A SERMON OF THE Fifth Monarchy.

Proving by Invincible ARGUMENTS, That the Saints shall have a Kingdom here on Earth, Which is yet to come, after the Fourth Monarchy is destroy'd by the Sword of the Saints, the followers of the LAMB.

Preached by Mr. THO. GOODWIN, on Rev. 5. 9, 10.

By which it will appear, that it is for the same Truth (that formerly was so much contend­ed for) that some of the People of God suffer at this day.

Published for the Truths sake.

Prov. 24. 21.

—And meddle not with them that are given to change.

Printed at London, for Livewel Chapman, at the Crown in Popes-head-Alley. 1654.

To the Reader.

THe doctrine of the SAINTS REIGN ON EARTH, is matter of great Comfort to the People of God, because of the glory which shall be revealed in that day. This Sermon com­ing to my hands, at such a time as this, where­in the Truths of Christs Kingdom (this Reign of the Saints) are SO blasphemed and spoken against, even by the quondam-Assertors and Professors of them; and, when men are become SCOFFERS; this term FIFTH-MO­NARCHY-MEN being made a mark of Ignominy and Re­proach: I thought it my duty to communicate it to thee (Reader) that the Truth may be vindicated, and the Saints comforted in this evil day.

This Excellent man hath proved this Truth by such undeniable Demonstrations, that I am perswaded all the Enemies Christ and It hath, are not able to gainsay. To perswade thee to ponder them, I suppose I need not: the honour and esteem the worthy Arthor hath in the hearts of all good men that have either heard or read him, will be a suffictent Motive.

Onely give me leave to point out a few things to thee.

We are told, page 6. That the Saints have an influence in the managing the affairs of the world, by their Prayers. If so, let us consider, what a TOTTERING CONDITION they are in, who have the trayers of the Saints engaged against them; yea, though but of a few despised ones, who are not clothed with the glory and power of this world. I do remember that this good man told us in another Preached Feb. 5. 1645. on Rev. 15. from ver. 1 to 5. Sermon, That the prayers of a few Saints have a mighty prevalencie to turn the state of affairs in the world: The prayers of the Saints against those that [Page] oppress them, will still bring the vintage (the vintage of Gods wrath on Protestants that provoke him) on them. An Angel cries out of the Temple, seeing the Name of Christ profan'd by those that profess Christ, and yet are opposers of the Saints: God hears their voice, and sends it for them, and will continue to do it, &c.

Further, we are told in the afore-mentioned page, That though the Saints know not what Christ will do next, yet they are guided (as it were) by a spirit of Prophecie, to seek for those very things which he is about to do. Then how cautious ought we to be, of CENSURING those of Gods people who go be­yond us in their prayers and desires, lest we prove Opposers of the Spirit of God in them!

Again, page 6, 7, &c. That the Saints in heaven rule the world, and, by converse with the Angels, have a knowledge of the great things that are done on earth. When a soul is converted, there is joy in heaven; and when Rome is de­stroyed, there will be joy in heaven. Rev. 18. 20. and Rev. 6. 9, 10. The souls under the altar, newly slain, they cry to God to avenge their blood. Now what may we think the Saints in heaven (who within these ten yeers last past, lost their lives in the Cause of Christ) are EMPLOYED ABOUT at this time, they understanding by the Angels what great—are come to passion our earth! May we not justly fear, they are crying to God, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood! &c. Surely things are not now, as if THE GREAT INTEREST OF STATES AND KINGDOMS were minded; the Imprisonment of the Saints speaks another kinde of language. But let us not be discouraged: our Lord Jesus hath foretold these things, that so we might prepare our selves, and when they come to pass, our hearts may not be troubled. These are signes of his coming; and many more he gives us, that he is coming, and will not tarry. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. Even so. Amen.

By a servant of the Saints, who waits
for, and expects the Kingdom and
Power of our Lord Jesus.

A SERMON OF The fifth Monarchy.

Revel. 5. 9, 10.‘And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation: And hast made us, unto our God, kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.’

THe scope of this whole Chapter is (as I have shewed you heretofore) to set forth (in the beginning of this Pro­phecie) The solemnity of Christs under­taking to be king, and to execute under God all his decrees contained in this book, to ful­fil and accomplish them, in governing this world to the end [Page 2] thereof, for the good of his Church.

In the first verse therefore, you have (all being act­ed in a Comick way) God the Father, sitting upon a Throne, holding a book in his hand: and (to glorifie Christ the more, that he alone was able to undertake the execution of the things contained in that book) a Proclamation was made, Who in heaven or in earth was able to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof: so vers 2. In this strait, (because none was found worthy to do it) Jesus Christ steps up, and takes the book out of the hand of him that sate upon the throne: so vers. 7. And then, from vers. 8. the Chapter is spent in the acclamations of the specta­tors, of all sorts, which are cast into three several Rings or Rounds, standing round about the throne. There is first the acclamation of the Church of men on earth, vers 8, 9, 10. There is secondly the accla­mations of the Angels, standing round about the Church of men, in a Ring remoter then they from the throne, vers. 11 & 12. And then you have the common multitude that do stand without, every crea­ture in heaven, and in the earth, and in the sea, all sing­ing, Praise and glory to him that suteth on the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever and ever.

