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lent thereto, are constantly predicated in reference to the Last Judgment, and to the coming of the Lord for its performance: and these are predicated, not only in reference to the judgment which the Christian world is still expecting, but to the judgments on each of the former churches, The Apostle Peter, for instance, informs us, that the same sort of catastrophe as is described by the prophets under the figure of the conflagration of heaven and earth, is described by Moses under the figure of a flood : he says, “ By the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth, standing out of the water, and in the water; whereby the world that then was, being overflowed by water, perished : but the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word, are kept in store, reserved unto fire, against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”* We find then, that as the destruction of heaven and earth by fire is one of the forms by which the Last General Judgment is described, so the destruction of the world that then was by a flood is the form by which the General Judgment upon the Adamic Church is described : if then the Last General Judgment was not to consist solely, nor at all, in the conflagration of the visible universe, but in a judgment upon those who had passed out of the natural into the spiritual world, the judgment upon the members of the Adamic Church did not consist solely, and probably not at all,t in a flood of material waters, but in a judgment upon those who had passed from the material into the spiritual world.
The Noetic Church did not long continue as one : “ in the days of Peleg was the earth divided :"} and, being scattered at Babel, they no longer continued to be “ of one language and of one speech,''s -- that is, they split into different forms of worship and doctrine; and all the ancient nations mentioned in the Old Testament were various branches of this church. Hence it does not appear that there was any General Judgment upon the whole together, till the Lord came into the world, and performed the judgment on the Jewish Church; which itself sprung out of the Noetic Church, and most of the constitutions of which, as is 'well known, were selected from those which had previously been in use : but specific judgments
* 2 Pet. iii. 5, 6, 7.
† That the first eleven chapters of Genesis do not contain an exact detail of natural events, but a history of the spiritual state of mankind in those ages, couched in the language of allegory, being the only style in use among the people whose history it describes; and that literally true history begins with the account of Abraham ; may be seen fully established in “ the Plenary Inepiration.” &c. pp. 555 — 576. | Gen. x. 25.
Ś Gen. ix. 1.
upon various branches of it are mentioned in several parts of the Old Testament. Thus Sodom was destroyed by fire from heaven; and under this fact, performed in the natural world, was doubtless represented a judgment in the spiritual world, upon all of the same character who had passed into that world by death.
But, not to dwell upon the judgments of those more ancient churches ; it will be sufficient for our present argument if it can be shown, that the Lord himself performed a Judgment, while in the world, of the same nature as the Last Judgment, which he then also prophetically declared that he would, at his Second Coming, accomplish. To such a judgment, many of the prophets of the Old Testament clearly refer. Their predictions respecting the Coming of the Lord into the world, are frequently connected with the announcement of a judgment then to be performed by him. They even represent the execution of such a judgment as inseparable from that work of redemption which all acknowledge that he came to accomplish; for without the removal thereby of evil spirits from the immediate influence which they then exercised upon the world, there could have been no salvation for the human race. Not to make an important assertion without proving it, I offer the fol. lowing as a few samples of the predictions, in the Old Testament, of a judgment to be performed by the Lord at his advent in the flesh.
To what else can these words of Isaiah be worthily referred ? “ Behold the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate : and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light : the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a man more precious than fine gold, even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his
Now though this in its literal sense, refers to the destruction of Babylon, who can doubt that it refers also to the destruction, at the judgment to be performed by the Lord at his coming into the world, of those who are spiritually meant by Babylon throughout the Word of God, — that is, of those who profane religion by applying its sanctities to the purpose of self-exaltation? Hence it is said of Babylon personified under
* Isa. xiii. 9-13.
the name of Lucifer, in the next chapter, “ How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cast down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations !” —words which as the whole context shows, are not spoken of any casting down of Lucifer then past, but of an event then to come, and which the ruin of the Babylonian empire, which also did not happen till two hundred years after the delivery of this prophecy, was a type.
