Thomas Smyth.

Complete works of Rev. Thomas Smyth, D. D online

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positive and express precepts or examples of petition and
praise, so directly addressed to the person of the Holy Spirit,
as there are to the Father and the Son. Yet, since we have
proved before, tKat the Spirit hath real, true, and proper com-
munion in the Godhead, there is sufficient ground in my judg-
ment, to address ourselves to him by way of prayer for the
spiritual mercies we want, and by way of praise for the bless-
ings we receive." Again, in his "Arian invited to the Orthodox
Faith," he remarks, "Though the scripture has not taught us
distinctly to offer praise and honor to the Holy Spirit, yet it
has taught us to hearken to the voice of the Spirit, to obey the
Spirit, to hope and wart for the enlightening and sanctifying
and comforting influences of the Spirit, and not to resist him ;
and since the Holy Spirit is true God, I think it follows by
evident consequence, that we may offer him the sacrifice of
praise for the blessings which he bestows."

So much then for the oft reiterated charge that "this great
AND GOOD MAN WAS ON THE side" of Unitariauism.

And as to the report that he had actually prepared, or
intended to prepare a revised edition of his Psalms and Hymns
adapted to Unitarian sentiments, Mr. Milner concludes his



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360 DR. WATTS NOT A UNITARIAN.

examination by stating that, "Upon the whole I think it may
be concluded, that Mr. Watts admitted that his hymns were
open to correction, to accord them in several instances with his
last sentiments, that such corrections were not, however, in his
estimation of moment, enough to induce him to make them;
and that the report of his leaving an altered copy of his h)ann
book behind him, is without any just foundation."



Dr. Watts a Baptist.

[We give the following traditionary nrnior respecting Dr.
Watts, without vouching for its correctness. It is from the
London Baptist Reporter for January, 1846.]

Whether any intimation of such a fact has ever been given
to the public, I know not, but I have heard it stated in such a
way as leaves small doubt of it in my own mind. The state-
ment is this, namely, that when Dr. Gibbons visited the sweet
singer in his last illness. Dr. Watts thus addressed his friend :

"Dr. Gibbons," said he, "I have been lately reviewing our
controversy with the Baptists, and my conviction is, that they
have the best of the argument, and I die a decided Baptist."

This interesting reminiscence of Watts has come to the
writer through the following medium : Dr. Gibbons commimi-
cated it to his wife, and this lady, being a Baptist, communicated
it to her friends, the Stennetts, and a member of this family
communicated it to my venerable and pious informant. Such a
statement ought not to die away ; and if it can be controverted
or confirmed, so let it be. — Baptist Memorial.



Was Dr. Watts a Unitarian?

In our last number, under this title, we discussed the evi-
dence, on the strength of which Dr. Lardner, Mr. Belsham, and
other Unitarian writers, affirm that Watts was not a Trini-
tarian,

But what, on the other side, can be produced to show that
he was one? We reply, his own writings and assertions, the
best sort of evidence, as it seems to us, which can be produced
respecting the sentiments and opinions of any man.

In one of his manuscripts, published after his death, there
is a solemn address to the Deity, invoking direction and assist-
ance in his studies respecting the Trinity, in the course of which
prayer, Dr. Watts thus speaks of Christ:



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DR. WATTS NOT A UNITARIAN. 361

"I believe he is one with God; he is God manifested in the
flesh; and that the man Jesus is so closely and inseparably
united with the true and eternal Godhead, as to become one
person, even as the soul and body make one man."

The last of his posthumous papers on the Trinity, published
some years after his death, entitled, "A faithful inquiry after
the ancient and original doctrine of the Trinity/' contains the
following among other like passages.

"The doctrine of the blessed Trinity, or of the Father, the
Son, and the Holy Ghost, with their peculiar characters and
offices, is a special doctrine of the christian religion. This
sacred Three in the Trinity are plainly represented in Scripture,
and have been generally represented by christian writers, like
three persons, or three distinct personal agents, as acting differ-
ent parts, and sustaining different characters in the affairs of
our salvation ; and yet it seems to be abundantly evident also
in Scripture that they are all three represented as having a true
and proper Deity some way belonging to them, and that the
names, titles, attributes, and operations of Godhead, are
ascribed to the Three, in the Old Testament and in the New.
This is the substance of the doctrine itself, as revealed in the
Bible."