I am yet in the acclamation of the Church of men on earth, contained in the 8, 9, and 10 verses. Where you have, first, their description, vers. 8. Secondly, the song which they sing, in the 9 & 10 verses; and that for two things: first, because that the Lamb had redeemed them: so vers. 9. and secondly, for advan­cing them to be kings and priests unto God. And then lastly, you have an Inference, or a triumphant conclusion they collect from all what they had seen; [Page 3] and that is this: WE SHALL RAIGN ON EARTH.

I finished that of Redemption, a day or two ago.

I came secondly to their Advancement: Thou hast made us, unto our God, kings and priests. There are these things to be observed in it.

First, the persons that are made kings and priests, US, the generality of Saints.

Secondly, I shewed you what it was to be a king and a priest.

Kings they were,

1. In regard of the inward frame of their spirits. And

2. In respect of the outward Royalty which he bestoweth upon them, as upon Kings.

Jesus Christ himself is here presented both as a King, and as a Priest; as a Lion, and as a Lamb slain: and answerably, he makes the Saints partakers of the priviledges which he himself hath. Thou hast made us (say they) kings and priests. Jesus Christ himself is na­turally a King; he hath it by inheritance: so Heb. 1. 4. He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name then the Angels: but we are made, and made by him. He is the Heir; but we come in through him to be co­heirs with God: so the Apostle saith, Rom. 8.

See and acknowledge the prerogative of Jesus Christ above all the Saints. Though all the same priviledges that are in Christ himself, are in the Saints; we are sons as he, we are kings as he, priests as he: yet all these with this difference; he is natu­rally so, we are made so, made so by him.

In Heb. 5. 5, 6. when the Apostle would prove that Christ is a Priest, and hold forth that title of his, he [Page 4] quoteth two places; and a man would wonder why those two plaees should be put together: First, vers. 5. saith he, He that said, Thou art my son, to day have I be­gotten thee. As he saith (so vers. 6.) in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. How doth the first of these places, viz. Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee, prove that Christ was a Priest? Thus: The law of Nature, before Moses, was, that the eldest, the first-born in the family, was both the Judge, and also the Priest of that family. Now because Christ is both the natural and the el­dest Son of God, therefore he is a Priest by inheri­tance; but we (I say) are made so by him.

And take this for a certain Rule, That that which is derived, can never arrive to that fulness of preroga­tive with what is natural. An adopted son can never come to be a natural son. A made King and a made Priest, can never come to the same height of prero­gative and title that he hath that is naturally so. And therefore though all that is in Christ, and all his pri­viledges are by way of participation in the Saints, yet it is impossible they should be in that fulness: Why? Because it is derived: Thou hast made us kings and priests.

Thou hast made us, unto our God, kings and priests.

I take it, those words, unto our God, do not refer to Kings, but to Priests, and to that alone: and my reason is this; Not onely because it cannot in any propriety of speech be said, We are kings unto God: We may be said to be kings unto the creatures, and unto all things else. But to be Priests unto God, to of­fer up sacrifice unto him, that is proper. And the reason further is this, Because in Rev. 20. 6. (where [Page 5] this thing is fulfilled) though he speaks there of their raigning, and of their being Kings, yet he doth not say they are Kings unto God, but onely saith, They are priests of God, and of Christ.

And Priests they are unto OUR God; because that God becomes their God by a free choice, though in Christ, yet not for Christ: We are chosen in Christ, but not for the merit of Christ; he is our God freely.

I told you that these words, Thou hast made us kings and priests, respect especially their priviledge and honour to rule this world, and the affairs thereof. When they saw Jesus Christ undertook the mana­ging the affairs of the world, and to execute the De­crees contained in that book held in the hand of him that sate on the throne, which contained how God would have the world managed unto the day of Judgement, and that Christ was thus crowned king; they upon this utter this song of praise, That they are made kings with him; as in respect of the glory to come in heaven, being co-heirs with Christ, so also as being joyned in commission with him for the ma­naging of the affairs of this book, and accomplishing the things contained in it. We also (say they) are kings and priests. And their inference implies as much, We shall raign on earth: the lowest interpreta­tion of which, that can be given, must be this: We shall have an hand in guiding the affairs of the earth; which although it shall have an eminent accomplish­ment at a certain season to come, therefore they say, We SHALL raign: yet notwithstanding they are kings at present, and it is in some degree fulfilled now.

[Page 6] I told you last day, I thought there were four de­grees of the fulfilling of this their being Kings.

First, in this world, they by their prayers having an influence in the managing the affairs of the world, and into the accomplishment of all the great things that Christ doth do for his Church. And though it may be, and it is certain, they have not in all ages known (according to what is in this prophecie) what Jesus Christ will do next, yet still, by the spirit of Prophecie, as it were, the Saints have been guided to seek for those things at the hands of God and Christ, which he was about to accomplish.

Secondly, in heaven; and for that I quoted first that place in Rev. 2. 26. where, To him that over cometh, (therefore it is meant of a state after death) and keepeth my commandments to the end, will I give power over the nations, and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: as a vessel of the potters shall they be broken in shivers, even as I have received of my Father. When is this to be ful­filled? Not before death; for he speaks of him that overcometh, and keepeth his commandments to the end. Not at the day of Judgement onely; for it is the same promise was made to Christ in the second Psalm, which is evidently to be understood of Christs Government committed unto him by the Father until the day of Judgement, which here you see he saith he hath received of his Father. If there­fore that in the second Psalm be meant (as clearly it is) of Christs government of the world unto the day of Judgement, and that he promiseth his Saints after death the same priviledge; then of necessity it must needs follow, that they have a share and a hand therein.

