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by a profane and contemptuous name. I say it without the shadow of a doubt, that every man conversant in the ways
of God, brought out of the earthy mass by heavenly teaching, and made into a man, a person, from having been the mere particle of a mass; every such separated and distinguished person, who shall resist the work of God's Spirit now begun in the church, shall be given over to the torment of the locusts, the slaughter of the horsemen, and the overwhelming of the earthquake. Nay, more; they themselves are the locusts, being possessed with evil spirits from the pit of hell; and the horsemen, riding in full career; the champions of delusion, deceiving and being deceived ; believing a lie,and propagating it with the devotion of the Moslem, with the fiery speed of the Saracen and the Turk. I would tremble while I write, if I did not know that my God is righteous and merciful, and that not one single person of these two hundred thousand thousand horsemen shall be so given up to fight under Antichrist, which is Abaddon and Apollyon, without amply deserving, without richly purchasing such a fearfuldoom at the hand of the righteous Judge of all the earth. I pretend not to understand these woe trumpets, which blow the blast of apostasy and apostasy's doom, word for word, and symbol for symbol, waiting until the Lord shall be pleased to reveal the same by his Spirit: but of the substance of the truth, that there shall be such a sealing from the bottomless pit, I have no more doubt than that there will be and is a sealing from the throne of God; and in both cases upon churchmen-that is, upon men who by the power
of the truth have been isolated from the mass of the community, and taught their responsibility to God through Jesus Christ, as several and particular persons; for let it be remembered, that these are men who are twice dead, and who, in order to be twice dead, must have twice received life. It is this second life which, through abuse of its calling, and refusal to obey its father Christ, its guide the Holy Ghost, they do forfeit and surrender unto the prince of the power of the air, the spirit which worketh in the children of disobedience. It is of the stars of heaven that the dragon with his tail sweepeth down the third part; and it is the same third part which the locusts hurt, and the horsemen slay: the men whom they slay, and the stars of heaven whom he sweepeth down, are the same persons by different symbols expressed; being spiritual ones, who, wrestling not well against the wicked spirits in heavenly places, but only beating the air, do fall before the fowler, and are entangled in his snare, and marshalled under his banner, and speeded on to sting with doctrines of devils, and slay with the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which issue out of their mouths. Ah me! we stand, who stand in Jesus, for a high prize or a terrible forfeit; we, who are begotten again by the seed of the word,
are begotten either unto the new Jerusalem, to ascend in glory, or to the pit of hell, to descend quick : and the days of manifestation being come, when like the eagle the true and faithful followers of the Lamb shall mount on high, gazing on the glory above the glory of the sun in which he cometh ; those who will not follow him, but will turn aside after an unclean way, not living for love, nor speaking for truth, nor lying open to the pure and searching light of God, shall stray from error into deeper error, shall sink from delusion into deeper delusion, shall post on from sin to greater sin, until, having accomplished the things written in the Epistles of Peter and Jude, concerning the apostasy, they shall go down quick into the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone for ever.
From which fell perdition, from which eternal precedency of damnation, to think of which maketh me hide myself under the feathers of the Almighty from the fowler's snare, these hundred forty and four thousand followers of the Lamb are redeemed. And how redeemed ? saith every anxious soul which hath any light of truth. Redeemed, I answer, by following him whithersoever he leadeth : redeemed by the blind obedience of faith, and by nothing else; for faith holdeth fast when every thing else faileth : when the heart melteth for fear, and the eye darkeneth with shapes of terror, and the life-blood through extreme agony of soul is poured out on the ground, as was in the garden of Gethsemane proved by the spotless Lamb of God, faith then holdeth fast to the Father, and bringeth up into his own bosom and glory the child of infinite trials, sorrows, and afflictions. Redeemed by what, saidst thou? O my brother! redeemed, I answer thee, by the triple cord of faith, which cannot be broken : this the sheet-anchor, and this the cable, which rideth out the storm; and there is no other. Ye reasoners, the devil shall out-wit
you, and out-reason you, and reason you into his own devilish designs. Ye believers, Jesus shall lead you and guide you like a flock, and gather you in his arms, and hide you in his bosom.
