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that come to seek him there, where alone he will be found, in the word of God.* "And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God,† and from his power; and re
The vision in this xv. chap. which is only preparatory to the tremendous scenes which open upon us in the next, may have occupied a great length of time, as I conceive this to apply to the opening of the reformation in the beginning of the sixteenth century: from which period the first fall, or commencement of Rome's decay, and wasting by the breath of Christ's mouth, is to be dated. The following, which introduces and brings on, by seven successive judgments, her final catastrophe, or "destruction by the brightness of his coming," has commenced but a few years ago, and probably will not take up a very long period of time. For though God in his mercy "waits patiently, and is provoked every day" for a long time, yet he strikes without further notice at last, and when his judgment is actually begun, the time for expectation of longer respite is past. That the blinded worshippers of the beast should have been incapable for so great a length of time of "entering into the temple of the TABERNACLE OF THE TESTI MONY," now thrown open to the reformed, and still are unable to learn the new song which they are singing, is wonderful, but nevertheless literally and notoriously matter of fact.—The time that intervened between Wickliff and Luther, the two first heralds of the gospel revived, was 150 years: the time from that opening of the temple, to the actual pouring out of the first vial, has been about 230 years.
2 Thess. i. 8, 9.
mained equally inaccessible to the infatuated and blinded worshippers of the beast, during the whole continuance of these judgments,the glory and power of God, which is light and demonstration to his servants, being darkness still to them, the same as if the templehad not been opened. This is wonderfully verified by the obstinate bigotry of the papists to a system of religion, as irrational and op posite to the word of God as paganism itself. Strong delusion is sent upon them, and though the glory of God shines around them, yet the temple is still filled with smoke, and they cannot enter into the scope of God's proceedings, in of the several wonders which proceed any out of the temple, each in its appointed time.*
This is a highly figurative representation of the awfulness and certainty of God's judgments to come down upon the mystery of iniquity; so long perpetuated, and so monstrous a corruption of religion, that it hath been the subject of innumerable prophecies. And it seems also to intimate the continued impenitency of the figurative Egyptians under their plagues, which is more particularly expressed in the following scenes. The light and knowledge amongst the churches of THE WITNESSES, has been twice represented before,~Rev, xiv. 3, where it is said "no man (of the antichristian party)
In general, this prophecy seems to intimate and universal expectation prevailing amongst the reformed, of the certainty and speedy approach of those divine judgments upon the kingdom of the BEAST, which as prophets and witnesses for Christ, they have fully and frequently denounced against THE MAN OF SIN, in the course of their long testimony: and also, that come when they will, or by whatever means they may be inflicted, they will prove themselves to be no merely casual occurrences, but to have come immediately out of "the temple of the TABERNACLE OF THE TESTIMONY of heaven," or from the throne of supreme justice and eternal truth,
"And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God:"-that is to say, these events
could learn their NEW SONG" of faith in Christ, the alone Saviour:-and in Rev. xv. 3, 4, the just comprehension they have of the object of the coming judgments is again expressed; which seems fully to confirm my interpretation of verse 8, as expressing once again the state of darkness over all the land of Egypt, or papal christianity.
which are to work the downfall of the antichristian church, will take place in the time of one of the four great monarchies, which were the subject of Daniel's prophecies, (Dan. ii. 36, and vii. 3, and viii. 2,) namely, in the latter period of the last of them, or the ROMAN EMPIRE, whose hieroglyphic is generally an eagle, in allusion to the roman standards.*
There is a time, says Solomon, for every thing; and amongst the rest, for divine justice to overtake sinners. For though it seems to human observation as if it slept sometimes long, and would never awake, yet awake it will, and in a manner the more terrible for the unavailing forbearance.
* In Dan. ii. the fourth or ROMAN EMPIRE is represented by the strength of iron, and in Dan. vii. by a non-descript mon ster of great strength, Sc, But in other places its emblem is the eagle. (Matt. xxiv. 28; Rev. iv. 7.) The christian church
(preserved from the fury of the persecution of the pagan emperors, by the conversion of the emperor CONSTANTINE) is helped by wings of an eagle, but only for a time, till she can flee into the wilderness of papal persecution afterwards tó arise. (Rev. xii, 14.)
Εὖ γὰρ ἐγὼ τόδε οἶδα κατα φρένα τα κατα θυμού,
Καὶ Πριαμο, καὶ λαὸς ἐϋμμελίω Πριάμοιο.
Homer's Ill. d. 163.
When heaven's revenge is slow,
Jove but prepares to strike the fiercer blow.
Pope's Homer, b. iv. 194,*
Thus God reproaches the man of sin, in the fiftieth Psalm, with his profligate conceptions of the divine Being, for his long silence: "Thou thoughtest wickedly, that I was such an one as thyself:-but I will reprove thee, and set before thee the things that thou hast done." The judgments which God has appointed to scourge his impieties, are of such a nature as might be expected to have stirred
* It has not been generally understood that Mr Pope was so warm in the PROTESTANT interest, but by the exhibition of a little pious fraud in a good cause, a man's mouth may be opened without his consent, or gagged without asking his leave, for thus the HOLY SCRIPTURES have been invited to advocate the cause of POPERY.