by Brent Thompson
FORT WORTH , Texas (BP) – Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s rare book collection recently was enriched by the donation of a historically significant New Testament commentary.
E. Earl Ellis, research professor of theology emeritus at the seminary, donated a first edition volume of Henry Hammond’s “A Paraphrase and Annotations upon All the Books of the New Testament” during chapel Nov. 3. The book was printed in London in 1653.
Although Hammond (1605-1660) may be obscure to some people, historians alternatively refer to him as either the father of English commentators or the father of English exegesis.
“This was the first commentary of any length to be published in the English language,” Ellis said.
Hammond was chaplain to King Charles I, who once said that Hammond was the most natural orator he had ever heard. After the king was imprisoned by parliament in the mid-1640s during the reign of Oliver Cromwell, Hammond continued to attend to him. Hammond ’s royalist loyalties forced him into a kind of exile in Oxford during those years. Nevertheless, he was a respected scholar and gifted preacher, liked even by his opponents.
Berry Driver, Southwestern Seminary’s dean of libraries, facilitated Ellis’s donation of Hammond ’s 17th century commentary by presenting it to seminary President Paige Patterson. Driver explained that the New Testament commentary is considered by many scholars to be Hammond ’s magnum opus.
Southwestern’s library collection already contains 19th century editions of Hammond ’s “Practical Catechism,” “Miscellaneous Theological Works,” and “31 Sermons Preached on Several Occasions,” Berry said.
Hammond was a preterist, one who believes the events of the Apocalypse had already come to pass. Driver read from a review written by Charles Spurgeon, who had a mixed assessment of Hammond ’s New Testament commentary.
“Though Hammond gives a great deal of dry criticism and is Arminian, churchy, and peculiar, we greatly value his addition to our stores of biblical information. Use the sieve and reject the chaff,” Spurgeon wrote.
Ellis described how he came into possession of the rare volume many years ago in a second-hand bookshop in London .
“I’ve kept it and still use it,” Ellis said. “I have even made use of it in my commentary on First Corinthians. But I am happy to give this to our library here, and hope it will be useful to many in the years to come.”
Patterson expressed appreciation on behalf of the seminary.
“Thank you so much, Dr. Ellis,” Patterson said. “We appreciate you. I have always loved you and appreciated you. I appreciate you even more today in light of this very wonderful gift to the seminary.”
2015-83-Main Body-Henry Hammond
Royal chaplain of King Charles I / THE FATHER OF ENGLISH EXEGESIS
Annotations on the New Testament: Compiled from the Best Critical Authorities (1829) | To The Lord Fairfax and his councell of warre | 1649-1660 – Henry Hammond and the Preterist School of Interpretation | The lives of James Usher, abp. of Armagh, Henry Hammond
“The majority of interpreters admitted, what could not indeed be well denied, that the predictions in Mark and Luke referred to the destruction of Jerusalem, but thought that in Matthew predictions of the end of the world and the general judgment were mixed together: the nearer event being, in our Lord’s mind, a type of the more remote. In opposition to these views, Dr. Hammond, in his Commentary, had suggested that the whole of the prophecy had reference solely to the destruction of Jerusalem” (Memoir of Wellbeloved)
The History of the Works of the Learned, Or, An Impartial Account of Books Lately Printed in All A review of LeClerc’s Latin Hammond, from 1699
Jeffrey K. Jue: Heaven on Earth: Joseph Mede and the rise of millenarianism – Section 8 – Challenges from Preterists (2006) This book contributes to the ongoing revision of early modern British history by examining the apocalyptic tradition through the life and writings of Joseph Mede (1586-1638). The history of the British apocalyptic tradition has yet to undergo a thorough revision. Past studies followed a historiographical paradigm which associated millenarianism with a revolutionary agenda. A careful study of Joseph Mede, one of the key individuals responsible for the rebirth of millenarianism in England, suggests a different picture of seventeenth-century apocalypticism. The roots of Mede’s apocalyptic thought are not found in extreme activism, but in the detailed study of the Apocalypse with the aid of ancient Christian and Jewish sources. Mede’s legacy illustrates the geographical prevalence and long-term sustainability of his interpretations. This volume shows that the continual discussion of millenarian ideas reveals a vibrant tradition that cannot be reconstructed to fit within one simple historiographical narrative.
”The sixteenth century marked the increase of the historical-prophetic exegetical method, while the seventeenth century witnessed the dominance of this hermeneutic. Yet within this historicist tradition in England, two competing interpretations arose. The New England pastor, Increase Mather, expressed his opinion of …the Dutch scholar Hugo Grotius and his most ardent English supporter Henry Hammond in one of his dissertations:
“As for Grotius, I look on my self as concerned to warn young Scholars to beware of him, lest they suck down Poison when they think they have found Honey. He has by perverse Expositions and Interpretations in his Annotations on the Bible, corrupter many Texts of Scripture .. Dr. Hammond has borrowed most of his Nations from Grotius (especially his apocalyptical ones) whoever compares them will quickly discern.”
“All millenarians in the same strand as Mede shared Mather’s scathing sentiments, because Grotius, Hammond and later the puritan pastor Richard Baxter provided the strongest and most sustained opposition against a millennarian eschatology.” (Heaven and earth, p. 150 “Katherine Firth describes their interpretation as a “New Way,” which solicited repeated responses from those who contained to follow Mede.”
Dividing Line Between Destruction of Jerusalem and General Judgment – Matthew 25:31
(On Matthew 3:2)
‘ The phrase basilea ton ouranon, the kingdom of heaven and of God, signifies in the New Testament the kingdom of the Messias, or that state or condition which is a most lively image of that which we believe to be in heaven, and therefore called by that name. For as God’s regal power, exercised in heaven, consists in assisting, defending, and rewarding all his faithful subjects, and in warning, punishing, and destroying his obdurate enemies, so this kingdom of the Messias is an exact image or resemblance of it; and being, as it is elsewhere affirmed, not of this world, a secular kingdom, but consisting especially in subduing the world to his dominion. That is done first by the descent of the Spirit, and preaching the gospel, by his word powerfully working in some, and bringing them unto the faith, and then by his iron rod executing vengeance on others, viz: the contumacious and obdurate, (to this purpose that parable delivered by Christ, Luke xix. 12, on the occasion of their thinking that the kingdom of God should presently appear, ver. 11, is very considerable, — see the place,) and particularly those of the nation of the Jews after the crucifixion of Christ. And accordingly this kingdom of God will generally signify these two together; not only the first alone, but, in conjunction with it, that other more tragical part of it also. That it is used so here may be discerned, — ‘
First, by that which is said in Malachi, by way of prophecy of John’s preaching, (iv. 5,) that he should come before the great and terrible day of the Lord, (see note on chap. xvii. 10,) i. e. before the fatal destruction of this people ; and also in Isaiah, that when he cried in the wilderness, this was part of his crying, prepare ye the way of the Lord: noting him an anteambulo or forerunner of Christ’s coming, &c. ‘ Secondly, by that which follows here (ver. 10,) as the explication of this text of the Baptist’s, (and now also the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down and cast into the fire;) and again, (ver. Y,) by the orge mellousa, the wrath ready to come upon them, which is proportionable or parallel to the approaching kingdom of heaven, as the exhortation (ver. 8,) of bringing forth meet fruits of repentance, is to metanoeite, repent; and so directly in that prophecy of Malachi’s concerning the coming and preaching of John Baptist, (iv. 5, 6,) the sum of his preaching is expressed by the effect of it: he shall turn the heart of the fathers to (or with) the children, and the heart of the children to (or with) their fathers; i. e. shall convert all sorts of Jews, young and old, fathers aud children, — preach conversion and repentance to them, lest I (i. e. God) come and smite the earth (or land) with a curse; whereas God’s coming is interpreted by his smiting Judea, (curses and inflictions on that land,) so is this denunciation of those judgments part of that Baptist’s sermon, and the repentance or conversion by him preached, the only means to avert them. ‘
And so likewise in Isaiah xl. the revealing the glory of the Lord, &c. (ver. 5,) may be the preaching of the gospel; and then the visibleness of God’s judgments on all the Jews in Judea, and vers. 6, 7, 8, very fitly refer to the sudden destruction of that people, as the withering of grass, or fading of flowers, upon God’s blowing upon them, whereby his displeasure is expressed. To which yet his preservation of the remnant, (as here his gathering the wheat into his garner, ver. 12,) his protecting of the few believers, (so that not a hair of their heads shall fall, Luke xxi. 18,) is immediately annexed, vers. 9, 10, 11. And accordingly the kingdom of God here is not to be so restrained to the punitive part, but that it also contain under it that other piece of regality, which consists in protecting of subjects, and rewarding them which do well also, which should be most visible at the time of his punishment on the obstinate, his burning the chaff with unquenchable fire. To this purpose the words of St. Luke (xxi. 18, 31,) are most remarkable, where, setting down distinctly the signs and forerunners of the destruction of the temple and that people, and among those prognostics the great persecutions which the .disciples should find from the Jews, he bids them cheerfully look up, (ver. 28,) for their redemption, deliverance from these hazards and pressures, draweth near; and, with a short parable interposed to express it, he adds, (ver. 31,) know that the kingdom of Ood is at Jiand, — this kingdom surely here, which now approached, but should then be more near, wherein the judgment of God should be most visible in judging betwixt the wheat and the straw, burning up the refuse, destroying the impenitent, unbelieving Jews, but protecting and setting safe on the shore all the disciples and believers; and that by the very destruction of these their brethren, who were their chiefest persecutors, (ver. 16.) This sense will be the more unquestioned, if it be observed that, when Christ himself begins to preach, he used the same words, (Matt. iv. 17,) by which it is clear that Christ’s preaching the gospel was not the only thing ‘ meant by this kingdom, (as it is generally supposed,) because that was then actually present, when Christ saith only, it is nigh approaching. ‘
