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Through this celestial abode runs a river of water of life, clear as crystal, which rises from the foot of the throne of God and the Lamb. On the banks of this river, as it runs through the middle of the streets, grows the tree of life, bearing twelve different sorts of fruitwhich ripen every month; the food of which nourishes the inhabitants, preserves their bodies from all tendency to corruption, and keeps them in full vigour and strength without the least impair for all eternity. The leaves even have the virtue of healing, or of securing the body against the least attack of sickness or disease. An emblem of this was the tree of life in Paradise. With such fruit and such water the heavenly citizens eat and drink immortality.

V. 3. And there shall be no curse any more: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall serve him.

V. 4. And they shall see his face: and his name shall be on their foreheads. In this blissful habitation there will be no curse, there will be no danger of experiencing the anger of God or his punishments. He and the Lamb will fix their throne in the midst of them, to gratify them for ever with their amiable presence; while they with boundless affection will offer their praise and thanksgiving. Thus will the saints see their God face to face, and enjoy the possession of him with inexpressible and never ceasing joy. And they will bear on their foreheads his name, that is, the names of God and the Lamb expressed in one name, as both are one God: and thus they will carry an honourable and distinctive mark of their having been the devoted servants of God and the Lamb.-We may observe, that in this and other places of the Apocalypse, where St. John names together God and the Lamb, he always proceeds to speak of them in the singular number, to show the unity of Godhead.

V. And night shall be no more: and they shall not need the light of the lamp, nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God shall enlighten them, and they shall reign for ever and ever. We saw above, xxi. 23 and 25, nearly the same things applied to the city, which are here promis

ed to the inhabitants, who will never more be troubled with the vicissitude of day and night, but will be cheered with perpetual day. Nor will they want a sun, a lamp, or any other created light; because the Almighty himself will enlighten them with the glory and lustre of his divinity, and they will reign with him in an ocean of happiness for ever and ever.

Thus we have seen a full description of the heavenly Jerusalem, that is, of the triumphant state of the Chris tian Church, which when once begun will last for evermore. The saints here will be filled with all those gratifications that can sooth and make happy the soul and body. Both these component parts of the human individual, as they concurred to advance the glory of God in the world, so they will have both their respective objects of delight and happiness. But it must here be observed that, though our explication has been mostly literal, we cannot pretend to determine how far the prophet's glorious description of the heavenly city is to be understood in the literal, how far in the allegorical sense. We are certain that the happiness of the saints will be complete, but it is not allowed to man to investigate the particulars of that future state; for eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him, 1 Cor. ii. 9.- -To return to the text, St. John says,

V. 6. And he said to me: these words are most faithful and true. Here is the seal put to the whole preceding account of the heavenly Jerusalem: the angel gives testimony, that it is most faithful and true, or that it will certainly take place, as God's word and promise cannot fail. This conclusion is always subjoined to those parts of the prophecy, which treat of the ultimate state of man, namely, a happy eternity. Then is added,

V. 6. And the Lord God of the spirits of the prophets sent his angel to shew his servants the things which must be done shortly. That is, God, who inspires the prophets or is the author of all prophecy, has vouchsafed to send his angel, St. John the Baptist, to signify the preceding prophecy of the Apocalypse to his servants, agreeably to what was notified in the very beginning of

it, c. 1. v. 1. Here then seems to terminate the prophetical history of the Christian Church. We have seen her described, in her rise, in her progress, and in the principal events that related to her. The whole course of her existence and transactions was aptly divided into seven ages, the last of which shows her triumphing in Heaven, and crowned with immortal glory.


Conclusion of the Apocalypse.

THE remaining part of the Apocalyspe contains se

veral useful admonitions which claim our attention, and with them the Book concludes.

Apoc. chap. xxii. v. 7. Behold I come quickly, Blessed is he that keepeth the words of the prophecy of this book. Here Christ himself speaks: Behold I come quickly, to execute the things delivered in this prophecy therefore blessed is he who keepeth the words of the prophecy of this book, or who attends to what is contained in this book, and takes warning and instruction from the important events therein described. The same admonition had been given at the beginning, c. I. v. 3, a repeated argument of the extraordinary usefulness of this book,

V. 8. And I John, who have heard and seen these things. Here St. John speaks: I John am the person that heard and saw all these things; by which declaration he gives testimony of having received from the angel the whole preceding prophecy. And then he proceeds,

V. 8. And after I had heard and seen, I fell down to adore before the feet of the angel, who shewed me these things:

V. 9. And he said to me: see thou do not: for I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them that keep the words of the prophecy of this book. Adore God. St. John offers, as he had done before, xix. 10, his homage of gratitude to the angel, St. John Baptist, who had shewn him these things. The angel refuses it, and tells him to offer his adoration and thanks to

God, who is the author and giver of this prophecy. The angel furthermore plainly insinuates, that he has no title to the apostle's thanks, nor is of a nature superior to the apostle; for he tells him, he is his fellow-servant, having been formerly so on earth; and, the fellowservant of his brethren the prophets, that is, of the ministers of Christ's Church; and, fellow-servant of them that keep the words of the prophecy of this book, that is, of all the faithful Christians from the beginning of Christ's Church to the end of time.

V. 10. And he saith to me: seal not the words of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. The angel, or perhaps Christ, says to St. John: seal not the words of the prophecy of this book; leave the book open, that every one may read it, and be informed of the contents; because the time is at hand for their accomplishment to begin, or which is already begun, and which will continue successively, till the whole be completed.

V. 11. He that hurteth, let him hurt still: and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is just, let him be justified still: and he that is holy, let him be sanctified still. That is, the unjust and the wicked, who are obstinately so, may make haste, says Christ, to complete their injustice and iniquity: and the just and the holy should endeavour to hasten their steps in sanctifying and perfecting themselves more; for,

V. 12. Behold I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to render to every man according to his works. Behold, I shall soon summon them by the writ of death, to appear before me, says Christ, and shall reward these according to their merits; and those, the impious, I shall punish in the rigour of justice according to the measure of their iniquity. Let us then be prepared for the summons.

V. 13. I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Christ here attributes to himself the same divine qualities, which were assumed by Almighty God, Chap. xxi. v. 6. I a I am, says Christ, the beginning and the end. I existed from all eternity and shall exist to all eternity. I am the creator of the universe, the conservator of it, and shall put an end to it.

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