THE WORLD TO COME. OR, The Kingdome of Christ asserted. The second Sermon.
EPHES. 1. 21, 22.
THE last time my work was to shew you, that between this world as now it is, and the state of things after the day of Judgment, when God shall be all in all; that there is a state which the Scripture calls a world to come, which is of purpose, and in a more speciall manner appointed for Jesus Christ to be King, when he shall have all things put under his feet. I quoted divers places to make it good, especially that in the eighth Page 22Psalm, and the 2d of the Hebrews; At the 5. verse of Heb. 2. I found it was the Apostles scope to prove that the Psalmist had prophecyed of a world to come ordained for Christ: and he proves it by this, that he was to have a world, wherein hee was to have all things subject to him, which was but the same thing that follows here in the text: And saith he, though we now see Christ crowned with glory and honour, ver. 8. which is all one with sitting at the right hand of God: Yet, saith he, We see not all things put under him; therefore it proves that there is a world to come, wherein all things shall be subject to Christ. Now then, finding in the Text mention of a world to come, wherein Christ hath his Kingdome over all, and all things is under his feet; and which in the judgment of most Interpreters, is taken out of the 8. Psalm, no ratioall man could imagine; but in the same sense that the world to come is taken, in Heb. 2. it must be taken here in the Ephesians. I spent time the last day to prove that the Son of Man prophecyed of in the 8. Psalm, that was to have all things under his feet, was Jesus Christ: Now I shall speak of this, that he hath a world to come ordained for him, and I shall ex∣presse my selfe in these two heads.
First, that the world to come, mentioned in Hebr. 2. 5. wherein Christ is to have all things under his feet, it is not this world that now is, or meerly the government that Christ now hath; nor it is not the world or state that shall be after the day of Judge∣ment, and yet it is said to be a world to come.
And secondly, I shall in a few words shew what I thinke is meant by that world to come, and see the severall steps and degrees of its growing up to Page 23 perfection, I shall speake a little to these two things to cleare up what I delivered the last day, be∣cause I fear I was not well understood in what I said, and I shall do it with as much brevity as I can.
First of all, That the world to come mentioned in Heb. 2. 5. and prophecyed of in the 8. Psalm, that it is not the world that now is, that is playn; for the Apostle di∣stinguisheth the world that now is, from that world to come: By this (saith he) we do not now see all things subject to him, and it is the argument by which he proves there must needs be a world to come that must be subject to Christ, Heb. 2. 8. Wee see not all things now put under his feete, which implies that there is a world to come wherein this is to be fulfilled; take this world now as it is in its ruffe, and it falls farre short of that world to come, wherein all things are to be subject to Christ, for that is not grown to perfecti∣on; we see Jesus now only Crowned, but we see not all things subject to him; it's true, this world to come is begun, but is not come to its perfection.
Secondly, I shall prove, that it is not the state of the world after the day of Judgement, and that I shall prove likewise out of Heb. 2. compared with this place.
My first reason to prove that the world to come or∣dayned for Christ, is not that world after the day of Judgement: I meane it is not that state then, because this world to come here spoken of which is for Christ, A∣dams world was the type of. Now looke in to Rom. 8. 19, 20, 21, 22. He shewes you there, that Adams world, that is this very vvorld vvherein novv vvee are, vvhich is the type of that world to come; hee tels you there, that this world that now is, the crea∣tures in it they groane for the manifestation of the
Page 24 sons of God; for saith he, the creature was made sub∣ject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him that hath subjected the same in hope; for we know that the whole creation groaneth, &c. Wee may in these words plainly see that there is a world to come, which is not that world or state of things after the day of Judg∣ment: For what will become of these creatures then no man can tel, but it is this very individual Creation wherein we live, that groanes for restitution, and the restitution of it is a world to come, as the present cor∣ruption and bondage of it, is this world; then look into the 8. Psalm, which is Christs world typed out, it is sayd, that heaven and earth, the moone and starres, the sheepe and oxen, the fowls and fish, &c. they are all sayd to be subject to him. This cannot be meant after the day of Judgment, for there is nothing after that which heaven and earth, the sun, moon, and stars, the sheep and oxen, &c. should signifie and typifie; so that the world to come is a State which is between the state of this world, which is yet in its Ruffe, and height, and that state which is after the day of Judgment.
