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their friendly intercessions and kind offices were no longer confided in as grounds of hope. Messiah was again presented to notice as the only Mediator between God and man, and his sacrifice and service as the only ground of confidence for sinners. The prophecy is intended to intimate, that when the seventh angel should begin to sound, the attention of men would be called back to the Saviour. Those interposing vails, which superstition and human fancy had hung up to intercept the view of him, were to be removed, and the substance of all that was symbolized by the ark was to be seen.
The last of the prophetical descriptions in this chapter presents us with a view of the wretched condition to which the false church, the destroyer of the earth, would be subjected by reason of a destructive storm, accompanied with an earthquake, which would break in upon her. There were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail. The judgments of the Popish church described in this chapter are contemporaneous with those described in chap. xvi. ; and as the same kinds of judgments are intended in both, there is a great similarity in the figures and expressions which are employed. You have only to compare the prophecy before us with what is recorded in chap. xvi. 18, 20, 21, to see that the same judgments are intended; but as the last of these prophecies presents us with a more expanded view of the subject than the first, we shall defer the explanation of these figures till we enter upon the consideration of the account of the last vial.
INF. 1st, See the true way of putting honour upon the dead in Christ. If God vindicates the character of his saints, by raising up friends to the cause for which many of them contended even unto blood, and by enabling them to be careful imitators of the faith, and patience, and other virtues of those that are dead, we cannot do greater honour to their memory than by embarking in the same cause, and walking in their steps. The highest honour we can put upon others is to be careful imitators of their example. In this way we are com
manded to be followers of them, who through faith and patience are now inheriting the promises. To preserve their relics with a religious veneration, to go on distant pilgrimages to their tombs, to bow down before their images, and to pay them the honours which are due to God, are mockery and insult, and not honour. Such are the ways in which the church of Rome pretends to honour the godly dead; but methods that are more preposterous could never have been invented. The only way that they can be pleased with our regards is, by shewing that we have imbibed their spirit, and that we are careful to follow them in every part of their conduct that is worthy of imitation.
2d, See the true origin of the present war. When endeavouring to trace the origin of those calamities, which have spread desolation over the fairest parts of the continent, some have mentioned one cause, and some have mentioned another. It has been frequently supposed, that the enlightened state of society led a powerful nation to rid themselves of an arbitrary political government, to which none but a people grossly ignorant of their own rights would have submitted for a single day; and that factious and designing men took advantage of the agitated state of the public mind, to introduce the horrors of the revolutionary government which succeeded. Others have supposed, that it originated with certain secret associations in Germany, and other countries, formed for overturning the altar and the throne of every kingdom in Europe. And it is extremely probable, that both these have contributed their influence to bring about the remarkable events of our own times. But we do not see the true origin of this bloody contest, unless we take into view the subject of the prophetical declarations contained in the 18th verse of this chapter. Here it is foretold, that God would vindicate the character of his slain witnesses, by destroying them that had destroyed the earth. And you cannot fail to remark, that those districts of the Roman earth, where the blood of the martyrs was formerly shed in 21
the greatest profusion, have suffered most by the present war, and there the slain have been most numerous.
3d, See that the friends of the Popish interest have greater reason than ever to be afraid. It is here predicted, as well as threatened, that God would destroy them that had destroyed the earth. Had this been a mere threatening, we might have been disposed to hope that grace would be given them to repentance; but the language is prophetical, and therefore intimates that the friends of that interest will not repent of the blood which they have shed, till the judgments of God overtake them. And we have no more evidence of their sorrow for the innocent blood which was shed by their fathers, or of their being in any measure alienated from the faith and worship of the Romish church, than before those desolations had overspread the territories of that church. It is a fact worthy the notice of the ecclesiastical historian, that in the year 1798, five years after the French Revolution, in a national assembly of bishops and other dignitaries of the church of Rome held in Paris, it was declared, that they professed all the dogmas received by the Catholic church, and condemned all the errors which she had proscribed.' After many thousands of their brethren had been massacred, and far greater numbers had been banished; after the greater part of the ecclesiastical property had been confiscated, and even the Pope himself dethroned from his temporal power; they had not then renounced a single iota of the Popish faith.
THE WOMAN AND THE DRAGON.
REV. xii. 1—4. And there appeared a great wonder in heaven ; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
And she, being with child, cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and his heads.
seven crowns upon
And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth.
THE prophecies of the Revelations may be classed under two general heads, viz. the prophecies of the sealed and those of the little book. The former describe the varied conditions of the Christian church from the days of John to the end of time; the latter, with the exception of this chapter, describe her state of very great affliction during a period of 1260 years. The first are given in a regular series of predictions, which both foretell the events and describe the order in which they were to be realized in the course of Providence; the second give a description of contemporaneous, and not of successive occurrences, These last have their commencement at one and the same period of time; they run forward through the same duration, and terminate together. The dates of these predictions are sufficient to shew, that their fulfilment is comprehended within a period of 1260 prophetic days.-The Gentiles, it appears from chap. xi., were to possess the outer court, and to tread down the holy city 42 months; and the witnesses were to prophesy in sackcloth 1260 days, ver. 2, 3. But 42 months, consisting of 30 days each, are
precisely 1260 days; and, therefore, the sackcloth condition of the witnesses, and the profanation of the court by the Gentiles, are of the same extent. In the 6th verse of the chapter before us, we are told, that the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.' The time of her residence in the wilderness is notified in a different form, in ver. 14., where we are told, that' to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might flee into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.' It is generally agreed, that a prophetic time is the same with a year; three such times and a half must therefore be the same with three years and a half; and, as a single prophetic year contains only 360 days, three prophetic years and a half must be equal to 1260 days. It is therefore a period of time of the same extent that is mentioned in both verses, and this, you see, is the same with the same period twice mentioned in chap. xi.—If we proceed farther to examine the chronology of the little book, we shall find other prophecies which require the same length of time for their accomplishment. In the first part of chap. xiii., we have an account of a monstrous beast with seven heads and ten horns, which was to continue 42 months. In the second part of the chapter, we are informed of another beast, with two horns like a lamb, which spake as a dragon. These ferocious animals are described as having their origin about the same time, and perishing together. Hence, as the first continues 42 months, the period of the existence of the second must be the same. Thus the principal prophecies of the little book are bounded by equal times.
Times, however, may be equal, but not co-existent. But it is likewise obvious from the dates of these predictions, that their fulfilment was to take place within the same given period. The 1260 days of the sackcloth state of the witnesses do not succeed to the 42 months of the profanation of the court by the Gentiles, but run parallel with them. The profanation of