« AnteriorContinuar »
and of consequence not doing doubts, examine the original ; justice to the last, and to the im- consult the best cominentators. provement. To avoid this, a With particular care examine scheme of outlines, which looks the connexion; and the occasion, through a whole subject, and as the case may be, on which through the improvement, pro- the words were spoken ; for mises to be useful. It will as these, in general, are the best sist our thinking faculties. It expositors. Every part should will thus be seen what ideas will be understood; but the ideas, rise naturally under each head; which are most prominent, and what scripture passages, or oth- which were principal in the iner valuable illustrations or en tention of the sacred writer, forcements, may be introduced should be the leading ideas of with advantage, here or there : the discourse. Generally, the And some adjustment may be impression from the first readmade, in the setting out, of the ing will determine which they proportions of the several parts are: And generally, the expectaof the discourse. Perhaps one tion of sensible hearers, from of the first objects in the arrange- the first reading in public, will ment of a sermon, is to propor- be raised accordingly. tion it justly.
The old distinction of veritas But the prime object, of which rei, and veritas loci,* is a sensi. we must never lose sight, is to ble one, and should always be re. communicate the great truths of membered. The soundest docGod in a manner which will best trine should never be preached commend them, as such, “ to , from a text which does not conevery man's conscience,” and tain it: for truth is dishonoured best impress them according to
when brought in out of place. their nature.
Beside pondering what our Let the text then originate theme contains, it is good to col, the sermon, and dictate, general- lect, as the time will allowy, all ly, all its sentiments. Let this the principal ideas on the same be visible from first to last : For subject, which are scattered here the good effect of a discourse and there through the Scriptures; greatly depends on its both be- whether they go to explain or ing and appearing to be scriptur. illustrate, to confirm or enforce al. If this does not appear, it is it. I am every day more coneither neglected as wanting au vinced that great use should be thority, or it is received as the made of the concordance, upon word of man, and therefore not every great subject; as likewise to the purposes of religion : for of marginal references:-to com. religion is built upon faith in God, pare scripture with scripture, and not faith in the wisdom of men. so be confirmed in its true mean
Having taken up, then, some ing; to see the harmony of its sacred theme which comes home parts, upon every great subject, to men's bosoms, and their im- and therein a stronger proof of mortal interests ; let us be sure, its great Original ; to see at the in the first place, that we under same time, the variety of lights sland it correctly. If there are in which the same great truths
• Truth rcal, and the truth in text.
are presented. By this they are best: And this interval seems understood the more fully; and the most proper for reading able you acquire a habit of thinking, and pious authors on the same at once more enlarged, and more subject. I hope that a high escorrect. By this you are soon teem of such will be ever mainrelieved of the anxiety above- tained ; but servility is always to mentioned. You are furnished, be avoided. I wish therefore in the setting out, both with varie- that the general plan of discourse ty and abundance of matter, and may be first sketched out; and such as you are sure is of the as many particular ideas as natvery best kind :so many affec- urally occur to our own best ting, so many sublime objects contemplations, without any othbrought to view, and all in a man er leading than that of holy ner perfectly corresponding with Scripture itself. After this let their nature; sentiment, argu- us read at large, as we have tiine, ment, illustration, address, and and with careful attention. Perturn of thought, all such as; He haps we shall find some of our who knew what was in man, has ideas corrected, valuable additionhimself adapted to impress the al thoughts suggested : possibly consciences and hearts of men. some useful amendments of our How proper is it that we should general plan. Of all let us avail in this way come continually to ourselves. But let all be natthe Holy Oracle, to know what uralized; and still the sermon we are to say, and in what man will be our own, and will appear ner! And when together with to be, as all our performances the authority, the majesty, the should. And who knows but impressiveness, of the Scripture this unbiassed and unfettered itself, upon all great subjects, we manner of setting out on a subtake a serious view of the state ject, provided it be humble and of our hearers, old and young, prayerful too, may carry you inwe are then most likely to un to some ideas " which great men derstand and feel our subject, have overlooked ?" and treat it properly. Let us
Here I must close my paper, not fail, however, to implore the and perhaps may resume the help of the Great Teacher, in subject hereafter. every line of it.
