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stances considered, that the fig- sons of opposite characters, who urative is, in this instance, the are spoken of in this and the most obvious sense.
foregoing chapters. For a long It is allowed on all hands time the enemies of Christ and that, if this passage ought to be his people had been in great understood of a literal resurrec- power, and persecuted his faithtion of the saints and martyrs, ful followers ; putting many of this is the only passage of Scrip- them to death. . To these John ture, in which that truth is has reference, when he says, “ I revealed. And, as the pro- saw the souls of them, that were phetic parts of Scripture speak beheaded for the witness of Jeabundantly about the future sus and the word of God, and state of the church, particu- they lived and reigned with larly about the millennium, it Christ a thousand years.” Of is at least very strange that so their thus living again he speaks, essential a part of it as the resur- when he says, “ This is the first rection of the saints and mar- resurrection.” By the rest of tyrs, and the personal reign of the dead we are to understand Christ upon earth, should not the hosts of enemies and perseonly not be expressly mentioned, cutors, who had received the but not so much as once alluded mark of the beast and worshipped to in any other part of sacred his image, and who were slain writ. This, it is true, is of ite by the sword, that proceeded self no sufficient objection; for, out of the mouth of him, that where there is a plain, unequiv- sat on the white horse, i. e. of ocal “thus saith the Lord,” one Christ. In the same manner, in such express testimony is a suf- which the martyrs, who had ficient foundation for our beliefbeen slain for the witness of Jeof any particular doctrine or sus, were to live again, during fact. But whether this be that the thousand years, were the express testimony, or whether rest of the dead, the enemies and the passage may not be under persecutors, who had been slain stood in a figurative sense, in a by the sword of him, that sat upway perfectly agreeable to the on the horse, to be raised at the scripture style and manner of expiration of that period, when expressing events of a similar Satan was to be loosed out of nature, shall now be a subject of his prison, and go out to deceive inquiry
the nations, which are in the To understand this passage, it four corners of the earth, Gog is necessary to ascertain, what is and Magog, to gather them tomeant by the first resurrection ; gether to battle. It is not supwho by those, that have a part in posed that by the living of " the it, and who by the rest of the rest of the dead," at the expiradead, who are to live again at the tion of the thousand years, we expiration of the thousand years, are to understand that the old and not before. Let it be obe enemies and persecutors of the served, that the martyrs, who church will be literally raised were slain for the witness of Je- from the dead; to compose the sus, and the rest of the dead, armies of Gog and Magog ; but are the two sorts of slain per- the evidence in favour of a liteVol. II. No. 12.
ral resurrection is equally strong and destroy the saints. Both in the one case, as in the other, the resurrection of the saints and The presumption therefore is, martyrs at the commencement that both refer to a figurative of the millennium, and that of resurrection, a resurrection of the rest of the dead at the close the cause, not of the individuals of it, seem, even in this chapter, engaged in it. In this vast ar- to be plainly distinguished from my of enemies, which was to the literal resurrection, which is compass the camp of the saints, represented, as taking place, nos under Gog and Magog, not the at the end of the thousand years, borlies, but the souls of the rest when Satan was to be loosed, but of the deadl, of the remnant who after the final overthrow of Gog were slain by the sword of Christ, and Magog, the last enemies of were to live again: So in the pre- Christ. This literal resurrecseding period, wherein Satan was tion is described from ver. 11th, bound, not the bodies, but the to the end of the chapter. This souls of the martyrs were seen is represented, as a resurrecby John, as living and reigning tion, not of the souls, but of with Christ. Both the one and the bodies of men ; not as the the other were to live and reign, resurrection of one class only, not in their proper persons, but of all characters and descripbut in their respective succes- tions. sor's, who would be actuated by Taking the whole passage into the same spirit, and make a view, to explain both the first repart of the saine body with them- surrection