« The first-fruits unto God and to the Lamb.”—The firstfruits are those hundred forty and four thousand, and the harvest follows in the end of the chapter, ver. 15: and then the vintage, ver. 19: and then the feast of tabernacles, at the ingathering, chap. vii. 9, to the end. And as the sheaf of first-fruits was laid up in the temple, and waved before the Lord, before the harvest might begin, according to the law of Moses; so these first-fruits are gathered into the garner of God with these words, “ Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth : yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.” Whereupon immediately the Son of Man, which is the whole body of Christ, Head and
members, come to the reaping of the harvest of the earth, which the same sealed ones had sown in the days of their sackcloth, witnessing and preaching of the Gospel, through the midst of heaven, of their subversion of Babylon, and withstanding of Antichrist. Much work of sowing have these sealed ones to do, from whom go forth the several voices angelical : first, the voice of triple woe, immediately before the opening of the bottomless pit to teem forth the locusts which have power to smite all the men but the sealed ones ; for the sealed ones, having in them the mind of God and of Christ, are aware of the delusions of the pit, and of the fear, and of the snare; and do warn mankind in these words, “Woe, woe, woe to the inhabiters of the earth, by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels which are yet to sound.” This voice flieth through the midst of heaven, filling both earth and sky, where are the snares of the fowler and the noisome pestilence. It is the first effect of that little book of prophecy which the church eateth, that as soon as she eateth it her belly is bitter (x. 10); and out of that inward bitterness and sorrow and anguish, because of the things which are coming on the earth, bursteth forth that triple note of woe, spoken with no tongue of man alone, but also with the tongue of angels ;-a voice for earth, a voice also for heaven; striking terror into the breasts of men, and double terror into the prince of the power of the air, and the wicked spirits in the heavenly places: double terror to them, because it is woe without mercy, whereas to the inhabiters of the earth, even to every nation and kindred and tongue and people, the same heaven-filling voice of prophecy doth proclaim the everlasting Gospel of the grace and the judgment and the glory of God, saying, “ 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” (Rev. xiv. 7). Therewithal, or thereupon--for whether they be in the succession of time or not mattereth little--they ring the knell of Babylon's downfall, and stem the mighty tide of Antichrist's arising: which works being ended, these faithful followers of the Lamb are content, like their Master, to be powerless; and. prefer following his footsteps into a dishonourable grave, before they follow his flight into the realms of glory. I say, they are content to be weak, and through weakness to die, albeit they be clothed with the almightiness of God: for their love is to follow the Lamb wherever he leadeth the way, and to give unto the world a last glorious exemplar of his power, and humiliation, and love, and glory, whom the world is ready to reject, to the end the world may be without excuse in bowing down to that image which the beast shall set up for universal worship. I think that these scaled ones, or witnesses from amongst
them (if, indeed, they be not all the witnesses), shall have the honour of following the Lamb unto the death; for “they loved not their lives unto the death ;” and “ Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth, saith the Spirit.” And having suffered martyrdom, and fallen into the earth, there springeth up a great harvest from the seed of their blood : but for themselves, they stand upon their feet at the end of three days and an half, and are seen of their enemies, and sing the song
“ O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” Then stand they upon their feet, a monument to living men of death swallowed up in victory. As they stood in their sackcloth covering, the monument of weakness and sorrow swallowed
up of strength and joy; of lamb-like innocence and dove-like harmlessness swallowing up the mightiest powers of earth and hell in the man of sin and his prophet confederate : so now, having out of love to Jesus' sufferings and death yielded · themselves of free accord to suffering and death, the days of their witness-bearing being accomplished, they stand up out from among the dead, after three days and an half lying in the street of the great city ; but, lo! the smell of corruption hath not passed on them; and the hand of death hath not been able to do them any wrong. Up they stand, a company of the vanquishers of death and hell; and their enemies look upon them a more wonderous sight than the world hath ever beheld before : for Jesus shewed himself not to his enemies, but only to chosen witnesses; but these death-conquerors shall stand up in the teeth of those who would not suffer their bodies to be put into graves, thinking they could thereby prevent the accomplishment of the prophecy: but, lo! from the public streets, into which their bodies were contemptuously cast, they stand up before the market-making world, the buying-and-selling worshippers of the beast, being to the world what Jesus was to his disciples after his resurrection, the living, breathing, acting monument of death put under. And this end of swallowing up death in victory being accomplished, they hear a great voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up hither : " and they ascend up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies behold them. Such is the work which the hundred and forty and four thousand sealed ones, or the witnesses (for whether they be all of the witnesses, or only a part of them, the Lord hath not shewn me), are destined to accomplish on the earth; and this done, they are taken to their rest.
But in respect of their being called the first-fruits unto God and to the Lamb, it is clear to me, from the study of the seals, that this company by no means containeth the whole of the body of Jesus, because they are not sealed until the sixth seal hath been opened, before which time, even under the fifth
seal, is given the account of those that were slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. These are the saints of God who have in past times sealed their testimony with their blood, before the manifestation of the hundred and forty-four thousand, who are a company sealed under the very act of judgment, to serve God's manifold ends during that fearful climax of good and evil. It is not that they have any precedency in the kingdom over the first apostles and disciples of the Lamb who fought the good fight against Pagan Rome; nor even that they have any precedency over the faithful martyrs and servants of God who stood up against the Papacy, and in like manner finished their course with joy: but it is that this virgin company cometh .forth, when the Lord needeth them, at the end of the day, to serve the ends of the Lord's glory; a willing people in the day of his power. The first company for stern combat against the powers of darkness embodied in Pagan Rome : the second company for patient and long-suffering testimony to the truth as it is in Jesus oppressed by the mystery of iniquity: the third company for glorious triumphs in light and in power against the prince of the power of the air coming forth as an angel of light and minister of righteousness in Protestant or Infidel Christendom. Wherefore, then, it may be asked, should they be called first-fruits, when in truth they are, as it were, the last? The answer is, that the name first-fruits hath reference to the harvest, and the harvest is now; nor not till now hath the harvest been; for the end of the age is the harvest. Now the golden harvest, the joyful, numerous harvest, being about to be reaped, God asketh first for the sheaf of first-fruits; and blessed is he who heareth the voice of the Lord, and obeyeth, and becometh a grain or stalk of that holy sheaf. Incongruous, therefore, would it have been, to denominate either of the first two companies by the name of first-fruits ; seeing, that immediately upon the presentation of the first-fruits the reaping of the harvest may, and ought to, proceed. Now, because the harvest is the glory of the year, when the earth presenteth her rich and replenished face unto God, and repayeth him for the many suns with which he hath warmed and the many showers with which he hath softened her cold and rugged bosom ; as the harvest is the rich and fruitful season of the year, the reaping time, when the husbandman doth gather into his barn the reward of long and laborious toil and patient expectation : so the harvest of the church, which now beginneth to shew itself in some whitening ears, is the season in which the sower and the reaper shall rejoice together, and the Great Husbandman shall fill' his garner. And as the grain in the green blade or the pulpy ear is nothing so beautiful nor precious as in the ripe and golden harvest; so the children of the kingdom, though green and fragrant as the spring in the early ages of the