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seal opened. CHAP. VIII.
the golden altar which was before the
throne. AN ND when he had opened the 4 And the smoke of the incense,
seventh seal, there was silence in which came with the prayers of the heaven about the space of half an saints, ascended up before God out of hour.
the angel's hand. 2 And I saw the seven angels which 5 And the angel took the censer, stood before God; and to them were and filled it with fire of the altar, and given seven trumpets.
cast it into the earth: and there were 3 And another angel came and voices, and thunderinys, and lightnings, stood at the altar, having a golden and an earthquake. censer; and there was given unto him 6 And the seven angels which had much incense, that he should offer it the seven trumpets prepared themselves with the prayers of all saints upon to sound. (M)
EXPOSITION. servants of God, who were yet on earth, laters, were also intended to purify the and had to pass through a series of trials, church, even as gold is purified by fire. might, by a view of their happy end, be The 5th seal exhibits an awful picture of strengthened to follow their example. As Pagan persecution. The 6th, under the great numbers would be against them in figure of a general concussion, both of this world, they are directed to view the heaven and earth, exhibits those mighty numbers of friends which they have in revolutious by which the Pagan governheaven ; who not only look back to their ment was overturned; and then the divine own deliverance, and ascribe it to God, but means, namely, the seal of baptism and of seem to look down to their brethren, and the Spirit, by which the church was so to say, 'Hold fast the profession of your wonderfully protected and enlarged. We faith without wavering.'”
have then another celestial vision-a view
within the veil (as it were), when we see CHAP. VIII.
the martyrs, who had so lately bled, re(M) Ver. 1-6. The seventh seal opened. ceived in triumph before the throne of God Seven angels prepare to sound—and one and the Lamb, with the happy assurance offers incense on the golden altar. It is of everlasting blessedness. impossible, within the limits of our plan, The first thing which arrests our atten, to give at length the reasons on which our tion in this chapter, is "silence in beaven," exposition is founded. We have explained which is not to be understood of that heaven the seals in relation to those awful public in which the divine presence dwells, for events, which, at the same time as they there the worshippers“ rest not day nor purified the church, led also to the over- night" (chap. iv. 8); but evidently refers throw of Paganism, and the establishment to the state of the church below, and is of Christianity. The four first scenes we thought to allude to the temple worship, bave considered as exbibiting, 1. The glo- when, duriog the time of offering iucense, rious conquests of the gospel. 2. The hor- the whole multitude were employed in seors of war. 3. The miseries of famine. cret and private prayer. (Luke i. 10.) This 1. The miseries of plague or pestilence; is called “ half an hour,” which was proul of which, while intended to punish ido- bably about the time so usually easployed,
NOTES. CHAP. VII. Ver. 3. And stood.-Woodhouse, in this act of worship."- -Offer it with.-Margin,
was stationed,”-A golden censer,- These “ Add (it) to "- Of all saints.- Woodh.“ all the ensers, Mr. Lowman remarks, are " the same with saints." le vials full of odours, chap. v. 8 (which are there Ver. 5. And filled it with fire of the altur.-As. xplained to mean, a sort of cups upon p'ates, or there was no fire upon the golden altar, this must Lucers). The offering incense on the golden altar, refer to the altar of burnt-offering, which, as well "ems to determine this allusion to the constant of as the other, appears to have had a place in the ring of incense in the temple, and not to the service beavenly temple. See chap. vi. 9. Upon that allar sculiar to the High Priest on the day of expiation; the sacred fire was constantly kept burning. Lev. nd fally shows the propriety of this vision, in not vi. 13. —And cast it into Marg“ upon ”-the presenting the High Priest, which in this vision carth.-And cast what? Not the censer, but the ould have been the Lamb,
as personally officiating tire, or rather some remnant of the burning incense.
