« הקודםהמשך »
his associates, and will extirpate idolatry from the earth, and restore peace to his Church.
To these reflections we shall add one remark, that of the six vials of the wrath of God, hitherto considered, three, namely, the first, third, and sixth, are poured out for the punishment of idolaters, and the other three, viz. the second, fourth, and fifth, for the punishment of heretics.
The seventh age is the last and longest of all. It is the age of eternity. We see it ushered in by the tremendous scene of the general judgment of mankind; of whom a part are admitted into the beavenly Jerusalem or everlasting bliss, and the other or greater part are doomed to suffer inexpressible torments for all eternity in the lake of fire and brimstone. Whoever will take the pains to meditate a little on the great disparity of these two states, will certainly be moved, if he has not lost all sensibility, to use his utmost endeavours to gain the one and prevent his falling into the other. Both the happiness of the sayed, and the torinents of the damned, far surpass indeed our conception; but if they be even considered only in a general view, who would not shudder at the thought of being condemned to an eternal prison, in devouring flames that will never be extinguished ? "Which of you can dwell with devouring fire? which of you can dwell with everlasting burnings ?" Isai. xxxiii. 14. And on the other hand, if we reflect on the possession of God, the souree of all delight, joy, and felicity; with which we shall be filled according to the whole capacity of our being, and this without even the least interruption or allay, are we pot transported with the most vehement desire of attaining such a happy state? “ They shall be inebriated with the plenty of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the torrent of thy pleasure." Psal. xxxv. 9. To this all-happy state let us then " by our good works make our election secure." Let us spare no pains for it during the short period of our existence here. The recompense will infinitely exceed our labour, and the time of our labour bears no proportion to eternity.
CONCLUSION. Thus have we seen the whole history of the Church of Christ traced from her birth through her various difficulties and trials, through her persecutions from idolaters, and convulsions by heresies; under all which, she shone bright like the sun by the vigour of her faith and fortitude: nor was it in the power of hell and earth, though combined together, to crush her or hinder her growth. We have had a view of the admirable economy, according to which Christ rules this his Church; we have seen the special care with which he protects her, and with what severity he punishes those who dare injure her. By these means he makes her triumph over all her enemies, even in this world; and her victory will be finally crowned with that transcendant and ineffable glory to which she will be raised at that period when time shall be no more.
Hence it appears, that if to the history of the Apocalypse we add the books of the Old Testament, there rises a general history of the Church, or people of God, through the whole period of the existence of mankind. The book of Genesis gives us the creation of the first man; and his history, with that of the patriarchs and the Israelites, is related in that and the subsequent books of the old scripture, with some short intervals of interruption, down to the birth of Christianity. T'hen begins the Apocalyptical account of the Christians, successors to the Jews; which carries on their history to the end of time, and even to their migration into the heavenly Jerusalem, where it places them in the unchangeable state of never-ending bliss.
Nothing further now remains but to request, that this present history may be received by the readers in that view for which it was intended, namely, for their instruction. They are now become sensible, we presume, of the utility of studying the Apocalypse. And what indeed can be more express on that head than the declaration of Christ himself, which we beg leave here to repeat: “ Blessed is he, that readetha and heareth the words of this prophecy: and keepeth those things which are written in it." "Apoc. i. 3. And again : “Blessed is he that keepeth the words of the prophecy of this book.” Apoc. xxii. 7. That this advice may be attended to is our sincere wish, and here we close the present work with the blessing delivered in the last verse of this admirable prophecy: " The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”
♡ In the preceding explanation, the different parts of the Apocalypse having been related in a transposed order, we here subjoin the wbole text by itself. And at the end of each verse the page is marked where that verse is explained; except with regard to the second and third chapters, which not appertaining to the general history of the Church, have not been explained.
APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN,
APOSTLE AND EVANGELIST.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to make known to his servants, the things which must shortly come to pass; and signified, sending by his angel, to his servant John. See p. 15.
2. Who hath given testimony to the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, what things soever he hath seen. p. 15.
3. Blessed is he, that readeth and heareth the words of this prophecy; and keepeth those things which are written in it. For the time is at hand. p. 17.
4. John to the seven churches which are in Asia, Grace be unto you and peace from him that is, and that was, and that is to come, and from the seven spirits which are before the throne. p. 17.
5. And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth: who hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood. p. 18.
6. And hath made us a kingdom and priests to God and his Father: to him be glory and empire for ever and ever. Amen. p. 18.
7. Behold, he cometh with the clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also that pierced him. And all the tribes of the earth shall bewail themselves because of him. Even so. Amen. p. 19.
8. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, saith the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty. p. 19.
9. I John your brother and your partner in tribulation, and in the kingdom, and patience in Christ Jesus, was in the island, which is called Patmos, for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus. p. 20.
10. I was in the spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet. p. 20.
11. Saying: What thou seest, write in a book: and send to the seven churches which are in Asia, to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamus, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea. p. 20.
12. And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me: And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks : p. 21.
13. And in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, one like to the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle: p. 21.
14. And his head and his hairs were white, like white wool, and as snow, and his eyes were as a flame of fire. p. 21.
15. And his feet like unto fine brass, as in a burning furnace: And his voice as the sound of many waters: p. 21.
16. And he had in his right hand seven stars. And from his mouth came out a sharp two-edged sword: and his face was as the sun shineth in his power. p. 21.
17. And when I had seen him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying: Fear not: I am the first and the last; p. 22.
18. And alive, and was dead; and behold I am living for ever and ever, and have the keys of death and of hell. p. 22.
19. Write therefore the things which thou hast seen, and which are, and which must be done hereafter. p. 23.
20. The mystery of the seven stars, which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: And the seven candlesticks are the seven churches. p. 25.
Uxto the anged of the church of Ephesus write: These things, saith he, who holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks.
2. I know thy works and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them that are evil; and thou hast tried them, who say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
3. And thou hast patience, and hast endured for my name, and hast not fainted.
4. But I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first charity.
5. Be mindful therefore from whence thou art fallen: and do penance, and do the first works. Or else I come to thee, and will move thy candlestick out of its place, except thou do penance.
6. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaites, which I also hate.
7. He, that hath an ear, let himn hear what the Spirit saith to the churches: To him, that overcometh, I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of my God.
8. And to the angel of the church of Smyrna write: These things saith the First and the Last, who was dead, and is alive:
9. I know thy tribulation and thy poverty, but thou art rich: and thou art blasphemed by them that say they are Jews and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
10. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer. Behold, the devil will cast some of you into prison that you may be tried: and you shall have tribulation ten days. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life.
11. He, that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches: he that shall overcome, shall not be hurt by the second death.
12. And to the angel of the church of Pergamus write: These things saith he, that hath the sharp two-edged sword:
13. I know where thou dwellest, where the seat of Satan is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith. Even in those days when Antipas was my faithful wit. ness, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.
14. But I have against thee a few things: because thou