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was in his hand, as he came down from heaven and lighted on the earth, than the only little book that ever came from thence; and how did he hold it but open-as, after the lapse of a thousand years, it was once again open-but never a second time to be shut to the world, that each man in his own tongue might look and read ? The preceding storm that humbled imperial Rome, and gave its power and glory to the winds, had indeed been terrible. And how did the other mighty angel cry, who, on coming down from heaven, shook the kingdom of darkness to its centre, but with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth ? or, is that vision to be for ever unintelligible, which is thus, only in part, anticipated ?
And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud ; and a rainbow was upon his head; and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire; and he had in his hand a little book open : and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth, and crieth with a loud voice as when a lion roareth : and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write : and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not. And the angel which I saw stand ироп
the sea and
the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer : but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which
standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, give me the little book. And he said unto me, take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey ; and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many people, and nations, and tongues, and kings. Chap. x.
And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud : The last tidings of the former angel were that, after the full time of preparation by the Turks should be accomplished, and the third part of men be slain by the fire, the brimstone, and the smoke, yet the rest of the men that were not killed by these plagues would not in any way repent. But the next great event, on the coming down of another mighty angel from heaven, was of another kind ; and all the nations were not then to be enveloped in
any more, nor to continue in impenitent idolatry and wickedness. Woes had been loosed from the south and from the north, after tempests had arisen on every part of the earth. But another angel, different from the former, even a heavenly visitant, came down. He was clothed with a cloud. When Jesus ascended into heaven, a cloud received him out of the sight of the apostles. The Lord makes the clouds his chariots. The clouds are the dust of his feet. The Son of Man shall come in the clouds of heaven, and all his holy angels with him. And, thus clothed with a cloud, the mighty angel came down from heaven, in angelic vesture, or in such a form as the angels of light and mercy visit a dark world like ours. The clothing with a cloud may imply that there was yet to be darkness around, only partially dissipated from the earth.
the same gross
But, though clothed with a cloud, a rainbow was upon his head ; a proof that light was again reflected from the sun, and, in spiritual significancy, a more glorious vision, and the token of brighter glories, than the mere mortal eye can see. The import of the rainbow, in reference to the Reformation, may be deduced from the scriptural record of its first being set as a sign in the skies. On the establishment of his covenant with Noah and his seed, after the deluge, 6 God said, this is the token of the covenant which I have made between me and
every living creature that is with you, for perpetual genera- . tions. I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud : and I will remember my covenant which is between me and you, and every living creature of all flesh ; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, this is the token of the covenant which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth," Gen. ix. 12–17. But the rainbow seen in prophetic vision by John, himself one of the heralds of a better and everlasting covenant, rested not on floating atmospheric vapour, but on the head of the mighty angel who, at that special era, came down from heaven. It was a token from heaven that was given by the Lord. They who had been saved, as in an ark, from the flood of idolatry that had overspread the earth, looked at length on the Reformation as the rainbow of their hopethe pledge which their God, who had established his covenant with them, gave them from on high, that
He remembered his everlasting covenant; and that, in a spiritual, as well as in a natural sense, there should no more be a flood to destroy all flesh. And, looking back on the dawn of the Reformation, after the long night of darkness which preceded it, it still appears in the retrospect of the past, as when the rainbow is seen, when, after the earth is enshrouded in blackness, the clouds are broken and scattered, on the subsiding of a thick tempest, and the rainbow gives a sure token that the sun shines in the heavens.
But the Reformation was more than a sign that God remembered his everlasting covenant, and that every region of the earth would finally be enlightened by the glorious gospel. The light shone upon the earth. - The light of the Reformation” is an historic term, as the yoke is the badge of popery. And the angel who came down from heaven, in his season, had not only a rainbow on his head, but his face was as it were the sun. Christ, the sun of righteousness, is the true light which enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world. And it seemed as if the light of the world was then about to enlighten it all. “ The dawn of truth,” says the ecclesiastical historian, “ arose upon other nations besides Germany. The light of the Reformation spread itself far and wide ; and almost all the European states welcomed its salutary beams, and exulted in the prospect of an approaching deliverance from the yoke of superstition and spiritual despotism."* It seemed as if the millennium was at hand; and that the reign of Christ was then to have been extended over all the nations of the earth. The light of the Reformation was that which Christ himself had revealed, which again broke forth on the world. The angel was but the messenger
of the truth as it is in Jesus-his face shone not merely
* Mosheim's Eccles. Hist. cent. xvi.
as an angel's, but as it were the sun. The Reformation, in its origin, was, as it were, the rising of the sun of righteousness on the nations, with healing under his wings.
Not only had the angel a rainbow upon his head, and his face also was as it were the sun, but his feet were as pillars of fire-not a spreading blaze or a falling star to scorch the earth, but pillars of fire to enlighten all around the place where he stood. But the light wherewith he was to enlighten a portion of the world emanated not from any angelic being ; he was but the messenger of light to bear it from heaven to the earth.
And he had in his hand a little book open. man in heaven, or in earth, nor under the earth, was able to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon, which He who sat on the throne of heaven held in his right hand. There is but one book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. “ I testify unto every one that heareth the words of the prophecy of THIS BOOK,” saith the Spirit,
66 if unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book : and if shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things that are written in this book.” No mention is ever made of two books of Revelation. And the little book, held in the angel's hand, is but one of many symbols characteristic of that time, or, if we do not greatly mistake, of the great events which, when
previously brought in close contact with that period, marked the Reformation. How then did the Reformation rise like a rainbow on the world in its darkness; how did it look like the descent of a mighty angel ; wherefore did it shine as it were the sun over the moral world; and why was there light, like a
any man shall add