Joseph Emerson.

Lectures on the Millennium online

. (page 5 of 16)
Online LibraryJoseph EmersonLectures on the Millennium → online text (page 5 of 16)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

ing hefore the Millennium had risen from
the dead.

As therefore the resurrection at the end
of the Millennium, will be merely spiritual,
and as there will be no such resurrection
during the Millennium, it is plain, that
through that period, there will be no wicked
men upon earth; and consequently all will be

Tho it might have been more logically
correct to have discussed this passage of
scripture under the preceding proposition;
yet, as it has some connexion with an objec-

During the Millenniuni, 7S

tioii, which I am about to consider, it was
thwight best to consider it here.

It has been already mentioned, as the
opinion of Mr. Faber,^ that whole nations
will continue sunk in idolatry, through the
whole peri id of the Millennium. This
opinion is the objection, that we are now
to consider; for if this opinion be correct,
no less than three of the propositions, which
we have been considering, must be false.
However strange this opinion may seem,
the respectability of Mr. Faber entitles it to
i notice.

All that has been said in these Lectures,
to prove, that, during the Millennium, idoia-
!try will entirely cease through the world, that
the wicked will all be cut off, or converted,
and that all will know, and serve the Lord,
might be adduced with equal propriety, to
irove the incorrectness of the opinion under
consideration. Much other scripture evi-
dence might be adduced to establish the
lame. A small part only will be considered.
The very kingdoms, which Mr. Faber
[upposes may remain in wickedness through
he Millennium, were represented by the im-
ige presented to the view of the sleeping
Ling of Babylon. x\nd what was the fate of
;he image? The stone, tirat was cut out of
;he mountain without hands, "smote the im-
ige upon his feet, that were of ifon and clay,

*See Faber on the 1260 years. Chap. iv. p. 101. Baslotj

f 4 State of the World

and brake them to pieces. Then was the
iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the
gold, broken to pieces together, and became
like the chaff of the summer threshing floors;
and the wind carried them away that no
place was found for them; and the stone,
that smote the image, became a gi^at
mountain, and filled the whole earth." The
vision is interpreted by the prophet to signi-
fy, that "the God of heaven s\ ill set up a king-
dom, which shall never be destroyed; and the
kingdom shall not be left to another people;
but it shall break in pieces all these king-
doms, and it shall stand forever."

Those, who wish to see Mr. Faber's

opinion upon this point more fully discussed,

sEind demonstrated to be incorrect, may find

much satisfaction in Smith's Dissertation on

the Prophecies.


During the Millennium, knowledge will be
greatly increased.

Reason and scripture unite in confirming
this proposition. The history and present
state of the world, lead us to conclude, that
knowledge will be greatly increased in time
to come. From what has been, we may
draw an argument to prove what will be,
imder similar circumstances. There has
been a vast increase of knowledge within a
few centuries; and as causes, in a great mea-
sure the same, are still in operation,^ and
will probably continue to operate;? for man j

During the Millennium, 75

ages, we may conclude, that knowledge will
greatly increase for centuries to come. If the
most enlightened Christian philosopher, that
flourished five hundred years ago, (if any
can be said to have been enlightened in that
age of superstition and persecution, that age
of intellectual darkness and spiritual gloom)
if the most enlightened Christian philoso-
pher of that horrid age, were to rise from the
dead, could he believe it possible, that he had
returned to the same world? When he dis»
covered new manners, new customs, new and
wonderful improvements in almost every de-
partment of learning; and when he discover-
ed even new sciences brought to light, would
lie not be ready to fancy himself on some
other more favored planet? What would
be bis amazement, when he should be assur-
ed that it was tije same — the very world, that
lie had left in such horrid darkness,darkness,
that he had so painfully felt, darkness, that
he had labored so long in vain to dispel,
and which the most vigorous rays of his
genius could scarcely penetrate! And if the
most enlightened Christian philosopher,now
upon earth, should retire from ths world,
and after an absence of five hundred years
return, may we not suppose, that his de°
light and amazement would be equally over-

Some may possibly imagine.that the present
age is almost perfect in improvement, — that
BOW the human mind is almost saturated

