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perfect merits, but to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, for life eternal.
Saint Jude now, having given the converts his farewell advice respecting themselves, offers them his parting counsel, how to treat delinquents. He says, And of some have compassion, making a difference. Be compassionate towards those, who err through ignorance. Make a difference between the weak and the wilful. Reclaim the deluded by the gentle tone of persuasion. Restore the penitent in the spirit of meekness. Be not harsh or severe with such natures. If God has forgiven them,
then why should not we? We need his forgiveness, more than they do ours. And others, he says, save with fear, pulling them out of the fire. To such as err through a perverse will, and corruption of heart, preach the terrors of the Lord ; hold up the censures of the church, and a future judgment. Pull them out of the fire of sin and temptation, as you would snatch them out of a house on fire. But in so doing, shun all familiarity with them, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. Avoid their contagious conversation, as you would a garment spotted by the infectious leprosy. Eschew all that leads to sin, or looks like sin.
Saint Jude now concludes with a sublime Doxology. And surely, whatever subject we have been labouring, it is fittest to end with ascribing glory to God. Let us therefore respond to Saint Jude. Now unto Him, who is able to keep us from falling from the faith once delivered unto the saints, and into the hands of false teachers, who creep in unawares ; and to present us faultless — not as those who never sinned, but whose sins are pardoned — before the presence of his glory, now an object of faith, soon to be an object of sense ; with exceeding joy, for where there is no sin, will be no sorrow; to the only wise God our Saviour, to Him who alone is wise underivedly, be ascribed the glory of infinite perfection, and the majesty of universal empire, both now and ever. Surely, the God who is as willing, as he is able, to do all this, is worthy of such a high Doxology. Let us then, with Saint Jude, affix to it our hearty, and reverential amen.
Rev. XX, 4. —AND THEY LIVED AND REIGNED WITH CHRIST
A THOUSAND YEARS.
(Chiefly condensed from a Treatise upon the same subject.]
Who has not heard with delight of the thousand years, called the Millennium ? The glorious thousand years, when Satan shall be bound in his den, and the saints shall rule on the earth ? Millennial glory is the burden of prophetic song ; it is one of the grand and leading objects of prediction, from Genesis to Revelation. To bring to view and enforce some of the most important instructions, which God has given us relating to the Millennium, is the object of these Sermons. The subject may be embraced under four inquiries.
I. When will the Millennium commence ?
III. What will be the state of the world during the Millennium ?
IV. What duties are inculcated upon us by this subject ?
I. WHEN Will THE MILLENNIUM COMMENCE ?
There have been various conjectures and calculations upon this point. But the most common and most natural opinion is, that the Millennium will commence at about six thousand years after the creation of the world. As God was engaged six days in the work of creation, and rested on the seventh, and as he sanctified each seventh
day as a day of holy rest, or Sabbath ; so it has been
supposed, that the church, after being in a state of labour and toil and distress for six thousand years, will find the seven thousandth a period of holy rest, of peace
and glory: We read that, one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. Accordingly, as the world stood about four thousand years before Christ, so it is supposed, that the Millennium will commence about the year of our Lord two thousand, that is, about one hundred and seventy years from this time. And do not the Signs of the Times proclaim even now that this blessed day is approaching?
II. HOW LONG MILLENNIUM ?
Under this head, we shall also be very brief. The only question is, Whether the thousand years mentioned in the text are to be considered as literal, or prophetic years; and if prophetic, whether they represent a definite period, or one that is indefinite? Much ingenuity has been exercised upon this point by learned men. that, considering the state of the world during the six thousand years previous to the Millennium, and the little season when Satan is again to be let loose after the Millennium, a literal thousand years for the saints to live and reign with Christ upon earth, even if all are saved who live at that time, will not answer the prediction of bruising the serpent's head by the Seed of the woman. They thus conclude, that the years are to be understood as prophetic, and to intimate a much longer period. But it is much more important that we should possess the temper of the Millennarians, and that we should exert ourselves to bring on the blessed day, than that we should know its duration.
STATE OF THE WORLD
III. WHAT WILL BE THE DURING THE MILLENNIUM? 1. We
may in general observe, that in the Millenim, true religion will much more prevail, than before. The world has lain in wickedness for near six thousand years. This was the case in the times before the flood;
it was the case in the days of the patriarchs, the prophets, and the apostles. It is the case now.
But this dreadful state of irreligion will then have an end. The Serpent's head will then be crushed. Sing, O daughter of Zion; for lo I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord of hosts; and many nations shall be joined unto the Lord in that day, and shall be my people.
2. During the Millennium, idolatry will cease through the world. Idolatry has constituted a principal feature in the picture of all nations, and all ages, since the flood. Even God's ancient people, to whom he was manifested in so many ways, and in a manner so glorious, were infected with idolatry. The two very first of the commandments from the top of Sinai were pointed against idolatry. It was for this sin, more than for any other, that they were finally carried captive, and scattered among nations. Multitudes of idols have been worshipped from ancient times to the present day.
Heathen lands are still full of idols. The destruction of idolatry, therefore, will produce an amazing change in the world. Many passages of Scripture prove that the day is coming, when idolatry shall be extirpated from the earth. But one is sufficient for our present purpose. In that day, a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they have made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for the fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. From this prophecy, we may conclude that, just before the Millennium, there will be tremendous judg. ments, and that the earth will be most terribly shaken.
3. During the Millennium, the Jews will be converted to Christ. The Saviour, while on earth, came unto his own, and his own received him not. The Jews were peculiarly his own, because he was a Jew, and because they had been God's covenant people for nearly two thousand years. But they received not Christ. Though thousands after thousands were miraculously fed by him; and though even his enemies were constrained to acknowledge, that never man spake like him, yet comparatively very few sincerely
received him into their hearts. There were his eleven disciples, his seventy others, a number of devout women, and a few more. But of the many thousands of Israel, who at one time and another attended his preaching and miracles, there is no reason to believe, that more than one thousand sincerely received him, while he remained on earth. After Christ rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven, his gospel was indeed preached with more success among the Jews. In a short time the church of Jerusalem amounted to four or five thousand. But still a very small part of the Jewish nation were converted to Christ. It is supposed that there are now upon earth seven or eight millions of Jews; and probably there are not so many as five hundred Christians among them all; not one among a thousand. But blessed be the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the house of Israel shall not always remain in such woful unbelief. The ancient promises of Jehovah to this stiff-necked and rebellious people will be accomplished; for faithful is he who hath promised. For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. The time is coming, when Jew and Gentile shall be one sheep-fold under Jesus Christ, the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls.
4. During the Millennium, the church will be delivered from her external enemies. Numerous, bitter, and dreadful have been the enemies of the church, from the beginning of her existence. The persecution of the good the persecution of the good, on account of their good
has been almost coeval with the world. Almost from the beginning of time, they that have been born after the spirit have been persecuted by them who have been born after the flesh. Among the first-born of mankind, behold the hands of a brother are bathed in a brother's blood. And wherefore slew he him? Why did Cain slay his brother, his only brother, Abel? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous. Enoch too was probably persecuted. We know that the righteous soul of Lot was vexed from day to day. Joseph was