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() scenes surpassing fable, and yet true!
I quote from one who is a meet minstrel on such a topic : and subjoin yet another extract from him, depicting the scene and its blessedness. The subject is one too high and holy for my own rude touch. I pass from it.
Meanwhile (so the Apocalypse, as well as other Scripture prophecy, informs us) an awful monument will remain, and be visible, of a once different state of things;a monument of the guilt and punishment of the age preceding. It has always been God's plan that such memorials should exist, as a warning against sin, under every dispensation:under the patriarchal, that of the accursed ground, and then of the deluge; under the Abrahamic and Mosaic that of Sodom ; under the Christian that of Jerusalem trodden down, and the Jewish exiles dispersed every where, with the brand of God's curse upon them. And now there is to be that of the mystic Babylon, or Roman earth and Antichrist, swallowed up in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone; "the smoke of which goeth up for ever and ever.” This scene the Apocalypse figured to St. John: and with it correspond those most awful and striking words which close Isaiah's prophecy, in reference evidently to the times of the Millennium : “ And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me : for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched: and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.”?
ture, it seems to me that not the mere cessation from any particular work of his hands is implied, but also his complacency in its beauty and perfection. Thus when God rested, as we are told in Gen. ii. 2, from his work of creation, it was after “ he had surveyed every thing that he had made, and behold it was very good.” But the instant that sin entered, and with sin the curse, this work was marred; and consequently, as I conceive, his rest in regard of it at once broken up. So that then and thereupon the new and mightier work of redeeming this marred world from the curse, was to be entered on : that to which Christ, in the above-cited passage in St. John, seems to me to allude ; and of the joyous resting from which, when perfected, both Zephaniah and St. Paul, (Heb. iii. iv.) and others too of the prophets delight to speak.
| Cowper's Task, 6th Book.
Worthy the Lamb, for He was slain for us!
So during the Millennium.-And if, notwithstanding all this, notwithstanding both the warning, the glory, and the blessedness, the Devil do yet succeed afterwards, on his being loosed, in seducing the nations in the four corners of the world, what the wonder ; considering the history of the seductions of Adam and Eve in a former paradisiacal state, and when enjoying the intimacy and the vision of God. It will only be a new example how the creature, by himself, when tempted will fall.–Again, the mad attempt of these deceived ones against even “ the camp of the saints and the beloved city,” need not surprise him who has studied man's corruption and daring, in the history of Israel's rebellion at the foot of the burning mount of Sinai.—As to the speedy, if not instant destruction of the rebels, it needs not that I expatiate on it; or on the subsequent fate of our world. Where revelation is silent, it were vain to conjecture. Suffice it to remark from the Apocalyptic prophecy, respecting the seduced, that they are to be destroyed by fire ;-respecting the Devil, the Tempter, that he is forthwith, with all his associated evil angels, to be cast into the same lake, burning with fire and brimstone, where 1 Apoc. xiv. 10, 11, xix. 3.
3 Exod. xxxii. 1, &c.
2 Isa. Ixvi. 24.
the Beast and False Prophet were cast before ;-respecting the saints, that, instead of closing their reign with the Millennium, they are in some way still to reign even for ever ; '-respecting the rest of men, that there is to follow on Gog and Magog's destruction the universal resurrection, and a judgment wherein all that are not in the Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire : on which judgment the heaven and earth that now are will flee away, and have no place found for them.-In St. Paul's comprehensive summary of the final future, 1 Cor. xv. 24, 28, (a passage already cited in the controversial part of my preceding chapter,) we read thus of this epoch; “ Afterward cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; that God may
be all in all." And there is yet one farther glimpse, into ages still to come, opened to us by St. Paul ; with reference to the influence on other worlds and intelligences of this our planet's history. He tells how the story of its redemption is to be through eternity itself a chief lesson to them of the marvels of divine grace ; 2 _" that in the ages to come 3 He might show the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness toward us through Jesus Christ.” 4
Apoc. xxi. i, 5.
Eph. ii. 7.
3 αιωσι τοις επερχομενοις. . I may fitly here subjoin the conclusion of the Apocalypse. xxii. 6. “And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true : and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done, 7. Behold, I come quickly : blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. 8. And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. 9. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not : for I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book : worship God.
10. And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book : for the time is at hand. 11. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still : and he that righteous, let him be righteous still : and he that is holy, let him be holy still. !2. And, behold I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. 13. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. 14. Blessed are they that wash their robes*, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and mur
πλυνοντες τας σολας αυτων. So Tregelles, instead of the received, ποιουντες TUS evtolas auto, they that do his commandments.—The reference to Apoc. vii. 9, 13, 14, hence arising, seems to me very beautiful : beautiful both in itself, and as a connecting link between the there anticipatively foreshown state of heavenly bliss; and that which is here symbolized, as actually realized and present.
ARRIVED at the concluding Chapter of my Work, it will be well to stop, and consider attentively our present eventful position in prophetic chronology, and the evidence which fixes it ; then to direct our regards to the coming future, and consider it in the light, and connectedly with the lessons, suggested by the previous parts of the Apocalyptic prophecy.
§ 1. OUR PRESENT POSITION IN THE PROPHETIC CALENDAR.
With regard to our present position, we have been led, as the result of our investigations, to fix it at but a short time from the end of the now existing dispensation, and the expected second advent of Christ. This thought, when we seriously attempt to realize it, must be felt to be a very startling as well as solemn one. And for my own part I confess to risings of doubt, and almost of scepticism, as I do so. Can it be that we are come so near to the day of the Son of Man, that the generation now alive shall very possibly not have passed away before its fulfilment; yea that perhaps even our own eyes may witness, without the intervention of death, that astonishing event of the consummation ? The idea falls on my mind as almost incredible. - The circumstance of antici
derers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. 16. I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. 17. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely. 18. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. 20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
pations having been so often formed quite erroneously heretofore of the proximity of the consummation,- for example, in the apostolic age, before the destruction of Jerusalem, —then, during the persecutions of Pagan Rome, then, on the breaking up of the old Roman Empire,—then, at the close of the tenth century, 4—then, at and after the Reformation, and still later even by writers of our own day,-I say the circumstance of all these numerous anticipations having been formed and zealously promulgated of the imminence of the second advent, which, notwithstanding, have by the event itself been shown to be unfounded, strongly tends to confirm us in our doubt and incredulity.—Yet to rest in scepticism simply and altogether upon such grounds would be evidently bad philosophy. For these are causes that would operate always; and that would make us be saying, even up to the very eve and moment of the advent, “ Where is the promise of his coming ?” Our true wisdom is to test each link of the chain of evidence by which we have been led to our conclusion, and see whether it will bear the testing ;-to examine into the causes of previous demonstrated errors on the subject, and see whether we avoid them ;-finally to consider whether the signs of the times now present be in all the sundry points that prophecy points out so peculiar, as to warrant a measure of confidence in our inference such as was never warranted before.
And certainly, on doing all this, it seems to me that the grounds of our conclusion are stable. Of the evidence of the continuous historical exposition of the Apocalyptic visions detailed in this Commentary, I have given an abstract in the first chapter of this its sixth and last division ; and again I pray the reader, with my illustrative Chart before him, to consider, step by step, whether it be not conclusive. With such an extraordinary combination of evidence, antiquarian and historical, to support it, does it seem possible that we can
See my Vol. i. p. 58. 3 See Vol. i. pp. 365, 370.
2 So Vol. i. pp. 199, 204–207. 4 See Ib. 445, 446. ó See Vol. ii. pp. 132–142.