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the good from the wicked, and consigning the former to heaven, and the latter to hell, Matt. xxv. 31-46.
The fullest comment on this also is furnished by the Apocalypse.
"And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sate thereon, [CHRIST,] from whose face the earth and the heaven fled, [or disappeared,] and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before the throne * ; and books were opened, and another was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the registers in the books, according to their works. (And the sea gave up the dead therein, [the Antediluvians † especially,] and Death and Hades gave up the dead [bodies and souls] that were in them, and they were judged each (ékaσтoç,) according to their works.)
-And whosoever ( TIC) was not found registered in the book of life, was cast into the lake of fire, along with Death and Hades. This is the second death," Rev. xx. 11-15, xxi. 8.
We may trace here a likeness also, and an enlargement of the Psalmist's description of the throne of CHRIST, Psalm xlv. 6, 7, and of the general judgment by him, Psalm 1. 1-5; noticed also by Solomon, Eccles. xii. 14.
The Apostle Paul has furnished some further most interesting particulars of the general resurrection and judgment.
EVOTIOV TOV Opovov. This reading is supported by all the ancient versions, and by the earliest editions, the Complutensian, Plantin, Genevan, and several MSS., and is restored to the text by Bengelius and Griesbach. The present reading, however, Tou Oɛov, is admissible, as referring to CHRIST, by the grammatical principles laid down, see this Vol. p. 67, note. But the former seems preferable from Rom. xiv. 10, 2 Cor. v. 10. The destiny of the Antediluvians, who perished in the general deluge, reserved in chains of darkness unto the judgment of the great day, in Tartarus, or the lower Hades, is noticed by the Apostle Jude, 6—15; 1 Pet. iii. 19, 20; 2 Pet. ii. 4, 5, See those difficult passages explained before, Vol. II pp. 36, 40.
From these texts, and from the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, explained also, Vol. II. p. 84, note, and afterwards, is sufficiently refuted the Popish and Pagan doctrine of purgatory, that supposed intermediate state for purifying the souls of sinners, before the general resurrection, by fire; from which state of torment they may be relieved, sooner or later, by masses and prayers, to be performed by the priests, for money, given them by the friends and relations of the deceased, and sent directly to Heaven! For,
1. Good souls are not tormented, but "comforted" in Paradise, or the upper Hades, Luke xvi. 25.
2. Bad souls are confined in Tartarus, or the lower Hades, by an "impassable gulph," which precludes all intercourse with the blessed, Luke xvi. 26.
3. No mortal ever yet went to heaven nor to hell, till the general judgment, Acts ii. 34, Rev. xx. 14.
For this I say unto you, by the [revealed] word of THE LORD, that we, the quick, (oi LwVTEC,) who shall remain until the [final] presence of THE LORD, shall not anticipate them that are asleep [in THE LORD, or the faithful dead, Heb. xi. 13.] For THE LORD himself shall descend from heaven with a shout [of the angelic host,] with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in CHRIST shall rise first. Then we, the quick, who shall remain, shall be caught together with them, to meet THE LORD in the air. And so we shall be always with THE LORD [in heaven,] 1 Thess. iv. 15— 17, according to his promise to his disciples, John xiv. 2, 3.
The process of their resurrection he thus describes: “Lo, I shew you a mystery: all we, [the faithful quick,] shall not sleep, [or die,] but shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, (for it shall sound again,) and the [faithful] dead shall be raised [first,] incorruptible, and we shall be changed [from corruptible to incorruptible bodies, and from mortal to immortal spirits;] for this corruptible [body] must needs put on incorruption, and this mortal [spirit] put on immortality. For this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood, [or mankind in their natural state,] cannot inherit the kingdom of God [in heaven,] neither shall corruption inherit incorruption, 1 Cor. xv. 50-53, as OUR LORD stated before to Nicodemus, John iii. 6.
The resurrection and destruction of the infidels and wicked is also thus described.
"When the LORD JESUS, [as the SON OF GOD, and the JUDGE of the world,] shall be revealed from heaven in flaming fire, attended with the angels, the ministers of his power, and shall inflict exemplary punishment (ɛkdikŋow) upon those that know not God, [the infidels,] and upon those that obey not the Gospel of our LORD JESUS CHRIST, [the wicked,] who shall suffer punishment, namely, everlasting destruction, [far] from the face of THE LORD, and from the glory of his strength, [in hell, Psalm ix. 17;] when he shall come to be glorified by his saints, and to be admired by all the believers, [contrasting their own reward with the punishment of the others,] in that day [of final retribution,] 2 Thess. i. 7—10.
"Then shall the righteous shine forth like the sun in the kingdom of their Father," Matt. xiii. 43, where "they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, [the sun
and the moon,] and the justified of the many, as the stars for evermore," Dan. xii. 3. "As one star differeth from another star in glory," 1 Cor. xv. 40, 41. For in their Father's house, heaven, there are "many mansions," appropriated to each class, John xiv. 2.
The bodies of the wicked are not described in Scripture; but that they will be different in their nature from those of the righteous, may be inferred from the different forms of the sheep and the goats, to which both are compared by our Lord himself. They "whose God was their belly, who gloried in their shame," who "minded earthly things," will probably "wake to everlasting shame and infamy," in earthly bodies, like those in which they died; while the wicked quick will retain their bodies unchanged, and both " shall be destroyed, soul and body, in hell;" while “CHRIST shall transform the body of the humiliation of the righteous, or their earthly bodies, to become similar in form to the body of his glory, according to that energy, by which he is able even to subdue all things unto himself," Phil. iii. 19, 21; Dan. xii. 2; Matt. x. 28.