A second reason for it is this; When this world to come shall come, and Christ shall have all subject to him: Now after this subjection of all things to him, then shall he deliver up the kingdome to his father, namely after the day of Judgment is over: This is playn in 1 Cor. 15. 24, 25. When Jesus Christ is fully in possession of this world to come, that all things are subject to him, then shall the sonne also himselfe be subject to him, that put all things under him, so that this world of Christs shall cease after the day of Judgment is over, for then cometh the end.
Page 25 Thirdly, out of the words of the Text, you have this world and the world to come, wherein there are Prin∣cipalities, Powers, Mights, and Dominions: Now after the day of Judgement there will be no Principalities, and Mights, and Dominions; that is plain in 1 Cor. 15. 24. He shall deliver up the Kingdome to his Father, when he shall have put down all rule, and power, and authority; so that the world to come the Apostle speaks of, wherein Christ is actually to have all things under his feet, it is not that time or state of things after the day of Judgement is ended, nor is it this world or the state of things now: so much for the first generall head.
Now I would a little explaine what is meant by this world to come, and that but in few words. I would first shew why it is called a world, and then why a world to come, and the severall degrees and countings on of this world, and when it is at its perfection, and when it shall cease.
First, why is it called a world? (my brethren) you must know this; that as God made this world for Adam, and put all things under him, though not under his feet, for God appointed a world for the second Adam Jesus Christ, and Adams world was but a type of this world, Rom. 5. 13. its said Adam was the type of him that was to come, answerably this old Adams world which now good Angels, and bad Angels, and sinfull men rule, it is but the shadow of that world which is to come, prophesied of in the 8. Psalme, and mentioned in Heb. 2.
Yea let me add this, that God doth take the same world that was Adams, and makes it new and glorious; this same creation groans for this new world, this new Page 26 cloathing; as we groan to be cloathed upon, so doth this whole creation, even as God takes the same sub∣stance of mans nature, and engrafts grace upon it, so he takes the same world, and makes it a new world, a world to come. For the second Adam, for the sub∣stance, the same world shall be restored which was lost in Adam; this God will do before he hath done with it, and this restitution of it is the world to come.
Now then, why is it called A world to come? It is called so, though the foundation of it be now laid, and was laid then, when our Lord and Saviour was upon earth, the foundation of it is laid in the new creature. As the first creation began the old world, so this new creature begins the new world; and as the old world was six days in making, so this new world is not perfected at once: the new creature that is in your hearts, it is but the beginning of it.
Mark in Heb. 2. how this new world is begun, and but begun, and when it began; Ver. 2. If the word spoken by Angels was steadfast, how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation, which at first began to be spo∣ken of by our Lord, and was confirmed to us by them that heard him, God also bearing them witnesse, &c. For unto Angels hath he not put into subjection the world to come, whereof we speak; its plaine, hee speaks before of the preaching of the Gospel, which was begun to be preached by Christ; and though the Angels delive∣red the Law, yet this Gospel which is the Kingdome of Heaven, and the beginning of the world to come, whereof we now speak; this Gospel was not delive∣red by Angels, this world to come was not subjected to them, they preached it not, neither shall they have Page 27 to do in that world, which the Gospel begins; so that you see this world to come began when Christ be∣gan to preach, and therefore observe the language of the Gospel; Repent, saith John the Baptist, for the king∣dingdome of Heaven is at hand; the world to come is coming upon you; so our Saviour, Mark 1. 14. Mat. 16. 28. There be some standing here that shall not dye, saith Christ, and yet all were dead that stood there long ago; they shall not dye (saith he) till they see the Sonne of man come in his Kingdome.
