Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

of the present subversion of the Turks ! and no notice of the utter destruction of all that is antichristian, when God assures us in the Old Testament he will 66 gather the nations, and assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them his indignation, even all his fierce anger, and the whole earth shall be devoured with the fire of his jealousy; and he will then turn to the people a pure language, and all shall call upon the name of the Lord, and shall serve him with one consent. Those two events are abundantly given in this same connexion in the old prophets. Who can tell then, but they are among the “ things which shall be hereafter ?” The seventh vial is called, “ the battle of that great day of God Almighty !" alluding to the predictions of the event found in the ancient prophets; as though it had been said, that great day so well known in prophecy! This event, then, must surely have occupied a place in the description of " the things which shall be hereafter.”

The vials known as the seven last plagues,” must surely be viewed as having their effect in the overthrow of the Mohammedan, the papal, and the infidel powers in the last days, and just before the millennium ;-even though a modern critic be of a different opinion.* I shall remain confident that “the things which shall be hereafter,” to be written by John, were the line of the most interesting events, in the protection of the church, and in the overthrow of her enemies, through the then future ages of the Christian era. I have never heard an objection, nor an argument against this being the fact, which I could view as possessing even the least weight. And all arguments from analogy, and from the common sense of the case, are fully in favor of it. Why should but several things be noted; and all things else, equally important, and even of greater importance, be neglected?

One thing is found in the prophetic part of the Revelation of essential interest in its correct exposition. It is this, that the prophetic part is found in two great and general divisions ; each having a plan peculiar to itself. After a notable preparation, in the fourth and fifth chap.

[ocr errors]

* See Ichhorn.

and pass

ters, for an unfolding of the events of futurity, prophecies in the first division commence, in the sixth chapter, with the opening of the first seal, giving an event near the coinmencement of the Christian era. It thence moves onward through a period of about two thousand years, and closes in the end of chapter xi., in presenting the battle of the great day of God, under the seventh trumpet, and the millennial kingdom of Christ. A second general division then commences, like the first, with a plan peculiar to itself,—commencing with the Christian era, ing onward, as did the first division, through the whole Christian era, giving under new figures some things noted in the first division, and others not there noted. When it reaches the Millennium, where the first division closes, and gives the battle of the great day of God, and the Millennium; it thence proceeds to give a description of that happy period; of an apostacy at the close of it; of the general judgment; and of heaven.

The truth of these two general divisions is manifest to the eye of the intelligent reader.

The seventh trumpet, closing the first division, is most manifestly the same event with the seventh vial closing the reign of Antichrist, in the second division. Compare the two passages, chap. xi. 14, to the end, with chap. xvi. 17, to the end, and you will see they give the same event, in figures essentially and almost precisely the same; and the two events stand in the very same connexion with the Millennium, which both alike introduce: and both alike allude to the Old Testament predictions of their events. The trumpet is," as God hath revealed to his servants the prophets” (chap. x. 6, 7); and the vial is said to be “the battle of that great day of God Almighty," alluding to the same predictions of it in the prophets ;—that day so well known ! (chap. xvi. 14.) These two events being the same, and each description of the same event being the close of its septenary, in its general divisions,—show that they belong to two distinct divisions, however they do, in this fall of Antichrist, meet in unison.

There is found in these two general divisions every mark of duality of plans. Their events commence in

about the same period, and terminate in the same period ; and they pursue their objects, each in its own plan, in an independent set of figures, as will be seen. They thus contain every essential mark of two divisions.

When I first discovered that these two general divisions exist in the prophetic part of the Revelation, I supposed it had never before been by any one discovered ; and I wondered it had not been, and improved. When I obtained Scott's Bible, I turned to the passage, and was pleased and confirmed in my views, in finding he had noted it. He says, “ The prophecies of this book naturally divide themselves into two parts." And he adds, “ Inattention to this has occasioned much perplexity in many attempts to explain those predictions." And, conversing not long since with Professur Stuart, of Andover, on the general principles of expounding the Revelation, and being very happy to find a good general agreement of our views; I asked him, if he had discovered this general division in the prophetic part of the Revelation ? He replied that he had ; and that it was most fully evident that such a division commenced with the twelfth chapter.

