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they will reign in a perfect fellowship with God in Christ, in his eternal reign. But the millions of ineffable particulars of their glories thus given in general, must remain hid from mortals till the curtains of time shall be drawn. “ We know not what we shall be; but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, even as he is pure."
Ver. 6. And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true : and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.
The infallible veracity of this Divine Revelation is here confirmed by God himself. The Lord God who inspired all the prophets, gave this revelation by the mission of a special messenger from heaven. All, then, shall be fulfilled, and that shortly." These are " things which must shortly be done.” The series of these things predicted in the Revelation, have been moving on the swift wings of time now for about eighteen hundred years ; and the whole will surely be accomplished. At the close of all things earthly,—their time and their duration will appear in the light of eternity as nothing ! But if the things in the Revelation are true and faithful,the true sayings of God, revealed to his servants here below ;-none have any right to neglect, to disbelieve, or to undervalue them. They have all the divine authority of the other prophecies. They are a rich concluding scene of our holy oracles. And those people give but poor evidence of being the servants of God, who neglect, slight, or undervalue them! Yet what multitudes have done it, not only of the great mass of the impenitent world, but of professors, and even teachers! Many such have felicitated themselves in a way similar to the following :-I know nothing about the Revelation ! I never pretend to study it! There are other parts of the Bible enough, plain and practical; I am content with them, without troubling myself to attempt to learn such mysteries! The neglect is thus assumed as a high piece of wisdom and human discretion! What gross impeachment of the divine wisdom and benevolence in giving the
Revelation and the other prophetic parts of the word of God!
Ver. 7. Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
Jesus, the Lord of glory, here speaks and calls the attention of man,
6 Behold !” What follows is of the deepest interest. “ I come quickly!” He will come to judge the world in righteousness. It is far worse than in vain, to say, “Where is the promise of his coming ?" Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence. “A fire devoureth before him; and it shall be very tempestuous round about him." The coming of this event is said to be quickly. Should it be protracted ever so many thousands of years,—those thousands of years, when gone, will appear in view of eternity, short indeed! This warning of Christ, then, should be impressed on our hearts every day and hour of our lives! Looking for, and hasting unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,--of the day of God, in which the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; and the earth and all the works therein, shall be burned
up. Ye Christians ; seeing ye look for such things, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness? especially considering that our individual death is essentially all one to us as the coming of that great and last day? And this may be very near, and cannot be far distant. Death is to each saint, the return of Christ to take him to himself. And Christ says to each one,
“ Be ye also ready; for in such a day as ye think not, the Son of man cometh.” Connected with this warning in the text, is the promised blessing to him “ that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” What may this imply to those who keep them not, and know them not? Who feel a disrespect to this delightful study? The Saviour commences and ends this book with this same sentiment. • Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things that are written therein ; for the time is at hand.” Chap. i. 3.
Ver. 8. And I John saw these things, and heard
them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me these things.
9. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book : worship God.
The apostle here mistakes the angel for Christ, and his devout soul was going to prostrate itself at his feet in holy worship. But the angel forbids. It is impious and false to say, as some have done, that this was not true worship; nor was the worship paid to Christ (in the numerous instances recorded) true worship; but mere compliment which may be paid to a creature! John here designed it, and Inspiration here represents it, as true worship: and, as such, it is here forbidden, and directed to be paid only to God. This thing gives a new decision to the proper and infinite Divinity of Christ,—who ever receives worship both in earth and heaven, and never forbids it. The probability that this angel was the prophet Daniel, has been noted in the second lecture. “I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the prophets.” If this messenger be one of the prophets, Daniel seems the most likely to be sent on this message to illustrate his own ancient prophecies, as the Revelation has done.
Ver. 10. And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book : for the time is at hand.
As though he should say: View not this book as sealed up ; and let it not be thus viewed. It is given for immediate and faithful practical improvement. For its events have already commenced; they will swiftly proceed; they will be finished; and the time even of their completion may now be said to be at hand. No time, then, is to be lost as to understanding and improving these visions. Let them be viewed and improved as given, and thrown open for this very purpose.
Ver. 11. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still :
and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
When this heavenly city shall come (or the death of any individual shall arrive which is the same thing to him), all things then shall settle into their eternal and immutable state. The moral character, and the state of all shall then be found to be eternally fixed. None shall ever more pass from one kingdom to the other. There shall be no more transition from bad to good: nor from good to bad. The day of grace to the wicked is ended. And the day of trial to the good shall be found eternally closed. “ The things that are unseen are eternal." 66 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might: for there is no work, divine knowledge or wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” Or there is no probationary work to be done after death.
Ver. 12. And behold, I come quickly ; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
As though Christ should say, I again give the warning, that I shall soon come; and I shall then judge all men; and give to every one as his works shall decide his char: acter to be. I shall reward no Christian for his works, as a legal ground of reward. For heaven is a gift of mere grace, on the ground only of what I have suffered and done. But every saint shall have the measure of his reward in exact proportion to his holy obedience; and the enemy shall be punished both for and in proportion to their crimes.
Ver. 13. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
This is the Judge, and is Christ; who reiterates this most positive assurance of his underived eternal Divinity. Striking it is, that this annunciation of his divinity should be annexed to the declaration of his soon coming to judge,
and to reward, or punish. What is man, that he should contradict such decisions of the divinity of Christ !
Ver. 14. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
While holy Christian obedience is not the legal ground for entering heaven, it is essential to it, being the constituted title of the saints to glory, and their preparation of soul for it. The commandments of God in the text are the precepts of the gospel,--repentance, faith, submission, reconciliation, holy obedience, following the Lamb. These are the commandments of Christ, alluded to, when he says, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's command. ments, and abide in his love.” Such shall enter the gates of the New Jerusalem, and eternally feed on the rich fruits of the tree of life.
Ver. 15. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
Behold here the contrast of the character and state of the wicked! How destitute of honour, as well as of bliss! Think of the appellations Christ here gives them. They are without the city of God, the walls of heaven! They will appear plunged in the burning lake.
Ver. 16. I, Jesus, have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
The first verse of this book assures us, that it is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, and he sent and signified it by his angel to his servant John. In our text, drawing to the close of the book, he reiterates the same sentiment ---announcing himself at the same time, both David's God, and David's son! The