« PreviousContinue »
heaven and earth by the same word, and describe both the visible and invisible effects of his grace by the same thing his wisdom is not only multiform, but of every form-all forms, ideal, natural, and spiritual express this wisdom, exist by it, and in it are onehe is their alpha and omega-the beginning of all things and their end."
In this figurative language and with these advantages in view, St. John the suffering disciple of Jesus Christ, is taught to write his vision; and in the
* In addition to the testimony given in this work, that the beloved disciple was the author of the revelation, it may not be unacceptable to add a sentence out of Mr Mede's works on the subject-speaking of the revelations and its wonderful prophecy, he says, "This was so plainly perceived by the christians of the next age after the apostles, that Justin Martyr witnesseth that not only himself, but if there were at that time any entirely orthodox christians, they did with full consent believe it. Which opinion of the first christians, their successors after an age or two rejected, either because it was corrupted by some additions, or (as indeed I suppose) not rightly understood, notwithstanding the heat of contention being proceeded in so far, before the matter could be brought to an end (which thou mayest justly admire and grieve at) that whose could not otherwise quit themselves from the force of the contrary opinion, borne up by the foundation of the revelation, would rather call into question the most divine prophecy witnessed and sealed both by all the disciples of the apostles and their next successors; yea and by presumptions feigned for that purpose openly and boldly extenuate the authority thereof, rather than yield and submit; till at length having gotten a fit interpretation (as they themselves then supposed) of this thousand years, yielding the revelation to be canonieal, they desisted from their impious and fearful enterprise."
spirit of the whole scriptures, might properly be stiled a revelation of particulars, with regard to the great designs of divine providence, relative to his church and people, from that time, till their complete redemption at the second coming of their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in glory; this great event the divine apostle seems to have designed to warn the churches of, in order to comfort and encourage them amidst the extreme tribulation and distress that he saw must come on the church in every part of the world, at the same time that it would be very terrible to their enemies; he seems also to design it as a subject of continual meditation to the church, lest the advent of the Saviour might take her unawares and prove a snare to her, being unexpected and she unprepared.
Our Lord himself appeared to his beloved disciple in the midst of the golden candlesticks, emblematic of his churches, to show that he is always in the midst of them; governs, sees, and knows every thing that passes therein.
This eleventh chapter of the revelation is, as has been before observed, a recapitulation of the vision in its full extent, whether represented by the trumpets or vials-Having finished one representation of the general design; before he proceeds to another view of the same dispensations of providence, the spirit of God gives a brief sketch, or contents, of the whole plan of infinite wisdom, by way of abstract or prospectus contained in one chapter. By these means a
complete view of the principal and leading facts might be comprehended, and easily retained in the memory; by which the certain controul of the great governor of his church over all future events, however complicated, might be clearly seen, confided in, and trusted to, by all his people. This chapter is particularly worthy of consideration, as it is not the subject of a vision as the former part, but was told to John by an angel, personating Christ himself; "and the angel stood, saying, rise and measure the temple of God and I will give power unto my two witnesses." &c.
It is for these reasons, that I have selected the first 15 verses of this chapter, as containing the essential parts of all the other vision of the apostle, as related by him in detail, throughout the apocalypse; and shows the states of the church, till the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled, or till the son of man shall come in his glory, which has been shown to have been the great end of prophecy and revelation.The facts contained in this chapter, though not designed to make prophets of the people of God by their foretelling things to come, yet will enable the wise among them, when those facts do come to pass, to understand, and will lead them towards the latter end of the last times to take a retrospective view of past events-adore and reverence the infinite wisdom of God, which has foretold them before they came to pass-and thereby they will be able to understand and explain the whole interesting drama relative to the church for twelve hundred and sixty years.
THE 11th CHAP. OF REVELATIONS,
AN EPITOME OF THE WHOLE BOOK.
THIS chapter begins with representing the apostle in conference with an angel.
1st verse-And there was given me a reed like unto a rod; and the angel stood, saying, rise and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them who worship therein.
2d. But the court which is without the temple, leave out and measure it not, for it is given unto the Gentiles; and the holy city, shall they tread under foot, forty and two months.
3d. And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they shall prophecy a thousand two hundred and three score days, clothed in sackcloth.
4th. These are the two olive-trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
5th. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth and devoureth their enemies; and if any man will hurt them, he must in this mannér be killed.
6th. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy; and have power
over waters, to turn them to blood; and to smite the earth with all plagues, so often as they will.
7th. And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit, shall make war against them; and shall overcome them; and kill them.
8th. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom, and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
9th. And they of the people, and kindreds, and tongues and nations, shall see their dead bodies, three days and an half; and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.
10th. And they that dwell upon the earth, shall rejoice over them; and shall make merry and send gifts one to another, because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
11th. And after three days and an half, the spirit of life from God, entered into them; and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them who saw them.
12th. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, come up hither; and they ascended up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies beheld them.
13th. And the same hour, was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell; and in the earthquake were slain (the names of, as it is in the