"The benefits which we are to receive from Jesus Christ are,
pardon of sin through his full atonement or satisfaction, for
which the dignity of his person is sufficient, as he is one with
God."

This is one of the manuscripts, it will be remembered, to
which Dr. Lardner refers us as containing Unitarian senti-
ments I

The last works published by Dr. Watts, the one in the begin-
ning, and the other near the close of 1746, are entitled, "Useful
and Important Questions concerning Jesus Christ," and "The
Glory of Christ as God-man," displayed in three discourses.
These works being his last, may be regarded as his final testi-
mony, and the latter of the two, if not the former, was written,
as we have already shown, subsequently to the manuscript left
at his death, in the hands of his executors.

In the preface to the "Useful Questions" the writer says of
himself that :

"He freely and delightfully confesses these following articles
borrowed from the Athanasian creed, viz. : *We believe and con-
fess the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is both God and
man ; God of the same substance with the Father, a man of the



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362 DR. WATTS NOT A UNITARIAN.

substance of his mother, bom into the world, perfect God and
perfect man ; of a reasonable soul and human flesh, subsisting
together; equal to the Father as touching his Godhead, and yet
inferior to the Father as touching his manhood: One, not by
conversion of the Godhead into the flesh, but by taking of the
manhood into God, so as to become one personal agent, or one
person ; and, as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God
and man are one Christ, who suffered for our salvation."

In the "Glory of Christ," he thus affirms :

"All that I pretend to maintain here is, that our blessed
Saviour must be God and he must be man in God and man in
two distinct natures and one person,"

"There is not one sentence in all these discourses, but what is
very consistent with a firm belief of the Divinity of Christ, and
a just and sincere concern for the most eminent and glorious
truths of the gospel, as they are professed by Protestants
among us, against the Socinian and Arian errors."

In the same work occurs also the following passage.

"We know that Jesus Christ is true God, and that his human
nature is united to the Divine." "The sacred doctrine of the
Divinity, united to the human nature in Christ, ought to be
supported by all just expositions of Scripture. It is an article
that we cannot part with out of our religion, without shaking
the foundation"

Such is Dr. Watts' own testimony respecting himself. In
accordance with his writings was his death. Dr. Gibbons and
Dr. Stennett who visited him but a short time before his death,
found "his soul swallowed up with gratitude and joy for the
redemption of sinners by Jesus Christ" He spoke "particu-
larly of our dependence upon Christ as the foundation of all
our hopes" He expressed to Dr. Stennett his firm belief in the
doctrine of the atonement, and lamented with tears, that so
many had given it up. Accordant with this is the epitaph
which Dr. Watts ordered to be inscribed upon his tomb — In
uno, Jesu omnia — In Jesus alone is my all.

Was Dr. Watts then, on the whole, a Unitarian? Let the
reader judge for himself in view of the facts now presented.
Even Mr, Belsham admits that Dr. Watts did not regard him-
self as one — ^and that "owing to early prejudices, he would, to
the latest day of his life, have started from the imputation with
horror."



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The Scriptural Doctrine

OF

The Second Advent



A DISCOURSE

BY THE

Rev. Thomas Smyth, D. D.



A Reprint.



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THE SCRIPTURAL DOCTRINE OF THE
SECOND ADVENT.



The term advent has been commonly used in ecclesiastical
language in reference to the incarnation ; and also to the visible,
real, and personal appearance of our Lord and Saviour Jesus
Christ, at the end of the world, to judge all men, the righteous
and the wicked, both quick and dead. The one is called the
first, and the other the second advent We have said commonly
used ; for the term advent, and its synon)mis, appearing, mani-
festation, etc., are employed frequently in the Scriptures both
of the Old and New Testaments to denote any instrumental,
figurative coming or interposition of the Lord, either to impart
blessing or to inflict judgment

