Empire, the unknown. reign of Chrift for a thousand years mult take place, we likewife know, that at the end of that Reign of a thousand years, fhall be the day of Judgment.Art, you must know,that our Lord J.Chrift faith not, that the day of the laft Judgment shall be alway conceal ed: he only faith, that no man then knew it, concerni ing that day, faith he,knoweth no man. That depends on the fixing the time of the 1260 years, for the reign of Antichrift. Now no man knew for certain, at that time, when the 1260 years thould begin.God did not permit that it should be well known,till this Laft Age, which is as alfo the laft of the reign of Antichrift for 1260 years. Moreover, after having well fixttheEpocha of the birth of Antichrift,that we may discover his end, yet can we not thereby come to the exact knowledge of the day of Iudgement. i.Because we know not whether the thousand years of the reign of the Church, must begin juft at the end of the 1260 years of the reign of Antichrist. We may fay the contrary, without faying any thing that is improbable, that the thousand years are not to be com puted, but from the compleat establishment of the Kingdom of Chrift. 2. We cannot tell whether the Period of a thousand years is to be exactly so much, Τι 3 neither
Part 2. neither more or less; for the H. Ghoft is not fo critical and precife, and often makes ufe of a round and certain number, to fignify one that is uncertain,unlefs when he makes ufe of a broken number, as three and half; for then we cannot doubt, but we are to reckon exactly fo much. So that these two things being always doubtfull, we can never know the precife time of the Judgement day.
6. object? would the
6. After this,they fay,that if the Church must reign thousand years on Earth, the World is yet to last for laff a long a long time, which is not likely it should, because Won the Apofles even in their days fpoke of the end of the world as a thing approaching, and near at hand. We are in the last times, faith St. Paul. The coming of 1. Chrift is at band, faith St. James. My little chil dren, It is the last time, faith St. John. They ought to confefs, that these paffages make against them, inftead of being for them. The Apostles called their Days,the last times, and the last hour, and yet almost two thousand years have paffed fince. Thofe Texts therefore must not be taken in too rigida fenfe. We have spent one Chapter on purpose in this Book to explain thofe Paffages.
7. Obje&. The Scripture
7. Lastly, they tell us, that according to the Scri ptures, at the coming of our Lord J. Chrift, All the peaks but Dead must be raised at once, the Righteous and the of one Be Wicked: which agrees not with the fuppofition of the Millenaries, who would make one part of the Dead to rife at the beginning of the reign of a thoufand years, and the reft at the end of it. But how can any one fay, that the Scripture faith that, when it fpeaks the quite contrary; that one part of the Dead muftrife first, which is the first Refurrection; and that the Reft of the Dead are not to rife till the thousand years are fullfilled? There are fome paffages, 'tis wherein the Resurrection of the Good and
Bad is fpoken of, as that which fhall be at the fame Part 2. time; and fo it fhall accordingly be for this first Refurrection will be but of a very few, viz. of thei Ancient Martyrs. The remainder of the Faithful fhall not be raised, till the end of the World. Many Dead were rifen with Chrift, when he rofe, and are certainly with him, body and foul in Heaven. Notwithstanding this, the Scripture fpeaks of the Refurrection of all the Dead, as a thing deferr'd and adjourn'd to the laft Day: because one little Exception deftroys not a general Rule. Tis ftrange that thefe Gentlemen find fo much difficulty in this firft Refurrection! Methinks they fhould remember, the many Saints who were raised with Chrift Why may not Chrift raise fome of the New Teftament Saints, at the coming of his Kingdom, as well Tas raife fome of the Ancient Patriarchs, when he rofe from the Grave? However, notwithstanding all that I have faid on this fubject of that first RefurreEtion, I once again declare, that I am not follicitons to decide it. Therefore I have and do again place it among thofe things which are doubtful. I am informed, that the learned and famous Prof. Mr. Wit fius of Utrecht, hath thought fit to declare his mind. on this fubject, in fome publick Lectures. Iam told, that he agrees with me concerning a great change, which is to be in the Church, before the end of the World, with refpect to Manners, Union in DoEtrine, and the spreading of the Christian Faith, as well among the Jews, as among the Nations which as yet are Pagan. He is alfo willing, that the Iews DexTrifhould hope to return to their own Land, and re- bubus If. build Ierufalem. I would ask no more, and am more .1.& cap. rejoy't to meet with the concurrence of fo great a man in that which is Effential, than I can be troubled that he differs from me, concerning that firft Re