History and Doctrine of the Millennium- Contents
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THE TELESCOPE OF FAITH
The telescope is an instrument of vision, by which remote objects are brought near, and laid open to the natural eye Various kinds are known by various names; but three radical principles are common to all; viz.HDM 8.2
2. A large object glass;HDM 8.4
3. A rectifying medium, through which the image made by the object glass may be presented to the eye of the beholder at the eye glass in an upright position. For with two lenses only, a telescope presents every object to the eye inverted; the world is seen turned upside down, and men running along the way, like flies on the ceiling Whether, therefore, the telescope be refractive or reflective, it is important in its construction to combine three things in one, at suitable distances asunder: a small glass for the eye; rectifying glasses; and a large object glass.HDM 8.5
To illustrate my conception of divine truth, I present you the gospel plan of salvation, revealed in the Holy Scriptures, as a telescope, and the eye for it, Faith. The Promise made of God unto the fathers is the eye glass, small and apparently of little power. The Prophecies are the rectifying lenses, or the proper medium through which the eye of faith obtains a correct vision, in place of one inverted, and all things turned in it upside down. The Gospel is the capacious object glass, formed with skill divine; and the whole is an instrument of miraculous power.HDM 9.1
When Adam fell in Eden, faith saw, through the promise of the seed of the woman, the bright vision of Paradise and immortality regained. The subsequent promises to the patriarchs, and to David, added precision to the magnifying power of the eye glass of faith’s telescope, without enlarging or changing the field of vision, except by bringing into correct view things obscure, or inverted, or not discernible before. The Psalms and the prophets give through their rectifying media no other country and landscape to the eye of faith, than that which Adam forfeited and lost, of which Abraham has the promise, and into which the Joshua of heaven will lead the chosen people. However, they bring into view and clearly illustrate a multitude of interesting particulars, which assist to fill up the outline, and to beautify the scene.HDM 9.2
The gospel lens for the object glass, completes the instrument, and brings the vision of glory so near, that one may seem to reach it with the hand.HDM 9.3
The divine Telescope is perfect, and able with a steady eye to look out of this world upon the boundless expanse of heaven, and to search its mysterious clouds, its magnificent orbs, its ample revolutions, in one glorious kingdom of God, and to bring that realm very near. The telescope belongs to this world, and faith looks through the glass darkly; but turn the instrument toward any part of the skies, and it unfolds to the admiring view of the enraptured beholder, the same glory, immortality, innocence and honor, dominion and power, of which Satan beguiled and robbed man and Jesus is the triumphant restorer. This is the vision; and the gospel brings it very near.HDM 9.4
Thus the Lord framed the spy-glass of faith, and put it into his disciples’ hands, charging them at his departure to watch for his return; because he will come suddenly, and those whom he finds watching he will take with him into the beatific vision. So the apostles received it, and delivered it to their successors. The kingdom of heaven was their millennium, on which their eye rested and their hope fastened. They knew not any other. Their writings incontestably show, that they used to look steadfastly for the coming of the Lord in the end of the world, to introduce in the renovated earth that kingdom which he preached in the gospel, and to make restitution of all things in the times of anapsyxis, resuscitation, and resurrection of the dead. The earliest creeds, and all creeds of all denominations in Christendom from the apostles to this day, recognise no other millennium, whether Greek or Roman, Apostate or Apostate Reformed, Lutheran, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Independent, Congregational, or by whatsoever name any church may be called. 1For authority, I refer not only to the writings themselves, the New Testament, and the remains of St. Clement, St. Ignatius, St. Polycarp, and St. Barnabas; but to the treatises of Justin Martyr, Irenaous, Tertullian, Cyprian, and others with whose pages I have some personal acquaintance; and likewise to Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Bush on the Millennium, and other works accessible to every English reader.
But seeing the case is important, let the witnesses take the stand. Saints Peter, James, John Paul and Jude speak by the Spirit as follows:
2 Peter 3:12: “Looking for and hasting the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens, being on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat: nevertheless, we according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, in which dwelleth righteousness.”
James 5:8, 9: The coming of the Lord draweth nigh: grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned; behold, the Judge standeth before the door.”
John, in Revelation 1:2, 7: “The time is at hand-Behold, he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him and they also which pierced him; and all kindreds of the earth shall wall because of him Even so amen.”
Paul to the Philippians 4:5: “Let your moderation he known unto all men; the Lord is at hand; be anxious, for nothing.”
Jude 14: “Behold the Lord cometh with myriads of his saints.”
The above is the sentiment of the Spirit, and that it was so understood by the successors of the apostles, I prove by the independent testimony of,
1. St. Barnabas, A. D. 73.
“For the day is at hand, in which all things shall be destroyed, together with the wicked one; the Lord is near, and his reward is with him.”—Apoc. Test., Barn. xv. 10.
2. St. Clement of Rom, A. D. 95.
“If therefore we shall do what is just in the sight of God we shall enter into his kingdom, and shall receive the promises, which neither eye hath seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man. Wherefore, let us every hour expect the kingdom of God, in love and righteousness, because we know not the day of God’s appearing.”—Apoc. Test, St. Clem. 2 Corinthians 4:15.
3. St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, A. D. 107.
“We ought to endure all things for God‘s sake, that he may bear with us: Be every day better than other: consider the times: and expect him who is above all time, eternal invisible though for our sakes made visible.” -Apoc. Test, Igar. to Polycarp. i. 15.
4. Justin Martyr, A. D. 150.
“We acknowledge Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, who was crucified, who arose, and ascended into heaven, and is about to come again to judge all men even to Adam.”—Jus. to Trypho, sec. 132.
The number of witnesses may be multiplied to any extent, as their number increases in succeeding ages. Several have been already cited in this volume, and others will be in proof of the same point, but in some different connexion. I subjoin an extract from three most ancient creeds.
The Apostles’ Creed, having rehearsed the burial, resurrection, and the ascension of the Lord Jesus into heaven, adds, as the next event to be regarded by faith, “From thence he will come to judge both the quick and the dead.”—The Nicene adds, “And he shall come again with glory, to judge both the quick and dead.”—The Athanasian adds, “Whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead; at whose coming all men shall rise again with their believes and shall give account for their own works; and they that have done good shall go into everlasting life, and they that have done evil everlasting fire.”HDM 9.5