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is the case in all trials, in which many are milled by their prejudices, passions, or interests, some are saying, that the witnesses for Popery are attesting the truth, and others, that the witnesses for the word of God are attesting the truth. During all this time, the supreme and infallible Judge, the Lord holy and true, hath not given the public sentence or judgement in the cause: but at that day, when papal Rome shall be finally overthrown, and when all the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdom of our God, and of his Christ, the judgement of God, shall, in the course of divine providence, be publicly passed against the kingdom and church of Rome, and in favours of that religion which is delineated in the sacred fcriptures. Then it shall appear to the whole world, and even to their keenest enemies, that all true Christians however persecuted, and defamed as heretics by the church of Rome, were true witnesses, since the infallible Judge hath decided the great cause of religion exactly in terms of their teltimony.
It is in reference to this judgement, that during the whole time from the rise to the final 0verthrow of the papal kingdom, true Christians are called God's two witnelles in chap. xi. of this book; and that the overthrow of papal Rome, and the commencement of the reign of the Christian church on earth is stiled God's judgement, as in the
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passages already cited. The vengeance and judgement therefore, which are mentioned in the verses now under our view, are that judgement, which shall be given in favours of that religion, for which those martyrs fell, who were slain for the word of God; and that vengeance which shall fall upon that persecuting kingdom, which flew them, when all the kingdoms of the world shall become the ki:'gdom of Christ; and when the Roman name, kingdom, power, and religion shall be defiroyed for ever.
It is most probable, that the Christians who lived about the time to which this seal refers, imagined, that the time of this judgement was just at hand. But the answer given in verfe 11. tells them, that their blood was not to be avenged on the Roman people, until others, who might jusly be called their fellow servants, and their brethren, should be killed as they were : but, in the mean time, white robes should be given to every one of them, and they should rest. This answer is a clear prediction of the persecutions of Christians by Papal Rome. Those who were to be slain, were to be the servants of God, as well as those Christians who were slain by Heathen Rome; they were to be their brethren, sons of God as well as they were.
This judgement and vengeance was not to come upon the Roman people, until all these persecu
tions, which have begun long ago, under Papal Rome should be fulfilled, that is, finished. The reason of this delay is obvious. Till then their iniquity was not filled up, and God does not destroy any individual, or kingdom, till their iniquity is filled up. This judgement, as shall be shewn in the proper place, is to destroy the Roman government, and for ever to blot its name from among the kingdoms of the world; and therefore it could not be brought upon it, so long as one servant of God, whom that people were to slay, had not fal. len by their bloody hands. But the martyrs, who were slain by Heathen Rome, should rest in the mean time. They should be perfectly happy in their departed and separate state. They should rest from all their labours, trials, and sufferings, and their works should follow them. In the heavenly state, they will enjoy all that pure and exalted happiness, which, when freed from every external inconvenience, and blessed with every external advantage, accords to the nature of the fpirits of just men made perfect.
They not only rest, but white robes are also given to them. The white robes were given unto them, at the period of time to which this seal refers. White robes, as was formerly shewn, are the symbol for the righteousness of saints. This is exprelly fisid to be its signification, chap. xix. 8. These martyrs were said to be holy persons, (faints).
before they were flain. True Christians knew them to be holy ; but their persecutors aspersed them as enemies to the gods, and pests to society. Hence, when it is said that white robes were given unto them, the meaning of it is, that their characters shall be cleared up, that their memory shall be held in great respect, even by the Roman people; and by them, the greatest respect shall be paid to their memories, as of saints who had fallen martyrs to the truth.
This prediction hath been most exactly fulfilled. In the year 325, Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor, was vested with the sole government of the Roman empire. Under his reign, the highest respect was paid to the memory of those martyrs who had been flain, for the word of God, by his predecessors, and even by his immediate ones. Ever since that time, the highest respect hath been paid to the memory of these martyrs, by the people and church of Rome.
Whilft Papal Rome hath fulfilled, and still is fulfilling, the one part of this prediction, by killing the servants of God, and the brethren of these Christians, who were martyrs under the Heathen emperors; she hath fulfilled, and still is fulfilling, the other part of it, by paying the highest honour and respect to the memory of these martyrs. How exactly does the conduct of Rome resemble that of the Scribes and Pharisees, to whom Christ said,
Matth. xxiir. 29,-32, “Wo unto you Scribes and “ Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye build the tombs of “ the prophets, and garnish the fepulchres of the “ righteous, and say, If we had been in the days of “ our fathers, we would not have been partakers “ with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore, “ ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the “ children of them who killed the prophets. Fill “ ye up therefore the measure of your fathers,” Read also verses 33,-38.
.I cannot pass over this seal, without making the following observations.—This book was written by John, about the year of Christ 95. In that year he foretold, in these verses, that many martyrs should be sain by the Roman emperors, in the Heathen state of Rome, that many should be slain by Papal Rome; and that whilft Papal Rome was Ilaying the Christians, the should express the highest respect for the memory of those Christian martyrs, who had been slain by Heathen Rome. These prophecies have been fulfilled, and still are fulfilling, in a most exact manner, at the distance of many hundred years. The men who have been fulfilling them, act a part, the most inconsistent and absurd, whilft at the same time, they act freeJy, and without any constraint upon their moral powers. What can be more inconsistent and absurd, than for the same society of men, at the same time, to pay the greatest respect, and even some