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they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.' But what, it may be asked, was this fulfilment, when did it happen, and who were those who witnessed it? The next chapter informs us. Six days after the prediction was delivered, Jesus taketh Peter,' &c., as above. But what authority have we that this interpretation is not fallible? The fact, it might be said, of the transfiguration following so quick upon the prophecy, and its relation immediately after by all the Evangelists, who have recorded both, vindicate such interpretation. But we have better evidence, —that of one of the parties present. The apostle Peter refers to this very occasion, in proof that, when speaking of the power and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, he was not following cunningly devised fables, but spake that of which he was an eye-WITNESS in the holy mount. in fact, to confirm the faith of his dispirited disciples after the announcement of his sufferings and death; to manifest himself to them in the glory which they expected that he would then assume; and to illustrate that future coming of which he had last spoken to them; that he condescended to be transfigured before them into the glorious appearance of his coming in his kingdom at his Second Advent: till when the heavens must receive him."*
The more explicit intimation of a Messenger to prepare the way of the Angel, or Messenger of the covenant,--the Messiah,-occurs at the commencement of the 3rd chapter of Malachi: “Behold I will send my Messenger," &c., and that “the Lord shall suddenly come to his temple,”
* “2 Peter 1. 16-18. It was not till after these observations were written, that the author discovered that he had the support of Bishop Porteus in this view of the transfiguration ; who nevertheless, and the fact is singular, was unable to extricate himself from the prevalent notion of the coming of the Lord at the destruction of Jerusalem.-Works, vol. I., sect. xv. and xix.” - Apology for Millennarianism.
which passages are uniformly applied to John the Baptist, and the First Advent of Christ. It is then immediately repeated, “Behold he shall come,” &c. “But who may abide the day of his coming ?" &c. In which is announced the refining or purification of the Jewish people throughout the past and present periods of their suffering, that they may at length offer to the Lord an offering of righteousness. It is then further declared, that "the offering of Judah and Jerusalem shall be pleasant unto the Lord as in the days of old, and as in former,” or, ancient, “years.” Afterwards they are directed to restore the true worship of God, under the metaphor of “bringing tythes into the chambers or storehouses," as we find in 2 Chron. XXXI. 11–19. The Lord further commands them "to prove him,” by their obedience, “ if he will not pour" (Heb. empty out) "a blessing by opening them the windows of heaven, that there shall not be room enough to receive it:" which, as we apprehend, signifies, not merely external prosperity, but the vouchsafement of those extraordinary blessings attendant on the outpourings of his Spirit to which we have above referred. The Lord further engages to “rebuke the devourer for their sakes,”—every enemy, and every predatory shepherd of the church of God; and that such "shall not destroy" (Heb. corrupt) “ the fruits of the ground,”—pervert or extinguish the fruits of righteousness in the hearts of his faithful people, who have received the seed into good ground; neither shall their vine,--their church,-“cast her fruit before the time in the field,"-or, as we think it should be understood, before the Lord come. The frequent communications of those who shall fear the Lord in that day, for the advancement of their spiritual interests, and the promotion of his glory, is then predicted. This rapid out
line of God's providence towards his church more especially regards the Jewish converts; and they all shall be his in that day when he maketh up his jewels, or, special trea
And now at this most interesting period it is then declared :
“ Mal. iv. 5. Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.' This, we know, from our Saviour's testimony, received a primary fulfilment in John the Baptist, who came in the spirit and power of Elijah; and, judging from Matt. xvii. 11, · Elias truly shall first come and restore all things,' spoken by our Lord before he passed on to speak of John the Baptist,—a coming of the actual Elijah is still to be expected. For it would be extraordinary in our Lord to speak of it as a thing future ('Elias truly shall first come') and as of a thing past ('But I say unto you that Elias is come already') in the same breath. Certainly the Fathers of the primitive Christian church down to the time of Jerome, looked for a coming of the actual Elijah; and under any view of the prophecy, the scope of it already pointed out was not fulfilled ; neither was there any restitution of all things, as stated by our Lord there should be, in his mention of Elijah quoted above.”*
It is at this important crisis, then, that either the actual Elijah is caused to re-assume his mortal frame, or another man of God, another messenger, is raised up in the spirit of the former, as was John, to accomplish this his exalted mission.
Malachi iv. 6. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
This, we think, will be, to instruct and lead the various sects and divisions of the churches of God, to a full understanding of, and entire reconciliation with, all that regards their real interests and happiness in his worship and service; and this both public and social,-in righteousness and true holiness; and so, in a more literal sense,“ turning the heart of the fathers to the children," &c. See Luke 1. 17.
Compare Matt. XVII. 10–12, with Mark 1x. 11–13.
“ The belief that Elijah was personally to appear again," Mr. Brooks observes, “was almost universal among the early Fathers, as may be seen in the treatise on this subject by Dr. John Alsted, translated by Burton.”
And Mr. Fry conceives that“ the ministry of Elijah is to be a dispensation which concerns mainly Israel and their land.”
“ The mission of John the Baptist preceding the First Advent, prefigured and symbolized this, 'and many of the children of Israel did he turn unto the Lord his God. But the general rejection of the meek and lowly Saviour, and his betrayal and murder at that time, brought a curse and not a blessing upon the land, under which it lies to this day. But still Elijah shall come first before the great and dreadful day, and restore all things,' shall bring back the hearts of parents and children together, and arrange the survivors of Israel, a people prepared for their appearing Messiah, as Moses arranged them at Mount Sinai, when Jehovah descended, and the people entered into the first covenant. And this, I believe, to be “the times of the restitution of all things,' mentioned Acts il. 20, 21." *
* Fry's Observations, &c. p. 21.
THE SECOND ADVENT OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.
Serious and important as are the preceding subjects of which we have treated, they must yield to the magnitude and solemnity of that which is now to occupy our attention. When the Lord Jesus Christ humbled himself in our nature, it was expressly to restore us to his own glorious image. He satisfied Divine justice, expiating the guilt of sin, and thus averting our punishment by a suffering life, and by a most cruel and ignominious death. But before his departure, he assured his people that they should enjoy his presence through the Holy Spirit, even to the end of the world, (the present dispensation,) which he calls but "a little while;' that then he would “come again and receive them unto himself,” “that they might behold his glory which he had with the Father before the foundation of the world;"—and that he would reward them, and unite them with him in “his kingdom and reign,” restoring all things to, their original purity and excellence. Then will his attributes of justice and mercy be triumphantly displayed to an admiring universe.
Thus we find, that the consolations of the Holy Spirit would be necessary for the support of his suffering people until his RETURN; which hope of revisiting them he tendered as most calculated to animate them for the