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lived to a very advanced age, outliving all the other apostles, and he was thus fitted, by his great age and heavenly endowments, to write of the things which then were, and the things which were to be hereafter.
In imitation of his heavenly and exalted Master, he says little about the temporal affairs of this evil world. He seems to rest satisfied with the predictions of the old prophets concerning the fate of empires, states and kingdoms. He scarcely mentions the afflictions which he endured, though they must have been many. But in one place he affectingly remarks, “I, John, who am your brother in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ."-Rev. 1: 9.
The gospel of John, and his epistolary writings, are of a pure and spiritual nature. His prophetic pieces are interwoven with the grandest representations of nature. The language is peculiar, and a clear knowledge of it is necessary to unfold the prophet's meaning. This book embodies what may be called a Christian science different from all other sciences; and when time, numbers and descriptions are given, it is with such accuracy, as to convince at once that the words of the prophecy are true and inspired.
In the first chapter, he calls this book the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him. The intention of it was to show unto his servants things that must shortly come to pass. And he sent and signified it by his angel, or by divine influence, to his servant John, the writer. John directs us to the seven churches, which were then in Asia. He then remarks upon the character of God, the great First Cause of all things. Next, of the Redeemer, the supreme Head over the churches to whom was committed power and judgment.
In the second and third chapters are contained the charges to the Asiatic churches where errors appeared, severe reproofs are administered; and all are exhorted to perseverence and steadiness
in the truth which they received -an eternal reward is promised for their encouragement.
In the fourth chapter, the eternal Jehovah is represented as God over all, and seated on his throne of universal nature. He cannot be described otherwise than by the four great attributes and perfections, which constitute his essence. Around the throne was a rainbow, emblematic of his covenant with man. Also around the throne were twenty-four seats, and on these seats were twenty-four elders, figurative of the twelve tribes of Israel, who received the law, and of the twelve apostles, who received the gospel.
The fifth chapter presents the manner in which God's revelation will come to man by the Lord Jesus Christ, under the emblem of a book in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. This book was sealed with seven seals, and no man could open them but he who was ordained of God for man's redemption. The Redeemer is represented as a Lamb that had been slain, figurative of the sacrifice made for man's salvation. He stood in the midst of the throne, and of the four beasts, by which we may learn that the power, mercy, wisdom and providence of God were made manifest in him for man's deliverence.
In the sixth chapter, the Redeemer commences his important mission. On opening the first seal, he shows that purity of principle whereby the children of God are enabled by his grace to go forth conquering and to conquer. On opening the second seal, the spirit of ambition and conquest, and all the evils pertaining to a military life, were revealed. The third seal showed that covetousness, hypocrisy, and evils of this nature, would appear under the pretence of justice, if not restricted by human laws. On opening the fourth seal, intemperance, with its train of ghastly evils, was seen, by which men were hurried on the way to death and hell. On opening the fifth seal persecution was revealed — abhorred of a holy and just God. On opening the sixth seal, the fatal effects of popery were discovered.
In the seventh chapter, we find that persecution from every quarter must cease, and the Jews, those ancient favorites of the Most High God, be called in and engrafted into the living Vine. This accords with the seventh seal, which ends in silence. Thus is completed the first view with which God has favored us, under the opening of the seals.
In the eighth and ninth chapters, we are favored with another view of things past, present, and to come, under the sounding of seven trumpets, which are the seven different ways in which the gospel has been delivered and received. The first sound was to the Jews; the second to the Gentiles; the third was by the false instructors that arose after the apostles' days, whereby the salutary waters, or precepts of the gospel, became bitter; the fourth was by the teachers who next arose, who obscured the gospel light and brotherly love, and caused the churches to fail in their heavenly lustre; the fifth began under Constantine the Great, who opened the bottomless pit for the clergy, and began the five months' torment, or first woe; the sixth is the long reign of popery, by which commenced the forty-two months' torment, or second woe; the seventh the reign of protestantism, which brought on the third
The tenth chapter gives us a beautiful history of the Reformation, under the metaphorical appearance of a rainbow, with seven colors, or sects, its seven thunders, or doctrines, and its little book of instructions. But holy John could not be permitted to write, or approve of them; and the book, when eaten, or its contents reflected upon, was bitter. He was informed that he must prophesy again, showing that the defective doctrines of the Reformation much finally give way to pure gospel truth.