The three first]
[trumpets sounded. 7The first angel sounded, and ing with fire was cast into the sea : there followed hail and fire mingled and the third part of the sea became with blood, and they were cast upon blood; the earth : and the third part of trees 9 And the third part of the creawas burnt up, and all green grass was tures which were in the sea, and had
life, died; and the third part of the 8 And the second angel sounded, ships were destroyed. (N) and as it were a great mountain burn- io f And the third angel sounded,
EXPOSITION—Chap. VIII. Continued. and represents that short interval of peace difficulty, by supposing Christ himself to and liberty of conscience which followed be the angel here intended; but it appears upon the accession of Constantine, before to us, that after naming the seven angels, the church itself began to practice that in ver. 2, it would be, as Dr. Woedkouse system of intolerance, which led to the observes, degrading to our Lord, to speak establishment of the Roman Antichrist. of him merely as “ another angel :" per During this interval, seven angels who are we certaio, that in any part of this book were waiting before God, come forward the Lord Jesus is introduced under that and receive seven trumpets, which they character. He is “the Lamb that was were to be prepared to sound when the slain, and is now exalted to the midst of sigoal of the divine pleasure should be the throne." given. In the mean time, another angel What is meant by the angel casting comes forward,' and there is given to him down upon the earth a part of the burning “ much incense," that he may " add it to incense which he bad placed upon the the prayers of the saints,” which are col altar, is not so easy to ascertain. Mr. lected in a golden censer, and offered upon Croley thus explains it"The prayers and the golden altar, before the throne. the incense are accepted-they rise before
What agency either saints or angels may God; and his answer is symbolized in the have, as respects the offering to God the filling of the censer with fire from the prayers of saints oli carth, we presume not same altar (or rather from the altar o to say; but it appears, that not only the burnt offering, see Note on ver. 5), and angels, but the elders before the throne, the casting of the fire into the earth, the had all “ vials full of odours," or, as the token of the divine wrath"-as in Ezek. L margin reads, “censers full of incense, 2, &c. But when God bears the prayers which are the prayers of saints.” (Chap.v. of his people, does he answer by fresh 8.) We consider Christ himself as our only trials and afflictions? So we conceive, intercessor before the throne, and we be- . and that with propriety; since, as we bave lieve it is the Holy Spirit which on earth already seen, it is thus that the church is “ helpeth our infirmities," and teaches us purified. But this thunder, and fire, and to pray: but it should seem as if these earthquake, are adapted rather to excite happy spirits took an iuterest in our devo- alarm for approaching judgments than to tions on eartb, though in what way, it express the nature of those judgments. may be impossible for us to anticipate before we are united to their society; only so (N) Ver. 7-9. The first and second tres far we know, that they are “ ali minister- pets.--In the scenes which opened from tbe ing spirits, sent forth to minister for them sealed book, we have traced the various who shall be heirs of salvation." (Heb. i. judgments whereby Paganism was over 14.) Dr. Doddridge, indeed, solves the thrown and Christianity established; and
NOTES-Chap. VIII. Con. Ver. 7. And they were east-Namely, the hail, Ver. 9. Which were in the sea, and ass life and fire, and blood. Doddr. " It was cast;" mean- Dodir. “ Which had life in the sea;" i. e. which ing the storin, or perhaps the incense. Upon the lived in the sea. This, as some think, refers parts earth.-Woodh.“ Upon the land, as distinguished cularly to the maritime parts of the empire, but see from the sea, rivers, &c., ver. 8-10.
chap. xvii. 16. Ver. 8. The third part of the sea became blood.. Ver. 10. A great star." A star, in prophetic le This has an evident allusion to one of the miracles guage, signifies a prince, or leasier." Woodhouse. wrought in Egypt. See Exod. vii. 20, 21.--The Of Genseric, Mr. Gibbon says, “ The terrible Gew third part,- This is an expression not uncommon seric, a name which, in the destruction of the Re with the prophetic writers. 'See Ezek, v. 12; Zech. man Empire, las deséi ved an equal raut with alarit xiii. 8, 9, &c.
(trumpet sounded. and there fell a great star from 12 And the fourth angel sounded, heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and and the third part of the sun was it fell upon the third part of the rivers, smitten, and the third part of the ind upon
the fountains of waters; moon, and the third part of the stars ; 11 And the name of the star is so as the third part of them was dark-alled Wurniwood : and the third part ened, and the day shone not for a third of the waters became wormwoud; and part of it, and the night likewise. nany men died of the waters, because 13 And I beheld, and heard an hey were made bitter.
angel flying through the midst of
EXPOSITION. re have noticed the short interval of peace It is the general opinion of the best coni. hat the church enjoyed under the go- mentators of the Old School (if we may so ernment of Constantine, which lasted, in speak), particularly of Mr. Lowman, Bi. ts full extent, little more than fourteeta shop Newton, Mr. Morell, and Mr. Fuller, ears, i.c. from A.D. 323 to 337. At his that the events siguified by the first four leath the empire was divided among his trumpets, refer to the various invasions of ons, who, unhappily, quarrelled among Rome and of the Roman Empire, by difhemselves, whereby the empire was so ferent bordes of barbarians, whose delight reakened as not to be able to resist the appears to have consisted in plunder aud jumerous hordes of barbarians by which in murder. By these despised enemies, t was surrounded. At the same time the that haughty empire was humbled to the Christian church became infested with all dust, prior to the erection of another emhe vices of the State-ambition, jealousy, pire, equally hostile to truth and righteousluplicity, and a spirit of hostility, stili ness, though under the Christian name; nore criminal among those who bear the for it appears to have been the plan of Projame of Christians than even among vidence to remove the Roman Empire, in reathen governments. And “shall not I order to make room for the Man of Sin risit for these things ? saith the Lord.” (2 Thess. ii, 6-10), who in his turn also (Jer. v. 9.)
