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cies, his second coming would be wholly unexpected, and a dreadful surprise to the world. But it is evident now, that the real apostacy of the latter times, though in some respects similar to that of the Gnostics, was that of the Church of Rome ; for in it we find all the genuine characters of Antichrist.
19. That the Gnostics had not the gifts of the Spirit, was alleged by the apostle John (iv. 13] as a proof that theirs was not the true Church of Christ.
23. As the garments of persons infested with the plague, cannot be handled with safety, so the Catholic Christians were exhorted to avoid every thing that bore the least rela. tion to the Gnostics.
This book of Revelation, I have no doubt, was written by the apostle John, and probably about A. D. 96, after he had been banished to the Isle of Patmos,* by the emperor Domitian.t Sir Isaac Newton, with great truth, says, he does not “find any other book of the New Testament so strongly attested, or commented upon, so early as this.”S Indeed, I think it impossible for any intelligent and candid person to peruse it without being struck, in the most forci. ble manner, with the peculiar dignity and sublimity of its composition, superior to that of any other writing whatever, so as to be convinced that, considering the age in which it appeared, none but a person divinely inspired, could have written it. Also, the numerous marks of genuine piety that occur through the whole of this work, || will preclude the idea of imposition, in any person acquainted with human nature. It is, likewise, so suitable a continuation of the prophecies of Daniel,* that something would have been wanting in the New Testament dispensation, if nothing of this kind bad been done in it; for it has been the uniform plan of the Divine proceedings to give a more distinct view of interesting future events, as the time of their accomplishment approached.
“ Now called Patino." For the traditions respecting “ the holy grotto," where St. John is said to have writ the Apocalypse-a stone font, where he is said to have baptized, and a pulpit, where, they say, he used to preach," see “ A Description of the present State of Samos, Nicasia, Patmos, and Mount Athos, by Joseph Georgirenes, Archbishop of Samos, now living in London.” 1678, pp. 71, 77, 78.
† See Lardner, VI. pp. 174–186, 633–638; Doddridge's Introd. VI. pp. 420, 421.
Who maintains that “ the Apocalypse was written before the destruction of Jerusalem.” Observations on the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse, 1783, (Pt. ii.), pp. 235-246. See this opinion supported in Michaelis's Introd. Lect. (Ch. clii.), pp. 333-336.
Obs. on Apoc. p. 249. Thus Mede, p. 602; Lowman's Paraph. and Notes, Ed. 3, 1773, ( Pref:) p. viii.; Taylor's Grand Apost. 1781, p. 71; Illustrations of Pro. phecy, 1796, pp. 23–30. See the critique of Dionysius, in the third century; N. T. 1729, 11. pp. 1020-1022; Lardner, III. pp. 102—131; Abauzit (Disc. on the Apoc.), pp. 285—376; Impr. Vers.
11 " It is an excellent observation of M. Saurin, that this is a very mortifying book to a mind greedy of knowledge and science, but a very satisfying and agreeable one to a heart solicitous about maxims and precepts,' or, in his own expressive and elegant words, L'Apocalypse, qui est un des plus mortificans ouvrages, pour un esprit avide de connoissance et de lumière, est un des plus satisfaisans pour un cæur avide des maximes et de précepts.' Serm. xii. p. 234.” Doddridge,
Besides, notwithstanding the obscurity of many parts of this book, enough is sufficiently clear; and the corres. pondence of the prophecy with the events, so striking, as of itself to prove its divine origin. Indeed, some of the most interesting parts of this prophecy are, at this very time, receiving their accomplishment, and, therefore, our attention is called to it in a very particular manner, though it certainly was not the intention of Divine Providence to enable us, by means of these predictions, to foretell particular future events, or to fix the exact time of their accom. plishment.
It is, indeed, sufficient for us, and affords us much con. solation, that the great catastrophe is clearly announced, and such indications of the approach of happy times, as lead us to look forward with confidence and joy. These prophecies are also written in such a manner as to satisfy us, that the events announced to us were really foreseen, being described in such a manner as no person, writing without that knowledge, could have done. This requires such a mixture of clearness and obscurity, as has never yet been imitated by any forgers of prophecy whatever. Forgeries, written of course after the events, have always been too plain. It is only in the Scriptures, and especially in the book of Daniel, and this of the Revelation, that we find this happy mixture of clearness and obscurity in the account of future events.
