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the Hindoo Shasters, I would reply, that as the Jews did not derive their expectation of the Advent from the heathen of their day, but from the word of God; so Christians at the present period have obtained their views from the Sacred Scriptures, to which they appeal as the warrant of their pleasing anticipation, and not (as insinuated by the Abbé,) from heathen Shasters, with which indeed they are unacquainted.
It does not appear which particular edition of Evans's Sketch the Abbé had been perusing, nor does he state which, among the different views of the millennium given by Evans, had drawn forth his animadversions. Were he only referring to such opinions on the subject as are really enthusiastic, and inconsistent with a sober interpretation of the divine page, his censure of such views would merit no reproof. But as he, in other parts of his book, positively rejects the simple doctrine, founded on plain declarations of Scripture, that the triumphs of the gospel will be universal;--as he specifically ridicules the idea of "virtue, lasting peace, and complete happiness reigning on earth among the human race," and rejects the millennium itself, and not merely wild conceits about its nature; it may be necessary to adduce the passage of Scripture in which the doctrine is more particularly laid down.
Let us then refer to the Book of Revelation, in which are found the following words:-" And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit 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 him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years should be fulfilled; and after that he must be loosed a little season. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them; and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years." (chap. xx. 1-4.) See the whole chapter, in which the Millennium, that is, (as the word imports) the period of a thousand years, is spoken of not fewer than six different times.
Bishop Newton states, as the meaning of the above prophecy, "that there shall be such a happy period as the Millennium; that the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the
Most High,' (Daniel vii. 27.)- that Christ shall have the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession,' (Psalm ii. 8.)-'that the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea,' (Isaiah xi. 9.) that the fulness of the Gentiles shall come in, and all Israel shall be saved,' (Romans xi. 25, 26.)—in a word, that the kingdom of heaven shall be established upon earth, is the plain and express doctrine of Daniel and all the prophets, as well as of St. John; and we daily pray for the accomplishment of it in praying, Thy kingdom come.'
The Rev. Mr. Scott, on the same passage, has the following remarks:-" In the foregoing chapter, the termination of all open opposition to the gospel, and the dreadful punishment of all those who had introduced, supported, or concurred in the idolatrous corruptions before described, are most clearly predicted. But while the instruments of mischief had been cut off, the great agent was still at liberty, and he would surely excite fresh disturbances, or produce more delusions, if not prevented. The apostle had therefore a vision emblematical of the restraints which would be laid on Satan himself. An angel from heaven, with the key of the abyss, and a great chain,' seized on him, bound him, and cast him into the abyss, and there shut him up and
set a seal upon him, to prevent his deceiving the nations as he had before done; and this imprisonment continued during one thousand years. In some places the dragon' signifies the persecuting power of idolatrous emperors, who were vicegerents of the devil, and bare his name and style; but here Satan himself is evidently meant. And it is implied that Christ, with omnipotence and absolute authority, will restrain 'the devil and his angels,' even all his legions of evil spirits, 'from deceiving mankind in general,' or any part of them, into idolatry, impiety, heresy, and wickedness, as he has hitherto done. For though human nature is prone to all evil, and averse to all good, yet the agency and influence of fallen angels have immense effect in counteracting the gospel, in exciting men to atrocious crimes and cruel persecutions, and in devising and propagating ingenious but fatal delusions: when, therefore, this 'roaring lion,' or subtle poisonous old serpent, shall be completely restrained, the gospel will be rendered effectual to purify the church, and convert the nations; the Christian religion, in all its purity and glory, will become universal, and the true Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.' Then the first petition of the Lord's prayer will be wonderfully answered, and piety, peace, righteousness, and purity, will fill the earth. Nor can I doubt, that
in proportion as the Scriptures are diligently and impartially searched and understood, the more generally and unreservedly will the persuasion prevail that there shall be a Millennium, that it is at hand, even at the door, and that we ought to advert to it, and to those things which may prepare the way for it, in all our studies and writings, and in the improvement of our several talents.'
The reader will now judge how far the Abbé is justified in the contempt he pours upon an important and animating doctrine, plainly revealed in the New Testament.
Let us proceed to notice our author's opposition to the predictions of the universal establishment of the Messiah's reign, which are contained in the Old Testament.
It may be remarked that he admits the plain import of these predictions to be, that Christ's reign will be unlimited. "He is represented," he says, "as extending his spiritual dominions over all the earth, from one end of the world to the other." And assigning no reason why this their obvious import should not be adopted, he simply, and without proof or argument, asserts, that "most of the expressions used by the inspired writers in those passages of Holy Writ, either have a mystical meaning, or are mere metaphors which cannot be taken in their literal