Sidor som bilder

overruling and directing all the events of the Church and the world, which are connected with it, to their great termination !

Such he appears in the opening of the Apocalypse; in which he is manifested in all the glories of his pre-existent state, added to all the circumstances of majesty and of tenderness which are derived from his connection with the great scheme of man's redemption from his incarnation, his death, his resurrection, and exaltation to the right hand of God as the Lord and the Judge of mankind. Such he appears also as the author of the messages to the seven Churches; where he is manifested, in a peculiar manner, as the head over all things to his Church'; directing it by his wisdom, upholding it by his power,—the terrible

avenger of all wickedness, and the everlasting reward of all those who love and obey him.

2. But, as he appears in this peculiar character of dignity and majesty in this opening part of this great and sublime prophecy, how much are our feelings of awe and interest increased, when we behold this same Divine Person appearing again, as the great agent and author of the prophecies relating to his Church; when, in that character in which he is most endeared to fallen man,—that of a Lamb as it had been slain,he takes the book out of the hands of him who sat on the throne; that book, which he alone, of all the inhabitants of earth and heaven, was found worthy to take and to open the seals thereof, because he hath redeemed us to God by his blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation ; while the innumerable hosts of heaven sing the glorious song of redemption :

? Ephes, i. 22.

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. He then appears in the same character of majesty, going forth on the white horse, conquering and to conquer. He appears again at the close of all these dispensations, as the great avenger of his enemies; and, finally, at the end of all things, as the terrible Judge, at whose appearance the heavens and the earth are dissolved and the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the mighty men, are described as hiding themselves from the face of Him who sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; while he is revealed as the everlasting reward of his faithful servants, who are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple ; and whose especial blessing it will be to all eternity, that the Lamb, which is in the midst of the throne, shall feed them, and shall lead them to fountains of living waters, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

The sublime and awful manner in which the prophecies of the Apocalypse are opened, gives a deep and solemn interest to this wonderful book; at the same time that it may be said to mark the peculiar character of the events which are the subject of these revelations. Such is the character of the events which are contained in the Seals; extending from the first and heavenly triumphs of the Redeemer, through the different mournful stages of bloodshed, of the corruption and suppression of Christian truth, of persecution and trial, to that glorious termination of the Christian scheme, which will be manifested in the final destruction of the enemies of the truth, and in the reward and happiness of the righteous! In perfect harmony also with the anticipations contained in this sublime opening, are the mournful subjects of the six first Trumpets, portending the persecutions and trials from corrupt doctrines and ungodly men, which awaited the infant Church of the Redeemer; the subsequent calamities arising from those grievous corruptions of Christian truth, which in subsequent ages assailed the great doctrines of redemption; and the still more awful corruptions and persecutions, arising from the Mahometan and Papal apostasies, which, it is foretold, shall for so long a period afflict and distress the Christian Church; till the sounding of the seventh Trumpet shall proclaim the downfall of these great apostasies and the universal establishment of the Redeemer's kingdom.

As the separate visions of the Seals and the Trumpets present, respectively, a brief review of the history of the Christian Church, from the first preaching of the Gospel to “ the time of the end," and of the trials which it would experience from its antichristian foes; so, in like manner, does the seventh Trumpet contain the prophetic announcement of the downfall of the great anti-christian powers; of which the different stages are marked by the outpouring of the seven Vials upon the different portions of the dominion of Satan: and this period is followed by the universal establishment of the kingdom of the Redeemer, the binding of Satan, and the Millennium. After which period, it is declared that Satan will be again loosed from his prison for a short season, to tempt the nations into rebellion against the Most High In this attempt it is, however,

foretold, that he will experience a signal overthrow, and will be for ever consigned, together with the beast and the false prophet, his instruments in the ruin and persecution of the Church, to his infernal prison : after which the general judgment will take place, and the events of this mysterious and awful prophecy will be finally and for ever closed, by the manifestation of those new heavens and new earth, which will succeed to the general dissolution of this world. This is the general outline of the great and important events which constitute the subject of the prophecies of the Apocalypse. But this outline is filled up by prophecies, which contain a more accurate description and a more full revelation of the most striking and important events, which are comprehended in these different periods; a mode of prophetical revelation, which, we have seen, is common to the Apocalypse with the previous dispensations of ancient prophecy; and which,—at the same time that it is admirably adapted to the communication of that increasing light, which it is the object of later prophecy to throw over the great and important subjects of its revelations,—binds together, in one indissoluble bond of connection, the whole chain of Patriarchal, of Jewish, and Christian prophecy, from its earliest dawn to the final accomplishment of the purposes of God.

Such is the manner, in which the history of the Christian Church, as it is briefly sketched in the Seals, is filled up and illustrated in the Trumpets ; and in which also the subject of the latter portion of the sixth Trumpet, relating to the Papal apostasy, is pursued in the twelfth and thirteenth chapters, and afterwards more fully in the seventeenth chapter, in which the change of the pure religion

of the Redeemer, from that of a chaste and spotless virgin, to that of the corrupt harlot and the mother of abominations, is described in characters so awful ! Similar to this also is the mode of prophecy contained in the Vials, relating to the destruction of the great apostasies; which is first opened under the seventh Trumpet; is further introduced, with additional circumstances of clearness and sublimity, in the fourteenth chapter, where the Lamb is described as appearing with his company on Mount Sion; and again, with circumstances of a still more definite and awful character, in the sixteenth and nineteenth chapters; the former of which exhibits, in the pouring out of the Vials, the different stages in the downfall of the great anti-christian confederacies, and the latter, the complete and glorious triumph of the Redeemer over all the enemies of his everlasting truth! And similar also to this is the description of the glories and the happiness of the Millennial state, which is the subject of the twenty-first and twenty-second chapters; and which, in this view of it, contains so sublime and so delightful a description of the happiness and the holiness of that state, in which the power of Satan will be confined to his infernal prison, and he will not be permitted to deceive the nations any more.

But with regard to that which constitutes so prominent a part of this prophecy, and which is denominated by Vitringa the key of the prophecies of the Apocalypse; as the rise of the Papal apostasy, the spiritual Babylon, was the subject of different distinct prophecies, so also is its decline and fall. This great catastrophe, in addition to the prophecy contained in the close of the sixth and the

« FöregåendeFortsätt »