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with the ears of corn offered as first fruits. The third great feast, that of Tabernacles, was also called the Feast of Ingatherings (Ex. xxiii. 16), because it was held seven days after they had “ gathered in the corn and the wine” (Deut. xvi. 13); and therefore it also depended upon the seasons, and might be delayed, if necessary, by intercalating six days in the preceding months.

This principle is carried into the Apocalypse, and explains why chap. xiv., with its series of seasons, is placed at the head of that period in the revelation when the mystery of God is unveiled and finished, regulating the order and fixing the relative time of each event in that series. Our Lord sanctioned this principle in his discourses to the disciples; instructing them to take warning from indications of the same kind : “ The fields are white for harvest” (John iv. 35): “When the fig-tree putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near” (Mark xiii. 28). Thus, in the Apocalypse, the reaping (xiv. 15) is when the " harvest is ripe;" the vintage (18), when the clusters are fully ripe:”indicating to us that we are to seek for signs of the Lord's coming in the state of his people ; and take our warning of coming judgments from the state of the world, rather than from any calculated epoch or period. For the same wise end the time of the great period of 1260 was not known with certainty till its expiration, when the seasons began; and it is only by a retrograde calculation that we have fixed its commencement, and determined thereby the earlier periods of the first four seals.

Those who agree with me thus far will think it their wisdom and duty to study the Apocalypse in the same order in which its mystery has been unfolded, and consider chap. xiv, as the calendar, or index, regulating all the other parts of the book ; and so much the more when they perceive that this period, to which such importance is given in the Revelation, includes this very time in which we now live. The series of events being given briefly in chap. xiv. in the order of the seasons of the year, and the characteristic "signs of the times ” indicated, the same series is repeated, with its political emblems, to give it time, in chapters xv. xvi. xvii., and again repeated with its ecclesiastical emblems, to give it place, xviii. xix. ; and in each of the three series some corresponding links of connection are given, to bind them all together as one history. “ Babylon is fallen,” xiv. 8, connects it with xviii. 2; and both point on to the infliction of this threat, xvi. 19, xvii. 16. “The wine-press trodden without the city, xiv. 20, connects with xvi. 16, and xix. 15. So also the seven angels coming out of the temple (xv. 6, as also 7, 8), are ecclesiastical emblems introduced in the political series; while King of kings (xix. 16, xvii. 14) are political emblems introduced in the ecclesiastical series, and serve the same purpose of binding together all the several series.

There is in the Apocalypse a sort of double action-the first a sign and premonition of the second- which it may be as well to mention here, though it is found in many other parts of the book. One instance has been already mentioned—viz. the announcement of our Lord's speedy coming, xvi. 15, xxii. 7, xiv. 14, (answering to the sign of the Son of Man, Matt. xxiv. 30); and his coming with reward, xi. 18, xxii. 12, (Matt. xxiv. 30, latter clause.) So also there are two earthquakes (xi. 13—19); the first of which shakes, the second of which overwhelms Babylon. The shaking of the first is compared to a mighty wind bringing down untimely figs (vi. 13); but in the following verses (14-17) language is used which carries the mind on to the final earthquake (xi. 19, xvi. 18—21), in which “every island fled away, and the mountains were not found." Upon mature consideration, I think that both earthquakes are included in vi. 13–17; the whole period, from the expiration of the 1260 days till the treading of the wine-press, being considered as one act of judgment on Babylon : to the whole of which I believe the sealing extends ; the "untimely figs " seeming to intimate that the precocity of wickedness outruns, as it were, the purpose of God, provoking his judgments before the proper time; while the slow growth of the wheat, and the backwardness of the season in his church, does, as it were, restrain and delay the complete destruction of Babylon, till the harvest of the earth is fully ripe. “Let both grow together till harvest” (Matt. xiii. 30). « The earth bringeth forth fruit of herself.... but when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come” (Mark iv. 29).

For studying the Apocalypse with advantage, we should always bear in mind the class of persons for whose instruction it was intended. It was not for unbelievers, for they would not receive it: it was not for Jews, for they would never read it : it was not for worldly men, for to them it would have no interest. It is therefore vain to expect in the Apocalypse any thing applicable to the infidel, the Jew, or the worldling, beyond those general judgments denounced in it against all the wicked. But the Apocalypse was intended for the instruction of true Christians, or the real church of God. We accordingly find that the end kept constantly in view throughout the book is to shew the final triumph and glory of the church; and all political changes and revolutions are noticed only in their bearings on the church, as advancing or retarding this expected consummation. The prophetic visions of the Apocalypse (ch.iv.) open with a display of the adoration due to its Creator by the whole creation, and which the redeemed creation shall be ultimately advanced to partake in. This display, and these acts of adoration, precede the opening of the seven-sealed book; which contains, as we shall see, the history of God's dealings with his church during the whole spiritual or Christian dispensation; which is closed (vii. 9, 12) with an act of adoration by the church similar to that by the creation with which the visions open (v. 9-14). The sealed book contains the record of the purpose of God. This purpose was unrevealed till “ the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Rev. v. 5), “ the Lamb slain ” (6), prevailed to open the book, and loose the seals thereof. A display of God's glory is the sum of the purpose; the church is the object in which this portion of its manifestation takes place; and the powers of the world (overruled by the providence of God for this very end) are the instruments by which this manifestation is brought about. During the period included in the seals, Christ reveals, or declares, those events which the church acts or manifests; but, when this period is past, Christ becomes the manifestation, as well as the revealer : the Word of God comes forth in visible form, as King of kings; becomes the express Image of God's glory; and advances his church to a partnership in the throne, which he then ascends. The seals are opened in succession by Christ himself; indicating that the events which these seals unfold shall be brought about by the immediate instrumentality of our Lord, as the administrator of God's providence : “All power is given to me in heaven and on earth.”—The trumpets are in all respects different. The revelations in them are not opened by Christ himself, but by angels; and they are wholly of a judicial and penal character, without the hope or prospect of reform (ix. 21).-The vials also are wholly of wrath : " in them is filled up the wrath of God” (xv. 1): and they also are poured out by angels, not by Christ himself; and one of the living creatures gives them the vials.