76 State of the World

with knowledge, and is scarcely capable of;
farther attainments. Not so It is impossi-
ble, that any creature should ever be perfect
in knowledge. "Canst thou by searching
find out God? canst thou find out the Al-
mighty unto perfection?" There is reason to
believe, that those, who have made the high-
est attainments in knowledge, have generally
been most deeply sensible of their ignorance.
How many things are there in the vast books
of nature, revelation, and the human heart,
which have not yet beenread by the most sa-
gacious. As there is sufficient scope for the
mind to exert its utmost efforts, as the ad-
vantages for gaining knowledge are constant-
ly increasing, who can calculate the effects
of human industry and zeal? — the progress
of tbe immortal mind? Who but tlie Eternal
can presume to set bounds to human attain-
ments, and say to genius, "Hitherto shalt
thou come but no farther, and here shall thy
soaring investigations be stayed?" Never be-
fore were greater exertions made for the ad-
vancement of knowledge; and these exertions
seem to be constantly increasing. From
year to year, greater and greater numbers
arc engaged in the pursuit, and the ardor of
each seems only to stimulate the efforts of
the rest. Those, who are national enemies,
are found to be cordial fellow-laborers in tlie
field of science. One discovery leads to
another; this to a third, and so on. That
w^onderful art of all arts, the art of printing,
records, disseminates, and forever preserves,

During the J^Mllennium. 77%

every discovery and improvement, th&t is
wjorthy of preservation. It is probable, that
a greater number of valuable improvements
have been made within the last twenty years,
than for any other equal period. May we
not anticipate at least equal improvements in
the twenty years to come ? And is it enthusi-
asm to indulge the delightful hope, that as
great progress in knowledge, and as great
improvement in the arts, will be made in the
next five hundred years, as in the last?
Is there not reason to believe, they will be
even greater?

But, my brethren, tho we would most
gratefully receive every ray of light, which
reason can afford, upon this animating sub»
ject, we must not forget, that *'we tiave a
more sure word of prophecy, to which we
should take heed as to a light shining in a
dark place." All the light that reason can
give, upon this subject, is as darkness, com=
pared with the light of revelation. We are
assui*ed by Him, that cannot lye, that '«many
shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be
increased." Nay we are assured, that all
shall know and serve the Lord. How vastly
must the knowledge of God be extended, and
promoted, when all shall know him. The
expulsiou of the prince of darkness, and
the regeneration of the vv^orld, will remove
many obstacles, and furnish many and great
facilities in the acquisition of knowledge.
When wars shall cease to desolate; when the


rs stale, of the World

Gothic foot shall no more trample upon the
fi(>wei*s of taste; when vice and immorality
shall cease; when every kind of intemper
ance shall be cured; when the earth siiall
be purged from tyranny and oppress
sion; wlicn the darkness of soperstitionj
the railing of bigotry, and tlie contrac ting^
blinding influence of illiberality shall cease
when not a single Pharisee shall be left t
take away the key of knowledge, or shut u
the kingdom of heaven: when the temple of
knowledge shajl be open to all; when all
shall be disposed to enter it; when all shall be
wise, ar,d shall feel that it is an important
part of wisdom, to lay up knowledge; wiien
all shall be deeply impressed with the im-
portance of taking fast hold of instruction;
when the human mind shall be almost en-
tirely emancipated from the slavery of passion
and prejudice; when the means of learning,
and tlie number pursuing it, shall be multi-
plied by hundreds; when each one shall de-
light to assist his fellow to the utmost: — with
what ricw and amazing progress will the
human mind rush forward in the path of un-
derstanding! How numerous, and how won-
derful, will be tlie discoveries and improve-
ments in the sciences and arts, from year to
year! May we not expect thi^ every cottage
will be irradiated with science, as well as
with religion; and that every peasant will
be able not only to read the bible but lo
read tlse stars? — to read the stars, w ith more
than Newtonian eyes?

