« VorigeDoorgaan »
Bility of his faithfulness, in accomplishing the work of redemption. On the whole, I have taken a view of the broad and immoveable basis of the goodness, knowledge, wisdom, and power of God, on which, alone, is built the eternal safety of an helpless mortals, and I see no room to despair of the accomplishment of the aforenamed divine promises which evidently announce a complete reconciliation of all things to God in the dispensation of the fulness of times. You are, therefore, not to despair of this, nor hesitate in your judgment on account of the abundance of sin, or the piles, heaps, or mountains of iniquity which has existed, or does now exist; for remember that he who was made, and appointed to finish the trans gression, and make an end of sins, is made strong by the strength of God Almighty; neither can any knowledge forelay his work, for his knowledge is infinite ; nor can any device disappoint his calculations, for he has the boundless treasures of wisdom. And while he is qualified with infinite power, wisdom, and knowledge, look there, look to him, and behold! his eyes, and every appearance of him beams with love, or benevolence to a world of sinners! And I charge you not to make out your verdict without taking a view of these things which I have laid before you; and while you take this view, let Proper Candor, Sound Reas son, and Good Understanding, have each his proper place, and make out your verdict accordingly.
I suppose it is generally understood that the book of Revelation, is the contents of a vision which St. John saw upon the Isle of Patmos; that it was a vision, is evident from the contents of the first chapter, which introduces it as such; and also from chap, IX, 17, " And thus I saw the horses in the vision," &c. which plainly shows that St. John himself called it a vision. Now whereas, I know, that many people receive many passages in this book in their most literal sense, I wish to have the truth understood, before I proceed in my Key, viz. : That a vision is a revelation of some. thing that exists, or of something which shall be accomplished afterwards; always appearing to the view of him who sees the vision, in some literal thing, or creature, or creatures which represents the things alluded to, by similitude, or similitudes. That the man who sees a vision, never sees the real things which the visioni reveals; but always sees the appearance of something which represents the things alluded to, by way of figures, or similitudes. That this was always the case with the visions of the Prophets, and of St. Peter, is evident from the following: Ezek. IX, 2, A man with a writer's inkhorn, &c. was the vision, or the things seen. Ezek. 37th chap. : The dry bones, &c. were the things seen in the vision. Ezek. 40: A man whose appearance was like brass, &c.
was seen in the vision. Daniel 7th chap. : Four beasts were seen in the vision, &c. In chap. 8, Was seen in a vision, a ram, and a he-goat, &c. In Amos Vii, 8 : A plumbline was seen in a vision. In chap, viii, 1, 2: A basket of summer fruit. In Zech. Ii, 1: A man with a measuring line in his hand. In chap, Iv, 2, 3: A candlestick of gold, a bowl on the top of it, and seven lamps, and seven pipes to it, and two olive trees by it. In chap, v, 2: A flying roll, twenty cubits long, and ten broad. In chap. 6: Four chariots, coming out from between the mountains, one with red horses, another with black, another with white, and the other with grizzled and bay. Now, what man of common understanding would ever suppose that the things seen in those aforenamed visions, were the real things which God meant to reveal to his servants by those visions ? But this would be equally as reasonable as it is to understand the book of Revelation to reveal nothing else but the things named in the vision, as for instance: To understand the 20th chapter as it generally has been understood, to reveal that a real intelligent being, called an angel, will, at a certain time, come down from the starry heaven, with a chain and key, and lay hold of another real intelligent, though wicked being, called the devil, and bind him for the space of exactly a thousand years, &c. And then there will be a literal resurrection of a part of the best of men, &c. and that after the thousand years, the devil being set at liberty, will go out like a great General, and gather a great army of men to fight against the Saints; and then his army will be destroyed by literal fire from Heaven, &c. and then a literal judgment will take place, &c. and the devil, and all the wicked people will be cast into a lake of literal fire and brimstone, &c. Now, I say, to understand the vision of St. Johns in this way, is as unreasonable, as it would be to understand the vision