And as by Christ, so, when the apostles are sent out by him, the same style is still prescribed them, (Matt. x. 1:) As you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. And it is to the same sense affirmed by Christ that he came to send a sword, i. e. a slaughter on the land of Judea, (Matt. x. 34 🙂 so, when this commission of the apostles is set down by Luke, (x. 11,) to those that receive them not, they are appointed to use a direful ceremony, shaking off the dust from their feet against them, and telling them the importance of it, that the kingdom of GOD is nigh upon them, (ver. 11 😉 and upon the back of that, (ver. 12,) Verily I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Sodom in that day, (i. e. not in the day of judgment to come, for that belongs to each particular person; not whole cities together, but) in that day of the kingdom of God, than for that refractory city. God’s dealing with Sodom, in the day of their destruction with fire and brimstone, shall be acknowledged to have been more supportable than his dealing with such contumacious, impenitent cities of Judea. ‘
So Matt. xvi. 28 : The Son of man coming in his kingdom belongs not to the transfiguration, as it is by many mistaken, but to a coming in the glory of his Father to reward and punish, (ver. 27,) and is called the kingdom of God coming with power, (Mark ix. 1 🙂 and that belongs clearly to the scope of the place, viz: to arm his followers, that they should not be terrified with the malice of the Jews, (ver. 25,) or tempted to deny Christ, (Luke ix. 26.) So Luke ix. 11, when it is said they thought the kingdom of God should presently appear, Christ’s parable, concluding with the bringing forth and slaying his enemies before him, applies it directly to this purpose, (ver. 27,) and to what he adds (ver. 43) at his entrance into Jerusalem. So Luke xvii. 20, when he answers that the kingdom of God cometh not with observation, i. e. in a pompous, remarkable manner, so as kings were wont to come with their court and train attending, which all men come out to look after, and cry, lo here, i. e. it is come, &c., it is clear, by the consequent, that it belongs to this matter; first, the preaching of the gospel among them, then already begun, (ver. 21,) and then the destroying of unbelievers, (vers. 22, 24, &c.) ‘
The way by which this phrase comes thus to signify is this, because there be several offices of a king, the exercise of the power of the sword, as well as of making laws; of punishing and rewarding, as well as of reigning : he is ekdikos eis orgen, (Rom. xiii. 4,) an avenger to inflict punishment; and so he is expressed at his ekdikesis, vengeance, (Luke xviii. 7, speaking of this matter.) In this respect it is, that the governors of the Jews were called judges ; inflicting of punishments or judgments, which is one part, giving demonstration to the whole regal office, and so (Luke x.} these three phrases, the kingdom of God, (ver. 11,) and that day, i. e. the time of his exercising that regal power, (ver. 12,) (or, as St. Mark reads it, hemera kriseos (vi. 11,) the day of executing judgment,) and in the same matter krisis, (ver. 14,) judgment simply, are all phrases of the same significancy to denote the destruction here threatened, with which there was also mercy mingled, and preservation to some. (See Luke xvii. 34 ; xxi. 28.) The same thing is expressed by other phrases, the coming of Christ, the end, the end of all things, the conclusion of this age, which in their due places shall be observed.’ (Annot. in loc.)
(On Matthew 3:7)
“O ye that are more like to broods of venomous creatures than to the progeny of Abraham, who hath admonished you to make use of this means to escape the destruction approaching ?’ (Para. in loc)
(On Matthew 3:10)
“But now are God’s judgments come home to this people, and ready to seize upon the whole nation, and shall actually fall upon every unreformed sinner among you.’ Par A. in loc.
(On Matthew 3:12)
“According to this notion of winnowing, and burning the chaff, this verse accords with the general matter of John Baptist’s preaching, viz. Christ’s rich promises of all-merciful reception, and preservation to those that shall repent
and receive the gospel; and threatening of all judgments upon the impenitent Jews, formerly expressed by the kingdom of God approaching, and again by the axe laid to the root of the tree, ready to hew it down, and that attended with casting into the fire, as here the chaff is with burning with fire unquenchable. And so it was fulfilled on the Jews even in this life, (as it was oft foretold,) the godly true penitents that received Christ, through these tribulations, were preserved, when the rest that could not bear, or hold out the trial, all that the wind of temptation, false doctrines, &c., carried away, were generally destroyed ; the corn laid up in a garner, and the chaff devoured with the fire.” (Annot. in loc.)
(On Matthew 10:15)
“I assure you, the punishment or destruction that will light upon that city will be such, that the destruction of Sodom shall appear to have been more tolerable than that. See note on Matt. iii. 2.” (Par. in loc.)
(On Matthew 10:22)
“And the Jews, wheresoever you come, shall persecute you for preaching of Christ; but there is a fatal day approaching for these Jews, and they that in despite of all these persecutions, vs. 18—22, shall stick fast to your Christian profession, they shall, beside their crown in another world, have a remarkable deliverance here out of that destruction, which universally lighteth upon all others.”
“To endure to the end doth here clearly signify a persevering, constant adherence to Christ, in despite of all the persecutions that shall befall them for the name of Christ, and for an encouragement to that, is here added the promise, that this shall be the most probable course, in the event, to escape, not only eternal wrath, but even destruction here. This will appear by the context which runs thus ; the apostles are appointed to go preach first to the Jews peculiarly, and not to any others, till they have done with them, ver. 5 ; they are foretold what usage they shall meet with among them, scourging and killing, ver. 17 ; and as a means to escape the sharpness of this ill usage among them, is their flying from one city to another, ver. 23, which will save or deliver them for the time, and before they shall have gone over all the cities of Israel, that fatal destruction, or coming of the Son of man, ver. 23, shall be ; and so shall supersede their further cruelty upon them and withal involve all those, who, to save themselves, shall deny and forsake Christ. See ver. 39, and Luke ix. 24. That this is the meaning of sothesetai, (shall be saved) here, as it is in many other places, will appear, both by Matt. xxiv. 13, where the same words are again used in that very business, and by Mark xiii. 13, which is parallel to that place ; and there these words, but he that endureth to the end, shall escape, are attended immediately with the mention of the abomination of desolation, instead of which St. Luke sets the encompassing of Jerusalem with armies, (see note on Matt. xxiv. 3,) and the advice to them, which are in Judea, to fly to the mountains, which is a character by which we may discern to what the escaping doth belong; and that sothesetai, (to be saved) is not always to be interpreted of eternal salvation, but of temporal escaping, (any more than soteria, salvation, doth, Acts vii. 25, where it is clearly the deliverance of the Israelites out of Egypt by Moses,) will hereafter appear on occasion of the phrase oi sozomenoi, Acts ii. 42; Luke xiii. 23; 1 Pet. i. 5; and 2 Pet. i. 3. And this verse, being thus understood, will be all one with that famous prediction of the bird in the capitol, estai panta kalos, (see Suetonius in Dom.it. c. 23,) spoken surely for the comfort of Christians then, in respect of their persecutions, but wrested to Trajan and Adrian by the historian.” (Par. in loc.)
(On Matthew 10:39)
“The comfort meanwhile ye have, that as he that useth any way of compliance with the persecutors, and so escapes their malice, and saves his Matt. x. 33. See notes on Mark viii. 38. life, shall gain little by this, but be involved in the destruction which awaits them ; so on the other side he that shall hazard the utmost, that he may stick close to me, shall be likely to fare best even in this world. For thus I foretell you it will be ; some to comply with the persecuting Jews, and to escape their persecutions, will renounce Christianity, and feign themselves zealous Jews, and so when destruction falls upon the Jews, as it certainly shall most heavily, they shall be involved in that destruction, and that is all they shall get by that compliance, and pusillanimity: Whereas at the same time, they that comply not, and so venture all that the Jews’ malice can do against them, shall, by the destruction of their persecutors, be rescued from that danger, and live to see a peaceable profession of Christianity ; or if they do not, have the loss of a short temporary life rewarded with an eternal.” (Par. in loc.)
(On Matthew 12:31)
“The issue of this whole matter, as far as concerned the Pharisees there, was this, that unless their sins were particularly retracted by repentance, and Christ received and acknowledged upon these miracles of his, or afterwards by the conviction which the Holy Ghost should work upon the crucifiers, they can never have pardon or remission : not that they that were here guilty should never after repent, or upon repentance be accepted; this is not said here, or in any other place; but rather the contrary is every where affirmed in the Scriptures, which ofifereth repentance to all, (and that so really, that by the grace of Christ, and the Holy Ghost assisting his word, they may receive it,) and promiseth pardon to all, be they never so great sinners, so they do amend their lives sincerely, and lay hold on God’s mercy in Christ. And this is particularly applied to those Pharisees, by force of Christ’s prayer for his crucifiers, (which certainly was heard,) Father forgive them, that is, deny them not the means of forgiveness, (the power of repenting,) and forgiveness if they shall repent. And accordingly the Apostles after teach, that God hath exalted Christ to his right hand to give repentance unto Israel, Acts v. 31, that is, to all Israel, Acts ii. 36, 38; and particularly those crucifying rulers, Acts iii. I7, whose ignorance is there, as on the cross by Christ, urged to make their case the more hopeful, not that it was not notoriously vincible and criminous, but that they had not yet received all those means and methods of the Holy Ghost for their conversion, the greatest of all being yet behind, the raising up Christ from the dead, to be such a sign to move them, as Jonas was; whereupon he tells them, ver. 38, &c., that that only sign more they should have, (though they were a malicious and adulterous generation,) and when that was witnessed by the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles, and the preaching, and miracles wrought by that descent, then they that come not in to Christ shall never be forgiven, nor be capable of any further means of working repentance in them, this being indeed the last that should ever be allowed them.’ Annot. in loc.)