During the Millennium, 79

More especially will men make advances
in the knowledge of Gnd, of the bible, of
their own souls, of things unseen and eternal.
Tlio they will then have a strong thirst for
every kind of useful information, they will
have a peculiar relish for that which is spir-
itual; and the more spiritual and heavenly,
the more delightful will be their studies.
Their fondness for sucii pursuits will tend
exceedingly to accelerate their progress.
Knowledge is easy to him tliat understand-
eth. We may be assured, that men in that
day will not labor in vain, noi* spend their
strength for nought. They will not be ever
learning, and never able to come to the
knowledge of the truth. Much less will
they spend their lives, and exhaust their en-
ergies, in laboring to subvert the truth, and
establish error. No, their efforts will be
w^ell directed, and abundantly successful.
They will be filled with that charity which
"rejoiceth in the truth;" and the God of
truth will beiiold them with deliglit, and add
his benediction. "If any man will da his
will, he shall know of the doctrine." "The
meek will he guide in judgment, the meek
will he teach his way." "The secret of the
Lord is with them that fear him, and he will
show them his covenant." Men will not
then <*be carried about with every wind of
doctrine." Vi^oo*-^^^ ^^'^ grounded in the
trutli — they will be stedfast and immoveable,
always abounding in the work the I^ord."
Forgetting the things behind, and reaching

so state of the World

forth to those before, they will be constantly
pressing forward to higher and higher de-
grees of knowledge, as well as of grace.
Then shall their '♦sons be as plants grown
up in their youth; and their daughters shall
be as corner-stones polished after the simili-^
tilde of a palace.'^

At the commencement of that blessed period,
when for thousands and thousands of years,
darkness shall hare covered the earth, and
gross darkness the people, it will be said to ]
Zion, ''Arise and shine; for thy Ugiit is come
and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee
— And the Gentiles shall come to thy light,
and kings to the brightness of thy rising."!
In the figurative and elegant language of the'
prophet, "the light of the moon shall be as'
the light of the siin, and the light of the sun
shall be seven fold, as tlie light of seven days,
in the day that the Lordbindeth up the breach
of his people, and healeth the stroke of her
wound. Nay, «'the moon shall be confounded,
and the sun sliall be ashamed, when the Lord
'jf hosts siiali reign in mount Zion, and before
Ills ancients gloriously." '«They also that
erred in spiiitrihail come to understanding, and
they tiiat murmured shall learn doctrine."

As the Lord Jesus is most eminently the
light of tlie ^vorld, he will most illustriously
show himself to be such; and all nations shall
rejoice in his ligljt, in the Millennial day.
Kow blessed and holy shall be the people^
wh(3 shall walk in the light of his meridian


pie attainments of saints. — Health,— Long
Life.— Multitude of Chnstians,-^Fndtful-
ness of the Earth,


During the Millennium, Christians will
lake much higher attainments in grace, than

From the beginning of the world to the

resent day, there have been two things,

^hich have been peculiarly affecting and

rie-vous to the feeling pious heart; one, that

le righteous have been so few; the oti^er,

lat these few have been so imperfect. Of

I the saints, whose oharacters are drawn

any considerable length in the bible,

lere is scarcely any, of whom there is not

so some sin recorded; some sin, to deface

e fair page of history; and proclaim to suc-

eding generations, f*Let him, tha^ think-

h he standeth, take heed lest he fall.'* And

>me, even of the most eminent saints, have

'.en left to perpetrate enormous crimes.

ow often have saints in later ages, notwith-

anding all the warnings, that have been

ft for their admonition, how often have they

sgrared the glorious Savior, and the holy

iligion, that they were so strongly, and so

82 State of the World

peculiarly bound, to glorify and honor
How often has Christ been most severelj
wounded in the house of his friends, an
even by those, who were peculiarly his owi
And how deeply sensible of their sins ha^
been the most eminent saints in all ages; htf
deeply, and how painfully, have they mouri
ed and bewailed their aggravated transgrei
sions. How often have they pierced throug
their own souls with sorrows and agonie
by wickedly departing from their covenai
God. What multitudes have run well for
time, seemed exceedingly engaged in reli|
ion, and alive to the honor of God, who hai
afterwards left their first love, become luk*
warm, indifferent, and cold in spiritu;
tilings, and almost forgetful of God, the
Creator, Redeemer and Judge — with scare
ly life enough to be persuaded to awake fro
their lethargy, and strengthen the thini
that remained and were ready to die.

And must it be forever thus, with the pr(
fessing and real friends of Jesus?

*'Dcar Lord, and shall they ever lie

At this poor dying rate,
Their love so faint, so eoM to thee.
And thine to them so great?"

