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all their enemies to the providence of God and the grace of Christ. Then also all the angels, that is, not merely the heavenly intelligences, but also all the events in the providence of God by which this glorious revolution in the church of Christ hath been brought about, shall illustriously display and sing the glory of the divine perfections, especially as exerted in the moral government of the world, At that glorious period it shall be fully manifested, that all these events in providence received their direction from God, were brought to pass chiefly for the good of the Christian church; and that every one of them obeyed the divine appointment.
This glorious period shall commence about the year of Christ 2000, and shall continue for a thousand years. It is particularly predicted and defcribed in chapters xx, xxi, and xxii. It is unnecessary, and perhaps improper, to explain that period more fully in this place. For the vision in this chapter is only the general introduction, in prophetic language, to the two states of the Christian church, more fully predicted and described in the following parts of this book. The first part of the vision, that of the sealed servants of God, is the introduction to the perfecuted and militant state of the church, which is fully predicted in chapters viii, ix, xi. xii. and xii. And the second part, of the innumerable multitude of all nations with palms in their hands, is the introduction to the enHh 2
Jarged, pure, glorious, and triumphant state of the church for a thousand years on earth, which is predicted and described in chap. xx, xxi, and xxii. The commentary upon an introduction, like an introduction itself, ought to be general.
Verses 13th, 141h, 15th, 16th, 1716. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes ? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knoweft. And he said unto me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that fitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb, which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
One of the elders is introduced to explain to John who are the persons represented by the innumera
ble multitude clothed in white robes, mentioned in verse 9th. Such explanations are frequent in all prophetic writings, as keys to open them, They are commonly made by some person who had appeared in a former vision, or in a former part of the same vision, who is introduced again for the purpose of explaining that part which is dark. We frequently meet with such persons in the prophecies of Daniel and Ezekiel, and also in this book. These persons may be considered as a part of the scenery of the vision. This person is one of the twenty-four elders who fat around the throne of God, and who are the representatives of the people in the Christian church. In chap. v. 5. one of these elders is also introduced, to give a piece of very important information. Probably there is something more than the mere scenery in the introduction of one of the elders in both these places. It seems to imply also in it, that in many of those things which are dark, many private Christians are fully as ready as even the ministers of the gospel are, to understand the mysteries, and to trust in the promises of the gospel. Fact, I believe, hath often verified this observation; and if it were for edification, many good reasons might be assigned why it is fo.
The elder informs John, that these clothed in white robes are those who had come out of great tribulation. This the Christian church may well
be said to have done, when that happy period shall come, when after all her long and cruel sufferings under Heathen and under Papal Rome, she shall enjoy, as a church, a state of great peace, purity, and triumph after the fall of Papal Rome.
" Their robes are made white in the blood of the “ Lamb,” White robes are the clothing of martyrs, chap. vi. 11. White linen is the righteoulness of saints, chap. xix. 8. That righteousness is of two kinds. First, the righteousness of justification, by which the guilt of their fins is expiated, and they are delivered from those punishments which are due to them for their fins, as offences against God their righteous Sovereign. And second, the righteousness of sanctification, by which they are recovered from the depravity of fin, their nature is renewed after the image of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, and at last perfected; and they are freed from those internal miseries, which are the natural consequences of moral depravity, and are qualified for enjoying in every stage of their existence, that happiness which accords to human nature in its rectitude, and always in a degree proportioned to the degree of their approach to that rectitude. These two kinds of righteousness are inseparable in the character of every faint of God. There never was a faint of God who was not both jullified and fanctified. A finner who is not justified must be condemned. And an
unsanctified saint is a perfect contradiction in terms, Rom. viii. 1. “There is no condemnation " to them who are in Christ Jesus.” But then “they 6 walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit," Titus ii. 11,-12. “The grace of God, which “ brings salvation, teaches us to deny ungodliness “and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, “and godly, in this present world,” Rom. vi. 1, 2. “ What shall we say then? mall we continue in “ fin, that grace may abound? God forbid : how “ shall we that are dead to fin live any longer " therein?” Both these kinds of righteousness are necessary for the enjoyment of happiness. Without the former, man would be liable to the punishments which divine justice would inflict upon him as a finner against God. Without the latter, he would want the mental senses in their proper state, for perceiving and enjoying the proper objects of human happiness. Both these kinds of righteoulness the saints derive from the blood of Christ. It is by the atonement which he offered, when he Thed his blood on the cross, and died the just for the unjust, that he might bring them unto God, that he expiated their guilt, and took away their fins, by the one facrifice of himself. It is by the agency of his Spirit, the obedience of his precepts, the observance of his ordinances, and the belief of his doctrines, particularly the doctrine of that great atonement for fin, which he made by his