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and mischievous error arisen from a zealous anxiety to rescue the church of Christ from the wretched slavery and captivity of the Papal church, which has led them to represent it as the source of all manner of evil, and to appropriate all the marks, however inapplicable and discordant, of “ the man of “ fin, the son of perdition,” foretold by St. Paul; all the marks of "antichrist,” foretold by St. John ; and all the marks of the beast of “the bottom« less pit,” or the beast of the earth, and of the

great whore, &c.” to the Papal hierarchy, and thus to load it (already abundantly loaded with its own peculiar fins and abominations) with all the abominations of the earth;" with all the idola. tries, sensuality, and crimes of all the enemies of the church of Chrift, from its rise to its final redemption? This, I humbly apprehend, in the expofition of the apocalyptical history, is a very great error ; an error which robs it of that perspicuity of chronological narration, which it certainly poffeffes, renders it a very defective history of the church of Chrift, and involves it in confufion.

EIGHTEENTH CHAPTER OF THE REVELATION.

The awful Sentence of Divine Justice pased upon the

ungodly Confederacy, and the last Summons from Chrift, to those that

fear God, to separate themselves

from it.

IN this chapter the prophet foretels ihe destruction of the ungodly confederacy of IDOLATERS, A POSTATės, and ATHEISTs. And as it has been his uniforin method, when predicting events, which are to take place in the course of divine Providence, to describe them figuratively, by an angel sent into the world

for

for that purpose, so here he represents this dreadful event in the same manner. He sees " an angel

coming down from heaven, having great power, " and the earth was enlightened by his glory, and “ he cried mightily with a strong voice;" to denote the immutability of the decree, the perfect justice upon which it is founded, and the dreadful effects of the wrath of God, when it shall be poured out upon the confederacy. This angel proclaims the awful decree, saying, “ Babylon the Great is fallen, is fallen, and is «' become the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage " of every unclean and hateful bird. For all na5 tions have drunk of the wine of her fornications, “ and the kings of the earth have committed forni“cation with her, and the merchants of the earth “ are waxed rich through the abundance of her 66 delicacies *" In thus announcing the dreadful decree, the angel speaks in the present tense, “ Baby“ lon the Great is fallen,” and repeats “is fallen *,” to show that the decrees of a God of infinite wisdom, power, and justice, are fixt and irreversible, and as soon as passed, are to be considered as executed.

The decree thus announced, the prophet passes to a description of the tender mercies, and abundant love of the eternal Son of the most high God, towards his church, at that critical period. Proofs of this ineffable love, from the rise of the church, to the end of the world, run throughout the Scripture. We are there told that "the mercy of the Lord is from “ everlafting to everlasting upon those that fear him up." I shall, therefore, only recite a few instances of it, which seem necessary to introduce an explanation of the two verses, following those I have already

commented upon.

* Ver. 1, 2.

+ Psalm ciii. 19.

U 2

Just Just before he foretold the destruction of Jerusalem, we findour Saviour, with sorrowfultenderness, mourning over her in this beautiful and expressive lamentation: “OJERUSALEM, JERUSALEM,thouthat killest the “ prophets, and stoneft them that are sent unto thee; “ how often would I have gathered thy children to

gether, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under “ her wings, and

ye

would not *."

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Again, after bis merciless crucifixion, and his afcenfion to his Father, when his flock had lost their 1hepherd, he sent his angel to the prophet to assure them, that " a crown should be given to them, and “ that they should go on conquering and to con

quer*"

Again, forefecing that his church, notwithlianding her triumph and exaltation over the heathen world, would ungratefully and wickedly forfake the word of God, to whichi alone she would be indebted for her peace and happiness, and fall into abominable heresies; and also knowing the dreadful § visitations of God to be inflicted upon her by the barbarian nations, he fent his angels to the prophet, forewarning her of them, that the might avoid their rapine and bloody ravages, by repentance and returning to her father's houle .

* Matth. xxiii. 37. of Rev. vi. 2.

How accurately and completely was this affurance of Chrift, foretold in the first century, fulfilled in the fourth, when Con

tantine the Great, then emperor of Rome, the mistress of the heathen world, became converted to the Christian faith, and the head of the church !

§ These dreadful visitations of God upon the church, thus foretold in the first, began in the latter end of the fourth century, and continued down to the middle of the sixth, when they became completely fulfilled. See Newt. Disl, yo!. ii. p. 202-207. il Rev. vü. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.

Again, foreseeing that she would obfinately persevere in her iniquity, and the justice of God would pour down upon her woes yet far more severe, and of longer continuance, through the means of Mohamed, the Pope, and revolutionary France, he again preadmonithed her of her danger, that she might reject their blafphemous falsehoods, and avoid the consequent judgments. This gracious and mercifui admonition the prophet describes in these words * : “ And I saw an angel flying through the midst of

heaven," meaning, throughout all the regions of the church then planted in all parts of the earth,

saying, woe, woc, woc, to the inhabiters of the " earth it," that is, to all the members of the church, who had known the word of God, and now obeyed it not, but had become earthly, fensual, and “ devilish *."

But it may here be asked, What is this angel, and when did we hear of his flying through the inidst of the church? The answer is not difficult, if we translate the verse from its figurative, into its literal sense. The prophet has, in other places, represented the word of God, or the Gospel of Christ, by the figurative expressions of “ The holy city,” “ the

temple of God," “ the altar,” and “ the two “ witnesses.” Here again varying the figure, as it is common in the beautiful and mysterious language of prophecy, he utes, with equal propriety, the word

* Rev. viii. 13.

# We have seen these visitations of God, as it were, fulfilled, and still fulfilling before our eyes. We have seen that Mohamed, the Pope, and atheistical Françe, are come, and brought in their train all the seductive decrees, falsehood, lies, and blafphemies, and overwhelming the church of Christ with darkness, filth, and blood; and we have seen the fall of the second, or the Pope, within these last four years; and, in all probability, we shall see those of the first and third in less time than half a century, as foretold by the prophet feventeen hundred years past. James iii. 15.

angel,"

U 3

angel," to convey the same idea. Taking the verse, then in itsliteral sense, we shall find, that this pure and holy angel, lhe word of God, did “fly through the midst of” the church from one end of it to the other, carrying with it the admonition here foretold, before the time when the visitations of God were to fall upon the church. For if we may give credit to history, this angel of the Gospel of Christ, through the missionaries of the church, spread the word of God over the inhabited part of the earth, in the most rapid manner, in the fixth century: it was proclaimed and practised from China in the East, to Ireland in the West, some time before the rise of Mohamed, and the Pope, in the seventh : and thus the literal meaning of the text became completely fulfilled.

Again, after the prophet had foretold the fallen and abject state of the church, lost to the pure light of the word of God, and overwhelmed with the pollutions and darkness of Mohamedan and Papal apoftasy, and French blasphemy, together with the fall of these, her three great enemies, in the former parts of the Revelation; in the begining of the fourteenth chapter, he figuratively represents Christ and his saints as preparing, with the utmost joy, to raise the church from its impurity and darkness, and to reform it in such manner as to prepare it for its final redemption and eternal happiness in his kingdom, on the earth *. To effect this glorious purpose, he mercifully fends before him his messenger, to preach the Gospel to the fallen world. " And I law,” says the prophet, « another angel flying in " the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel “ to preach to them that dwell on the earth, anu to “ every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and peo“ ple, saying, with a loud voice, FEAR GOD AND

* Ver, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

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