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come to pass, but “things which must shortly come to pass”-not the facts of the past only, but the events of the future also. Now the popular idea is, that these predicted things we ought not to attempt to interpret, and that it is only performed things that we ought to endeavour to profit by. The statement here, at least, conveys no such impression. It implies that things predicted, or foreshown, are to be studied, because for this very end they are inspired, and that they may, though dimly and darkly as through a glass, be understood by the servants and people of God. Daniel explained to the captives in Babylon future things, and thus comforted them, with consolations drawn not from past records, but unfulfilled prophecies. Now comfort cannot be extracted from the unintelligible. Our blessed Lord minutely predicted to His apostles the destruction of Jerusalem ; and He told them how they were to conduct themselves in the prospect of that destruction. He showed them that responsibilities were incurred, by their knowing things not yet fulfilled ; and the apostles, we read, and the Christians who fled to Pella, understood and believed the prophecy, and escaped the ruin, having done well in taking heed to the prophecy, that shone as a light in a dark place. It is surely very remarkable, and instructive too, that one office of the Holy Spirit of God—an office that cannot be explained on the popular presumption we have alluded to--is, that “He will show you things to come ;” and the apostle Peter tells us, in his Second Epistle, the first chapter, at the nineteenth verse, that there is “a sure word of prophecy, unto which we do well to take heed, as to a light shining in a dark place ;” and we are told also, in the third chapter, at the first verse- This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you, in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance : that ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming ? for since the fathers fell asleep,


all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” We are told by the apostle Paul, that "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” That is future. But he adds—“But he hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit ;" teaching us, therefore, that things which are not yet disclosed as come to pass, are things that we may study. They may not be essential to our personal safety, but they may contribute to our spiritual comfort, and to the glory and honour and praise of God. Why did the Jews, we may ask, reject the Messiah as the sufferer ? Just because they neglected the study of unfulfilled prophecy. And may not we also be found neglecting privileges, if not despising duties, when we make the book of Revelation that book which we rarely read in our families, or study in our closets, or patiently listen to, when expounded and explained from the pulpit, by the ministers of Christ.

It was not so in olden days : for this book was a favourite study with the early Christians. The martyrs of the first three centuries found springs of comfort in the addresses to the seven churches, which refreshed their souls as with the dews of heaven amid the flames. The Reformers derived from the Apocalypse the most condemning verdicts on the great Western apostacy, and from its description, as from a full and exhaustless arsenal, they drew forth the weapons with which they smote and overthrew the great Dagon of the West, with the most complete success. This holy book seems to me to be a lamp, which sheds light on the bistory of the last nineteen hundred years, casting illuminating rays into all their perplexing and perplexed events. It shows us Christ in the world as well as in the churchordering and restraining the will of kings and the acts of empire, and educing glory to His Name and prosperity to His church from the wrath of His bitterest enemies.

In the next place, the Apocalypse, or book of Revelation, is stated, at the beginning of the first chapter, to have been written under the inspiration of the Spirit, by John, who testified of the Word of God. There can be no doubt that this was John the evangelist ; his testimony was emphatically that of “the Word ;" his Gospel is peculiarly the Gospel of “the Word made flesh.' The very commencement of his Gospel is—“In the beginning was the Word ;” and the close of his Gospel is

“ These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing, ye might have life through His name.” That holy name gives music to every sentence, weight to every word, and fragrance to every sentiment in that wonderful production, the Gospel according to John. And Wetstein and Lardner, two distinguished critics upon the original, as well as on the contents of the Scriptures, have selected about thirty or forty texts from the Apocalypse, which contain words and phrases and forms of expression that are almost identical with those used in the Gospel,—thus proving that the same John who wrote the Gospel was the writer of the Apocalypse ; and such differences of style, as unquestionably do occur, are to be explained and accounted for by the difference of the subjects, and perhaps also of the time. The Gospel was written by John sixty years after the death and resurrection of Jesus, and was, if I may so speak, a cool and dispassionate retrospect and record of that sublime biography; the Apocalypse, on the other hand, was written the very moment its truths were taught and its visions made known—the instancy and splendour of the scene making the deeper impression on the heart of the seer, and originating more expressive words. Hence the Apocalypse contains an eloquence of language, a grandeur of thought, and a magnificence of style, which certainly are not approached by the more prosaic and historical narrative of the Gospel. This difference, however, is, as we have said, easily accounted for ; the subject and date will explain the simplicity of the narrative of the one, and the sublime and poetic ecstasy of the other.

