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denote any given period, and as it is not easily imaginable that so many myriads of men and angels should be assembled and sentenced within a single day-beginning with its commencement and extending a little beyond its conclusion, will take place that glorious reign of Christ on earth with his saints, so often promised in Scripture, even until all his enemies shall be subdued. After the end of the thousand years (sc. of this reign), Satan will rage again and assail the Church at the head of an immense confederacy of its enemies ;* but will be overthrown by fire from heaven, and condemned to everlasting punishment. After the
evil angels and chief enemies of God have been sentenced, judge- ment will be passed on the whole race of mankind.
Here we plainly have the doctrine of the Millennium, or reign of Christ in glory on earth,—a doctrine which must be received by those who believe in the plenary inspiration of Scripture, unless they renounce all submission to the plain rules of criticism.
Then, it appears, will be pronounced that sentence, “ Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world ; Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” The passing of this sentence will be followed by its execution, and then will be the end spoken of 1 Cor. xv. 24–28, when Christ is to deliver up the kingdom to God.
It may be asked, if Christ is to deliver up the kingdom to God and the Father, what becomes of the declarations, Heb. i. 8, “Unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever"
O in sæculum sæculi, for ages of ages); and Dan. vii. 14, “His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed ;" Luke i. 33, “Of his kingdom there shall be no end”? I reply, there shall be no end of his kingdom for ages of ages, i. e. so long as the ages of the world endure, until time itself shall be no longer, Rev. x. 6, until everything which his kingdom was intended to effect shall have been accomplished; insomuch that his kingdom shall not pass away as insufficient for its purpose ; it will not be destroyed,
* “The enemies of the Church are partly heretics and partly profane opponents.”—P. 494.
nor will its period be a period of dissolution, but rather of perfection and consummation, like the end of the Law: Matt. v. 18. In the same manner many things are spoken of as never to pass away, but to remain eternally—as circumcision, Gen. xvii. 13; the ceremonial law in general, Lev. iii. 17, xxiv. 8; (the possession of) the land of Canaan, Gen. xii. 15, Jer. vii. 7, xxv. 5; the Sabbath, Ex. xxxi. 16; the priesthood of Aaron, Num. xviii. 8; the memorial of stones at the river Jordan, Jos. iv. 7; the signs of heaven, Ps. cxlviii. 6; the earth, Eccl. i. 4 ;-although every one of these has either already come to an end, or will eventually be terminated.
The second death—so named in reference to the first, or death of the body-or punishment of the damned,
seems to consist partly in the loss of the chief good, namely, the favour and protection of God, and the beatific vision of his presence, which is commonly called the punishment of loss; and partly in eternal torment, which is called the punishment of sense. ... The intensity and duration of these punishments are variously estimated. Punishment however varies according to the degree of guilt.”
Milton supposes the place of punishment, variously named, he says, Hell, Tophet, hell-fire, outer darkness, a furnace of fire, Hades, a place of torment, the bottomless pit, the lake of fire, the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, to be situated beyond the limits of this universe, i.e. the world, according to the Ptolemaic system.
Nor are reasons wanting for this locality. For as the place of the damned is the same as that prepared for the devil and his angels, in punishment of their apostasy, * which occurred before
* Here he is evidently in error, for Gehenna or Hell is always spoken of in the New Testament, not as a place actually existing, but one which was to come into being after the general judgement: Matt. v. 22, 29; xviii. 8, 9; xxv. 41; Mark ix. 43–47 ; Rev. xiv. 10; xx. 10, 15. From these passages we might also suspect that its site would be on the surface of the earth.
the fall of man, it does not seem probable that hell should have been prepared within the limits of this world, in the bowels of the earth, on which the curse had not as yet passed. This is said to have been the opinion of Chrysostom, and likewise of Luther and some later divines. Besides, if, as has been shown from various passages of the New Testament, the whole world is to be finally consumed by fire, it follows that hell, being situated in the centre of the earth, must share the fate of the surrounding universe and perish likewise ; a consummation more to be desired than expected by the souls in perdition.
