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And can I omit altogether a word of affectionate address and warning to members of the Romish Church; should there in God's providence be any such among the readers of this Commentary? If what has been here written appear indeed to bear the stamp of God's own truth, (and I am well persuaded that not all the learning or ingenuity of Rome can in its main points confute it,) then may the Divine Spirit carry home conviction to them: and make the view of God's own judgment, here fully drawn out on the great questions at issue between Romanism and Protestantism, and the view too, which the prophecy gives us, of the probable nearness of the great day of his publicly pronouncing and acting out that judgment, to be like the warning-cry in their ears, “ If any man worship the Beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, and shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and of the Lamb, and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever: or, rather, like that other kindlier voice from heaven, “ Come out of her, my people,” (for many, I doubt not, of this character through some delusion or ignorance are still, in respect of outward communion, in the Romish Church, although in spirit not of it,)“ Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues; for her sins have reached unto heaven.'
But it is individually that the application of the subject is most important. And when thus personally applied, need I say how unspeakably deep and solemn
"Apoc. xv. 9-11.
Apoc. xviii. 4, 5.
seem to many its too extended and elaborated Notes, let me be permitted to observe that this has partly been occasioned by a not unfriendly controversy with Dr. Candlish, arising out of observations on the Free Church less carefully made in my 1st and 2nd Editions, and expressed with less of kindliness towards the Free Church than they ought to have been. As bearing directly moreover on the great questions respecting the true and the visible Church of Christ, they may be regarded as having a real Apocalyptic interest. For a fuller discussion of the subject I beg to refer the reader to his Pamphlet and my Reply.
its interest! It is not enough that we belong to the most orthodox Church, profess the most scriptural faith, and be even zealous for it against the many errors and heresies of the day. The question is, Are we of Christ's true disciples, his “ little flock," to which alone the Father has given promise of the kingdom ?' Have we then the evidence of belonging to it? Have we received the Apocalyptically-noted mark and seal of God's Holy Spirit; and the inward light, life, and spirit of holiness and adoption, which He alone can give ?? Is our faith fixed on Christ as the sun of righteousness? Do we hold to the written word in life, as well as in doctrine ? Do we witness for Christ in an apostate world ; as in the world, but not of the world? Do we seek to follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth,' in holiness, spiritualmindedness, benevolence, self-denial, and patient perseverance in well-doing, through evil report as well as good report ? Do we seek to improve our several talents for him, as those that must soon give account ? 6 Does our charity abound to Christ's flock and people?? Is the lamp of faith trimmed, and its light kept burning within us, as by men that watch for their Lord ? 8 Is the thought of his coming precious to us? Do we look for, and love the thought of his appearing ? 9.-Doubtless there are many who can answer these questions in the affirmative. And happy are they. But there are many more, it is to be feared, with whom misgivings will arise in the conscience, as they reflect upon them. Alas ! who can doubt the prevalence, in what has been not inaptly called “ the religious world,” of much of false profession ; much of the Laodicean spirit of lukewarmness, self-conceit, religious pride, earthly-mindedness ; much of the eharacteristic deadness of the Church of Sardis,“ having a name to live, but being dead ? ” 10
| Luke xii. 32.
5 Apoc. xiv. 4. 6 Matt. xxv. 14, &c. 1 Cor. iv, 2.
7 Matt. xxv. 35, &c. 8 Matt. xxv. 7. Luke xii. 35.
9 2 Peter iii. 12. 2 Tim. iv. 8. lo
I know not any more searching passages in Holy Scripture, for self-applica
With all such, what cause is there, in contemplation of the coming future, for humiliation, holy fear, repentance! Blessed be God, though the acceptable time remaining be short, it is not ended. Though the Master seems to be on the point of rising, he has not as yet actually risen, and shut to the door.' Not only is the probationary period of permitted evil as well as good prolonged, as it is written, “ He that is unjust let him be unjust still, and he that is holy let him be holy still, but the voice of mercy and love is also yet to be heard, inviting sinners to salvation ; “ The Spirit and the Bride say,
Come; and let him that is athirst come; and whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.”
For himself (if such personal allusion be permitted him) the Author cannot but recollect that awful declaration by Christ, “ Many shall say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and I will say unto them, I never knew you.
as one that ought to suggest to him very solemn matter for selfexamination and fear. It is one thing intellectually and historically to search out Scripture truth; another, and very different, experimentally to know and feel it. The former he has done, he can truly say, without grudging of time or trouble : but to himself of what avail, if the latter be wanting ? Under this feeling he will venture to address to every Christian reader this one parting request ;—that if, from the explanation of the holy Apocalyptic Book in the present Commentary, they may have received any spiritual light, comfort, or edification, then they will not refuse to make requital by prayer earnest and personal for him, that he may not fall under the condemnation just spoken of; nor, having preached to others, be found in that day of trial himself a castaway.--At this present crisis of the world, this time of the end, in the evidence of prophecy, in the signs of the
tion on this great question, than those suggested by the Lord's Epistles to the Seven Churches of Asia.
1 Luke xiji. 25. Apoc. xxii. 11. Such I conceive with Vitringa to be the meaning of this controverted text. 3 Apoc. xxii. 17.
4 Matt. vii. 22.
times, in the general agitation of Christendom, and the increased and increasing expectancy of him by his people, the Saviour's voice seems to be heard, distinct and clear as perhaps never before, “Surely, I come quickly.” God grant that it may be the privilege of both reader and writer, whether first summoned to meet Him by death, or by the brightness of his coming advent, to be enabled each one to answer the summons with the inmost soul's welcome, “ Amen! even so ! come, Lord Jesus!”