(On Matthew 13:37-43)
“The field is this world, the place of our living here; that part of the parable that concerneth the good seed, signifies the Christians ; but that ofthe tares, signifies the wicked seducers ; such were the Gnostics, and other heretics of the first times, such are all heretics and schismatics since. The time when believers and unbelievers (and seducers) shall be called to account, is, to this people, that solemn approaching time of their visitation, as to all other people, the time of final excisions, and especially the day of judgment. So shall it be at God’s times of eminent discrimination, such as his judgments on the Jews, and such the last dreadful day of doom. Christ by his messengers and instruments of his justice, shall destroy all heretics and schismatics, that any way keep others from the Christian religion, and all that live professedly in any unlawful course of contrariety to Christian purity. Then shall the true, pure Christian professors shine eminently in the church here, and after in glory.” (Par. in loc.)
(On Matthew 13:49)
“So shall it be, at the time wherein Christ shall come to work his revenge upon his enemies, not only at the destruction of the Jewish state, (wherein that discrimination shall be made betwixt believing and unbelieving Jews, reformed and unreformed,) but especially at the final day of every man’s doom, at the conclusion of the world.” (Par. in loc. )
(On Matthew 16:28; Nature of Christ’s Return)
“V.28. Coming in his kingdome. The nearness of this to the story of Christ’s Transfiguration, makes it probable to many, that this coming of Christ is that Transfiguration of his, but that cannot be, because the 27th ver. of the Son of mans coming in his glory with his Angels to reward, &c. (to which this verse clearly connects) cannot be applied to that; And there is another place, Joh. 21.23 (which may help to the understanding of this) which speaks of a real coming, and one principall person (agreeable to what is here said of some standing here) that should tarry, or not die, till that coming of his. And that surely was fulfilled in Johns seeing the pauoleoria, or famous destruction of the Jewes, which was to fall in that generation, Matt. 24. that is, in the life-time of some there present, and is called the kingdome of God, and the coming of Christ, and by consequence here most probably the son of mans coming in his kingdome, (see the Notes on Mat. 3:2, and ch. 24:3.b.) that is, his coming in the exervise of his Kingly office, to work vengeance on his enemies, and discriminate the faithfull believers from them.” (in loc.)
(On Matthew 23:39)
“How many passionate invitations and calls have I given you to bring you to repentance, to persuade you to be gathered under the wings of the divine presence, that is, to become proselytes to me, to be born again, and lead new lives, (see note on Luke xiii. 34,) but ye refused all! Behold your desolation of temple, city, and whole nation is irreversibly at hand. And after I am once gone from you, ye shall see me no more, receive no more admonitions from me till I come to take vengeance of you — at which time you shall be forced to confess me. And those that will not confess me now, would then be most glad (if it would be accepted) to use that acclamation which the children did, when you were displeased with them, (chap. xxi. 9,) to obtain any mercy from me.” (Par. in loc.)
Under her wings; — To gather under the wings seems to be a proverbial phrase among the Jews for gathering and admitting of proselytes ; thus, in Haimonides, speaking of three ways of receiving proselytes, circumcision, baptism, sacrifice, he adds, and in like manner through all ages, as oft as a Gentile would enter into the covenant, and be gathered under the wings of the divine majesty, and take upon him the yoke of the law, &c., where the wings of the divine majesty, referring to the manner whereby God signified his presence in the ark, and in the holy of holies, by the cherubims’ wings that covered the propitiatory, the being gathered under his wings is there set for his entering into the covenant, and attended with undertaking the yoke of the law, that is, obedience to his commands, and being his proselytes. And so here, Christ’s gathering as a bird under the wings is the preaching of the new covenant to them, and calling them all, as proselytes, to receive it.” (Annot. in Ioc.)
(On Matthew 24:3; Nature of Christ’s Return)
“Coming… the presence, or the coming of Christ is one of the phrases that is noted in his book to signifie the destruction of the Jews… A threefold coming of Christ there is, 1. in the flesh to be born among us, 2. at the day of gloom to judge the world, I Cor 15:23. and in many other places; and beside these, 3. a middle coming, partly in vengeance, and partly for the deliverance of his servants; in vengeance, visible, and observable on his enemies and crucifiers, (and first on the people of the Jews, those of them that remain impenitent unbelievers) and in mercy to the relief of the persecuted Christians. So ’tis four time in this chap. v. 27,37,39 and here
“…That this is the meaning of his coming in glory with his angels, Matt. 16:27 hath been shewed already. So again Matt 26:64, his coming in the clouds of heaven.. as the very Jews have observed, that that phrase signifies the inflection of judgment or punishment, so that it doth so here..” (p. 119)
(On Matthew 24:16)
“How exactly the several passages of story in Josephus agree with these predictions will easily be discerned by comparing them, particularly that which belongs to this place of their flying to the mountains, &c. For when Gallus besieged Jerusalem, and without any visible cause, on a sudden raised the siege, what an act of God’s special providence was this, thus to order it, that the believers of Christian Jews being warned by this siege, and let loose (set at liberty again) might fly to the mountains, that is, get out of Judea to some other place! Which that they did accordingly appears by this, that when Titus came some months after and besieged the city, there was not one Christian remaining in it.” (vol. 3, p. 160)
(On Matthew 24:30)
“And this shall appear to be a signal punishment upon the Jews, and they shall with sorrow (though too late) take notice of it as a notable act of revenge of the crucified Christ upon those that were guilty of his death.” (v. 1, p. 116, new ed.)
(On Matthew 24:36)
“But of the point of time when this judgment shall come, (see note on Heb. x. 25, and 2 Peter iii. 10,) none but God the Father knows, and that must oblige you to vigilancy, and may sustain you in your trials, (when you begin to faint by reason of persecutions from the Jews, ver. 12, which this is to set a period to,) by remembering that how far off soever your deliverance seems to be, it may and will come in a moment unexpectedly.” (Par. in Matt. xxiv. 36.)
(On Matthew 24:40)
“Then shall there be many acts of God’s providence discerned in rescuing one from that calamity wherein another is destroyed, especially that of departing out of Judea, ver. 16, which the believers generally did, at Gallus’ raising the siege, the rest staying behind, and so being destroyed. Two persons in the same field together shall be thus discriminated in their fate: two women grinding together, or turning a hand-mill, one of them shall stay, and be destroyed, and the other, that was in the same place and danger with her, shall, as by the angel that hurried Lot out of Sodom, or otherwise, by some invisible disposition of that Providence which waits on his faithful servants, be rescued from that destruction, ver. 31.” (Par. in loc.)
(On Matthew 24:45)
“Whosoever of you, then, shall be entrusted by God in any office of trust or stewardship, especially in that of getting believers to Christ, and shall discharge that trust faithfully, and discreetly, do that which is his duty in times of trial and persecution, (vers. 11, 12,) thrice happy shall he be, if, when his master comes to visit, he continues to be thus employed, and so be found about the duties of his trust, constant and persevering, (ver. 13,) his Lord shall enlarge his trust, and make him steward of all, and not only of his household : either preserve him to be a governor in his church, after these sad times are over, or otherwise reward him as he seeth best. But if that servant shall prove dishonest, and say or think, that Christ means not to come and visit, as he said he would, (2 Pet. iii. 4,) and thereupon join in the persecuting of his brethren, (as the Gnostics did with the Jews against the Christians,) and indulge himself presumptuously to licentious living, (see 2 Pet. iii. 3; Jude 18,) the time of visitation shall come on him, when it is least looked for — when he is in the worst posture to be surprised, and shall deal with him as a false debtor, or deceitful steward — hew him asunder, and assign him the same lot which befalls the unbelieving Jews, (Luke xii. 46,) bring the same destruction on the Gnostic Christians, and the Jews together, and that shall be an irreversible, and a most miserable destruction.” (Par. in loc.)
(On Matthew 25:1)
“At that point of time last spoken of, the heavy visitation on this people, the condition of Christians will be strictly resembled by this parable of ten virgins, which took hand-lamps,’ &c.” (in loc.)
(On Matthew 26:24)
“I am to go out of this world, to be put to death according to prophecies : God hath determined that I should come, and, like the good shepherd, incur any hazard — lay down my life for the sheep; and foreseeing the malice of the Jews, and their bloody designs, and the falseness of Judas, &c., he hath determined to permit me to be slain by them, and accordingly hath foretold it by the prophets, that I should be led as a sheep to the slaughter, &c. But that will contribute little to his advantage that is the actor in it. It is a most unhappy thing to have any hand in putting the Messias or any other person to death, though their dying may be determined by God to most glorious ends, which the wicked actor or contriver knows nothing of, nor at all designs, but directly the contrary, and therefore any such is a most wretched creature.” (Par. in Mark xiv. 21.)
(On Luke 9:26)
“Of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he comes so illustriously to punish his crucifiers, (or, at the last, judge the world,) see note on Matt. xvi. 28, which is not now so far off, but that some here present shall live to see it.” (Par. in Luke ix. 26, 27.)
