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But you, O impenitent man or woman, where will you be then? When heaven shall resound with the mighty song, and distant realms shall echo back the sound, where, tell me, where will you be then? In hell! O think! In hell! a dreadful word! Once more think! In hell! lifting up your eyes, being in torment. Stop, sinner; think! In hell! where shall be weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. Stop, sinner, stop; consider on your latter end. In hell ! "where the beast and false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever." I entreat of you to think in hell! I know you hate to hear the word. It sounds too harsh. There is no music in it. You say it grates upon the
But think, when it grates upon the soul, the conscience, and the ear, and not by sound only, but a dread reality, when there can be no respite, no cessation, no deliverance, no hope! You will then think, yes, of this warning, of a thousand others, perhaps of this hour, with many more that are lost; yes, worse than lost, that have been squandered in earthly, vain, and transitory mirth, have been abused; for there have been many hours the Spirit strove with you, and you prayed to be excused. There was an hour when conscience spake; but you stopped your ears and would not hear. There was a time when judgment and reason whispered; but you soon drowned their cry by calling in some aid against your own soul. To judgment and reason you have opposed will and wit, and said, “ in hell,” was only in the grave. In this vain citadel, on this frail house of sand, you will build, until the last seal is broken, the last trump will sound, the last woe be pronounced, and the last vial be poured upon the earth. Then, impenitent man or woman, you will awake in everlasting woe!
Be warned ; repent; fly, fly for succor to the ark of God, to Jesus Christ, the Lamb that once was slain, that you might live, for he is worthy to receive all honor, power, and glory. Believe, and you shall live. Obey his word, his spirit, his calls, his invitations; there is no time for delay ; put it not off, I beg of you ; no, not for a moment. Do you want to join that heavenly choir and
sing the nero song ? Then come in God's appointed way; repent. Do you want a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens ? Then join in heart and soul this happy people, whose God is the Lord. Do you want an interest in the New Jerusalem, the beloved city? Then set your face as a flint Zion-ward ; become a pilgrim in the good old way. 6 Seek first the kingdom of heaven," says Christ, " and then all these things shall be added unto you."
REV. v. 5.
And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not : behold, the Lion of
the tribe of Judah, the root of David, hath prevailed to open the book and to loose the seven seals thereof.
The book of Revelation has been called by thousands a sealed book; and many a dear saint, while in this imperfect state of vision and knowledge, has wept much, because they could not read and understand the book. For it is very evident that the book of Revelation is not only interesting in its symbolical and mystical descriptions, natural scenery, and figurative language, but it is rich in truth, and the communication of events then hid under the veil of futurity, and would only be unfolded to the natural visions of men, many ages to come. John has written this book after the laws of nature; that is, he has seemed to copy after some of the richest and most picturesque scenes in nature's laws. He has, in revealing truths to our minds, followed the same steady course that fountains of water do in their course to the
He begins as it were back upon the mountains, where the head may be but a fountain, and there gives us a description of the source. He then glides gently along through the vale below, winding between hills and mountains, visiting in his course the hamlets of the peasant, the villages of men, the populous towns and cities of commerce, until he lands us or leaves us in the ocean of eternity. At first, he appears to be describing some bubbling fountain or gentle spring, and swelling
in importance as he proceeds, brings in and adds every important stream of event, deepens and widens in his course, until he makes his prophetic history like a deepflowing river, bearing upon its bosom the gallant ships and galley with oars. At first, he describes a pebbly brook murmuring along the hills, now and then bursting into view with some gentle fall, then gliding softly away, until it meets some rugged head-land, shifts its course, and almost seems to retrace its path; then, suddenly bursting from the hills in cataracts of foam, bounding from rock to rock, leaping into the vale below, he again seems to follow the alluvial flats and receives his tributary streams, winds on his way, until it falls at its mouth by a tremendous leap into a gulf of waters, and is swallowed up in the waves of the sea.
Four times the Revelation seems to bring us down in this manner, as though he had begun on one mountain, and traced four different streams of history down to the great ocean of eternity; like the river of Eden, which watered the garden, becoming four heads of four great rivers, which watered and encompassed the whole land, taking different points of the compass, but falling at last into the ocean, Gen. ii. 10–14; and all these having seven tributary streams in their course. The seven churches of Asia is a history of the church of Christ in her seven forms, in all her windings and turnings, in all her prosperity and adversity, from the days of the apos tles down to the end of the world. The seven seals are a history of the transactions of the powers and kings of the earth over the church, and God's protection of his people during the same time. The seven trumpets are a history of seven peculiar and heavy judgments sent upon the earth, or Roman kingdom. And the seven vials are the seven last plagues sent upon Papal Rome. Mixed with these are many other events, woven in like tributary streams, and filling up the grand river of prophecy, until the whole ends us in the ocean of eternity.
This, to me, is the plan of John's prophecy in the book of Revelation. And the man who wishes to understand this book, must have a thorough knowledge of other parts of the word of God. The figures and metaphors used
in this prophecy, are not all explained in the same, but must be found in other prophets, and explained in other passages of Scripture. Therefore it is evident that God has designed the study of the whole, even to obtain a clear knowledge of any part. I shall then pursue the following method :
I. Explain the book which was in the right hand of him who sat on the throne.
II. Give the history of the seven seals, and their opening.
I. I am to explain what is meant by the book.
The book is often spoken of in the word of God. Sometimes we hear it spoken of as a little book, open, in the hands of the angel ; and sometimes it is commanded to be sealed up; and sometimes to be unloosed, as in our text. The question arises, What can this book mean? It cannot mean the book of Revelation, for John was commanded not to seal the sayings of this book, Rev. xxii. 10. Neither could it be the prophecies, for they were commanded to be read every Sabbath day by the Jews, and were so read. Yet John tells us, in our context, “That no man, neither in heaven, nor in earth, nor under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon; and I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.” We see, plainly, that it could not apply to the law, nor the prophets, to the Old or New Testaments, for these were committed to the Jews, and also unto us Gentiles, and were to be read by all men; but this book they could not open, read, nor look thereon. There is one more book which answers to John's description, which no man, neither in heaven, nor on earth, nor under the earth, has yet been able to look thereon, or open and read, as we have any account of; and which, according to the whole tenor of the Scripture, will never be opened, read, or looked upon, until the last seal is broken, and the judgment sits. “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened ; and another book was opened, which is the book of life ; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books.” In this book, which