[Page 7] I quoted likewise another place for this, namely, out of Dan. 4. 17. where when that great business, the greatest work then in the world, was to be done, the cutting down of Nebuchadnezzar, and turning him out for seven yeers to feed among the beasts of the field, the Angel that comes down, and gives the com­mand for it, saith, This matter is not by me alone, but it is by the decree of all the watchers, that is, of all the angels, and by the word of the holy ones: they all concur in it. And thus Junius interprets that place.

I added likewise, for the strengthening of this, a third Scripture, Revel. 6. 9, 10. where the souls under the altar, newly slain, having their souls severed from their bodies, under that great and last persecution under Dioclesian, (for to those times doth that cry re­fer) they cry for vengeance upon their blood: Not onely doth their blood cry, as Abel's is said to do from the beginning of the world, but their souls are said to cry.

The Papists, that they may bring in the doctrine of the invocation of Saints departed, (which is that great doctrine of devils, or of Daemons rather, which the Apostle foretold should be brought up in the world, and is the greatest idolatry that ever was up­on earth) they teach that the souls in heaven do there know all things here below, in the glass of the Tri­nity, and of the Godhead. And our Divines, that they may wholly take away that Argument for in­vocation of Saints, from the Papists, many of them have denied that there is any knowledge at all of the things that are done here belowe. But, my brethren, there is no connexion between their knowledge of [Page 8] the great affairs of this world, and having an influ­ence into them; and their invocation, none at all. For,

First, no man is able to affirm that they know all particular things here: and yet me-thinketh no man should deny, but that they have knowledge (by the Angels that are continually messengers from heaven to earth) of the great things that are done here. There is joy thorowout all heaven, when a soul is converted. And in Rev. 18. 20. when Rome is de­stroyed, as there will be joy thorowout the whole earth, so there will be joy thorowout the heavens al­so, when that City is ruined, in which is found the blood of all the Apostles, and of all the Martyrs and Saints slain by the power and authority of that City (for so God hath ordered it) from the Primitive times to this day; then saith he, Rejoyce over her, thou hea­ven, and ye holy apostles and prophets: for God hath aven­ged you on her. I say, there is no connexion between those two; That because they may be supposed to know some of the great affairs of the world, that therefore they must be invocated. Invocation there­fore is upon these grounds denied by our Divines, and justly too: For,

First, it is certain, and cannot be denied, that the Angels do know the things of this world; for they attend there as ministring spirits continually, which the other do not: and yet because they know them, it is no argument at all, that therefore we may invo­cate Angels, or pray unto them to pray for us. If a man were sure that an Angel were by him, and now attending on him, (as I am certain there are Angels attending the Saints; for they are their great guard [Page 9] in all places, especially in the Churches, in their pub­like Worship) yet he hath no warrant at all to de­sire that Angel to pray for him: God hath not ap­pointed such a way of communion between us and him.

Secondly, we have no warrant to believe that the Saints in heaven do hear us when we pray unto them to pray for us; and least of all, to think that one Saint should be able to hear a thousand, nay ten thou­sand Saints on earth at one time; it is the greatest absurdity in the world to imagine it: and yet how many suitors hath that one virgine Mary? The Saints departed may be supposed to have a great in­terest and priviledge, and participation with Jesus Christ, and a great honour communicated to them, for the managing of the great affairs of this world; and yet there is no consequence, nay the clean con­trary, that therefore we should invocate them; be­cause that no man can be assured, nay it is certain they do not hear the prayers of any, much less can they hear the prayers of so many: which is the do­tage of the Church of Rome.

But lastly, it is flat Idolatry, and that for this rea­son, Because that Christ being ascended into hea­ven, is constituted and appointed a Mediator there; and therefore for any to pray to the Saints in heaven to pray for them, is to have another Mediator before Christs face, whereas he alone hath took on him that office: for, There is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.

And so now I pass from the Explication of those words; and come to the third thing, which, I take it, is more eminently aimed at in the text, and in these words, [Page 10] We shall raign on earth.

I shall open what I conceive to be the meaning of these words, exceeding briefly, not intending to make a Subject of any thing in this Chapter. For when I first took it in hand, I onely purposed to run cursorily over it.

First then, it is evident, that there must be some great eminent advancement, yet to come, as the con­sequent of Christs being King; which these Saints here, had in their eye.

This I shall open to you by degrees.

For first, if you mark it, upon Christ's taking the book, (which was his undertaking to be King of the world) they fall out into this Outcry of praise and rejoycing, We shall raign on earth. This is the fruit, this is the issue, this is the conclusion of Christ's ha­ving taken the kingdom, and undertaking to be King. And it must needs too be some great and eminent thing, which must have an eminent and conspicuous accomplishment: for it is that thing which is next in their thoughts. They over-look all priviledges else, and do pitch upon this, and parallel it with Redem­ption. For, if you mark it, their song of praise runs but upon these two things; Thou hast redeemed us with thy blood, and hast made us kings, and we shall raign on earth.

