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fhall be triumphant; before which period I apprehend it to be only a church militant, either fuffering perfecution, or struggling with herefy, error, and fuperftition. That the kingdom of HEAVEN, of CHRIST, or of GOD, (all which are fynonimous terms) is already come, tho' afferted by most of our theological writers, is in my judgment a pofition by no means agreeable to fcripture; for we are told, Rev. xi. 15. that after the feventh angel had founded (and not before) there were great voices in heaven, faying, the kingdoms of this world are BECOME the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Chrift, and he shall reign for ever and ever. Now it is evident, from the order of that book, that the founding of the feventh trumpet was to be preceded by a long feries of diftrefs, perfecution, and corruption, that should happen to the church, and many fevere judgments and woes which fhould be inflicted upon her corrupters; can it therefore be imagined, that by the reign of Chrift, which (whenever it is mentioned in fcripture) is reprefented as a ftate of great peace, purity, and happiness, can be meant any period of time that has yet exifted fince the origin of Chriftianity? Has there been any period entirely free from wars, perfecutions, berefies, or corruptions? and have not fome of thefe periods been productive of fuch bloodshed
fhed and distress, as can hardly be equalled in any times, even before this fuppofed beginning of the kingdom of Chrift? So true have been the words of our Lord, when he said, he came not (at that his firft coming) to fend peace upon the earth, but a fword. Matt. x. 34. And agreeably to this notion, he has directed us to pray to God for the coming of his kingdom, in that incomparable form of words which he hath taught us; which petition would be improper for us to make use of if this kingdom were already come. It is indeed faid, in feveral places of the New Testament, that the kingdom of God, or of Heaven, is at band. In anfwer to this, I shall obferve, in the words of the learned Mr. MEDE aforementioned *, that the kingdom of Christ hath a twofold fate; the one militant, confifting in a perpetual warfare and manifold fufferings, which is the prefent ftate, begun at his firft coming, when be afeended up inta • heaven to fit at the right hand of God; the
fecond fate is the triumphant ftate, which fhall be at his fecond appearing in glory in the clouds of heaven, at what time he shall put down all authority, power, and rule, and ⚫ fubdue all his enemies under his feet, &c.
* MEDE's works, Book I, Difc. xxv. p. 104.
This latter is the kingdom which we pray for If any say that the Apostle
here speaks of the kingdom of glory in heaven, and not of the kingdom of grace on earth;
I reply, that he fpeaks of fuch a fubjection whereof the rifing of the dead fhall be the laft act of all, and which fhall be before he
yields up the kingdom to the Father, but
• neither of these can be affirmed of the
kingdom of glory, but the contrary, viz. the rifing of the dead is at the beginning, and not at the end of the kingdom of glory; and fo is alfo the yielding up of his kingdom unto his Father.' By the kingdom of God or of Chrift, in its full and compleat meaning, or, as it is always reprefented as a state of purity, peace, and happiness, can be meant nothing lefs than that thousand years reign of Chrift which is foretold in the Revelations, and to which a very great part of the Prophecies of the Old Testament do most evidently relate, as I shall hereafter endeavour to make appear. This millennium has indeed been a very unfashionable doctrine for thefe laft fourteen centuries, but it were very easy to show, that it was generally believed in the more early ages of the church, especially in those nearest to the apoftolic age. I fhall only mention two or three paffages as a specimen of what might
be produced to this purpose. St. Barnabas
this fignifies, He finished them in fix days: It fignifies this; that the Lord will finish all ⚫ things in fix thousand years; for a day with him is as a thousand years, as he himself teftifies, faying, Behold this day shall be as a thousand years. Therefore, children, in 'fix days; that is, in fix thousand years fhall all things be confummated. And he rested • the Seventh day: This fignifies, that when his fon fhall come, and fhall abolish the • season of the wicked one, and shall judge the ungodly, and shall change the sun, and the moon, and the ftars, then shall he reft gloriously in that seventh day *.*
Juftin Martyr, in the fecond century, declares the millennium to be the catholic doctrine of his time: I, and as many as are ortho
dox Christians in all refpects, do acknow
ledge, that there fhall be a refurrection of the flesh, (meaning the first refurrection) • and a thousand years in Jerufalem, rebuilt, ⚫ and adorned, and enlarged, as the Prophets
* S. Barnabæ, epift. cap. xv. edit. Cotelerii et Clereci.
Ezekiel and Ifaiah, and others, unanimously ⚫ atteft.' Afterward he subjoins: A certain < man among us, whofe name was John, one
of the apostles of Chrift, in a revelation • made to him, did prophecy, that the faith<ful believers in Christ should live a thousand
years in the New Jerufalem; and after these 'fhould be the general refurrection and judgment; which is an early atteftation to the genuineness and authenticity of the book of Revelation; for Juftin was converted to Chriftianity about thirty years after the death of St. John, at which time it is very likely many were alive who had been acquainted with the apostle. Lactantius, at the beginning of the fourth century, is very copious upon this subject, in the feventh book of his Divine infitutions. Because all the works of GOD < were finished in fix days, it is neceffary that the world fhould remain in this ftate fix ages, that is fix thousand years.' And again:
Because, having finished the works, he rested on the seventh day and bleffed it, it is neceffary, that at the end of the fix thou
*Juft. Mart. dial. cum Tryphone, pars fecunda, p. 3072 308. edit. Paris, p. 313, 315. edit. Thirlbii.
+ By neceffity is not here meant a logical neceffity, but only that God's refting was typical of the reft in the millennium.