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the followers of the beasts were trimming and worshipping, as their worldly interests required, these were upright before God in all their conversation.

Such is the contrast between the beast and the blasphemies of his worshippers on the one hand, and the Lamb and the praises of his followers on the other.

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DISCOURSE XXI.

THE THIRD GENERAL DESCRIPTION, CONCLUDED : OR, THE MESSAGE

OF THE THREE ANGELS, THE HARVEST, AND THE VINTAGE.

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Ir the foregoing application of the new song of the Lamb's company to the Reformation in the sixteenth century be just, it may be expected that wbat follows will relate to events subsequent to that distinguished era.

6 And I saw another angel Aying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, 7 Say. ing with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him ; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

I am aware that this commission of the flying angel has been generally understood as addressed to papal idolaters, and the passage of course applied to the evangelical labours of the Reformers. The fall of Babylon and the warnings against worshipping the beast and his image which follow, may have led to this application. There are other things however, which have led me to consider “the angel flying in the midst of heaven as sent to pagań rather than to papal idolaters.

It is true, we are in danger of magnifying the events of our own times, and of expecting to find things occupying a conspicuous place in prophecy which upon the great chart of the divine proceedings may have no place, or at most be only as a speck. I have not sought however for any thing which might be applied to the events of present times, nor interpreted the passage in any other than what appears to be its most natural meaning.

There are four characters pertaining to the prophecy, some of which appear to be inapplicable to the evangelical labours of the Reformers, but which are all applicable to the attempts to evangelize the heathen. 1. The parties to whom the message is sent are not merely the nations of Europe, but EVERY NATION, AND KINDRED, AND PONGUE, AND PEOPLE. 2. The message itself seems to intimate that they had hitherto read only the book of nature, and that without learning from it so much as WHO MADE THE HEAVENS, AND THE EARTH, AND THE SEA, AND THE FOUNTAINS OF WATERS. 3. It is supposed that when the spread of the gospel should be attempted in good earnest, and in a humble dependence upon God, dificulties which before seemed insuperable would subside. The church has long felt too much like the unbelieving Israelites in respect of going up to possess the promised land. Giants have seemed in the way, and walls reaching up to heaven : but when the work is attempted in the name of Christ, it is like an angel Aying in the midst of heaven, whose course none are able to arrest. 4. The tone in which the nations are addressed is solemn and imperious." The hour of his judgment is come!” There was something resembling this when the gospel was first announced, « Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.—The times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent : because he hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness, &c.” * The kingdom of the Messiah was then at hand, but now it draws near in its most extended form ; and those nations and governments that will not bow to bim shall be dashed in pieces as a potter's vessel! It is now coming to this, that “ All they that go down to the dust shall bow

* Malt. iii. 2. Acts xvii. 30, 31.

before him : and none can keep alive his own soul: "-which as our poet expresses it, is equal to saying

And all the kindreds of the earth

Shall worship, or shall die !

The desire which had been kindled of late years to carry the gospel among the heathen does not appear to be an object unwor thy a place in prophecy. It has engaged the attention of a large portion of the Christian church, and excited more earnest prayer and disinterested exertion, than perhaps any thing which has occurred since the Reformation. Nor ought we to consider what has hitherto been done as any thing more than the commencement of the angel's flight. It has indeed for its object the evangelizing of

every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people ;” but at present this is far from being accomplished. We have seen enough, however, to convince us with what ease the great God, by touching the hearts of a few individuals, can accomplish it.

8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

This is the first time that mention is made of Babylon. The allusion doubtless is to old Babylon, by which the church was formerly oppressed ; and to the predictions of her fall as given by the prophets :* but the Babylon here referred to doubtless is Rome, considered as the head of that great antichristian community which has corrupted the religion of Christ, and persecuted his followers.

There may be no such immediate connexion between the preaching of the everlasting gospel to the heathen world and the fall of antichristian Babylon, as that the latter should be the effect of the former : but it may comport with the wisdom of God to render it a comcomitant. When the servants of Christ lay themselves out for his name in one way, it is not unusual with him to promote the same general object in another. If we seek first the kingdom of

* Isa, xxi, 9. Jer. li. 8.

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