The foundation of this world was laid by Christ in bringing in the Gospel, and it was he that was Prophesied of in Dan. 2. 44. In the dayes of these Kings (whiles Principalites and Powers were standing, he that meant to raigne in the world, came stealing in upon it) In the dayes of these Kings shall the God of Hea∣ven set up a Kingdome that shall never be destroyed, &c. This new world began in the flourishing and height of the Roman Monarchie: what did Christ when he came into the world, and afterwards went up to Hea∣ven? he began this world, before that time the De∣vill was worshipped as the God of this world, in all parts of it; Christ he flings him downe, Luke 10. 17, 18. I saw Satan fall down like lightning. Christ de∣stroyed the Devil in all those heathen Oracles where∣by people were deceived; when heathenisme did not prevaile, then did Jewisme shew it selfe, and Christ he throws that down too, by the preaching of the Gospel, the Apostle cals this a shaking of the earth: There was a great deal of the old world gone presently, and fell down before this new world: Je∣sus Christ he converted by the Apostles millions of soules over all the world, in 2 Cor. 5. 17. Conversion Page 28 is there expressed by the passing away of old things; this is the first dayes work, for the world is yet to come; this is but a delivering us out of this present evill world, and not a subjecting of it to Christ, as in Gal. 1. 4. When Christ threw down heathenisme, and Jewisme, it was but the first dayes work, like a new naile that being strucken in, puts out the old one by degrees. This kingdome of Christs shall break in peeces and consume all other kingdomes, Dan. 2. 44. this will eat out all the Monarchies, and glory of the world.
Now after this first days work of throwing down heathenisme and Jewisme, then came a night of Po∣pery wch was set up in the room thereof: what will Christ do before he hath done? he will have a second days work, and will not cease till he hath thrown down every ragg, all that drosse and defilement that Antichrist and Popery brought into the world: We now are under the second days work, we are working up still to a purer world; it is still this new world, working up to its perfection; and Jesus Christ will never rest, till he hath not onely thrown out all the drosse of this world, both of doctrine and wor∣ship which conformity to the world hath brought in.
But for a second degree of this work, Jesus Christ will not rest, till he hath brought in the generallity of men in the world to be subject to himselfe; the world (according to Scripture account) consists of Jews and Gentiles; and how bitterly doth the Apo∣stle complaine in his time, of Gods cutting off the Jewes, the generality of the Nation was cast off: and for the Gentiles, saith he, Who hath beleived our Page 29 report. There was very few of them in comparison that did come in to Christ; but there will come a time, when this new world shall have a further per∣fection, when the generality of mankinde, Jew and Gentile, shall come into Christ: The world was made for Christ, and he will have it before he have done, Rom. 11. 26. All Israel shall be saved. There he tels us of a new world of the Jewes, and for the Gen∣tiles; he tels you, They shall be cast in, the vaile shall be taken from off all nations, Isa. 25. 7. And that which is so much aleadged for unity, shall one day be ful∣filled, but it will be when Christ is Lord of all the earth, and not till then; Christians will not agree till then, here will be a brave world indeed, that will be another degree of that world to come: One shep∣heard and one sheepfold of Jewes and Gentiles, and that as large as all the world, John 10. 16. This was never yet fulfilled, Jewes and Gentiles, were never yet one sheepfold together, but they shall be so one day: Read the Prophets, and you shall read there of strange things, of glorious times, that shall be here upon earth, of all Nations coming into the Church, the mountains of the Lords house, being set on the top of the mountains, and all Nations flowing unto it, and of great prosperity they shall have, which was never yet fulfilled; and there are many fall in and acknowledge thus much, that there shall be a glorious church on earth, when the Jews shall be cal∣led: but there is a third thing which is much con∣troverted, which here followeth.
The third degree of this new world is this, that vvhen this glorious time comes that Jesus Christ, as we have said, will call home both Jews and Gentiles, Page 30 and have a new world, in respect of the multitudes that shall come into him; Christ vvill also make this new vvorld more compleat, he vvill bring part of Heaven dovvn too, to add to the glory of this state. I shall breifly give you some grounds for vvhat I say, such as for this tvventy years I have not knovvn vvell hovv to ansvver.