No, my dear brethren, it shall not be fol
ever thus. The time is coming, when th
robes of salvation, with which Christian
are clothed and adorned, will shine fort
with more beauty, than ever has been see
in mortals. We have seen, that, dur
iiig the Miiicnniujiij Christians will greatl

During the Millennium, 80

cccl in knowledge. There is reason to be»
i ve that they will be still more distinguish-
c by holiness. It is true indeed, that
iiowledge and grace have not always been
i proportion to each other in Christians,
lit this has probably been owing to difFcr-
et degrees of obstruction, with which tltey
I ve been called to struggle, to the differ-
et circumstances, in which they have been
|\ced, and the different degrees of special
face, with which God has been pleased to
ijtinguish them. During the Millennium,
f ternal obstacles to holiness will be almost
€tirely removed; the great adversary, who
a roaring lion has been so long walking
out, seeking whom he might devour, will
chained; almost every circumstance will
favorable to the advancement of holiness;
i it may be, that Christians will be less
tinguished from each other, by the com«
mications of divine grace. But even if
d should make as great a difference in this
pect as he now makes, there is reason to
ieve, that those, who shall be least favor-
will be much superior to the saints i^ gen-
ii, if not to the greatest saints, of preceding
es. The time is coming, when the «^right"
is shall flourish like tlie palm tree, and
ciW like a cedar in Lebanon. Those, that
planted in the house of the Lord, shall
ui'ish in the courts of our God. They
all bring fortli fruit in old age; they shall
at and flourishing." in the sevenhz-seo

84 mate of the World

ond Psalm, which manifestly refers princi-
pally to the glorious reign of Christ during
the Millennium, it is said, ««ln his days shall
the rigliteous flourish — and they of the city
shall flourish, like grass of the earth." In the
twelfth chapter of Zechariah we have these re-
markahle words: "In that day shall the Lord
defend Jerusalem; and he that is feeble shaHj
be as David, and the house of David shall
be as God, as the angel of the Lord before
him." This manifestly refers to the Mil*
lennium, or to the introduction of that happy
period. If Christians are to be so vigorous
at the introduction of that day, what will
they be at its meridian glory? In Zee. 14:
2Q,21, we have the following, "In that day
shall there be upon the bells of the horses,
pots, that are in the Lord's house, shall be
like the bowls before the altar; yea every pot
in Jerusalem and Judah, shall be Holiness to
the Lord of hosts J* Men shall then be so emi-
nently holy, that the utensils for the common
purposes of life will be devoted to the Lord.
Tlien the apostolic injunction, <« Whether
therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye
do, do all to the glory of God," however
strange and unintelligible it now appears to
many, will be universally understood. <*But
unto you, that fear my name, shall the sun
of righteousness arise with healing in his
wings, and ye shall go forth, and grow up,
as calves of the stall."*

*Matt. 4:2.

Luring the MUiennium. 85

That saints shall be eminently holy in that
day seems to be implied in what is said of the
marriage supper of the Lamb, especially in
what is said of the beautiful garments of the
spouse of Christ, Rev. 19:6 — 8: *<And I
heard as it were the voice of a great multi-
tude, and as the voice of mighty thunderings,
saying, Alleluia; for the Lord God omnip-
otent reigneth. Let us be glad, and rejoice;
and give honor to him; for the marriage of
the Lamb is come; and his wife hath made
herself ready. And to her was granted, that
she should be arrayed in fine linen clean and
white; for the fine linen is the righteous-
ness of saints.'^

What is said in Rev. £0. of those who should
live and reign with Christ a thousand years,
leads us to conclude, that they should be em-
inent saints. <'And 1 saw thrones, and they
sat upon them; and judgment was given un-
to them; and 1 saw the souls of them that
were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and
for the word of God, and which had not wor-
shipped the beast, neither his image, neitlier
had received his mark upon their foreheads,
or in their hands; and they lived and reign-
ed with Christ a thousand years. But the
rest of the dead lived not again, until the
thousand years were finished. This is the
first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he,
that hath part in the first resurrection; on
such the second death hath no power, but
they shall be priests of God and of Christ,

86 State of the World

and shall reign with him a thousand years.'-^
It has been already observed, that the. first
resurrection is to be considered as spiritual,
or a resurrection of spirits. The spirits of
former saints will live in those, who shall
reign with Christ during the Millennium,
as the spirit of Elijah lived in John the
Baptist. But it seems that those who are
to be thus spiritually raised, to reign with
Christ, are not ordinary Christians, who
have been favored with merely ordinary
measures of grace. They are martyrs; they
are such as have been valiant for the truth,
have overcome great temptations, and
achieved great exploits. Millennial Chris-
tians will have the hearts of martyrs, tho
they will not be called to suffer martyrdom;
they will manifest such a zeal for God, that
it will seem, as tho all the old martyrs and
most distinguished saints, had risen from the
dead; had risen from the dead, more zealous
than ever.