(On Luke 10:11)
“Even the very dust of your city which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off as a testimony of your obstinacy, and usage of us, (Matt. x. 14 ; Lukeix. 5,) and as a token to assure you that your destruction is very near falling on you. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable, when that judgment comes, (ver. 14,) for Sodom than for that city. Woe unto you, ye cities of Jewry, among whom so many miracles have been shown, to work faith in you, and so to bring you to repentance, and all in vain ; had the like been done in heathen cities near you, they in all likelihood would have been wrought on by them. And accordingly their portion in the vengeance approaching, shall be more supportable than yours. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shall be thrust down to destruction and desolation. See Matt. xi. 23.” (Par. in Luke x. 11—15.)
(On Luke 13:3,5)
“Ver. 3. ‘ If you continue in your present wicked practices, raising sedition under pretence of piety, as frequently you are apt to do, then as they perished at the day of Pascha at their sacrifice, so shall a multitude of you, on that very day, in the temple, be slaughtered like sheep, and that for the same cause — a sedition raised the city.’
Ver. 5. ‘ Ye shall all perish in the ruins of the whole city, as they in that tower.” (Par. in loc)
(On Luke 17:31—36)
“When you see this judgment break out, let every man that is in Judea make all possible speed to get out of it, as Lot and his family did out of Sodom. And the least delay or stop in the course — all inclinations of kindness to the sins or company of that place, may be as fatal to any as it was to Lot’s wife, who, looking back, became a pillar of salt. He that shall take any unchristian course of compliance, (as the Gnostic Christians did afterwards with the Jews to escape their persecutions,) he undoubtedly shall perish in it; and he that, being a disciple of mine, shall, for the testimony of my truth, cheerfully and courageously venture death, is the only person that shall escape this judgment. Then shall it not be in.the power of any worldly providence to work any deliverance for any, but as in Sodom an angel came and took Lot by the hand, and led him out, preserved him, when many others were left behind, so shall it be now; those whom God will thus please to seal and preserve, the believers and constant professors, those shall be delivered, and none else.” (Par. in loc.)
(On Luke 19:27)
“But those countrymen of his, (whose king by right he was,) who, when he was gone to be installed in the kingdom, sent him that contumacious answer, ver. 14, (noting the Jews that would not submit to him upon the apostles preaching the gospel after the resurrection,) being now installed in his throne, he presently commanded to be put to the sword — executed as so many rebels — the fate that soon befel the Jews, after his inauguration in his kingdom, that is, his going to heaven.” (Par. in Luke, xix. 27.)
(On Acts 13:40)
“You are therefore nearly concerned to take heed and beware, that by your obstinate resisting and rejecting this way of salvation, now preached and confirmed from heaven by God’s raising Jesus from the dead, when ye had opposed and crucified him, you do not bring a remarkable astonishing destruction upon yourselves, in the same manner (and a heavier degree,) as it fell upon the Jews from the Chaldeans, Hab. i. 5, as a just punishment of their despising the rich mercies of God afforded them, and going on impenitently in their sins, against all the messages sent them by the prophets, and by so doing cause the gospel to be removed to the Gentiles, ver. 46. a thing which will come to pass suddenly, in both parts, (the gospel’s being taken from you and preached to the Gentiles, and the Romans coming in and destroying you,) though so incredible to you that you will not believe it, when the news of it shall come unto you by them that see it done.” (Par. in loc.)
(On Romans 2:8-10)
“But to such schismatical factious men, which are as it were born, and composed, and made up of contention, (as the Gnostics are,) that resist the right way, deny the Christians the liberty of not being circumcised, and themselves live in all unnatural sins, those that do thus renounce the gospel, and live contrary to the law, to such all judgments must be expected, desolations and destructions here in a most eminent manner, and eternal misery attending them. And as the Jew shall have had the privilege to bo first rewarded for his good performances, (as appears by Christ’s being first revealed to him, in whom consequently and proportionably he shall have all spiritual grace and crown, if he embrace Christ, and live exactly and constantly according to his directions,) so must he also expect to have his punishment and destruction first, and that a sad one at this present by the Roman armies, upon their final rejecting and refusing Christ. The greater his privileges are, the greater also his provocations and his guilt will be ; and then the Gnostic also, that takes part with the Jew, shall bear him company in the vengeance. As for the Gentiles, as they are put after the Jews only, (and not left out,) in the mercies of God, particularly in the revealing of Christ, so shall their punishment upon their provocations only come after the punishment of the Jews, not be wholly superseded; and accordingly it is to be seen in the predictions of both their ruins, in the Revelation, the Jewish unbelievers and Gnostics are punished first, and then the Gentiles and carnal Christians with them also.” (Par. in ver. 8—10.)
(On 1 Thessalonians 2:16)
“And this, generally, is the ground of their quarrel with us, that, in spite of their prohibition, we preach to the Gentiles, use means that they might repent of their idolatries, &c., by which, and the former things, the Jews do sft fill up the measure of their sins, that the wrath of God, to the utter destruction of them, is now come upon them, already denounced, and within a very little while most certain to overtake them.” (Par in loc.)
(On 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10)
“The revelation of Christ, as the coming of Christ, is a phrase of doubtful signification, sometimes signifying the coming to the final doom ; but sometimes, also, that coming that was described, Matt. xxiv., and was to be within that generation. And so sxire it signifies in several places of St. Peter, 1 Pet. i. 7, 13; and iv. 13; and the deliverance ready to be revealed, I Pet. i. 5, the destruction of the Jews being the time of deliverance and escaping to the Christians that were persecuted by them ; (see Rom. xiii. 11 😉 so again, 1 Pet. v. 1, where St. Peter, saying of himself that he was a witness of the sufferings of Christ, addeth, he was also partaker of the glory that should be revealed; that is, present at the transfiguration, whereby Moses and Elias were represented, and declared the glorious consequents of his crucifixion, that is, the destruction of his crucifiers, and deliverance of his faithful disciples. And so here it most probably signifies, where the vengeance on the oppressors, that is, the crucifiers of Christ, and persecutors of Christians, is described, and an appendix of that rest and release to the oppressed, which is that deliverance (or salvation) so oft promised to them that persevere and endure, and outlast those persecutions, and that, in that day, ver. 10, which is the notation of that time of vengeance upon the Jews. ‘
As for the mentions, first, of the angels, secondly, of the flame of fire, thirdly, of the everlasting destruction, which may here seem to interpret this revelation of Christ, so as to signify the day of the general doom — it is evident, first, that the angels being ministers of God, in executing his judgments on nations, this remarkable vengeance on the Jews may well here and is elsewhere fitly expressed, by his coming or revealing himself with, or by, his angels; so Matt. xvi. 27, and elsewhere often. Then, secondly, for tt\e flame of fire, or flaming fire; that is ordinarily the expression of the appearance of angels, (he maketh his ministers a flaming fire, saith the Psalmist,) and so adds little to the former. And, besides, God’s judgments, if they be destructive, are ordinarily, in prophetic phrase, expressed by flaming fire ; see Matt. iii.12. Thirdly, for the everlasting destruction; that signifies an utter destruction, as of Sodom, it is said, Jude 7, that it endured the vengeance of eternal fire, which, in all reason, belonging to the fire and brimstone that destroyed Sodorn, must signify, not the eternal burning of that fire, but the utter consumption of the city, by that fire, or the fire’s never ceasing to burn, till it had utterly consumed the city; and so, when of the chaff it is said, Matt. iii. 12, that it shall be burned with unquenchable fire, it refers to the custom of winnowing, where the fire, being set to the chaff, and assisted with the wind, never goes out till it have burned up all ; meanwhile, not excluding the eternal torments of hell fire, which expect all impenitent sinners, that thus fall, but looking particularly on the visible destruction and vengeance which seizeth on whole nations or multitudes at once in this life. And that this is the meaning of everlasting destruction here, appears, by all that here follows in this chapter, the time assigned for it, when Christ shall come, (the ordinary expression of this, his vengeance on his crucifiers,) to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired among all believers in that day; which that it belongs to somewhat then approaching, and wherein the Thessalonians were then concerned, (not to the general judgment, yet future,) is evident by his prayer for them, that they may have their part in that great favor of God, ver. 11, and that the name of the Lord Jesus may be glorified among them, to whom he writes, and that they may be glorified in or through him, by this remarkable deliverance, which should befall them which were now persecuted.'” (Annot. in loc.)
(On 2 Thessalonians 2:8)
“Then immediately shall this sect of Gnostics show itself—join with and stir up the Jews, and bring heavy persecutions upon the Christians, and (having this opportunity to .calumniate them to the Jews) behave themselves as their professed opposers. And Simon Magus shall set himself forth in the head of them — whom, as a professed enemy of Christ, Christ shall destroy by extraordinary means — by the preaching and miracles of St. Peter; and for all the apostatizing Gnostics that adhere to him, they shall be involved in the destruction of the unbelieving Jews, with whom they have joined against the Christians.’ ‘ And two means are here mentioned, by which this should be done ; first, by the breath of Christ’s mouth ; secondly, by the brightness of his coming; the former noting the power of the gospel in the mouth of the apostles, Peter and Paul, who contended with him personally, at Rome, and brought ruin and shame upon him; and the second noting the vengeance that befell the Jews by the Roman armies, at which time the Gnostics, that sided with them, were destroyed also.” (Par. and Annot. in loc.)
