Page images
PDF
EPUB

porary with the seventh vial; let us proceed to consider the import of the predictions which it contains.

This trumpet contains a wo, the third and last Wo; a wo not to the church of Chrift, (the hea." ven), but to the votaries and citizens of the Ro.. man empire, the inhabiters of the earth, as is evident from chap. viii. 13. This trumpet predicting the final overthrow of Papal Rome and the complete triumph of the church of Christ, must contain the greatest and last wo to the votaries of Rome. Either of these events would have distresfed them more than tongue can express; the two together muft occasion a distress too great for us at present to figure.

This wo is to come (raxu) quickly. The arrogance, pride, self-confidence and vain claim to infallibility of Papal Rome shall hinder her from perceiving the approach of her complete overthrow until it is just at hand. With respect to the unexpectedness and rapidity of this overthrow, God says, chap. xvi. 15. “Behold, I coine as a thief in “the night."

This trumpet which brings the last wo upon the Roman empire, (the inhabiters of the earth), brings praise and triumph to heaven, the church of Christ. “For there were great voices in hea. “ ven, saying, the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ,

" and

" and he shall reign for ever and ever.” Then Christians in the church of Christ Mall lift up their voices aloud, and in triumph proclaim the purity, . prosperity, and extent of Christ's spiritual kingdom, in such a manner that no part of the world shall be ignorant of the proclamation, or willing and able to gainsay it. Then all the kingdoms, which Daniel foretold should arise and fall in the world before the kingdom of Christ should extend over the whole world, shall have fallen, and that kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, which is not meats and drinks, but truth and righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghot, fall extend over the whole earth. Then all the particular kingdoms and churches, which shall be erected in the world, for the civil and religious government of men in society, shall be formed on these principles of truth, righteousness, peace, and joy, which form the constitution of the kingdom of our Lord and of his Chrift. From that time forth, so long as this world stands, Christ's church shall reign in triumph; no kingdom shall again rise up to persecute and oppress it with success, as Rome Heathen and Papal had done before that period, and its purity and triumph shall be for ever and ever in the heavenly world.

The language of the 15th verse clearly teaches the divinity of Christ. It is said, “ The kingdoms “ of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord! VOL. I.

hand

3 F

“ and of his Christ, and He shall reign for ever “ and ever.” Though it is said the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, it is not added, and they shall reign, which must have been the only proper expression if our Lord and his Christ had been essentially different from each other, but it is said, “and " He shall reign,” which can be proper language on no other account than that which is stated by Christ himself, when he says, John x. 30. “I and “ my Father are one."

The glory of this triumphant state of Christ's kingdom is described in a very particular and full manner in chapters xix. xx. xxi. and a part of xxii. and shall be illustrated in the commentary on these chapters. On this glorious occasion, the true church of Christ, represented by the twentyfour elders, with the most profound humility and devotion, and the warmest gratitude, shall adore and praise God as the self-existent, omnipresent, and omnipotent Being, whose perfect knowledge of all times and places, and whose supreme power, are now fully illustrated by the exact accomplishment of all the predictions in this book, concerning the ftate of the world at large, of his church in particular, and of its triumphant state in this world in. an especial manner. Now they adore that foreknowledge of God which perceives with certainty, and that powerful providence of his which overrules

all

all events, even the most contingent, to fixed and determinate ends, without doing violence to the liberty of moral agents and accountable creatures. They praise God, because he hath taken his great power and hath reigned. Then it shall appear, that the church of Christ hath been supported by a divine power, and that therefore it hath finally prevailed over the opposition of devils and wicked men.

This interposition of God in establishing Christ's kingdom over the whole world is called his great power, that is, in the symbolical language, the exer. tion of his power in favours of the church of Christ, of which all his former exertions were only types. However great, gracious, and many have been the exertions of divine power in favours of the church of Christ, all these shall not only be greatly exceeded by that one which shall over. throw Antichrist, bind Satan, and establish and perpetuate the reign of truth, righteousness, peace and joy over the whole earth, but' by that one, their true intention, and the hand that performed them, shall be rendered much more visible than they were before that period. Then the kingdom of God shall come, and it shall then be evident that his is the power which hath brought about that period, and that the whole shall illustriously display his glory. At that time, the nations of the earth shall be angry to see all their

3 F 3

attempts

attempts to banish the true, pure, spiritual, holy, and simple religion of Jesus from the earth, vain. It shall vex them to see this religion and its votaries triumphant, both of whom they had long treated with such contempt. Then the wrath of God shall in heavy judgements fall upon those nations who, by contemning his religion, would not have Christ to reign over them, nor over the world, if they could have prevented his reign. Then the prediction in Plalm ii. 1,-9. concerning such kings and people shall be accomplished.

At this period, ample justice shall be done to the characters and memory of the dead ; that is, of the martyrs who, both under heathen and papal Rome, sealed their testimony to the truth with their blood. Until that period shall come, their principles, motives and characters, shall be misre. presented by the greatest part of mankind; and though their murderers, as individuals, must have felt the wrath of God, for the injuries which they did to them, yet till then their blood shall not be fully avenged on the collective budy of the Roman state which persecuted them to death. Those, who were put to death by Rome in its heathen state, were misrepresented by the heathens as contemners of the gods, enemies to Cæsar, and disturbers of the public peace. Whilst papal Rome | built their tombs, garnished their sepulchres, and

even worshipped them as mediators between God

and

« PreviousContinue »