In the eleventh chapter, under the measuring of the temple, the altar, and those who worship therein, are shown the distinguishing marks between those who worship God in spirit and in truth, and those who depended on the merits of their works and the power of
the church for salvation. It also contains the prophesying, death and resurrection of the two witnesses, or that providential preservation of the law and gospel, by the reformers, with other circumstances relative to that memorable event.
By considering the twelfth chapter, we shall discover the beauty, purity and heavenly attire of the primitive church. The chapter also shows the conflicts between the church and its enemies, and the afflictions it endured — the flight of the woman or true church, into the wilderness, for twelve hundred and sixty years the war between the Arian and Athanasian sects, the first headed by the angel Michael, and the second by Satan. the defeat of Satan, and his schemes afterwards to seduce the woman- - the protection of the woman by the Greek emperors, from the still raging ire of the dragon.
The thirteenth chapter gives us a history of Rome from the foundation of it to the wounding to death of its seventh head, in the year 475, and the healing of that wound by the eighth or papal head. It declares that the eighth head is a blasphemer of God and a persecutor of the saints, and that he was to continue fortytwo months. It states that the number of the beast, or the bishops who supported the pope, was six hundred and sixty-six.
The fourteenth chapter exhibits the true church on Mount Zion, founded by the Lord Jesus Christ. The members of this church are represented as having their Father's name written on their foreheads. Then follows the foundation of the Gentile churches by the apostles, with their doctrines. The fall of the Romish church from the faith first delivered to the saints, and the severe condemnation pronounced against it by the Eastern church in consequence. The rise and progress of the Lutheran, the Calvinistic, and the Presbyterian churches, and the manner in which prelacy was banished out of Scotland.
The fifteenth chapter prresents us with a great sign in heaven, or among the heavenly-minded, by which we may observe the happy
state of those professors of Christianity who were not seduced by popery, also their faith - for they sung the song of Moses and the Lamb. God's judgments against the wicked are manifested, who themselves cause the vials of wrath to be poured out.
In the sixteenth chapter, we find that none of these vials began to be poured out until popery was established. Five of them were poured out at the Reformation, and the sixth began after the Reformation, and involved the Protestants in the horrors of war, or as it is termed by the prophet, Armageddon. The seventh vial is now being poured violently and promiscuously out upon all parties and the others are not yet emptied, neither will be until mankind pay that tribute of praise that is due to God.
The seventeenth chapter gives a curious and accurate account of the great whore, of the beast which carried her, and of the ten kings giving power to the papacy. These are to make war upon and be overcome by the Lamb, and in God's appointed time, hate and make war upon the whore, and make her desolate.
The eighteenth chapter contains the total destruction of Babylon, and the several causes of it, together with the great lamentations of the clergy on account of it. Even the kings of the earth and great men join in the mourning. Her merchandize is despised -for no man buyeth it any more. Her overthrow is violent, and beyond hope, because in her was found the blood of the saints, and of them who were slain on the earth.
In the nineteenth chapter, we have the voice of the heavenlyminded, ascribing thanksgiving and praise to God for his righteous judgments in avenging the blood of his saints upon Rome, and the voice of an innumerable multitude, rendering praise to the omnipotent Jehovah, because he now reigned supreme. All errors and other impediments are done away, and Jew and Gentile unite in ascribing the glory to God who had clothed his children in robes of righteousness, and brought them up to the marriage of the Lamb. The prophet is taught that the manifestations of the Spirit