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Paul, it certainly was not since fulfilled; and that it consequently extends even to the present day and generation, and renders it possible for us to attain the same blessedness. And if disposed to doubt the conclusiveness of this argument, you have only to open the lids of the New Testament, and upon almost every page you will find it stated in the clearest terms, and accompanied with admonitions and entreaties to fear and labor lest we should finally come short of it.
As to the character of this rest, the apostle intimates that it was typified by the sabbatic institution; i. e. that a complete emblem of this promised rest is to be found in the sanctified seventh day of the creation. In verse 4th, speaking of the determination of God upon such a rest, he adds—“For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works." The rest itself in the original of verse 9th, is called a Sabbatism. And in verse 10th, he plainly declares this typical relation—“For he that entereth into his rest, ceaseth from his own works as God did from his.” As to the extent of this typical relation, I believe that the Sabbath designates both the order or place of this rest in the successions of time, and the peacefulness of its character.
The Sabbath comprises the last of the seven grand divisions of time. It is supposed by many of our most valued scripture expositors, that the seven days of the creation are emblematic of seven thousand years of this world's history: that the six days in which the earth and all its appendages were made, are typical of six thousand years, in which the work of redemption is instituted, developed and entirely finished, and the term of Christ's mediatorship fully accomplished; and that the seventh day in which God rested, is typical of one thousand years of rest and general jubilee for the ransomed children of God. There are also many expressions, allusions, and faint intimations scattered over the sacred pages which go on to favor this hypothesis; whilst there is nothing to contradict it. Peter when speaking of the conclusion of the present dispensation, and the introduction of the “new heavens and a new earth,” seeks to make a particular impression of this truth, “that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” That brilliant season of triumph and rejoicing for the church to which the prophecies all refer, is explicitly declared in Revelaions to continue" a thousand years." "
It is interesting too, to look over the history of the creation and see how the work of each day seems to harmonize with the history and developments of its corresponding thousand years. Every day presents to our view new accessions to the great work, and every thousand years presents us with clearer revelations of the Divine purpose, and with more obvious tendencies in every thing to some great and final consummation. The first view which the inspired historian gives us at the creation, is the darkness that was upon the face of the deep; and the first page of human history records the gloomy fall of man from his state of primeval innocence. The next step in the work of creation was the production of light, and the next page in the history of man dates the commencement of prophecy. The next day of creation the Lord divided the waters, and the second thousand years brought with it the general deluge. And so on, as the fourth day gave a sun, moon, and stars to the infant world, so the fourth thousand years of its history was the time when the Hebrew prophets flourished, and its close gave to benighted man a great spiritual teacher in the person of Jesus Christ. As the fifth and sixth days furnished the world with the nobler and higher orders of the creatures which inhabit it, and completed the whole by the creation of lordly man; so the fifth and sixth thousand years have thus far exhibited the development of the higher intellectual and moral faculties of man, and the signs of the times plainly indicate his rapid approximation to the fulness of worldly perfection. And as all the hours of the seventh day were sanctified, and in them God rested in the complacent review of his goodly work; so we believe the coming seventh thousand years of the world's history—that glorious thousand of which the prophecies speak—is the rest that is promised to the people of God.
This also the nature of the promise when first made with Abraham, seems very clearly to prove.
" And the Lord said unto Abraham, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed after thee.” (Gen. xiii. 14, 15, also xvii. 8.) The same promise was also repeated to Isaac." Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee; and I will bless thee: for unto thee, and unto thy seed will I give all these countries.” (Gen. xxvi. 3.) To Jacob also he said—“I am the
Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed.” (Gen. xxviii. 13.) Two things here are evident. 1st. That the land of promise and rest, has an earthly locality. It was the land which Abraham saw-in which Isaac sojourned—and upon whose soil Jacob lay and slept. 2nd. That Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob themselves were to inherit and dwell in it. The Lord had said to each of them concerning it, “I will give it thee.” They were personally to enter and enjoy it, as well as their seed after them. Bearing in mind these two features of the promise or covenant, we find nothing in the history of the past to show that it has ever been fulfilled, and nothing in the prophecies of the future respecting its accomplishment, but what refers to the glorious millenium, when Israel shall he gathered in from the four corners of the earth, and those who died in faith shall be raised from the dead, and all together enter upon the peaceable possession of the land“ from the river of Egypt to the great river Euphrates," to celebrate the Sabbath of the world, It certainly was not more than typically fulfilled by the entrance of the ransomed Hebrews into Canaan, for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were not with them. The apostle argues that Joshua did not give this rest, or else David would not and could not have spoken of it as yet future. In another place he affirms of the patriarchs and fathers—" these all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off.” And in his defense before Agrippa, he uses this
very fact as an argument in favor of the resurrection. " And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our Fathers; unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come, for which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews—why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?” Steven also declares, that though God did promise to give the land to Abraham for a possession, and to his seed after him, yet that “he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on.” . Thus plainly showing, that the promise was not fulfilled unto the ancient Hebrews, but that it still stands to be accomplished in the future. Nor is the promise to find its fulfillment in the final entrance of the redeemed into the full fruition of glory; because the promise as we have seen refers to an earthly possession. Consequently our only alternative is, to look to the last seven thous
and years of this world, and to the triumphs and glories of that jubiletic period, as constituting the rest that is promised to the people of God.
