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forward for the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We wait for him.
It does appear evident that no millennial state will precede our Lord's personal advent. I know that some excellent Christians differ from me on this, therefore you will pardon me if I try to state distinctly what the word of God indicates respecting this point. If we turn to the thirteenth chapter of Matthew, we shall find an important explanation at the twenty-first verse. The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man sowing good seed in a field; and while he slept, the enemy went in and sowed tares: and when the seed sprang up, the tares and the wheat came up together. What did the Lord of the harvest do? Did he send men forthwith as the reapers to separate them? No; he said, “Let both grow together until the harvest; and then I will say to the reapers, Gather first the tares, and then bind them in bundles and burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.” It is so in the present dispensation; the good and bad grow up together, and are not separated until the end; and as the tares were gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be at the end of this dispensation, for the Son of Man shall come and cast out the unbelievers into a furnace of fire, “where shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth,' and gather the good into heavenly habitations. The whole Christian economy is a composite one. The visible church is not all pure wheat, but a mixture of tares and wheat, and it appears it will continue to be so
till Christ himself comes at the end of this dispensation. It is quite plain that there will be no such thing as a perfect visible church till the Lord comes. It will continue a mixture of good and bad until the end. I regard, in fact, the very existence of a visible church very much as I do a provisional committee. We used to hear in railway times of provisional committees. These were simply committees appointed to act until the true or competent committee should be appointed. The whole visible church is at this moment purely provisional; but when that which is perfect is come, that which is provisional shall be done away. Meantime the church is made up of tares and wheat, and this mixture will continue throughout this dispensation, till there arrive that perfect state after the advent, in which there will be neither flaw, nor sin, nor defect, but all God's people shall be presented a glorious church, without spot or blemish or any such thing. This takes place at the advent of Christ: but those who hold that the millennium must come first, must conclude that the tares will be separated from the wheat a thousand years before Christ comes. According to the text I have read, they will not be separated until Christ himself comes, and therefore the perfect church is not prior, but subsequent to Christ's advent, and therefore Christ's advent is pre-millennial and not postmillennial. In the second chapter of the second of Thessalonians we read,—“Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come" (as I shall translate it) “the apostasy, and that Man of Sin be revealed, the Son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work; only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: even him whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they have not received the love of the truth, that they might be saved." We are told in this chapter that the great apostasy commenced in the Apostle's days, and that it would continue till Christ shall come again. According to those who hold that the millennium precedes Christ's advent, Popery is to be destroyed by the preaching of the Gospel; but according to the Apostle Paul, Popery is to be wasted progressively by the preaching of the Gospel, but to be uprooted and destroyed finally at and by Christ's advent indicating that it will be co-existent with this dispensation. I cannot conceive any one passage of Scripture more fatal to the theory that the millennium precedes Christ's advent than this prediction of the great apostasy. It begins in the days of the Apostle, stretches forward to the millennial glory, and is to be destroyed, not by the preaching of the Gospel, but only by the personal advent and glorious appearing of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. In another passage, in the first chapter of the Acts, we read, that when the disciples were assembled together, they asked the Lord, saying, “ Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel ?" Every Jew looked then for a temporal Messiah, and every Jew still expects Messiah to come in temporal glory. But what answer did our Lord make to the inquiry? Not, Your expectation is wrong; but, “ It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” I believe so far with the Jew, that Christ will come in his everlasting glory. The Jew, however, has passed over the first advent, and sees the promise of the second only. When the Apostles said, “ Wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel ?” our Lord did not answer that they must not look for such a thing. He said, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power:" intimating that God would restore the kingdom to Israel, and that the only point then bid from them was the time and the season that he would select; and the two men in white apparel, that spake to them from heaven, said, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven,” — and surely this must be his personal advent. They saw him ascend from amongst them, and a cloud receive him into glory; and we shall see him again return in a cloud, and descend upon the earth in the same cloud, surrounded by the same glory. In the nineteenth chapter of Matthew, the promise made specially to the Apostles indicates the same truth, when our Lord says—“ Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory, in the regeneration, ye also” (that is, ye who have followed me now) “shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” The Greek here is ŝv qñ maniyyevstid, or the age thus delineated. “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, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Now this promise made to the Apostles of sitting upon thrones in the regeneration or restoration of all things, is evidently connected with the fulfilment of the promise in the twenty-first chapter of Revelation, where Christ is described as descending from heaven to his redeemed and ransomed people. In Daniel it is thus described—“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