Page images








[ocr errors]

The conclusion at which, in the close of the preceding chapter, we arrived, on the concurrent testimony of Daniel and St. John, was this that during some concluding portion of “the Time of the End," the predicted period of judgment, - a season of very aggravated and augmented trouble will occur; the sufferings and afflictions of which will greatly surpass all preceding judgments; and during the progress of which the Jewish people will be converted and restored; and the enemies of God, having been weakened by previous visitations, shall become the objects of still more immediate vengeance ; and, notwithstanding the last desperate struggles of expiring power, shall be signally defeated, and finally overwhelmed with utter destruction.

In favour of this conclusion, the testimony of two inspired witnesses might be deemed more than sufficient. But it will add still greater

weight to their evidence, and will show that the above statement is correctly drawn from the premises which they have separately furnished, if some further proofs be adduced in its support. And with this view a reference may be made to many other passages in the writings of the prophets, which agree in predicting the same season of trouble, including the same events with those already specified ; and which thus bear testimony to the same conclusion.

St. John himself, indeed, in another place (Rev. xiv.) confirms his own statement as already explained. The vision vouchsafed to him in this chapter, seems intended partly to convey to him some indications of the state of the true Church, and of the signs of the times during the period of judgment, and partly to make known to him the exact succession of events which will take place as it draws near to its aweful close. Accordingly, at the seventh verse, an angel having announced that the hour of God's judgment was come, in the following verse another angel proclaims that “ Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornications." A third angel then follows, calling on men to take warning by this tremendous display of Divine vengeance, and denouncing the most dreadful threatenings on those who, unawed by


it, should still continue to worship the beast and his image.

At length, one like the Son of Man himself is seen by the prophet “sitting upon a cloud,” — a scriptural mark of his coming to judgment, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle." With this he reaps the earth, i. e. gathers in his spiritual harvest--the Jewish people*: and then, another angel, the minister of wrath, is employed to gather the grapes, — the universal symbol of judgment: and (19, 20.) “he thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great wine-press of the wrath of God; and the wine-press was trodden without the City, and blood came out of the wine-press, even unto the horse-bridles, for the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.” The accordance between these details, and those given in the preceding chapter, is too obvious to need a particular exposition ; especially when it is merely added, that “ the City,” beyond the limits of which the predicted slaughter of these victims of Divine vengeance is to take place, is another appellation for the Western or Papal Empire; and that the number of furlongs stated in this passage, is

is generally computed to constitute the exact dimen

* See Observations on the Chart.

sions of the Holy Land; which, being “ without the City,” is, as we shall perceive from other prophecies, to be the scene of those closing judgments, by which the armies of the Papal earth, together with the other Antichristian powers, will be finally overthrown.

Among the prophecies bearing on the present subject, is that remarkable prediction contained in Chapters xxxviii. and xxxix. of Ezekiel, in which a most animated description is given of the invasion which shall be made “ in the latter years," on the people of Israel, then beginning to be settled in their own land, by the combined enemies of God and of his holy religion ; and of the signal and utter destruction which they shall then encounter, upon the mountains of Israel.”

“ Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord God: this is the day whereof I have spoken."

To the same tenor had been the prophecy of Joel, delivered more than two centuries before. It is difficult to read the following passage from Chap. iii. 9. without being convinced that it relates to the period and to the events to which reference has been already made :-“Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; prepare war; wake up the mighty men; let all the men of war draw near : let them come up. Beat your plough-shares into swords, and your pruning-hooks into

[ocr errors]



spears: let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves and come, all ye heathen; and gather yourselves together round about : thither cause the mighty ones to come down, O Lord. Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehosaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest (i. e. of grapes*) is ripe : Come, get you down, for the press is full ; the fats overflow ; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes, in the Valley of Decision; for the day of the Lord is near in the Valley of Decision. The Sun and the Moon shall be darkened; and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem ; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people; and the strength of the children of Israel.”

The same remark may be applied to the following extract, among similar passages, from the prophecy of Zechariah (Ch. xii. 3.)—“ In that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people : all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.

* See Bishop Horsley's Translation of the Prophet Hosea. Ch. vi. 11. note (m.)

« PreviousContinue »