This doctrine of the second advent has been held always,
every where, and by all, in all churches, ancient and modem,
oriental and western, primitive, mediaeval and protestant, as
one of the fundamental doctrines of the christian Church, one
of the first principles of the oracles of God, concerning which
there ought not to be, and never has been any doubt. Thus
the Apostle's Creed, which certainly contains the germ of the
earliest christian creeds, after declaring that Christ ascended
up to heaven and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father
Almighty, adds : "from thence," that is from heaven, where he
is regarded as having continued to sit as our Mediator, Inter-
cessor, and King, "he shall come to judge the quick and the
dead," that is the whole world of mankind, good and bad, and
at the same time. Irenaeus, the disciple of Polycarp, disciple
of the Apostle John, enlarges this article so as to express belief
in the "ascension of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ in the flesh,
and his coming again from heaven in the glory of his Father,
to gather together, in one, all things ; and to raise from the dead
the flesh of all mankind .... and that he may exercise
righteous judgment on all, consigning to everlasting fire all
.... both the angels who transgressed and became apostates,
and ungodly, lawless, and blasphemous men ; and to bestow life
upon them that are just and holy .... and investing them
with immortality and everlasting glory." Irenaeus, who is
made the father of the premillennial theory of the advent,
believed that the Lord Jesus Christ would establish a kingdom
on this glorified earth— not before, but after the resurrection.



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368 THE SCRIPTURAL DOCTRINE OF THE SECOND ADVENT.

The creeds of Tertullian, Lucian of Antioch, and Cyril, Bishop
of Jerusalem, and the Nicene Creed on this subject, are per-
fectly synonymous with the above. In the creed of Pelagius
the article is, "He will come to judge the living and the dead,
that he may reward the just and punish sinners," The
Athanasian Creed, which is one of the three embodied in the
Thirty-nine Articles, says, "At whose coming all men shall rise
again with their bodies and shall give account for their own
works. And they that have done good shall go into life ever-
lasting, and they that have done evil into everlasting fire. This
is the catholic faith, etc.," against the rejection of which is pro-
nounced anathema. The Liturgy of St. James, one of the
oldest and most important, in the prayer of consecration says :
"We sinners, remembering his life-giving passion, his saving
cross, his death and resurrection from the dead on the third
day, his ascension into heaven, and sitting at the right hand of
thee, his God and Father, and his glorious and terrible second
appearing when he shall come in glory to judge the quick and
the dead, and to render to every man according to his works,
etc." It is unnecessary to quote from any later creeds, either
anterior or subsequent to the Reformation, as their tenor will
be found uniform. In our own standards, the doctrine of
Christ's second advent is introduced tmder a variety of rela-
tions. Thus in the Confession of Faith, (Ch. 8, § 4,) it is
said of Christ that "on the third day he arose from the dead
with the same body in which he suffered ; with which he also
ascended into heaven, and there sitteth at the right hand of his
Father, making intercession ; and shall return to judge men and
angels at the last day." In Chap. 32, the souls of the righteous
are represented as being "received into the highest heavens,
where they wait for the redemption of their bodies, and at the
last day all the dead shall be raised up, etc." In Ch. 33, it is
declared that "God has appointed a day wherein he will judge
the world, etc. ; in which day not only the apostate angels shall
be judged, but likewise all persons, etc. For then shall the
righteous go into everlasting life, but the wicked, etc." "As
Christ would have us to be certainly persuaded that there shall
be a day of judgment, so would he have that day unknown to
men, that they may shake off all carnal security and be always
watchful, because they know not at what hour the Lord may
come; and may be prepared to say, Come, Lord Jesus, come
quickly." The proof texts added to these and other passages
of a similar purport will be found to include those adduced in



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THE SCRIPTURAL DOCTRINE OF THE SECOND ADVENT. 369

proof of a premillennial advent, and are, like all the Scripture
proof texts of the Westminster standards, of equal authority
with the text itself.* In the Larger Catechism, Q. 63, it is said
that Christ "shall continue (in the highest heavens) till his
second coming at the end of the world." For teaching of pre-
cisely similar import, see Q. 52, 63, 66, 63, 64, 66, 68, 74, 76, 77,
78 81, 82, 83, 86, 86, 87. See also Shorter Catechism, Q. 23,
24,-25,26,28,37,38.

