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“ rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken " away; yet their lives were prolonged for a season " and time :" evidently meaning, that though they should lose their civil powers, yet their superstitions and idolatries were to remain for a time. And as he further foretels, that the reign of Christ is to take place immediately after the execution of the first part of this decree, to what period can the time of the reprieve allude, but to the thousand years during which Christ is to reign upon earth? To these brief observations upon the prophecy of Daniel, I shall only add, that he foretels the coming of Christ to take possession of this kingdom in these words: “And I saw in the night visions, and beas held one like the Son of MAN, came with the clouds 6 of heaven (with the saints and inartyrs not yet “ justified by his righteousness), and came to the “ ancient of days (The GOD OMNIPOTENT from all “ ETERNITY); and they brought him near before “ HIM. And there was given unto him dominion « and glory and a kingdom, that all nations and “ languages should serve him. His dominion is an “ everlasting dominion which shall not pass away; and « his kingdom, that which shall not be destroyed.”
Now Polytheism, or pagan idolatry, was the first great syfiem of wickedness into which the defcen. dants of Noah were feduced from the precepts of their pious father by Satan, the great and indeed the only enemy of the Jewish church, the first persecutor of the Gospel of Christ, and is, as we shall find hereafter, to be the last; and this eldest child of Satan is properly designated by the figure of a dragon*, the most powerful of all animals, throughout the Old and New Testaments. Mohamedan and Papal apoftafies, the second great
* Psalm 1xxiv. 13. Ifaiah, li. 9. Ezek. xxix. 3. Rey. xii. 3. aiji. 4. xix, 29. XX. 2. xxi. 10.
enemies of the church of Christ, which arose in the same year, and are jointly to seduce and persecute the church of Christ, during the same period, are here denoted by the beast: and the third great enemy of the fame church, the abominable system of atheism and blasphemy, very properly described by the false prophet, because, respecting a futurity, it foretels more destructive and infernal fallehoods, in a more direct contradiction to the word of God, than either of its other enemies. Mohamed has been erroneously thought by former commentators to be the prototype of this monster, becaufe he has foretold a sensual paradise; but atheism teaches us to believe, that the world is eternal, and shall not hereafter be destroyed; that Christ was an impofior,' and shall 13nt come to judge the world ; that there will be no reTurrection of the body, no future rewards or punishments, for that death is only the eternal sleep of the soul; and uniting all kinds of falsehoods into one great future LIF, it afferts that there neither is, nor that there shall be hereafter, a God to rule over the world. Is not this a' greater false prophet than Mohamedanism, popery, or even polytheism ? Is it not in the emphatic words of the text, “ THE FALSE PROPHET?”
THE TWENTIETH CHAPTER OF THE REVELATION. Satan imprisoned and deprived of his power during a
thousand years—The millennium, or reign of Chrift, and first resurrection-The blessedness of his reignSatan relensed from his imprisonment, seduces the nations Gog and Magog to attempt the destruction of the kingdon of Christ -His and their condemnation and eternal punishmeni-The destruction of the
present world-Christ's viftory and triumph over Death and Hell - IV ho Mall be saved.
WE have seen that the prophet, in his account of the battle between Christ and the ungodly confederacy, ha's foretold the utter perdition of the Beast and The false prophet, and said nothing of the Dragon, or Pagans, but leaves us to conclude, according to the prophecy of Daniel, that their 66 * lives “ (their superstitious idolatry) were prolonged for a “ season and time.” Daniel gives no intimation of the divine motive to this merciful reprieve of polytheism and idolatry, beyond the time of the execution of the sentence upon apoftasy and atheism; but it may, I humbly apprehend, be clearly inferred, from the context of this chapter. St. John here in forms us, inmediately after he has foretold the de struction of apostasy and atheism, that “ the dragon, “ that old serpent, which is the devil" (not meaning “the dragon,” the type, or the leader of the pagan host, but expressly, that old serpent the devil, who tempted our firft parents), shall be bound, chained, and imprisoned; that is, that his power to do mila chief shall be taken from him during “ a thousand « years,” the period of the reign of Christ. And he further informs us, to what end Satan is to be thus deprived of all power, which is, « that he may “ deceive the nations no more, until the thousand “ years shall be fulfilled.” But to deceive what nations? There are to be none upon the earth, but those under the dominion and protection of Chrift, and the pagan nations, for those of apoftasy and athea ism are to be destroyed at his coming to reign; and we read of no others in the prophecies : and we can. not reasonably suppose it to mean the nations over which Christ is to reign; for these, at his coming,
are to be 66 * juftified by his blood," and sanctified by his “ righteousness," impúted to them, far above all deception and temptation with. It follows then, that it must be the pagan nations whose « lives were o prolonged for a season and time,” or during the thousand years. And here another question arises, to what end are these nations to be thus mercifully relieved from the power and temptations of Satan? The proper answer to this question is, that “ * God " is a rock, his work is perfect : for all his ways are " judgment: a God of truth without iniquity, JUST “ and right is He.” It is therefore impossible but that this reprieve of the pagan nations, and this difability of Satan, must be founded in righteousness and mercy : and if we may be permitted to conjecture, from temporal events, the motive of his infinite wisdom, it seems intended to give to the pagan nations a farther opportunity of saving themselves from the effects of his divine wrath, inasmuch as they will not have had so complete an opportunity of knowing the revealed word and will of God through Christ, nor have so knowingly, wilfully, and audaciously blasphemed his holy name, as the aportate and atheistical nations :, and moreover, that being now no longer held in their darkness and cap
tivity by Satan, but left to their free will ; and hav. . ing the peace, righteousness, and beatitude of the kingdom of Christ, as it were, before their eyes, they may, if they choose, o “ turn from their idols, and " turn their faces from all their abominations, and come over to the church of Christ, in his kingdom, before the expiration of the term of their reprieve. Otherwise, after rejecting so great an instance of divine, mercy, should they perversely prefer their filthy idolatry to the word of God, they may suffer
according to the judgment passed upon them at the time of their reprieve, when confederated against the coming of Chrisi, with the powers of apostasy and atheism.
A similar distinction is made by Christ through the prophet, in his epistle to the church of Thyatira, between those that have had a perfect knowledge of the word of God, and those that have not. For, when denouncing utter destruction upon " that woman * Jezebel, who calls herself a prophes tefs,” and all who had committed fornication with her, because she knew the word of God, and obeyed it not, and had a space given her to repent, and the repented not; “ But,” he adds, si np. unto you, and “ the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doc196 trine, and which have not known the depths of • Satan (through my Gospel, as she has), I will put “ upon you no other burden; but that which ye have « already, hold fuft till I come :” evidently meaning, that no more will be required at the day of his coming, than according to that knowledge of his divine truth which has been received. However, this imprisonment of Satan, and temporary deprivation of his power by the Almighty power of Christ, is foretold and described in the following plain and beautiful figures. “ And I saw an angel come down 66 from heaven (from the church of Christ, now ty« pified by the word heaven), having the key of the " bottomless pit (given to him by Christ himself, 66 who is represented as having the keys of hell and «s of death $), and a great chain in his hand. And " he laid hold on the Dragon, that old serpent, “ which is the devil and Satan, and bound bim a " thousand years, and cast him into The bottomless 6 pit, that he should deceive the nations no more, " till the thousand years should be fulfilled.”
* 1 Kings, xvi. 31. Ibid. ix. 33, 34, 35, 36, 37. * Rev. ii. 5.
Chap. xx. 1, 2, 3
§ Ibid. i, 18.