I do not say that Christ himselfe shall come dovvn from Heaven to reign here on earth; but let it be understood that Christ shall still remaine in Heaven, and there to be his Court, where he shall reign both over this world, and the world to come; Yet this I conceive, that part of Heaven shall come down and rule this new world, to make the glory of it the more compleat; and that it may clearly put down old A∣dams world; my reasons and grounds which satisfies me in this are these.
If this be not so, I do not know how to understand that place which shall be the foundation of the rest, in Rev. 20. the whole Capter; but specially the five first verses, you shall finde, and such as know that Book, they do acknowledge as much, that in the Chapter going before, both Pope and Turke is de∣stroyed: In Chap. 19. Ver. 20. it is said there, The Beast was taken, and with him the false Prophet, that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the marke of the Beast, and them which worshipped his Image, these both were cast alive into the lake of fire, burning with brimstone. Here we see the Beast and the false Prophet is gone, where is the De∣vill? he is left still; therefore in the beginning of the 20. Chapter, he tels us, what becomes of the De∣vill: I saw an Angell come down from Heaven, having Page 31 the key of the bottomlesse pit, and a great chain in his hand, and he laid hold on the Devill, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomlesse pit, and shut him up, set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the Nations no more, till the thousand years were ended. The Devill, though now he travell the Earth up and down, and is ruler over the world, yet here he is kept up, that he may not deceive the Nations: This was never yet fulfilled, it could not be fulfilled, during the times of Antichrist; for the Devill never deceived the creatures more then he did in that time; and we see how it follows in order, after the Beast is taken and destroyed, then is Sathan bound up: but we know the Beast is not yet destroyed, therefore this thing is not yet come, and it cannot be after the day of Judgement, his binding up, for he is after his bind∣ing to be loosned a little season: and you shall finde that after Satan is let loose a little while, then the day of Judgement follows, when all the dead shall rise and be Judged, as in the 11, 12, 13. Verses.
Now take notice, that when the Devill is gone and thus shut up for a thousand years, what ther's done in these thousand years, of that we read in the 4, 5, 6, 7. Verses, And I saw Thrones, and they sate upon them, and Judgement was given unto them; Who are they that have this Judgement given unto them? What is meant by Judgement, but reigning, and Au∣thority, that such shall have. And I saw the soules of them that were beheaded for the witnesse of Jesus, and the word of God (which were the Martyrs in the Primi∣tive times, under the Roman Emperors persecution) and (saith he) which had not worshipped the Beast, nei∣ther had received his marke on their foreheads, or in their Page 32 hands, which were such as had stood it out in the times of Antichrist, and had not defiled themselves. They lived (saith he) and reigned with Christ a thousand years, but the rest of the dead lived not againe untill the thousand years were finished, this is the first resurrecti∣on: Now it is said by some, that the first resurrecti∣on is a spirituall resurrection, of mens souls from the death of sinne, such interpretations are commonly put upon it: Now I desire yon would consider with your selves a little, and weigh the place.