Secondly, it is some eminent thing, to be fulfilled at an eminent time to come. For mark the diffe­rence; Thou hast made us kings, say they; thou hast given us that title, and that honour at the present: but we SHALL raign; speaking of it, as of a thing yet to [Page 11] come. They are kings, and they do raign in that respect by prayer; but yet they raign in sackcloth: yea, but we SHALL raign, say they.

Now that you may the better understand how it is to come, and when it is to come; for otherwise in all other respects the Saints are Kings in all ages; but I say, that there is a peculiar time in which it is to be accomplished, which they have now in their eye.

To make this clear to you, do but consider the na­tural contexture of what now followeth in this dis­course.

They utter this, you see, in the beginning of the book, in this vision of Chap. 5. which (as I have shewn) is the prologue to the whole that follows. They utter it when they did but first see Jesus Christ undertake to be King of the world, and had taken the government thereof upon him, and the execution of the decrees contained in that book he took out of the hand of him that sate on the throne. Before the end of the world should come, there was a long time, and a great many things that were contained in this book, in this roll which Christ took, which was written within and without, that were orderly one after another to be performed; therefore, in the next Chapter to this, after this Vision is past, (which as I said, is the prologue) there is first a going forth to conquer; Behold, (saith he, vers. 2.) a white horse, and he that sate on him had a bowe, and a crown was given unto him; and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. He had begun to set upon the world then, he went forth conquering; but he must go on to conquer; for he had the Heathenish world to conquer, and he [Page 12] hath the Antichristian world, and he hath the Mahu­metane world to conquer. And all his conquest is carried on, till towards the later end, by his bowe; he takes nothing out with him else; he overcomes by his Word, which are the arrows he shoots into the hearts of the Kings enemies, as you have it in Psal. 45. 5. So that now all the story thorowout this book after­wards, it is but the story of Christs conquering of his Kingdom with his bowe, and with his arrows, and executing the decrees that were contained in the roll he took out of his Fathers hand. When you come towards the end of the book, in the 19 Chap­ter, he that in the sixth Chapter you saw when he went first out, riding upon a white horse, you shall see him with Armies attending of him, whereof he is the General, riding likewise upon a white horse. I saw (saith he, vers. 11.) heaven opened, and behold a white horse, and he that sate upon him was called Faithful and True; and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. For towards the later end, when he comes to grapple with the Antichristian world, he doth do it by the Sword, and not by his Bowe onely. And therefore when he speaks of the Beast (chap. 13.) who had made war with the Saints, he tells us, (vers. 10.) that he that killeth with the sword, must be killed with the sword. It shall be the sword that shall end it. Therefore he that at first went forth upon a white horse, with no­thing but his bowe, you see him in the nineteenth Chapter coming to make war, & the Armies which were in heaven following him. And what is the issue of it? Vers. 20. The Beast was taken, and with him the false prophet, (whether the Mahumetane party, and the Pope, I will not now determine; but) they [Page 13] were altogether ruined and destroyed, cast into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. All this Jesus Christ doth, before he comes fully to possess his kingdom. And this you have related to you between the 6 Chapter and the 20 Chapter.

Well now, at the 20 Chapter, you shall see, that what they said at the beginning would be the issue of Christ's taking upon him the government of the world, and undertaking to fulfil the Decrees contain­ed in the book, the same is declared to be made good then, as being the eminent season for it. For after that he had taken the Beast and the false Prophet, an Angel came down from heaven, (so vers. 1.) having the key of the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand; and he lays hold on the dragon, that old ser­pent, which is the devil and Satan, and bindes him a thousand yeers, and casteth him into the bottomless pit, and there shuts him up, sets a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, &c. And then, vers. 4. I saw thrones, and they sate upon them, and judgement 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 raigned with Christ a thousand yeers. But the rest of the dead lived not again, until the thousand yeers were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he (vers. 6.) that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death shall have no power; but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall raign with him a thousand yeers. Mark; what they say at the beginning, when they saw Jesus Christ undertake the Kingdom; the very [Page 14] same (after he had conquer'd all his enemies, the Beast and the false Prophet, and then taken the devil and all, and flung him for a time into the bottomless pit) is here fulfilled. That which before they said would be the issue of Christs government, is here in the ve­ry same terms said to be accomplished. Here in the 5 Chapter they say, Thou hast made us kings and priests; in Chap. 20. 6. they are said to be priests of God, and of Christ. Here they say, And we shall raign on earth: in the 20 Chapter it is twice repeated; first, vers. 4. They raigned with Christ a thousand yeers: and again, vers. 6. And they shall raign with him a thousand yeers. This, I say, shews it evidently that at the beginning they had this in their eye, as that which should be the issue and close of Christs governing the world.

But you will say, Is what is said in Chap. 20. meant of the Saints raigning on earth?

Certainly yes: and the reason is this, Because during this raign, Satan is said to be bound. Now to have Satan bound while the Saints raign in hea­ven, is unnecessary and needless: for how can he disturb them, or be an annoyance to their kingdom there? Whereas you see, that by way of prepara­tion to this kingdom they shall have on earth, both the Beast and the false Prophet are taken, and Satan himself bound. Neither, secondly, can it be meant of the raign of the Saints in heaven; for that is for a longer time then a thousand yeers; and those Saints that were slain in the Primitive times, they have al­ready raigned longer then a thousand yeers. But that which doth most clearly evince it, is this, That in the 7 verse the devil is said to be let loose: And when the thousand yeers are expired, (saith he) Satan shall [Page 15] be loosed out of his prison. Therefore it must necessarily be meant neither of the kingdom of heaven after the day of Judgement, nor of the kingdom of heaven before the day of Judgement; but of a kingdom which they shall have on the earth, as the words are in this 5 Chapter.

