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Gospel through the world, as we find indicated in the preceding verse, it becomes a matter of public noto.
Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him, who made heaven and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of water. A spirit of Missions wakes up, and diffuses itself through the Protestant nations. Much is shortly done toward disseminating the knowledge of Gospel salvation through heathen lands. The Missionaries introduce their message, as they must do to Pagans, by unfolding first the volume of nature: We. have come to teach you who made yonder heavens; this great earth; the sea; and the fountains of water; and how you must worship and serve him. Their argument evinces, that the preaching of the Gospel, here predicted, is an advance made from the preaching of the Protestant doctrines to the Papal nations, at, and soon after the commencement of the reformation. It was to be an event subsequent to that period. We find it was to be in the same hour with the more signal judgments of God on the Papal see. “ For the hour of his judgment is come.” And the next verse informs of the object of this divine judgment, that it was the fall of Babylon;
the subversion of the Papal Power. The flight of the Angel to preach the Gospel, is an event collateral with this, or in the same hour with it.
Some exertions have been made, for the propagation of the Gospel among Pagans, for many ages. But they did by no means amount to a fulfilment of the sublime figure under consideration. Here is represented one great and general exertion for this ob ject; and the unity of the undertakers: The Angel is one. And his object is to evangelize every nation, kindred, congue and people. Great engagedness in the object is indicated: The angel cries with a loud voice. Great facility and perseverance are implied: The angel flies directly on, over mountains, lakes, and seas. Nothing obstructs his course or progress. Obstacles im. passable to footmen, are nothing to him. An event is predicted which God would undertake, by inclining the hearts of the children of Zion to undertake it; by removing obstacles; caus. ing provision to be unexpectedly made; preparing instruments; opening effectual doors; thus sending out his word, and unfolding his glorious grace: Not to convert the heathen world at
For the millennial morn is still future-But to light up Gospel fires in heathen lands; to call in some; to fulfil his own counsels; and to prepare the way for the Kingdom of Christ. The Gospel of the Kingdom must first be preached to all nations, for a testimony unto them. We have lived to see the commencement of this flight of the Angel.
Soon it is ascertained what the unprecedented judgments of God, in the same hour with the flight of the Angel, have effected, Verse 8; And there followed another angel, saying Babylon is
riety, that Babylon is fallen, is fallen. And it is that Babylon, which made all nations drink of the wine
fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. It must be Papal Babylon, and not Antichristian Babylon, whose fall is here ascertained. For it is the Papal, and not the Antichristian Babylon, who has inade all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. And the Antichristian Babylon does not fall, till the close of this chapter, under the tremendous scene of the harvest, and the vintage.
The clear perception of the fall of Papal Babylon, excites another proclamation through the Church, of solemn caution and warning: Verse 9; And the third angel followed them, say. ing with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast, and his im. age, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand; 10, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God. Here note, that a Beast is in existence, which the world is in danger of worshipping, after Papal Babylon is fallen. Terrible denuncia. tions of judgment are here expressed, and follow upon all, who are contaminated with the spirit of the Beast than on the ground
This bold and powerful warning probably will provoke the then dominant Beast, and the minions of his order, to invade the rights of conscience in the kingdom of Christ. And it follows; verse 12; Here is the patience of the sainte; here are they who keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. Here the patience of Christians must be tried, that it may be known who truly have his faith, and keep bis commands. Verse 13; And I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead, who die in the Lord from henceforth; yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them. Here are indicated peculiar trials then to be endured by the Church. But the Captain of her salvation soon interposes. The next verse, and the following verses to the end of the chapter, describe the scenes of consequent judgments to be inflicted on Antichrist, and on all the ac. live enemies of the Church. An Angel, like the Son of man, with a golden crown, and a sharp sickle, appears upon a white cloud. And he soon reaps the harvest of the earth, which is then fully ripe. His ministers of Providence soon collect the vine of the Infidel world, with its grapes then fully matured, and cast it into the great wine-press of the wrath of God; which is trodden; and which emits a riyer of blood for 200 miles. Here is a double figure to represent the terribleness of the scene of the baitle of the great day of God. The harvest, and the vin. tage, both unile in that cyent. For both are subsequent to the depression of the Church under the reign of Antichrist, Buc
of the wrath of her fornication. This was the Papal harlot. But this her fall is not the last scene at Arma. geddon. For the saints are to be tried by the influ. ence of some other power, after this announced fall of Babylon; which other power must be Antichrist. Verses 12, 13; Here is the patience of the saints: here are they, that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus Christ. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead, who die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them. And scenes of awful judgment succeed, some time after this fall of Babylon; represented by the Angel on the white cloud, with his sharp sickle, reaping the vine of the earth:And by another Angel, who has also a sharp sickle:And by a third, who has power over fire; who directs the second Angel, with the sharp sickle, to thrust in his sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, whose grapes are fully ripe. The latter obeys. The vine of the earth is gathered, and cast into the great wine-press of the wrath of God; which is trodden; and which discharges a river of blood, as high as the horse bridles, for the space of two hundred miles. These are the finishing scenes of judgment. And they are subsequent to the above fall of the harlot, Babylon: Which shews, that she, and the subsequent Power finally to be destroyed, are two distinct Powers; and their falls are at different periods. One is at the rise of Antichrist. The other is at his destruction.