CHAP. I. 1. This verse furnishes sufficient proof that Christ is not God. The predictions in this book were such as God imparted to him, not what he knew of himself. The term shortly, and other equivalent expressions, are sometimes used to denote certainty; and if any event will certainly come to pass, it is, in the eye of God, as if it was present. Thus, when our Saviour said to the penitent thief, (Luke xxiii. 43,] This day shalt thou be with me in paradise, he meant nothing more than that they would certainly meet there. The prophecies in this book extend to the day of judgment, whenever that will be; and seventeen hundred years are already elapsed since the book was written.
of this book, so many articles are contained in it, which are dark and mysterious, that I remained some time undetermined whether I should publish any commentary upon it at all.” Introd. VI. p. 426.
• “I conceive Daniel to be Apocalypse contraite, and the Apocalypse Daniel explicate, in that where both treat about the same subject." Mede, p. 787.
By angel may be understood any medium, or instrument, by which the Divine will is signified to us. * It does not appear that any angel was employed bere besides those that are mentioned in the course of the visions.t
3. By keeping the things that are written in this book, must be meant, keeping clear of those corruptions which are here foretold to take place in the church.
4. There must, at this time, have been more churches in Asia than seven; but these were probably the most considerable, as the number seven may be used in correspondence with the other sevens in this book; so the seven spirits that are before the throne, are probably synonymous to what is elsewhere called the Holy Spirit, denoting, perhaps, the abundance of his gifts. Il
5. This should have been rendered the faithful martyr. I It is the same word that is so rendered when it is after
* " A prophetic dream is an angel; the pillar of fire that went before the Israel. ites, is called God's angel; the winds and fames of fire, are angels to us, when used by God as voices to teach us, or rods to punish us." Lowman, + On ver. 2, see Lardner, III. pp. 118, 119; VI. p. 632.
| For the time is at hand. See Le Clerc, who, speaking of those theologians who have not ventured to explain this book, adds, “ J'avouë que je suis de ce nombre, et c'est pourquoi on ne verra guère de notes sur ce livre." of the Revelation, it is said that Calvin declared " he knew not at all what so obscure a writer meant." See Selden's Life, by Dr. Aikin, p. 35.
“ As in the opinion of every one this book contains the destiny of the church, every sect in particular has not failed to make an application of it to themselves, and often to the exclusion of others. The English find here the revolutions of Great Britain; the Lutherans, the troubles of Germany; and the French Refugees, what happened to them in France. In fine, each church boasts of finding itself here, according to the rank that it thinks it holds in the plan of Providence, and which you may be sure is always the first place. There is only the Catholie Church which hath circumscribed it within the limits of the three first centuries, during which, it maintains that every thing was accomplished; as if it were afraid, lest descending lower, it should see Antichrist in the person of its metropolitan.". Abauzit (Disc. on the Apoc.), p. 376.
“ The very number of those spirits sufficiently hinteth, that this place maketh nothing to the invocation of the Holy Spirit, whom they would have to be the third person in the Godhead; for then we should make seven spirits instead of one, so that for three persons of the Deity, we should have nice.”' Crellius (B. i. Sect. iii. Ch. ii.), p. 182. See Mede, p. 42; Lindsey on Robinson, p. 83.
^ " Seven, in the language of prophecy, often expresses perfection." Lowman. I And “ should begin a new period.
Heinsius in Bowyer.
wards applied to Antipas, [Ch. ii. 13,] who was faithful unto death.
Jesus being here called the prince of the kings of the earth, probably refers to the dignity to which he will be advanced when the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of God and of Christ, and he shall reign for ever, [Ch. xi. 15,] other princes being in some sense under him:
By washing * us from our sins in his own blood, is to be understood, that by his death and resurrection, that religion by which the world is reformed, is established. Clemens Alexandrinus says, that by his blood is meant his doctrine.