Me-thinks (my brethren) that thus much should be evident to all mens apprehensions, by paralleling the words used here at the beginning of Christs re­ception of the government of the world, and the words expressed at the later end, (viz. in Chap. 20.) when Christ had thus accomplished the decrees con­tained in the book. I say, Me-thinks thus much should be conspicuous to all mens understandings, That there is some eminent kingdom for the Saints after all; when the enemies of Christ, the Beast and the false Prophet, and Satan himself is overthrown; when the decrees of this book are accomplished, when the time of this Prophecie is run out, that then, I say, there is an eminent kingdom for the Saints to have on the earth. Thus much, I say, me-thinks should be evident to any mans understanding: It is that which in the beginning these say will be the end of Christs kingdom here; it is that which they com­fort themselves withal; and, it is that which in order followeth Christs accomplishing the decrees of his Father, and the ruine and destruction of his enemies.

There have been those that have made this to be already fulfilled, namely, That there hath been a time wherein the Saints in heaven that were killed in the Primitive times, had a great deal of honour put upon them for a thousand yeers; and the Saints on [Page 16] earth had a great deal of peace; which they compute to be from the time of Theodosius the Emperour, till the persecution arose afresh by the Pope and the An­tichristian party; and they reckon it to be about a thousand yeers.

But it is evident, that that is not the meaning. For the time of this Raign here spoken of, must be after the Beast is destroyed: for in the 19 Chapter, vers. 20. it is said, The Beast was taken, and cast into the lake: and then follows in the 20 Chapter, their raigning with Christ a thousand yeers. And likewise all the Vials men­tioned in the Chapters before, were first to be pour­ed out upon him: and therefore it cannot be during the Popes raign. And then again, it cannot be du­ring that time neither, because it is said that the devil is bound up, that he should deceive the nations no more: Now during the raign of the Beast, Satan never deceived the nations more then then: so Chap. 13. 13. He deceiveth them that dwell on the earth. Ne­ver did he deceive men more both with Idolatry and Superstition, never was there raised more Wars and Persecutions against the Saints, then during the raign and time of Popery. The Saints indeed have had a great deal of honour put upon them by the Papists, in Canonizing of them, and the like; but alas, it was all but a false honour, it is not the honour and priviledge that the raigning with Christ a thousand yeers gives them; neither would they have so rejoy­ced in it when Christ first took upon him to be king; not rejoyce, I say, in that glory and honour which the Popish world gave them during those times of Popery; no, We shall raign on earth, say they: this was it which was the ground of their rejoycing, and [Page 17] which they had then in their eye. Therefore as this was not begun when these Saints here in the 5 Chap. first spake it; so neither shall it begin until the Beast and the false Prophet be destroyed. You must first see the accomplishment of those great things that are written in this Book concern­ing Antichrist and his Kingdom, which will be the close of the Kingdom of our Lord and Savi­our Jesus Christ, and then follows that which you have in the 20 Chap. the 4, 5. and 6. vers.

The next Question will be, What persons he speaks this of, when he saith, We shall reign on the Earth?

Clearly, of those that are redeemed unto God by the blood of the Lamb, Christ Jesus, out of every Kindred, and Tongue, and People, and Na­tion.

But the great Querie will be, whether they speak this of themselves, personally, or whether they speak it of all the Saints, successively? that is, not onely we now, but all the Saints in many ages to come, shall be persecuted and opprest: as we were by Heathenish Rome; so they shall be under Antichristian Rome; (for in Rome is found the blood of all the Saints; therefore I do not so much fear any Protestant-persecution) yet in the end, though we now by our blood lay the foundation, and do but sow to it; yet there is a crop to come up one day of a Kingdom which Jesus Christ hath undertaken to bring into this world, which his Saints shall have.

You may very well interpret it so; and certain­ly for my part I take it to be that which was their [Page 18] aim. And the language of the Scripture doth im­port as much. We shall not all die, (saith Paul) but we shall be changed. Did Paul think to live un­til the day of Judgement? No, yet he speaks in the person of We, and the Christians then might have said the like; and yet those persons all died. He meaneth therefore, the whole Community and Fellowship of the Saints, whom the Apostle Peter, in 1 Pet. 2. 9. calleth a Generation, and a Na­tion: and therefore now, as a Nation that knows that one day they shall prevail and have a King­dom, as the Jews think, (though they suppose it many yeers to come, and do not think that they themselves shall enjoy it) yet speaking in the lan­guage of their Nation and Generation, may say, We shall one day be the top of Nations, and have these and these Priviledges: that is, Not we that now live; but all of this Nation, this Generation, this Kindred, as they are called also. And thus it hath a passable and a fair interpretation; We shall reign on earth.

So that the plain Doctrine or Observation is but this, That there is in the end a Kingdom to come here for the Saints, that after all the Kingdoms of the World have had their time and their date, by which the Saints have all along been opprest and injured, there is, even on earth, a Kingdom to be given unto them, when all Nations shall be con­verted unto God, and the Saints in them be the prevailing party in the World. The Scripture seems to run much this way.

