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and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth; and He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked ; and righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins; the wolf Also shall dwell with the lamb,” &c. It is thus evident, that both do not mean the same thing; but that when the one shall take place, so “ also” shall the other. The truth that the wicked shall then be slain, rests on no higher authority than does that of the change upon the natures of the animals mentioned.
A similar prediction is given by Isaiah, towards the close of his prophecy, in which one additional circumstance is introduced : “The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock; and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.” Is lxv. 25. In neither of the preceding quotations was the food of the serpent noticed. From this we are informed that "dust' alone is assigned to it. This was part of the curse originally pronounced upon the serpent as the instrument of man's fall. While therefore the effects of sin, in entailing upon the creatures a spirit of enmity, shall then cease to operate, a stigma is still left upon one of them. The feeling of enmity to man and to other animals is to be taken away, even from the serpent tribe ; but, probably as a remembrancer of its having been the instrument employed by Satan in beguiling the mother of all, the serpent is doomed to feed on dust during that dispensation in which the Evil One himself shall be chained, incapable of practising his wiles on man. And does not this
peculiarity also indicate the fact of these animals being really referred to? But those who spiritualize, as it is called, all the predictions concerning the inferior animals attend little to such distinctions. Even accurate classification is wholly overlooked, when they equally convert into men of one character and disposition all the “ beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and the creeping things of the ground.”. Although every circumstance indicates their being designed to be under
stood in their natural sense, the lion and the leopard, the wolf and the bear; the ox, the cow, and the calf; even the asp and the cockatrice are all transformed with ease: and, however disimilar in their natures and habits, all become men of holy character and harmless dispositions. Consistency would require that the little children too, whether weaned or only at the mother's breast, for whom these animals will, by the predicted change, be rendered safe play-mates, should also be made to grow to the perfect stature of harmless manhood. The circumstance of children being introduced into the prophecy, and that in contradistinction both to lions and lambs, to leopards and kids, is additional proof that both are to be regarded in their natural sense, if either be. The whole circumstances form evidence sufficient to prove, (should the language of such pre.. dictions require confirmation) that upon the natures of the Inferior animals, a great, a miraculous change will be effected at the Millennial Day.*
THE REDEEMER'S MILLENNIAL REIGN.
It has already been seen, from some of the preceding passages, that during this period of uninterrupted felicity, the kingdoms of this world will be under the Redeemer's sway. By his sufferings and death he has purchased redemption for his people, and in our nature obtained from the Father a promise of the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession. We see not yet, indeed, all things put under him; but Jehovah Kas declared his decree, and will in due time carry it into execution.
* As we shall have frequent occasion to controvert the opinions advanced by the Rev. Dr. Hamilton of Strathblane, in his recent publication against Millenarianism, we owe it to him here to mention, that although he tumultuously opposes the doctrine of Christ's Personal Reign, he scems also to reject all the ordinary work of transformation of the inferior animals. Viewing the predictions in their natural sense, he says, (p. 69,) they “ evidently imply that both the human race and the brute creation are to be then preserved, and that it (the Millennium] is to be a period of uncommon felicity to man and beast.” But it is not easy to reconcile this miraculous restoration of the natures of the inferior animals to the pacific state in which they were before the fall, with his opinion (p. 134) that the Millennium, in which this wonder will be witnessed, is to be realized by the mere “general diffusion of religious knowledge and prevalence of Christian principles.” The Scriptures are silent as to the mode of this change of nature, but that it inust be miraculous requires no proof to show. It is one of the many wonderful displays of love which Christ, the God of nature, will make at His return.
It is not the object of the present Section to prove Christ's stay on earth during the Millennium. This being the subject of the following Section, we confine ourselves at present to the selection of passages in proof merely of the Saviour's Millennial reign. This is explicitly declared in those which follow : " And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a Kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the Kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” Dan. ii. 44. "I saw in the night visions; and, behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought Him near before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a Kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed .... And the kingdom, and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom Under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him." Dan. vii. 13, 14, 27. In these verses we have declared the future setting up of a heavenly kingdom-a kingdom established by God himself, and which “shall not be left to other people.” Though celestial in its origin, and having its government committed to the Son of Man, and administered by His saints, it is still on the earth, being “ under” the heaven. It is, however, universal, being “ under the whole heaven,” and includes “ all dominions." The time of its establishment and the manner of Christ's coming are here also introduced, but these being subjects of future consideration, we do not now advert to either.
This is a theme very frequently touched, and not unfrequently dwelt upon by all the inspired bards. In the following Psalm, as in many others, it has blended with it the Restoration of Israel, whose song of triumph on that occasion it evidently is : “O clap your hands all ye people, shout unto God with the voice of triumph; for the Lord Most High is terrible: He is a great King over all the earth. He shall subdue the people under us, [Israel,] and the nations [by whom they have been oppressed) under our feet. He shall choose our inheritance for us, [alluding probably to the New Division of the Holy Land,] the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah. God is gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet. [His triumphal approach.] Sing praises to God, sing praises. Sing praises unto our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth; sing ye praises with understanding, (an exhortation to which more attention ought to be given;] God reigneth over the heathen; God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness. The princes of the people are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham; for the shields of the earth belong unto God; He is greatly exalted.” Ps. xlvii. The restoration of Israel appears to be expressed in these “princes” being." gathered together.” The term “ Israel,” which signifies “ a Prince with God," was given to Jacob when, at Peniel, “ as a prince he had power over the Angel and prevailed.” This name was afterwards applied to his descendants, " the people of the God of Abraham,” the “princes," apparently, in the above psalm, which clearly refers to Christ's Millennial Reign.
God is pledged in covenant to David to give this kingdom to his Seed, Christ: “ I have made a covenant with my
chosen ; I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy Seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations .... Also I will make Him, my first born, higher than the kings of the earth ... Once_have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His Seed shall endure for ever, and His throne as the sun before me. It shall be established for
ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven." Ps. lxxxix. 3-37.
In other predictions, this promise is intimately connected with the Restoration of Israel: “Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of Righteousness to grow up unto David, and He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely; and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness. For thus saith the Lord, David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel; [from this time spoken of, when "in those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safe.ly;"] neither shall the priests, the Levites, want a man before me to offer burnt-offerings, and to kindle meatofferings, and to do sacrifice continually.... Thus saith the Lord, If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne, * and with the
* The Examinator in the Christian Instructor, already referred to, admits that “the tabernacle of God is to dwell with men, and the Son of David is to sit and rule on David's throne, in a sense that has not yet been accomplished.” (p. 476 ) But we see no sense in which this can be fulfilled but literally. For, if he should say that nothing more is meant by this expression than that the influences of the Holy Spirit shall be plentifully shed upon the souls of men, we reply that this is no new sense; it is not a sitting upon the throne of David in any way. If we were at liberty to understand the promise, as referring to the Spirits influences, chen must we conclude, that the Son of David now sits and rules on David's throne, since every believer does enjoy these influences—to say nothing of the manifest impropriety of calling the souls of believers the throne of David. We do not see how it can, in any sense, be said, that the Mediator, by a continued residence in heaven, either sits or rules on David's throne, which was upon the earth. This appears to be a misapplication of language not to be imputed to the blessed Spirit, and very different from that admirable precision which characterizes the Holy Scriptures. It is to take a latitude of spiritualizing by which the most obvious meaning of any passage in Holy Writ may be explained away, or its meaning perverted to sanction the grossest heresies.