Prophecy being designed for the instruction of the church, political changes are noticed therein only as they affect the church; and the seals I consider as revealing those changes in Christendom, the station of the visible church, which should be brought about by the extraordinary interposition of God, so as to be regarded by all as proceeding immediately from God-as, the conversion of Constantine, at the beginning of the series ; and the wrath of the Lamb, at the end of it (vi. 2, 16). The trumpet series represents the judgments of God on an apostate and idolatrous church; beginning with heavy judgments, which increase in severity, but produce no repentance: “ They repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils,” &c. (is. 20.) These judgments are inflicted by angels ; indicating that they are VOL. 1.-NO. TIT.

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brought about in the ordinary providence of God. The vial series are judgments not only on an apostate church, but on those political rulers who, having been raised for the protection of the church, have become her tyrants and oppressors. The first brings a sore on them that worshipped the image of the beast (xvi. 2): the fifth is poured on the seat of the beast (ver. 10):

( and so of the rest. But these vials, we shall see, come into the period of time included in the sixth seal; and as that seal is opened by Christ himself, so these vials (see x. 1) have their beginning in that extraordinary display of God's power ; but the succeeding vials being only poured by angels, are brought about in the ordinary workings of Providence. The first four seals, first four trumpets, and first four vials, have this common character, that they bring down the opposing power against which they are severally directed : and the fifth and sixth in each series bring in the several scourges (the Papal, the Turkish, and the Infidel) which prepare for the seventh of each ; which simultaneously burst in combined and universal judgments upon the heads of all those upon whom the six preceding ones had separately fallen. When the seventh seal is opened “there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour” (viii. 1): when the seventh angel sounds (xi. 15), “ the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord :” and when the seventh vial is poured (xvi. 17), “ It is done." These periods agree in time with xix. 11, when “ heaven is opened," and the Word of God comes forth to take to him his great power and reign; and when (14) “the armies in heaven follow him," to witness his mighty deeds. Now, it would be an inconsistency to represent him as receiving the worship of the heavenly hosts at the time when he is represented as taking vengeance on his foes; and therefore it is said, in the seventh seal, “ there was silence in heaven half an hour.” But, then, they shall enter in triumph into the New Jerusalem, singing, “ Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord, strong and mighty; the Lord, mighty in battle ...“ The Lord of hosts, he is the King of Glory.” And there shall be fix his throne : for it is written (Ezek. xliii. 7), “ The place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever.”

The seals, trumpets, and vials, I consider as being in themselves political emblems; but, to connect them with the church, ecclesiastical signs are interspersed-as, the living creatures, in the first four seals; the souls beneath the altar, in the fifth seal; and the day of wrath, in the sixth seal. So also in the trumpet series ecclesiastical emblems are introduced, in the

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altar, incense, and fire (viü. 3, 5); in the allusions to fountains of water and idolatry (viii. 10, ix. 20); and in the temple (xi. 19). And in the vial series their connection with the church is indicated by the angels coming out of the temple (xv. 6), and in priestly garments; by one of the living creatures giving them the vials; and by the voice from the throne” (xvi. 17), which is the signal for the plagues of the seventh vial, and the filling up of the wrath of God. The proper and exclusive history of the visible church is given in emblems borrowed from the tabernacle and Jewish ritual; and it is in this series that the times are given, as being associated with the fixed feasts of the Mosaic law, the bands to the children of Israel of ecclesiastical and national polity: these emblems occur chiefly in xi. xii. xii. And, as we have seen above, the history of the spiritual church is given in emblems taken from the seasons of the year, chiefly in xiv.

I do not mean to treat on the external form of the seven-sealed book, thinking it a question of curiosity rather than instruction ; but, taking it as recorded in the Apocalypse, we find three grand divisions,--the seven seals, the seven trumpets, and the seven vials. These appear to me three distinct series ; nor can I find in the text any warrant for combining them into one series ; or interchanging the persons, places, or things they severally refer to. But I consider them as three distinct series, referring to three distinct classes of objects ; diverging at their commencement, and re-uniting at their termination, but continuing distinct during their whole course. This will, I think, be manifest from the following considerations. Six of the seals are opened in chap. vi.; the first beginning with thunder, the sixth with an earthquake (12), whose effects are described in language similar to that in Isai. xxxiv. 4. Now the context in Isaiah shews us that it is the “great slaughter in the land of Idumea,” preceding " the day of the Lord's vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion”

(8); called also (Rev. vi. 17) “ the great day of his wrath." These six seals, therefore, form a complete series, running down to the time of the end; which is further confirmed by the sealing in ch. vii., which is evidently to protect them from the effects of the sixth seal, and which vii. 15–17 shews will last to the Millennium.-The trumpet series follows, in ch. viii. ; and we are therefore compelled to go back for its commencement : and we must begin from the time when the earth, or Roman empire, was divided into three parts by Constantine ; for it is a third, or one of these divisions only, which is smitten under all the trumpets, except the fifth ; which fifth, being the Saracen woe, extended its ravages beyond the limits of the other five. The place scourged under the trumpets is further defined as the arena of the four angels of the river Euphrates, with their hordes

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