« PreviousContinue »
munities. The universal church, as a commu. nity, is invisible, in order to be “ safe from the “ face of the serpent.” Which implies, that when a member of the universal church becomes visible as a society, she shall not be safe, but be corrupted more or less by the fame artifices which overwhelmed the great body of professed Christians, and raised among them the antichrif. tian hierarchy.
Now, societies may separate from those al. ready established ad infinitum, but the spirit of Antichrist will pervade all ; a spirit of ambition and covetousness in the rulers, of sensuality and hypocrisy in the members, will in some degree infect every community, during the currency of the 1260 years. But when these come to a period, the universal church shall again become visible as a community, extended over the whole earth, “ clear as the sun, fair as the moon, and “ terrible as an army with banners.”
снАР. CHAPTER II. Of future Events which shall take Place betwixt the
present Period and the founding of the seventh Trumpet.
I PROCEED now to explore the regions of futurity. Regions covered with a gloom impenetrable to human foresight, but rendered visible by the light of truth.
O Thou who art the Father of Lights, who giveth wisdom to those that ask it, seeing Thou haft deigned to reveal things future, for the confolation of Thy church and people, “make dark, « ness light before me, and the crooked places “ straight," in exploring what Thou hast re. vealed. Guard me against the illusions of fan, cy, and the bias of passion, and grant me the entrance of Thy Word, which giveth light.
There are two remarkable events to be accomplished within the 1260 years of Antichrist's reign, a gradual waste of his kingdom, and the death of the witnesses. The formar is progresfive; it has already commenced, and runs coeval with the remaining years of this period. The latter coincides with the close of it.
SECTION I. A gradual waste of the Kingdom of Antichrift.
This is laid before us in these expressions of the apostle, 2 Theff. ii. 8. “ And then shall that “ wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall con“ fume with the Spirit of his mouth.” These not only imply a waste of his empire, but likewise the manner in which it shall be carried on, not by force of arms, but by the influence of the truth, called the Spirit of the Lord's mouth. God is the author of truth, taken in its most extensive sense, not only of revealed religion contained in his word, which is termed the truth, John xvii. but likewise of natural religion, of truths respecting found morals, good government and useful arts; of truths discovered by the fpi. rit of adventure, and the researches of philofo. phy. Now the prophecy intimates, that the knowledge of those truths extensively diffused, which regard the happiness of mankind as individuals or members of society, shall gradually consume the empire of Antichrist, founded on ignorance, shall certainly, but gently, unloose the chains wreathed round mankind by delu
Were I to judge from present appearance only, I would readily conclude, that the tyranny of Antichrist would come to a period before the close of the next century; but the reasons already advanced, for fixing the commencement of his reign, induce me to believe, that the 1260 years allotted for it, shall not be finished until the close of the twentieth century. !
The Death of the Witnesses.
About the year 1994, another remarkable event shall take place, namely, the death of the witnesses. This event is laid before us, Rev. xi. 7. 10. " When they shall have finished their - testimony, (when they are about to finish “ their testimony) the beast that ascendeth out “ of the bottomless pit shall make war against " them, and thall overcome them and kill " them."
(1) Some have supposed, that this prophecy has been repeatedly accomplished in the death of those persons who witnessed against the corruptions of the church of Rome, during the currency of the 1960 years, and that there was as frequently a resurrection when persons of a limi
The application of this prophecy to any event already past, must be erroneous; for the death is followed by the resurrection, which coincides with the close of the forty-two months of the beast's reign, and the end of the sixth trumpet. While, therefore, the Pope reigns, and the Ot. toman empire is in existence, we may rest assured, that the resurrection intended here has not taken place, so neither has the death which immediately precedes it. , The death of the witnesses must be understood in a mystical sense, to make it conformable to the resurrection which follows it; so it fignifies
lar spirit arose after them. But that the prophecy points to a particular time, namely, the close of the 1260 years, and can apply to no other, is evident, on the following grounds : 14, The expression OTHY TENETWoh, when they are about to finish, refers to the close of the time allotted for their niourning prophecy : 2d, They continue dead for a determined time, three days and a half, which cannot apply to every person put to death during the.currency of the 1260 years : 3d, Their death is followed by their resurrection ; now their resurrection is described in such terms as can only apply to the close of the 1260 years : Thus they are called up to heaven, to exercise their office, by the voice of public authority. It coincides in point of time with the fall of the tenth part of the city, and the end of the second wo ; but if the resurrection is limited to a precise time, so must the death that precedes it.