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very remarkable season of quietness, and suspension from the horrors of war. In the language of Scripture, winds, as the cause of storms, are symbols of wars and great commotions. Thus a wind is used in Jer. li. 1; iv. 11, 12, to express destruction; and in ch. xlix. 36, the four winds, a general destruction.* “And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and I will scatter them towards all those winds; and there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam shall not come.” To hold therefore the winds that they should not blow, is a very striking emblem of peace and tranquillity from war; and indeed much more so by the command that is given, that until a certain work is performed, nothing is to be injured by them, neither “the earth, nor the sea, nor any tree;” —that is, neither the peaceable and quiet part of the empire—neither the restless and agitated part of the community—nor any of the higher powers. This latter meaning of the symbol of a tree is beautifully used by Gibbon in the following passage: speaking of the estates of the great feudal lords being dissipated, and their race often extinguished in the costly and perilous expeditions of the Crusades, he says, “The conflagration which destroyed the tall and barren trees of the forest, gave air and scope to the vegetation of the smaller and nutritive plants of the soil.”f Accordingly, after the conclusion of the war caused by the French Revolution, such a period of peace and stillness did, in a most unprecedented manner, take place—after the year 1815, every wind and sound of war was hushed—and Y et cont IN UEs | This is the exact point of time in which we are, and for the last five-and-twenty years have been, living;* and one which will not, cannot, at least if the present interpretation be correct, be interrupted, till the event here reserved has transpired. The rumours and apprehensions of war have, at various intervals, been repeated and loud, during the five-andtwenty years of peace, both in Poland, Belgium, Spain, Egypt, and now in France; but they have all, in a strange and unexpected way, in a way in which the hand of God has been very apparent, with as it were a “loud voice,” been hushed to silence! The winds, in obedience to the high command of God, were not to blow, and they accordingly have not been permitted to blow—and yet for a short season the restraint must continue ! 2. The next thing very apparent from these verses is, that although there was to exist the present season of tranquillity, yet that it is only for an appointed time, and that it is to be followed by the most tremendous and fatal wars and invasions. The command given to hold the four winds till the servants of God are sealed, is as much as to say, that when that sealing shall have taken place, the hold will be withdrawn, and the four winds will blow.
* See Diss. p. 205. t Gibbon, ch. lxi.
In plain language it is as much as to say, that universal destruction is destined to fall upon the apostate, persecuting, infidel church (if indeed such anomaly can be used); but although this will not happen till the servants of God are sealed for deliverance from its fury, yet that this is the only stay or hindrance Here therefore, by the mere force of events alone, without any chronology whatever, we are brought to the immediate expectation, in perfect harmony of time, of the same days of vengeance as are prophesied in the predictions of the Old Testament. And from the present warlike aspect of the nations, from the new generation that in this time of peace has sprung up, and from the signs of the times as brought forward in the last chapter of my Dissertation, there appears every thing that can be required to confirm. the year to which the various lines of the Old Testament chronological prophecy have pointed—that of 1844 | I would particularly refer to what was said in explanation of the latter part of the eleventh of Daniel, in which it is pointed out, that the career of Napoleon, described in vers. 36–39, and which of course is only a different relation of the events of the sixth seal, are followed by a state of quiescence, such as that above described, until “the time of the end " arrives;* and that then the king of the North shall come like a whirlwind,+ (the tempestuous rushing of the four winds !) “with chariots and with horses,
and with many ships; and shall enter into the countries, and overflow and pass over.” 3. The third thing that is apparent from the verses above quoted is, that from this ruin and its consequent miseries, come when they may, the servants of God will be delivered These servants of God are described, in ch. xiv. vers. 4, 5, to be “they who have not been defiled with women,” (that is, not with an apostate church,) “for they are virgins; they are those who follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth . . . And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.” All such as answer to this description—and it is an awakening truth, to reflect that all such are living at the present moment—it is said before the day of wrath arrives shall be se A Le D Upon THEIR For EHEADs For this purpose an angel is seen ascending from the east or sun-rising, the most important and favoured point, having the seal of the Living God! This must signify some agency that will be used as a mark of appropriation, whereby the Living God will own his servants to the view of all—for the forehead is the most prominent part of the human face, and can be seen by all. It was noticed, in commenting upon Daniel xii. 10, “Many shall be purified, made white, and tried;” that immediately before “the time of the end,” there would be a great persecution, which these words imply. Is this then the seal which God hath appointed to set a mark upon his servants' It most assuredly signifies some act by which they shall be discriminated from the great mass of religious professors. It should therefore be a serious consideration with all of us, Am I a servant of the Living God and, Will His seal be set upon me? for it is the next, the very next event that is to happen; and from every view we can take of the subject, an event very soon to happen The Apostle goes on to say—
“And I heard the number of them that were sealed : and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. Of the tribes of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nephthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.” (vii. 4–8.)
This is, upon the very face of it, a symbolical number, and a symbolical representation; and it carries its own meaning along with it: for if it be the servants of the God of the Angels, (“ until,” he said, “we have sealed the servants of our God,” by which it appears, that more angels than one are employed on this happy business, and that they are real angels)—if, I say, it be the servants of God that are to be sealed, then they and the hundred and forty and four thousand, who are described as sealed, must be one and the same, those who are not defiled with