Page images

let them come up. Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning-hooks into spears : let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy Mighty Ones to come down, O Lord. Let the heathen be weakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat; for there will I sit to judge" all the heathen round about"2. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come get ye down, for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision' : for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision's. This prophecy of Joel does, says Vitringa, refer to that time, when great commotions shall arise through all the countries of Europe, and the antichristian empire shall be destroyed; and he observes, that the place styled Armageddon by St. John is the same with the Valley of Jehoshaphat". The place of this remarkable action,' says Dr. Lowth, is here called the Valley of Jehoshaphat ; as if the prophet had said, the Place where the Lord will execute judgment, for so the word jehoshaphat signifies in the original.

The learned and pious Dr. Owen, in alluding to the slaughter of the antichristian kings and their partisans, is not chargeable with disguising his sentiments, and with speaking in a tone of caution and reserve.

Shew me,' says he, seven kings that ever yet labored sincerely to enhance the kingdom of the Lord Jesus, and I dare boldly

11 To julge all the heathen, i. e. says bishop Newcome,? to punish by a signal overthrow.'

12 Here the prophet clearly makes a transition, and addresses those, who are to defeat the antichristian party and all the Mighty Ones who are enlisted under its banners.

13 The repetition of this noun signifies, says Dr. Pocockę, according to a well attested rule of the Hebrew grammarians, that those spoken of will þe extraordinarily numerous.

14 Bp. Newcome renders it, the valley of excision. 15 III. 9–14. 16 In Apoc. p. 293.

17 In Apoc, xvi. 16. See the same observation in Brenius (De Regno Christi), and in Dr. Cressener (Judg. on the R. Ch. p. 285.)

[ocr errors]

say, Octavus quis fuerit non constat.

And is there not a cry for all this į How long, Lord, Holy and True, dost thou not avenge our blood on them that live on the earth ? Rev. vi. 10.–Will not the Lord-call the fowls of hedven to eat the flesh of kings, and captains, and great men of the earth? Rev. xix. 18.—The time shall come, wherein the earth shall disclose her slain ; and not the simplest heretic (as they were counted) shall have his blood unrevenged : neither shall any atonement be made for this blood, or expiation be allowed, whilst a toe of the Image, or a bone of the Beast, is left unbroken18?

In reading the predictions, which I have recently cited, of future slaughter, humanity cannot but be wounded. But it is proper that the truth should be told. It is time, that those who believe in prophecy should learn, on what class of persons the full weight of the divine vengeance is fully

to fall.

That it is no light matter to pay a servile obedience to the unholy commands of the civil magistrate and the hierarchies, and to assist them in their unrighteous designs, the following alarming declaration will serve to evince. In ch. xiv. of the Apocalypse, an angel is represented as saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the Beast and his Image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation". He shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God; i. e. says Mr. Cradock, he shall partake of severe judgments,

18 Coll. of Ser. ut supra, p. 329. This distinguished divine, a few pages farther (p. 335), asks, in language adapted to the taste of the times, Is it not evident to him that hath but half an eye, that the whole present constitution of government of the nations is so cemented with antichristian mortar, from the very top to the bottom, that, without a thorough shaking, they cannot be cleansed ? In another sermon (ser. 37), he says, 'God hath three great works to do, the day of his carrying on the interest of Christ and the Gospel. 1. He hath great revenges to take. 2. He hath great deliverances to work. 3. He hath great discoveries to make."

19 V. 9, 10.

the effect of God's wrath.' This passage, in the opinion of Daubuza, refers to the accomplishment of the symbolic harvest and vintage, and to the infliction of those judgments, which are denominated the Seven Vials.

The threatening,' says this learned commentator, being levelled against such as any way yield to the religion of the Beast, and submit to the taking only of the public mark of profession in the forehead, as well as giving actual assistance, which is the case of them that take it upon their hands, shews us, that God's plagues affect not only those that presumptuously act in the corruptions, but all those fearful persons, who did not actually resist, or avoid giving way to them. In the next verse the prophet adds, that the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the Beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his

· The expression for ever and ever is,' says Daubuz, 'to be understood during the continuation of the subject; that is, whilst the Beast and False Prophet have adherents, they shall have a perpetual torment.' These awful denunciations, in the opinion of Vitringa, have a double reference ; and respect alike the punishments of a future state and the judgments to be inflicted in the present world.


20 P. 809.

[ocr errors]



FROM ch. xvi. of the Apocalypse a prophecy has been cited, which foretells the overthrow of a number of confederated princes. But there are prophecies yet more express. There are prophecies, which clearly announce that every antichristian government in Europe shall be destroyed. To the philanthropist such conclusions, if satisfactorily deduced from the prophetic scriptures, must be capable of imparting the purest pleasure.

If I am asked, why I take so much pains to explain the prophecies, which foretell the arbitrary conduct and the subsequent destruction of the antichristian princes of Europe, I reply, that I have the highest authority for doing it, the particular recommendation of the prophet himself. At the close of the description of the ten-horned Beast, which represents these kings, St. John adds, (xiii. 9, 10.), If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword, must be killed with the sword'. Now the first of these sentences unquestionably signifies, that the reader of the Apocalypse should, to this part of it, pay a marked attention, and study it with the greatest care. Thus, aš bishop Newton observes?," it was customary with our Saviour, when he would have his auditors pay a particular attention to what he had been saying, to add, He who hath ears to hear let him hear. The subsequent sentence of the prophet Mr. Pyle thus paraphrases : "he will assuredly vindicate the cause of his true religion, and pull down the antichristian powers that oppress it, by a most exemplary

1 The two great evils produced by the ten-horned Beast, says an annotator on this verse, 'will be slavery and death. And God will, in his due time, arise and avenge.' Cradock.

2 In loc.

destruction ; and cause his true and faithful servants to reap the blessings of Christianity in safety, glory, and peace.' Perhaps this verse does not merely denounce the destruction of the antichristian monarchies themselves, but may denote more particulariy, with respect to individual princes, that the time will come, when he who enslaved his people shall himself be imprisoned; when he who maketh havoc with the sword shall himself be put to death.

I shall next quote from ch. xvii. an important passage, which foretells the overthrow of the antichristian monarchies, briefly indeed, but clearly. And the angel said unto methe Ten Horns which thou sawest are Ten Kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as king's one hour with the Beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the Beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them. That this is not spoken of the conduct of the Ten Kings at any particular time, but of their conduct in general, is clear and indisputable. Can any man then, pretending to the slightest skill in the diction of prophecy, attentively inspect these verses (v. 12, 13, 14), and at the same time entertain a doubt (however ignorant he may be of what has actually passed in the world), whether the mass of European princes have not been eminently hostile to human happiness and to genuine Christianity 3?

As the Roman Western empire was not broken into separate portions, and governerby a number of distinct and independent princes, till several centuries after the delivery of his prophecy, our inspired apostle accordingly apprises us, that, in his time, the epoch of their dominion was not arrived. They had, as he expresses himself, received no kingdom AS YET. After observing that we do not read in the book of Revelation of any other personage

3. The splendor, luxury, self-interest, martial glory, &c. which pass for essentials in Christian governments, are totally opposite to the meek, humble, self-denying spirit of Christianity; and whichsoever of these finally prevails over the other, the present form of the government must be dissolved.' Hartley on Man, 1749, 8vo. vol. II. p. 366.

« PreviousContinue »