« ÎnapoiContinuați »
Redeeming love, and the conversion of mankind, being the great objects of the covenant of grace, it is the bounden duty of those who undertake the work of the ministry, to be careful and diligent, and to do all that in them lieth to promote the interest and enlarge the boundaries of the Messiah's kingdom. It is just the contrary with those whom the prophet describes, under the sound of this trumpet. It is truly lamentable to reflect on the dismal state of the Christian world these fifteen hundred years. The promise of a Messiah was in mercy early given. The seed of the woman was to bruise the serpent's head. This promise was revived by almost all the prophets for nearly four thousand years; and they, through faith, saw this precious promise afar off.—Heb. 11: 13.
When the appointed time came, he appeared. He taught publicly; he proved his mission to be divine by many great and wonderful works; he formed a plan for man's happiness in this life, that even the greatest enemies of the Christian scheme cannot gainsay nor resist. He brought life and immortality to light, by his death, resurrection, and ascension. He is now enthroned in majesty as King over his church. He is the great High Priest, Advocate and Intercessor for all those who humbly come to God through him. When fallen man could not appear before divine justice, he ransomed us, and he who bare our infirmities is appointed our final Judge. His precepts are plain, simple and easy to be understood. He informs us that the first and great commandment is to "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul and mind. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”—Matt. 22: 37 — 40. These commands he obeyed in himself, and set the example to his followers. He promised to be with them to the end of the world. He sends the Comforter to support and assist us,
and seal the earnest of our eternal inheritance. These are a few of the leading features of true Christianity.
The woes mentioned in the ninth chapter are produced by a conflict of the doctrines and evil principles of men with the truth. Those adhering to these doctrines are adjudged guilty in this life, and punished in the world to come. "Come ye blessed and go ye cursed," are the words of the gospel law, in reference to those who obey, and those who violate the gospel precepts.
In the ninth chapter, the prophet has shown, first, the great power to which prelacy rose under the Christian emperors, and the woful effects of it.
Second, its amazing increase of power, under the papacy, and the havoc it made of the truth and of mankind.
In this chapter he changes the scene, and foretels the Reformation and its varied appearances.
Verse 1: "And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire." John saw another mighty angel come down from heaven; which implies that a new spiritual government was to be established among men in this lower world. He was clothed with a cloud; which shows that he was enrobed with a mist of much darkness. A rainbow was on his head, to evince his conspicuous, and heavenly appearance. His face was as it were the sun, emblematic of his intentional light, and claim to gospel purity. His feet as pillars of fire; which signifies the powerful heat, or zeal, which supported the reformers, and which all their adversaries could not extinguish.
Verse 2: "And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth." The book being open in his hand signifies that he would make manifest his doctrines and propagate them.
He set his right foot upon the sea; which shows that it was supported only by the wavering and turbulent ocean of mankind. His left foot on the earth: which also shows that it was to be supported by earthly endowment and worldly emolument.
Verse 3: "And he cried with a loud voice as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices." This voice of the angel represents the voice of the reformers among mankind through their doctrines. It was this loud cry that caused the bishops to assemble in the council of Trent to suppress these doctrines; and it was this loud voice that formed the potentates of Europe into protestant and popish, respectively, and which called so large a portion of mankind from the papal dominion.
This loud cry was so disagreeable to the see of Rome, that they denounced an anathema against it. Some may imagine that the thunders mentioned in the text were these anathemas against the reformers; but this view does not comport with the true meaning of prophecy. Thunder, in prophetic language, is the propagation, or thundering forth of any new doctrine. Accordingly, we find that James and John were surnamed Boanerges, or Sons of Thunder, by the Redeemer, because he knew they were faithful, and would thunder his gospel in the ears of mankind. These seven thunders are the seven principal sects which arose in consequence of the Reformation, and thundered out their doctrines in like manner, and were all unanimous. in condemning the doctrines of the Romish church; and they often passed their censures upon each other. These sects were the Lutherans, the Calvinists, the Church of England, as by the law established, the Presbyterians, the Quakers, the Anabaptists, the Arminians, from whom descended the Methodists. These are the sects who have distinguished themselves since the Reformation, and are the most lively and strong colors in its rainbow.
Verse 4 : "And when the seven thunders had uttered
their voices, I was about to write and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not." This charge to the prophet proves that these various doctrines were defective, and not conformable to the gospel precepts. Christ's kingdom is not of this world, but these sects are of this world, and they all, save one, are so connected with the state that true Christianity is reduced to a mere shadow. They all boast of their holy religion; but where are the evidences of it? Are not these sects frequently at war with each other, and has not Europe been, since the Reformation, an alceldema one vast field of blood? Does not this prove that they are not Christ's disciples? They have not love one to another.-John 13: 35. Therefore holy John, who well knew what brotherly love was, was not suffered to write to approve of their evil deeds.
Let it be noted that the gospel of Jesus Christ, which was taught and practised by his disciples, is always compared in this book to the spotless appearance of the sun, in its meridian splendor. Unity and brotherly love adorned the characters of the early church, and universal charity shone with heavenly lustre around it. But our Reformation is compared to the many colors. of the rainbow though beautiful in appearance, yet it is only part of the circle of gospel perfection. Philosophers tell us that the natural bow has seven primary colors, which are occasioned by the refracted or broken rays of the sun. In time of rain it is seen in the rear of a dark cloud, and is only a segment or part of a circle. What a lively image is this of the Reformation and the effects of it.
Verse 5: "And the angel which I saw stand upon the upon the earth, lifted up his hand to heaven," Verse 6: "And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are,