תמונות בעמוד
PDF

culed the servants of Christ, who have cried to them, in their midnight revels, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh,” will be silent. Then will those servants who have “ said in their hearts, My Lord delayeth his coming,” and “begin to beat and bruise their fellow-servants,” who have proclaimed his coming, “and to eat and drink with the drunken,” be silent. Then, too, will all the false prophets, who have cried Peace, peace, when there was no peace, be silent, when they see the frowns of an angry judge whom they have disregarded. Then shall those who have promised the wicked life, though he should not turn from his wickedness, be silent. Then, every one found in that great assembly, when the Son of Man shall come in the clouds, and all the holy angels with him, and all the saints who have slept, and all nations then shall be gathered before him, and every eye shall see him; then, I say, will every one found in this vast multitude, not having on the wedding garment, be silent; for the Scripture says, “He was speechless.”

And now, my dear friends, what say you? Have you wept much to know whether your names are written in the Lamb's book of life? “Weep not,” for “behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed to open the book.” And he says, “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. Therefore, “rejoice, because your names are written in heaven,” says the dear Savior.

But you, my impenitent friends, who have never wept, nor confessed your sins to God, who have been more anxious to have your names written in the book of fame, of worldly honor, of the riches of this world, than in the book of life, remember, you too will weep when all heaven is silent—when the last seal is broken — then you will see the book, and your name blotted out. Then you will weep and say, “Once, my name was there; I had a day of probation; life was proffered; but I hated instruction, I despised reproof, and my part is taken from the book of life. Farewell, happiness farewell, hope! .Amen.

[ocr errors][merged small]

And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy * thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

THE two witnesses in our text have caused as much speculation among the writers on the New Testament, as any other passage in the word of God. Some have supposed that it was a succession of orthodox divines, whom God had raised up to witness to the truth, during the time specified, which all agree is twelve hundred and sixty years. And those writers who have taken this side of the question, have endeavored to find some favorite divines, among their sect, answering to the description given of the two witnesses. Upon this construction every sect might claim the honor of giving to the world the two witnesses. And were this explanation true, instead of two witnesses, we should have more than eight hundred; for every sect must have a set, and I dare not give preference to any. This would destroy the idea of two wit2nesses at ORCe.

Other writers have fixed on the church as the two, clergy and laity; but here are many difficulties to encounter, the same as above. Every sect must have their own church and clergy, or admit at once that they are not the true church. But let us now come to the word of God. And if the word of God does not explain the “two witnesses,” I shall despair of ever coming to the truth on this subject, for I am commanded by Christ himself to call no man master. I shall, then,

I. Attempt to show what the Bible calls the two witneSSes. II. What we may understand by their being clothed in sackcloth. III. Their history, prophecy, and time specified. I. What is the Bible account of the two witnesses? And, first, What is a witness? I answer, A witness is a person, or legal instrument, testifying to the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, on matters of fact which are supposed to be known no way but through testimony, either oral or written. Oral testimony is given by a person who is sworn to tell the whole truth, as above, and relate what he actually knows, by the medium of his own senses, and no more nor less. The apostles were such witnesses; for they testified to the things which Christ did in public. And when Judas fell by transgression, Peter informed his brethren that one must be chosen, “of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning at the baptism of John, unto the same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.” But these could not be the “two witnesses;” for here were twelve." But we learn by this history what a witness must be. He must go in and out; he must know by actual observation, or he could not testify any thing concerning Christ. That was the manner of oral testimony in that day, and so it is at the present. This, then, precludes the idea at once of any men, or set of men, being Christ's witnesses at the present day, or since the days of the apostles. But, says the objector, does not the word of God call all Christians witnesses for Christ? I do not know of any scripture where Christians are called witnesses, except the prophets and apostles, or inspired writers, that is, concerning Christ. They may witness a good profession, or they may witness for themselves, that they believe in Christ or his word; but further they cannot go. They are not witness either to the person of Christ, to his works, death, miracles, or resurrection and ascension; and if there was no other testimony but oral, we should be no better off than the darkest Hindoo or most ignorant Hottentot. But, thanks be to God, he has not left us without a witmess. There is a better testimony than all Christendom, which is written; and it is this which I hold in my hand: it is the word of God. It tells the truth; “for not one jot or tittle of this word shall fail.” It tells the whole truth, “that the man of God may be perfectly furnished to every good work.” It tells nothing but the truth; for it is the truth indited by him who cannot lie. You are well aware, my friends, that written testimony is considered in all courts, under all laws, to be stronger than any oral testimony whatever. For instance, take the last will and testament of any man; if it was written or indited by himself, signed by his own hand, sealed with his own seal, in presence of witnesses chosen by himself, and ratified by his death, no oral testimony can be brought against it; unless the instrument itself shows some contradiction or discrepancy, it cannot be destroyed. So it is with these two testaments, revealed, indited, confirmed. witnessed, and ratified, by the death of the testator, the Lord Jesus Christ. And although wicked men and devils have endeavored to show some contradiction or dis crepancy in its testimony, it has stood the shock of ages, the wreck of kingdoms, and will stand when these heavens and this earth shall pass away with a great noise and the elements melt with fervent heat; for by this word we must all be judged; by these witnesses we shall be justified or condemned. Christ says, “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me.” The angel tells John, in the next verse following our text, that the two witnesses “are the two olive trees; and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.” The angel, in his allusion to the two olive trees, quotes the prophet Zechariah, iv. 3, “And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.” Here the olive trees are used in a figurative sense, and properly denote the “sons of oil,” or the two cherubims which stood over the ark, and spread their wings over the mercy seat. The wings of the cherubims stretched from either side of the house to the centre over the mercy seat, and their faces turned inwards down upon the mercy seat, and the glory of the God of Israel was above the cherubims. These cherubims are a lively type of the Old and New Testament. The signification of cherub is “fulness of knowledge;” so is the word of God, “that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished, perfect in every good work.” They have the whole truth, all we can know about Jesus Christ in this state. They stand on either hand of Christ, one before he came in the flesh, pointing to a Messiah to come, by all its types and shadows; and like the cherub whose wings touched the outer wall of the room and reached to the centre over the mercy seat, so did the Old Testament reach from the creation of the world down to John's preaching in the wilderness, and like the cherub looking down on the mercy seat, it testified of the Messiah. The other cherubim's wings reached from the centre over the mercy seat, and touched the other wall of the room, while his face was turned back upon the mercy seat. So does the New Testament begin at the preaching of John, and reveals all that is necessary for us to know, down to the end of the world. And all the ordinances of the New Testament house look back to the sufferings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and are to continue until his second coming and end of the world. These cherubims were made of olive trees, and overlaid with pure gold, 1 Kings vi. 23–28. Again: the angel tells Zechariah what the two olive trees are, Zech. iv. 4–6, “So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord?” (the two olive trees.) “Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubabel,” &c. Here we are plainly told that the two olive trees are the word of the Lord, and the angel tells John, Rev. xi. 4, that “the two witnesses are the two olive trees and the two candlesticks.” As candlesticks are the means of light, so is the word of God. Candlesticks are used in Scripture in the same sense as lamps. And David says, “Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Therefore 1 humbly believe that I have fairly and conclusively proved

« הקודםהמשך »