Such is the doctrine of the second advent of Christ as set
forth in all the symbolic confessions of faith in Christendom,
and as declared by them to be taught in the Holy Scriptures ; —
simple and sublime; the logical sequence of the science of
redemption ; the last act in the divine tragedy of an Incarnate
Deity; the topstone of the living temple of God's glorious
grace ; the final step in the progression of that coming of God's
eternal Son whose initiation in the everlasting covenant was
revealed in the foreshadowing promises of the prophetical dis-
pensation, manifested in the Word made flesh and dwelling
among us, is perfected in the appearing of the great God and
our Saviour Jesus Christ when he shall come to be glorified in
his saints ; the consummated triumph of that victorious conflict
of salvation which crowns the Redeemer with a diadem
gemmed with souls translated out of the kingdom of darkness,
and shining resplendent as the stars for ever and ever; — and
the hallelujah doxology of that heavenly song whose first
strains were sung melodious by the angel choir over the silver
mantled plains of Bethlehem, when :

"The joyous hills of Palestine
Sent back their glad reply,
To greet from all their holy heights
The day spring from on high."

Of this advent, Scripture is full. It is spoken of or implied
in all its teachings. Without it, no doctrine is complete. It
constitutes the key-note in all its strains, whether plaintive or
seraphic. This is the thunderbolt in every tempest of vengeful
wrath and fiery indignation ; this is the still small voice of ten-
der merciful compassion and sustaining hope, fortitude and
self-sacrifice in the Church's heart as she comes up from the
wilderness leaning upon her Beloved; this the anchor which
holds her fast amidst every swelling tide of adversity

"When cares like a wild deluge come
And storms of sorrow fall."

♦See Ch. 25. § 1, Ch. 29. 8 4. Ch. 12. Ch. 13. 8 2, Ch. 19. S 3.
«4—Vol. IX.



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370 THE SCRIPTURAL DOCTRINE OF THE SECOND ADVENT.

This also is the death-song of every weary pilgrim as he
treads the verge of Jordan and plunges into its icy stream ; and
with this shall be commenced the universal, unending song of
the innumerable, ransomed hosts, which, loud as the sound of
many waters, shall fill the courts of heaven and resound
throughout the universe of God.

Our Lord as the great teacher, and his apostles as taught by
him all things, and guided by his Holy Spirit into all truth,
have frequently and in most explicit terms spoken of this great
consummating event. They speak of it in various relations,
applications, and aspects. They represent it in all its solemn
pomp and infinitely momentous issues as foreshadowed and
assured in the destruction of Jerusalem, the destruction of the
Roman Empire, the overthrow of the antichrist, the overturn-
ing of the nations, the fulness of the Gentiles, the spiritual
ingathering of all Israel which shall be saved, and in all the
glorious things spoken of the progress, perpetuation, and per-
fection of the Church of God till all her regenerated and
redeemed saints shall be presented by him at his coming, with-
out spot and blameless, unto God. Throughout these ntunerous
passages, of which twenty-seven are contained in the Pauline
epistles, this advent of Christ is spoken of as one and only one.
Various terms, like rays of light, are employed to define and
describe that day as one and only one, and throw upon this
event their convergent lustre, such as "revelation," that is, the
making to appear that which previously had not appeared;
"presence" or "advent;" "appearance" or "manifestation;" the
"day of God;" the "day of the Lord;" the "day of the Lord
Jesus ;" "the day of the Lord Jesus Christ ;" "the last^ day ;"
"the great day;" "the day of wrath," and "the day of judg-
ment," and of the "revelation of the righteous judgment of
God." It is important also to remember that the Scriptures
speak only of one literal and general resurrection of the dead,
though it admits a priority in order for the righteous ; of one
literal and general judgment, including the righteous, the
wicked, and the devils ; one conflagration of the earth, as there
was one deluge ; and that they distinctly affirm that the heavens
and the earth that now exist are reserved for that destruction
by fire; and that the coming of Christ at that day is represented
to be his coming again and the second time ; and that they never
speak of any third or other advent of Christ.



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THE SCRIPTURAL DOCTRINE OF THE SECOND ADVENT. 371

There are four ways in which this question of the second
coming of Christ may be brought to a clear and positive deter-
mination.