First of all it is the body of men that are said to be dead, that is plaine, for they are said to be beheaded, or slaine with the sword, for the witnesse of Jesus. It cannot be said so of the soule, that it's beheaded or slaine with the sword. And as the death is, such must be the resurrection, but their death was a na∣turall death, and their resurrection must be answe∣rable. And saith he, They lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. This is not meant the glory of hea∣ven, that reigned with Christ onely there, for so they shall reigne for ever with him, and so they had reigned from the first time that they were slain, they were with Christ in glory; but this reigning is up∣on their rising from the dead, for saith he, The rest of the dead lived not againe; therefore this rising of theirs is a living againe; This (saith he) is the first resurrection. Now (my brethren) consider further, where doe these reigne? It seemes it is on earth by this argument, because why else is the Devill bound up, he need not be bound up for their reigning in Heaven; but we see here as a preparation to their reigning, the Devil is bound: this is a place I could urge multitude of things out off, but I must not en∣large; Page 33 I know not likewise how to answer another place, Rev. 5. 10. where we have the the Saints in Johns time, saying, Thou hast made us Kings and Preists, and we shall reigne on earth: They do not say, vve do reign, but vve shall reign on earth, and then joyne with that what is said in 2 Pet. 3. 13. We according to his promise looke for new heavens, and a new earth, &c. We Apostles, we Saints that live now, we look for it; how prove you that? because the use he makes of it shews as much, as in ver. 14. Wheréfore beloved seeing you looke for such things, be deligent that you may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. It could be no argument to them in those times to be holy, and blamelesse: If they that lived in those times might not personally look for it; and what was it which ac∣cording to his promise the Saints then looked for? it is for a new heaven and a new earth. If we take heaven properly, there is new heavens to be made, but the old heavens shall continue which was made from the foundation of the world, and where we shall ever be with Christ after the day of judgment: And how is there a new earth? It shall be an earth wherein righ∣teousness dwels; because as I said, it will be a new world, subject to Jesus Christ, when the new Jerusa∣lem comes down from heaven; if you aske me what the Saints that rise from the dead shall do here in this new world: For that I shall give you such considera∣tions as shall take off the absurdity that seems to be in the thing.
First, to tell you what they shall not do; They shall not eate and drinke, nor marry, and give in marriage: So Christ tels us in Mat. 22. 30. The children of the resurre∣ction do none of these things: And therefore to imagine Page 34 a Turkish heaven here below, is the absurdity that hath been put upon it, and which indeed made the Fathers, many of them, after the first 300. years after Christ, to flye out so much against this subject; for there was an opinion then, that Christ should reign at Jerusalem, and that they should abound in all seve∣rall pleasures and delights, &c. and this the Fathers were against. I have told you what they do not; I will tell you what they do: he tels us, as I sayd be∣fore, that they shall be Kings and Priests, as in Rev. 20. 6. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurre∣ction; why? on such (saith he) the second death hath no power; they are out of all danger of it, being in a ce∣lestial state: •ut (saith he) they shall be Priests of God, and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand yeares; here is both their reigning and their Priesthood set out, I would open it a little. First, they shall be Kings; You heard before out of Heb. 2. 5. That hee hath not put this world to come in subjection to Angels: The An∣gels now, they are the Thrones, and Principalities, and great ones that rules this present world, but the Saints shall be Kings then: And for them to take the Angels places, to be as the Angels now are, after their resurrection, there is no absurdity in it: Christ saith, after the resurrection, the Saints they shall be as the An∣gels of God, & they shall be Priests likewise. I shall take off what absurdity there may seem to be in that by this: Our Saviour when he took up his body out of the grave, he continued forty dayes upon the earth; What did Christ do all that while? It is playne, he performed the part of a Priest and Prophet; he did instruct them in the worship of God, and speaking to them of things pertayning to the Kingdome of Page 35 God, so you read expresly in Acts•. the Apostles had a brave Teacher, Christ risen from the dead; so he began that new world, and he remained forty dayes here of purpose to do it: Now consider, is it any ab∣surdity for the Saints to be conformed to Christ their Lord and head, to run through the same states that he did? he lived in this world, was poore and miserable, so are you; when he dyed, he commen∣ded his spirit into the hands of his Father; and whe∣ther his soul went, our souls goe: So likewise when he took his body again out of the grave, he remain∣ed forty dayes upon earth, instructing his Disciples in the things concerning the Kingdome of God: If the Saints do so when they take up their bodies a∣gaine, in all this here is but a conformity to Christ, he ascended then up to heaven, and so shall his, and be for ever with the Lord.
But the great objection is, That the soules of men that are now in heaven, and see the face of God, for them to come downe and reign on earth, and do such service here below, it would be a disadvantage to them, or changing a better estate for a worse, which seemes to be a great absur∣dity.