The first man (that I finde of an Englishman) that distinctly fell into this Notion, was a man of [Page 19] much holiness and piety,Mr. Wood. now with God. I'll tell you the occasion that led him into these thoughts, as he himself (in a manuscript I have lying by me) expresseth it. ‘I went, saith he, to recollect all the promises that are in the whole Book of God made unto the Saints, beginning at Genesis and so going along throughout all the old Testament (not dreaming of any such notion as this is) & I found no check at all in my thoughts, until I came to read some of the Prophecies in Isaiah, which professedly speak of the times of the Gospel, & which speak such great, high, and glorious things of spiritual enjoyments of God, with outward peace & pros­perity.’ As now to give you an instance or two, Isa. 2. from vers. 3, and so on: In the last dayes the mountain of the Lords house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it: and they shall beat their swords into plough-shares, &c. neither shall they learn war any more. The like you have in Micah 4. the whole Chapter. So in Isa. 25. 6, 7, 8. when the vail shall be taken from off the hearts of the Jews, (as Paul interprets it in 2 Cor. 13.) he tells you of the peace and glory that shall be in that nation, and how the Lord will wipe away tears from off all faces, and the rebuke of his people shall be taken away from off all the earth; whereas before they should lie under all sorts of reproaches over all the World. Likewise in Isa. 60. 9, 10, and so to the end, you have promises of all sorts to this purpose, how that the gates of the Church should be con­tinually open, they should not be shut day nor night, that [Page 20] men (saith he) may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought: for the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee, shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. The sons also of them that afflicted thee, shall come bending unto thee, and all they that despised thee, shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet, and they shall call thee, The city of the Lord, The Sion of the holy One of Israel. Where­as thou has been forsaken and hated, so that no man went thorow thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations. Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the brest of kings. For brass I will bring gold and fortron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron. Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls, Salvation, and thy gates, Praise. The Sun shall be no more thy light by day, &c. Also in Isa. 65. 16, 17. He who blesseth him­self in the earth, shall bless himself in the God of the earth, &c. for behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former shall not be remembred, nor come into minde. Behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoycing and her people a joy: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more an infant of daies, nor an old man that hath not filled his daies. And they shall build houses, and in­habit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them, &c. So in Zech. 14. 9. The Lord shall be King over all the earth: in that day there shall be one Lord, and his Name one. I cannot stand to single out those things in these Chapters and many others of the like kinde, which are most emphetical; you may do it when you read them. ‘Now, saith he, [Page 21] when I read these promises (as likewise that in Dan. 7. that after all the four Monarchies, (whereof the remainder of the fourth standeth) shall be destroyed, the kingdom, & dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the Saints of the most High.) When I found such promises, (saith he,) as these are, I knew not what to think, I wondred at it, and was amazed.’ Hereupon, he saith, he read some Commentators, whom he found to expound them all of Heaven and the glory thereof, set out in an allegorical way: but yet this satisfied him not; for it seemed evident to him, that it was to be un­derstood of a Kingdom here on the Earth; for he perceived there was mention made of sinners, and of men that die, and the like: and therefore read­ing other interpretations, he found them apply it to Ordinances, and and other Spiritual enjoy­ments of God, with abundance of outward peace and prosperity. Hence therefore he concluded that there must necessarily be a time in which these promises must be fulfilled and accomplished; for the Saints have alwaies in all ages been more opprest under the Gospel, then ever they were under the Law; they have prophesied in sackcloath, and have been the outcast, and the reproach of all the Kingdoms, and are so accounted even to this very day. Daniel you know was a Court-like Prophet; for he lived in the alteration of those great Monarchies, the Assyrian to the Babylonian, and the Babylonian to the Persian; and God did reveal himself ac­cordingly to him; for you shall finde his prophe­cie spent most in describing the four Monarchies [Page 22] that should be in the world; the description you shall finde specially set down in the 7 Chapter, where having described the three first Monarchies, he cometh at the 23 vers. to the fourth, the fourth Beast, which he saith shall be the fourth King­dom upon Earth, which shall be divers from all Kingdoms, and shall devour the whole Earth, and shall tread it down and break it in pieces, as the Roman Empire did, the Reliques whereof remain in the Turk & Pope to this day. But after all these Beasts were ended, I beheld (saith he, vers. 11.) even till the Beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given unto the burning flame. For in Rev, 19. the Beast is taken, and so there is an end of him. And as for the other Beasts, he saith, They had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season. But in the end and conclusion of all, what saith he? I saw one like the Son of man, (vers. 13.) and there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be de­stroyed. And vers. 27. 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. The text you see is express, that the Kingdom here spoken of, is a Kingdom which the Saints shall have after the four Monarchies are destroyed, which he saith shall be a kingdom, not in heaven, but, under the whole heaven, where there are People, Nations and Languages, men, who shall continue in their several varieties, which in Heaven they do not; for there is neither Tongue, nor Kindred, nor Nation there.

[Page 23] Let me speak another thing to you. Discour­sing once with a Papist, who defended (as you know they do) the truth of their Religion, and the supremacy of the Roman Church, he brought this Argument to me. ‘Read (saith he) the Pro­phets, you shall finde some of them make men­tion of a Mountain that shall be set upon the top of all the Mountains, to which all the people of God shall resort in a conspicuous manner; that peace and outward prosperity shall attend and accompany that Church or Mountain, the riches of the Nations shall be brought into it, Kings shall bow down their heads unto it, and lick the dust of their feet, &c. Where (saith he) were these and the like prophecies ever fulfilled, if not in the Church of Rome?

