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appointed. The continuance of the preceding diftrefs is measured by time, times, and an half, three prophetic years and an half, or 1260 years, calculating from the beginning of Antichrift's reign, formerly reprefented by the little horn, whofe duration is measured by the fame numbers, Dan. vii. 25. At the close of which, God fhall put an end to the perfecutions of Antichrift, which previously scattered the power of his holy people, so that they never could appear either in force or in numbers.

The fame æra, with fimilar circumstances of folemnity, is reprefented to the apoftle John, Rev. x. 5, 6, 7. "And the angel which I faw "stand upon the sea, and upon the earth, lifted 66 up his hand to heaven, and fwear by him that "liveth for ever and ever, who created the "heaven and the things that therein are, and "the earth and the things that therein are, and "the fea and things which are therein, that "there fhould be time no longer, (that the "time fhould not be yet). But in the days of "the voice of the feventh angel, when he fhall "begin to found, the mystery of God fhould "be finished, as he hath declared to his fer"vants the prophets." Here the era of deliverance is fixed at the founding of the feventh trumpet, but that event takes place immediately after the remarkable events already mentioned. In the fame hour that the wit

nefses

neffes arife from the dead,-that an earthquake overturns the tenth part of the city,—that the fecond wo is past,-behold the third wo cometh quickly. What is meant by that wo we learn from what follows: "And the feventh angel "founded," then the glorious deliverance effected by his founding is laid before us in general terms: "And there were great voices in "heaven, faying, The kingdoms of this world "are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and "of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and "ever;" Rev. xi. 15.

This period may be properly called the æra of prophecy. The completion of Scripture prophecy which before this period was like the dawn of the morning, evident only to a few, fhall now fhine with the refulgence of noonday and appear convincing to every intelligent and unprejudiced mind; it fhall therefore prove the great mcan in the hand of God, of giving fuccefs to the gospel among the benighted nations of the world, and breaking down the remaining bulwarks of fuperftition and idolatry; from thenceforward, "the teftimony of Jesus "fhall be the fpirit of prophecy.

At this period likewife, the dates annexed to the feveral remarkable events, may be calculated with certainty. By going back 1260 years, the beginning of Antichrift's reign may be disco

vered with precision, and most of the other calculations refer to that æra; whereas, at prefent the dates are unavoidably involved in a certain degree of obscurity, and give room for various conjectures.

SECTION I.

State of the Church at the founding of the feventh
Trumpet.

FROM this period to the commencement of the Millennium, the prophecies continue to give a twofold view of the church. On the one hand, they reprefent the progrefs of the gofpel; on the other, they defcribe the steps by which spiritual Babylon is brought to its final ruin, and at length all oppofition to the truth is overcome.

The first view given of the progress of the gofpel, we have, Rey. vii. 9. "After this I be❝held, and lo, a great multitude, which no cc man could number, of all nations, and kin"dreds and people, and tongues, stood before "the throne, and before the Lamb, cloathed "with white robes, and palms in their hands; "and cried with a loud voice, faying falva❝tion to our God which fitteth upon the

"throne,

1

"throne, and unto the Lamb.-And one of the "elders answered, faying unto me, What are "these which are arrayed in white robes? and "whence came they? And I faid unto him, "Sir thou knoweft. And he faid to me, Thefe are they which came out of great tribulation, " and have washed their robes, and made them "white in the blood of the Lamb: Therefore "are they before the throne of God, and ferve "him day and night in his temple; and he "that fitteth on the throne fhall dwell among "them. They fhall hunger no more, neither "thirst any more, neither shall the fun light on "them, nor any heat: For the Lamb who is "in the midst of the throne, fhall feed them, " and fhall lead them unto living fountains of "waters; and God fhall wipe away all tears "from their eyes."

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The multitude, with palms in their hands, are represented here as fucceeding the 144,000 fealed ones. After this, I beheld also a great multitude. The 144,000 fealed ones run along the whole period of Antichrift's reign, Rev. xiv. 1. ; but at the close of his reign, they give place to the palmbearing multitude. The defcription of these, compared with that of the fealed ones, fhows how different the ftate of the church now is, from its former condition, ever fince Chriftians began to decline from purity of faith and man

ners.

ners.

Previous to this æra, real Christians were few, as the great body who profeffed Chriftianity were destitute of the spirit of it; but now they are a great multitude, which no man can number of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues. Formerly the true fervants of God worshipped him fincerely in fecret, but their voice was not heard in the world, for fear of the perfecution of their enemies; but now they cry with a loud voice, making a public profeffion of their faith, and attending on the ordinances of religion, without fear or danger. Formerly true Chriftians were traduced as fchifmatics, heretics, and perfons abominably wicked; but now their innocence is vindicated, their righteousness is brought forth as the noon-day; for they all, and they only, are esteemed righteous, who are justified by the blood of Chrift, and fanctified by the influence of his Spirit. They are cloathed with white robes, washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb. For. merly the faithful followers of Christ were every where perfecuted and overcome; but now they hold palms in their hands, as emblems of victory over their enemies. They were formerly in great tribulation. They experienced every kind of distress outward and inward. They were expofed by the virulence of their enemies, to fire and fword, to hunger and thirft, to cold

and

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