« הקודםהמשך »
REFLECTIONS. Whoever is the Beast intended, and whatever be meant by his image, his character, beyond all contrnversy, is very odious and detestable ; for he is represented as blasphening the name of God, and his tabernacle, and as making war with the saints. There have arisen such impious monsters in the Christian church; and none among them have been more openly and enormously wicked and profane, than those who have made the loudest pretensions to be the vicegerents of Christ, and invested with his whole authority. Many of the saints of God have seemed to have been overcome by this antichristian tyranny ; many have been led into captivity; many have been slain with the sword: but those who took them captive, continuing impenitent, shall be taken, and the slayers slain. O, may our names be written in the Lamb's book of life! then shall we be secure in the midst of all these formidable evils; and, from every trial of our faith and patience, shall come out as gold seven iimes fiurified. Let us not be troubled and offended, to discern these usurpations in the course of divine providence prevailing, and the time actually come, in many parts of the world, in which men can neither buy nor sell, nor are permilted to enjoy any other natural or civil privilege, if they will not give up their names to the beast, receive his mark, and implicitly subinit to his authority. The prophecy justly removes all offence which might be taken at the event; and, discerning its accomplishment, we may embolden our hopes, that the triumphs of divine justice over these ministers of the dragon, as they are also foretold, will be fulfilled with the like punctuality. And O, may the church of God be secured from their artifices, and fortified against their terrors ; and, in his own due time, may he break the jaw bone of the wicked! May he utterly disarm all the power and policy of those who take counsel iogether against the Lord and his anointed; and tliough their confederacies may seem to mock all human opposition, yet, at his appearance, they shall melt away as snow before the sun, when the time to remember Sion, yea, the set time is come.
The vision of the Lamb ufion mount Sion, with hio redeemed ; and of angels proclaiming his vengeance upon the beast, and his worshippers. Ch. xiv. 1 AND I looked, and behold the Lamb was standing upon mount
A Sion, and with him one hundred and forty-four thousand, 2 who had the name of his Father written on their foreheads. And
I heard a voice out of hcarer, as the sound of many waters, and
like the sound of great thunders : and I heard the voice of har3 pers playing upon their harps. And they sung, as it were, a new
song before the throne, and before the four living creatures, and the elders : and none could learn the song, unless the one hun
dred and fortyfour thousand who are redeemed from the earth. 4 These are they who have not been polluted with (lewd) women ;
for they are chaste as virgins ; being free from idolatry. These this I take to be the grand key by which the æra of the fall of Babylon is to be calculated, as it fixes the rise of the beast to about the year 756, when the Pope became a temporal monarch ; that is, in prophetic language, a beast.
are they who follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These
were redeemed from among men, as the first-fruits to God, and 5 to the Lamb. And no deceit was found in their mouth, for
they are blameless before the throne of God. 6 And I saw another angel flying through the midst of heaven,
having the everlasting gospel to preach to the inhabitants of the
earth, even to every nation, and tribe, and tongue, and people ; 7 saying, Fear God, and give glory to him, for the hour of his
judgment is come : and worship him who made heaven and 8 earth, and the sea, and the fountains of water. And another an
gel followed, saying, It is fallen ! it is fallen! even Babylon the
great city ; because it made all the nations drink of the wine of 9 its raging fornication. And a third angel followed thein, saying
with a loud voice, If any one worship the beast, and his image, 10 and receive the mark on his forehead, or on his hand, he also
shall drink of the wine of the indignation of God, which is tempered without mixture of mercy in the cup of his wrath; and he
shall be tormented with fire and brimstone, in the presence of the 11 holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of
their torment ascendeth for ever and ever: and they have no rest
day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever 12 receive the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the
saints ; here are those who keep the commandments of God, and 13 the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven, saying to
me, Write; henceforth blessed are the dead that die in the Lord;
yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and 14 their works follow them! And I looked r, and behold a white
cloud; and on the cloud one sitting like the Son of Man*, having 15 on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And
another angel came out of the temple of God, crying with a loud voice to him that sat upon the cloud, Put forth thy sickle and
reap, for the season of thy reaping is come, because the harvest of 16 the earth is ripe. And he that sat upon the cloud, put forth his 17 sickle on the earth ; and the earth was reaped. And another an
gel came out of the temple that was in heaven ; and he had a 18 sharp sickle. And another angel came from the altar, having
power over the fire ; and he called out with a great cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, Put forth thy sharp sickle, and
lop off the clusters of the vine upon the earth; for its grapes are 19 ripe. And the angel thrust out his sickle upon the earth, and
lopped off the grapes from the vine of the earth ; and he threw 20 them into the great wine-press of the wrath of God. And the
wine-press which stood out of the city was trodden, and the blood came out of the wine-press, even to the bridles of the horses, at the distance of one thousand six hundred furlongs, or two hundred miles.
