Imágenes de páginas

believe he may affert very truly, that "no other word, in

any language whatever, can be found to express both “ the same number, and the fame thing."


[ocr errors]

1 ND I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on the

mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.

2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps :

3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders; and no man could learn that fong, but the hundred and forty and four thoufand, which were redeemed from the earth.

4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins : these are they which follow the Lamb whitherfoever he goeth : these were redeemed from among men, being the first-fruits unto God, and to the Lamb,

5 And in their mouth wa. found no guile; for they are without fault before the throne of God.

After this melancholy account of the rise and reign of the beast, the Spirit of prophecy delineates, by way of opposition, the itate of the true church during the fame period, it ttruggles and contests with the bealt, and the judgments of God upon its enemies. Our Saviour is feen (ver. 1.) as the true Lamb of God, not only with horns like a lamb, standing on the mount Sion, the place of God's true worship; and with himan hundred forty and four thousand, the fame select number that was mentioned before, (VII. 4.) the genuin ofspring of the twelve apostles apoftolically multiplied, and therefore the number of the church, as 666 is the number of the beast; and as the followers of the beast have the name of the beaft, fo thefe


have the name of God, and as fome copies add of Chrift, written in their foreheads, being his profeffed servants, and the fame as the witnesses, only represented under different figures. The angels and heavenly quire (ver. 2, 3.) with loud voices and instruments of music fing the fame new fong or Christian song that they sung before : (Chap. V.) and no man could learn that song, but the hundred and forty and four thousand; they alone are the worshippers of the one true God through the one true mediator Jesus Chrift; all the rest of mankind offer up their devotions to other objects, and through other mediators. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins; (ver. 4 ) they are pure from all the stains and pollutions of fpiritual whoredom or idolatry, with which the other parts of the world are miserably debauched and corrupted. These are they which follow the Lamb whither foever he goeth; they adhere constantly to the religion of Christ in all conditions and in all places, whether in adversity or prosperity, whether in conventicles and deserts, or in churches or cities. These were redeemed from among men rescued from the corruptions of the world, and are confecrated as the first fruits unto God and the Lamb, an earnest and assurance of a more plentiful harvest in fucceeding times. And in their mouth was found no guile ; (ver. 5.) they handle not the word of God deceitfully, they preach the fincere doctrin of Christ, they are as free fruin hypocrisy as from idolatry; for they are without fault before the throne of God, they resemble their blessed redeemer, who (1 Pet. II. 22.) did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth; and are, as the apostle requires Chriftians to be, (Philip. II. 15.) blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation. But possibly it may be afked, Where did such a church ever exift

, especially before the Reformation : and it may be replied that it hath not exifted only in iclea; hiftory demonstrates, as it hath been before evinced, that there have in every age been fome true worshippers of God, and faithful fervants of Jesus Christ; and as Elijah did not know the feven thousand men who had never bowed the knee to Baal, so there may have been more true Christians than were always visible..

6° And I faw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlatting gospel to preach unto

them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, ' and kindred, and tongue, and people.

7. Saying with a loud voice Fear God, and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

Such is the nature and character of the true Christian church in opposition to the wicked Antichristian kingdom; and three principal efforts have been made towards a reformation at three different times, represented by three angels appearing one after another. Another angel

, (ver. 9.) besides those who were employed in singing, (ver. 3.) is seen flying in the midst of heaven, and having the everlasting gospelto preach unto every nation and people; so that during this period the gospel thould still be preached, which is stiled the everlasting gospel, being like its divine author (Heb. XIII. 8.) the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever, in opposition to the novel doctrins of the beast and the false prophet

, which (Matt. XV. 13.) should be rooted up as plants not of the heavenly Father's planting. This angel is farther represented (ver. 7.) fay. ing with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come. Prophecy inentions things as come, which will certainty come: and so our Saviour faid (John XII. 31.) Now is the judgment of this world; it is denounced with certainty now, and in due time will be fully executed. But what this angel more particularly recommends, is the worship of the great creator of the universe ; Worjhip him that made heaven and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. folemn and emphatic exhortation to forsake the reigning held a council at Francfort in the year 794, consisting of about 300 French, and German, and Italian, and Spanith, and British bishops, who condemned all fort of adoration or worship of images, and rejected the second council of Nice, which had authorized and established it. At the fame time the Carolin books, as they are called, four books written by Charles himself or by his authority, proving the worship of images to be contrary to the fcripture and to the doctrin and practice of antiquity, were approved by the council

idolatry and fuperftition, and such exhortations were made even in the first and earliest times of the beast. Besides several of the Greek emperors who ftrenuously opposed the worthip of images, Charlemain himself (v

