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revolution that took place in both under Constantine. The profound and universal peace and calm, which took place in the Roman empire, and among Christians, commenced in the year 325, when Conftantine the Great became tole emperor of Rome and terminated in the year 340, when the civil war broke out between Constantine the Second, and Constans, two of the sons of Constantine. The four angels who were the instruments, under God, of preserving this calm and peace, were Constantine the Great, who reigned over the whole empire from the year 325 to the year 337, and his three fons, Conftantine the Second, Conftantius, and Conftans, who together ruled over the whole empire, each of the three having his own particular division of it, till the year 240, when Constantine the Second lost his life. The history of these events will fall more properly to be produced in the commentary on the two tollowing vertes, in which some other striking circumstances, in the history of these four persons (angels) are predicted. .
Verjes 2d, 3d. - And I saw another angel ascending írom the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we
havę sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
John, at the same time, faw another angel alcending from the east. This other angel was Christ, as shall be shewn, after the other symbols contained in these two verses are explained. Christ had in his hand the seal of the living God. Paul gives an exact and full description of the seal of God, in 2 Tim. ii. 19. “Nevertheless, the foun" dation of God ftandeth sure, having this seal, “ The Lord knoweth them that are his. And let * every one, that nameth the name of Christ, de“ part from iniquity.”
He was going to seal the servants of God in their foreheads, with this seal. When the faves, the , cattle, or any of the property of men are in dan. ger of being loft, they impress their particular mark or seal upon them, by which they may know them to be theirs, wherever they may be scattered, or however much they may be mixed with those which belong to other persons. The servants of God are true Christians, those who regulate their faith, worship, and obedience, by the commands of God, and not by the commandments of men taught as doctrines. The application of this seal to Chriftians, fignifies a situation and time of danger, in which they shall be so mixed among the servants of men, and of Satan, that this seal of God fhall be
necessary to distinguish them from, and to keep them from being lost among them.
The seal of the living God hath two inscriptions upon it, which at once mark the real character of every true Christian, and hinder himn from being loft from among the sheep of God, however long and far he hath wandered in the wilderness. The first is, “ The Lord knoweth them that are his fer“ vants." There never was, there is not, and there never shall be one single true fervant of God, whom the Lord does not perfectly know to be his. Their characters may be mistaken, or misrepre. sented by men, but whether they live in the bustie of active life, or in the most lonely retirement; whether they are of high rank, or are destined to move in the lowest ranks of life; whether they are the citizens of this country, or the slaves of that; whether they live within the pale of this or that particular church, the Lord will never mistake their true character, overlook one of them, nor claim as his own any one who is not his in reality, and on whom this mark is not to be found. The second is, “ And let every one that nameth the name " of Christ, depart from iniquity.” They all rightly believe in Chrift: They entertain those just views of him which correspond to his real natures and character, and to the account given of him in . scripiure; and they openly profess that faith. They gradually depart farther and farther, not Vol. I. Ff
from this or that particular vice only, b utfrom e. very thing that is iniquity or fin. They believe in Christ, and their faith does not make them continue in sin, but on the contrary, it makes them depart from iniquity. They depart from iniquity, and their good works instead of superseding, flow from and strengthen their faith in Chrift. They make perpetual progress in holiness in this world, but they anive not at spotless perfection in it; for while they are on this side of the grave, they still feel fome evil in themselves from which they depart. By the former mark their falvation is sure. None can be finally lost, whom the Lord knows to be his. It is not possible to deceive the elect to their final destruction. By the latter, they are prepared for heaven, they may derive comfort to themselves in this world, and in many instances, may be known to be the servants of God by the discerning part of mankind. Through faith in Christ, their iniqui. ties are forgiven; by departing from iniquity, they are made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light. From perceiving that in their own character, faith in Christ is connected with a gradual departure from iniquity, they liave tlie best grounds to trust that they are of the number of those whom the Lord knows to be his servants. By connecting faith in Christ with holiness of life, and such a holiness, too, as fully proves the necessity of a Saviour, and clothes them with humility, since
they still feel fome evil in them from which to depart, and by connecting holiness of life with faith in Christ, they afford the most unequivocal proof to the discerning part of mankind that they are the servants of God.
These servants of God are sealed in their foreheads. They are not ashamed of their master, nor afraid to profess themselves his worshippers and servants. Their sacred regard to the commands of God, their firm faith in Christ, and their improving holiness of life, distinguish them from the men of the world, the slaves of sin and Satan.
It was given to the four angels to hurt the earth and the sea. It is thus predicted, that Constantine and his three fons, who should preserve so profound a peace in the Roman empire, sh uld soon after hurt the empire, and draw much evil upon it out of the late revolution. But they are prohibited from hurting the earth, till Christ should have sealed the servants of God. By this part of the hieroglyphic, the commencement of the period, when the Chrif. tian church should be represented by the fealed ser. vants of God, is marked.---It should be in that time, when the short calın in the empire under Constantine and his three fons, should happen, that is, be tween the years 325 and 3+0 The termination of the period is fixed, as shall appear in the commentary on the gth, and some following verses of this chapter, to the commencement of the mille.
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