I am, &c. The way is now prepared for
ВЕТА. . sketching the outlines of a sermon, according to the hints above given ; arranging
the OBSERVATIONS heads, and the leading thoughts under each, in as natural and lucid
SECOND RESURRECTION; REV. order as we are able. After this, xx, 4-6. it is best of all if some good por IN adverting to the future tion of time can be taken, before state of the church, it is of we sit down to write, in review some importance to ascertain, ing those outlines over and over, what is meant by the first res. contemplating the particular ideas urrection. Many, and some of which ought to fill them upper them persons of note for haps minuting some of the learning and piety, suppose that
during the thousand years, in any more, than on the second which Satan is to be bound, resurrection. Christ will reign personally and 2. Though it be admitted that visibly upon earth, and that the the book of Revelation is a very newly raised saints and martyrs, figurative and mystical book, which shall be raised at the be- and that it is many times very ginning of the thousand years, difficult to be certain, when the which is the first resurrection, literal sense is the true sense ; will form his principal ministers, yet it is plain, that we cannot and reign with him in glory. understand the second resur
This opinion is principally rection, and the general judggrounded on the literal meaning ment in a figurative sense. But, of Rev. xx. 4-6. “ And I if the first resurrection is to be saw thrones, and they sat upon understood figuratively, so must them, and judgment was given the second. If the first resur. unto them; and I saw the souls rection is to be understood of a of them, that were beheaded, for general revival of religion, then the witness of Jesus, and for the the rest of the dead must mean word of God, and which had not the spiritually dead, or those worshipped the beast, neither his who shall remain unconverted image, neither had received his after the first resurrection. mark in their foreheads, nor in Consequently we must believe their hands; and they lived and that all those, who remain unreigned with Christ a thousand converted, after that first resuryears. But the rest of the dead rection, must remain unconvertlived not again, until the thou- ed, until the end of the thousand sand years were finished. This years, i. e. that all unconverted is the first resurrection. Blessed adults, and all children born durand holy is he, that hath part in ing that period, must die in their the first resurrection ; on such sins. This is justly viewed, as the second death hath no power ; a great absurdity; and, if it be a but they shall be priests of God necessary consequence of the and of Christ, and shall reign opinion that the first resurrecwith him a thousand years.' tion is a spiritual resurrection, In favour of a literal interpreta- certainly the literal meaning tion of this passage I find it urg- of the passage ought to be preed, that the most plain and ob- ferred. vious sense is always to be un But however this opinion derstood, as the true sense of a may be sanctioned by the names text ; and that, as the literal of many eminent both for learnsense is the most obvious, so it ing and piety ; yet the reasons, ought ever to he esteemed the adduced in support of it, appear true sense, unless in cases, to be more ingenious than solid. where the connexion of the dis- Good reasons may be given, course, and the common use of notwithstanding all that is urged the phrase in other places, show to the contrary, for understandit to be used figuratively. But it ing the resurrection, mentioned is said there is nothing in this in this passage, rather in a figpassage to induce us to put a uratiyef than in a literal sense, figurative meaning on the first, and for believing all circum
stances considered, that the fig- sons of opposite characters, who urative is, in this instance, the are spoken of in this and the most obvious sense.
