Page images
PDF
EPUB

is over—and we know not how soon this may be as soon as Christ has given full demonstration of his presence with his church, by the signs of the Holy Ghost; and the synagogue of Satan has manifested its full character, by denying and mocking the wonderful works of God; then shall the Lord arise, at the cry of his people: He shall bow the heavens and come down in the glory of his majesty; he shall shake terribly the earth, and take to himself his great power and reign. This act, which rocks the heavens, and makes the earth reel to and fro like a drunkard (Isa. xxiv.), as it is the redemption of the body and the manifestation of the sons of God, so is it also the birth-throe of the personal Antichrist; the image of the first imperial beast; the eighth head, who is also of the seven; the last Assyrian of the prophets; the incarnation of Satan, whom he shall invest with all the glare which he now possesses as prince of the power of the air, and as ruler of this world and the kingdoms thereof; after whom all the world shall wonder; and who will cause that whosoever will not worship him or receive his mark shall be slain : for he shall do according to his will

, and shall magnify himself above every God, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper, till the indignation be accomplished. It is the false prophet of both the East and the West, the two little horns, which prepare the way for the last Antichrist; for not only do the ten kings of the West give their power and strength to him, but the kings of the earth and the whole world are gathered under him to make war with the Lamb and his followers. The Lamb, therefore, has gathered his followers before Antichrist with his hosts comes forth to the war of Armageddon, and even before any persecution from Antichrist begins. For our Lord most expressly and positively declares that all things shall go on quietly, as in the days of Noe and of Lot: two men shall be in the field, one shall be taken and the other left," &c. It is also manifest that a considerable time elapses between this sudden translation of the saints, and their coming with Christ to the destruction of his enemies and to the establishment of his kingdom upon the ruins of the kingdom of Antichrist: which time shall be a period of the fiercest persecution of all those who refuse to worship Antichrist, and forward his kingdom by head and hand. It shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation even to that time. to the inhabiters of the earth, and of the sea ; for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time..... And when the dragon saw that he was cast into the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man-child.” The man-child, both Christ personal and Christ mystical, shall then have been translated; but still the woman, or church, shall have a seed on the earth, even

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

the foolish virgins, who, slaughtered by the beast wherever they can be found, and hunted into the clefts of the rocks and to the tops of the ragged rocks, shall then cast every man his idols to the moles and to the bats, and, though a small remnant and most cruelly persecuted, shall keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus.

During this most horrible time of the reign of the last Antichrist, the risen and translated saints shall be with Christ in the clouds of heaven, from whence Satan and his hosts have been precipitated; and shall, as the angels of the vials, inflict those judgments which fill up the wrath of God. And as the spiritual pouring out of the vials at the French Revolution has wrought no change in the nations, but they are again ready to rush eagerly on the same mad career; so the literal infliction of the seven last plagues at the day of the Lord by his risen saints, shall not convert Antichrist and his followers, but madden them the more : they shall blaspheme the God of heaven, because of their pains and their sores, but repent not of their deeds, nor of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts. The beast shall make the world like a wilderness (Isa. xiv., Rev. xvii.), and shall be full of names of blasphemy; and the woman shall not only be decked with gold and jewels, with a golden cup in her hand, but shall be drunken with the blood of the saints, and thus shall go forth in drunken fury to make war with the Lamb and his faithful ones. During the whole time of the fury of Satan in Antichrist, God shall keep up a witness for the truth ; the Jews witnessing for Moses, and the remnant of the woman's seed witnessing to the death for the Lamb. But these martyrs for Jesus, whose witness begins when the temple of the tabernacle of testimony is opened, and the angels, who are the risen saints, come forth (Rev. xv. 5), enter not into the heavenly Jerusalem till the seven plagues of the seven vials are fulfilled; for no man shall be able to enter into the temple till that time (ver. 8). These martyrs are truly believing in Christ crucified for them, but believe not in Christ coming to reign. Their experience shall be according to their faith : they shall be exposed to sufferings worse than death, and to escape which they shall desire to die: being saved so as by fire, and seeing all their false securities, of establishments, societies, and books, become like wood, hay, and stubble for the flame; or bulwarks of the power and ornaments of the throne of the man of sin, whom the Lord shall finally destroy with the brightness of his coming.

The persecutions of the first centuries under Pagan Rome do not adequately typify, either in ferocity or extent, those which shall take place under the last Antichrist: nothing in the past history of the world can represent to the full a time of tribula

tion which all Scripture declares is unparalleled, and to conceive which we must combine in one view both the wide range and concentrated intensity of woe which the Deluge, and Sodom, and the Siege of Jerusalem, and the French Revolution present, and behold these accumulations of horror falling simultaneously upon the whole of apostate Christendom. We write these things, God knows, not in a vindictive but a loving and compassionate spirit, desiring that all who believe in the Holy Scriptures would take timely warning of these coming judgments, which are so largely declared in the word of God. Every prophet, from Moses to Malachi, announces this time of judgment; all the discourses and parables of our Lord refer to this time as the end and crisis, the decisive THEN of the kingdom of heaven; all the Epistles point to it as the day of separation and recompence, of trouble to the troublers, and of rest to the troubled ; and the closing book of Revelation begins and ends with this as the all-important truth to be borne in mind; the Alpha and the Omega of edification : “ Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen;" which is the song of the risen and translated saints : while to those still in the body his coming is a message of woe, as, “Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced him : and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him.” “Behold, I come quickly, , and my

reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” (Rev, xxii.)