(On Hebrews 3:11)
“The only thing farther to be observed, (and wherein the parallel was to hold most remarkably, and which is the special thing that is pressed in this place,) is the fate of the disobedient, murmuring Israelites, who were so impatient of the hardships that befell them in their passage towards this rest, that they frequently, and foully fell off from God, and returned to the sins, and idolatries, and villanies of heathen Egypt, from whence they were rescued by God ; all these were excluded from this rest of God’s giving, their carcasses fell in the wilderness, and of that generation, only Caleb and Joshua, which were not of the number of these provokers, attained to that rest, were allowed entrance into Canaan. And just so the Gnostic Christians, those that in the time of persecution forsook Christ, and returned to the heathenish, horrid villanies, from which Christianity was designed to rescue them, were never to enter into this rest of God’s, were certainly to be destroyed with the Jews, with whom they struck in and complied, and desiring to save their lives should lose them, using their own ways to attain their rest or quiet, should miscarry, and never have part in God’s rest; whereas all that have believed, that is, that have or shall adhere and cleave fast to Christ in the present persecutions, and never murmur, nor provoke, do certainly enter into this rest; (as many as survive these persecutions;) happy halcyonian days of a peaceable, prosperous profession of Christianity were very shortly to attend them. And this is a sufficient means of explaining that whole fourth chapter of the rest, and the sabbatism, (as that is distinctly severed from the seventh day’s Sabbath, ver. 4,) which re- maineth, (and is now shortly to be had,) to the people of God, the faithful, sincere, constant Christians, the true Israelites, ver. 9 ; and so vs. 10, 11, where also the parallel is observed betwixt this rest of God’s giving, and that sabbatic rest, which God is said to have rested, on the seventh day. For as that was a cessation from all the works of the six days’ creation, ver. 19, so is this rest, that is now to befall the Christians, a remarkable, discernable cessation from all the toils and labors, that their persecutions under the Jewish unbelievers had brought upon them, and it is accordingly styled rest or release to the persecuted, 2 Thess. i. 7, and days of refreshment, or breathing from these toils, Acts iii. 19, according as it fell out in Vespasian’s time, immediately after the destruction of the Jews.’ ‘ As the Jewish Sabbath, in some things, resembled the rest after the creation, (in being a cessation from works of weight and difficulty, with which, formerly, the person was exercised, and so also in respect of the time of observing it, the seventh day,) but, in other things, is the representation and commemoration of the deliverance out of Egypt, in respect of the tasks and stripes from which they were freed, and of the plentiful condition to which they were brought, so may the word rest, prophesied of by the Psalmist, as still future, both after the creation, and after the entering into Canaan, so many years, be fitly interpreted rest from persecutions, and have one eminent completion in this, the Christian’s peaceable enjoyment of Christian assemblies, which was now, through the conduct of God, approaching them.” (Annot. in loc.)
(On Hebrews 10:25)
“The day approaching, (ver. 25 🙂 the notion of the day of Christ, and day and coming of Christ, and kingdom of God, and many the like, signifying that famous destruction of the Jews, hath been often mentioned. The other phrases have been gathered together from their dispersions through this book. Note on Matt. iii. 2; xxiv. 3, &c. Now for this phrase, day, or day of Christ, although somewhat hath been said on Rom. xiii. 12, yet now more fully it must be explained. The force of the phrase may appear, Zech. xiv. 1, Behold the day of the Lord cometh, and / will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken, &c. And so in many places in the Old Testament: and accordingly in the New, Luke xvii. 24, the Son of man in his -day, that is, when he comes to destroy Jerusalem ; and so Matt. xxiv. 36, of that day and hour, that is, the punctual time of this destruction, (not of the day of the last judgment, but of somewhat that was to come in that age, ver 34,) knows no man. So Luke xvii. 30, the day wherein the Son of man shall be revealed: and ver. 31, in that day, and xix. 40, the days shall come in which ffiy enemies shall cast a trench. So Acts ii. 20, the great and conspicuous day of the Lord, from which none of the Jews should escape, but only the believers. In which place, as it is cited out of Joel, it is observable that there is first mention of the last days, ver. 17, (which as the Jews render the days of the Messias, so Peter interprets the time after the resurrection of Christ, in which the spirit was poured out,) then of this great day, ver. 20, which is, as it were, the last of the last, forty years after his resurrection, in which Judea was to be laid waste. So 1 Cor. i. 8, the day of the Lord Jesus, agreeable to the revelation of the Lord Jesus, ver. 12, both of them denoting this time of judgment on unbelievers, and deliverance of the faithful. See also chap. iii. 13. So 1 Thess. v., as times and seasons, ver. 1, refer to this matter, (as, the time is come, Ezek. ii. 7,) so the day of the Lord cometh as a thief, ver. 2, (the same that is said of it, 2 Pet. iii. 10,) belongs to this matter also. So 2 Thess. i. 10, in that day. So here, the day approaching, as Luke xxi. 8, the season approach- eth, or as Joel ii. 1, the day of the Lord is come, it is nigh at hand. So the day dawning, 2 Pet. i. 19, is that day of judgment to the Jews, and deliverance to the believers among them. ‘
And that this phrase should thus signify, will not be strange, when it is considered, that, in all languages and idioms, the word day signifies judgment here on earth. So 1 Cor. iii. 13, the day shall declare, that is, the judgment or trial; and man’s day, 1 Cor. iv. 2, that is, the judgment of men. So dies in Latin, diem. dicere, to implead, and in English, a day’s man, an umpire, or judge. (See note on Matt. iii. 2, and xxiv. 3.) That this is the meaning of this place, will appear by the scope of the place, which is to comfort them which were ready to fall off from Christianity, upon the continued persecutions of the Christians by the Jews, among whom these Hebrew Christians lived, as
will appear in the story, Acts xi. 19, and 1 Thess. ii. 14, the approach of whose destruction must consequently be matter of comfort to them that had suffered long, and so of keeping them from falling away. And secondly, it will appear, by the plain words that follow to this very purpose, to sustain their patience, ver. 37, yet a little while, and he that cometh, that is, Christ, who hath promised to come to their punishment, and your relief, will come, (and that notes this particular, the destruction of the Jews, which is called his coming, Matt. xxiv.,) and he will not tarry, that notes the approach of that day. And to this purpose, to confirm men in patient expectation of this, without all disheartening by the delay, follow all those examples of faith, chap. xi., in which it appears that many depended by faith on performances of promises to their posterity, which were never performed to themselves personally, and so might very well fortify the Hebrews for an expectation of a far shorter time, it being now very near at hand. The same is expressed, when it draws nigher at hand, by the last hour, 1 John ii. 18.” (Annot. in loc.)
(On Hebrews 12:25-29)
“And, therefore, be sure ye despise not Christ, who is come to deliver God’s will unto you ; for if they were destroyed, that contemned Moses that delivered the law from Mount Sinai, then much severer destruction is to be expected for them that despise the commandments of Christ, who delivers them immediately from heaven. In giving the law, there was an earthquake when God spake, and that was somewhat terrible ; but now is the time of fulfilling that prophecy, Hag. ii. 7, where God professes to make great changes, greater than ever were among them before, even to the destroying the whole state of the Jews. For this is the notation of the phrase which is rendered yet once, which signifies some final ruin, and that very remarkable, as here the total subversion of the Jews, of all their law and policy, as of things that were made on purpose to be destroyed, designed by God only for a time, for that imperfect state, as a forerunner and preparative to the gospel, which, therefore, is a state of which there is no mention of the shaking it, nor, consequently, of any future state that shall succeed it, which signifies that that is most certainly to endure forever, till the end of the world. We, therefore, that are vouchsafed our part in this immutable kingdom, or state under Christ, a condition that no persecutions, nor even the gates of hell shall prevail against, but it shall be sure, finally, to overcome and survive all opposition — let us take care to hold fast, and not forsake the gospel, through which we may serve God so as he will now accept of, with reverence of so glorious a Master, and with fear of his wrath if we do provoke him by abusing his mercies. For this gracious God, which is our God, will show himself to the provoking Christian, as (or more severely than) he threatened to the Israelites, Deut. iv. 24, an emblem of which we have, Exod. xxiv. 17, where the sight of the glory of the Lord — that is, of his presentiating himself—was like devouring fire on the top of the mountain.'” (Par. in loc.)
(On 2 Peter 3:7-10)
“Melt with fervent heat: the destruction of Judea is here, vs. 10 and 12, described by dissolution, or consumption by fire, and so Isaiah ix. 5 ; Ixvi. 15, 16; Mai. iv. 1; and Joel ii. 3, 30 ; where that destruction is described; so 2 Thess. i. 8 — in flaming fire taking vengeance; (which that it belongs to that matter, see the context of that place, and note on ver. 1;) so Heb. x. 27 — a burning q/ fire to consume all that obdurately stand out against Christ, and that belonging to this matter also, as will appear by comparing ver. 25, and ver. 37 ; see the note on ver. 25 of that chapter.”
What is here thus expressed by St. Peter, is ordinarily conceived to belong to the end of the world, and the beginning of the Millennium, or thousand years. And so, as St. Peter here saith, verse 16, many other places in St. Paul’s epistles, and in the gospel, especially Matt. xxiv., are mistaken and wrested. That it doth not belong to either of these, but to this fatal day of the Jews, sufficiently appears by the purport of the whole epistle, which is to arm them with constancy and perseverance, till that day come, and, particularly in this chapter, to confute them who object against the truth of Christ’s prediction, and resolve it should not come at all, against whom he here opposes the certainty, the speediness, and the terribleness of its coming. That which hath given occasion to those other common mistakes, is especially the hideousness of those judgments which fell upon that people of the Jews, beyond all that before are related to have fallen on them, or, indeed, on any other people, which made it necessary for the prophets, which were to describe it, (and who use tropes and figures, and not plain expressions, to set down their predictions,) Jo express it by these high phrases of the passing away and dissolving of heaven, and earth, and elements, &c., which sounding very tragically, are mistaken for the great, final dissolution of the world.” (Annot. in loc. )
(On Jude 4)
“Before ordained of old to this condemnation : the way to interpret this, as almost any other difficulty in this epistle, will be, by comparing it with the second of Peter, which is almost perfectly parallel to this. There these men are spoken of, chapter ii. 3, and the passage that there seems parallel to this is — bringing on themselves swift destruction, and for whom judgment for some while lingereth not, and their destruction doth not nod, ver. 3, which signifies, in both places, the certain, and quick destruction which is likely to come upon those men, who, by complying with the Jews, and professing themselves to be such, to avoid their persecutions, are, by the Roman destroyers, taken for Jews, and so speedily (soon after this time) devoured. Only in this place is mentioned the being formerly set forth, or written of, answerable to which is 2 Pet. ii. 1, among you shall be false teachers; which being an affirmation that there shall be, must be grounded on some prophecy, or prediction, that there should. And that is clearly to be found in Christ’s prediction of the destruction of the Jews, Matt. xxiv. 10, before which there should come false prophets, all one with the false teachers in St. Peter, (see 1 John ii. 6,) by which the Gnostics are certainly to be understood.