This duality of courses over the same period, affords a most happy facility in the exposition of the book. Place the two courses of the divisions side by side ; and place by them, as a third column, the history of the church, internal and external, during the same period; and these, with the knowledge of the prophetic figurative language of the Revelation, together with the aid furnished in the prophecy of Daniel, of which a portion of the Revelation is but an inspired exposition, and a pious intelligent expositor is happily prepared for his work.

With such data, God has kindly furnished us; and no part of it should be overlooked, undervalued, or misimproved.

Such an expositor is not now fettered with the old idle theory, that as the seventh seal contains all the trumpets ; so the seventh trumpet must be construed as containing all the vials. This cannot be, and is not correet: for the trumpets and the vials belong to two

different general divisions of the prophetic part of the book. But the greatness of the event, the battle of that great day of God, occasions it to be given as the last in the grand septenary of each of these divisions. The two general divisions strike here in unison, in the seyenth trumpet, and the seventh vial.

With the facility afforded by the view of these two general divisions, the commentator is not now reduced to a necessity of cutting the prophecies of this book in pieces ;-treating things which are synchronical, as being many centuries apart; and things many centuries apart, as being one and the same; coni

onnecting things which have no connexions; and destroying the chronology of most of the events in the book. It is in no small degree painful, to see how much of this is done by men learned in books and letters, not excepting an Ichhorn! Every expositor, destitute of the knowledge and improvement of these two general divisions, is trammelled, and utterly unprepared for his work, even if he had, besides, all the learning of a Raphael.

The other divisions of this book will be shown in their places.

The six first seals give a course of judge ments on pagan Rome, from the last quarter of the first century, till about the close of the first quarter of the fourth century. The four first of the trumpets then commence a following course of judgments on the Christian empire, after the revolution under Constantine from paganism ;-fulfilled in the northern invasions on the empire, till the dethroning of its last emperor Momylus. The first of the three wo trumpets then sounded, in the rise of Mohammedism. The second, in the rise of the grand supporter of it,--the Turkish empire. The third will destroy Antichrist. And the vials of the seven last plagues, in the second division, will occupy the space between the second and the third wo trumpets; the seventh of which, and the third wo trum, pet will be the same, as has been seen.

I now proceed to consider the duty, benefits, and encouragement of a devout and diligent study of the Rev. elation. These are found in the text; “ Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this

prophecy, and keep the things that are written therein ; for the time is at hand.” We observe,

1. Our Lord Jesus Christ demands this duty, as well as encourages it. The language of our text, and the giving of the Revelation, imply a demand of the duty. And seven times, in this book, is the same found in these words, “ He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Four times, when new scenes of Providence open, it is commanded, “ Come, and see!” And, annexed to deep prophecies, is the divine command, “Whoso readeth, let him understand.” Shall man object, and say, the attempt is in vain ?

2. The fact, that a great section of the Bible consists in prophecies of events then future, tacitly enforces this duty. Little is the objector to the study of the prophecies aware how great a part of the Bible he virtually condemns; and to how great a degree his so doing, impeaches the wisdom, and undervalues this great mercy of God.

But, if a part of the prophetic Scriptures may be neglected, where shall the line be drawn? All events now future are known to man only by prophecy. It is here alone that we learn a resurrection, -a judgment before the bar of God,—the conflagration of the world, —the certainty, and the eternity of future retributions of bliss and wo! May the prophecies of these events be neglected ? If not, who dares to plead for a neglect of those which assure us of the Millennium; of the battle of that great day of God; of the destination of the Jews; of the vials of the last plagues ; and of the events of the Revelations ?

3. Much of the ancient preaching of a Saviour then to come, was in types and figures not less dark than are most of the prophecies of the Revelation. Israel had their preaching of Christ, in the brazen serpent,-in the water from the rock, in the sea of brass,-the candlestick,—the sacrifices,-the burning of incense,-and the clusters of temple emblems," shadows of good things to come!" And would not the very objection, now often made against the study of the Revelation, that it is deep and difficult, have lain with equal weight,

« AnteriorContinuar »