For three years we have been pleading and expostulating with a drowsy, lethargic church, a large proportion of which, pillowed in ease and curtained in self-sufficient conceit, refuses to look

the storm now gathering and blackening in the horizon, and about to burst upon their house built upon the sands. Oh that we could rouse them by a peal of thunder before the storm! that even now, at the eleventh hour, they may betake themselves to the pavilion of the Most High, where they may be hidden with Christ, until these calamities be overpast. The door is still open ; and, as Paul would persuade by the terrors of the law, we would now persuade by the far greater terrors of the coming judgments.

Let not the supine, and the tender-hearted, and the liberal, deceive themselves, by believing that wherever there is a Sodom there shall be a Zoar, and that the saints shall have a deliverance in the body, like Lot. And especially let not England presume upon her privileges, and upon her escape from the French Revolution, to conclude that she shall escape the coming judgments, and become the Ark, the Zoar, and the Pella of the world. She may, if she repent and do her first works, and return to her first love; not else ; and prophecy seems to indicate that she will not.

out upon

Tyrus, in the language of prophecy, undoubtedly designates England : her king is addressed as guardian of the church of God; as a state full of wisdom and perfect in beauty ; perfect in her ways, till iniquity was found in her. (Ezek. xxviii.) But because her heart is lifted up as the heart of God, therefore, “ behold, saith the Lord, I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations; and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness. They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of then that are slain in the midst of the seas."

Let those who rest upon the expectation of finding an earthly Zoar, remember also, that, though there may be several types to one antitype, there cannot be more than one antitype to a type. The true antitype to the Ark, and Zoar, and Pella, is the cloud of glory to which the saints are translated at the beginning of the judgments, to descend from thence as the heavenly Jerusalem, when the judgments are ended. The only other place which can put in a plausible claim for immunity and safety, is Jerusalem; and it only escapes utter extermination : for “the city shall be taken, and half shall go forth into captivity, and the residue shall not be cut off from the city.” (Zech. xiv.) Let it be remembered, too, that Lot's sons-in-law were not necessarily unbelievers in God, but thought he mocked in calling them to flee from a judgment of which they saw no signs; yet not only they, but Lot's wife too, who had escaped, but turned to take one last look upon the place where her affections lingered, were lost before the rising of the sun.

Before the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing on his wings, oh what a day of wrath intervenes! To how many, alas! may we not say “Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord ! to what end is it for you? The day of the Lord is darkness, and not light” (Amos v. 18). “That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness" (Zeph. i. 15). “Blow ye the trumpet in

trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in the holy mountain : let all the inhabitants of the land tremble : for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand : a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon

the mountains:

: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years

of many generations. The earth shall quake before them ; the heaven shall tremble; the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: and the Lord shall utter His voice before his army: for His camp is very great: for He is strong that executeth His word : for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible : and who can abide it?” (Joel ii. 2-10).

COMMENTARY ON THE SEVEN APOCALYPTIC EPISTLES.

(Continued from p. 294.)

means

[ocr errors]

LAODICEA. “ These things, saith the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God” (Rev. iii. 14).-Amen

so be it,” let it be.' And the Amen of God just expresses the seal of God's intentions. This Jesus is, inasmuch as in him is exhibited all concerning which God saith

so let it be.” And this includes not the mere secret purposes, but also the revealed will of the living and true God. It is written, that “ the promises of God are in him yea, and in him amen ” (or in him the yea, and in him the amen) (2 Cor. i. 20). God's promises are not his

predictions. The latter say, “ This shall be.” The former, “ Trust me for this, and this you shall have.” Now Christ is the Amen of all God's eternal purpose. He purposed it in Christ; he purposed it in none other. And as he hath purposed, so it shall stand. But Christ is also the Amen of all God's promises. God is honest in all his expressions of will, in all his utterances of desire: his will is defeated, not because he doth not will, but because men make him a liar, refusing to justify wisdom, rejecting the counsel of God against themselves, denying that he hath brought nigh his kingdom to every man (Luke x. 11). God is honest and true when he saith, “ Trust, and ye shall have.” But he is alike honest in saying, “ Trust not, and ye shall not have.”. Now Christ, in the days of his flesh, always trusted his God and Father, and therefore always bad : God's whole promises found their Amen in him, by his personal faith : but they also find their Amen in him, as the revealer of the Father. For whatsoever of himself God desires his creatures to have, even his own very life, he hath not only given to his Son, but put into him for men, declaring in him his whole mind to bestow, his whole wealth to be bestowed; as it is written concerning Christ, the light and life of men, “ that every hidden thing of God shall in him become manifest, and every concealed thing of God shall in him be known ” (Luke viii. 17). And, in the last place, the promises of God to us, to the creatures, to the world we inhabit, are all Amen in Christ, in whom it hath pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell; in whom alone they who make God true find his reward, and by whom God will reconcile all things to himself. Whatever standeth, standeth in Christ; whatever is promised, is declared in Christ; whatever is received, is received in Christ. He is the Amen of God, having, displaying, giving, receiving, executing, fulfilling every thing pertaining to God, especially fulfilling it. He is also the faithful and true Witness of God. In this cha

VOL. V.NO. 1.

D

« PreviousContinue »