Page images
PDF
EPUB

things shall last only for a small space, from the death or suppression of the witnesses, or the decree by which they were finally put down, and other absurd and wicked practices adopted in their room.

Verse 10th. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another, because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.

This seems to have been the ancient practice, in all cases of success and victory over enemies, now exercised by the subjects and dependants of the beast, who are so repeatedly designated by the earth, to show that they are a government of the lowest people, without orders, or ranks of dignity among them, agreeably to the custom of the other nations. goat, by way of an excuse for their flagitious conduct) 6 is found guilty; and the infernal genius of the committee of public safety, dared to take on itself to revenge the Deity." Considerations sur la Revol. Sociale 224 Month. Review 1795. This practice of sending gifts and rejoicing on any remarkable success is mentioned in the book of Esther, “ Therefore the Jews of the villages, made the 14th day of the month Adar, a day of gladness and feasting, and a good day, and of sending portions one to another.”—“ And Mordecai wrote these things and sent letters unto all the Jews—that they should make those days, days of feasting and joy and of sending portions one to another and gifts to the

* While this work is printing, the news of the counter-revolution in France arrived, to the great joy of the friends of peace and order-Bonaparte issued his mandate for the abolishing the Bishoprick of Rome and annexing it to Tarentum on the 1st of January 1810–he was driven from Russia and pursued into Germany in the winter of 1813–in the following summer he was beaten on every side and received his fatal death stroke at Leipsie, on the 18th day of Oct. 1813; by which France is restored to her legitimate monarch, and religion is again established; but in some measure freed from the former shackles and impositions.

poor."*

The people, therefore, of the government of the beast, the infidels, philosophers and pretended patriots, who shall thus slay these witnesses of God, (and it is not improbable but that they may be joined by some of other nations in alliance with them) shall receive great pleasure and satisfaction from the supposed death of these witnesses, and the expectation of having thus got rid of practices and habits wbich they consider as founded in folly, ignorance and su. perstition. This will lead them to rejoice with and congratulate each other on the occasion; and to con. vert (as Nebuchadnezzar did of old) the ornaments and materials used in the churches of Christ and the public worship of Almighty God, into gifts and the means of public rejoicing and festivals for their sup. posed victory.-And the reason assigned is, “ that these two prophets tormented them that dwelt upon the earth,” that is, the people of the government of the beast.

# Esther, ixth. 19th, 20th, 22d.

Hb

“ These words plainly allude to those of Abab to Elijah, 1st Kings, xviii. 17th, and are worthy of particular attention; they are also the very objection made to our Saviour himself, Luke, xxiii. 20.--In like manner these prophets are accused (for their instructions and teaching the people) of perverting the minds of the people, and raising sedition, and then bringing on men all the effects of God's anger upon such as are accursed of him. The primitive christians also, were accused of high treason for disturbing and opposing the worship of the gods as established by law, and their torments and punish. ments were excused upon that score.—The mis. carriages of men, the plagues of God; all unlucky accidents have been formerly laid upon the heads of the martyrs, during this corrupted state, as if they had been the causes of those torments : indeed in one sense they have tormented them, in that for their sakes, at their request, and to avenge their cause, God hath punished their persecutors."*

The reason, thus assigned, is plainly predictive of that general uneasiness and disgust, that has always been manifested, but will now prevail in a very remarkable and striking manner among men of the world, against keeping holy one day in seven, and particularly in devoting it strictly to the public worship and acknowledgment of the one only living and true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent into the world: supposing that the supreme Being is better

Dabuz, 581, 532.

pleased by the labors of a vain philosophy, teaching the sole pursuit of that pleasure and happiness which tend to the gratification of mere animal nature.

These witnesses also tormented those upon tho earth, by means of the public instruction, holding up continually to their view, and inculcating the wicked. ness of their practices, and the awful and everlasting punishments that most assuredly await their ungodly lives.

The prophet Malachi many years before this, had threatened the wicked among the Jews in language of the same import.And I will come near to you to judgment, and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerer, and against the adulterer, and against the false swearer; and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages; the widow and the fatherless; and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me saith the Lord of hosts."*

Verse 11th. And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood on their feet and great fear fell upon them who saw them.

This space of three years and an half is a remark- . able period throughout the old and new testaments. The famous drought on the land of Israel in Ahab's reign in consequence of the prophet Elijah's prayers, was for the space of three years and an half, which in prophetic language is expressed by three days and

* Malachi, iii. 6th,

an half, and seems to be typical of the time that the witnesses are to remain in a state of death. The ministry of St. John the Baptist, who was the second Elias, and the harbinger of the first advent of the Saviour, was for the same space of time; and according to St. Jerome, Christ's actual ministry, which began with John's being cast into prison, or the time spoken of by Daniel the prophet being fulfilled, continued during three years and an half to his cruciixion.

In like manner, some short time, equal in prophetic language to three years and an half, is determined on for these witnesses to remain in a state of death or suppression, so as not to be publicly used, acknowledged or improved to any of the sacred pur. poses for which they were intended. But at the end of this period the spirit of life from God, is again to return to them, and they shall stand upon their feet; or be restored to a condition of acting and thereby resisting their enemies. By their first standing on their feet, previous to their complete restoration or being called

up
to heaven, or to great power,

it

appears that it will be some time after their resurrection, before their victory will be complete. The government that will restore the Lord's day and the public worship, may in the beginning do it reluctantly and partially, but it will soon be seen that the power is of God.

Indeed the precise interpretation of this prophecy, will not long continue doubtful, or without clear and

« PreviousContinue »