6.Whatever be the glory to which Christ will be advanced in his proper kingdom, there are many intimations given that his faithful followers will share with him in it. This was sufficiently expressed by himself, when he said, [Matt. xix. 28,] that his twelve apostles should “ sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel ;” and when he said, (John xvii. 22,) that the glory which God had given to him, he had given to his disciples. According to Daniel, vii. 27, this kingdom “ shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High,” and not to a single person. When Paul said, [1 Cor. vi. 2,] “ the saints shall judge the world,” he must have meant they will attain to princely power, judging being one branch of it.
7. The compunction with which the Jewish nation will behold this great event is particularly described by Zechariah xii. 10:
And they shall look on him whom they pierced ;
son ; And the bitterness for him shall be as the bitterness for a first
born. It was probably to this passage that John here alludes.
* Washed. “In some copies, delivered, or redeemed.” See Mill in Lardner, V. p. 275, Note !9); Harwood, N. T.
t" That is, that he might make us (for and is here to be taken for that) kings, to subdue the world, the flesh, and the devil; priests to offer sacrifices of prayer, thanksgiving, works of mercy, and other acceptable services to our heavenly Father." Mede, p. 113. “ Dr. Mill observes, that in one ancient Greek MS. the words (ver 5) unto him, are wanting. Jn wbich case the doxology will be, not to Christ, but to the Father.” Clarke (S. D.), 750.
To God and his Father. “ Or rather, to his own God and Father, which is more according to the original.” Haynes (Ch. ix.), p. 39. See Lindsey's Apol. p. 144; Belsham's Inquiry, pp. 369, 370.
1 Newcome. See Vol. XII. p. 445, Note: Ś See Lowman. Ver. 8, T'he Lord God. See Belsham's Inquiry, p. 177; Newcome in Impr. Vers.
10. To be in the spirit, means being under a divine impression. He was probably in ecstacy, so that no other person, though he had been present, would have seen or heard what he describes. It appears fron this that the first day of the week had, at this time, got the appellation of the Lord's day, by way of distinction tiom the other days of the week, and that particular respect was paid to it.*
11. The words, I am Alpha and Omega, the first und the last, are not in the best MSS.,+ or ancient versions.
This alludes to Isaiah xliji. 10, where God says, “ Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me;" and Ch. xliv. 6, “ I am the first and I am the last, i and besides me there is no God.”
12—16. Our Saviour is here represented as in the holy place, behind the golden candlesticks that were in the Temple; but the scenery is not exact: for in the Temple there were ten candlesticks, and in the Tabernacle only one. This description of his appearance is calculated to impress the mind with the greatest reverence; but that it is only an emblematical representation, proper for a vision, and not the appearance that Jesus will actually make hereafter, may be inferred from the sword proceeding out of his mouth, and the seven stars in his right hand. It was customary, however, for soldiers to carry their swords in their mouths when they could not make any immediate use of them. Thus we read of Turks boarding a vessel, with their swords in their mouths, ready for use when they should have got into the vessel they endeavoured to make a prize of.
• " It was never questioned, that the first day of the week is in this text called the Lord's day. St. John here names it by the stated name, by which it was then commonly known. This incontestably proves the generality of its use, and the consecration of it to religious purposes, to have been supposed and allowed by the Christian church at that time." "Wotton, I. p. 297. See Hallett (on the Lord's day), III. pp. 168–186.
Clarke (S. D.), 666. See 414; Wakefield's Enquiry, p. 148. “ These words are wanting in the Alexandrine and Ephrem MSS., and in the Coptic, Æthiopic, and other versions; and are omitted in the editions of Griesbach and Newcome." Impr. Vers. Of a reading, now so justly exploded, Doddridge, who does not appear to have critically examined it, says, “ This text has done more than any other in the Bible towards preventing me from going into that scheme which would make our Lord Jesus Christ no more than a deified creature." See his Note. Thus, according to Doddridge, a Christian inquiring after scriptural evidence for the supposed deity of Christ, will pass over histories and epistles, describing the faith and worship of our Lord and his divinely-instructed followers, and will reach the last and most obscure book in the New Testament before he find this text calculated, till discovered to be spurious, “more than any other in the Bible," to support that doctrine. See Belsham's Inquiry, pp. 268, 269, and Note (49).
I See Isaiah xli. 4. “ It is true, that thou art the first, and thou art the last, and that we have no king, redeemer, or saviour, besides thyself." Morning Office of the Jews, in Wotton, I. p. 182.