"Be old your God will come with vengeance, even with God with a recompense : he will come and save you."* Here the judgment to be performed by the Lord when in the world is spoken of, as necessary to the salvation of the human race. “ The spirit of the Lord is upon me; because the Lord hath sent me to preach good tidings unto the meek, &c., to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God.”+ In these words, the day of salvation is announced as accompanied by the day of judg. ment: and of this prophecy the Lord himself said while in the world, “ This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears."! “ For the day of vengeance is in my heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked, and there was none to help, and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation to me, and my fury, it upheld me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury; and I will bring down their strength to the earth."'Here again is the salvation to be wrought by the Lord's coming into the world connected with a judgment to be performed at the same time. “Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he-goats."'|| This whole chapter treats of the salvation to be procured by the Lord when he should appear in the world in the character of the good shepherd ; and the judgment then to be performed is in these words briefly described under the same image of separating between the sheep and the goats, as is so beautifully amplified in the description of the Last Judgment in Matt xxv. 5. Wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey : for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger : for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.” Here is a plain prediction of a General Judgment, described with the symbolic accompaniment of the burning of the earth, immediately to precede the establishment of the Christian religion. 6 I * Ch. xxxv. 4. † Ch. lii. 1, 2.
I Luke iv. 21.
will show won ders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into dark. ness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come."* Here is a description of the day of judgment with the usual adjuncts; and this prophecy is declared by Peter (Acts ii. 16) to have been at that time fulfilled. But who may abide the day of his coming, and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's
And I will come near to you to judgment. For behold the day cometh that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be as stubble : and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that leave them neither root nor branch. Be. hold I send you Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”+ Here is a sufficiently plain announcement of a day of judgment, in predictions ap. plied by the evangelists, and by the Lord Jesus Christ, to him. self while in the world. “For he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth : he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth. Clouds and darkness are round about him ; righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne : his lightnings enlightened the world; the earth saw and trembled : the hills melted like wax at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth : the heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory. For he cometh to judge the earth : with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity."I A work of judgment is here clearly announced, and depicted with abundance of the appropriate figures; and these three Psalms plainly treat of the Lord's coming into the world, and of the salvation which, by his works of judgment, he would procure for mankind.
Many similar passages might be adduced; but these may suffice to show, that, according to the prophecies of the Old Testament, the advent of the Lord in the flesh was to be accompanied with the performance of a General Judgment. But do we find, in the New Testament, any plain intimation that such a judgment was performed accordingly? This question may be most decidedly answered in the affirmative. The New Testament repeatedly notices, as just remarked, the fulfillment of predictions in which the coming of the Lord to redeem mankind is connected with the execution of a judgment: and it pre. sents, besides, other independent testimonies to the same truth.
* Joel ii. 30, 31.
Thus when John the Baptist announces that he was the forerunner of one who was greater than himself, he speaks also of him whom he preceded as coming in the character of a Judge ; " He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not. worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner ; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."'* What plainer description of a General Judgment can there be than this? It is in fact described under nearly the same images as the Lord uses, in several of his parables, for delineating the last Judgment generally looked for by Christians. Thus, he concludes the parable of the wheat and the tares with this declaration : “In the time of the harvest, I will say unto the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.”+ This the Divine Speaker himself explains to be a figurative description of the Last Judgment still generally expected; “ The good seed,” he says, are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one: - - the harvest is the consummation of the age : as therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire ; so shall it be at the consummation of the
age. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire : there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father." Now the only difference between this parable and the saying above quoted of John, is, that, in the parable, the wicked' are compared to tares, and by the Baptist to chaff: in other respects, the figures used are the same. In both, the good are compared to wheat : in both, the taking of the good into heaven is called the gathering of the wheat into the Lord's garner or barn: in both, the casting of the wicked into hell is called burning the chaff, or tares, with fire. Jesus says that this work should be performed at the consummation of the age, or at the close of the dispensation of divine things then commencing; accordingly, all allow that the parable relates to the Last Judgment: but John says that Jesus, of whom he was speaking, had his fan in his hand, to make the requisite separation, then : Is it not then demonstrably evident, that such a judgment as the Scripture predicts at what is commonly called the end of the world, or at the consummation of the dispensation then commencing, is affirmed by the Scripture to have been actually wrought while the Lord was in the world ; that time being
* Matt. iii. 11, 12. | Cli. xiii. 30. I Ver. 35--13.