Page images
PDF
EPUB

Laodicean temper that is so justly complained of by our Lord, and represented as so loathsome to him! May every Christian beware of this indolent and lukewarm disposition! It is a dangerous thing to indulge a vain conceit of our wisdom and sufficiency, and to suppose that we are rich and increased with goods, while, at the same time, we may be poor and blind, and naked.-All, however, ought thankfully to hearken to that kind invitation, here given by the Saviour, to purchase that without money and without price, by which we may be substantially and eternally enriched.-The gracious Saviour has long stood knocking at the door of our hearts. O that we may, without delay, open to him the door of admission, that he may enter, as into his own habitation, and come in and sup with us and we with him! What happiness can be obtained that can bear any comparison with the Saviour's love? May the writer and the reader be found amongst those conquerors to whom he will grant to sit down with him upon his throne; even as he also has conquered, and has sat down with his Father on his throne!

Such are the epistles of Christ to the churches of these seven cities of Asia. Let the reader's attention be now turned to the following important and instructive fact. The state of these seven cities, both as it respects Christianity and their temporal prosperity, exactly accords to the commendations and rebukes, the threatenings and promises, which were given to the churches established there, by the Spirit of prophecy more than seventeen centuries ago. Thus an interesting lesson is offered to all other nations, cities, and churches, favoured with the Gospel of Christ. Let the rebukes, warnings, threatenings, encouragements, and promises given to these churches, be regarded by all professing Christians to the end of time!“ How shall we escape if we neg"lect so great salvation?"-"All these things hap

“ pened to them for ensamples, and they are written “ for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the “ world are come. Wherefore, let him that thinketh “ he standeth, take heed lest he fall." _“He that “ hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith “ unto the churches.”

[ocr errors]

PART IV. SERIES 1.* The Mystery of the Seals, the Trumpets, and the

Vials.

SECTION I.
Introductory Remarks.

THE sacred writer now proceeds to open the prophetic scene, and to make known the revelation of is the things which should be hereafter.” This part of the book contains a prophetic history of the Church from the time when the Apostle was favoured with the apocalyptic visions, to the period when “ the kingdoms of this world should become the “ kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ.” This is by far the most difficult part of the book to understand and illustrate, except as to the prophecies which have been evidently and clearly fulfilled. It is necessary, for obvious reasons, that prophecy should be involved in clouds of obscurity, previously to its fulfilment; and this has, in fact, been always the case with all true prophecy. But it has this peculiar and astonishing property connected with it: -the fulfilment dissipates the clouds, and renders the objects of the predictions distinct and defined. Unfulfilled prophecy, therefore, represents its objects as viewed in the dark; or, at best, in the twilight. Accomplished prophecy exhibits the same objects as examined in the light of the meridian sun. The work of the commentator on prophecy is therefore to elucidate what is fulfilled, and to attempt nothing more than a faint and imperfect outline of what is unaccomplished. The Author of prophecy never intended to make us prophets, by enabling us to decipher and reveal the times and circumstances of predictions designedly enveloped in obscurity. The Omniscient has given prophecy, not to gratify the curiosity of men by enabling them to foresee the times and seasons, and circumstances of things to come; but to give them some general outline of the future state of the Church, and more particularly to establish the truth of religion, to confirm the faith of his people, and to manifest his own prescience and foresight in relation to all future events. It is no wonder, therefore, that those who have attempted to predict the minute circumstances of unfulfilled prophecy, have universally fallen into mistakes. They have gone beyond their limited boundaries, and events have subsequently demonstrated that many of their theories, however plausibly and ingeniously supported, have entirely vanished, and left not a wreck behind. May the Holy Spirit of wisdom and grace preserve the minds of the writer and reader from wandering into the mazes of error while contemplating this part of the sacred and mysterious book! -The fourth and fifth chapters seem to be introductory to the period of the seals, trumpets, and vials; it will therefore be necessary to make a few brief remarks on these two chapters. His burn

* The prophecies of the Revelation, from the opening of the sealed book to the sounding of the seventh trumpet, consist of two chronological series, as will be shewn hereafter.

[graphic]

The Vision of the heavenly Glory.
Chap. iv. 1-11.

Til AFTER this I looked, and behold, a door was opened in heaven : and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. 2. And immediately I was in the spirit : and behold, a throne was set in heaven,

and one sat on the throne. 3. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne in sight like unto an emerald. 4. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. 5. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God. 6. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal, and in the midst of the throne and round about the throne were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. 7. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. . And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within : and they rest nat day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. 9. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, 10. The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11. Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

When the Lord Jesus had dictated to his servant the seven epistles to the churches, and had thus instructed him to write the things which then were, the Apostle seems to have been waiting for farther discoveries, and he was soon favoured with another most glorious vision. He beheld, as it were, a door opened into heaven, the holy habitation of God. While he was contemplating this, a voice called him to come up thither, in order that a disclosure might be made to him of events that were yet to come;

[graphic]
« PreviousContinue »