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of writing; and all expositors admit that there is a distinct prophetic style used in the Scriptures, in which the ideas intended are representatively shadowed out by the images used for expressing them. Only look at the subject with some degree of elevation of mind, and you will see, that for the Lord Jesus Christ to appear in the clouds which float about the earth, at a height never exceeding a very few miles from its surface, in a form visible to the natural eyes of the inhabitants of the earth, is really an absolute impossibility.* At his first advent, indeed, the Lord was beheld by men in the natural world, and even dwelt for a considerable time among them: but the reason was, because he was then in a natural body, not yet glorified, assumed from the mother, Mary: but, as I propose to shew in a future Section of this Appeal, during his abode on earth, and at his resurrectiou, he made his human nature completely divine, and it was in a glorified or deified human form, no longer partaking of the gross properties of matter, that he ascended to heaven: Hence he never was visible to any after he rose again, except when he expressly manifested himself to them, which was done by opening the sight of their spirits. Had he still been visible to the natural eye, how came it to pass that he never was seen by the Jews after his resurrection? Had he still been in a body that was obvious to the natural senses, how did he appear suddenly in the midst of his disciples, when they were assembled secretly, for fear of the Jews, and the door was fastened to secure them from interruption? Our natural sight will not penetrate through walls and doors; how then, to such sight, can that divine form be visible, which walls and doors could not exclude? Thus the Lord's glorified person can now only be made visible to man by opening the sight of his spirit, as was done in all the cases of spiritual appearance recorded in the Scriptures; and the Lord can only thus be manifested

* The_two_advents of the Lord belong to two different dispens: tions: according to the order always observed in the Divine Economy, the things peculiar to a later dispensation are never openly revealed under a former; consequently, It would have been inconsistent with the order always observed in the Divine Economy, had the Apostles, whose province it was to proclaim the Lord's first advent, with the discoveries proper to it, been equally well informed respecting the circumstances of his second.

to those who are in the acknowledgment of him: for this reason he never made himself visible, after his resurrection, to the gainsaying Jews; and for the same reason he never will make himself visible to the inhabitants of the world at large: consequently, it is not in a natural sense that he will appear in the clouds of the sky, shewing himself to all the dwellers upon the earth.

But that the Lord is not literally to make his second advent in this manner, is evident from another consideration, the force of which every one may appreciate, whether he sees the strength of the last argument or not: and that other circumstance is, that in other passages of Scripture his coming is described in a different manner. In the nineteenth chapter of the Revelation, he is described as coming riding on a white horse, with all the armies of heaven following him upon white horses. Now, who ever understood that this description was to be taken literally? No person ever conceived that He would come to judgment riding on horseback, followed by innumerable troops of angels, all likewise mounted on horseback: yet there is no more reason for rejecting the expectation of his coming in this manner, and regarding the language as entirely figurative, than there is for adopting that of his coming in the clouds, and regarding this as a literal representation of the fact. The truth is, that both are entirely figurative, and of nearly the same signification; since his coming on a white horse denotes his restoring the right understanding of the Word, and illuminating thereby the intellectual faculties of man, and his coming in the clouds with power and great glory denotes the unfolding of the literal sense of the Word, and his presence in the bright glory of its spiritual and genuine signification. I have endeavored to prove this at length in another publication; in which it is attempted to be shewn, that the Lord is called the Son of man, in Scripture, in reference to his character as the Word or Divine Truth;* and it is always by his title of Son of man that the Lord himself speaks of his second coming: So, the passage just referred to in the Revelation expressly states, that he who is to come riding on the white horse, is the Word of God. Evidently then the promised coming of the Lord as the Son of man and the


Plenary Inspiration, &c. p. 333, &c.


Word of God, must denote a new discovery of the divine truth of his Word,—a restoration of the genuine doctrines of the church,-a revival of a just knowledge of the Lord and of his worship, and an opening of the sacred contents of his Holy Word.

But that this is, in general, what is meant by the second coming of the Lord,-by the appearing of the Son of man in the clouds with power and grea glory, and by his riding in heaven, as the Word of God, on a white horse,— is further evident from the fact, that it is to be accompa> nied or followed by the descent from heaven of a New Jerusalem. We read in Rev. xxi. " I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride &dorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them and be their God." Now what can this, with any degree of consistency, be understood to signify, but a renewal of the true church of God among mankind? Many, I know, apply it to the state of the saints in heaven: but in this they do the most palpable violence to the words: for how can that be pretended to be in heaven, which is expressly said to come down out of heaven? how can that describe the state of saints in heaven, which is expressly said to be the tabernacle, or abiding place of God with men? Accordingly, the best interpreters apply it to a new state of the church on earth. Thus Dr Hammond, a celebrated writer of the Church of England, comments upon it thus: "That it signifies not the state of glorified saints in heaven, appears by its descending from heaven in both places [where it is mentioned;] and that, according to the use of the phrase, ch. x. 1. and xviii. 1, is an expression of some eminent benefit to the church: and being here set down, with the glory of God upon it, it will signify the pure Christian Church, joining Christian practice with the profession thereof, and that in a flourishing condition, expressed by the new heaven and new earth. In this sense," he adds, "we have the supernal Jerusa

