(from The Quarterly Journal of Prophecy, Vol. 2, 1850)
“The Council of Nice which met in the year 325, promulgated among its “forms of ecclesiastical doctrine, according to which all teachers in the church were to frame their discourse,” a declaration which brings out the decided Chiliasm of that assembly. It is to the following effect:
“I shall conclude this evidence by a quotation from Acts of the Council of Nice, called by Constantine the Great, so late as the year 325. This council, besides their definitions of faith and canons ecclesiatical, did set forth certain “diatuposeis,” or Forms of Ecclesiastical Doctrines; according to which all teachers in the church were to frame their discourse and direct their opinion. And if these forms were not then first composed, they were at least so moderated, that both parties might accept them, being (as you may see) delivered in the language of Scripture. Some of these forms are recorded by Gelasius Cyzicenus; among which is this, for the doctrine of the state of the resurrection, beginning, ‘Mikroteros ho kosmos,’ etc.
“The world was made more minute, or viler, because of foreknowledge. For God saw that man would sin: therefore we expect new heavens and a new earth, according to the Holy Scriptures, when shall shine forth the appearance and kingdom of the great God, and our Savior Jesus Christ. And then as Daniel saith (Dan. 7: 18), ‘the saints of the Most High shall take the Kingdom, and there shall be a pure earth, holy, a land of the living, not of the dead,’ which David foreseeing, by the eye of faith, cries out (Psalm 27: 13), ‘I believe to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living,’ a land of the meek and humble: for Christ saith (Matt. 5: 5), ‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the earth.’ And the prophet saith (Isaiah 26: 6), ‘the feet of the meek and humble shall tread upon it.’ “
On this passage Mr. Mede says, ‘This, you see, was the opinion of the whole orthodox Christian church, in the age immediately following the death of St. John, (when yet Polycarp, and many disciples of the Apostles were living,) as Justin Martyr expressly affirms: a testimony absolute without all comparison to persuade such as rely upon authority and antiquity. And therefore it is to be admired (saith Mr. Mede) that an opinion once so generally received in the Church, should ever have become cried down and buried. But those times which extinguished this, brought in also other alterations; and perhaps something in lieu of that, and relating to it, (which perhaps few observe, that have knowledge enough of the rest,) namely, prayers for the dead, which were then conceived after this manner; that they may have their part in the first resurrection.'”