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But let it be examined whether or not "the premillennial personal Advent of our Lord is a doctrine of Scripture, and if found true, let it be faithfully and clearly proclaimed. Many now discourse of the Second Advent of the Saviour, but in so loose and indefinite a manner, that it is difficult to know whether they mean to teach to be looking for it at the commencement or close of the Millennium. But this is an uncertain sound, which will be wholly ineffectual. The coming of Christ will certainly not take place during the Millennium, and, therefore, it must be either at the beginning or the close, and every Christian minister should therefore take heed to speak on this subject, as the oracles of God,' if he would indeed stir up believers to be looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing spoken of. The neglect of this subject I consider to be the chief cause of all the disorders now existing in the spiritual church; and a due attention to it, I solemnly believe, to be the only effectual remedy to heal them."*
We have now furnished our readers with a full confutation of the principal arguments advanced against the doctrine in question. There are a few others very trivial, and unworthy of notice.
We refer to the Supplement, No. XIV., for some useful observations relative to that important passage, Matt. xxiv. 14: “ This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”
From the system pursued throughout this work, it will be perceived that we think it is rather by a constant pre
paredness for, than from any immediate expectation of “ the glorious appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ,” that the present generation should be actuated to "love" and contemplate it in all its bearings and results. Ever watchful against the increasing vices of the times, our chief anxiety should be, to discountenance, so far as possible, the peculiar opposition to Christian principles which so awfully prevails. Not to mention the various orders of infidelity, we would observe that this opposition is particularly exhibited by the Neologists of Germany, the St. Simonians of France, and the Owenites of England. A multiplicity of publications prove that the tide of infidelity is constantly rising, and occasionly rolls on with fearful impetuosity. But for a more particular consideration of these “ scoffers of the last times” we refer our readers to Chapter IV.
There are comparatively few portions of Scripture which afford us light respecting the nature of the soul's separate existence.
Our chief object, therefore, is to present a view of the difference which subsists between that state and that of the saints at the First Resurrection.
So generally have the Christian churches rejected the distinction made between these doctrines in Scripture, that when we speak of the departure of a fellow mortal, a reference to Revelation becomes necessary to prove that we contemplate the departed soul as neither in heaven nor hell, (i. e., Gekenna, the place of the wicked,) but in Hades, the place of departed spirits: also, that “the ancient doctrine concerning Hell or Hades, does not limit it to a place of torment, as is generally intended by the word Hell, in common use, but includes the state of disembodied spirits, both of the righteous and the wicked. The
receptacle of the righteous is called Paradise; the receptacle of the wicked is called Tartarus. The phrase is in 2 Peter 11. 4: Cast into Hell,' which, in the original, is 'Cast into Tartarus.
“ The intermediate state of the soul has occupied much of the attention of Christian divines. The place of departed spirits, called in Hebrew 518w in Greek aồns, and in English Hell, means the invisible receptacle of the dead. Peter says of our Lord, ‘His soul was not left in hell, (aồns,) 'nor did his FLESH see corruption ;' where there is a contrast between his soul being in the invisible state, and his flesh in the grave. .. Gehenna is the term used to describe the state of the wicked exclusively hereafter, Matt. v. 29; xxIII. 15; Mark ix. 43, &c. Respecting the conscious happiness of the spirits of the just, between death and the Resurrection, such passages as Luke XXIII. 43; Phil. 1. 23; 2 Cor. v. 8, put it out of all doubt; but of the nature of that happiness, not only the silence of the Scripture, but the very terms of the Hebrew, Greek, and English words which name it (1980), a concealed state, aồns, from, 'not seen ;' hell, a Saxon word, meaning 'hidden,' or 'concealed,' see Packhurst,) show us how little we can possibly know of it, and how far short it must be of the promised glory which is so largely described.” *
See Eçcles. XII. 7; Luke XXIII. 46; Acts vii. 59; Isai. LVII. 1, 2; Rev. xiv. 13; where peace and rest from this life are all that are intimated. But the following portions of Scripture prove the presence of Christ in the separate state: 2 Cor. v. 6–8; Phil. 1. 21–23. And in whatever manner this is vouchsafed, it appears that the departed saints have not ascended into heaven with their Redeemer. “ The material sun is said to be present with us, seen and felt,
though it is separated from us by millions of miles : why may not the sun of righteousness equally gladden the saints in paradise, by some similar manifestation of himself, and communications of his beams from the highest heavens ?"
* Abdiel's Essays.
When, my soul,
In whatever way the soul is present with Christ when absent from the body, his Deity will be apprehended in the same manner as that of God the Father, and God the Spirit; but this cannot be similar to the glorified state, in which he will come as our great God and Saviour,” to present the church to himself, a glorious church, &c., which shall then stand before Him, as the Son of Man,—when he comes again to receive them unto himself.
Farther, it must be recollected that after the Resurrection of the body in which our Lord suffered, he makes no import of his presence among his disciples, as compared with the hope which he had set before them. The righteous are now said to be "sons and daughters of the Almighty;" yet it is only “the spirit of adoption” which they have as yet received; i. e., the pledge and earnest of their inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession : the adoption itself being identified with the redemption of the body, which is also the time of the manifestation of the sons of God. *
" When the Lord Jesus was risen from the dead, he said to Mary, that he was not yet ascended to his Father, plainly intimating, as I conceive, that Hades, or Paradise, from which he was just come, was not the abode of the Father. The same may be inferred from the words of the
* Compare Rom. vii. 15, 19, 23 ; 2 Cor. v. 5, 6; 5, 6; Ephes. I. 13, 14; John xx. 17; Acts 11. 34; Psalm xvii. 15; Rev. Jii. 5; 2 Cor. iv. 14. See also Heb. xi. 16.