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and practice in the Established Church of these realms. He must indeed be a bold man who, in the face of all which Britain has witnessed of late, would still maintain that the glorious era pointed out by the seventh trumpet transpired half a century ago.
Rejecting therefore a theory so contradictory to actual experience, it now remains to ascertain if possible the true date of this prophetical era. Although, then, the precise period of this important event is nowhere distinctly revealed, still it is possible to infer it with tolerable precision. The seventh trumpet sounds within a few years of the close of the great prophetical period of twelve hundred and sixty days. This is evident from the statement made at the ascension of the witnesses, which happens at that very period,—“the second woe is past, behold the third woe (that is the seventh trumpet] cometh quickly,"—an expression which can hardly signify more than a few years.
The close proximity of this trumpet to the end of the twelve hundred and sixty days is also evident from a chronological prophecy in the book of Daniel. Towards the close of the last chapter, that prophet is informed of an additional period of thirty years, beyond the twelve hundred and sixty years, which I shall afterwards have occasion to prove refers to the Battle of Armageddon. Now, the Battle of Armageddon occurs under the seventh vial (Rev. xvi. 16), and the whole of the vials are poured out under this last trumpet ; hence the seventh angel must surely sound considerably within the thirty years specified, to allow of sufficient time for the effusion of the six first vials, all of which are poured out before the Battle of Armageddon commences.
From these remarks the period of the seventh trumpet may be fixed with as much precision as is necessary, or even desirable. The twelve hundred and sixty years are almost universally acknowledged to terminate about A.D. 1864 or 1866, and this date derives confirmation from the remarkable fact, that the two thousand four hundred days (Sept.), the period assigned for the cleansing of the Sanctuary, reaches to the same period, there being exactly two thousand four hundred
years from the union of the Median and Persian kingdoms in the person of Cyrus (B.C. 536), which is clearly the commencement of the vision (Dan. viii. 3), to the year
1864. It is therefore in the highest degree probable (unless that system of prophetic interpretation which is almost universally adopted prove incorrect) that the seventh angel will sound his trumpet within a few years, that is to say, ten or at most twenty years from 1864 or 1866 A.D., the expected close of the time, times, and half a time. Then will great voices be heard in Heaven exclaiming with one accord,—“ The kingdoms of the world are become the kingdoms of the Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever."
Previous to the sounding of its terrific blast, we are expressly informed that it would bring misery upon mankind, or in other words, be pre-eminently a woe trumpet. After the four first Apocalyptic trumpets had sounded, and mankind had suffered under their calamitous effects, the Apostle says,-“I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe to the inhabiters of the earth, by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels which are yet to sound !” This evidently shews that a far heavier amount of woe would follow the remaining trumpets than had already followed the sounding of the first four; and immediately before the blast of the seventh trumpet is heard, it is again said,-“ The third woe cometh quickly."
It is very evident, then, from these considerations, that the most obvious and palpable feature of the seventh trumpet is its judicial or retributive character. Accordingly we find it stated in the song of the four and twenty elders,—" Thy wrath is
come, and the time of the dead that they should be judged, and to destroy them which destroy the earth.” The accompanying signs too, clearly betoken Divine vengeance upon mankind,“ And there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.” Lastly : the fact of the seventh trumpet being pre-eminently one of woe, is still further proved from its containing the whole of the vials or last plagues, on which is filled up the wrath of God; but as this opinion has been of late generally contradicted, the reader is referred for its proof to an ensuing chapter upon the vials.
When we consider the awful and tremendous nature of this third woe, it may appear strange that its arrival should be hailed with delight by the representatives of the redeemed in heaven. Nothing, however, can be more certain,—“ We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and reigned." This apparent incongruity is, however, easily explained, if we reflect that the judgments which follow the seventh angel's blast are exclusively directed against the enemies of Christ, and constitute the necessary means of destroying the Anti-christian Powers, and of setting up the kingdom of the Son of Man. Hence it is that on the sounding of this last trumpet, the glorious inhabitants of Heaven lose sight of the calamitous nature of this woe in the fixed and rapturous contemplation of its mighty results,—“ And there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders which sat before God on their seats fell upon their faces, and worshiped God, saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come ; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.”—Rev. xi. 15–17.
With reference to the exclamation uttered, as sublimely
stated, by “GREAT VOICES,"_“ The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ,"—its natural import would undoubtedly seem to be, that now, on the sounding of the seventh trumpet, the whole earth was at length subjected to the Messiah’s sway. The Anti-christian Powers, both Ecclesiastical and Civil destroyed, and the glorious prophecy respecting the Messiah fulfilled :-" He shall reign from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.” Such is accordingly the interpretation given of this passage by all the leading expositors of the Apocalypse.
A little reflection, however, will at once convince us, that the language of the seventh trumpet cannot bear this meaning, unless it be used merely by way of anticipation. The awful judgments which afterwards destroy the enemies of Christ, prove that as yet He had not triumphed over his foes, and the terrific and universal vengeance which is subsequently poured out on the world, from which the saints of God are sealed, establishes the fact that but a very small extent of territory was at this period held by Him who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
The reading of Griesbach, however, suggests a different interpretation. Instead of being “the kingdoms of this world,'' it is the kingdom of the world is become our Lord's," 80.,that is, the sovereignty of the whole earth is taken from the devil, " the Prince of this World," and placed in the hands of Him, which is by right, THE KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS,”—“ He has taken to him his great power, and reigned.” He has now assumed the rule of the earth, and though His kingdom so far from being come universally, and having reached its ultimate extent and glory, has only just commenced ; although none of his enemies are yet subdued, and the corrupt dynasties and blasphemous hierarchies of Europe still subsist, yet the Almighty has begun to reign upon the earth, and will go on rapidly subjecting the whole world to his sway, until “ The knowledge of Jehovah shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.”
The correct view, then, of this declaration, “ The kingdom of the world is become our Lord's, and his Christ's, and he shall reign for ever and ever," appears to be that the kingdom of Christ was now at length set up (Dan. ii. 44). He had commenced his everlasting reign on earth. The power given to the ten-horned Beast, the representative of Civil Tyranny in Europe, to effect his will forty and two months (Rev. xii. 5) had previously ceased. The dominion of the little-horn or Papacy over the saints, and times, and laws for a similar period had also been taken away (Dan. vii. 27.); and now at the sounding of the seventh trumpet, after an interval of only a few years, the God of Heaven assumes the absolute government of the earth,—“The Lord God Omnipotent reigneth."
This kingdom or reign of God thus commenced, involves clearly the exercise of Absolute and Almighty Power, for the accomplishment of the will of Infinite Love in our fallen world. At present we know this is not the case.
“ His will is not done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
“ His kingdom is not come.” The great dragon, that old serpent called the Devil and Satan, reigns with undisputed authority over this world. “ He is the Spirit that now ruleth in the hearts of the children of disobedience," which, alas, is the character of all mankind, with few exceptions. As he declared to the Messiah in the days of his flesh,—“The kingdoms of this world and the glory thereof are delivered unto him, and to whomsoever he will he giveth them.” Accordingly it is said of the Roman Empire,—“ The dragon gave him his power, and seat, and great authority;" and he is elsewhere termed “the prince of this world” by Christ himself. Now, it is obvious, that such a state of things necessarily occasions that universal prevalence of ignorance, guilt, and misery in the world,