must be brought to the dust, before the It is, as we have before observed, a part millennial kingdom of Messiah can be of the plan of divine providence to destroy established. the vain potsherds of the earth by dashing It is but just, however, to remark, that hem together. Thus the haughty monarchs another class of commentators, no less of the Roman empire were continually pious, learned, and acute, have taken a issailed and eventually destroyed by the different view of this part of the Apocaude barbarians who surrounded them; lypse: we refer particularly to Bishop ind notwithstanding what has been alleged Hurd, Archdeacon Woodhouse, and Dr. ry Archdeacon Woodhouse, Dr. Park, and Park, who consider the evils here predicted thers, we cannot but think these events to be rather of a moral bature ; such as ire intended to be included under the the general depravity of the church and its isions now before us, though we see no ministers during that period; the growth iecessity for confining them to political of beresy, and the increase of immorality. vents alone.
On many parts of the prophetic Scriptures It is commonly said that the visions of the best expositors bave admitted a double be trumpets are all included upder the
sense; while, therefore, we adhere to the pening of the seventh seal; but we rather former scheme of interpretation, as, in our onsider the trumpets as a new series of opiniou, best established, and most in harredictions, to which the last seal is to be mony with the ancient prophets, we shall, onsidered as introductory, and not as at the same time, hint also at the moral omprehending them. The questiou, how interpretations just alluded to. ver, seems of little consequence to our The sounding of the first trumpet, which esign,
we should date in the latter part of the
NOTES. Ver. il. Because they were made bilter.-See whole machinery is administered by angels, wo xod. xv. 23.
think, with Dr. Woodhouse, that the internal evi. Ver. 13. An angel - Literally, “ one angel." dence is strongly in favour of the common reading. riesbach here reads, " one eagle;" but as the
The woes of the)
. heaven, saying with a loud voice, of the trumpet of the three angels, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of which are yet to sound! (0) the earth by reason of the other voices
EXPOSITION-Chap. VIII. Continued. fourth century, after the death of Constan- could hardly have produced a greater el. tine the Great (who died in A.D. 337), fervescence among the waters than these produces a tremendous tempest of "bail and things produced among the nations." k fire, mingled with blood," and in its fatal is represented as having destroyed a thin! consequences may very aptly represent the (i.e. a considerable part) of every thing numerous hordes of barbarians, who suc- that had life in it, and even of the ships, cessively invaded this devoted empire; and which shows that it had particular referis expressed in terms very similar to those ence to the maritime parts of the empire.in which the prophet Isaiah describes the Of those who understand this allegorically
, jovasions of ihe land of Israel by Salma. Dr. Park applies this to religious contronezer and Senacherib. (chap. xxviii. xxix.) versy, and Dr. Woodhouse, to the antici. At the same time, it must be confessed, pated fall of Babylon. that this imagery does not improperly de. pict the nature of theological controversy (0) Ver. 10-13. The third and four as then conducted, especially when the trumpets sounded. — “The third angel ardent disputants resisted each other even sounded, and there fell a great star fras unto blood, as was too often the case in this heaven, burning as it were a lamp."and many following centuries.
This star is supposed to designate Atta's The terms jy which the mischief occa- and his Huns (or Scythians), a mer sioned by this tempest is described, are pe- ferocious race than the preceding; and, culiar : it burnt up “ a third part of ihe as to the chief bimself, he affected to trees, and all the green grass." By trees, be considered as “the scourge of God," the higher classes are generally iutended and pretended that the grass would never in prophetic language; and by grass, the grow upon ground whereon bis horse common people : but here it appears to had trodden. Others, however, appy have been the “green grass" only that this to Genseric, King of the Vandals
, was consumed, and of that not a third part and conqueror of Africa, who about the only, but the whole-"all the greeu grass." same period (the middle of the fifth cet -by which we suppose must be intended, tury) also plundered Rome, and carried ca the most useful and valuable members in the Empress Eudoxia (whom he pretended the lower classes of society. Dr. Wood- to avenge), and her two daughters, and a house, who understands these terms alle- vast number of inferior captives. gorically, interprets (we think, rather This Alaric had, in our opinion, a sa strangely) the “green grass” to signify perior claim to the character of a fallca those professing Christiaus, “ who exhibit star, named Wormwood; since he was, a promising appearance, yet, like herbage according to Bishop Newton, “ a must in hot climates, are soon withered and bigotted Arian :" thus poisoning the due gone:” while, on the other band, Dr. Park trines of the church, and, at the same time, seems to understand the most flourishing bitterly persecuting the orthodox, Christians of the age !
