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trumpet is future, at the time in our text, but not far future. And the utter destruction of this enormous influence of infidelity would not be till then, and should be no longer deferred than to that event. For the seventh trumpet is to destroy this very power, and all that is found wickedly connected with it. But while the sentiment of the oath of Christ in our text, rests on the sentiment of his own oath in Daniel, and hence must mean the same thing ; its phraseology goes to correct a mistake, prevalent with many, in the course of the terrors which were to attend the rise and progress of this system from the world below, viz. that this is the battle of that great day of God! The oath says, No! that event is not yet: but in the seventh trumpet (which is still future, though not far distant), the scene shall be accomplished! But the horrors of this descent of Christ, and of the seven thunders, are antecedent to, and distinct from the battle of the great day,—the seventh trumpet. And the whole union between Daniel and John, upon this subject, shows that these two events are distinct; though the former may be most naturally mistaken by many for the latter. And it was shown in the preceding lecture, that other prophecies have allusions to these two events, as distinct, and at some distance from each other. Joel assures us “the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord comes." The sun of regal authority should be darkened, and the moon of armies turned to blood, before the seventh trumpet, and distinctly from it. Our Saviour, in his predicted coming, Matt. xxiv., Mark xiii. and Luke xxi. manifestly includes in this his prediction, his coming in the battle of the great day of God to destroy Antichrist. (To be convinced of this, read 2 Thess. ii. and Rev. xvi. 15, and its connexion.) And among the signs of this coming of Christ, in the battle of that great day, are wars, and rumours of wars ;” meaning that there should be such a signal course of wars, as to seem to imply that there never were wars before. This is the same, probably, with the seven thunders in our text. And he there adds, “ See that ye be not troubled”-in Luke,“ be not terrified" -implying that those wars should be peculiarly terrifying; and then our Saviour adds, as in his oath in our text, "the end (the closing scene) shall not be yet:"-as in
Matthew-in Luke, “ For these things shall first come to pass, but the end shall not be by-and-by," or immediately! We have here the same sentiment with that in our text# The time is not yet, but in the days of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mysteries of God shall be finished !”
These seven thunders terrified the world from the year 1789, for about twenty-five years ; till the whirlwind from the north, Dan. xi. 40, prostrated a dynasty of that power, and gave to the world a temporary quietus: and those terrors were indeed mistaken, by many, for the seventh trumpet.
Ver. 8. And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.
9. And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me,
Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.
10. And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.
11. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
The ambassador of Christ is here directed to go and take the little open book, which was in the hand of the Angel. It was not given for nothing. Its being open was not without meaning. Its contents--- long sealed upshould now be known. The time had now arrived when the seal upon it should be taken off, and its contents ascertained. The faithful minister goes to Christ, and prays for the little book. The true sense of Christ's predictions must be learned from him, his word and spirit, in view of his signal providences. And such teaching must be from him devoutly sought; and when the humble learner says, Give me, I pray thee, the little book ! Christ will say, Take it! Yea, take and eat it." " Let him that readeth un
derstand.” “ Thy word was found (says the prophet), and I did eat it.” This is the Bible expression of devoutly and diligently studying the prophetic scriptures, and the great passing events of Providence as fulfilling them. This is the true discerning of the signs of the times. “ Ye hypocrites; ye can discern the face of the sky; how is it that ye cannot discern the signs of the times ?" It was noted, in a past lecture, that each of the four living creatures, as an emblein of the gospel ministry, when a seal opens a new signal event, calls, “Come and see !" People have a right to inquire of their spiritual guides, "Watchman, what of the night ?" And the watchman should be able to give a correct
John finds, on eating this little book, what he was before assured would be the case. "and it was in my mouth sweet as honey ; but as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.” The first discovery of the contents of this little symbolic book, was sweet.
To learn the true sense of these prophetic scriptures, and the correct view of their events—to learn that God has thus renewedly taken in hand the blessed work of building up Zion—that the time has come for many to run to and fro, and that knowledge shall be increased ; these things afford to the true preachers of righteousness, and the friends of Zion, exquisite pleasure. But when the subject is well digested and understood; when the terrors connected with its fulfilment,---of judgments upon enemies, and especially of signal trials to the people of God, shall be correctly considered; these contents of the little open book are found to be bitter, and similar to the roll of Ezekiel, that was “full of lamentation, and mourning, and wo."
This bitterness of the little book, after being well digested, is here explained by Christ thus : “ Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings !” As though he had said—Ye ministers of my gospel, and children of Zion, must again be called to bear testimony for me, before great men of the earth! This, Christ assures, must be done “ again !" as though the peculiar kind of prophesying, here in view, had for a time ceased; but must be resumed. If they had fondly hoped such peculiarly trying duties of the Christian religion were done away and light and liberty had
chased them from the world—they must, for a short time, be resumed, even before the Millennium. This seems to be the true sense of the bitterness of the little book.
Do we find any thing in the parent text in Daniel (of which our text seems to be but an illustration), to accord with this? We do indeed. The oath of Christ there assures us, that at the end of the 1260 years, the wilful power which had been presented, should be destroyed : but not till " he shall have accomplished to scatter the the holy people.” Then“ all these things shall be finished.” It is solemn indeed to find it here taught, that this power (known as the beast from the bottomless pit) is to prevail to “scatter the power of the holy people,” just before his destruction. This is the healed head of the secular Roman beast; the same as the new beast of the last day, ascending, full of the names of blasphemy, from the infernal region, and sinking soon in destruction. Rev. xvii. We have thus the explanation of the bitterness of the little book in our text—the same (we must apprehend) with the slaying of the two witnesses, in Rev. xi. The event is there noted as being at the close of the 1260 years, and is said to be by the “ beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit!" the same power with this wilful system in Daniel described. These things will receive further illustrations in their several places. Thus interesting are the trials which yet await the church.
The present inhabitants of the civilized world, who have lived to see half a century, have lived to witness the notable event which is designated by the descent of the adorable Angel of the covenant, in this tenth of Revelation; and it has afforded them a season of great
instruction. The people of God in our United States have been most advantageously situated to see and improve those amazing scenes, and to derive the most solid lessons of instruction. We have been happily out of the reach of the immediate scenes of desolation, and yet sufficiently near to behold, and to learn the best lessons of wisdom. Often, during these terrors, did I fancy myself to be like one seated on a promontory, with a good glass, to behold a most tremendous sea-fight between all the navies of the most powerful nations, formed in two lines of battle, and for years together, in a blaze of the most furious con
test feeling myself to be sufficiently distant from the power of the fatal shot; and yet sufficiently near to perceive every movement, every discharge, and the fate of every sinking ship. And while thus beholding, I formed 'my present view of the scenes of this tenth chapter of the Revelations; the belief of which, all subsequent views have confirmed.
Ver. 1. 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.
This chapter gives a general view of the papal apostacy ; of the trials of the people of God as his two witnesses ; of the third trumpet ; and of the introduction of the Millennium.
The reed, in the text, was a ten foot measure, made of reed, a light kind of wood; and was such as was often used to measure land, buildings, or other surfaces. The temple to be here measured was a well-known visible emblem of the church on earth. Says an apostle, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of the Holy Ghost?" “ Ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them.” The temple of God at Jerusalem, consisted of a capacious covered building, and two courts;