It is not to be supposed, that Christians
will be entirely free from sin, even in the
happiest part of that happy period. But
Millennians will not be such imperfect,
mourning, melancholy, drooping Christians,
as their predecessors. So far from it, th^y
will be as kings and priests, reigning and of-
fering incense, before God. A great part of
their business will be praise, thanksgiving,
exultation and the voice of melody.

During the Millenninm, 87


During the Millennium people will enjoy
much better health than before.

How numerous, how various, how dread-
ful, are the diseases, <«wlnch poor humanity
is lieir to" — wliich have disheartened, afflict-
ed and tormented mankind for so many ages.
We can scarcely find such an object as a
person of adult years, who does not know,
hy sad experience, what it is to be sick. It
is probable, that we much more frequently
find those, who scarcely know what it is to
he in health. How many are drooping and
languishing for a great part of their lives.
You will scarcely find — I do not say a city,
you will scarcely find a village, where all
the inhabitants are in health for a single
hour. And tho we have reason to hope, that
those dreadful diseases and scourges of the
human race, the plague and small pox,
which have made such horrid desolation in
former ages, are in a great measure staitf,
and banished from the earth; yet other dis-
eases have come up, like evil spirits from
the realms of darkness, to baffle the skill of
the most skilful, and clothe whole regions in the
garments of mourning. And notwithstand-
ing the astonishing improvements, which
have been made in the science of anatomy
and the ai't of healing, the arts of luxury and
vice, the horrid arts of producing fevers,
consumptions and almost all kinds of disease,
liave advanced with a progress nearly op

state of the World ^k

quite equal, and perhaps even superior. It
is probable, there is nearly or quite as great
a proportion of sickness among mankind, as
there was in the days of Vcsalius, Galen or
Hippocrates — of David, Moses or Abraham*
This however may not be wholly owing to
the increase of intemperance and vice, but
partly to the injury^that the human constitu-
tion itself has sustained^ from the vices of
former generations.

But in the days of the Millennium, sick-
ness will be greatly diminished^ or wholly
unknown. No disease will then be produced
by intemperance, nor imprudence, the two
causes, that have produced more sickness
than perhaps all others. The art of healing
and preventing diseases, will no doubt be
greatly improved. And not only so, hut it
is probable, that after a course of ages, the
very constitution of man will be improved
and renovated, by the practice of virtue, the
skill of man, and the blessing of God; as it
has been impaired by the practice of vice,
and the judgments of Heaven.

When Christ was upon earth, he often ex-
erted his almighty power in healing the bod-
ies of men, as well as their souls. And when
the Sun of righteousness shall rise upon the
nations with healing in his wings, no doubt
he will be a physician to the body, as well as
to the soul.

God promised to his people, that if they
would hearken unto his voice, and do his

During the Millennium, 89

commandments, he would bless them, and
multiply them; and he adds, "The Lord will
take away from thee all sickness, and will
put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which
thou know^est, upon thee," In another
place God says to his people, "And ye shall
serve the Lord your God, and he shall hless
thy bread and thy w^ater^ and I will take
sickness away from the midst of thee.**
There is a passage in Is. S3: which appears
very remarkable, "And the inhabitant shall
not say, I am sick; and they that dwell
therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.'*
From the connexion of this passage it mani°
festly refers to the Millennium,


There is reason to believe that people will
live much longer during the Millennium^
than men have lived since the days of Moses,

The causes, that prevent diseases and pro-
fnote health, will tend to prolong life. If the
human constitution is to be improved, this
also will tend to lengthen out the days of
man. As it was probably owing to the curse
of God, as well as to natural causes, that the
life of man was shorttined, so it is probable,
that by the blessing of God, as well as by
natural causes, tlie life of man will be length-

1 2 3 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Online LibraryJoseph EmersonLectures on the Millennium → online text (page 5 of 16)