And for my own part, I must acknowledge, that let any one read such prophecies as these are, and give me an answer how or when they either are or can be fulfilled, unless this be granted for a truth, That after all is done, there is kingdom to be given unto the Saints upon the Earth.

When you come to deal with the Jews, you shall finde, that they alwaies knew and expected, and do now know and expect, a kingdom to come for them in the end. The Apostles themselves seem­ed to have such thoughts; for in Act. 1. 6, 7. when Christ was about to ascend into Heaven, they ask'd him, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore a­gain the kingdom to Israel? Christ you see doth not deny that there was a kingdom to come for them, onely he saith, It is not for you to know the times and the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. [Page 24] Plainly intimating, that there was a time and a sea­son, which God had for it, which he reserveth in his own power. And the Apostle Peter, when he comes to deal with the Jews, and preach the Messi­ah to them, in Act. 3. knowing that their great mistake lay in looking that the Messiah should e­ven from the first come to them as a glorious Mo­narch, and restore to them the kingdom, and not come meek and lowly, as he did, riding upon an Ass, he deals with them according to their own Principles, onely removeth their mistake: Repent ye (saith he, vers. 19.) and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refershing shall come from the presence of the Lord, and he shall send Iesus Christ, which before was preached unto you, whom the heaven must receive, until the times of the restitu­tion of all things (The very word which the Dis­ciples used in Acts 1. Wilt thou not restore, say they?) which God hath spoke by the mouth of all his holy Prophets since the world began. You Iews, saith he, expect a restitution; but here is your mistake; this Jesus must first be preached, and he must go into Heaven, and the Heaven must receive him, till that time of restitution cometh, and then he will at least manifest himself unto you. He that wrote that little book called, The Voyage into the Levant, he saith, That he had often occasion to converse with the Iews, whom he generally found to be in expectation of their Messiah; and when he told them of these kinde of notions that were up and down this Kingdom and other places of Europe, concerning a Kingdom that God would give unto his Saints here upon the Earth, after the calling of [Page 25] the Jews, and that their Messiah would manifest himself unto them even according to their own ex­pectations; he saith, They were infinitely taken with the hearing of it. It suiteth with all their Notions, and with their Expectations, and with all the Interpretations the Rabbins have given of those Scriptures.

And consider one thing more: All sorts, almost out of all quarters of the world, though they run several waies, yet they fall all into this Notion. As now for instance: Those that are for the Resto­ration of Churches to their first purity, they con­clude for this reigning for a thousand yeers, and that the Saints shall have thrones given them, &c. There is a time coming, say they, after Antichrist is down, when there will be a resurrection of Churches to their first purity and glory, in which there shall be onely Saints, without mixture of o­thers. And so they interpret that place in Rev. 20 5, 6. This is the first resurrection: blessed and holy is he that hath his part in the first resurrection. And, say they, Until then, all Churches will be but as dead things: the great resurrection is reserved till that time. Others that are for the coming of Christ in Spirit, (as the language of some is) they say this also, That towards the end of the World, Jesus Christ will break forth to his people with a great deal of glory and splendor, so as never be­fore. The very Jesuites themselves have been so much convinced, that such things are to be in the later daies, that some of them have written a book of the fifth Monarchy; onely indeed they do apply and appropriate it unto themselves, and call [Page 26] that kingdom which, they say, shall be in those daies, Regnum Jesuiticum.

The scope I have in saying this, is to shew you, that although men run several waies in their expli­cation and expectation of this time, the Jews go­ing one way, the Papists another, and those a­mongst our selves several waies; yet as it is an Ar­gument, and a strong one, That there is a God, and that the Notion of a Deity is stamped in the Spirits of men, because all Nations have pitched upon worshipping of some God, although their error hath been to worship the false: so the vari­ety of waies that men have run, and the expecta­tions that men are in, of such a time coming as I speak of, it argueth still for the substance, that there is some such thing, although one mistake, and another mistakes, and perhaps none can di­stinctly tell what is to come. This I am certain of, that the Primitive Christians did abundantly comfort themselves with this Notion, and the consideration of it. And here you see the Saints had it in their eye at the very first, when Christ took the Government of the World upon him, as that which should be the close of his Kingdom: We, say they shall reign on the earth; there is a King­dom reserved for our Generation; speaking (as I said) in the language of the Communion of Saints.

And there is all the reason in the World for it, besides what I have mentioned out of the Scrip­tures: for,

First, The Saints that have been opprest here in this World, it is a righteous thing with God to [Page 27] give that Generation rest, and that they should have their turn after all Kingdomes are dissolved; that what Adam lost, should be restored to them again.

Secondly, That all those promises which (my bre­thren) have had an accomplishment but in an indi­rect way, as that which Christ, & which the Psalms also mention, The meek shall inherit the earth: That all the prayers that have been put up, as, That thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven: That Abraham and his seed should be heirs of the world: That there shall be a new heaven, and a new earth, in which righte­ousness dwelleth; which, saith Peter, we look for: and that promise, if you look in Isa. 65. I am sure you will finde to be made to men on earth; for he saith plainly, They shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them, &c.

