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turning many from heresy, and from Popery, and from other false religions ; and also for turning many from their rice and profaneness, and for bringing vast multitudes savingly home to Christ.
The work of conversion shall go on in a wonderful manner, and spread more and more. Many shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, and shall come as it were in flocks, one flock and multitude after another continually flowing in, as in Isa. lx. 4, 5.
eye round about, and see ; all they gather themselves together, they come to thee; thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. Then thou shalt see and flow together.” And so verse 8. “ Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows ?" And it being represented in the forementioned place in the Revelation, that the gospel shall be preached to every tongue, and kindred, and nation, and people, before the fall of Antichrist ; so we may suppose, that it will soon be gloriously successful to bring in multitudes from every nation ; and it shall spread more and more with wonderful swiftness, and vast numbers shall suddenly be brought in as it were at once, as you may see, Isa. Ixvi. 7, 8, 9.
2. This pouring out of the spirit of God will not effect the overthrow of Satan's visible kingdom, till there has first been a violent and mighty opposition made. In this the scripture is plain, that when Christ is thus gloriously coming forth, and the destruction of Antichrist is ready at hand, and Satan's kingdom begins to totter, and to appear to be imminently threatened, the powers of the kingdom of darkness will rise up, and mightily exert themselves to prevent their kingdom being overthrown. Thus after the pouring out of the sixth vial, which was to dry up the river Euphrates, to prepare the way for the destruction of spiritual Babylon, it is represented in Rev. xvi. as though the powers of hell will be mightily alarmed,and should stir up themselves to oppose the kingdom of Christ, before the seventh and last vial shall be poured out, which shall give them a final and complete overthrow.
We have an account of the pouring out of the sixth in verse 12, And then upon this, the beloved disciple informs us in the
following verses, that, “ three unclean spirits like frogs shall go forth unto the kings of the earth, to gather them together to the battle of the great day of God Almighty.” This seems to be the last and greatest effort of Satan to save his kingdom from being overthrown ; though perhaps he may make as great towards the end of the world to regain it.
When the spirit begins to be so gloriously poured forth, and the devil sees such multitudes flocking to Christ in one nation and another, and the foundations of his kingdom daily undermining, and the pillars of it breaking, and the whole ready to come to swift and sudden destruction, it will greatly alarm all hell. Satan was ever had a dread of having his kingdom overthrown, and he has been opposing of it ever since Christ's ascension, and has been doing great works to fortify his kingdom, and to prevent it, ever since the day of Constantine the Great. To this end he has set up those two mighty kingdoms of Antichrist and Mahomet, and brought in all the heresies, and superstitions and corrupt opinions, which there are in the world. But when he sees all begins to fail, it will rouse him up exceedingly. If Satan dreaded be- . ing cast out of the Roman empire, how much more does he dread being cast out of the whole world!
It seems as though in this last great opposition which shall be made against the church to defend the kingdom of Satan, all the forces of Antichrist, and Mahometanism, and Heathenism, will be united ; all the forces of Satan's visib'e kingdom through the whole world of mankind. And therefore it is said, that, “ spirits of devils shall go forth unto the kings of the earth, and of the whole world, to gather them together to the battle of the great day of God Almighty.” And these spirits are said to come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet ; i. e. there shall be the spir. it of Popery, and the spirit of Mahometanism, and the spirit of Heathenism all united. By the beast is meant Antichrist ; by the dragon, in this book, is commonly meant the devil, as he reigns over his Heathen kingdom ; by the false proph. et, in this book, is sometimes meant the Pope and his clergy:
But here an eye seems to be had to Mahomet, whom his fola lowers call the great prophet of God. This will be as it were the dying struggles of the old serpent; a battle wherein he will fight as one that is almost desperate.
