« IndietroContinua »
the first resurrection spoken of, will take place after the coming of Antichrist, when great destruction is to begin in all nations: that all who are found alive on the earth at the time of the first resurrection shall continue to live; the good to be associated with those who are raised from the dead, who are to be as princes, that the wicked are to be reduced to a state of obedience, and are to be in the capacity of servants. That Christ will, in the new Jerusalem, live and reign a thousand years, with the patriarchs, prophets and saints, who are to enjoy a state of perfect happiness: that at the end of one thousand years, the second resurrection is to take place, when those who had their part in the first, after the last judgment, are to ascend with Christ to heaven.
This opinion was first introduced by Carpocrates in the reign of Domitian, sixty years after Christ. It is founded on that passage in the Revelation, xx. 4—6. "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them; and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again, until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such, the second death hath no power; but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years."1'
John Hutchinson was born in Yorkshire, about the beginning of the last century. He was a good Hebraist, and believed that the Hebrew scripture contains a complete system of all sciences, and of all knowledges, moral, judicial, physical and theological.
Hutchinson was received as an ingenious biblical philosopher, which philosophy he attempted to prove in a work he wrote, entitled Moses"1 Principia. He is much followed by Parkhurst, who says, speaking of the word heaven, "This is a descriptive name of the heavens, or of that immense celestial fluid subsisting in the three conditions of fire, light and spirit, which fills every part of the universe. He maintained, that this name, heaven, was first given by God to the celestial fluid, or air, when it began to act in dispersing and arranging the earth and water; that it has been the great agent in disposing all material things in their places and orders, and thereby producing all those great and wonderful effects, which are attributed to it in the scriptures, and which of late years hath been the fashion to ascribe to attraction and gravity." The works of Hutchinson have considerable merit, and have a tendency to illustrate the scriptures by a rational philosophy, accounting for the wonderful effects of what has hitherto been called, attraction and gravitation. But as his admirers never formed themselves into a body, and the system being more of a philosophical, than of a theological nature, they cannot be ranked as a sect of religious professors.
Those who profess to be Materialists, believe that the soul of man cannot be in a state of conscious existence without the material body. Therefore, they hold, that the soul after its separation from the body, is in a dormant state until the day of resurrection; that every thing of a spiritual nature is altogether inconceivable to us; that we cannot have any idea of existence, but of that which is material. Others again suppose, that what we call the soul, in which exists the will, and the understanding, is not distinct from the body, but that it is the result of that actuating power, which we call animal life.
Others go farther, and hold, that not any thing can possibly be, or exist, but what is altogether material; that the soul is material as well as the body: consequently that all things in the future state must be material also. That the matter of the world was coeval with God, and that it is consistent with the pure and unmixed belief in materialism. That the soul is material, or composed of matter tangible ; for this doctrine teaches, that, " as the body and mind grow and decay together, when the visible body is dissolved, it continues in a state of dissolution, till the Almighty, who gave it being, shall please to call it to life again." They also contend, that if the soul were immaterial and immortal, all its faculties must be so: the contrary of which we perceive to be the case, as every faculty of the mind is liable to be impaired, and all its powers fall away, so as to become extinct before death. A sect of this description appeared in the Christian world, about the year 180, called Her
mogenians from Hermogenes, an African, in the reign of the emperor Severus.
Were originally so called, because the opinions they held were mysterious to the general body of Christians. The term Mystic is not applied to any one particular sect of christians, but to all who believe, that the scriptures contain an internal, hidden sense, distinct from the external, or visible literal sense; and that unless this internal sense be attended to, we cannot have a true understanding of the scripture, which, for this reason, is called the sacred scripture: that if the scripture be thus understood, its sacredness, or holiness may be known, and in this alone consists its sanctity. There was a sect of these professors in the early ages of the apostolic church. Dionysius the Areopagite, at Athens, was the founder of these opinions. They have increased in every century to the time of Behmen and William Law, who was born in the year 1687. They do not receive the scriptures as an historical account of circumstances and things only, but as fraught with a more interior sense, and relating to spiritual states in the regeneration of man. They say, that we ought to love God, not for the hope of reward, the fear of punishment, or because he has commanded us so to do, but from a higher motive, viz. for his perfections only, endeavouring to attain to a similar, but subordinate state, by the love of those perfections operating in a holy life.
With these high considerations of disinterested inward adoration, they approach the throne of the Majesty
of heaven, who, they conceive, dwells awfully obscure in his eternal solitudes far above all heavens, filling all things by his influence. This state of contemplative silence, which, they say, is signified by those words, "letJ all flesh keep silence before me," they hold to be the highest perfection in this life.
Believe that God, who is a God of love, has elected all mankind to eternal salvation; even devils are to become prisoners of hope, and are to be finally saved, because, they say, anger cannot dwell in God; and that his tender mercies are over all his works: that the fall in Adam was only of a finite nature, but that the restoration by Christ was infinite in its effects, and would, if necessary, extend its saving power to millions of worlds: that actual sin, as it is only finite, cannot require eternal punishment; consequently, that the punishment of the wicked is intended to bring them into those states of humility which are to render them fit for heaven. They believe, that this plan of redemption is perfectly consistent with the nature and perfections of the Divine Being, and that it is held forth in scripture. They believe, that as Christ died for all men, the just and the unjust, to bring us to God, so all must necessarily be saved, and that then Christ will deliver up the office of mediator to the Father, and that God will be all in all.
The difference, they say, between those who keep the commandments of God, and those who do not, is this: the first have their lot in the first resurrection, agreeably to those words, "But the rest of the dead lived not, until