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To open my heart, therefore, to thee, reader, and to any who shall ask a reason of my hope with reference to the kingdom of Christ in the thousand years (for, through grace, I have hope therein, because it is for the small as well as the great, Apoc. xi. 15, 18), I shall give this following answer with meekness and with fear.

There are now some years past since I came to some glimpse of this glory (so I judge it)." But I confess at first I looked upon it as rather the private opinion of some scholars, than as any truth of the Scriptures, yet (remembering the precept of trying all things) I did, at times, spend some thoughts about it, and I began first to apprehend some probability in it, and since, have seen so clear a certainty in it, as that I am wholly captivated unto the belief thereof.

The way which I took to try, and in which I came to see this truth was that which I conceive both just and necessary, viz., by making a distinction between this point itself, and its appendices, i.e., between the opinion of Christ's kingdom on earth, now to be revealed in the last of times, and the particular thoughts that concern those things, that seem, at least, to fall in with it; not as necessary consequences upon that opinion (which some unwarrantably do conceive, upon which account they reject it), but as concomitants, or conjectures of things to be in the same time.

For I perceived that this truth, as it was handed out by ancient and modern writers, lay as grain in chaff, or as a truth of the Scriptures mingled with the conceptions of men; which, as it occasioned offence, and was á stumbling to many, so it did eclipse the glory of that truth, which (delivered from these clouds) shines with much clearness and conviction.

Cerinthus of old, if he be not represented worse than he was (a thing too frequent) by records, did certainly much debase and defile this gold with dirt. And I believe Satan made use of his carnal conjectures to darken this truth (for 1 perceive this to have been Satan's policy to pollute, and so enervate, many truths by the mixture of men's traditions, which he could not suppress by plain contradiction). And Austine seems to have been taken off from this truth upon this ground, which formerly he had held, but professeth, in case it were held more spiritual, as indeed it ought to be, and not so carnal, as it was and is by too many, he saw it tolerable, and that he sometime held it. And as Austine in his time, so many in ours are principally, if not solely, prejudiced against this truth upon

the same ground.

To free myself from this, I considered and saw that the opinion of Christ's reign on earth a thousand years, to begin upon the ruin of Antichrist, and the settling of the called Jews, did neither necessarily justify, nor at all lay any necessity upon me to believe any the particular circumstances or apprehensions which some persons have maintained about it. And when I had thus brought the point purely, as it was in its substance, unto the touchstone, I found it gold indeed.

For clearly and convincingly, to me at least (for, reader, 1 give thee, but humbly, my own thoughts), the Scriptures hold forth that Christ is to have a kingdom on earth, distinct from the general kingdom of His power and providence, which He hath as God, equal with the Father, yea and distinct from that kingdom which from of old he Had, and hath by the Spirit of grace in the souls of His elected ones, yea, and distinct likewise from that kingdom of visible polity and order, which He exerciseth in the Churches of the saints. I say, besides these, and distinct from these, the Scriptures frequently make mention of another kingdom yet to come.

For, besides the principality, and power, and might, and dominion, which is given unto, and which Christ hath in this world, He hath dominion over that world which is to come (Eph. i. 21), of which the apostle speaks, and saith that it is not put into subjection to the angels (Heb. ii. 5). But he affirms it is to Jesus, though as yet it be not (ver. 8). Now, the world to come cannot be the state of glory in heaven, as men use to call it, for Christ shall in that state be subject himself, as it is, (1 Cor. xv. 28). But it must be and is on earth.

Indeed, the Jews rightly expected this kingdom, as to the thing in the general, though they mistook the time; for He came first to suffer, and He was to go away to receive a kingdom, as He speaks in the parable, and which was promised Him in the prophet, as a reward for His suffering. For for it He was to have a portion among the great, and as many were astonished at Him (His visage was marred, &c.), so He should sprinkle many nations, &c., as it is Isa. lii. 14, and liii. 12. Now, therefore, as His first coming was to suffer, which the Jews mistook, so His next coming will be to reign, which some Christians mistake. For He shall come with His kingdom (Luke xxi.) which He now waits to receive; for even in heaven He waits for the promise of having His enemies made His footstool as it is (Heb. x. 13); wherefore it is that Paul speaks of His next appearing, and of His kingdom as coming together (2 Tim. iv. 11).

To confine which kingdom, as some do, unto Christ's judging of all, is as short of the glory of Christ's kingdom as it had

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been short of the glory of Solomon's kingdom, to confine the notion thereof unto his act of judging the two harlots. Surely kings reign neither peculiarly nor principally in their assizes. Nor can the day of judgment, and act of judging, especially as they understand it who frame this objection, be the whole of the kingdom of Christ at His next coming.

Of this kingdom it was that Daniel prophesied once and again, the interpretation of which was said to be sure, with reference, I persuade myself, to the many doubts which would be of it (Dan. ii. and vii.), which scriptures speak indubitably of all the kingdoms of the world under the general heads of the four great monarchies, viz., the Babylonian, Assyrian, Grecian, and Roman, as the generality of expositors, both Jewish and Christian, have concluded. At the end of which kingdom, the Son of man, who is the God of heaven, too, will set up His, which He is not to have till then. Now that He hath not yet received nor set up His kingdom as yet, is evident by the scripture of Daniel, two ways.