There are those that go yet further, and say, That though there is such a Kingdom belonging to the Saints, yet they say withal, That the Saints that have been before, they shall during that Kingdom rise again; so interpreting that place in Revel. 20. according to the very letter: I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Iesus, 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 yeers: but the rest of the dead lived not again till the thousand yeers were fi­nished. This is the first resurrection. Which resur­rection that shall thus usher in this reign, some interpret of a generation of Saints a multitude of Converts that shall come with the same Sprit and [Page 28] Power that all the Saints formerly beheaded, had; and so they are said to rise again in them, as Elias is said to rise again from the dead in Iohn Baptist, who came in the Spirit and Power of E­lias. But there are these reasons given to the con­trary, and that it must be meant of a true Resur­rection, and of a Resurrection taken in a proper sense: for,

First, It is said, That the souls of them that were beheaded, they lived; how? by a resurrection; for he saith, It is the first resurrection. Now, how do souls rise? no way, but by having their bodies united to them. They are the souls of men that have been killed, and killed by the sword: now their Resurrection must be answerable to their death; it is made the reward of it. Their natu­ral lives were taken away, their Resurrection to life therefore, must be taken in the same sense and proportion to the life which they lost. And then again, observe, it is the very same souls, in which you shall finde a great deal of emphasis: for read the 6 Chap. vers. 9. &c. I saw, saith he, the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held, lying under the altar, crying with a loud voice, &c. They were the Primitive Martyrs; for this was in the beginning of the book. Now here in the 20 Chapter he saith, I saw those souls, or the souls of them that had been slain, for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God: he useth the same description; and he addes to them (for the 6 Chap. is meant of the Primitive Chri­stians, slain under heathenish Rome) those that had been slain under Antichristian Rome; for he speaks [Page 29] of such as had purified themselves from Anti­christ, and which had not worshipped the Beast, nei­ther his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands, and they (saith he) lived and reigned with Christ a thousand yeers. But the rest of the dead lived not again. No wicked men shall rise then; they are reserved until the day of judge­ment.

But to what end is this?

First, That as these Saints do now govern the World invisibly (as I said before;) so they may then do it visibly. And great must needs be the glory and happiness of those times.

Secondly, That which the Angels do now in­visibly, the Saints shall then do visibly. The An­gels now have this World subjected to them, and all the affairs thereof; and the execution of the Decrees of God, are still said to be done by them. But, saith the Apostle, Heb. 2. 5. Unto the Angles, God hath not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. And he doth not speak of the World to come after the day of judgement; for it is that Kingdom which Christ shall have before he giv­eth up all things unto the Father. This world here, therefore, is subjected unto the Angels that do ministerially rule, and who do work with the Spirits of men this way and that way for the good of the Church, in opposition to Satan. But then all shall be done by the Saints in a visible maner.

Thirdly, Hereby they are made conformable to the same state and condition Jesus Christ was in: whilst he was in the World, he was mean, he was under all sorts of oppression; he dies, his Soul goes [Page 30] to heaven; he riseth again, and after he was risen, he stays here below for many days, converseth with his Disciples at times, instructeth them in the things of the Kingdom of God, appeareth, disap­peareth, &c. And if you ask me, What will the life of men be, thus risen? I ask, What was the life that Jesus Christ led during those forty dayes before he did ascend? And if you object, that this will be a diminution to their happiness; I answer, It was no diminishing of the happiness of Jesus Christ. Assuredly, he injoyed more blessedness being risen, and his Soul and Body united, then when his Soul singly and alone was blessed; and yet, for those forty dayes he was here upon the Earth. Think my brethren, of the day of judge­ment, whenas Jesus Christ himself will come with all his Saints and Angels, out of the place of Hea­ven into this visible World; and it will ask a long time to judge the World, because he will judge it as a man, and lay open the secrets of all hearts; and we may be sure that will be done in this visi­ble World. The Angels that come down from heaven to earth, do yet see the face of God there­fore it is no derogation to the happiness and bles­sedness of the Saints.

And if you ask me. Whether during this time they shall eat and drink? I answer, The children of the Resurrection neither marry nor give in mar­riage, or do any such thing; but they are as the Angels of God. Christ after his Resurrection lived not upon any such thing; no more shall the Saints, although the number of them upon the earth shall be innumerable; for the earth shall be [Page 31] full of the knowledge of the Lord, and the Name of God and of Christ shall be set up in the whole earth; and the greater part of the World shall be Saints. And though those that shall then be found alive, may haply eat, and drink, and build houses, &c. yet those that rise again, shall not.

I have, as briefly as I could, opened this thing to you, which here these Primitive Christians, in the very beginning of the book, have in their eye. Whether it be meant onely of that generation of Saints, and of the Resurrection in the 20 Chap. or onely a Resurrection by way of succession, in com­parison of former times; or whether, yea or no, it shall be a true and proper Resurrection, I leave un­determined: onely this I say, That certainly there is some great thing (after all the Kingdoms of the world have had their turnes) for the Saints to have, and that on earth, both by the promises in this book, and by all the prophecies of all the Pro­phets which have been since the World began. And therefore, as Peter saith, Seeing we expect such things, what manner of persons ought we to be, in all holy conversation and godliness!

FINIS.

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