May the knowledge of these most awful mysteries, disclosed to us by CHRIST and his inspired Prophets and Apostles, sink deep into our hearts, and produce in us the fruit of good living, to the honour and glory of GOD, and of our LORD JESUS CHRIST, and for the preservation of our spirit, soul, and body, which compose our whole frame, in that great and terrible day of the Lord, Amen! 1 Thess. v. 23.
II. This distinction of the two resurrections was also the doctrine of the primitive Church.
Justin Martyr, A.D. 140, "a man not far removed from the Apostles, in time and virtue," a Samaritan, who had the best opportunity of conversing with the disciples of Apostles, a philosopher by education, and a convert * to Christianity, who sealed the sincerity of his faith with his blood, thus states it.
"I, however, and such Christians as are orthodox in all respects, do know (ɛπioтaμɛ0a) that there will be a resurrection of the flesh, and a thousand years in Jerusalem, rebuilt, adorned,
* Justin Martyr, among the reasons for his conversion, assigned, that in the Grecian rites, he found nothing holy, or that could recommend man to GOD; whereas, in the Christian Baptism, repentance and amendment of life was required, without which, the mere act of washing was of no effect. Ad Græcos Orat.
and enlarged, according to the joint declarations of Ezekiel, Isaiah, and the other Prophets. And since a certain person from among us, whose name was John, in a revelation made to him, did prophesy, that the believers in OUR CHRIST shall spend a thousand years in the [New] Jerusalem. And that after these shall be expired, the universal, and (in a word,) eternal resurrection of all, without exception, shall come to pass." See the original passage, Justin Martyr's Works, p. 313-315. Thirlby: or Bishop Newton's Prophecies, Vol. III. p. 338.
To this prime testimony we may add that of Tertullian, A.D. 200, the most learned of the Latin Fathers.
"For we, (Christians,) also profess, that we are promised a kingdom upon earth again, but in another state, antecedent to the kingdom in heaven; which is to take place after the [first] resurrection for the thousand years, in a city of Divine workmanship, Jerusalem, brought down from heaven, (Rev. xx. 4, xxi. 2,) which the Apostle describes as our mother above, (Gal. iv. 26,) and our municipality, as being in heaven, (Phil. iii. 20,) namely, comparing it to some heavenly city. This both Ezekiel knew, (xl. 44,) and John the Apostle saw:-This we mean, which God hath provided for the reception of the saints on their resurrection, and for refreshing them with abundance of all goods, namely, spiritual, (Acts iii. 19,) as a compensation for those which we have either disregarded or lost in this world, (Mark x. 30:) inasmuch, as it is both just and meet of God, that even there should his servants rejoice, where they were afflicted for his name' sake, (Heb. xi. 13-16.) This is the nature of the kingdom of heaven."
"After the duration of this kingdom [upon earth,] during a thousand years, (within which period is included the resurrection of the saints, reviving sooner or later, according to their deserts, 1 Cor. xv. 23,) then shall the destruction of the world, and the judicial conflagration take place; when we shall be changed in a moment into an angelic substance, namely, by the putting on of incorruption, (1 Cor. xv. 53,) and then be translated into the kingdom of heaven," (Matt. xv. 34.) See the original passage, Mede's Works, p. 815.
This was also the doctrine of Irenæus, Bishop of Lyons, A.D. 178; Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch, A.D. 181, and of the early Fathers in general, both of the Greek and Latin Church, until
Jerom, A.D. 392. And so prevalent was the doctrine, that in the Gothic Missals, it was customary to insert a clause in the prayers for the dead, ut partem haberent in resurrectione primâ, that they might partake of the first resurrection." See Mede's Works, p. 841.
III. It was also the primitive doctrine of the Church of England, at the commencement of the Reformation; as may appear from the following extract from King Edward VI. Catechism, in 1553 *.
"Master. The end of the world Holi Scripture calleth the fulfyllynge and parformance of the kyngdome and mystery of CHRIST, and the renewing of all things: for, (sayth the Apostle Peter, in his second Epistle, the third chapter,) We loke for a new heaven and a new earth, according to the promise of GOD, wherein dwelleth ryghteousnesse. And it seemeth reason, that corruption, unstedfaste change and synne, whereunto the whole world is subject, should, at length, have an end. Now bi what way, and what fashion circumstances, these things shal come to passe, I would fayne hear thee tell.
"Scholer. I will tell you as well as I can, accordynge to the wytnesse of the same Apostle. The heavens shall passe away like a storm: the elements shall melt awaye: the earthe and all the workes therein shal bee consumed wyth fire:' as though he should say, 'as gould is wont to be fined, so shal the whole world be purified with fire, and be brought to his full perfection. The lesser world, which is man, followynge the same, shal lykewyse be delyvered from corruption and chaunge. And so for man, this greater worlde, which for hys sake was first created, shal at length be renewed, and be clad wyth another hew, much more pleasaunte and beautiful."
This is an able explanation of the Apostle's figurative language on this occasion, in conformity with his speech to the Jews, of the continuance of CHRIST in heaven, " until the times of the restitution of all things, of which GOD spake by the mouth of all his holy Prophets, from the beginning of the world," Acts iii. 21, or his second advent. From which the Catechism pro
This most excellent Catechism, the last work of the first Reformers, Cranmer, Ridley, &c. at the close of his reign, was published both in English and Latin, in the same year, 1553, by the King's authority. The English is republished in the Enchiridion Theologicum, by Dr. Randolph, 5 vols. duodecimo, 1792, Oxford, and is the first Tract
in that useful collection.