And, therefore, at the writing of St. Jude’s epistle, these being actually come in, he speaks not of them by way of prophecy, that they shall come, but applies to them the former prophecy, that they are the men that were before written, or prophesied of by Christ, in the gospel of St. Matthew, and so capable of that title. Instead of this, when St. John, 1 Ep. ii. 18, speaks of this very matter, he saith — As ye have heard that antichrist cometh, so now there are many antichrists, by which, saith he, we know that it is the last hour ; just as St. Matthew had made it a prognostic of the coming of that final period of the Jews. By this it appears, first, that formerly (or of old,) here refers to Christ’s time; forewritten, (or ordained,) to Matt. xxiv., or the passage there set down ; and judgment or condemnation, to that great destruction that should fall, about that time, upon all the obdurate, unbelieving Jews, and false teachers—Gnostics, or other abominable Christians, whose sin is set down in the following words—impious, &c., and their condemnation in these.” (Annot. in loc. )
(On Revelation 2:11)
“Take courage against all possible dangers, remembering me, as I have represented myself to you, verse 8. And now I tell you beforehand, that your constancy to the faith must, in reason, be expected to raise you up enemies, both at this present. the Jewish zealots for the synagogue, verse 9, (incensed against you by the Gnostics,) and afterwards the Roman officers, asserters of the diabolical idol worship against Christianity, and these latter shall apprehend and imprison some of you, being permitted by God to do so, on purpose for the further trial of your constancy. And this persecution which shall come upon you, when the Jews are destroyed, (in the time of Marcus Aurelius and Verus, under which, Polycarp, the bishop of this church, shall suffer death,) shall then last for a little while ; and all this shall prove a foundation of greater glory to you, and help them to the reward and crown of martyrdom which suffer in it, and that is all the hurt which your constancy shall bring you.” (Par. in loc.)
(On Revelation 6:12-17)
“And at the opening of the sixth seal, in that roll, there was a representation of eclipses of sun and moon, &c., figuratively to express great destructions, Ezek. xxxii. 7 ; Isaiah xiii. 20 ; Joel ii. 10, 31 ; and chapter iii. 15. And the same was again signified by an appearance of falling stars, dropping down as the withered figs, those that are of a second spring, and come not to be ripe that year, but hanging on the tree in the winter, are frost-bitten, and with a great wind are shaken down and fall from the tree, Isaiah xxxiv. 4. And by the appearance of great, black, gloomy clouds, covering the whole face of the sky, not a star to be seen any more than the writing is discernable in a roll folded up, and by the earthquakes, verse 12, whereby many hills and islands were moved out of their places, Isaiah xxxiv. 4. And the governors and great ones, of several degrees of power among the Jews, the generals of the several factions among them, and every meaner person of all sorts, appeared in the vision to be in a horrible consternation. And the guilt of the blood of Christ and Christians, which they had shed, and of which they wished that it might fall upon them and their children, now fell upon them, made them fly into vaults, or caverns under ground, and into walls, (according as it really fell out, and as it was foretold by the prophets, Isaiah ii. 19; Hosea x. 8; and by Christ, Luke xxiii. 30 😉 as seeing this inevitable vengeance now falling on them.” (Par. in loc.)
“Verse 16. Wrath of the Lamb: the anger of the Lamb, and the great day of Ms anger, here, vs. 16, I7, and thine anger, chapter xi. 18, are set to express this vengeance on the Jews, whereof the crucifixion of Christ was so great and particular a provoker. Hence is it, that in the gospel it is called the kingdom of God, and the coming of Christ, and in Josephus and Eusebius, divine visitation, destruction from divine vengeance, and visitation from God, Euseb. Lib. iii. ; and all this from St. Luke xxi. 22, who calls them days of vengeance from God, poured out upon them remarkably for what they had done unto Christ. And one phrase yet more eminent, there is to the same purpose, Rev. xvi. 14, the war of the great day of God that ruleth all, that is, the bloody destruction which this just judgment of God brought upon them, for their crucifying of Christ, and persecuting and killing of Christians.” (Annot. in loc.)
(On Revelation 14:9-11)
“And methought a third angel followed, on purpose to confirm all weak and seducible persecuted Christians, and to fortify them in their patience and constancy, under the present, or yet remaining persecutions, (verse 13;) and this he did by denouncing the judgments that the inconstant should fall under, the direful ruin which attended all apostatizing, complying Christians, that, (after the manner of the Gnostic compilers,) for fear of persecutions, had or should forsake the Christian purity, and join in the worships or practices of heathen Rome, in the bitter punishments, or effects of God’s wrath, such as fell upon Sodom and Gomorrah, Christ being the Judge, and the angels the executioners of it; even utter destruction to all that shall have been guilty of this in any degree, and do not timely repent of it.” (Par. in loc.)
(On Revelation 17:8-11)
“And the scarlet beast, ver. 4, on whom this power is seated, and which blasphemeth, and defieth the God of heaven, that is, the person of the emperor, in whom this power is vested, at the time to which this part of the vision refers, is one which was in power, but at this point of time, that is, after Vespasian’s return out of Judea, was out of it, but shall come to it again, as it were out of hell, to persecute the Christians. And when he, that is, Domitian, shall have delivered up the empire again to Vespasian, upon his return out of Judea, and for some years become a private man again; this shall be matter of great admiration and astonishment to all that are not Christians, wheresoever they are, seeing by this means, that the persecutor of Christians is gone out of power, (and when he comes in again, shall not continue long, but himself be cruelly butchered, vs. 8 and 11,) and Vespasian, a favorer of the Christians, but the destroyer of the Jews, is come in again, even while Domitian was alive, which made it the more strange. This is the meaning of the riddle ; the seven heads are the seven hills, which are so famously known in Rome. And besides, they denote the seven kings or emperors thereof, (that have had any thing to do with the Christians,) which are here to be numbered from the time of the beginning of these visions, till this, of the writing of them ; of them five are dead, all of violent deaths, poisoned or killed by themselves or others, viz., Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius ; one then reigned, viz., Vespasian, and a seventh was not yet come to the kingdom, viz., Titus, who, when he should come to it, should reign but two years and two months. And Domitian, described ver. 8, as he that was and is not, that is, one that in Vespasian’s time, while he was busy in other parts, exercised all power at Rome, and was called emperor, is the eighth, that is, comes to the empire after those seven, being the son of one of them, to wit, of Vespasian, (in whose time, also, he held the government of Rome,) and this a wretched, accursed person, a cruel, bloody persecutor of the Christians, and shall be punished accordingly.” (Par. in loc.)
(On Revelation 19:10-11)
“And the Roman idolatry, and the magic, and auguries, and the divinations of the heathen priests, that had deceived the carnal Christians, BO far as to consent and comply with the heathenish idolatry, were to be like Sodom and Gomorrah, utterly extirpated. And the rest — all the secret idolaters, were swept away in the same destruction also, (for thinking that these armies against Rome, would be favorable to any, more than to the orthodox, pure Christians, they then thought it a fit time to discover themselves, but strangely miscarried in it, the Christians that fled to the Basilica, or temple, being the only persons that found deliverance,) and so all their idol- worship was destroyed, which is the sum of this chapter.” (Par. in loc.)
(On Revelation 20:3)
“The tranquillity and freedom from persecutions that should be allowed the Church of Christ from the time of Constantines coming to the Empire.” (Works III, 37)
“As for the old idolaters, or Gnostics, there was nothing like them now to be seen, nor should be till the end of this space of a thousand years. This is it that is proverbially described by the first resurrection, that is, a flourishing condition of the church under the Messias. And blessed, and holy, that is, safe, (separate from all danger,) are all those that are really in the number of them that partake, effectually, of these benefits, who, as they are rescued from those destructions which the Roman tyranny threatened them with, which is the interpretation of the second death ; so they shall now have the blessing of free, undisturbed assemblies for all this space.” (Par. in loc.)