The time at which the Apocalypse was written, was about the year 97. John was banished to Patmos by the emperor Domitian; and if we had no other evidence that it was during the reign of Domitian, we have it in the fact that he was the first Roman emperor who adopted that mode of punishment. But John's banishment from his earthly home lifted him nearer a heavenly one. He was condemned and banished by a king that died, that he might be favoured and comforted by “the King of kings,” that liveth and reigneth for ever. An inner radiance was poured into his spirit, that more than compensated for his external night. God thus gives His people in all their trying circumstances compensatory elements. In the history of His church, He often makes afflictions beautiful, by weaving through them the rainbow of His mercy and love. He thus made barren Patmos a scene of manifestation of far richer glories than Tabor. He can make the tents of Mesech and the tabernacles of Kedar repose in a sunshine more glorious than ever fell on the towers of Salem. God's Shechinah often illuminates the desert. Daniel beheld in Babylon bright visions he saw not elsewhere ; John, in Patmos, saw a glory he never witnessed in Jerusalem ; John Bunyan, in his lonely prison, had dreams and visions, approaching in their purity and splendour to apocalyptic scenes ; and Martin Luther, during his confinement in Wartburg, translated the Scriptures, and had the enjoyment of a freedom and repose to which thousands outside were strangers. It is the heart, not the house, that makes home. And thus, while the afflictions of God's people abound, their joys abound also. The cloud that is darkest, is fringed to their eyes with beams of celestial lustre, and crushing calamities unbosom by degrees their latent mercies ; and those who have been in the deepest affliction, have been the first to exclaim, each as he emerged from its depths—“It was good for me that I was afflicted.”

This book has been recognised as canonical in every age of the Christian church. I will quote only one or two references, but these will sufficiently vindicate it. Perhaps you are aware that the Church of Rome has made the frequent objection, that we Protestants are indebted to her decision for the possession of the Apocalypse at all. They say, the Apocalypse was not admitted by that Church by any public act, or by any synodical decision, till the fifth, if not the sixth century. But



if this be true, instead of proving that the Church of Rome has great credit, it rather reflects upon her the greatest discredit—for it shows how sleepy that Church must have been, how blind her vision, how forgetful of her duties, seeing that, by her own confession, she failed to recognise as canonical a Divine book during six centuries in succession. Does it not also show, how much more trustworthy is private judgment than ecclesiastical decisions, seeing fathers and writers and doctors saw the inspiration of the Apocalypse, and pronounced it to be Divine, while the Church of Rome did not know that it was part of the Sacred Canon at all ? For instance : Ignatius, one of the earliest of the Christian fathers, who lived in the year 107-that is, just ten years after John wrote the Apocalypse-quotes several passages from this book, thus proving it was in existence in his day. Polycarp, a father and martyr, who lived in the year 108, when he was brought to the faggot to be consumed in the flames, offered up the prayer used in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation, at the seventeenth verse—“We give Thee thanks, Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come. After him, Irenæus, whose name is associated in its import with peace, and whose writings contain some beautiful appeals on its behalf, quotes portions of the Apocalypse, and adds the interesting statement, preserved in the writings of Eusebius, that John wrote it at the latter end of the reign of Domitian, when in exile at Patmos. Justin Martyr, who lived in the year 140—that is, forty-three years after the Apocalypse was written, not only read it, but wrote an explanation of it. And Eusebius in the fourth century, and Jerome, the most learned of all the Latin fathers, likewise quote it as a portion of the inspired Record, and record their reflections upon it. It is, however, only just to add, that some divines of the fourth century rejected the Apocalypse, on the ground that it contained, as they alleged, prophecies of what they erroneously believed to be a carnal millenium ; just in the same way as some Christians still argue, that the Bible cannot be God's word, because it contains truths that cross their prejudices, or lay on them duties which they decline to fulfil,

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