nitarian Christians. On the sounding of the second angel's At the sound of the fourth trumpet, all the trumpet, a great mountain burning luminaries of heaven become dini, and used with fire," was cast into the sea, and the third, i. e. a considerable part of their light third part of the sea became blood. This and glory. “ Darkening, smiting, or set has been generally supposed to intend ting of the sun, moon, and stars (says Sir Alaric, King of the Visigoths, and his Is. Newton), are put for the setting of a horde of barbarians, who, in the early part kingdom, or the desolation thereof, proof the fifth century, repeatedly invaded portional to the darkuess.” And when Rome. In the first instance he was bought darkness is opposed to light (Mr. Daubu: off by an immense price; but in the last, observes), “ as light is a symbol of joy and the capital was given up to three days' plun- safety, so darkness is a symbol of misery der by his army, and vast numbers of the and adversity." (See Isa. xiii. 10, 11; Romaus were slain-not only by the bar. Jer. xiii. 16; Ezek. xxxii. 7, 8.) Front barians, but by their own slaves, who turned the tine that Genseric entered Rome, its against their Roman masters. And, as strength and glory rapidly diminished. Mr. Fuller remarks, “If Etna or Vesuvius “Geuseric (says Bishop Neurlon) left the had literally been thrown into the ocean, it western empire in a weak and desperate
EXPOSITION. ondition. It struggled hard, and gasped, thereby a way was made for the beast to s it were, for breath, through eight short have ten horns; as, after the overthrow of od turbulent reigns, for the space of the empire, it was divided into so many wenty years, and at length expired in the independent kingdoms, which, with little ear 476, under Momyllus, or Augustulus, variation, coutinue to this day. Hereby Is he was named in derision, being a di- also a way was made for the little horn of niautive Augustus. This change was ef- Daniel's fourth beast, or the papal Anti'ected by Odoacer, king of the Heruli, who christ, to come up amongst them; or, as oming to Rome with an army of barba- the apostle expresses it, for the man of sin ians, stripped Momyllus of the imperial to be revealed. obes, put an end to the very name of the “ 2. In these judgments upon the emvestern empire, and caused himself to be pire, we perceive the divine displeasure vroclaimed king of Italy." His reign was, for its having corrupted the Christian relindeed, but short; for, sixteen years after- gion, and transformed it into an engine of wards, he was slain by Theodoric; who, state. The wars of the Assyrians and Ba. A A.D. 493, founded the kingdom of the bylonians, were the scourges of God on Ostrogoths, which continued about 60 years those who had corrupted the true religion ; onger. « Thus was the Roman sun ex- and such were those of the Goths, the Vaninguished in the western empire (conti- dals, and the Huus, on the Christian gonues the Bishop) ; but the other lesser lu- vernments of the fourth and fifth cenminaries, the moon and stars, still sub- turies." sisted, for Rome was still allowed to have In the close of this chapter, another ceher senate and consuls, and other subordi- lestial herald flies through the inidst of date magistrates, as before.” Thus the heaven, warnivg the inhabitants of the flory of Rome continued to decline, until, earth, of the three dreadful woes which are in A. D. 556, it was made a province of the to attend the sounding of the other three eastern empire, under Justin II., and go- trumpets which are yet to sound: which rerued by a duke, who was bimself subject is as much as to say, that the judgments o the Exarch of Ravenna, which Róme already executed were but slight, comaad been used to govern.
pared with the farther judgments which Thus fell imperial Rome. But, says
might be expected; and this, indeed, we Mr. Fuller, “It may be thought that these shall find to be the fact. Mr. Cuninghame venti bad too slight a relation to the church suggests, that this proclamation may serve of Christ, to become the subject of pro- also “ as a chronological mark, to show phecy: two things, however, inay bé al. that these three trumpets are all posterior eged in answer :
to the first four, not only in order, but in “1. They were necessary for the ac. time; and that they belong to a new series complishment of other prophecies, parti- of events." ularly Dan, vii. 7, 8; Thess. ii. 7;
agroo house, “ The pit of the bottomless deep." That to those mystical locusts—the Saracens. his refers to the pit or abyss of hell, see chap. XX.
Ver. 4. But only those men, &c.-Lowman says1-3; and 2 Peter ii. 4.
“The military laws of the Mahometans make a dis. Ver. 3. Unto them was given power, as the scor.
tinction between the Harbi, including both atheists rions - Locusts, it is well known, never attack and idolators; and the people of a book,'including nan, but only the fruits of the earth, on which he
Jews and Christians. These were to be compelled ives : scorpions, on the other hand, do not attack to embrace Mahometanism, or to pay a tribute, and he fruits of the eartb, but animals only; and their then to be allowed to follow their own religion; but ting is seldom fatal, except in the hottest climates, the Harbi bad no toleration.