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Sequel of the Vision. [LECT. and type, than the actual impersonation and full development, of that which must be yet more awfully “revealed in his time.” Meanwhile let it be remembered that the claims of modern Rome to spiritual dominion are co-extensive with the habitable world; for to Rome and her spiritual and temporal ruler,—such is her own undoubting assertion,—“all kindreds and tongues and nations,” even “all that dwell upon the earth,” must needs be absolutely subject; and even in regard to the revived empire of the West, the immediate creation of Rome, it was proclaimed by the oracles of the civil law, that the Roman Emperor was the rightful sovereign of the earth from the rising to the setting sun; and the contrary opinion was condemned, not simply as an error, but even as a heresy.
I observed, on entering upon the consideration of the vision before us, that its Divine plan would seem to be, to exhibit, in all its greatness, the conflict between the Church and her enemies, by revealing first the unseen powers of the spiritual world engaged on either side, and then proceeding to describe the earthly agencies which were to be instruments of the invisible. In the chapter before us have been delineated fully the powers, secular and spiritual, by whose united instrumentality the dragon went to make war with the remnant of the true Seed. In the following chapter we see the armies ranged under the Lamb,—the true Lamb, standing on the mount Sion; with the hundred and forty and four thousand, having not the mark of earthly power or false religion, but “his Father's name written in their foreheads;"---the "redeemed from
359 among men,” “the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb;" and we hear the voice of another angel, flying through the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel, to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people . These two descriptions taken together recal the scenery of the seventh chapter, the first gathering of the multitudes of Jew and Gentile into the one holy congregation of Christ's Catholic Church. The angel proclaims to the whole world the approaching hour of God's judgment'; while another declares the fall of Babylon; and another pronounces a solemn denunciation of wrath on them that join the ranks of the enemy and the persecutor'. Again it is added as the encouragement to meek and stedfast endurance, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith 8.” And when the voice from heaven has declared the blessedness of the faithful dead'; and the opening heaven has revealed the harvest of the world, and the vintage of the wrath of God'; then, when the last plagues are to be poured out, is heard the song of triumph of “them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name," and who “stand upon the sea of glass, having the harps of God ?."
But the final victory over these His enemies, the taking captivity captive, the wild beast and the false prophet, and slaying the remnant with the sword ?, is reserved for Him, manifested again in His power, Chap. xiv. 1—6.
9 Ver. 13.
Chap. xv. 1-4.
Chap. xix. 19-21.
5 Ver. 7.
The Divine Conqueror.
as in the first days of His Church's warfare, of whom we read in the vision of the nineteenth chapter, that He “is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war; ... and on his head were many crowns, . . . and his name is called, The Word of God. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations : and he shall rule them with a rod of iron : ... and he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS .”
“ And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which
reigneth over the kings of the earth."
The vision of which these words form the conclusion, is one to which we have already, more than once, had occasion to refer, for the illustration of Daniel's vision of the four beasts, and of that which last engaged our attention in the Revelation of St. John. But the more minute examination of it now in its several particulars, will fill up in some points the outline, which we have traced in preceding visions, of that worldly and tyrannical power which was in due time to arise, to be the counterfeit, the adversary, and persecutor of the Church of Christ.
The beloved disciple has been describing, in the sixteenth chapter, the pouring out upon the earth of those seven vials of Divine wrath, which, as we have already seen, represent the infliction, in full and final measure, of those judgments of the Almighty which had been in part accomplished in six of the seven trumpets. The seventh trumpet, as has been shewn, contained under it the seven vials, which are
! Preached Feb. 2, 1845.
[LECT. “the seven last plagues ; for in them is filled up the wrath of God 2.” And the vision in which these judgments are revealed, beginning with the fifteenth chapter, seems to be the carrying on of that which was described, in the end of the eleventh chapter, as following immediately upon the sounding of the seventh trumpet. There the adoration of the four and twenty elders before the throne of the Divine glory proclaimed the time to be come, when the Almighty would “give the reward unto” His “servants the prophets, and to the saints,” and would 6 destroy them which destroy the earth.” And then we are told, “the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament; and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail 3.” In the fifteenth chapter the vision, as it would seem, is resumed. “I looked,” says St. John, “and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened : and the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. And one of the four living creatures gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of the Lord, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled 4.” Then follow the plagues of those seven vials; and when “the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air,” we read," there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the
Chap. xv. 1.
Chap. xi. 18, 19.
4 Chap. xv. 5--8.