We know not particularly in what manner this opposition shall be made. It is represented as a battle ; it is called the battle of the great day of God Almighty. There will be some way or other a mighty struggle between Satan's kingdom and the church, and probably in all ways of opposition that can be ; and doubtless great opposition by external force ; wherein the princes of the world who are on the devil's side shall join hand in hand : For it is said, “ The kings of the earth are gathered together to battle," Rev. xix. 19. And probably withal there will be great opposition of subtil disputers and carnal reasoning, and great persecution in many places, and great opposition by virulent reproaches, and also great opposition by craft and subtlety. The devil now doubtless will ply his skill as well as strength to the utmost. The deve ils, and those who belong to their kingdom, will every where be stirred up, and engaged to make an united and violent opposition against this holy religion, which they see prevailing so mightily in the world....But,
3. Christ and his church shall in this battle obtain a complete and entire victory over their enemies. They shall be totally routed and overthrown in this their last effort. When the powers of hell and earth are thus gathered together against Christ, and his armies shall come forth against them by his word and Spirit to fight with them, in how august and pompous, and glorious a manner is this coming forth of Christ and his church to this battle described, Rev. xix. 11, &c. ! And to represent to us how great the victory should be which they should obtain, and how mighty the overthrow of their enemies, it is said, verse 17, and 18, that “all the fowls of heaven are called together, to eat the great supper given them, of the flesh of kings, and captains, and mighty men," &c. and ther, in the following verses, we have an account of the victory and overthrow.
In this victory, the seventh vial shall be poured out. It is said, Rev. xvi. 16, of the great army that should be gathered together against Christ: “ And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue, Armageddon ;" and then it is said, “And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air ; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne; saying, It is done.” Now the business is done for Satan and his adherents. When this victory is obtained, all is in effect done. Satan's last and greatest opposition is conquered ; all his measures are defeated ; the pillars of his kingdom broken asunder, and will fall of course. The devil is utterly baffled and confounded; and knows not what else to do. He now sees his Antichristian, and Mahometan, and Heathenish kingdoms through the world, all tumbling about his ears. He and his most powerful instruments are taken captive. Now that is in effect done which tie church of God had been so long waiting and hoping for, and so earnestly crying to God for, saying, “ How long, O Lord, holy and true ?" Now the time is come.
The angel who set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the earth, lift up his hand to heaven, and swore by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and all things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that when the seventh angel should come to sound, the time should be no longer. And now the time is come ; now the seventh trumpet sounds, and the seventh vial is poured out, both together; intimating, that now all is finished as to the overthrow of Satan's visible kingdom on earth. This victory shall. be by far the greatest that ever was obtained over Satan and his adherents. By this blow, with which the stone cut out of the mountain without hands shall strike the image of gold, and silver, and brass, and iron, and clay, it shall all be broken to pieces. This will be a finishing blow to the image, so that it shall become as the chaff of the summer threshing floor. In this victory will be a most glorious display of divine pow
Christ shall therein appear in the character of King of kings, and Lord of lords, as in Rev. xix. 16. Now Christ
shall dash his enemies even the strongest and proudest of them, in pieces ; as a potter's vessel shall they be broken to shivers. Then shall strength be shown out of weakness, and Christ shall cause his church as it were to thresh the mountains, as in Isa. xli. 15. “ Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: Thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff.” And then shall be fulfilled that in Isa. xlii. 13, 14, 15.
4. Consequent on this victory, Satan's visible kingdom on earth shall be destroyed. When Satan is conquered in this last battle, the church of Christ will have easy work of it ; as when Joshua and the children of Israel had obtained that great victory over the five kings of the Amorites, when the sun stood still, and God sent great hail stones on their enemies, they after that went from one city to another, and burnt them with fire : They had easy work of subduing the cities and country to which they belonged. So it was also after that other great battle that Joshua had with that great multitude at the waters of Meram. So after this glorious victory of Christ and his church over their enemies, over the chief powers of Satan's kingdom, they shall destroy that kingdom in all those cities and countries to which they belonged. After this the word of God shall have a speedy and swift progress through the earth ; as it is said, that on the pouring out of the seventh vial, “ the cities of the nations fell, and every island fled away, and the mountains were not found," Rev. xvi. 19, 20. When once the stone cut out of the mountain without hands had broken the image in pieces, it was easy to abolish all remains of it. The very wind will carry it away as the chaff of the summer threshing floor. Because Satan's visible kingdom on earth shall now be destroyed, therefore it is said, that the seventh vial, by which this shall be done, shall be poured out into the air ; which is represented in scripture as the special seat of his kingdom ; for he is called the prince of the power of the air, Eph. ii. 2. Now is come the time for punishing leviathan, that piercing serpent, of which we read in Isa. xxvii. 1, “ In that day the Lord with his sore and great Vol. H.