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Papal idolatry, together with the horrible impurity of French blasphemy, and turn in sincerity and truth to the God of heaven, the prophet does not, in this chapter, nor in the fourteenth and fifteenth chapters, in which he treats fully of the same subject, informs us. It is, however, much to be hoped, that it is already begun, and that the late dreadful judgments of God, which have principally fallen upon her greatest enemies, may have induced some of the professors of christianity to forsake the path of evil, and to prepare for their latter end. Be this as it may, it seems probable, from the figurative description in the text, that it will be a slow and progressive work: for we are next informed, that the ascent of the two witnesses is to be "in a cloud;" to intimate, as I humbly conjecture, two things: 1, that although the reformation shall be gradual, yet it shall be accomplished in a short period, when compared with those of many other prophetic events and, 2, that, during this reformation, the church is not to be altogether exempt from a due share of persecution and distress (a cloud being, in different parts of the Scriptures, used as the symbol of affliction*), the only means by which she is to be purified from her fallen and corrupted state, and prepared with that holiness of life † which shall make her "ready," to receive her blessed Redeemer.
* Lament. ii. 1. Fzek. xxx. 18.
† 1 .Pet. 1. 15,
But if we are at a loss for the time of this great preparation, we are much more so for that of the actual ascent of the two witnesses, or the complete reformation of the church, and the coming of Christ to reign upon earth (or, as it is called, "that GREAT DAY OF GOD ALMIGHTY*"); for Christ himself enjoins us to "watch; for ye know not what hour the Son of Man cometht." And again, "Of that day and that hour knoweth "no man, no not the angels in heaven, but my "Father only." Yet although this great and awful day is certainly concealed from human knowledge for the wisest reasons and purposes, still, as we are enjoined to "watch," and be ever ready to meet it in righteousness and holiness of lifes, it certainly will be wisdom in us to consider whether it is not near at hand; and, in respect to many now in health, may not be to-morrow. This consideration cannot fail,one would imagine, to incite every Christian to increase his diligence, to double his "watch," lest this "great day" should come upon him "as a thief in the night||:" and even to LEAD THE INFIDEL AND ATHIEST TO REFLECT ON THE DREADFUL AND IRRETRIEVABLE CONSEQUENCES, SHOULD THEY SOON BE SUMMONED ΤΟ APPEAR BEFORE THAT CHRIST, WHOM THEY HAD REJECTED ALTOGETHER, OR RIDICULED AS AN IMPOSTOR, AND BEFORE THAT GOD WHOSE OMNIPOTENCE THEY
Ver. 13.-" And at the same hour, there "was a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were "slain seven thousand men of name; and the "remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to "the GOD of HEAVEN."
In the two preceding verses two great and blessed events are foretold, viz. that of the toleration of the Christian religion, under the figure of the resurrection of the dead bodies of the two witnesses, and the complete reformation of the church, in their ascent up to heaven. The first we have seen come to pass, as I have shown before, in the act of toleration passed by the French government, The other, if commenced, is only progressively advancing to maturity, but is not perfected. Nor does it seem probable, that it will be so, before a heavy and dreadful judgment shall have been inflicted upon revolutionary France, that "boctomless pit" of atheism and anarchy, that destroyer of the "two witnesses" of God!
To show the probability of this interpretation, it will be necessary to understand the literal meaning of the principal terms in this verse. An "hour" being a small part of time when compared to a day, or week, or year, is intended to denote a short period, within which the events foretold are to be accomplished. An earthquake," in prophetic language, is generally used to signify a political convulsion and revolution, in the government of a nation. The word city is often used for a civil society.
Thus Cicero uses it- civitate donare aliquem,' to naturalize a person; civitatem amittere,' to lose the privilege of a civil society. And "men of name" denote the officers of a government, from the first ruler to the lowest executive. Taking this explanation as the clue, this verse seems to inform us, that within the same short period of time in which the reformation of the church shall be wrought, and before its final accomplishment, there will be another and bloody revolution in the government of the French nation, in which a "tenth part" of the people shall "fall"" seven thousand" men in power, or officers of the government, be" slain ;" and that the remainder of the people who shall survive this dreadful judgment, being affrighted at the vast extent and desolation, shall seriously reflect upon their past impiety, and its attendant misery, become sensible of the great mercy of God, in preserving them from merited destruction, shall repent of their blasphemy and atheism, reform their morals and their religion, and " give glory to the God of heaven.'
Hence, and from many subsequent parts of the Revelation, it appears probable, that it will be the righteous pleasure of Divine Wisdom, that "the beast of the bottomless pit," or the atheistical power of France, after it has been (as we know it has) the instrument of punishing the Pope and his adherents, for their wicked apostacy and unceasing enmity to the church of Christ, shall, in its turn, fall by the operation
and effects of its own unparalleled wickedness; and while attempting, in vain, to frustrate the will of Jehovah, it shall be the two-edged instrument, of executing upon itself his righteous decrees, and its own terrible destruction.
Ver. 14. The second woe is past, and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.'
These woes are foretold in the eighth chapter; and I have shown, that the two first were to be, and have in a great measure been, inflicted upon the Christian church, for the purpose of reclaiming her, after her ingratitude and disobedience to the revelation of the Son of God, by the Mohamedan and Papal apostacies. But upon whom is this third woe to be inflicted? It certainly cannot be on the Christian church in its reforming state; on them who shall be found" walking in the fear of the Lord*;" for " the fear of the Lord that is "wisdom t;" and "as the heaven is high "above the earth, so great is his mercy toward "them that fear him;" nor upon them who "had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon "their foreheads§;" for these, we are told, "shall stand upon a sea of glass, mingled with "fire, having the harps of God," during the sounding of this tremendous third and last woetrumpet¶; that is, in the literal sense, in a place
* Acts, ix. 31.