There is a striking affinity between these two Pow. ers, the Papal and the Antichristian Babylon. The latter rose on the ground, and from the corruptions of the former. It supplanted and took the place of the
to vial of wrath on Antichrist, except the seventh, is subsequent to that depression.
Thus the events of the xivth chapter occupy the same period with the vials in the two succeeding chapters;—the period of the seven last plagues upon the enemies of the Church. That appearance of Christ on mount Zion introduced enlargement and salvation to his Church; and destruction t; her enemies.
former. And in the judgments finally executed upon Antichristian Babylon, those threatened to Papal Babylon, (as to her ultimate ruin) will be fulfilled. But the two Babylons are spoken of as two distinct Powers. One of them falls under the fifth vial; the other under the seventh.
The sense, which has been given in this section, of the fall of Papal Babylon by the rise of Antichrist, is not destitute of countenance in Old Testament prohecies. I shall note one passage, Dan. vii, 26. But the judgment shall set, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. This is spoken of the Papal horn; and of the time and manner of his overthrow. The judgment shall set. It shall open a new era of Divine judgment. And they shall take away his (the Papal) dominion. Who shall take it away? The antecedent is not expressed. But the pronoun they implies an antecedent. It implies instruments sufficiently powerful raised up to overturn Popery, and to execute vengeance on Papal nations, to take away the Papal dominion, and to consume and to destroy it. In Rev. xvii, we learn who this instru. ment is;—the Beast, that ascendeth out of the bottom. less pit. The horns of this Beast hate the whore, and eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. The vengeance begins to be executed before the time of the end; as is implied in its continuance till that time; to consume and to destroy it unto the end. This scene,
This scene, I apprehend, opens in a new and fatal vial of Divine wrath, which overturns Popery; and which will ere long (or after the Turks shall be overthrown, and the Jews returned) issue in the seventh vial, the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
The closing part of the 1260 years occupied by Anti
christ. Paul's Man of Sin. The prophet Daniel informs,* that the saints were to be given into the hands of the little horn, 1260 years.
Dan. vii, 25.
But if a portion of the last part of this term were to be occupied by the tyranny of Antichrist, how is this prediction of Daniel fulfilled? Answer. Antichrist originates in the corruptions of Popery. He was to arise directly out of the putrefactions of that abomina. ble collection of filth and impurity. And after his de. velopment, and his establishing his characteristic mark of Infidelity, he was to re-establish Popery, as his form of godliness, and a convenient engine of his ambition. It is not unnatural then, that the Papal horn should be represented, in that concise stroke of ancient prophecy, as having possession of the saints 1260 years, notwithstanding that a small portion of the last part of the term should be occupied by the terrible Antichristian Power. For the latter was to be produced, and the whole wilderness state of the Church occasioned, by the corruptions of that Papal horn. In that ancient concise sketch then, it is no wonder that the saints should be spoken of, as being under the power of the Papal horn for 1260 years; even though for a short term, in the closing part of that period, the horn itself, and the saints should be under the tyranny of a superi. or Power, which rose directly from the nature, and corruptions of the Papal horn.
This solution may aid us in forming a correct idea of the predictions of Paul, relative to the Man of Sin. 2 Thess. ii, 3--12; Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day (the day of Christ) shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed. the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all, that is called God, or worshipped; so that he, as God, sitteth in the temple of God, sheroing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that when I was yet with you,
I told things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already wcrk; only he, who now letteth, will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose