תמונות בעמוד

dreams, your young men shall see visions.” Such, objectionable as it would be, would be a far more plausible construction of the vision, were they exhibited as on the earth, than any of the expositions offered by commentators : but, as they were in heaven, as is indisputable from the representation, on the one hand, that they only were able to learn the song, and on the other, that the song was heard from heaven, the event which it denotes is not of that kind, nor is it to take place in our world, but in the presence of God in heaven, and is to be of the nature I have suggested. It undoubtedly represents, therefore, the assumption of the witnesses after their resurrection and elevation to the stations in the presence of the Redeemer, which they are ever thereafter to fill. This accords in all respects with the representations of the passage. It accounts for the descent of the song from heaven, while yet it was not uttered either by the living creatures nor the elders. It accounts for its being a new and peculiar song, such as no others of the redeemed had had occasion, or could ever have occasion to chant. It accounts for their enjoying the visible presence of the Lamb anterior to his advent. But the supposition that they are merely to behold him in ecstatic vision, is not in accordance with the law of symbolization. It were to make the vision of the Lamb by the hundred forty-four thousand, the symbol of a mere vision of him by those whom they represent, not of his personal presence with them, which is against analogy. The counterpart of a symbolic presence is a real one. Otherwise none of the symbols are of any certainty representatives of real agents and agencies. Their whole fulfilment may be visionary, and thence they may have had their accomplishment, and their whole accomplishment in the ecstatic thoughts of some prophet cotemporary with the apostle, or of ages long since passed. Their sight of the Lamb ihen is to be a real sight, their station with him is to be a station in his real presence, and therefore, as it is to be anterior to his advent, is to be at the heavenly sanctuary. It accords with the representation in the eleventh chapter, that the witnesses are to be literally raised from the dead, and assumed to heaven immediately anterior to the seventh trumpet, and the descent of the Redeemer ; and finally, the agency ascribed to the hundred forty-four thousand accords with that of the innumerable multitudes who are exhibited as standing before the throne of God and the Lamb. Like them they sing a song, though different in its theme, and like them they are thereafter to follow the Lamb wherever he may go, and dwell forever in his presence.


But may not the hundred forty-four thousand on Mount Zion, who are thus clearly to be not on earth, but raised to glory, denote the saints who are to be transfigured at the advent of Christ, rather than the witnesses who are to be raised from death? That supposition, though consistent with several of the peculiarities ascribed to them, as that they are to be a first-offering to God, and to sing a new song, in which no other can join, has yet nothing decisive to support it; while the proofs are irresistible that the hundred forty-four thousand and the witnesses are the same. The period of the sealed is obviously the same as that of the witnesses. The hundred forty-four thousand are represented as receiving the name of God on their foreheads under the sixth seal, immediately before the tempest which is to devastate the earth is let loose, and in preparation for that whirlwind. Ye may not injure the earth, nor the sea, nor the trees, till we can seal the servants of our God on their foreheads ;-implying that when his servants are sealed, the angels having power over the winds may commence their work of ruin ; and that work, obviously from the flight of all ranks to the caverns and rocks to escape the presence of the Lamb, is immediately to precede his advent. But the witnesses are to be slain also and raised from death immediately before the seventh trumpet, which is to be the signal of his advent. They are undoubtedly therefore of the same period. Their character also is as obviously the same. The sealed are those who have the name of God written on their foreheads, in contradistinction from those who have the mark of the wild beast. They are true worshippers, who acknowledge God's exclusive right to homage, and refuse the idolatrous submission to civil rulers, and nationalized hierarchies which they require; and that is also the peculiar characteristic of the witnesses. They refuse submission to the usurpations of the wild beast and the idolatries of the great city Babylon; and it is for that reason that they are to be put to death. They are of the same character therefore as the sealed. But the sealed, doubtless, embrace all true worshippers who refuse subjection to the usurpers of the rights of God, and are free from the stain of idolatry. As then they are of the saine period, of the same faith, and of the same agency, and as the sealed must be supposed to include all of their character, they and the witnesses are undoubtedly the same. The witnesses are not to be constiluted witnesses by their being martyred, but are to be martyred because they are witnesses; and as all the witnesses are represented as slain, and they who are slain are undoubtedly sealed, all the sealed are therefore to be slain.

The representation that they have not been guilty of idolatry, indicates ihat they are to consist of those who have never sanctioned the civil rulers, nor apostate hierarchies in their usurpations. They are probably, therefore, to arise after the questions to be raised by the angel from the sun-rising have begun to be discussed, and the people of God become furnished with large means of understanding the principles on which the claims of the antichristian powers are founded, and discerning the idolatry which an assent to them involves.




