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of the stars, or churches, had lost their former lustre, and were getting dim. In the beginning of the fourth century, the bottomless pit was opened, which covetous and craving gulf is not yet shut. In the sixth century, the long reign of Antichrist commenced. Thus we may see, on no less authority than that of holy John, how religion declined, until it ended in total apostacy, under the Roman pontiffs.
And by reason of apostatizing from the truth, after having received the knowledge of it, no less than seven angels or spiritual evils, denounced against all such in the gospel temple, are to accompany them in this life and that which is to
Verse 7: "And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever." In this verse we may observe, first, God's great power in the punishment of apostate sinners; second, his justice in the performance of it; and third, what a fearful thing it is to incur the wrath and displeasure of that God who liveth for ever and ever.
Verse 8: "And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled." When the canons and decrees of councils were established and exalted above the pure precepts of the gospel; when a pretended vicar was chosen to rule and govern the church, in room of Jesus Christ, the true head thereof; when a creed became of more validity than the gracious injunctions of the Redeemer; when the law and gospel were clothed with sackcloth and covered over with the doctrines and traditions of sinful men; when man's salvation must depend upon the Romish church, or mother of harlots; then it was that this temple, or gospel of truth, was filled with smoke, so that God's glory in it for man's salvation could not be seen. His power was veiled over by the alarming power of the clergy, who were then
under strong delusion they neither entered themselves, nor suffered others to enter. Such was, and is to this day, the deplorable state of the Christian world, that no man can enter into the temple and discover the truths as taught by Jesus, until the seven plagues or judgments of God are poured out. Then will the temple be cleansed, and both Jew and Gentile know the truth.
In these days, one saith, I am of Paul, and another, I am of Apollos, which proves that we are carnal and unacquainted with the truth. As the prophet makes use of a variety of expressions in this, and the other chapters of this book, concerning the different voices which, by the Spirit, he heard, it is necessary for me to endeavor to explain some of them here. First, a voice from the throne is the voice of God's law given on mount Sinai; its four first commands contain that obedience and adoration which is due to the Creator as the sovereign Ruler of universal nature. The other six command that respect and regard which we should have for our parents, our neighbors, and ourselves. Therefore, the transgression of this law or any part of it, is sin. Christ Jesus came not to destroy this law, but to fulfil and support it; and Paul had not known sin but by the law.—Rom. 8: 7. This voice or law from the throne, Moses informs us, must stand for perpetual generations; and Christ assures us that till heaven and earth pass away, not one jot nor tittle thereof shall in no wise pass away.
Second, a voice from the temple is the voice of the gospel dispensation or covenant of grace, purchased for us by the Redeemer. As the law was given by Moses, so grace and truth come by Jesus Christ.-John 1: 17. This temple is erected on the ruins of the ceremonial law which crucified Christ, and is to stand for ever. It is called a kingdom which cannot be moved.-Heb. 12: 2—8. It is not a temple built with hands, but is eternal in the heavens. Therefore, its voice is a tremendous one against all who dis
obey the truth and have pleasure in unrighteousness. Its voice also stands closely connected with that from the throne.
Thirdly, a voice from heaven is the operative influence of God on the soul, whereby the man is inspired with the spirit of wisdom and truth, and is enabled to act in conformity thereto. Such was the state of John when he was enabled to write the things which are, or then were, and the things which were to be hereafter. Such also was the state of the other apostles, though in a less degree. And it proves the advocacy of Christ, according to the promises.— Acts 1: 3.
Fourth, a voice in heaven, or voices in heaven, is the universal consent or determinations of the faithful servants of God, whereby they cheerfully submit to his will in all things. Such was the voice of the apostles, after the day of Pentecost.
Fifth, a voice behind me, is the call of the Spirit of God, which, if obeyed, will guide us in the way of truth; if not obeyed, we may be left in a reprobate mind, as the Spirit will not always strive with man.
The waters of life, are the comfortable assurances of God's love, increase of faith, and all the promised blessings that are to be conferred upon the saints of God. These are the precious gifts which are freely given to them who are found worthy. They flow from the throne of God and the Lamb. These waters are the very opposite of those on which the whore sitteth. The latter are the people, multitudes, nations and tongues, which the woman, or Romish church, has corrupted by her false and erroneous doctrines.
While strong judgments and heavy woes are denounced throughout this wonderful book of Revelations against those that fear not God, and hate and persecute his saints; against those that hide the rays of gospel light from their fellow creatures, causing thereby many to stumble and fall into
perdition; against those that exalt themselves above all that is called God, and insult the infinite majesty of heaven, by assuming its powers, and denying its laws; while it reveals. that the wrath of God forever consumes his enemies, it says to the faithful child of God, in language of mercy and love, It shall be well with thee. This blessed consolation have the saints always with them; for, for them flow the waters of life.
In this remarkable chapter, the prophet shows the fatal and destructive evils attendant in this life on that part of mankind which are called Christians, by reason of their wilful apostacy and disobedience to the gospel.
Verse 1: "And I heard a great voice out of the temple, saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth." In this verse,
First, that the voice from out of the temple, or gospel threatenings, is a great voice: because therein is revealed the wrath of God against the children of disobedience.— Eph. 5: 6.
Second, that mankind had revolted from the gospel precepts at this time, and brought on themselves the wrath of God.
Verse 2: "And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image." By this verse we may
First, that the first vial was not poured out until apostacy was completed, the papal power established, and its