1. As yet the last of these four kingdoms stands, though upon his tiptoes, and Christ was not to set up His till in the end of the four kingdoms, for as the second kingdom was not to be till the end or passing away of the first, nor the third till the end of the second, nor the fourth till the end of the third, so neither was Christ's to be set up until the end of the fourth, so that the yet remaining of the fourth empire demonstrates the not yet appearance or setting up of Christ's. And,

2. The great thing and sign (as I may express it) of Christ's kingdom doth not appear, which is the ruling power of the saints in all the world. For the saints of the Most High have not as yet consumed and utterly destroyed the last kingdom and doininion. Neither is yet the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven (alas, who that is awake can imagine it) given unto them; which yet certainly shall be, because He is faithful and powerful who hath promised it.

Concerning this kingdom likewise did Zechary prophesy ; for he speaking (Zech. xiv. 4, 5, 9), of the time when Christ should stand on the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem, at which time there shall be as great an earthquake as was in the days of Uzziah king of Judah (which was not when Christ came in the days of His flesh, for then there was no such thing), yea, and at which time He shall come and all the saints, which very phrase Paul useth, speaking of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess. ïïi, 13). At that time the Lord

iii. shall be king over all the earth. Mark it. When Christ comes again with all the saints, He shall be king over all the earth. And in that day there shall be one Lord, and His name one. This very text Cyril of old observed to intend the same thing with Daniel; and his gloss or comment upon it is this, " All earthly dominion being laid aside, and the power of all being given unto Him alone (viz., Christ), He shall be king, &c., even as the most wise Daniel saith the same thing,” Cyril of Alexandria, in loc. And indeed not only Daniel and Zechariah, but most of all the prophets, bare testimony to this truth, as I could declare at large; Isaiah and Jeremiah in a peculiar manner, who, when they speak of the recalling and re-establishing of the Jews, they speak of a kingdom under David their king (which phrase also Hosea useth). Now, as the Apostle Peter said, I may speak freely of David, he is dead, and his sepulchre is more known then his sceptre; only Christ, the true David, remains, and He shall come again, and sit upon the throne of His father David. And indeed that prophecy or promise (call it one or both, as you may) cannot be fulfilled without this be. For I would fain know when did, or how was Christ to sit

upon David's throne? If it be said, Christ sits upon the hearts of saints, I reply, But that never was David's throne, he never did

possess it, or pretend to it. And what throne had David besides that of Jerusalem, of which still the promise was understood in the time of the kings of old, as in their books is clear, and of which the prophets speak? Neither do I doubt but that David saw this kingdom, and promise of it, in his spirit (as Abraham saw Christ's day), upon which ground he so often rejoiced, and sung of it in many psalms, as Psalm lxxii., lxxix., xciii., xcvii., C., and many others.

To this kingdom, both for truth of it and time of duration, doth John bear evident witness, in Apoc. xx., a place which, after all objections made against it, remains as Mount Sion, which cannot be removed, for some have denied that very book to be Scripture, because of its direct asserting this opinion. And it holds forth the truth of Christ's reign on earth against all gainsaying, as I could declare; but I rather offer than dispute my opinion now.

It has been a weak and unconvincing objection unto me, that there is no Scripture speaks of the thousand years but that.

Whereunto I make this reply. Yes, that of Peter, upon serious consideration, speaks the same, and hath been by the ancients urged for the same (2 Pet. iii. 8). The day of the Lord is a thousand years, which is not spoke to answer those who

say the Lord is slack, for an answer to them is in ver. 9, but to acquaint them with the length of that day when it should be, of which he would not have us ignorant.

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However, if there were no more but one, methinks one word to a Christian, who should be so wise as to heed who spake it, should be enough to gain belief. But, besides, the space of time is but a circumstance, it is not of the substance of the opinion, the which principally relates to a kingdom of Christ on earth, and as it had been a vain objection against the thing, viz., the redemption from Babylon after seventy year's captivity, because that time was but spoken of by one prophet, viz., Jeremiah, so it is to me as vain an objection against Christ's kingdom on earth, because the time of it is spoken of but once.

If it be said, But Isaiah spake of that redemption, though not of the time,

I reply, In like manner he speaks much, very much, and very clear of this kingdom of Christ likewise, though not by the name or number of a thousand years. And, therefore, if it be, as it is, a good argument to prove any truth, it bath been spoken of by divers, though not in the same terms or numbers. It is likewise a good argument to the point in hand, that albeit it should be yielded, that only John speaks of the time, viz., a thousand years; yet others, speaking of the thing (viz., the kingdom itself of Christ and the saints on earth), it holds good.

As invalid an objection as this hath been that to me, which some urge thus. The saints cannot spare Christ so long out of heaven, &c. For I consider, and pray, reader, do thou, that heaven, as heaven, is not a place, but a state, else how could heaven be in saints, and saints in heaven upon earth, as divines have been used to speak. It is the person, the presence, the

, enjoyment of Christ, and God in Him, which makes our heaven.

And if the saints shall come with Him, as both Zechariah and Paul speak, they cannot want His company, for they shall be ever with the Lord. And let that be, as to place, anywhere, it is heaven, and no loss to them. And besides, as yet I cannot see what other meaning that place (Apoc. v. 10, we shall reign on earth) can have but this, that those whom John saw then in heaven, for they are the persons who speak that shall reign with Christ at his coming and kingdom. To say that the elders, &c., spoken of there are church officers, as it needs a better proof than yet I have met withal, which at best is but allegorical, so it is to no purpose. Nay, if considered, it is a contradiction to say Church officers shall reign on earth. Surely, as Church officers, their rule is in the Church, called heaven, by way of spiritual distinction from the world.

To hasten, lest I make a book instead of an epistle, let me mind the reader of these two things, which, if heeded, will much

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