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stroyed the earth. This being a general description of events which will be more particularly set fourth under the pouring out of the vials, we shall find them again under “the battle of Armageddon, or the great day of God Almighty" (Chap. xvi.); also in
supper of the Great God,” to which the fowls are invited, and in which “the beast and the false prophet are taken.” Chap. xix.
One thing is remarkable in both the harvest and the vintage, they indicate that the papal abominations shall be ripe, fully ripe. There is a tendency to maturity in both good and evil, in individuals and communities, and even in the world itself. Popery matured is infidelity. To this it tends, and here it will probably land the great body of its adherents. I see no solid ground for Mr. FABER's hypothesis of an infidel king, any more than of an infidel antichrist. The historical exposition of the with chapter of Daniel by PRIDEAUX (Connexion Part II. Book II, III.) ap. pearing to me to be the true one: but I have no doubt that infidelity is, and will be, the distinguishing feature of the last times. What is said of the “scoffers of the last times” is indeed descriptive of what we daily witness; but it is only of individuals that these things are spoken. Infidelity does not appear to be symbolized in the scriptures, either by a beast, a horn, or a king : it is merely the papal beast grown old, or popery as having produced its proper fruits, which fruits may be the appointed means of its destruction.
INTRODUCTION TO THE VIALS,
And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues : for in them is filled up the wrath of God. 2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire ; and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. 3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty : just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. 4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name ? for thou only art holy : for all nations shall come and worship before thee ; for thy judgments are made manifest. 5 And after that I looked, and bek old, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was open ed : 6 And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. 7 And one of the four living creatures gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials, full of the wruth of God, who liveth for ever and eyer, 8 And the temple was Vol. VI.
filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.
Three general descriptions baving been given of the antichristian power,
each of which carried us to the end of the 1260 years, the series of the prophecy from the time of the sounding of the seventh trumpet is now resumed. This trumpet, it bas been observed before, wears a two-fold aspect. It is partly a woe-trumpet, and partly the harbinger of joy. The seven vials are a part of it, and answer to the former view. The other part comprebends the success of the gospel preparatory to the Millennium, the Milleonium itself, and all that follows to the end of the prophecy, and answers to the latter view. At present we are to consider it as a woe-irumpet, or as comprehending the seven vials; which, contaioing a more particular account of the judgments already hinted at towards the end of the general descriptions, will, like them, bring us to the close of the 1260 years.
The angels with the vials are called “ a sign in heaven, great and marvellous," because the judgments which follow are signal and fearful, and the times very eventful, so as deeply to interest the church of God.
The seven vials are denominated the seven last plagues, in which will be filled up the wrath of God." This supposes that in various instances God had already poured forth his wrath upon these antichristian powers, but that this should be the FINISHING
Hence it follows that we are not to consider these vials as including all those plagues which at different periods have been poured upon the antichristian party, but merely those which shall bring it to its end.
As the vials are a subdivision of the third and last woe trumpet, they could not begin to be poured out till that trumpet was sounded : and as they are emphatically called the seven last plagues, they must refer to the latter end of the 1260 years. In short, they are the particulars of what was signified under the general representations by God's wrath being come, and the time of the dead that they should be avenged--and by the harvest and the vintage. Chapters xi. and xiv.
All those expositions of the vials, therefore, wbich suppose them to have been pouring out at different periods from the beginning of the 1260 years appear to me to be founded in mistake. The farthest point to which we can look back for the commencement of these calamities may be found to be within the last five and twenty years. Ver. 1.
The sea of glass miogled with fire” is the same which is said. in Chap. iv. 6. to have been before the throne. It is opposed, I .conceive, to that perturbed element from which the beast arose ; and describes the pare, calm, and triumphant state of those who have overcome.
The striking up of the heavenly choir on this occasion was to express the great good that should arise from these evils. The song they sing is that of " Moses and the Lamb.” As the song of Moses at the Red Sea magnified the victory of the Lord over the Egyptians, so this song will celebrate the triumph of the Lamb and of his followers over enemies of a similar character. If the works of God in redeeming bis people from the long and hard bondage of Egypt were“ great and marvellous,” much more so would they be in delivering his saints from the long and hard bondage of that great city whicb is spiritually called Egypt;" and if bis “ ways were just and true" in the former instance, they would be still more manifestly so in the latter. Ver. 2, 3.
It is not in malignity towards any creature, but in love to God, whose honour bad for so long a time been trampled under foot, that these heavenly minds rejoice ; not for the evil considered as evil, but for the good that should arise from it. Hence, anticipating the righteousness which the world shall learn when these judgments are abroad in the earth, they triumphantly ask, “Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name ? for thou only art holy : for all pations shall come and worship before thee ; for, thy judgments are made manifest.” By this language we are given to expect that the judgments on the antichristian powers, in connexion with the preaching of the gospel, will contribute to the universal spread of the true religion over the face of the earth. Ver. 4.
As the throne of the God of Israel was in the holy of holies, so his throne in heaven is described as in his temple ; and as when
the High Priest entered into the former once a year he saw the ark of the testimony, so the heavenly temple being opened, the apostle looked, and saw the seven angels come out from before the throne, as having received their commission. They are described as “ clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles." Nothing could better express the state of their minds in executing the divine displeasure. God had sometimes employed evil angels to execute his will, even towards his own people, as in the case of Job, and in such instances they have been certain to discover their malignity. But when good angels execute the divine will, though it be upon his worst enemies, they have no malignant bitterness, but are influenced purely by the love of God and righteousness. Ver. 5, 6.
Next to the description of the messengers follows the delivering to them their respective messages : and this was from the hand of one of the four living creatures who represented redeemed men. God does not usually employ his people in this world to overthrow either corrupt churches or antichristian governments. This is a kind of work not suited to them. They must however have some concern in it. Their prayer for deliverance are answered by terrible things in righteousness upon their persecutors; and to all the judgments of God they must add their cordial Amen. Ver. 7.
'The effect of the delivery of these messages is described as “ filling the temple with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power, so that no man could enter it.” This cloud (says Dr. Guyse) appeared like a thick smoke, awfully glorivus, which was a symbol of the divine vengeance, (Psa. xvii. 8,) as going forth from the presence of the Lord, and to be executed by the glory of his power, in the destruction of antichrist; even as the cloud on the tabernacle was of his dreadful judgment upon Korab, Dathan, and Abiram, and the murmuring Israelites (Numb. xvi. 19, 42.); and as Moses could not enter into the tabernacle, nor the priests stand to minister in the temple, while the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord, (Exod. xl. 35. 1 Kings viii. 11.) so no one could enter into.