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    PART II. HISTORY AND DOCTRINE OF THE MILLENNIUM FROM THE REFORMATION TO THIS DAY

    After the millenary doctrine was condemned, A. D. 373, it ceased to appear in history until after the Reformation, save the sore alarms of the world’s coming to an end, which agitated Christendom at the end of the first millennium of our era, and again in the fourteenth century, at the end of the first millennium of christian rule over the Roman empire. The terrors of these and of some other times amounted to panic, and drove many from the regular discharge of high and imperious duty, under a proper notion that, the end being within a certain time known, the obligation to prepare for anything beyond that period ceased. The error was in the calculation of the time: an error so often made, that times have fallen into disrepute, even when their calculation seems to be very clear.HDM 23.2

    Hitherto, however, in no single instance has the doctrine of the millennium, or of the end of the world, been found separate and disconnected from the personal coming and kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ in the earth. Whether the fathers of the ancient church regarded the thousand years’ reign in the light of a temporal kingdom, or in the light of the kingdom of heaven, no one among them ventured to sever from the doctrine the hope of the blessed Lord’s personal presence on the throne of that kingdom; they never dreamed that this coming kingdom would fail of the personal presence of its rightful Sovereign and everlasting King. Divers authors contended about the nature, extent, and time of that kingdom; but I do not recollect the smallest hint of doubt expressed from any side, whether the Lord would rule in his own kingdom himself personally, or by another. Many things were irreverently disputed respecting his name, his humanity, his deity, etc.; but who was bold enough to question whether he would be king on his own throne, is unknown to me. It was left for modem times to make this question, and then to decide that he will not be personally present, or appear visibly on the throne of that kingdom. The ancient millenaries gave a limited and sensual aspect to his kingdom; therefore the church condemned and repudiated them. Had they gone a step further, and preached the millennium without the Lord Jesus on the throne, it seems to me they would have repudiated themselves. As matters stood in the ancient church, it would have amounted to open rebellion of the highest treason, and a Christian would necessarily have begun the high treason in his heart, by openly renouncing the faith once delivered to the saints, before he could be ripe to come before the world, and urge that the saints would sit enthroned ever, without their Lord on the head of them.HDM 23.3

    The Latin church has never failed, in doctrine, to look for the Lord’s return. Her bishop wears a triple crown, not to delay the Lord’s appearing, but only to occupy for him, until he comes. The pope has sometimes diligently sought to publish his doctrine in all nations; but he has never indulged the hope, I think, of converting all; on the contrary, he has ever expected to be dethroned at last, and slain by Antichrist, in the extremity of the world and of time. Therefore, the bishop’s eye has constantly been, and now is, on the survey of all Christendom, to detect that Antichrist, and to catch and to destroy him in every rising form of heresy, before he can attain a dangerous growth of power. In this spirit he gave the Waldenses, the Wickliffites, the Lollards, and others to the sword; he moved against them the iron arm of the temporal power, to dash them in pieces, and there was none to deliver them. Against the Lutherans he wielded the sword of the stoutest emperor of the sixteenth century, and Charles 5. prevailed over them; yet the empire was divided in opinion; and the Reformation survived and strengthened in Christendom.HDM 24.1

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