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the preceding empires only in prophetic hy. perbole. Its King will be “ King of kings, and Lord of lords” indeed, and the utmost limits of the habitations of mankind upon earth, will be the only boundaries of his truly catholic empire.
" All nations shall do bim service, prayer shall be made ever unto him, and daily shall be be praised."*
This kingdom of Christ is to be set up or have its beginning “ in the days of these kings," or four empires, of which the whole body of the IMAGE was the hieroglyphic; that is, (says Bishop Newton,) in the days of one of them, or of the roman empire. Jesus Christ was accordingly born in the reign of the roman emperor Augustus, and in Judea, at that time a province of the roman empire. « The kingdom of heaven," or of the Messiah, (the object of this part of Daniel's prophecy,) was preached by John the baptist, as being then very near at band. The same holy person also prophesied of its full and
Psalm lxxi. 15.
final establishment. This however, (as time, and a clearer apprehension of the prophecies, thence opened to us, have shewn,) was not to take place until a late period of the latter days. “ His fan,” said John,* “ is (already) in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather the wheat into his garner, "--into the kingdom of the Messiah,) — “ but he will burn up the chaff with fire unquenchable.”-Accordingly Christ opened his kingdom by his own personal ministry, and established the foundation he himself had laid, by his own actual sufferings and death. He was himself the first martyr to the truth of his own doctrine, to be followed by many more, before his kingdom should prevail over all opposition, and attain to the greatness and glory of which the prophets have spoken. In a short time after his departure, the believing jews and gentile converts were modelled into a church and peculiar people, called by a new name,t chosen out of all nations, the first fruits of the future barvest, and the first
* Luke ïïi. 17.
+ Isaiah lxv. 15.
rudiments of his then diminutive kingdom.* But the unbelieving jews he burnt up with the heat of a very lasting, and therefore figuratively called unquenchable fire, as it is still burning against that rebellious race, even to
But as most of the prophecies relating to this subject (of peculiar importance) have a double meaning and a twofold accomplishment, so also has this of John the Baptist ; as appears from his allusion to THE HARVEST, the common emblem of the introduction of Christ's kingdom, in all the prophets, as I have shewn in another place. There is yet in reserve another harvest, and another advent of this long insulted king, and it may
in our days be said in the words of John, “bis fan is (even now) in his band, and he will
* Our Lord himself has employed several parables to explain the nature of his kingdom, as growing from a small and scarcely perceptible beginning, to an immense magnitude ; which is the very idea Daniel here gives of it, under the emblem of the stone which smote the image on its feet, and became itself a great mountain, + Section xxviii.
(again) purgie his floor," and by his angels, or ininisters of Providence, will separate the antichristian tares, still growing amongst the good grain; and gathering together the tares first to burn them, be will lay up the wheat in his kingdom of the MILLENNIUM. Then will the kingdom to which Daniel here alludes be fully displayed, in all that purity of religiòn, peace amongst men, and glory to God, which we have hitherto looked for in vain, yet without foregoing the confident hope of its being one day eventually realized.
It is abundantly evident that the glorious prophecies of the kingdom of Christ in its state of exaltation, which our great mystagogue and safe conductor, St John, has referred to the MILLENNIUM, (or reign of Christ on earth for a thousand years,) have never yet been fulfilled; notwithstanding several different periods have been actually assigned by some authors, as answering to the prophetic descriptions of it, in the Psalms, &c. as they are all summed up by St John in
his Revelations.* For Satan hath never yet been held under so great a restraint of his power to seduce mankind to error and sin, that he can be said (even figuratively) to have been bound in the bottomless pit for a
Neither have the too successful enemies of Christ been ever put under bis. feet, by the silencing of all gainsayers and infidels; and particularly by the extirpation of the great apostacy, and the reconciliation of the unbelieving jews and heathens.
Yet these are events indispensably necessary to the promised peace and holiness of the
* See (note on the MILLENNIUM in the next Section,) the opinions of Archbishop Usher and Grotius.-Even in the very days of the apostles, a fanciful system of the RESURRECTION (as being only meant as an allegory, and already fulfilled and past,) was advanced by Hymeneus and Philetus, (2 Tim. ii. 18.) This was also the heresy of Menander, who was cotemporary with Simon Magus and St Paul; and taught, as Irenæus, Justin Martyr, and others affirm.- " That his disciples obtained the resurrection by his baptism, and should not die, but continue immortal.” Thus also the whole history of the PARADISIACAL STATE OF Adam has by others been sent off in an allegory, notwithstanding St Paul so fully and manifestly builds the hope of the resurrection through Christ, on its truth, as a literal fact. (1 Cor. xv. 22, 45; 1 Tim. ii. 13, 24.)