“First resurrection: what is meant by the first resurrection, here, may be discerned by comparing it with
the second resurrection, in the ordinary notion of it. That signifies the resurrection to eternal life ; proportionably, this must signify a reviving — a restoring to life, though not to that eternal. Here it is figuratively used to express the flourishing condition of the Christian church for that thousand years, wherein the Christian professors, in opposition to idolatrous heathens, and Gnostic Christians, live safely and happily in the enjoying the assemblies, which is, saith he, as if the primitive martyrs were fetched out of their graves to live again, here, in tranquillity upon the earth. Where, only, it is to be noted, that the resurrection here is of the church, not of the particular persons, (the beheaded, &c., mentioned ver. 4,) thus to be understood, that the church which was persecuted, and suppressed, and slain, as it were, and again corrupted and vitiated in its members, now rose from the dead, revived again.’ ‘The second death: this phrase — the second death, is four times used in this book, chap. ii. 11, and here, chap. xx. 6, then ver. 14, then chap. xxi. 8. It seems to be taken from the Jews, who use it proverbially for final, utter, irrevocable destruction. So in the Jerusalem Targum, Deut. xxxiii. 6—Let Reuben live, and let him not die the second death, by which the wicked die in the world to come. Where, whatsoever be signified, among them, by the world to come, (the age of the Messias, in whatsoever Jewish notion of it,) it seems to denote such a death, from which there is no release. And according to this notion of it, as it reflects fitly on the first death, (which is a destruction, but such as is reparable by a reviving or resurrection, but this past hopes, and exclusive of that,) so will all the ‘several places, wherein it is used, be clearly interpreted ; chap. ii. 11 — He that overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death, that is, if this church holds out constant, it shall not be cut off; that is, though it shall meet with great persecutions, ver. 10, and death itself, yet that utter excision would no way better be prevented than by this of constancy and persevering in suffering of all. So here, speaking of the flourishing condition of the Christian church, reviving, after all its persecutions and corruptions, to a state of tranquillity and purity; On these, saith he, the second death has no power, that is, they have not incurred that utter excision, (having their part in the first resurrection,) but they shall be priests to Christ and God, and reign, &c., that is, have a flourishing time of Christian profession for that space of a thousand years. So in ver.
14, where death and hades (hell) are cast into the lake of fire, that is, death and the state of mortality utterly destroyed, (O death, I will be thy death,) it is added, this is the second death, that is, mortality is utterly destroyed, there shall now be no more death, the life shall be eternal. So chap. xxi. 8, the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone, (the utter, irreversible destruction, such as fell on Sodom, called eternal fire, utterly consumptive,) is called the second death, into which they are said to go, that are never to appear in the church again, (see chap. xxi. 8.) And though in these different matters, some difference there must needs be in the significations, yet, in all of them, the notion of utter destruction, final, irreparable excision, may very properly be retained, and applied to each of them.’ (Annot. in loc.)
(On the Reliability of Christ’s Declarations of Imminence)
“If, in this coming of the Lord, this day of vengeance belonged to the day of judgment (now after so many years not yet come) what a forbearance were this? What a delay of his coming? and consequently what an objection against the truth of the Christian religion. As Mahomet having promised, after his death, he would presently return to life again, and having not performed his promise in a thousand years, is by us justly condemned as an impostor.” (no cite yet)
“This very learned, pious, judicious man hath of late among many fallen under a very unhappy fate, being most unjustly calumniated, sometimes as a Socinian, sometimes as a Papist, and as if he had learned to reconcile Contradictories, or the most distant extreams, all that this very learned man was guilty of in this matter, was but this, his passionate desire of the unity of the Church in the bands of peace and truth, and a full dislike of all uncharitable distempers, and impious doctrines.”” (Treatise on the Epistle of Ignatius, 1655)
A Premonition Concerning the Interpretation of the Apocalypse (1653)
Having gone through all the other parts of the New Testament, I came to this last of the Apocalypse, as to a rock that many had miscarried and split upon, with a full resolution not to venture on the expounding of one word in it, but onely to perform one office to it, common to the rest, the review of the Translation :
But it pleased God otherwise to dispose of it ; for before I had read (with the design of translating only) to the end of the first verse of the book, these words, which must come to pass presently, had such an impression on my mind, offering themselves as a key to the whole prophecie, (in like manner as, this generation shall not passe till all these things be fulfilled, Matt. 24.34. have demonstrated infallibly to what coming of Christ the whole Chapter did belong) that I could not resist the force of them, but attempted presently a general survey of the whole Book, to see whether those words might not probably be extended to all the prophecies of it, and have a literal truth in them, viz., that the things foretold and represented in the ensuing vision ; were presently, speedily, to come to passe, one after another, after the writing of them.
But before I could prudently passe this judgment, which was to be founded in understanding the subject-matter of all the Visions, some other evidences I met with, concurring with this, and giving me abundant grounds of confidence of this one thing, that although I should not be able to understand one period of all these Visions, yet I must be obliged to think that they belonged to those times that were then immediately ensuing, and that they had accordingly their completion, and consequently that they that pretended to find in those Visions the predictions of events in these later ages, and those so nicely defined as to belong to particular acts and persons in this and some other kingdomes (a farre narrower curcuit also then that which resonably was to be assigned to that one Christian prophecie for the Universal Church of Christ) had much mistaken the drift of it.
The arguments that induced this conclusion where these: first, that this was again immediately inculcated, v.3, for the time is nigh, and that rendered as proof that these seven Churches, to whom the prophecie was written, were concerned to observe and consider the contents of it, Blessed is he that reads, and he that hears, &c. (saith Arethas, that so hears as to practise) for the time, or season, the point of time is near at hand. Secondly, that as here in the front, so c. 22.6, at the close, or shutting up of all these Visions, and of S. John’s Epistle to the Seven Churches, which contained them, ’tis there again added, that God hath sent his Angel to shew to his servants the things that must presently, or speedily, or suddanly ; and immediately upon the back of that are set the words of Christ, the Author of this prophecie, Behold I come quickly, not in the notion of his final coming to judgment (which hath been the cause of a great deal of mistake, see Note on Mat. 24.b.) but of his coming to destroy his enemies, the Jewes, &c. and then, Blessed is he that observes, or keeps, the prophecies of this book, parallel to what had been said at the beginning, c.1.3. Thirdly, that v.10. the command is given to John, not to seal the prophecies of the book, which that it signifies that they were of present use to those times, and therefore to be kept open, and not to be laid up as things that posterity was only or principally concern’d in, appears by that reason rendered of it, because the time is nigh, the same which had here at the beginning been given, as the reason that he that considered the prophecies was blessed in so doing.” (A Paraphrase.., In loc.)
“This being thus far deduced out of such plain words, so many times repeated, the next thing that offered itself to me was, to examine and search what was the designe of Christ’s sending these Visions in a letter to the Seven Churches. For by that somewhat might generally be collected of the matter of them, What that design was, appeared soon very visibly also from plain..”
“And it has been matter of much satisfaction to me, that what hath upon sincere desire of finding out the truth, and making my addresses to God for his particular directions in this work of difficulty.. appeared to me to be the meaning of this prophecie, hath, for this main of it, in the same manner represented it self to several persons of great piety and learning (as since I have discerned) none taking it from the other, but all from the same light shining in the Prophecie it self. Among which number I now also find the most learned Hugo Grotius, in those posthumous notes of his on the Apocalypse, lately publish’d.”
WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID
“Let us not forget that once in the Church’s history it was the common belief that John’s 1000 years were gone. Dorner bears witness that the Church up to Constantine understood by Antichrist chiefly the heathen state, and to some extent unbelieving Judaism (System iv.,390). Victorinus, a bishop martyred in 303, reckoned the 1000 years from the birth of Christ.
Augustine wrote his magnum opus ‘the City of God’ with a sort of dim perception of the identity of the Christian Church with the new Jerusalem. Indeed we know that the 1000 years were held to be running by the generations previous to that date, and so intense was their faith that the universal Church was in a ferment of excitement about and shortly after 1000 A.D. in expectation of the outbreak of Satanic influence. Wickliff, the reformer, believed that Satan bad been unbound at the end of the 1000 years, and was intensely active in his day. That this period in Church history is past, or now runs its course, has been the belief of a roll of eminent men too long to be chronicled on our pages of Augustine, Luther, Bossuet, Cocceius, Grotius, Hammond, Hengstenberg, Keil, Moses Stuart, Philippi, Maurice.” (Alexander Brown, Great Day of the Lord, p. 216.)
“Dr. Henry Hammond must be held as a somewhat notable figure in the history of English literature, if it be true, as is alleged of him by Hearne, that he was ‘the first man in England that had copy-money, i.e., a price for the copy-right of a literary work. ‘He was paid such a sum of money (I know not how much) by Mr. Royston, the king’s printer, for his Annotations on the New Testament.’
One naturally feels some curiosity about a man who was the first of the long list who have written for booksellers’ pay. He was one of the most noted of the many divines who lost their benefices (his was that of Penshurst, in Kent) under the Cromwellian rule. He was devoted to the monarchy, and bewailed the martyred Charles with bitter tears. His activity was thereafter given to the investigation of the literature and antiquities of the Bible, in which he had in his own age no rival. There could not be a more perfect ideal of a student. He ate little more than one meal a-day; five hours of his bed sufficed; he read in walking, and had books read to him while dressing. Finally, he could compose faster than any amanuensis could transcribe—a most serviceable quality at first sight for one who looked to be paid by the sheet. Five sheets a-day were within his range of power. It is related of him that, on two several occasions, he sat down at eleven at night, and composed a pamphlet for the press before going to rest. Dr. Fell, however, who wrote his life, seems to have found that easy writing made rather hard reading, for he speaks of Hammond’s compositions as incumbered with parentheses. It is also to be observed that the learned doctor did not thrive upon his assiduity in study, for he died of the stone at fifty-five.
In connection with this article, it may be mentioned that the first book published in England by subscription was a polyglot Bible, prepared under the care of Dr. Brian Walton, and published in six volumes in 1657. The learned editor became, at the Restoration, Bishop of Chester, but enjoyed the honour a very short time, dying November 29, 1661.