For answer, consider to take off the absurdity that even this State I speak of will be a better State then what their soules are now possessed of, for o∣therwise our Lord and Saviour JESUS CHRIST when his body and soule was united againe at his resurrection, was not in a better state then his soule was in after death, when it was sepe∣rated from his body. Certainly his state after his re∣surrection, whilst upon earth, was better then his state before his resurrection: but you will say, they Page 36 are now in heaven, where they behold the face of God as the Angels do, which they may loose by co∣ming here upon earth; that doth not follow, for the Angels came down here below, and yet Christ saith, they alwayes behold the face of their father, so may these Saints on earth behold the face of God. Stephen, though a mortall man, yet the heavens were opened to him: He saw the glory of God, and Jesus sitting at the right hand of his Father. My brethren, God hath eternity of time to reveale himselfe to his peo∣ple in: and he doth advance his Favourites by de∣grees. First, he glorifies their souls apart; after when soul and body is united, it's in a better condition, simply considered, then the soule had before, how many wayes God hath to manifest himselfe to his Saints, & how many degrees they shall pass through, and how many worlds he will have to do it in, that is known to himself, however the more the better. If God shall lead you by degrees through this and that glory, from one to another, it will be to your advan∣tage. As in a Masque there are several shews, which adds to the excellency of it, God hath eternity of time to make all these shewes and representations of himselfe to his children: And let mee adde this, that the will that he fulfilled, which is prayed for in that we call the Lords prayer, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. There is a time when the will of God shall be done on earth, as compleatly as in hea∣ven, which is in that time of the first resurrection: My brethren, I have spoken these things, as that which hath a great shew of truth in it, and as that which is exceeding probable: I have told you my grounds for it, which I could never answer my self.
Page 37 Now there is a fourth degree of this world to come, and that I am sure will hold, and that is that time du∣ring the day of judgment, strictly so taken, after the generall resurrection both of just and unjust: Then to honour this New World, not only shall the Saints come down, but Jesus Christ himself will come down and abide a long day here below: Therefore it is not absurdity for Saints to leave heaven, when Christ himself shall do it; neither will it diminish any thing from Christs happinesse, for he will come and bring all his glory with him. That we call the day of judg∣ment will be a long day, judg you your selves whe∣ther it will be so or no: Do you think that the ac∣compts of all the world can be cast up in the twink∣ling of an eye? Doth not Solomon say expresly, That God will bring every worke to judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evill, in Ecclès. 12. And doth not the Apostle say in 1 Cor. 4. 5. That when the Lord comes, he will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the heart, Will not this require much time? surely it will be a long day, when our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ will do that great work or service to God, the greatest that ever was, more then all his preaching, which is the exa∣mining the accounts of all the world, convincing all man-kind of their evill, and sending them speechless to Hell. Things shall be so there, that the Saints shall be able to judg the world too, according to that in 1 Cor. 6. 2.
Now here this new world will be in its height and perfection, here is Christ and all his Saints and An∣gels about him: Yet not that this world shall be subject to Angels, but they shall gather all the Na∣tions Page 38 together, and shall execute the sentence that Christ pronounceth against them, and fling them all to Hell: but the Angels shall not sit as Judges, they shall stand and not sit, whereas the Saints are sayd to sit upon 12. Thrones, and they are said likewise in 1 Cor. 6. To judge Angels: And now shall this world to come be at its perfection; that creature that hath groa∣ned under mans lusts, shall then be fully restored to the glorious liberty of the sons of God, the world will then be new hung; This is Christs world to come, wherein he shall have all things subject to him. For at this time shall all things be under Christs feet, and never till then; for the last enemie that shall be destroyed is Death: and when all things shall be subdued to him, then shall the sonne also himself be subject, then shall he give up the Kingdome to the Father: And what that State is that shall come after Christ hath given up the Kingdome to his Father, no man knows, only the Scripture saith this of it; That God shall be all in all, and that Christ himselfe shall then be subject.