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be achieved, and the glory of His servants will be complete. The Devil will be cast into the lake of fire, where the Beast and False Prophet are; and they shall be tormented day and night, for ever and
And then the Judgment will be set; and all the dead, both small and great, will be raised, and stand before God; and every man will be judged according to his works *
Whether these great events are now near at hand or no, we cannot say. Enough, assuredly, there is in the present state of the world, to warn us of Christ's coming. We cannot prophesy; but we must all pray. We must all watch. We must all labour. We must all love. Whether we now see the beginning of these things or no, is uncertain; but we shall certainly see the end. We shall see Christ at His coming. Behold, He cometh in the clouds; and every eye shall see Him; they also which pierced Him t. We shall see the Throne set, and the Books opened. We shall all be judged. And may God, of His infinite mercy, grant, that then you may see your names, written in the Book of Life!
* Rev. xx. 10–13.
+ Rev. i. 7.
Rev. i. 9-11.
I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last : and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia.
HAVING endeavoured on two former occasions to clear away the objections raised by some to the divine authority of the Apocalypse, on the ground of the ambiguous language of some persons respecting it in the third and fourth centuries, I propose now to examine the evidence of its Genuineness and Inspiration.
This is a most important enquiry.
Some critics in our own day, especially on the continent of Europe *, have affirmed, in very confident
* Particularly Lücke, Bretschneider, Ewald, De Wette, Schott, Credner, &c. “If” (says Lücke, Commentar. über die Schriften d. Ev. Joannes, iv. p. 388.) “ St. John wrote the Gospel which
terms, that the Apocalypse ought not to be received as the work of the Evangelist St. John.
A belief in the genuineness and inspiration of the Canonical books of Scripture is the groundwork of our faith and hope; and whatever weakens this foundation, undermines the fabric of Christianity. Therefore, on general grounds, this question demands our serious attention.
Besides, the Apocalypse itself has a peculiar character: it foretells the future. If it is indeed the Word of God, then no one can question the reality of a Future Judgment, and of Heaven and Hell. All these are here pourtrayed in the most vivid colours; and proportioned to their importance is that of the present question concerning the Authority of the Apocalypse. Once more.
In these Discourses we receive the Apocalypse as the Word of God. We build upon it as such. We shall hereafter have occasion to show how safe and impregnable a fortress it affords us against the fierce assaults of sceptical Philosophy, ungodly Polity, and corrupt Religion, by which we are now assailed. It therefore concerns us all to know that our house is founded on a Rock; that the Apocalypse is true; that it is based on the everlasting foundation of Him Who was, and is, and will never cease to be.
bears his name, he cannot be the Author of the Apocalypse.” De Wette Einleit. $ 189, and Ewald Comment. p. 76, say the same thing, in similar language.
In pursuance of this design, let me call your attention, in the first place, to a strong presumptive proof of the divine authority of the Apocalypse.
The Apocalypse completes the Canon of Scripture; and, with reverence be it said, the Sacred Canon would be imperfect without it. This arises from the peculiar character of this Book.
Almighty God has been pleased to say, that He will do nothing, but He revealeth His secrets to His servants the Prophets *. Therefore it was reasonably to be expected that some prophetical Book, revealing the future history of the Church under the New Dispensation, would be given by God to her, in the same manner as prophetical books for a like purpose were vouchsafed under the Old Dispensation.
But, no Book of the New Testament, except the Apocalypse, possesses a prophetic character; no such prophetical Book has ever been received by the Christian Church, except the Apocalypse; and therefore we conclude, that the Apocalypse is a Canonical Book, and was even necessary for the completion of the Canon.
Let us now open the Apocalypse.
It presents itself to us as the Revelation of JESUS CHRIST. Such are its first words.
Is it a genuine Revelation, or no?
* Amos üïj. 7.
we learn from ancient accredited * witnesses, there were many supposititious and heretical books in circulation with such titles as the following :
The Revelation of Peter.
The Revelation of Thomas. These were spurious Revelations, purporting to come from Apostles of Christ. But they have their value, as proving to us the existence of some genuine Apostolic Revelation at that time. No one forges counterfeits of imaginary coins: the false medal indicates that there is a genuine one, of a similar form, in circulation. The glass reflects the jewel; the shadow follows the substance. Now, there is not, and never has been, any Book of Revelation in existence which the Christian Church has recognized as a genuine Apostolic work, except the Apocalypse. Therefore the Apocalypse is the true Revelation. It is the sterling coin, of which those other Revelations were counterfeits. And thus the frauds of heretical utterers of base money serve to prove the truth of the divine archetype.
We proceed now a step further.
Every one who opens the Apocalypse must be struck with its commanding tone and majestic dig
* See the account of twelve different Apocryphal Books of Apocalypse or Revelation in Fabricius Codex Apoc. N. T. Pt. ii. p. 935, and the authorities cited by Jones on the Canon, i. p. 26—33, and by Lücke, Commentar. p. 45–50.