foregoing chapters. For a long It is allowed on all hands time the enemies of Christ and that, if this passage ought to be his people had been in great understood of a literal resurrec power, and persecuted his faithtion of the saints and martyrs, ful followers ; putting many of this is the only passage of Scrip- them to death. . To these John ture, in which that truth is has reference, when he says, “ I revealed. And, as the pro- saw the souls of them, that were phetic parts of Scripture speak beheaded for the witness of Jeabundantly about the future sus and the word of God, and state of the church, particu- they lived and reigned with larly about the millennium, it Christ a thousand years.” Of is at least very strange that so their thus living again he speaks, essential a part of it as the resur when he says, “ This is the first rection of the saints and mar resurrection.” By the rest of tyrs, and the personal reign of the dead we are to understand Christ upon earth, should not the hosts of enemies and perseonly not be expressly mentioned, cutors, who had received the but not so much as once alluded mark of the beast and worshipped to in any other part of sacred his image, and who were slain writ. This, it is true, is of ite by the sword, that proceeded self no sufficient objection ; for, out of the mouth of him, that where there is a plain, unequiv- sat on the white horse, i. e. of ocal “thus saith the Lord,” one Christ. In the same manner, in such express testimony is a suf- which the martyrs, who had ficient foundation for our beliefbeen slain for the witness of Jeof any particular doctrine or sus, were to live again, during fact. But whether this be that the thousand years, were the express testimony, or whether rest of the dead, the enemies and the passage may not be under persecutors, who had been slain stood in a figurative sense, in a by the sword of him, that sat upway perfectly agreeable to the on the horse, to be raised at the scripture style and manner of expiration of that period, when expressing events of a similar Satan was to be loosed out of nature, shall now be a subject of his prison, and go out to deceive inquiry
the nations, which are in the To understand this passage, it four corners of the earth, Gog is necessary to ascertain, what is and Magog, to gather them tomeant by the first resurrection ; gether to battle. It is not supwho by those, that have a part in posed that by the living of " the it, and who by the rest of the rest of the dead," at the expiradead, who are to live again at the tion of the thousand years, we expiration of the thousand years, are to understand that the old and not before. Let it be obe enemies and persecutors of the served, that the martyrs, who church will be literally raised were slain for the witness of Je- from the dead; to compose the sus, and the rest of the dead, armies of Gog and Magog ; but are the two sorts of slain per- the evidence in favour of a liteVol. II. No. 12.
ral resurrection is equally strong and destroy the saints. Both in the one case, as in the other, the resurrection of the saints and The presumption therefore is, martyrs at the commencement that both refer to a figurative of the millennium, and that of resurrection, a resurrection of the rest of the dead at the close the cause, not of the individuals of it, seem, even in this chapter, engaged in it. In this vast ar to be plainly distinguished from my of enemies, which was to the literal resurrection, which is compass the camp of the saints, represented, as taking place, nos under Gog and Magog, not the at the end of the thousand years, borlies, but the souls of the rest when Satan was to be loosed, but of the deadl, of the remnant who after the final overthrow of Gog were slain by the sword of Christ, and Magog, the last enemies of were to live again: So in the pre- Christ. This literal resurrecseding period, wherein Satan was tion is described from ver. 11th, bound, not the bodies, but the to the end of the chapter. This souls of the martyrs were seen is represented, as a resurrecby John, as living and reigning tion, not of the souls, but of with Christ. Both the one and the bodies of men ; not as the the other were to live and reign, resurrection of one class only, not in their proper persons, but of all characters and descripbut in their respective succes- tions. sor's, who would be actuated by Taking the whole passage into the same spirit, and make a view, to explain both the first repart of the saine body with them- surrection and the living of the selves. After Satan was bound, rest of the dead figuratively seems John in vision saw a race of men agreeable to the most obvious, of the same character and spirit natural sense. “ I saw the souls with the ancient martyrs, and in of them that were beheaded, and reality their genuine successors, they lived and reigned with making a part of the same body, Christ a thousand years," is a in whom the cause, for which mode of expression no where they had suffered, revived and used, unless it be here, to denote triumphed as really, as if they a literal resurrection of the body. had been all raised from the Nay, it is so unlike the mode of dead. But, during this period, expression, used in other places the enemies and persecutors. of of Scripture, where a resurrecChrist and bis cause lived not tion of the body is intended, that again ; they had no saccessors it is scarcely reasonable to supopenly to espouse their cause, pose the same thing to be and carry on the warfare against meant. Christ and his people. But af The reasons, why a figurative ter this happy period, wlien Sa- sense of this passage is prefertan shall be let loose again out of red, will appear in a still strong. bis prison, a race of men will er point of light, if we consider arise of the same spirit and tem- that the representation of the per with the ancient enemies revival of a sinking cause by a and persecutors, by whom one resurrection is a figure, very more attempt will be made to commonly used in Scripture. support their cause, and distress The resurrection of the dry