REFLECTIONS. In what awful characters is the righteous vengeance of God here described! How quickly do his haughtiest enemics fall before him,
* As represented in Daniel
like corn before the sickle, or clusters of grapes before the knife ! His wine-press shall indeed be trodden, and the blood of bis enemies shall overflow: but, blessed are all they that put their trust in him, and look to him, who trod the wine-press alone, and who distinguishes himself by the title of him, who is mighty to save, and who travels in the greatness of his strength. Arrayed in terror, he will vanquish all the enemies of his people ; but, to his faithful followers, will appear with the gentleness of the Lamb, of the Lamb their Redeemer, to whose honour their voices and their harps shall resound. O, how happy are those souls who, by his special love, being redeemed from among men, and having humbly traced the steps of his purity and goodness on earth, shall, in the heavenly world, follow the Lamo whithersoever he goes ! Let us be accordingly engaged to present ourselves unspotted from the world, and to walk worthy of so exalted a hope and expectation; to kecp our mouths from every deceit, that we may be found blameless in the presence of God, and of the Lamb. God hath granted us the everlasting gospel, on purpose that we might be taught to fear him, and to give glory to his name; to worship him, as the great Creator and righteous Governor of the universe : and while we are under the conduct of his providence, and devoted to his service, let nothing discourage or dismay us. Though for the pres, ent we see that Babylon is triumphant, though its patrons are making themselves drunk with the blood of his saints, a very different cup is prepared for her, and will assuredly be given her to drink ; even the cup of the wrath of God, poured forth without mixture ; while blessings, inconceivable and eternal, are reserved for those that suffer for righteousness' sake. Let the patience, therefore, of those who keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Christ, be invincible ; for their fiercest, and most formidable enemies can only kill the body; and, having done that, can neither prevent, nor delay, the blessedness of the dead that die in the Lord. The infallible Spirit has said it, the blessed apostle hath, by divine command, recorded it, for the instruc, tion and triumph of his people in all ages, that they rcst from their labours, and that their works follow them ; while those that persecuted and hated them, rest not day nor night; but the smoke of their tormen! ascendeth up for ever and ever. And O, that numbers of those who worship the beast, and who receive its image, may be awakened, while the day of their visitation continues; lest they also, after having dealt damnation, in their arrogant censures, upon men of much purer faith, and holier lives, than themselves, be tormented with fire and brimstone, in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.
The appearance of seven angels, with seven vials, full of the seven last
plagues: the first three poured out. Ch. xv.-xvi. 1-7. I A ND I saw another great and wonderful sign in heaven ; seve
I en angels, who had the seven last plagues ; 80 called because 2 in them the wrath of God was to be completed. And I saw, as it were, a sca* of glass, mingied with fire ; and those who over.
* A great crystal vessel, like the sea in Solomon's temple.