* Ver. 1, 2, 3.

lem, (Gal. iv. 26) and the New Jerusalem (Rev. iii. 12), where, to the constant professor, is promised, that God will write on him the name of God, and the name of the city of God, the New Jerusalem; which there is the pure Catholic Christian Church." As to its being first said, that John saw a new heaven and a new earth, because the former heaven and earth had passed away, all commentators admit, that that is a phrase constantly used in the prophetic style to denote a complete renovation of the thing treated of,-the putting an entire end to one order of things, and the commencement of a new one, either with respect to particular or to general churches; in which sense it occurs in numerous passages of the Old Testament, where a new heaven and earth cannot literally be meant.*

II. Here then, I trust you will admit, we have a clear and, at least, highly probable view of the signification of the prophecics which announce a Second Coming of the Lord, and the manifestation of a New Jerusalem: the next consideration is, Are there any circumstances and

* The common reader of the Scriptures naturally supposes, when he comes to a prophecy respecting the passing away of heaven and earth, that the phrase refers to the end of the world; though the most simple reader must be somewhat puzzled to understand how the new heaven and new earth spoken of as to succeed the former, can relate to the state of saints in heaven, which is the only state that our natural apprehensions lead us to look for after the end of the world. The learned, however, have long been so fully convinced, that these phrases do not in general relate to the end of the world, and to the state of the saints expected to succeed that event, that it is wonderful how they can still retain the opinion, that the end of the world is, nevertheless, predicted by any of them.

In the Old Testament as well as in the revelation, the formation of new heavens and earth is mentioned in connexion with the restoration and re-establishment of Zion or Jerusalem: the reason is, because Zion and Jerusalem are constantly mentioned in prophecy as types of the church itself. In the Old Testament, when their restoration is spoken of, they are evident types of the church which was to be raised in consequence of the Lord's coming into the world, and called the Christian church, to distinguish it from the Israelitish or Jewish; consequently, in the Revelation, a new Jerusalem can mean nothing else than a new Church, a restoration of pure Christianity to more than its primitive glory. And both these events are said to be accompanied with the formation of a new heaven and new earth, to denote the entire newness of the respective churches as to their inward life and outward conversation, internal principles and external practice; all the corrupt persuasions and evils which had perverted the former churches being wholly removed.

signs observable at the present day, which lead to the conclusion, that the time for the great divine interference thus prophetically delineated has arrived? Permit me, before I proceed to offer an answer to this question, to observe, that an affirmative reply does not, as too muay are inconsiderately apt to suppose, necessarily involve an absurdity. All who acknowledge the authority of the Scriptures, must allow, that the Second Coming of the Lord most assuredly will take place at some period or other; and if, as I trust has been conclusively shewn, the commonly imagined mode of his appearance cannot be the true one, it is the more probable that it will take place, as is also plainly predicted, in an unexpected time and manner;—"in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh."* It is to be expected then, that, come when it may, multitudes-perhaps the majorityof the Christian world will be unwilling to credit the tidings, and will deride those who believe them as silly enthusiasts: as the Lord declares again, "When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith in the earth?"† When therefore we announce to the world our belief, that this consummation of divine prophecy is now taking place, we are aware that we shall draw upon ourselves the contempt and ridicule of the superficial and the frivolous: but we are at the same time sure, that all the sober and the reflecting, all who will candidly examine the reasons which have brought us to this conviction, must become sensible of their strength, and will find it no easy matter to put them aside. Certain it is, that all divine prediction must one day be fulfilled: if then what is advanced in proof of such fulfilment having taken place be not altogether unworthy of the subject, they who urge it are at least entitled to be listened to with candor, and to have their arguments fairly considered. If, on the contrary, the mere asserting that the time has arrived for the accomplishment of a great Scripture-prophecy, is sufficient to authorize the treatment of those who advance it with derision and contempt, then it was right in the Scribes and Pharisees to treat with contempt the testimony of the Baptist; and it will be difficult to prove them wrong when they crucified the Saviour himself.

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