and the living of the selves. After Satan was bound, rest of the dead figuratively seems John in vision saw a race of men agreeable to the most obvious, of the same character and spirit natural sense. “ I saw the souls with the ancient martyrs, and in of them that were beheaded, and reality their genuine successors, they lived and reigned with making a part of the same body, Christ a thousand years," is a in whom the cause, for which mode of expression no where they had suffered, revived and used, unless it be here, to denote triumphed as really, as if they a literal resurrection of the body. had been all raised from the Nay, it is so unlike the mode of dead. But, during this period, expression, used in other places the enemies and persecutors. of of Scripture, where a resurrecChrist and bis cause lived not tion of the body is intended, that again ; they had no saccessors it is scarcely reasonable to supopenly to espouse their cause, pose the same thing to be and carry on the warfare against meant. Christ and his people. But af- The reasons, why a figurative ter this happy period, wlien Sa- sense of this passage is prefertan shall be let loose again out of red, will appear in a still strong. bis prison, a race of men will er point of light, if we consider arise of the same spirit and tem- that the representation of the per with the ancient enemies revival of a sinking cause by a and persecutors, by whom one resurrection is a figure, very more attempt will be made to commonly used in Scripture. support their cause, and distress The resurrection of the dry
bones, of which we have an ac- same cause, and possessing the count, Ezek. xxxvii. has a pri- same spirit. Egypt and Babylon, mary reference to the restora. the ancient enemies and oppress tion of Judah and Jerusalein sors of God's people, do alter the from the Babylonish captivity. same manner revive and live But in this the figure of a resur- again, during the reign of the rection is represented in quite as antichristian beast ; Rome being strong terms, as in the passage called Egypt and Babylon, beunder consideration. * Thus cause in idolatry, wickedness, opsaith the Lord God, behold, 0 pression, and persecution of my people, I will open your God's people, she is the succesgraves, and cause you to come sor, and actuated by the same out of your graves, and bring spirit with these ancient cities. you into the land of Israel. And The description of particular ye shall know that I am the events in language, borrowed Lord, when I have opened your from others, to which they bear graves, O my people, and brought some striking resemblance, is a you out of your graves.” Un very natural figure, and one very der a similar figure Isaiah frequently used by the sacred prophesies deliverance to Israel. penmen. Thus our Lord de“ Thy dead men shall live, 10- scribes that dreadful catastrophe, gether with my dead body shall the destruction of Jerusalem, in they arise. Awake and sing, ye figures, borrowed from the conthat dwell in the dust, for thy summation of all things; and dew is as the dew of herbs.” the terror of the pagan enemies Turning from sin to God is fre- and persecutors of the church, quently represented by this fig- upon the downfall of paganism ure, Eph. v. 14; Col. iii. 1. and the elevation of Christianity The same kind of resurrection to the imperial throne, is describis intended by our blessed Lord, ed in figures, borrowed from the John v. 25. John the Baptist is terror of the wicked at Christ's also called Elias, not because second coming to judgment. he was the identical person of Rev. vi. 13-17. Elias, risen again, but because Scripture is universally allowhe went before the Lord in the ed to be the best interpreter of spirit and power of Elias, and Scripture. In the application of was therefore, in a figurative this rule of interpretation, the sense, Elias risen again. The best method is to explain dark reception of the Jews into the and obscure passages by such, as church of Christ, when in the are plain. We have several very latter day they shall turn unto plain accounts of the resurrecthe Lord, is also spoken of un- tion and general judgment in der the same figure, Rom. the New Testament, to which it xi. 15.
will be very difficuit, if not imThe resurrection of the wit- possible, to reconcile the doctrine nesses, at the end of the three of a literal resurrection of the days and a half, was not a literal saints, or even of the martyrs at resurrection of the same identical the commencement of the mil. persons, but the resurrection of lennium. The most particular a race of men engaged in the account, which Christ himself gives of this solemn event, is in
ON SELF-ACQUAINTANCE. Matt. xxv. 31, to the end.
