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· Upon the whole, by being with Christ, the apostle seems to me to mean being in a state of security with him, under the protection of divine power, and the sanction of his faithful promise, reserved as a trust or deposit committed to him both by God and ourselves, in order to be restored to life, and made completely happy by him at the resurrection of the just.
Of the future condition of the world in general.
THE great events of the resurrection of
I the dead, the day of judgment, and a state of retribution afterwards, are such as all mankind are most nearly interested in, as individuals. But there are, likewise, other intermediate events, which are foretold with sufficient clearness in the scriptures, in which we are interested as members of civil focieties, or, at least, as well-wishers to the cause of christianity and virtue in the world. Of these I shall briefly mention a few, that are the most considerable.
The power of antichrist, mentioned by different names in several parts of the scriptures, by which almost all interpreters underriand the usurpations of the pope of Rone, is to be finally overthrown. Several d irentiteps are to be taken in order to the reduction of this enormous power, as is most probably the meaning of the feven vials, which are said, in the book of Revelation, to be poured, in succession, upon the beat, which is synonymous to antichrist. And fince it is evident, from the state of the world, that the papal power has long been upon the decline, we may conclude, that several of these vials are already poured out.
But the utter destruction of antichrist seems to be reserved for a more remarkable period, which is often denominated in the scriptures by the coming of Christ, as was also perhaps the period in which Jerusalem was destroyed ; so that probably this coming also
will not be a literal one, but figurative, representing a most eminent judicial proceeding, in the exertion of that power in heaven and in earth, which was given to Christ after his resurrection. The apostle says, of this man of fin (by which there can be no doubt of the fame antichrist power being intended) that the Lord shall “ con“ sume him with the spirit of his mouth, “ and destroy him with the brightness of his “ coming.” 2 Theff. ii. 8. .
This fame coming of Christ seems to be described by the apostle John, in the book of the Revelation, in such a manner, as to lead us to conclude, that the powers of this world will make a violent, but ineffectual opposition to this event; and that when it has taken place, christianity, then restored to a state of great purity, by the destruction of the power which had introduced and supported the corruptions of it, will prevail through the whole world, for a space which in the prophetic language, is called a thoia sand years.
Nothing less than this can be denoted by the reign of Christ upon earth, and the resurrection of the martyrs, and others who opposed the antichristian corruptions of the gospel, to live and reign with him, in the following passage. Rev. xix. 11. “ And I “ saw heaven opened, and behold, a white “ horse; and he that sat upon him was called “ faithful and true, and in righteousness “ he doth judge and make war. His eyes “ were as a flame of fire, and on his head “ were many crowns; and he had a name « written that no man knew but he himself: “ And he was clothed with a vesture dipped “ in blood : and his name is called, The " Word of God. And the armies which “ were in heaven followed him upon white “ horfes, clothed in fine linen, white and “ clean. And out of his mouth goeth a “ Tharp sword, that with it he should finite “ the nations : and he shall rule them with “ a rod of iron : and he treadeth the wine“ press of the fierceness and wrath of Al“ mighty God.---And I saw the beast, and “ the kings of the earth, and their armies. “ gathered together to make war against him
" that fat on the horse, and against his army. “ And the beast was taken, and with him “ the false prophet that wrought miracles “ before him, with which he deceived them “ that had received the mark of the beast, “ and them that worshipped his image. “ These both were cast alive into a lake of “ fire burning with brimstone.---And I “ saw an angel come down from heaven, “ having the key of the bottomless pit, and “ a great chain in his hand. And he laid “ hold on the dragon, that old serpent, “ which is the Devil and Satan, and bound “ him a thousand years. And cast him into “ the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and “ fet a feal upon him, that he should deceive “ the nations no more till the thousand years “ should be fulfilled : and after that he must “ be loosed a little season. And I saw “ thrones, and they sat upon them: and judg“ ment was given unto them : and I saw the “ souls of them that were beheaded for the “ witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, “ and who had not worshiped the beast, “ neither his image, neither had received his “ mark upon their foreheads, or in their
o hands :