« PreviousContinue »
consummation of their promised bliss : in charge of blessed cherubic bands, who, camped on neighbouring hills, alternate vigils keep.
But, though the portentous destination of this terrific armament bodes nothing less than crushing of creation into its native atoms, it here gives no alarm. The serene inhabitants of this tranquil realm are stranded where no fear can ever enter; these formidable warriors here assume no hostile aspect; beautiful upon these holy mountains are the feet of those who come with joyful tidings of great joy—the joyful tidings of salvation nigh; that publish peace, that bring good tidings of good, that publish salvation, that say unto Zion, Thy God reigneth. (Isaiah lii. 7.) “ Benignant are their looks—their salutation peace.”
The Captain of all captains, sovereign King and Judge, inspireth here no terror; He sustains many characters, as well as many crowns; He is no stranger to the happy shades reposing on these meads; they view in him their merciful High Priest, their faithful good chief Shepherd; they know his blessed voice: It is I, be not afraid. I am the resurrection, I eternal life. I go to awake my friends from out the sleep of death. You, gentle spirits, I re-consign to the same watchful guardians, who bore you in their arms unto this peaceful clime, downward to reconvey, ere I thrust in my sickle; (Rev. xiv. 15;) “ for the harvest is fully ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in
the valley of decision : for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.” (Joel iii. 13, 14.) “But the righteous shall live for evermore; their reward is with the Lord, the care of them is with the Most High; therefore shall they receive a glorious kingdom, and a beautiful crown from the Lord's hand; for with his right hand shall He cover them, and with his arm shall He protect them.” (Wisdom of Solomon, v. 15, 16.) Those that have been sowed in dishonour, I now will raise in glory; those that have sowed in tears, will now soon reap in joy. The common laws of nature, by me upheld no longer, now begin to fail. Adhesion, and cohesion, attraction, gravitation, magnetic and electric influence, forces centripetal, centrifugal, now cease to perform their functions, and anarchy prevails; the powers that are in heaven are consequently shaken. The hearts of the dismayed inhabitants in yonder nether heavens, failing them for fear, already see terrific signs of swift approaching judgment. Suns darkened ; suns from their centres flung; (for the stars shall fall from heaven;) worlds lost in all directions; the eccentric comets flying in wild disorder, add ample fuel to the spreading conflagration.
For this tremendous day that burneth like an oven, will be revealed by fire. (1 Cor. iii. 13.) And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in worlds beneath ; all elements let loose, the sea and waves loud roaring shall rage against the unwise; floods cruelly shall drown them. (Wisdom of Solomon, v. 22.) Blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke precede this notable great day. (Acts ii. 19, 20.) Evil and adulterous generations long have sought for signs; they now will see great are my signs; mighty are my wonders. (Daniel iv. 3.) Soon will these lower heavens, rolled up like as a scroll, depart with a great noise : elements melting with fervent heat ; the heavens themselves on fire; the globes that once in them revolved, will now be all burnt up, these hosts be all destroyed. For all these hosts shall be dissolved, and fall as leaves from vines, and figs from trees. (Isa. xxxiv. 4; 2 Pet. iii. 10.) The mouth of the Lord has spoken it. And my sword shall be bathed in heaven; and it shall come down upon the people of my curse to judgment. (Isa. xxxiv. 5.) I have taken my jealousy for complete armour, and make the creature my weapon to revenge me on my enemies. I have put on righteousness as a breastplate, and true judgment instead of an helmet. I have taken holiness for my invincible shield ; and with my severe wrath have I sharpened my sword. (Wisdom of Solomon, v. 17-20.) Soon will the mourning tribes beneath behold the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. But who will abide this day? and who will stand when I appear ? For I am like a refiner's fire, and like to fullers' soap. And I shall sit as a refiner, and purifier of silver, that I may offer unto the Lord offerings in righteousness. And I will come near to them to judgment: and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts. (Mal. iii. 245.) For I will rise up as in mount Perazim, and be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that I may do my work, my strange work; and bring to pass my act, my strange act. (Isa. xxviii. 21.) It then will be too late inquired, Who is this that cometh from Bozrah? This that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength ? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the wine-fat? I have trodden the wine-press alone, and of the people there was none with me. For I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury: and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart: and the year of my Redeemed is come. Mine own arm hath brought salvation to me: my fury, it upheld me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury; (and remember not my footstool heavens in this my day of anger. Lam. ii. 1.) For I will tread them down without the heavenly city, without the purlieus of the blessed celestial regions; I will trample them, and I will bring down their strength in that profane polluted place, the probationary heavens. These heavens, and all that therein are, you will soon see pass away : my words will not pass away. But, hark! the noise of multitudes, tumultuous noise of heavenly hierarchies of heaven's combined armies, gathering together upon these holy mountains. For the Lord of hosts mustereth the host of the battle from far distant countries, from farthest end of heaven: even the Lord, and the weapons of his indignation, almighty to destroy. (Isa. xiii. 4-6.) I have opened wide my armoury, my weapons are brought forth; (Jer. 1. 25;) my warriors' bows are bent: their bright, sharp, glistering arrows drawn forth from out their quivers : their horses' hoofs like fint, their wheels like mighty whirlwinds, rush their chariots, horses, armies, powers, unto that awful gate, which I alone can open. (Isa. v. 28; xxii. 22.) “ Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in this my holy mountain : let all the inhabitants of those nether heavens trenible: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains : a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth : and nothing shall escape them. The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses ; and as horsemen, so shall they run. Like the noise of chariots on the tops of inountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. Before their face the people shall be much