This account is plainly incon- The knowledge of ourselves sistent with the idea of a literal is important, because without it, resurrection and a personal reign we shall never take our proper of the saints with Christ, so places, nor gain a sight of our many years before the consumo obligations. This knowledge is mation of all things.
always a fruit of solemnly callAccording to Paul's account of ing ourselves to an account, and the resurrection, 1 Cor. xv. they of carefully watching the exer. that are Christ's will be raised at cises of our minds. Who does his second coming to judgment, not know, that two persons may and not before. At the sound for many years live in the same of the same trumpet, by which neighbourhood, and yet be so in. the dead shall be raised, the saints attentive to each other, as never then living will in a moment, in to form a particular acquaint, the twinkling of an eye, be chang- ance? They may readily recog: ed, and become incorruptible, nize each other's features and like the newly raised saints. voices ; and at the same time, in But is not this account of the an important sense, remain resurrection totally inconsistent strangers.
strangers. Equally supposable with the opinion, that vast num- is it, that a person may live, in bers, even all the martyrs at least, this world, a very great stranger will be raised at the beginning of to himself. He may be busily the millennium, and made equal employed, all his days, and may with the angels, and reign with even distinguish himself for his Christ in glory; while all the exertions to obtain certain ends, saints living at that time, as well which the world may call laudaas the vast multitudes, who will ble ; and yet never cultivate an be born and converted, during acquaintance with his own heart. the thousand years of unexam. With all his fame for worldly. pled spiritual prosperity, are to wisdom, he may have neglected die and remain in their graves to call himself to an account, as until the end of the world. An a candidate for eternity ; and, of account of similar import, and course, when summoned to apequally inconsistent with a literal pear before his God, he may resurrection and personal reign, find himself awfully deficient in we have 1 Thess. iv.
that kind of knowledge, which is From these considerations and the most important. others which might be mention- It is manifest, that they who ed, it appears both more rational view themselves, as they ought, and more scriptural, and even find time, notwithstanding all the the most obvious sense of the cares of this busy and ensnaring text, to understand the first re- world, to call home their wandersurrection in a figurative sense, ing thoughts, and to commune and that the millennium will be a with their own hearts. In this spiritual, and not a personal reign way, the faithful in every age of Christ upon earth.
have obtained a sight of their
. T. own vileness. Their seasons of
retirement and meditation per.
sons of this description have times. I call to remembrance highly regarded. If, through my song in the night: I comunfaithfulness, they have neg- mune with mine own heart ; lected these seasons, the conse- and my spirit made diligent quences have always been pain- search.” And in another Psalm : ful. They have become, as it “I thought on my ways,and turnwere, afraid of themselves. ed my feet unto thy testimonies. They have felt that kind of em, I made haste, and delayed not, barrassment, in renewing an ac. to keep thy commandments." quaintance with their own Had not this pious man, amidst hearts, which is felt by two per: all his cares, reserved some sons, who, for a great length of time to commune with his own time, have neglected each other. heart, he would have lived and Conscious of having become died, like most other men, a strangers, they know not how, stranger to himself. At the at first, to use freedom,
close of an active and laborious To observe seasons of retirer life, he might have taken up the ment is a compliance with the sad lamentation, They made me duty, enjoined by our divine the keeper of the vineyards ; but Teacher, of “entering into the mine own vineyard have I not closet and of shutting the door." kept. The object of such retirement is But, we have a brighter exmeditation, prayer and self-ac: ample than that of David, or of quaintance ; a privilege which the patriarchs. The Saviour of has been sought by the true the world had his seasons of friends of God in every age of withdrawing from the multithe world. Of the patriarch tude, who thronged around him Isaac we read, that “ he went out to hear his instructions, and even to meditate in the field at the from the disciples who composed even-tide.” Jacob, under his his particular family, that he troubles, was alone, all night, might commune with God and wrestling in prayer. David, as his own heart. This he viewed appears from his writings, was an important part of his duty, often employed in thinking on and, by his example, he has enhis own ways; or in reviewing joined the same on all his his life and examining his heart. friends. To such precious seasons he The hours of retirement alluded, when he penned the and self-examination, which have following words, in the 77th now been represented to be so Psalm : “In the day of my iinportant, will, however, fail of trouble I sought the Lord: my being important to those who sore ran in the night, and ceased observe them, unless they are not: my soul refused to be rightly improved. At such seacomforted. I remembered God, sons, we must have God's holy and was troubled : I complained, law in our view. Can we weigh and my spirit was overwhelmed. our characters, without having Thou holdest my eyes waking : recourse to some standard? The I am so troubled that I cannot great standard, or test of characspeak. I have considered the ier, is the divine law. Every days of old, the years of ancient character is viewed by the