came the beast, and his image, and his mark, and the number of
his name, standing by the sea of glass, having the harps of God. 3 And they sung the Song of Moses the servant of God, and the
Song of the Lamb, saying, Great and wonderful are thy works,
O Lord God Almighty ; righteous and true are thy ways, O 4 King of saints. Who should not fear thec, O Lord, and glorify
thy name ; for thou only art holy ? Surely, all nations shall come
and worship before thee, because thy righteous judgments are 5 made manifest.-And after this I looked r; and behold the temple 6 of the tabernacle of the testimony was opened in heaven : and the
seven angels, who had the seven plagues, came out of the tem
ple, clothed with pure and shining linen garments, and were gird7 ed about the breasts wilh golden girdles. And one of the four
living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden vials or
censers full of the wrath of God who liveth for ever and ever. 8 And the temple was full of smoke from the glory of God, and
from his power: and no one could enter into the temple, till the
seven plagues of the seven angels were finished. xyi. And I heard a great voice out of the temple, saying to the seven
angels, Go, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the 2 Earth. And the first went forth, and poured out his vial upon the
Earth ; and there was a malignant and grievous ulcer upon the
men who had the mark of the beast, and upon them who worship3 ped his image.—And the second angel poured out his vial upon
the sea ; and it became blood, like that of a dead mant: and every 4 living soul that was in the sea died. And the third angel poured out
his vial upon the Rivers, and on the fountains of water; and they 5 became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters saying, Righ
teous art thou, O Lord, who art, and who wast; and thou art holyt, 6 because thou hast judged these : Forr they have poured forth the
blood of thy saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to 7 drink; for they are worthy of it. And I heard another angei from
the altar saying, Yea, O Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.
REFLECTIONS. Let us now raise our eyes and our hearts above the low and sordid scenes of mortality, to those happy and exalted spirits who are descri. bed as standing before the crystal sea, with golden harps in their hands. Let us attentively hearken to those broken and imperfect echoes of the song of Moses, and of the Lamb, which a gracious God causes to descend, as it were, to this world of ours, and which sometimes sweetly mingle themselves with the clamour of strife, with the din of folly, with the groans of misery. Happy and glorious is their condition now, who are freed from all these evils, and who triumph over all their enemies ; whom (as it was said to Israel of the Egyptians) having beheld, They shall see them no more for ever. They are now acknowledging their great deliverer, singing everlasting praises to his name, and
+ Man is not in the Gr. W. supplies animal, and renders the next words “every living creature.”
# I follow those copies which read ocios.
celebrating the wonders of his works, and the righteousness and truth of all his ways. O Lord God Almighty, Othou King of saints, who would not fear thee, and glorify thy holy name? Let the nations come, and worship in thy presence : let them pay thee their humble reverence and homage, before the vials of thy wrath are poured out : those vials which, terrible as their contents are, the benevolent spirits of heaven prepare themselves, at thy command, to pour forth with pleasure; applauding, in their responsive hymns, thy righteous judgments, even when the sorest and most dreadful plagues torment the worshippers of the beast and his image ; even when their seas and their rivers are turned into blood. Whatever be the calainities, whether past or future, to which any of these particulars may refer, surely they are big with terror to those wretches who on any pretence, are pouring forth the blood of thy propheis and thy saints. They are worthy of having blood given them to drink ; and accordingly, thou hast a dreadful draught in reserve for them. And, though some of them may have laid down their hoary heads in peace, which we might rather have expected, would have been brought to the grave with blood, the day of thy vengeance will surely come: a vengeance so terrible, that nothing but a zeal for thy violated law, and thine injured gospel, would make the very sight of it supportable to those whose cause shall then be pleaded, and whose blood shall be visited on their tormentors and murderers.
The four last vials poured out, and the incorrigible obstinacy of sinners
Ch. xvi. 8, &c..
ND the fourth angel poured forth his vial on the Sun; and
power was given to it to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat; and they blasphemed the name
of God, who had power over these plagues, and they repented 10 not, to give glory to him.-And the fifth angel poured forth bis
vial upon the throne of the Beast; and his kingdom was darkened, Il and they gnawed their tongues for anguish, and blasphemed
the God of heaven, for their pains, and their ulcers; and 12 repented not of their works. And the sixth angel poured forth
his vial upon the great river Euphrates ; and its water was dried
up, that a way might be prepared for the kings from the rising of Am 13 the sun. And I saw, o out of the mouth of the dragon, and out
of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false 14 prophet, three unclean spirits, come like frogs: for these are the
spirits of demons working pretended miracles, which go forth to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to bring them together to the battle of the great day of God the Almighty. Then heard I the voice of the Lord Jesus saying, Behold I come suddenly as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his gar. ments*, that he may not walk naked, so that men should see bis * Probably an allusion to the custom of setting fire to the clothes of the watch in the temple if found asleep,