· The obvious spirit of the prophecies, gives additional weight to this interpretation. All the passages bearing upon it fully collected and considered, would fill a volume, and cannot be attempted here. Those however, who have read the prophetic portions of the Bible with any degree of attention, will know, that there is a time of universal peace spoken of, and a day of triumph and glory for the church in this world alluded to, such as has never heretofore been witnessed. That blissful era, when “the people shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks,”?when “nation shall no more lift up sword against nation, neither learn war any more,”—when the “Prince of Peace, of the increase of whose government and peace there shall be no end,” shall sit
upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice,” has not yet dawned upon our bleeding world. That auspicious day, in which “the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, and assemble the outcasts of Israel and the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth,” « to plant vines in the mountains of Samaria, and to sing in the heights of Zion,” has not yet come. And so far as I have been able to catch the whole drift and tenor of these promises, they all point to the last thousand years of this world as the allotted time of their fulfillment, and are given merely as commentaries on God's ancient covenant with his people respecting the last, prolonged, and universal sabbatism.
Looking upon this promised rest then as identical with the millepium, I may remark with more particular reference to its character, that it will be a rest from the trials and anxieties of our probation. The Scriptures generally speak of it as a time of reward. Every one is then to receive according as his work hath been. The wicked are then to be overtaken by tribulation and anguish such as never bas been, nor will ever be thereafter. All the faithful are then to receive crowns of life ; (Rev. ii. 10,) all that love his appearing, wear a crown of righteousness; (2 Tim. iv. 8,) the elders who were examples to the flock, shall “receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away;” (1 Peter v. 4,) " and they that be wise, shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to right
eousness, as the stars for ever and ever.” (Dan. xii. 3.) And many other passages which might be referred to, very plainly teach, that the commencement of that blessed era contemplates and pre-supposes the end of our probation, and the entrance of the faithful upon an inheritance of reward. “ He that entereth into his rest ceaseth from his own works as God did from bis.” Our temptations and mental struggles will then cease for ever. The christian will then lay down his armor to take it up no more. The weary soldier will then come home in final triumph over every soe. The bark which was so long tossed upon the storiny seas will then be moored into the haven of undisturbed repose. And just as the worn laborer as the Sabbath approaches returns with gladness from his toils to the bosom of his quiet home, so will the ransomed of the Lord then “come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”
It will be a rest of the church from the conquest of the world. The church from its nature is aggressive. It breaks in upon all the errors-prejudices—and false religions of depraved humanity. Some of the conflicts through which it must pass are furious and trying in the extreme. But whatever opposition may be brought against it, the Lord has said—it shall succeed. The time is coming, when the whole “ earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea,”— when “every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord,"-yea, “all the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto him, and all the kindreds of the nations will worship before him.” That mystic stone of prophecy cut from the mountain without hands, which has these 1800 years been moving among the nations, is destined to roll on with increasing acceleration through isles and continents, smiting idol shrines and altars, bursting the chains of ignorance that fetter the heaven-born spirit, crushing the thrones and dominions of wickedness, and, with Satan and his vicegerencies fleeing before it, to swell and enlarge as it rolls, until like the Andes of the south, it is seen from every quarter with the light of an unsetting sun resting upon its summit, and the ransomed Israel of God reclining around its base! That leaven of regeneration which the Savior planted in the world, which has for so long been working upon the depraved multitudes of man, is yet to go on in the exercise of its transform