Page images


throughout the Scripture. We are there told the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon those that fear him*.” I shall, therefore, only recite a few instances of it, which seem necessary to introduce an explanation of the two verses, following those I have already commented upon.

Just before he foretold the destruction of Jerusalem, we find our Saviour, with sorrowful tenderness, mourning over her in this beautiful and expressive lamentation: "O JERUSALEM, JE"RUSALEM, thou that killest the prophets, and sto"nest them that are sent unto thee; how often "would I have gathered thy children together, " even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would nott."


Again, after his merciless crucifixion, and his ascension to his Father, when his flock had lost their shepherd, he sent his angel to the prophet to assure them, that "a crown should be given to "them, and that they should go on conquering "and to conquer "§

Again, foreseeing that his church, notwithstanding her triumph and exaltation over the heathen world, would ungratefully and wickedly forsake the word of God, to which alone she would be indebted for her peace and happiness, and fall into abominable heresies; and also knowing

*Psalm ciii. 17.

Matt. xxiii. 37. + Rev. vi. 2. How accurately and completely was this assurance of Christ, foretold in the first century, fulfilled in the fourth, when Constantine the Great, then emperor of Rome, the mistress of the heathen world, became converted to the Christian faith, and the head of the church!

the dreadful* visitations of God to be inflicted upon her by the barbarian nations, he sent his angels to the prophet, forewarning her of them, that she might avoid their rapine and bloody ravages, by repentance and returning to her father's houset.

Again, foreseeing that she would obstinately persevere in her iniquity, and the justice of God would pour down upon her woes yet far more severe, and of longer continuance, thro' the means of Mohamed the Pope, and revolutionary France, he again pre-admonished her of her danger, that she might reject their blasphemous falsehoods, and avoid the consequent judgments. This gracious and merciful admonition the prophet describes in these words: "And I saw an angel flying through the midst of heaven," meaning, throughout all the regions of the church then planted in all parts of the earth," saying, woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth§," that is, to all the mem

*These dreadful visitations of God upon the church, thus foretold in the first, began in the latter end of the fourth century, and continued down to the middle of the sixth, when they became completely fulfilled. See Newt. Diss. vol. ii. p. 202-207.

† Rev. viii. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.

Rev. viii. 13.

We have seen these visitations of God, as it were fulfilled, and still fulfilling before our eyes. We have seen that Mohamed the Pope, and atheistical France, are come, and brought in their train all the seductive decrees, falsehoods, lies, and blasphemies, and overwhelming the church of Christ with darkness, filth, and blood; and we have seen the fall of the second, or the Pope, within these last four years; and, in all probability, we shall see those of the first and third in less time than half a century, as foretold by the prophet seventeen hundred years past:

bers of the church, who had known the word of God, and now obeyed it not, but had become "earthly, sensual, and devilish*."

But it may here be asked, What is this angel, and when did we hear of his flying through the midst of the church? The answer is not difficult, if we translate the verse from its figurative, into its literal sense. The prophet has, in other places, represented the word of God, or the Gospel of Christ, by the figurative expressions of “The holy city," "the temple of God," " the altar," and "the two witnesses." Here again varying the figure, as it is common in the beautiful and mysterious language of prophecy, he uses, with equal propriety, the word "angel," to convey the same idea. Taking the verse, then, in its literal sense, we shall find, that this pure and boly angel, the word of GOD, did" fly through the midst of" the church from one end of it to the other, carrying with it the admonition here foretold, before the time when the visitations of God were to fall upon the church. For if we may give credit to history, this angel of the Gospel of Christ, through the missionaries of the Church, spread the word of God over the inhabited part of the earth, in the most rapid manner, in the sixth century it was proclaimed and practised from China in the East, to Ireland in the West, some time before the rise of Mohamed, and the Pope, in the seventh and thus the literal

* James iii. 15.

meaning of the text became completely fulfilled.

Again, after the prophet had foretold the fallen and abject state of the church, lost to the pure light of the word of God, and overwhelmed with the pollutions and darkness of Mohamedan and Papal apostacy, and French blasphemy, together with the fall of these, her three great enemies, in the former parts of the Revelation; in the beginning of the fourteenth chapter, he figuratively represents Christ and his saints as preparing, with the utmost joy, to raise the church from its impurity and darkness, and to reform it in such manner as to prepare it for its final redemption and eternal happiness in his kingdom on the earth*. To effect this glorious purpose, he mercifully sends before him his messenger, to preach the Gospel to the fallen world. "And I saw,' says the prophet, "another angel flying in the "midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gos



pel to preach to them that dwell on the earth "and to every nation, and kindred and tongue, " and people, saying, 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 66 SEA, AND THE FOUNTAINS OF WATERS.t" Thus seeming to foretel, that "before Satan, "and his mighty confederacy, shall make their "last effort to crush" and extirpate the word of

* Ver. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

† Rev. xiv. 7:

God from the earth, with design to prevent the coming of Christ to reign upon it, that word shall again be preached in all parts of the world again "go forth conquering and to conquer;" that, as it had been exalted to the greatest of all temporal crowns in the fourth century, so it may hereafter be exalted to the first of all spiritual crowns in the kingdom of Christ; but to a much greater degree of purity, holiness, and perfection, and far above the reach of the seductions and pollutions either of Mohamedan and Papal apostacy, or French atheism; and even, above all of them, united in their GRAND CONFEDERACY. For it is to be " AN EVERLASTING GosPEL," which shall prevail in the hearts of all those that "fear God and give glory to him," for ever and ever.

From the tenour of the prophecies, the commencement of this blessed event, most hopeful and encouraging to all real Christians, does not seem to be at a great distance. Were we alone to look at the present dark and depraved state of the world, we should be led to entertain a different opinion. But what is it which is impossible with God, that "made heaven "and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of "waters ?" How long did he suffer his holy word (sent to give a fallen and disobedient world an opportunity of recovering the undefiled and happy state in which he had benevolently created it) to wade through the im

« PreviousContinue »