And I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven, having the everlasting gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and tribe, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear ye God, and give him glory, for the hour of his judgment is come; and worship ye him who made the heaven, and the earth, and sea, and fountains of waters.

The gospel is everlasting, as it is the gospel unchanged which Christ and the apostles preached, and which is to remain unchanged, and be preached to successive generations through eternal years,--not the new and antichristian gospel invented and proclaimed by the false prophet; as it relates to the everlasting government of God, and reveals the principles on which it is forever to be conducted ; and as it proffers everlasting life to men. The angel, like others, is the representative of a body and succession of men. His flight in mid-heaven, denotes the conspicuity of their mission. Those who dwell on the earth, are the inhabitants of the ten kingdoms, as distinguished from whom every nation, and tribe, and tongue, and people, are the other nations of the world. His first summons is to fear God, and give him glory. To fear him, is to regard him with the supreme awe that is due to his infinite greatness and station. To give him glory, is to manifest that awe by a public acknowledgment and celebration of his being, perfections, and works, as creator and ruler, a recognition of his rights, and submission to his will. The reason offered for that summons is, that the hour of his judgment is come; the period in which he is to reclaim the rights which men have usurped, vindicate the prerogatives they have denied, and punish both those who arrogate his throne, and those who pay them the homage that is due only to him. His next injunction is, to worship Him who made the heaven, and the earth, and sea, and fountains of waters. The heaven, earth, and sea, when thus distinguished from each other, denote the world of men, in their relations as rulers and subjects: the sun symbolizing the rulers of a nation, or community of nations; the earth, a people under a settled form of government; a sea, the multitude of a great nation in the commotions of war, or

a revolution; and fountains, remoter tribes and communities intimately related to a great central people. The command iinplies therefore that the nations of ihe earth are worshipping their rulers, or making their customs under a setted constitution the law of conscience, or giving that honor to the usages and opinions of other communities, or yielding it to the principles and passions of an excited and lawless multitude ; and is a summons to thdraw their homage from creatures, and yield it only to the creator.

This symbol then represents a body and succession of men, who are to bear the everlasting gospel both to the nations of the ten kingdoms, and to all other tribes and languages of the earth, and 10 summon them to fear God and glorify him by a just acknowledgment and homage; to warn them that the hour of his judgment is come, in which he is to punish those who usurp his throne and arrogate his rights; and enjoin them to worship, not rulers or subjects, but him only, their creator. This office has, doubtless, already been fulfilled in part by those who, during the last half century, have employed themselves in presenting the word of God translated into their several languages, to the nations of the earth, and in proclaiming its glad tidings of salvation. That great movement commenced, as will be shown hereafter, cotemporaneously with the commencement of the judgment by the effusion of the first vial. The warning that the hour of the judgment of usurping rulers and apostate priests is come, is as yet but very partially uttered; or the summons to worship the creator, not creatures, whatever may be their station, their pretensions, or their number. The great obstacles which the heralds of the gospel have everywhere, within and without the ten kingdoms, to encounter, are notoriously those which this summons implies ;—the authority of antichristian rulers, apostate priests, established constitutions, hereditary opinions, prejudices, and passions; and the first step towards the conversion of the nations to God, is their extrication from an abject vassalage to man. Such is eminently the condition, not only of the numerous millions of India, Hindostan, Burmah, and China, of all Mahonetan and Catholic nations, of the Greek, the Armenian, and the Syrian communions, but of the Protestant established churches also.

Mr. Daubuz refers this symbol to the age of Constantine; Mr. Mede, chiefly to the contest in respect to images in the eighth and ninth centuries; Mr. Brightman, to the fourteenth century; and Mr. Whiston, Vitringa, and Dean Woodhouse, 10 the sixteenth : but the events of those periods answer to it but in a very inadequate degree. The gospel was not then conveyed to every nation, and tribe, and tongue, and people, nor had the hour come of God's judgment on the wild beast and false prophet.

Mr. Cuninghame, Mr. Elliott, and the late English expositors generally, refer it to the translation and distribution of the Scriptures, and evangelical missions of the present century. But it is obviously to embrace not only the gift of the Scriptures to all tribes, and languages, and peoples, but a warning also that the hour of judgment on the antichristian powers has come, and a summons of all nations, Christian as well as heathen, to abandon the homage of creatures, virtual as well as open, ascribe the attributes, the prerogatives, and the honors of the deity to God only, and pay him alone their worship.




And another, a second angel followed, saying, She has fallen, great Babylon has fallen, which made the nations drink of the infuriating wine of her fornication.

Great Babylon is the aggregate of the nationalized hierarchies of the ten kingdoms, whatever be their names; as is

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