It may also be worth while to introduce to notice the first person who made any efforts in that business of popularising literature which now occupies so broad a space. It was unquestionably Nathaniel Crouch, a bookseller at the sign of the Bell, in the Poultry, London. He flourished in the reigns of William III and Queen Anne, but very little of his personal history is known. With probably little education, but something of a natural gift for writing in his native language, Crouch had the sagacity to see that the works of the learned, from their form and price, were kept within a narrow circle of readers, while there was a vast multitude outside who were able and willing to read, provided that a literature suited to their means and capacities were supplied to them. He accordingly set himself to the task of transfusing the matter of large and pompous books into a series of small, cheap volumes, modestly concealing his authorship under the nom de plume of Robert Burton, or the initials R. B. Thus he produced a Life of Cromwell, a History’ of Wales, and many other treatises, all printed on very plain paper, and sold at an exceedingly reasonable rate.
His enterprise and diligence were rewarded by large sales and considerable wealth. He must have appeared as something of a phenomenon in an age when authors were either dignified men in the church and the law, or vile Grub-streeters, whose lives were a scandal to the decent portion of society. John Dunton, a contemporary bookseller, who was pleased to write and publish an account of his own life, speaks of Crouch in such terms as betray a kind of involuntary respect. He says:
‘He [Crouch] prints nothing but what is very useful and very entertaining. . . . His talent lies at collection. He has melted down the best of our English histories into twelve-penny books, which are filled with wonders, rarities, and curiosities.. .. Nat. Crouch is a very ingenious person, and can talk fine things on any subject. He is . . . the only man who gets an estate by writing books. He is, or ought to be, an honest man; and I believe the former, for all he gets will wear well. . . His whole life is one continued lecture, wherein all his friends, but especially his two sons, may legibly read their duty.’
J.P. Dabney (1829)
Matthew 16: “28. Coming to his kingdom : so Wakefield. ” Or, — coming to reign, meaning probably till they shall see the Christian religion established in the world.” Mss. Notes. See Note on Ch. x. 7- This coming of Christ, however, is very variously understood. Hammond refers it to the great destruction of Jerusalem (as in Matt. xxiv. 3) ; Whitby, to the last day, from the similarity of the language used, to that of Matt. xxv. 31; 2 Thes. i. 7 ; Matt. xiii. 41. Grotius supposes it to signify the first manifestation of Christ’s power, by his resurrection, ascension, and sending the Holy Spirit, which our Lord declares would speedily take place. It is the common opinion of critics, that in the minds of the disciples, the destruction of the Jewish state and the final judgment were frequently conjoined, from the near resemblance in the language used by our Saviour, in respect to both. ” (ibid, p. 28)
“Henry Hammond was in his own way a peacemaker. He was the theologian who rallied Anglicans less willing to compromise with the Puritan rulers of England, and was the spiritual leader of his circle (Pearson, Thorndike). It was a real tragedy for the Church of England that he died prematurely, shortly before the Restoration movement began. Yet he did not die without attempting to expound a very unpopular Preterist interpretation. Indeed, he saw that the key to explaining the Apocalypse was inherent in the literal historical expression, “Things which must shortly come to pass” (Rev. 1:1-3). ” (Preterist Eschatology in the Sixteenth Through Eighteenth Centuries)
“It is mentioned in his biography that, when a student at Northampton, he had entertained doubts of the truths of Christianity, and had subjected its evidences to a most rigid scrutiny. Whether, even then, he had shadowed out to himself the mode of interpretation which he afterwards elaborated into a system, we are not told; but it was his firm conviction, in which Mr. Wellbeloved shared, that only by such means could the Gospel be defended against the objections of unbelievers. The most marked peculiarity of this system was the interpretation given to that passage in the Gospel of St. Matthew (xxv. v. 31-46), in which the second coming of our Lord appears to be connected, on the one hand with the destruction of Jerusalem, on the other hand with a general judgment and retribution. The passage had been a serious difficulty to enlightened expositors, and a handle to the enemies of Revelation. If a second coming of Christ in the clouds of Heaven, to judge the world to bring the present system of things to an end, and make an eternal separation between the righteous and the wicked, had been really predicted, as an event to be witnessed by the generation in which our Saviour lived (Matt. xvi. 28), it would be difficult to escape the edge of Mr. Gibbon’s sarcasm, who, in assigning the secondary causes of the rapid diffusion of the Gospel says, ” In the primitive church the influence of truth was very powerfully strengthened by an opinion, which, however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity, has not been found agreeable to experience. It was,” he says, ” universally believed, that the end of the world and the kingdom of Heaven were at hand. The near approach of this wonderful event had been predicted by the Apostles; the tradition of it was preserved by their earliest disciples, and those who understood, in their literal sense, the discourses of Christ himself were obliged to expect the second and glorious coming of the Son of Man in the clouds before that generation was totally extinguished which had beheld his humble condition upon earth. The revolution of seventeen centuries, however, has taught us not to press too closely the mysterious language of prophecy and revelation.”
The majority of interpreters admitted, what could not indeed be well denied, that the predictions in Mark and Luke referred to the destruction of Jerusalem, but thought that in Matthew predictions of the end of the world and the general judgment were mixed together: the nearer event being, in our Lord’s mind, a type of the more remote. In opposition to these views, Dr. Hammond, in his Commentary, had suggested that the whole of the prophecy had reference solely to the destruction of Jerusalem; and the same view had been maintained even more broadly by Mr. Nisbett, a Kentish clergyman, in his ” Attempt to illustrate Various Passages in the New Testament,” published in 1787.
In his view, the end of the world was only the end of the age, the Jewish dispensation, brought to a close by the destruction of Jerusalem ; the coming of the Son of Man in the clouds of Heaven was only this signal manifestation of divine power, confirming the truth of his predictions ; the darkening of the sun, the shaking of the powers of the heavens, were a symbolical description of great political revolutions; the angels who gather the elect, are the preachers of the Gospel, who gathered believers into the church ; the salvation promised to faith was the safety enjoyed by those who, believing the predictions of Christ, separated from Judaism and escaped the destruction which fell on its obstinate adherents ; the goats and the sheep were respectively the unbelievers and the believers; the everlasting punishment of the one, the everlasting life of the other, were the respective states of suffering or happiness which resulted from unbelief or belief, in the aion, the age or dispensation of Christianity, which succeeded to the abolished system of Judaism. The Apostles did not misunderstand their Master’s meaning; but when they speak of his coming, always refer to the destruction of Jerusalem, and its effects on these two classes of persons.
In the application of Scriptural language, commonly understood to refer to a future life and general judgment, to the destruction of Jerusalem, and its effects as regarded unbelievers and Christians, Mr. Cappe, however, went far beyond Hammond and Nisbett. Thus, John v. 28, ” Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming in the which all that are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of Man, and shall come forth, they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of condemnation,” is paraphrased by him, ” The time is at no great distance, when all who are now in their graves, who at present sit in darkness and the shadow of death, shall hear the voice of the Son of God summoning them to judgment, and shall come forth out of their present state of darkness and ignorance, to a new state of mind, to a resurrection which, to those who have been obedient to the calls of Providence, shall issue in the preservation of their lives, amidst the calamities which will overwhelm their country; to those who have refused to hearken to them, shall issue in their condemnation,” Diss. vol. i. p. 325. In John vi. 40, ” And this is the will of Him that sent me, that every one who seeth the Son and believeth on him may have everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day,” the concluding words are rendered, ” and that I should exalt him hereafter.”
In St. Paul’s address to the Thessalonians (1. iv. 13), “I would not have you be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not even as others which have no hope;” those who are asleep are explained by Mr. Cappe to be those who are not yet awakened to receive Jesus and his
Gospel; and the declaration that “we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent those who are asleep ” is said to mean, that ” we who are already Christians, waiting for His coming, shall not, in respect of any pleasures or benefits to be derived from His actual presence, or any personal communication with Him, be beforehand with those who are yet unawakened, if in the end they be brought to the acknowledgment of the truth,” vol. i. p. 263. There are other points in which Mr. Cappe differed widely from commentators in general, as in referring the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer and the precepts of the Sermon on the Mount, exclusively to the Apostles, and considering the Kingdom of Heaven or Kingdom of Christ to be his dispensation of miraculous powers to his disciples, beginning with the day of Pentecost and ending with the destruction of Jerusalem. The repentance which the Baptist preached was, according to Mr. Cappe, only a change of mind from worldly to spiritual conceptions of the Kingdom of Heaven. Mr. Cappe, and Mr Wellbeloved after him, rejecting the common interpretation of the passages supposed to refer to a general resurrection and day of judgment, believed that the state of reward and punishment began to each individual at his death —a belief which involves that of an immaterial principle in man. A hearer of Mr. Wellbeloved could hardly fail to observe, that he carefully avoided the usual phraseology, and instead of it employed that of a “future retributory scene.”
He regarded the Resurrection not as an example of the future life which awaits all mankind (in which view the analogy must be acknowledged to be very imperfect), but as a miracle, confirming the truth of our Saviour’s teaching, which everywhere assumes the doctrine of a future life of retribution, though it does not teach it in most of the passages which have been supposed to bear this meaning. His conception of Revelation generally was, that it did not so much bring new truths to light, as confirm them by miracles; or, as he sometimes expressed it, ” Christianity is a republication of the law of nature with miraculous sanctions.” It is not my purpose to examine the soundness of these interpretations; but the circumstance of their being adopted, as I believe they were in all leading points by Mr. Wellbeloved, is too important to be passed over in his biography.” (Biography of Wellbeloved, pp. 105-110)
“Hammond was a preterist, one who believes the events of the Apocalypse had already come to pass. ” (Hammond’s Commentary Added to Southwestern’s Library)
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Saturday, March 4th, 2006