« הקודםהמשך »
ble instances of the mercies of God in the course of his government of mankind; and if the abundant proof of that truth displayed before our eyes has not convinced us of it, a knowledge of the facts omitted would not answer that purpose; however, as a God of infinite wisdom does nothing in vain, we may reasonably suppose that many of those nations, now no longer subject to the temptations of Satan, but left to their free will, and having, as it were, before their eyes the beatitude of the children of God, will, upon a comparison of their fallen, sinful, and miserable state, with the ineffable righteousness, peace, and felicity of the kingdom of Christ, forsake their ancient and deep rooted prejudices and habits, and their sensual and abominable idolatry, embrace the truths of the ever living God, and, at the last, be saved, and thus fulfil one of the parables of Christ himself when foretelling his kingdom, and alluding, among others, to this very event: he there* compares his kingdom to a “Lord of as I humbly interpret the parable, that the Pagan nations and the Jews* (the latter of whom are to remain in a dispersed state among the former until after the commencement of the reign of Christ), who were the first transgressors of the word of God, shall be the last called, saved, or punished, as they shall receive or reject the Gospel of Christ : “ for many be called but few chosen;" and that the obstinate and perverse followers of the Mohamedan and the papal apostacies, and of the atheistical system, and of the great confederacy, who have been the last in transgression, shall be the first punished. But whether or not any of those nations shall avail themselves of the merciful opportunity of coming over to Christ in his kingdom, we shall presently find that
a vineyard and his labourers, some of whom “ he called in at the first hour, others at the third, " and the sixth, and the ninth, and the eleventh: " and when at night he called them in to receive “ their reward, he paid those that came at the ele+ venth and last hour first; and those that were « called in first he paid the last, and gave to all " the same reward;" and then adds, “f so the « last shall be first, and the first last; for many “ be called, but few chosen.” Thus he foretels,
Matth. xx. 1-16.
of Ver. 16.
many of them, a mighty host," the number of whom is to be as the sand of the sea,' shall not only remain refractory, preferring their
* That the restoration of the Jews is not to take place until after the coming of Christ to reign, seems probable from the assu. rance given by him to the apostles, that when he shall sit in his "glory, they shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes
of Israel."(a) For seems, from sundry parts of the prophecies relating to that blessed event, which I have not now leisure to explain, they will be called and restored at soine time during the period of a thousand years ; that so the two churches of God may be united under Christ, and then they shall be “judged” by their own twelve elders, who, together with the twelve apostles, are the four and twenty elders, having on their heads crowns of gold, who the prophet represents, in divers places, as being with Christ in heaven.(6) Besides, we are told that “their plagues should be “of long continnance, and their sore sickness of long cor.tinuance, "and that they should be for a sign and a wonder upon their seed " forever ;'(c) that is, during the whole period of the Christian dispensation.
(a) Matth. xix. 27, 28. (6) Rev. iv. 4. v. 8. 14. xi, 11. xix. z. (c) Deut. xxviii. 46, 59.
t the Ps
filthy idolatry to the adoration of the true God, but stirred up and led on by Satan, shall make a last effort to destroy the kingdom of Christ. Let us therefore return to the prophet.
Ver. 7, 8.-"And when the thousand years “are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his
prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations « which are in the four quarters of the earth,
Gog and Magog, to gather them together to " battle, the number of whom is as the sand “of the sea. And they went up on the breadth “ of the earth, and encompassed the camp
of “the saints about, and the beloved city: and " FIRE came down from God and devoured 65 them.”
Here we have a brief account of the last battle which will ever be fought upon the earth: a battle between TRUTH and FALSEHOOD, between the Son of the Most High God, his saints and just men made perfect, and redeemed from a fallen sinful world and their enemies. The account of this battle the prophet begins by informing us, that Satan will be released from his imprisonment, and suffered to resume his lost power at the expiration of the thousand years; and that he will go out to deceive the nations, Gog and Magog ; meaning, as I humbly conjecture, the idolatrous nations, who having, as it were, had occular demonstration of the blessed fruits of the word of God in the kingdom of Christ, shall despise and reject it;
for, according to prophetic history, all other nations are to be destroyed before this event by the judgments and wrath of an offended God, except those that shall have obeyed his divine will revealed by Christ. This conjecture seems to receive a degree of probability from the text itself; for the nations here referred to are described by the terms Gog and Magog. And we learn, from ancient histories, sacred, as well as profane, that “ Magog" was the country of the Magogians, Gomerians, and Tubalines, the descendants of Magog, Gomer, and Tubal, the sons of Japhet the son of Noah ; a country of the most filthy and detestable idolatry, in which, in early times, the great idol Atergatis, a mermaid, was the god of their adoration, and “ Gog” was their prince, and a great enemy of the Jewish church. It may therefore be reasonably supposed that the prophet meant, by those two words, figuratively to describe the refractory idolatrous nations, who are now to be deceived by Satan in the four quarters of the earth, and to be
gathered together to battle : a mighty host ! for “their number is to be as the sand of the sea." Nor are the saints to be unprepared to meet the dreadful event: they are to be “ in campe or as it is before figuratively expressed, they are “ *to stand upon a sea of glass mingled with fire,” under the protection of their Almighty Redeemer, invincible.
Of this perfect security, this invincibility of the church of Christ, Satan shall be so ignorant as to know* nothing of it, and be under a delusion so strong, that he shall think it will be an easy t prey; and shall therefore go upon the breadth of the earth, and compass the camp of the saints about, and prepare to destroy it; but fool! that God whOSE WISDOM AND POWER IS INFINITE, and " who made the “ heavens and earth and the sea, and the ri“ vers and fountains of watert,” shall pour down fire upon thee and thy mighty host, “ and devour thee; that is, by such means as shall be consistent with his omnipotent will utterly destroy them; that in this great and last awful overthrow of the enemies of his holy word, he may be « sanctified," and his holy name glorified, in their sight, as well as in that of his church.
But although the heathen world is to be thus utterly destroyed, yet Satan, which is the devil, their leader that deceived them, being “ a spirit,” a fallen angell, is not to be destroyed with them, but is to be reserved for a worse, and yet a more merited fate-a fate to which even annihilation would be infinitely preferable: he is to be taken and “ (cast into
A LAKE OF FIRE AND BRIMSTONE, where the “ beast (of apostacy) and the false prophet (of “ atheism) are punished** (having been cast
* Ezek. xxxviii. 14, when foretelling the same event. + Ibid.
| Rev. xiv. 7 Acts xiv. 15. SEph. ii. 2.
U Matt. xxv. 41. I Cor. vi. 3: Ver. 10.
** Rev. xix. 20.