(7) Pred. Spanhemii Hift. Chris- Ecclefiaft. Tom. 6. paffim. Voltaire's sian Sæc. 8. Cap. 7 etg. Dupin. Bib. Annals of the Empire. Ann. 794. *


It is a

, and transmitted to the pope. Lewis the pious, the son and successor of Charles, (8) held a council at Paris in the year 894, which ratified the acts of the council of Francfort and the Carolin books, and affirmed that, according to the seripture and the fathers, adoration was due to God alone. Several private perfops also taught and afferted the fame fcriptural doctrins. Claud, bishop of Turin, (9) declares that we are not commanded to go to the creature, that

we may be made happy, but to the creator himself: ' and therefore we should not worship dead men ; they

are to be imitated, not to be adored : let us together ' with the angels worship one God.' Agobard, archbishop of Lyons, (1) wrote a whole book againft images, and says that angels or faints may be loved and bo• nored, but not be served and worthipped : let us not

put our trust in man, but in God, left that prophetic

denunciation fhould redound on us, Cursed is the man, ' who trujieth in man.' Many other (2) bihops and writers of Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany, and France, professed the fame sentiments; and this public oppofition


(8) Spanhem. ibid. Sæc. 9. Cap. amentur, honorentur charitate, non 12. Sect. 2. et Hift. Imag. Reit. Sect. fervitute, Non ponainus fpem nostram 9. Dupin. ibid. Tom. 7. Chap. 1. in homine, sed in Deo, ne forte redun

(9) Non jubemur ad creaturam ten- det in nos illum propheticum, Maledere ut efficiamur beati, fed ap ipfum dictus homo qui confidit in homine.

Et ideo non fit nobis re. Lib. de Imag. Cap. 30. apud Span. ligio cultus hominum mortuorum ; her. ibid. Vide etiam Dupin. ibida honorandi funt propter imitationem, Cave. ibid. an Ann. 813. non adorandi propter religionem : (2) Spanhem. ibid. Sect. 3. UrUnum cum angelis colainus Deum. serius de Eccles, Christian. fucceffionc Apud Spanliem. ibid. Sæc. 9. Cap. et stati. Cap. 2. Alix's Remarks upon 9. Sect. 7. Vide etiam Dupin. ibid. the ancient churches of the Albigenfes. et Cave Hift. Litt. ad Ann. 820. Cap. 8 et 9. (1) Angeli, vel homines fancti,


of emperors and bishops to the worship of faints and images in the eighth and ninth centuries appears to be meant particularly by the loud voice of this first angel Aying aloft

, and calling upon the world to worship God. In anoiher respect too these emperors and bishops resemble this angel having the everlasting gospel to preach unto every nation; for in their time, and greatly by their means, (3) the Christian religion was propagated and establithed among the Saxons, Danes, Swedes, and many other northern nations.

8. And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because fhe made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

As the admonitions of the first angel had not the proper effect upon the kingdom of the beast, the second angel is commissioned to proclaim the fall of the capital city. (ver. 8.) And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city. By Babylon was meant Rome, as all authors of all ages and countries agree: but it was not prudent to denounce the destruction of Rome in open and direct terms: it was for many wisę reasons done covertly under the name of Babylon, which was the great idolatress of the earth, and enemy of the people of God in former, as Rome hath been in later times. By the same figure of speech, that the first angel cried that the hour of his judgment is come, this second angel proclaims that Babylon is fallen; the fentence is as certain, as if it was already executed. For greater certainty too it is repeated twice Babylon is fallen, is falen; as Jofeph faid (Gen. XLI. 32.) that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice, because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass. The reason then is added of this sentence against Babylon, because she made all nations drink of the wine of her wrath, or rather of the inflaming wine of her fornication. Here was a kind of a Circéan cup with poisoned liquor to intoxicate and in

[blocks in formation]


« AnteriorContinuar »