As Milton abstains from asserting that these punishments will be strictly and metaphysically eternal, and has so copiously shown that that is not the sense of the scriptural for ever and such-like terms, one may venture to conjecture that he entertained the charitable opinion of the prelates Tillotson and Newton, and of other pious men, that these penalties would only last till they had effected their object in the reformation of the criminals ; and that finally, as St. Paul, who seems to have taken this view also, says, God may be all in all. Surely it is neither Christian charity nor sound logic to insist that because words possibly may bear a particular sense, that they must bear it.
Perfect glorification consists in eternal life and perfect happiness, arising chiefly from the divine vision. . . . It appears that all the saints will not attain to an equal state of glory. Its place will be Heaven. It will be accompanied by the renovation of heaven and earth, and of all things therein, adapted to our service or delight, to be possessed by us in perpetuity.
The Second Part of Milton's treatise on the Service of God is, as we have observed, a code of ethics. As it does not contain much that is peculiar, we will only notice his opinions respecting prayer, fasting, oaths, and the observance of the Sabbath.
Supplication is that act whereby, under the guidance of the Holy
Spirit, we reverently ask of God things lawful either for ourselves or others through faith in Christ.
The Lord's Prayer was intended rather as a model of supplication than as a form to be repeated verbatim by the Apostles or by Christian churches of the present day. Hence the superfluous ness of set forms of worship; seeing that with Christ for our master and the Holy Spirit for our assistant in prayer, we can have no need of any human aid in either respect.
Prayer may be offered alone or in company. Christ appears seldom to have prayed in conjunction with his disciples, or even in their presence, but either wholly alone or at some distance from them. It is moreover evident that the precepts (Matt. vi.) have reference to private prayer alone. When however he inculcated on his disciples the duty of prayer in general, he gave no specific direction whether they should pray alone or with others. It is certain that they were in the frequent practice of praying in assemblies, and that either individually, each framing within himself his own particular petition relative to some subject on which they had agreed in common (Matt. xviii. 19), or by the mouth of one chosen from their number, who spoke in the name of the rest; both which modes of prayer appear to have been used indiscriminately by the primitive Christians.
No particular posture is enjoined for prayer. The deportment in it should be suited to the manners of the time. Thus in St. Paul's time men prayed and prophesied [i.e. preached] with the head uncovered. on the contrary, since the covering of the head has become a token of authority, and the uncovering of it of submission, it is the custom with most churches, especially those of Europe, in compliance not so much with the letter as with the spirit of the law (which is always to be preferred), to worship God uncovered, as being the mark of reverence prescribed by modern custom ; but to prophesy covered, in token of the authority with which the speaker is invested, and likewise to listen to his instructions covered, as the deportments most emblematic,
“according to modern ideas, of our freedom and maturity as sons of God.”
We are even commanded to call down curses on the enemies of God and the Church; as also on false brethren, and on such as are guilty of any grievous offence against God, or even against ourselves. The same may be lawfully done in private prayer, after the example of the holiest of men.
Here again we may observe the unfortunate results of placing the Old and New Testaments on a line, for nearly all his authorities are taken from the former. Surely if, as he maintains, the whole of the Law was abrogated as comparatively imperfect, we should be cautious how we make the conduct of those who lived under it our example. But Milton held all parts—the book of Esther * or the Chronicles, as much as that of Isaiah to be the immediate dictation of the Holy Spirit, and from this principle he reasoned consequentially. He afterwards, however, qualifies somewhat what he had said of imprecations, by classing among errors those "whereby we invoke God or the devils to destroy any particular person or thing, an intemperance to which even the pious are occasionally liable. . . . Undeserved curses however are of no force, and therefore not to be dreaded.”
Prayer is assisted by fasting and vows. Fasting is either private or public, the latter being enjoined by the Church or by the civil power for public reasons. “A religious fast is that whereby a man abstains not so much from eating and drinking, as from sin, that he may be able to devote himself more closely to prayer for the obtaining some good or deprecating some evil.”
* We meet the following passage in his Doctrine of Divorce (ii. 15): “The same Spirit relates to us the course which the Medes and Persians took by occasion of Vashti.”