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lar digressions are indeed to be met with in every complete history of different and complicated éircumstances. The little book was, 'however, open, that the prophet might read it, and make its contents the subject of his present vision.
The angel, having proceeded so far, “ fet his s right foot upon the sea, and his left foot upon the " earth;” with a design, no doubt, to signify to the prophet, the general nature, and vast extent, of the important events to be revealed, on his reading the little book, which were to come to pass upon " the fea” as well as upon the land; in other words, that the diffenfions and wars which were to ensue, should be waged between the most powerful maritime and continental states upon « the earth.” Here the prophet begins already to unfold his vifion, and to allude to the wonderful events of the present times: the present wars having been waged by a greater number of states both by sea and land, than have ever been waged, within the same space of time, since the world began. They have been carried on by powers, which are properly maritime, such as Great Britain, Holland, France, Russia, Spain, Sardinia, Naples, Malta, Turkey, and the United States. So many fiates, maritime as well as continental, have never before been engaged in war, at the same time; and no event ever yet foretold, has been more completely fulfilled.
Ver. 3.--The angel then “ cried with a loud “ voice, as when a lion roareth; and when he had « cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.” The loudness of the voice is, I humbly apprehend, intended to denote the great extent and lamentable effects of the judgments, with which God, in his just displeasure, would be pleased to visit the fallen and disobedient part of the church: for the lion never “ roareth, " but when bent upon destruction; and he then "? roaretlı" with a louder voice than any other beast of the foref. These figurative expressions are then intended to inake known to the church, both the depreffion which the weliern part of it should suffer, by the arts, frauds, and force of the Papal apoftacy, and the powers of atheism described in the next chapter *, which were to be the instruments of thre divine displealure, in correcting and reclaiming it. At the fame time, it is easy to be perceived, by an attentive reader of this prophetic history, that when, ever the Spirit of truth denounces a judgment of God upon the church, it is always attended by an affur. ance of her final victory and exaltation over all her enemies. So here, as soon as the angel had denounced the visitations of Heaven upon the church, “the seven thunders uttered their voices," to com. fort her in this manner, by reminding her of the final and happy issue of all her long and distressful captivity; and of the far more dreadful and lafting judgments, which were to be poured out of the “ leven vials of the wrath of God," preparatory to her eternal redemption, through the merits of her immaculate founder, the Son of God, upon the whole antichristian and ungodly world, for ever and eyer |
Ver. 4." And when the seven thunders had ut. “ tered their voices,” and thereby comforted the churchi, the prophet, loft in rapture, was “ about to “ write” the history of the seven thunders, or the • seven last plagues of the wrath of God,” upon
the enemics of the chureh; but was inmediately corrected by a voice froin heaven, and commanded “ to write them not:" not at that time, nor to infurt them in his present vision; but “ to seal them
* Ror. xi, 2.7.
+ Rev. xvi. throughout.
up," up," or retain them in his memory, and record them afterwards, in the due order of events, as a packet or Will is sealed up, not to be opened till the appointed time. And accordingly we read that the prophet did fo.
Ver. 5, 6, 7.--That the “ seven thunders" refer to the dreadful judgments of the seven' vials of the wrath of God, seems evident, from the tenor of these three verses : for we find that the angel, cither to regain the attention of the prophet, or to give farther light respecting the “ seven thunders,"
swears, in the most awful manner, that “the time (of the feven thunders) “ Thall not be" yet;” meaning, not until after the events of the present vifion should have come to pass : but that, in the “ days “ of the voice of the seventh angel," alluding to the angel of the “ last trump of God *,” when he fhall begin to sound, then the mystery of God, as he " hath declared by his servants the prophets, “ small be finished;" that is, the “ mystery of God, in the creation and redemption of man, ihall no longer remain a mystery; his power, his wisdom, and his righteousness, thall be displayed, and made perfectly manifeft and glorious to all his intellectual creatures; to devils, as well as to men.
Ver. 8, 9, 10.---The angel, having thus finished his explanation of the seven thunders," the voice “ from heaven” (Jefus Chrift) speaks to the prophet again ; recalls his attention to the subject of the present vision; and orders him to “ go and take the " little book, which is open, 'in the hand of the angel, which ftandeth upon the sea, and upon the
" And he went to the angel, and faid " unto him, Give me the little book." "And he faid,
1 Cor. xv. 52.
I Theff. iv. 16.
Rev. xi. 15.
" Take it, and eat it up: and it fhall make thy
belly bitter, but it hall be in thy mouth as sweet
as honey.” “ And he took the little book, and did " eat it up; and it was in his mouth as sweet as honey : “ and as soon as he had eaten it, his belly was bitter." As if the voice from heaven had said in all this, '. Go to the angel, and take the little book, and it
Thall reveal many important and terrible events, which must come to pass hereafter, both upon the Tea and land, in certain conflicts and wars among many maritime and inland kings, princes, and cftates. Consider this little book” well; for, upon
a first and cursory perusal of it, it shall give you great joy; bụt upon a more mature consideration and digestion of all its contents, it shall grievously affict you.
Accordingly, in the very next chapter, we shall find causes both of joy and sorrow to the prophet, and the church of Christ: for upon only a flight perusal of the first part of that chapter, the great prominent fcature, which strikes the mind, is the folemn assurance afforded, that God “ will give power to his two witnesfes” to repel the attacks of their enemies; and to " smite them with all manner of
plagues, as they will*.". But upon a closer examination, it will appear, that the true church of Chrift fhall be trodden under foot, forty and two months of,” by the two Gentile apostacies 1, that
two witnesses shall prophesy in fackcloth one " thousand two hundred and threescore days $,'
9 the 66
Rev. xi.-4, 5, 6. Ibid. 3.
These forty and two months," during which the church was to be trodden under foot, and the 1260 days of the prophecy in fackoldth of the two witnesses, are agreed, by all Protestant com: menfators, to allude to the period of 1260 years, in which the church should be depressed by Papal darkness and apostacy.
Rev. xi. 2. ST
Š Ibid. 3.
or the long period of 1260 years; and that, in the latter end of that period, a new and more dangerous enemy shall ascend from “ the bottomless pit," and shall“ kill the two witnesses of God,” when they thall ħave nearly finished their teftimony
Ver. 10.-To take off all surprise from the mind of the prophet, at his not being permitted to treat of the “ leven thunders” in this vision, and to give him a general view of his future subject, he is informed, in this verse, that he“ must prophefy again s before (concerning) many people, and nations,
and tongues, and kings :” meaning that, after he has foretold the events of the “ little book," he must again return to the general history of the church, which should be unfolded to him out of the great "book, written within, and on the backside f." This construction is clearly supported by the subsequent part of the Revelation. For 'we Thall there find, that having, in the course of his digreffion, written the history of the Western part of the Church *, he describes it as again united; resumes his principal subject in chap. xiv. ; thence he continues it down to the end, and treats of the seven thunders, under the “feven vials of the wrath of God," to be poured out upon all the ungodly opposers and enemies to the true church of Christ; their extreme discomfiture, and terrible destruction. Such is the awful preparation to the first resurrection of the just, at the coming of Christ to reign upon earth ; the binding of Satan during that reign ; the second resurrection ; the final judgment, and THB CONSUMMATION OF