I. Do the Scriptures teach that Christ's second advent is to
occur in connexion with the general and simultaneous resur-
rection of the dead, the general judgment, the conflagration of
the world, and the generation of new heavens and new earth ?
For if they do, then it is impossible that that advent should take
place previously.

And first, as to the resurrection of the dead, it would be
admitted by all persons, (did not the premillennial theory upon
the strength of a single figurative expression in the book of
Revelation question it,)* that it will be universal and at the last
day. Thus it is written : "J^sus saith unto her. Thy brother
shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know he shall rise
again in the resurrection at the last day." "There shall be a
resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust."
"And this is the Father's will that hath sent me, that of all
which he hath given me, I should lose nothing, but should raise
it up at the last day." "And this is the will of him who sent
me, that every one who seeth the Son and believeth on him may
have everlasting life ; and I will raise him up at the last day."
"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent
me draw him ; and I will raise him up at the last day." "Whoso
eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I
will raise him up at the last day." "The hour is coming, in the
which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall
come forth ; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of
life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of
damnation." "Of the resurrection of the dead I am called in
question." .... "I hope toward God that there shall be a
resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust."
"Since by man came death, by man also came the resurrection
of the dead ;" — "so also is the resurrection of the dead." Scrip-
ture therefore indubitably teaches, 1. That there will be a uni-
versal resurrection of the dead. 2. That this resurrection will
include the righteous and the wicked. 3. That this resurrec-
tion of both classes will take place on the same occasion. 4.
That, excepting Enoch and Elijah and perhaps Moses, it will
be a universal resurrection of the dead, as of this even Job was
distinctly informed; for he says, "Man dieth, and wasteth

•Sec Rev. xx. 6 ; on which see Fairbaim's Tsrpology and Prophecy, and
Brown on the Second Advent.



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372 THE SCRIPTURAI, DOCTRINE OF THE SECOND ADVENT.

away ; yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he ? As the
waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up,
so man Heth down and riseth not ; till the heavens be no more,
they shall not awake nor be raised out of their sleep."

The Scriptures are equally explicit upon the subject of the
judgment; teaching, 1. That there will be a day of judgment.
2. That Jesus Christ will be the Judge. 3. That the judgment
will comprise the whole of the human race without exception.
4. That the judgment will comprise also the angels that kept not
their first estate, and thus will be universal as to man, and gen-
eral as including men and devils. 6. That there is a day or one
season or time appointed by God. 6. That this judgment shall
take place at the last day or close of time. Thus it is written :
"The angds which kept not their first estate, but left their own
habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains, under dark-
ness, unto the judgment of the great day." "And Enoch also,
the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying. Behold the
Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judg-
ment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them
of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed,
and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have
spoken against him." "In the day when God shall judge the
secrets of men by Jesus Christ." "Because he hath appointed
a day wherein he shall judge the world in righteousness by
Jesus Christ." "Every idle word that men shall speak they
shall give account thereof in the day of judgment." "Who
shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and
the dead." "It is he who was ordained of God to be the judge
of quick and dead." "For we must all appear before the judg-
ment-seat of Christ that every one may receive the things done
in his body according to that he hath done, whether it be good
or bad." "We shall all stand before the judgment-seat of
Christ." Since, therefore, it is the indubitable teaching of
Scripture that the pergonal coming of Christ again or the second
time, will be at the end of the world, and simultaneous with the
universal and general' resurrection and judgment of all men,
righteous and wicked, and of devils, it is impossible that that
advent should be at any previous period.

II. Do the Scriptures teach that the Church, the Bible, the
ministry, and the sacraments are to continue as God's appointed
instrumentality for the conversion of the world, and the ingath-
ering of his elect people, to the end of the world? For if they
do, then of course Christ cannot come personally before the



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THE SCRIPTURAL DOCTRINE OF THE SECOND ADVENT. 373

end of the world, as the premillennial theory affirms, to abro-
gate this present dispensation, abolish the Church, and do
utterly away with the Bible, the ministry, and the sacraments,
and introduce an altogether new and different dispensation.
Now, as to the Church, it is sufficient to remind our readers of



Online LibraryThomas SmythComplete works of Rev. Thomas Smyth, D. D → online text (page 36 of 68)