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Vth place, the promise, with which the epistle concludes.

This promise, as you perceive, divides itself into two great branches, and like all the other promises, is confined to those who overcome. The first branch of this promise is as follows :—“He that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations, and he shall rule them with a rod of iron ; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers.” The strict meaning of this part of the promise has almost baffled every attempt at investigation, so various are the explanations which have been given. By some, the term, power over the nations, is confined to the idea, that every true believer has the power of confuting and confounding all the false doctrines and maxims of the nations of the world by the word of truth which dwells richly in him in all wisdom; and the passage of Scripture which is brought to sustain this interpretation, is found in 2nd Corinthians, 10th chapter, 4th and 5th verses—“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds : casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Another idea is, that the promise of power over the nations means, that Christ would give to the conquering Christians great force and efficiency in accomplishing the conversion of the Gentiles and their sanctification, and that having succeeded in the conversion of the Gentiles, they should rule over them as bishops or overseers. To either of these interpretations, I think the text itself furnishes an insuperable objection, because both of these explanations seem to regard the temporal condition of the Church. But as the promise is made only to those who keep Christ's word unto the end, it seems to shut out all allusion to temporal prospects; for whether the term end, means to the termination of the life of the conquering Christian, or the time when the end of all things shall come, it is alike unfavourable to any interpretation which has the temporal dominion of the Church for its object. We must, therefore, seek for some more consistent meaning. I am inclined to think that the true meaning of the promise is,--"I will give to the conquering Christian who perseveres unto the end, a participation in my victory over the nations, and a participation of my glory in heaven.” There are a variety of Scripture passages which go to prove that the saints of the Most High God shall in some way possess subordinate rule in the future world, and however difficult it may be to conceive how this can be, yet if Scripture is express, it becomes us to make no unbelieving scruples. Thus, when Peter said to our Lord, “Behold, we have forsaken all and followed thee, what shall we have therefor? Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye

which have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” And thus, in the description of the day of judgment, there is a remarkable peculiarity in the invitation which will be given to the righteous.—“Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” In the 1st epis

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VOL. II.

tle to the Corinthians, there are these most striking expressions, in which the Apostle censured the Christians for resorting to law to settle the differences which arose among them.—“Dare any of you, , having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world ? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life ?” The same Apostle, in his 2d epistle to Timothy, says, “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him.” It is not my purpose to stop and explain the peculiarities which belong to these quotations. The language is strong and positive, and it is not possible that any conclusion can be drawn from it, other than that the saints in the great and terrible day of judgment will be assessors with Christ, and approve his righteous judgments. The only consistent meaning then which I can give to the promise, that to conquering Christians there should be imparted power over the nations, is, that in the great and terrible day of judgment, they should exercise power over the people which have not obeyed the Lord Jesus Christ; judging them with Christ, and delivering them over unto eternal death. It does not alter the state of the case to say, that it is impossible for us to conceive an arrangement of this kind. That this is the meaning of the promise is evident to a demonstration, and we may not add to nor diminish from the word of God.

But connected with this branch of the subject, it

is said “And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter they shall be broken to shivers." There is an evident allusion here to a passage in the 2d Psalm, in which the Messiah is represented as exercising his vengeance over those nations or people who would refuse to bow to the sceptre of his kingdom. Thus—“Thou shall bruise them with a rod of iron, and break them in pieces, like a potter's vessel.” Now, the application of this to the conquering Christian, appears to be explained by the subsequent words which declare—"even as I have received of my Father ;" that is, as in my capacity of Mediator I have received authority to judge the nations who have refused my name, and to cast them to destruction as with a rod of iron, so do I appoint to you, my faithful friend, that you sit with me in this judgment, and participate in the glory of this overthrow of mine enemies; for as ye have conquered by my grace, and have been victorious over your foes, even unto the end, so shall ye, by my pleasure, participate in my triumph, and bear the part which I shall assign you in the execution of my purposes upon rebellious and finally impenitent sinners. This may probably open up to the minds of some of you, my friends, a train of new reflections, but if these ideas are new to you, it is only because you have not given sufficient attention to the word of God. For, to sum up this branch of the promise, as may be gathered from the preceding observations founded on the Scriptures, it is exactly this. As this promise is made to those who keep Christ's words unto the end, it cannot be understood of any temporal dominion which the Church shall enjoy. It relates

to that exalted state to which the conquering Christians shall be raised; when all the powers of the world which now oppress the Christian Church, shall meet the recompense which they deserve. Our blessed Lord, as Mediator, has received authority from the Father to judge the world, and to break in pieces his enemies as a potter's vessel. In that day, he shall smite them as with a rod of iron, and his people as sitting with him in judgment, shall concur in his sentence, and have dominion over all their enemies in the morning of the resurrection. This is an idea of amazing glory and sublimity. His people shall sit with him in judgment and reign with him in glory. These ideas will, however, be more appropriately enlarged on, when, in the providence of God, we consider the concluding promise to the Laodicean Church—“ To him that overcometh will I give to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne."

We come now to consider the second branch of this promise to the conquering members of the Church of Thyatira—“And I will give him the morning-star.” There are a variety of explanations which may be given of this sentence, and all of them so beautiful and expressive, that it matters little which is most preferred. It is a rabbinical method of expression, and is derived directly from the Hebrew. The first meaning of the promise is, I will give him the light of glory and the clearest vision of God in all the splendours of his majesty; for when the term morning-star is used, it denotes an extraordinary effulgence of glory; inasmuch as the morning-star shines brightly and clearly, even

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