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coincident with some things which are afterwards more clearly revealed ; they may therefore refer to the events which may take place under the seven vials, and on this account the Apostle might be directed not to write them at present. But, as the revelations of these thunders were ordered to be sealed up, it would be presumptuous in us to inquire any farther concerning the subjects of them. The Apostle next beheld this august personage lift up his hand to heaven, as was customary when solemn oaths were taken, and heard him swear by the Creator of all things “ that there should be time no longer;." or, “ that there should be no longer delay *" in ful
* Daubuz, Lowman, and others, translate these words (that there should be time no longer), “ that the time should not be yet; ” but the learned Archdeacon Woodhouse asserts that the words will not admit of this translation, and in my judgment he is correct. The error of this version arises from the various senses in which the English particle yet is used. The Greek adverb to generally signifies any more, any longer, and sometimes yet in the sense of still, as in Matt. v. 13; xxvii. 63; and John, viii. 33: but I can no where discover a passage, either in the New Testament or in a classical author, where to signifies yet in the sense of at present, so soon, which is the sense in which it is here translated by these critics. Let the reader examine Johnson's Dictionary on the particle yet, and a Greek Lexicon on ett, and he will scarcely find an instance in which these particles can be used one for the other, except in the sense of still. St. John uses out w for not yet, and never oux Eti; nor do I think the latter particles are ever found in this sense. It may also be remarked, that to say a prediction shall not take place yet, does not seem to be an object of sufficient importance for a solemn oath. The oath is not taken to shew that the mystery of God should not be accomplished yet, but to certify that it should be accomplished in its appointed time, after its necessary delay. It is not the protraction of the prophecies, but the certain and speedy accomplishment of them at the destined period, which was the subject of the angel's oath.-I take this opportunity of remarking, that there are many passages of our translation of the Bible which sometimes, at first sight, may appear incorrect; but which, on a closer examination, will manifest to the true critic the wisdom, learning, and solid judgment of the translators of the English Bible. This remark is not intended to imply that our translators were infallible; or that our inestimable version is entirely free from some of those mistakes to which all translations are liable : but to express my opinion, that many of the proposed amendments of the present age bear a character widely different from improvements.
filling the predictions of divine prophecy, with reference to the destruction of antichristian powers, and the universal prevalence of true religion, than till the sounding of the last trumpet; but that “ in the “ days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he “ shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should “ be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the “ Prophets."-St. John was now commanded to eat the book which he held in his hand, and accordingly he obeys the injunction. The events predicted under the seventh seal, which has been considered as the little book, were numerous and important. His eating this book was an emblem that he should well consider and understand it. It was to be digested and made his own, in order to be applied to its proper use. It was necessary the book should be well studied and understood, that it might be clearly revealed to the church of God. When the Apostle had eaten the book, according to the divine command, it was sweet as honey in his mouth, but it was afterwards bitter in his belly. The gratification of curiosity, by the knowledge of future events, produces present delight; but when the painful calamities contained in the womb of time are brought to view, the mind must necessarily be filled with the most poignant anguish. How great is the goodness of God, in concealing from man the miseries of futurity! When the Apostle first obtained the knowledge of events yet to come, it was like honey to his taste; but when he understood the calamities connected with these events, his soul was overwhelmed with distress. He was, however, commanded to publish the contents of this book, and thus he was to “ prophesy before many peoples, and nations, and “ tongues, and kings." This he has done ; this he continues to do to the present day; and will continue to do till the end of the world.
How august as well as endearing are the representations which Christ has here made of himself, as
the angel of the covenant, with a rainbow on his head, and a countenance bright and dazzling as the sun; and with feet like pillars of fire, standing on the earth and sea, and uttering a voice loud and tremendous as the roaring of a lion! His power and word are indeed terrible to his enemies, but believers need not fear, for he is ever mindful of his covenant towards them, in the midst of the calamities and judgments inflicted on his enemies.- The final salvation of the righteous, and the final prevalence of true religion upon earth, are engaged by the same faithful and unfailing word of God. The time of the latter will not be delayed beyond its predicted period.- But to us, time will soon be no longer. It will be absorbed in an immeasurable eternity-an eternity of perfect felicity, or hopeless misery. Let us then prepare to meet our God, for the Judge is even at the door.-If we are interested in Christ, let us be found diligent in his work, and not be over-anxious about our present feelings. Many of the divine dispensations may appear to us, like the Apostle's morsel, bitter as wormwood; but what we “ know not now we shall know hereafter,” and all the conduct of God will be the subject of our joy and our praise. Let it then be our object to promote the glory of God, to make our own “ calling “ and election sure," and to advance the happiness of our fellow-creatures; and then, though we “ now “ sow in tears, we shall soon reap in joy."
Chap. xi. 1, 2. The contents of the little book held in the hand of the mighty angel, will take us back in point of chronology, and give us several striking and characteristic descriptions of the papal Antichrist, and of the state of the Church under it. The first of these descriptions is contained in the eleventh chapter; and it may be considered as an appendix or addition to the prophecies under the first and second woe trumpets. It is, however, an addition equal in importance to what is before recorded in the continued thread of the narration, and in the regular order of the chronology. The subjects of the fifth and sixth trumpets, or of the first and second woes, were, as has been seen, the desolations and destructions occasioned by the Saracens and Turks in the East. But we are now taken back to the affairs of the West. The reason for this order of the prophecy is obvious; namely, that the two great subjects of Mahomedism and Popery, and of the eastern and western affairs in general, might not be united and intermingled. There will, however, be sufficient internal evidence in the prophecies themselves to fix their chronology, without the apprehension of any material mistake. The order of the sacred writer, or rather of the Holy Spirit by whom he was inspired, is similar to that of many historians, who frequently finish one subject, and then carry their readers back in the order of time to another, making their chronology subservient to the thread of their narration. In this chapter we are led back to the sounding of the first woe trumpet, and have predictions given on two subjects; each of which includes the celebrated period of 1260 years, which is here first introduced to our notice. These prophecies therefore begin with the state of the western church at that period, which, according to the opinion of the most judicious commentators, commenced about the year of Christ 606.
AND there was given me a reed like unto a rod; and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. 2. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not ; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. - The scene of this prophecy is the temple, which the Apostle was commanded to measure with a rod that was given to him for the purpose. Here it will be necessary to remark, that the temple of God contained several parts or divisions. The innermost of these divisions was the most holy place, or the holy of holies; containing the ark of the covenant, the tables of the law, and the mercy-seat, overshadowed by the cherubim of glory. This holy of holies was a type of heaven, into which Christ, the great High Priest of our profession, is entered for us: it has been considered also a symbol of that future and glorious state of the Church upon earth, “ when the tabernacle of God shall be with men." But as the holy of holies was not a symbol of any part of the visible Church on earth, during the period of the testimony of the witnesses, it could not be the subject of the Apostle's measurement; it is therefore of necessity omitted. The second division of the temple of God was the sanctuary, or holy place, which was separated from the holy of holies by a veil. In this sanctuary there were the golden candlestick with seven branches, the golden altar of incense, and the table of shew-bread. This holy place was a symbol of the true church of God upon the earth, enlightened and sanctified by the Holy Spirit; and as there was no way into the holy of holies, but through this sanctuary, so there is no way into heaven but by entering into the true and spiritual church of Christ upon earth. Next to the holy place was the court in which was the altar of burnt offerings: this was open only to the priests and Levites, and was called the court of the priests; but being separated only by a low wall about four feet high, the sacrifices were visible to the people in