Imagini ale paginilor

they should be judged: is not this literally the case? The nations professing Christianity are angry; they now experience the wrath of God, and they are dead in trespasses and sins. Therefore they are judging, condemning, and destroying one another. Yet see the hope of the righteous in the midst of these desolations:

And that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to thy saints, and to them that fear thy name, both small and great; for he will in the end destroy them that destroy the earth. Some may imagine that this verse refers to the general judgment, and end of all things; but I am of opinion that it has a greater reference to the millenial state, when the wicked shall be cut off at the supper of the great God. See Rev. 19.

Verse 19: "And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail." This verse leads to some further effects of the Reformation, and opens to the understanding the following particulars :

First, the gospel was printed and opened to the view of the heavenly-minded; and there was seen in it the testament, or will of God to man, by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Second, there were lightnings, or quick, fiery determinations, on each side.

Third, there were voices, or various opinions, produced. Fourth, also thunderings, or different religious sects. Fifth, it was attended by an earthquake, which overthrew a great part of the papal empire.

Sixth, there was great hail, which signifies the severe judgments of God, by the sword, famine, pestilence. Thus we may see that by the abuse of the Scriptures of truth, a just and holy God is offended; that fearful judgments arrest those who thus sin; and that the providential care of Almighty God is constantly exerted for the preservation of

the law and gospel, whose chosen and declared witnesses they are.

What other than providential care could have saved the Scriptures from destruction through the various contingences in which they have been placed? When deep gloom overshadowed the prospects of Zion, and he whose right it is to reign was scoffed at and despised, the providence of God looked to a period when the pure light of his gospel should penetrate hearts of men. He guarded the Scriptures, and so ordered the event, that they again came into the possession of mankind, stripped of the garb of popish sophistry and foolishness.


THE prophet having, in the preceding chapter, shown the dangerous situation of the witnesses, and their providential preservation, now describes the true church, and its afflicted state from the foundation of it, and particularly during the term of twelve hundred and sixty years.

Verse 1: "And there appeared a great wonder in heaven ; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.' Here we have a grand portrait of the primitive church in its heavenly attire, adorned with purity, beauty, and heavenly light-as the sun in its meridian splendor. Possessed of charity, chastity, and brotherly love or affection, as the moon. Crowned with twelve stars; a true emblem of the lustre of the apostolic doctrines. This new-born church, or spouse of Christ, appeared as a great wonder among the heavenlyminded Jews; even the angelic host were amazed at such merciful condescension. This is represented as a wonder in heaven, and a wonder it is of the first magnitude, that the glorious Architect of the universe should condescend to stoop to sinful, mortal man-that the Son of his love should die that we might live, that he should take our sins upon himself, make the atonement in order to bring us to God, endure such contradictions of sinners against himself to obtain our reconciliation; that he should subject himself to our infirmities, sin only excepted, to gain the victory over


hell and the grave, that we might ever reign with him; that he should give us a revelation of the divine will to promote our present and future happiness; by which he has laid the foundation of a pure and infallible church, against which the gates of hell cannot prevail. When we seriously contemplate this divine truth, we are lost in amazement. Our ideas fall short, and no language of man can express it. It is only when we shall put on immortality, and live with him, that we shall discover some part of this wondrous whole.

Verse 2: "And she, being with child, cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered." This shows that this pure church endeavored to bring forth or produce something for the happiness of the human race.

Verse 3: "And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads." What a portrait is here given of the Roman government under all its different forms, and Satan as chief ruler over it!

Verse 4: "And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth; and the dragon stood before the woman which was to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born." cause the following reflections:

This verse may

First, Satan stood before the Redeemer and endeavored seduce him by temptation.-Matt. 4.

Second, he stood with the Jewish high priests, Jewish rulers, and Roman governor, to condemn and put to a shameful death the glorified Redeemer.

Thirdly, he stood at the head of the Romish powers, to persecute and oppose the gospel.

Fourthly, he stood with false teachers to raise up Antichrist, even in the apostles' days.

Fifth, he stood with Antichrist to tread down the truth; and Sixth, he stood before the woman to devour the truth in

very birth.

This monster has also a tail of false teachers that drew the third part of the stars or churches from their heavenly lustre, and cast them to the earth.-See Rev. 8: 12. Thus he stood before the church in its infant state.

Verse 5: "And she brought forth a man-child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was

caught up unto God, and to his throne." This heavenly adorned church extended Christ Jesus, the eternal Word, the promise of the Most High, to the world. She labored in Asia, in Africa, in Europe, and in the isles. She published to both Jew and Gentile the gospel plan of their salvation. She suffered the most cruel mockings, scourgings, and excruciating deaths, for bringing forth the holy child Jesus to the falling race of Adam. Thus we may see the pains and sufferings of the primitive church, as compared to a woman in travail. This child, this Savior, is to rule all nations with a rod of iron. He has called aloud upon all mankind every where to repent, that their sins may be blotted out. He has invited weary and heavy laden sinners to come unto him and be saved. He has promised that where two or three are gathered together in his name, he will be in the midst of them to bless them.-Matt. 18: 20. And he has commanded all who work iniquity to depart from him, as he knows them not.—Matt. 7 : 23. St. Paul, who labored and suffered death for this child, informs us that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God. "Be not deceived," says he;"neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."-1 Cor. 6: 9, 10. Therefore let all who believe the gospel and profess the Christian religion, read and carefully meditate on both the Old and New Testaments, and particularly the latter, and endeavor through divine aid to conform to the gracious injunctions therein contained, least they fall under the severity

« ÎnapoiContinuați »